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Ink2Work at H.M. Prison Belmarsh - Case Study
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Sustainable reductions in reoffending
The challenge
England and Wales cumulatively release 60,000 offenders each year, of which 60% reoffend within 12 months, costing the UK tax payer £11 billion every year. 75% of ex-offenders have no job on release, yet empirical data has demonstrated that by securing sustainable employment the probability of reoffending will reduce by up to 55%.
Source: National Offender Management Service, 2013

The Green Office Co-op CIC (GOC) developed a strategic model to support social enterprise by providing employment opportunities for those furthest from work, including the disabled and former offenders, enabling them to work together on equal terms and with equal responsibilities. This vision would provide long term sustainable employment, through public, private and third sector supply chains.

Remanufacturing printer cartridges lends itself well to prison industry operations. Capital costs are low and there is little scope for automation. In addition, being so labour intensive, the vast majority of established printer cartridge remanufacturing takes place in low unit labour cost economies, such as SE Asia, so the likelihood of disruption to indigenous competitors is remote.

In terms of business economics, remanufactured toner cartridges and ink jets are usually sold for 30% less than the price of new products. According to Xerox, remanufactured cartridges can contain up to 90% reused and recycled content and are tested to the same specification as new products. The result is a cheaper product which is as good as new and with a significantly smaller environmental impact. Whilst refilling short-life cartridges saves 25-40% of the carbon footprint compared to using new cartridges, the carbon footprint avoidable by remanufacturing cartridges rises to about 60%. When considering that cartridges can be remanufactured up to 4 times, the carbon and material savings associated with remanufacturing cartridges are substantial.
Source: Triple Win – A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, 2014

In late 2012, it was announced that a Remploy assembly plant in Bridgend, South Wales would be closed with the loss of 47 jobs. GOC acquired the assets and have now established an R&D Centre of Excellence employing 5 of the former Remploy staff. The function of the Bridgend operation is to develop and manage the Production and Quality Management Systems for the printer cartridge remanufacturing operations.

Moving the challenge forward Through joint collaboration between GOC, NOMS ONE3ONE Solutions & XMA Ltd, HMP Belmarsh were approached and embraced the concept becoming host to the manufacturing facility.



 Working with GOC & NOMS ONE3ONE Solutions makes perfect commercial sense for XMA. This project has been a great success and has demonstrated how engagements between the Public, Private and Third Party Sectors can work and deliver measurable impacts on offender employment within prisons and help to create a path to guaranteed work on release. XMA / GOC are looking to expand the Ink2Work business further and employ more offenders. 
Steve Ludgate, Business Manager, XMA




In October 2013, six offenders were recruited to the new workshop located on one of the wings at HMP Belmarsh, and the production of remanufactured Xerox cartridges began.

Empty cartridges are collected from MOJ departments by GOC and transferred to the workshop. The units are disassembled; cleaned, all renewable parts replaced, refilled, tested and repackaged before XMA then resell them back to the MOJ. This brings cost savings for both the MOJ and the tax payer.


In March 2014, the main manufacturing area of the workshop at HMP Belmarsh moved into a larger workshop. This move more than doubled the available working space.



 For a variety of reasons I feel compelled to say ‘Thank you’ for finding myself in the midst of something that raises hope. As I await unlock this morning, it’s great to see how a “motley crew” of six has swollen to around seventeen, competent, individuals who not only have a constructive focal point for their day but to differing degrees have had their eyes opened as to a future. 
"Richard", an offender, H.M.P. Belmarsh




Development and growth The programme at HMP Belmarsh is currently funded solely from operational income. GOC provides an income stream to HMP Belmarsh.

GOC are currently working with the Quality Management Audit team at ONE3ONE Solutions to certify the manufacturing facility, within HMP Belmarsh, to the internationally recognised ISO9001 quality process standard. In addition, GOC is working with the Occupational Learning and Skills team, at HMP Belmarsh, to provide training courses for offender employees leading to nationally recognised National Vocational Qualifications such as NVQ Levels 1 & 2 in Performing Manufacturing Operations. This will allow them to leave prison with an independently tested and professional set of qualifications.

In March 2014, GOC was awarded a grant from The Royal Borough of Greenwich, and further revenue support from XMA Ltd, to develop external workshops to provide employment opportunities for released offenders from HMP Belmarsh together with graduates of the Borough’s Drug Rehabilitation Programmes. These workshops will focus on both printer and printer cartridge refurbishment and remanufacture. Employees will be given the opportunity to train for certification as Repair Technicians for the most popular printer brands such as HP, Xerox and Canon with the potential for future employment with XMA Ltd as field based repair technicians.



 I’ve been really impressed by the way Ink2Work do business. These are proper jobs, in a competitive market but with real social purpose. 
Philip Breslin, Substance Misuse and Offending Commissioning Manager, Royal Borough of Greenwich




The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) leads on the rationalisation of Government Procurement and supports the access of SME’s and Social Enterprises to Government Contracts. XMA are enabling the project to access these wider Government Contracts for the supply of Ink toner cartridges by joint working and collaboration to supply remanufactured cartridges for CCS Contracts. Where bids are successful this will provide further opportunities for growth and will increase both offender employment whilst in prison and jobs for offenders on release.
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