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13 March 2012
A group of leading charities has today welcomed the Social Justice Strategy and its focus on better coordinated support for individuals facing a combination of problems such as mental ill health, substance misuse, homelessness and contact with the criminal justice system.
Social Justice: transforming lives, launched today by the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, makes clear that the government's vision for social justice and a 'second chance society' extends to this group of individuals facing multiple needs and exclusions, as well as to families.
Without the right support, this group suffer from negative outcomes; communities are affected by crime and anti-social behaviour; local services are disrupted for other users; and there are large bills for the public purse through frequent arrest, prison sentences and ambulance call outs.
Revolving Doors Agency and the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition - formed of Clinks, DrugScope, Homeless Link and Mind – are pleased to see clear references in the strategy for better coordination of local services to support these individuals:
"We know that co-ordinated, outcome-focused support delivers better results for a person's life chances in the long term... We recognise that more can be done to support those who are least well served by current approaches. Through this strategy and the work that follows, we want to encourage local areas to design and commission interventions that are better coordinated and that deliver multiple outcomes." Social Justice: Transforming Lives - paragraphs 226-227
Commenting Oliver Hilbery, Project Director, Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) said:
"We are encouraged to see such a clear message about supporting society's most excluded individuals in today's Social Justice Strategy. We know that a small investment in the coordination of existing local services can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of the most excluded individuals in a local area, and government support for this approach is welcome. Today's statement is the first step. We will continue to work with government as they develop the structures that can drive the provision of excellent services for this group in local areas."
Dominic Williamson, Chief Executive, Revolving Doors Agency said:
"We are pleased that the government has recognised that many individuals facing multiple problems are not living in family units and are often left out by current initiatives. We agree that more must be done to support them. Getting services to work better for these men and women is essential to achieving greater social justice. An essential part of this will be to improve accountability for this group and to target resources more effectively in local areas."
The Social Justice Strategy demonstrates important progress in the first of five government actions needed to enable communities to better respond to this group, as outlined by MEAM and Revolving Doors in Turning the Tide: A Vision Paper for multiple needs and exclusions, published last year.
Revolving Doors and MEAM look forward to working with the government to achieve all five actions and to ensure that the delivery of the social justice agenda is effective in turning around the lives of individuals experiencing multiple needs and exclusions.