National council member
- Hybrid of online and working in the community
- Voluntary, 3-6 months commitment as a minimum
- Expenses paid as and when necessary
User Voice works to reduce offending by presenting the voice of the most marginalised people in and around the Criminal Justice System to decision makers. Founded by Mark Johnson, award-winning social entrepreneur and author of his best-selling memoir Wasted, User Voice is an organization led and delivered by ex-offenders.
User Voice helps people caught up in the Criminal Justice System find a path to successful living. On a larger scale, we campaign for better criminal justice services and institutions. Since 2009, we have given a voice to over 150,000 people across the country.
We are looking for people with lived experience, who are representative of their community and want to represent them at a national level. This is an exciting opportunity to work with policy makers and influence change at a national level, whilst gaining knowledge on the Criminal Justice System, and gaining experience of working with an innovative charity.
Role and responsibilities
National Council Members support User Voice’s projects in prisons and the wider community. As a member of the National Council, you will be supported to identify the key issues in the criminal justice system and then develop a plan of activity to influence the right decision makers and drive the necessary changes.
Your role will consist of a variety of remote and face to face opportunities, where you will work with our engagement staff and independently with people on probation and in prisons, conducting interviews, surveys, facilitating focus groups and encouraging others to get involved in our work.
The Council plays an important role at User Voice, and you will be given the freedom to design projects, producing reports, videos, as well as be involved in media and events.
National Council Members are trained and supported throughout their time at User Voice. Our training programme includes modules on public speaking, project management, and research skills.
These skills will be used to build on User Voice’s existing relationships with key influencers in the justice and health sector, as well as with national media. In the past, National Council Members have contributed to our ground-breaking research on neurodiversity and the experience of prisoners during the Covid pandemic.
- Be a team player able to work with others
- Have a real passion for change
- Be able to listen and communicate positively
- Solution focused attitude with an ability to consult and negotiate
- Non-judgemental attitude to others and their opinions
What we expect from staff/ volunteers
- You are an ex-offender and have taken steps to change your life for the better.
- People should also be in a place where their life is manageable. They have the support structures and networks to deal with personal issues and pay their bills on time and have stable accommodation.
- Importantly, we all need to be passionate about wanting to help others. That when we are in a stable place ourselves, we can give back to other people and see their needs as important as our own.
- Giving people the opportunity means them doing it for themselves, recognizing their strengths, and not us doing it for them. For staff, there is the opportunity to progress within the organization, taking on more responsibility, with the opportunity to ultimately become CEO.
- To do this people need encouragement. When you have been told all your life that you are not capable you believe it. Our volunteers and staff need to be given the encouragement that they can do it from someone with their own lived experience.
- They also need the right support so that when they have the opportunity and belief, they also have the skills. We need to ensure that they have the professional training to be the best in their role and the right support structure to deal with any issues at work they will invariably face in their professional development.
- Full training to fulfil the role, including OCN accredited training.
Please note that all applications will have to go through our screening process to ensure suitability for the role.
User Voice works with children, young people, and vulnerable adults. This post is subject to a Basic criminal record disclosure check via the new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) processes. The purpose of the check is to ensure that the nature of the applicant’s criminal record, considered alongside evidence of the applicant’s rehabilitation, does not indicate that his or her employment in this role would put current service users at risk.
There are two ways you can apply to be a National Council member:
- send your CV and a cover letter, answering the questions below
- send a short (2 minutes maximum) video or voice recording telling us about yourself and answering the questions below
Q1. Why do you want to join the National Council?
Q2. What changes have you made in your life to become an ex-offender?
Q3. What strengths, skills, and experience would you bring to the National Council?
Please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions about the role or how we can help you apply, please get in touch here, and we will be happy to discuss with you.