The Environment Agency and Skill Mill Ltd – river management service

Background Info

The Environment Agency is planning to commission river management services from Skill Mill Ltd – a social enterprise which works to rehabilitate young offenders by providing employment and training.

What did you do?

The Environment Agency took social value generation into account when commissioning for a river management service. A pilot project was undertaken in partnership with Newcastle Youth Offending team to evaluate the potential for social value generation through employing ex-offenders. This showed the potential to significantly reduce reoffending rates, with participants 16% less likely to reoffend in comparison to the national average. Similar work has been undertaken in Manchester and Sheffield, with this being taken into account during the commissioning process.

In response to the success of the pilot project, the Environment Agency plans to commission river management services from The Skill Mill – a non-profit social enterprise which creates social value through rehabilitation of young offenders by providing employment and training.

The Skill Mill mission statement:

“The Skill Mill undertakes water and land based management helping to reduce the local flood risks and improve the local environment. The Skill Mill also brings social and environmental benefits to local communities through involving local people directly in the delivery of services.

The young employees undertake training with Houghall College and will achieve a City & Guilds Level 1 in Land Based Operations. They acquire knowledge and skills by working alongside local private contractors and partners. Follow on employment opportunities with partners and others are considered throughout the period of employment with The skill Mill.

Each cohort will receive six months paid employment, invaluable practical real work experience, a City and Guilds Level 1, and further opportunities for progression with local companies at the end of their time with The Skill Mill.”

What did you learn (things to avoid, things to do etc)

A smaller scale pilot project can be used to evaluate the potential of an approach.

How did this affect understanding and/or achievement of social value?

The success of a pilot project allowed an approach to be identified which offered cost-effectiveness and creation of social value through rehabilitation of ex-offenders.

Links – URLs

Links – Documents

Contact (email address etc)

The Skill Mill

College Street Centre

College Lane

Newcastle upon Tyne



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