Informing Commissioning

In 2008 POPS was asked, alongside the Pakistani Resource Centre (PRC) and the African Caribbean Mental Health Service (ACMHS) to take part in a piece of research to identify barriers to the commissioning of mental health services to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) offenders. POPS interviewed over thirty BME prisoners at HMP Haverigg and questioned them about their cultural needs, health and well-being and environment. From these responses, and others gathered by the Pakistani Resource Centre and the African Caribbean Mental Health Service, the ‘Informing Commissioning’ report was produced. As a direct result of the recommendations of this report, POPS was asked to “house” a new post, namely a Race Equality Coordinator.

The objectives of this post, over a two year period, were to improve mental health services for BME offenders in Greater Manchester, provide strategic direction, and facilitate and improve communication with the aim of encouraging effective partnership working.

In January 2010 the Race Equality Coordinator set up the Race Justice Mental Health Forum, which now meets quarterly bringing together senior staff from prisons, probation, and police, Crown Prosecution Service, Secured Mental Health Units and the NHS to discuss BME offenders mental health needs and to take appropriate action where necessary to improve services.