PHHaB New Project Launched
In April this year, a pilot project called Barlinnie-based PHHaB Project (Pathfinder to Housing, Health and Benefits) was launched, and Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) were proud to be one of the leading partners. This ground-breaking project brings together a range of partners to support individuals in prison to prepare for release and support them when they return to the community, with the aim of reducing rates of reoffending across Glasgow.
The increasing prison population and re-offending rates led to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) engaging with Glasgow City Council and our HSCP to see if we could work together to develop a solution that would break the ‘cycle of reoffending’, leading to better outcomes for individuals that would also lead to reducing the prison population.
In 2019, following some preparatory work, the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership Executive Committee gave the go-ahead to establish a pilot project to look at taking this work forward. A key aspect of developing the project was engaging with service users to identify the three main areas (or pathways) that would give them the best chance of breaking the ‘cycle of reoffending’. The three main issues affecting people released from prison were identified as:
- sustaining / accessing tenancies or suitable accommodation
- access to health services and
- accessing Universal Credit / benefits.
The project was then named ‘Barlinnie-based PHHaB Project (Pathfinder to Housing, Health and Benefits)’.
Our HSCP’s Prison Homelessness Team (PHT), situated in Barlinnie, played a pivotal role in taking the project forward. They identified and engaged with key partners from all the sectors involved including SPS, Department for Work and Pensions, Wheatley Group and Registered Social Landlords to develop a new service based on the needs of the service users concerned. Along with partners, including colleagues in the HSCP, the PHT streamlined access routes to address the three main issues identified.
The team works with service users before their release, identifying housing options, and liaising with other agencies to start a benefits claim and set up bank accounts (if required). They will also create an individual plan for each service user; the plan contains details of the accommodation available from day of release and other support services available to them. Service users are also supported to complete benefits claims on day of release and will receive a period of support from the PHT to ensure there are no issues with transition back into the community.
The PHT have been assisted by staff in the HSCP’s Business Development Team who developed bespoke electronic forms to record key information required to ensure the required levels of ongoing support to service users can be maintained. This will also allow the service to be monitored and further developed in future.
Karen McDonald, PHT Team Leader said: “The PHAAB project demonstrates the power of working in partnership to achieve outcomes for our citizens. The team have been provided with a range of new referral pathways and support networks that will allow us to really support our service users both in advance and after their liberation."
Alan Robertson, Service Manager (Homelessness), Glasgow City HSCP said: “We are delighted to have been involved in the PHHaB as we know when services work together, service users access the support they need and are more likely to make a successful transition from custody. It has been clear to us that the services involved in the PHHaB have worked to ensure that there is a robust consistent package of support for people so that when they leave prison then they have the accommodation and support that they need. Along with the other partners we’re determined to build on the partnership and continue to build an effective pathway for people leaving custody.”
Following the launch of the project in April 2021, partners continue to meet and work with service users to ensure they’re well supported.