We are excited to share our new strategic plan for the next three years, Real, Lasting Change (click to view PDF), marking the most important shift in our ambition since Switchback launched in 2008.
In 2018, our tenth anniversary year, Switchback reached some significant milestones. We supported more young prison-leavers than ever before – an increase of a third since 2015. We maintained sector-leading outcomes, including 57% reaching our benchmark of real, lasting change and 92% not reoffending. We also became a half-a-million pound organisation for the first time, while making significant inroads into using our evidence to influence wider change – a new area for the charity.
We further embedded the voice of our Trainees into our work through our Experts by Experience Board, including for the development of our new strategic plan for 2019-21 which we are delighted to publish today.
While our last strategic period focussed on successfully navigating a chaotic external context and piloting in a number of areas, we are now setting out a clear plan to deepen and focus on two: supporting more young men to change and inspiring change across the system.
A vital third strand – ensuring we always fortify our foundation and secure our future – underpins both these aims, while our commitment to keeping Trainees at the heart of everything we do will remain central.
This strategic plan was borne out of listening. We listened to our partners and supporters who highlighted our duty to share 10 years of evidence about what works. We listened to sector leaders saying the time is now for smaller specialist charities to speak up. We listened to our frontline team frustrated by systemic barriers to change. And most importantly we listened to our Trainees, who helped us understand the value of our approach and the need for it to spread further across the system.
Expanding our ambition
We recognise that Switchback’s core strength continues to be in our deep, intensive work enabling young men to achieve fundamental change in their lives. In a context of increasing fragmentation both inside and outside prison, we think the power of this consistent, relational approach is more vital than ever. We know we are not alone in embracing a more human ethos and we want to expand our work with others who share our values.
Yet in recent years we have seen prison conditions deteriorating, outcomes for prison-leavers at stubborn lows and the needs of prisoners becoming increasingly complex. Within this context we believe that there is a greater need and greater potential than ever before to widen the scope of Switchback’s impact.
As such, this strategic plan brings our influencing work to the fore by placing it on an equal footing with our ambitions for growth in delivery. We have learned that these aims are mutually reinforcing, often in unexpected ways, and that working with others to share our approach creates an energy that enhances the effectiveness of our support for individual young men.
We know that while we grow we must continue to provide a rare anchor of stability and humanity for prison-leavers among the chaos. We know this is critical to the success of young men wishing to change after prison. So by always fortifying our foundation and not taking our sustainability for granted, we believe we can expand the reach and quality of our work further than ever before.
By implementing this plan we will support more young men to change their lives, while achieving tangible change in policy and practice – underpinned by being an even stronger and more effective organisation ourselves. In the coming months, we will set out more about how we plan to achieve the aims in this plan, but we know we can’t do it alone. We hope you will join us to enable more young men to find a way out of the justice system and build stable, rewarding lives they can be proud of.
Read Switchback’s new strategic plan, Real, Lasting Change online here (pdf) and read more about getting involved with Switchback here.