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Prisoners: Education

Volume 717: debated on Monday 8 February 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government following the announcement of possible redundancies at Manchester College, the main provider of offender learning contracts, what action they will take to ensure the provision of education for prisoners to avoid re-offending; and what provision has been made to ensure that voluntary organisations can continue to deliver prisoner education. [HL1697]

Manchester College won a number of the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contracts awarded by the Learning and Skills Council in summer 2009. Taking up those responsibilities involved the college in significant staff transfer activity, but it continues to deliver its contractual responsibilities.

The Learning and Skills Council works closely with the National Offender Management Service to monitor the delivery by each of the eight OLASS providers to ensure there is no break in provision of the service in establishments.

There is a long tradition of third sector organisations being involved in delivering services in support of prison education. Organisations such as the Prisoners' Education Trust and Women in Prison continue to have important roles, and the Learning and Skills Council's OLASS contractors deliver part of their requirement through subcontracting arrangements with voluntary and community providers. An example of this type of delivery is Family Man, delivered through a subcontract between Safe Ground and Manchester College.