The Howard League for Penal Reform

Community Programmes Awards

This is the Howard League for Penal Reform award for the country's most successful community programmes, aiming to increase public and government support for community sentences. These annual awards celebrate best practice in community sentencing and champion the cutting edge of the criminal justice system, with work in the community that challenges and changes people for the better – be it unpaid work, drug and alcohol treatment programmes, or restorative justice.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (251926)

Amount raised





  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



Community sentences do not get the best publicity. The media is largely uninterested in stories of success and much more interested in finding failure. The dedicated professionals who deliver community sentences have not always got the time to explain and promote the excellent work they do. Even colleagues in one probation area may be unaware of the excellent results in another area. Meanwhile, thousands of people in the criminal justice system are being offered the opportunity of challenge and change for the better, with success stories galore, but the general public is only dimly aware of all the tremendous work being done. Strand one: By finding outstanding community programmes that work with individuals who have committed crime, it is hoped that the Community Programmes Awards will not only celebrate success but also promote positive practice in the delivery of community sentences. We believe that well-resourced and well-structured programmes will raise public protection, bringing down the rate of reoffending, and repay the damage done by crime in a way which custodial sentences cannot. The awards reflect the inspiring range of work being carried out across the criminal justice system with award categories to properly reflect this, including: • Adults • Children and young people • Women • Education, training and employment • Unpaid work The competition is open to statutory agencies and voluntary organisations, which are developing innovative community schemes. The programmes nominated are required to show for example: • they are rehabilitative and help to prevent future offending • offer a programme tailored to individual needs • be based on restorative principles • encourage offenders to think about the consequences of their crime • work collaboratively with the local community A panel of experts comprising of the country’s foremost experts will judge the entries against standard criteria. The award winners will be invited to a celebratory event. Their work will be publicised nationally and locally. Strand two: The awards are an ongoing process. Each winning project will be visited to learn more about its effective practice including; the aims of the programme; how it works; what works; why it is so effective; the different schemes in place and the impact that it has. Website - We will create a dedicated website with information about good practice in community sentencing. The site will have a dedicated page for each award category, which will allow practitioners from all over the country and internationally, to get detailed information about what the best programmes are doing and how to contact them. Events - We will organise a series of events round the country to highlight the excellent work of each winning programme and to educate local stakeholders about the successes of the schemes. The event will be promoted to the media. Key opinion leaders and local dignitaries will be invited, including magistrates, judges and politicians. Local and regional media - Successful award winners will be publicised through national, regional and local media, including news and features for both print and broadcast. To cost of promoting community sentences and positive and effective community programmes through the awards costs £45,000 per annum. This includes running the national awards and event; working with and promoting the excellent work of at least 10 winning community projects; and creating a dedicated best practice website for practitioners.