Engaging service users in the long-term strategy for HMPPS

In 2019, Leaders Unlocked was commissioned by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to involve service users in the development of their long-term strategy. 

We took a peer-led approach to the work, working with young adults with lived experience of the criminal justice system to help facilitate conversations with current service users. Over a two month period, this engagement process reached 110 service users in 7 secure settings over the course of a two-month period. 

The project in action

How it Works

Facilitators with lived experience: We worked in partnership with individuals with personal experience of the system to facilitate the process

Peer-led engagement sessions: Working with these facilitators, we delivered peer-led sessions in a range of secure settings across the country. The sessions involved interactive debates, team work and presentations on a number of strategic areas including Safety and Security; Staffing; Use of Data; Technology; Estates; Meeting User Needs.

Presentations to key decision makers: We presented our key findings and recommendations to HMPPS decision-makers over a series of meetings to ensure a wide range of officials were informed by the work. Our facilitators with lived experience played an active role in these presentations.

Short film: Working with our Young Advisors on Criminal Justice, we produced a short film to share the key insights from this project with a wider community of professionals working within the probation and prison system. This film was included in the HMPPS Insights 19 Festival.


Traditionally, the big decisions about the criminal justice system are made without much involvement from those most affected by this system. Leaders Unlocked is proud to be a part of a wider movement to give service users a much stronger voice, and influence, in the justice system.


"Leaders Unlocked has become a really critical partner. The great thing about it is the peer-to-peer aspect and the way the young people use their networks to reach out to a large number of young people. The reach has been phenomenal - across schools, colleges, hostels. We have dealt with many difficult issues, from stop and search to knife crime."