I wrote this morning at my excitement of being part of the inaugural Veterans in the UK Criminal Justice System conference. Chaired by Simon Weston OBE and organised by BD Justice Consultants, the event was a great success.
In the morning, presentations included a powerful personal story from Simon, some of the academic learnings and an update on the veterans review by the MoJ and the parliamentary office leading it. The morning concluded with my presentation around how the use of partnering and technology can be fused together to create a platform for enabling the many players to work well together in delivering better outcomes for veteran offenders and victims. A series of workshops followed that reinforced there are some great opportunities for joining up the 3,500 charities and >£160m spent annually on this important part of the offender population. Watch this space for much more work from BD Justice Consultants, who like most people in the room exhibited enough passion to make the change happen quickly – lets hope the government accelerate the process with positive policy changes.
I have been involved with police and probation for a while now and understand the good that is done despite the front page stories that too often suggest otherwise. However the afternoon still moved me to tears as I heard several people telling their stories of how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) destroyed their lives and (to some degree) was behind their falling into the CJS. How some of them turned it around is quite remarkable, although not all of them had that outcome, and clearly too many suffer from these invisible injuries. That must change, and whilst it is sadly too late for some, there is a better way to address the root cause (prevention) and more effectively help those ongoing victims of combat stress cope. Its a shame the MP responsible for the review did not stay to hear those stories. It makes good commercial sense to change too as more can undoubtedly be delivered for less if a holistic perspective is taken.
People tell me I am brave. I re-mortgaged my house to start Alliantist, gave up a big career and large rewards to follow my passion. I’ve continually put my family and future at commercial risk to build the business. From time to time I’ve also put my health at risk as well with the relentless 80-100 hr weeks and a poor diet! (Fortunately I turned my health and fitness around with some simple psychology – which I will post about another day).
That investment is nothing compared to what some of these veterans have committed (arguably sacrificed) but look at what they got in return. I was proud to shake their hands today and sincerely hope that someone with a much larger communications and lobbying capability than mine picks up their cause quickly as they need help. I’m not brave compared with these people and their journeys.
We will obviously continue to grow and shape pam with its complementary services to help the practitioners deliver better results together. I’ll bang my drum for systemic change wherever I can too. What will you do to make a difference?