Criminal Justice Programme Partnerships

The Criminal Justice Programme builds partnerships with organisations that support anyone in contact with the criminal justice system who speaks English as a second or additional language (ESL).

For more about the Foundation’s Criminal Justice Programme, please visit the programme home page or download The Bell Foundation’s Criminal Justice Programme Strategy 2022-2026.

Grant partnerships in 2022

Improving outcomes and wellbeing for people in contact with the criminal justice system who speak ESL

People in contact with the criminal justice system who speak English as a second or additional language (ESL) often experience worse outcomes (please see below) and a greater deterioration in their wellbeing when compared to peers who speak English as a first language.

The new grant partnerships awarded under this funding round will aim to build the capacity of the criminal justice sector to improve accessibility and support language diversity. Partnerships will do this by delivering projects or services that reduce language barriers to improve outcomes or wellbeing for anyone in contact with the criminal justice system in England and Wales who speaks ESL.

Aims of new partnerships in 2022

1. To fund and evaluate new or existing projects and services that demonstrably improve outcomes and wellbeing for people who speak English as a second or additional language (ESL).

Grants may be awarded for projects and services that are designed and delivered specifically to support people in contact with the criminal justice system who speak ESL, such as a project or service delivered in a language other than English, or targeted at a particular community or group who speak ESL.

2. To fund and evaluate adaptations or improvements to existing projects and services that improve outcomes and wellbeing for service users to improve accessibility for people who speak ESL.

Grants may be awarded to improve the accessibility of existing projects and services that can demonstrate success in improving outcomes or wellbeing for service users who speak English as a first language. For example, this could include the use of language support, upskilling and empowering staff, and/or improving the accessibility of written materials.

Where services are already accessible to speakers of ESL, the Foundation will consider funding the organisation where there is clear potential for added value. For example, funding could be provided to expand or develop the organisation to increase reach, to develop tangible outputs that could benefit others, or to contribute learning or evidence. The Foundation will not fund work that is already achieving these aims via other funding.

3. To evaluate services and gather evidence to improve understanding of ‘what works’ in justice and rehabilitation for people who speak ESL.

All funded organisations will be supported by an independent evaluator to introduce a number of impact measurements to the project or service, and will be required to collect the relevant data (with support from The Bell Foundation and/or an independent evaluator). The Foundation anticipates that these will aim to measure and understand:

For services with beneficiaries who may speak ESL or English as a first language:

  1. Does the service improve outcomes in justice or rehabilitation and/or improve wellbeing for service users who speak ESL?
  2. What characteristics of the service cause the service to be successful/unsuccessful in improving outcomes/wellbeing for service users who speak ESL?
  3. Does the service achieve equal outcomes for service users who speak ESL and those who speak English as a first language?
  4. What characteristics of the service lead to equal/unequal outcomes for service users who speak ESL and those who speak English as a first language?

For services specifically for beneficiaries who speak ESL:

  1. Does the service improve outcomes in justice or rehabilitation and/or improve wellbeing for service users?
  2. What characteristics of the service mean that the service is/is not successful in improving outcomes/wellbeing for service users?

This evidence will be collected both to strengthen the funded organisation’s own evidence base, and to add to The Bell Foundation’s evidence base on which the Criminal Justice Programme’s work is based.

What is meant by ‘outcomes’ and ‘wellbeing’?

‘Outcomes’ can be defined as any positive change as a consequence of engagement with the project or service, such as in rehabilitation or resettlement, education or employment, personal or relational.

  • When working with victims of crime: this could include being supported to engage in the process of seeking justice, or being supported to overcome related challenges such as accessing housing, benefits, or other support after surviving abuse.
  • When working with people in prison or on probation: this could include any positive change that contributes to reduced reoffending or improved resettlement outcomes, such as education, employment, personal development, or resettlement support.
  • When working with individuals ‘at risk’ of contact with the criminal justice system: this could include any positive change that reduces the likelihood of offending, such as education, awareness, or personal development.

Wellbeing can refer to improved physical or mental health, reduced stress or anxiety, positive personal development, or another change or improvement to an individual’s life.

What may be funded?

Funded projects or services could include anything that seeks to reduce or overcome language barriers, for example by:

  • Addressing the monolingualism of services by making adaptations where appropriate. For example, the provision of interpreters to allow engagement with an intervention, or by delivering a service or intervention in a language other than English to serve a particular community.
  • Empowering staff/volunteers in the criminal justice sector to better support language diversity. For example, through decreased caseloads to allow adequate time to support speakers of ESL, training to improve communication with speakers of ESL, or enabling them to use their own ability to speak languages other than English to directly support speakers of ESL.
  • Improving the accessibility of a service by increasing staff and/or volunteers’ understanding of the level of English language proficiency required to participate effectively, and taking the time to properly assess and support those who might otherwise be excluded.
  • Improving the accessibility of a service by conducting an accessibility audit of all written materials and web-based content related to the service, and introducing translated, easy read or pictorial communications wherever possible.
  • Upskilling staff to improve communication with service users who speak ESL, or to improve awareness and understanding of the role of language support services.
  • Working with communities or cultural groups to understand and overcome language and cultural barriers to engagement.
  • Overcoming a lack of access to high quality professional language support.
  • Improving data collection and sharing between agencies or referring service providers regarding individuals’ language needs.
  • Supporting service users who speak ESL and whose rights and entitlements to language support, and equal justice and rehabilitation, have not been upheld.
  • Harnessing peer support.

This list is not exhaustive and any project or service that align with the aims above will be considered.

Use of evidence, and pilot projects

Both established projects and services and new projects and services will be considered for funding. Established projects will be expected to demonstrate how their work can overcome the language or cultural barriers demonstrated in the evidence base. Pilot projects will be expected to demonstrate a hypothesis that is grounded in the evidence base.

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicants must be a registered charity or Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
  • Beneficiaries must be ‘in contact with’ the criminal justice system, or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system. This includes, but is not limited to, anyone who:
    • has been the victim of a crime, whether or not they are currently, or have ever been, engaged in a criminal proceeding;
    • has been witness to a crime;
    • has been arrested, detained, tried, or imprisoned;
    • is serving under licence in the community;
    • is defined to be from an ‘at risk’ group;
    • or is the family member of any of the above.
  • End beneficiaries must be in England or Wales.
  • Grants will not be awarded for capital costs such as building work, renovations, or equipment, or for the day-to-day running costs of charitable activities with the exception of capacity-building activities.

Expressions of Interest are particularly welcome from organisations:

  • Whose leadership speak ESL.
  • Whose leadership are from communities experiencing racial inequity.
  • Whose leadership have lived experience of the criminal justice system or are from the communities the organisation exists to support.
  • Whose leadership have other protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010.
  • Who are based and operate outside London.

Length and sustainability

Proposals will be considered for projects of up to 2-3 years, with funding usually considered and approved on an annual basis. Funding for shorter periods will also be considered, such as to fund a short evaluation of an established project.

The Bell Foundation encourages partners to consider the potential longevity and sustainability of any funded work. From an early stage the Foundation will engage partners in discussions about the long-term plans for the funded work, how it will be funded beyond the length of the Foundation’s grant, or how the work will be embedded into an organisation’s core service offer to ensure the continuity of the service in the long term.

Working in partnership

The Bell Foundation is a collaborative partner. As well as funding the Foundation also offers:

  • Membership of The Bell Foundation’s Criminal Justice Partners Network, with quarterly networking meetings and other opportunities to share best practice for working with speakers of ESL in the sector.
  • Opportunities for collaborative advocacy/policy work.
  • Free Language Awareness Training from The Bell Foundation, as well as other ad-hoc training opportunities through the Partners Network.
  • Feedback, advice, and review of materials from The Bell Foundation’s expert training and resources team.
  • Support on the development and implementation of an impact measurement framework from an independent evaluator.

Application and decision-making process

Any potential partner should complete a short Expression of Interest and submit this to Emily.Giles@bell-foundation.org.uk.

All Expressions of Interest will be considered in the first instance and scored based on their relevance and strategic alignment with the Criminal Justice Programme Strategy, the potential reach, contribution to learning/evidence, and sustainability of the project, and the diversity of the organisation’s leadership.

Applicants may then be invited to submit a more detailed project proposal. Project proposals are appraised according to further criteria and those that score highly will be given feedback, and further developed in partnership with the Criminal Justice Policy and Programme Manager. Fully developed and costed proposals are then appraised by the Board of Trustees.

Whilst applications can be submitted at any time, there are two advised deadlines for Expressions of Interest to ensure that proposals can be considered in a timely manner by The Bell Foundation:

  • 13 June 2022: first deadline for Expressions of Interest, for proposals hoping to be considered in Q3 2022.
  • 15 August 2022: second deadline for Expressions of Interest, for proposals hoping to be considered in Q4 2022.

Contact

If you would like to discuss a potential partnership before submitting an Expression of Interest, please email The Bell Foundation’s Criminal Justice Policy and Programme Manager Emily Giles (Emily.Giles@bell-foundation.org.uk). Please include a short (1-2 lines) description of the proposed project or service.

Additional partnership information is available on the Partner with Us page.