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AWARD WINNER 2011-12: Officer Naughton has transformed the training and employment opportunities for prisoners at HMP Liverpool. Since his appointment as Employment Liaison Officer, Keith has focused on developing partnership arrangements with local businesses (such as Timpsons, among many others) to train and provide work for offenders within the prison and offer them employment after their release. At the same time, he runs his workshops at a profit, raising additional funds to put back in to the prison regime. (This Award is supported by the Prison Officers Association).


[Keith Naughton gives his account of the work for which he won his Award]

I set up a Private/ Public workshops in a Custodial setting, to bring Offenders to a standard that makes them ‘work ready’. This initiative has become embedded in the Prison regime and has led to improved employments rates both pre and post release.

The Timpson Training Academy in HMP Liverpool is a facility which trains Offenders in Custody to become job ready for the Timpson organisation who specialise in watch repair, shoe repair, jewellery repair and key cutting. After intensive job focussed training, Offenders leave Prison fully skilled (apart from key cutting) and are integrated into the business.

Using a holistic approach by engaging with various partners agencies both inside and outside of HMP Liverpool and within the community, I have helped to implement a support system for Offenders who wish to change their lifestyle by becoming employable.

This has had a positive effect on the offenders who may be disruptive on the wings within the Prison, thereby relieving some of the tension and stresses of daily life felt by both Offenders and staff dealing with them.

By engaging with James Timpson Managing Director of the Timpson group of companies and his H.R team along with Prison Service OESS team members I was able to set up the Timpson Academy within the Prison. This teamwork approach in developing this workshop allows Prison staff and Offenders the opportunity to buy into the work ethos and corporate mentality thereby giving the Offenders and staff a sense of ownership, HMP Liverpool provides 1 full time instructor, Timpson provides 1 full time training manager and both parties share the cost of a ‘floating’ instructor.

By empowering Offenders to take ownership of their time spent in custody within the Academy, and by giving them the skills and responsibilities to become effective team members has had a very positive effect even on the most recidivist of Offenders.

For example Mr H who I have known personally for more than 20 years as a repeat Offender, he was one of the first group of candidates to go through the Timpson Academy, he had a serious substance misuse history and had never had a job.

At 43 years old he took the opportunity to engage with the training programme whilst in custody, he was with the training team for 6 months, and was released from custody in June 2009. He has been drug free and in full time employment with Timpson since his release.

Mr H speaks of the benefits of now being a tax payer, the impact his offending has had on all around him speaking of the ‘ripple effect’ of his criminogenic behaviour on society, and the cost to the tax payer as the result of his offending.

Mr H is fully aware of how he has turned his life around and shares this experience with any who will listen, Timpson have around an 80% retention rate of ex Offenders which is true testament of the effectiveness of the model we have developed at HMP Liverpool.

We have become so successful in placing colleagues to the Timpson group in the Merseyside area that I now regularly travel to HMP Leeds, HMP Preston and HMP Buckley Hall to recruit Offenders for the HMP Liverpool Timpson Academy for this unique opportunity.

The model has been so successful Timpson have designated HMP Liverpool Academy as Timpson Branch number 3000, they have also set up similar training Academies in 3 other Prisons, HMP Blantyre House, HMP New Hall and HMP Forrest Bank.


[The following article appeared in issue 4 of the Butler Trust’s magazine, Inspire]

Transforming training and employment opportunities for prisoners at HMP Liverpool earned Keith Naughton his Butler Trust Award. Since being appointed as employment liaison officer he has developed partnerships with local businesses such as Timpson to give real opportunities of jobs on release.

Through setting up The Timpson Academy in the prison, he has given prisoners the opportunity to work for three months in the workshop, learning skills such as shoe repair, engraving, watch repair and customer care. On release they are guaranteed an interview with Timpson and a 16-week trial at a branch.

Keith has gone on to set up further partnership training workshops, including recycling, cooking, upholstery, washing machine recycling, floor laying and construction skills. As well as learning the tools of a trade, prisoners learn a host of transferable skills – right down to the discipline of attending. Prisoners in the Timpson Academy wear a full Timpson uniform, so they become a part of the business pre release.

‘You see a massive change in them,’ says Keith. ‘They’re bridging the gap between being an offender and becoming part of society, getting involved. It makes a big difference for prisoners to be a part of something and when they put on that uniform you see the transformation.’ Keith has been instrumental in putting 200 people through the programme, of which 80 are in full-time employment. The workshop develops their work ethic so they are ready for all kinds of opportunities, and its success has led to it being replicated in Wandsworth. Showing interested partners around the academy has shown them it can be done, he says, and opened doors for similar models.

Participants are not excluded on the basis of issues they may have had such as drug addiction, as full wraparound services make sure that ‘if anyone wobbles they’re supported’. Since first being nominated for the award, Keith’s role has developed rapidly to work with a diverse portfolio of new partners. Partnership workshops with Elixir, Wash Partnership and Can Cook not only deliver pre and post release training and employment opportunities, they also generate income of at least £300,000 a year for the establishment. Keith has also developed a partnership with the St Leonard’s Society of Toronto, which gives voluntary support to offenders.

When he talked to Inspire he was expecting a visit by an ex-offender he had worked with at HMP Liverpool, who is now director of social enterprise and business development with the Canadian charity. As well as replicating a successful model, Keith is always exploring new ideas with other prisons – some of them quite radical, such as the recent initiative with New Hall prison to introduce women to the construction industry via a City and Guilds course.

For more information: contact HMP Liverpool

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