Case studies

Brighter prospects for Blue Sky

Pro bono work to help Blue Sky quantify the impact of providing employment opportunities to ex-offenders

Of the 90,000 prisoners released in the UK every year, 60 per cent re-offend within 2 years. This costs the UK a staggering £13 billion every year. Research has shown that a stable job can cut the probability of re-offending by up to 50 per cent, yet a criminal record makes it up to 8 times harder to find employment.

Blue Sky is a social enterprise that provides employment opportunities to ex-offenders, helping them re-integrate into society and improve their life prospects. Since 2005, Blue Sky has created jobs for over 1,400 ex-offenders and serving prisoners, working with public and private employers in London and other regions.

Despite these achievements, Blue Sky was struggling to demonstrate the value of these jobs to its clients. Blue Sky’s desire to showcase its social and economic value has been driven by the introduction of the Social Value Act in 2012 and innovations in corporate social responsibility. Deloitte’s Economic Consulting team carried out a pro-bono piece of work to help Blue Sky articulate and quantify the range of economic impacts that providing such employment opportunities offers.

The results showed that the largest impact from providing ex-offenders with employment is from reduced prison, legal and non-criminal justice costs, a significant share of which benefits the Ministry of Justice. However, the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS can also benefit from Blue Sky’s activities, as the ex-offenders are less likely to be unemployed and less likely to need physical and mental health support - for example, in relation to problems such as substance abuse.

As a result of the work, Blue Sky has been able to better understand how much value its activities deliver in terms of reducing re-offending rates, unemployment and pressure on statutory services such as physical and mental health services.

With additional information gathered over time, Blue Sky will also be able to extend the assessment to look at the impact of training and homelessness. Blue Sky has used its improved understanding of the real impact that employability has on reoffending in discussions with government and other stakeholders.

The work delivered by Deloitte will be instrumental in building our offer to public and private clients providing jobs for ex-offenders. Demonstrating the added value our employment model creates also allows us to forecast on new innovative projects and further build the whole story of the Blue Sky impact. Our employment model is so powerfully simple - now we can further evidence the true value it brings. We are delighted to be able to have such as tool to enable to talk to clients, funders and, most importantly of all, our beneficiary employees.

Kate Markey, Blue Sky Managing Director

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