Scj Casestudy 1000x800px Forward

Case Study: Forward (Formerly RAPt)

By Dan Allard

​“What makes Sanctuary unique is that they supply staff with specialist knowledge. As an agency, they have a corporate governance structure behind those staff, so we know their agency staff are safe. You feel like you’re the only client and that they’ll move heaven and earth to give you whatever it is you need.” - Fran Abbott-Hawkins, Clinical Lead Nurse


For our client, Forward (Formerly RAPt: The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust), prisons are their biggest client. At the time they approached Sanctuary for support, the prisons had all been quickly put out to competition. Fortunately for RAPt, its service models and commitment to recovery had been recognised by the commissioners. They were able to present the promise of recovery to more people.

Core to the delivery of this promise was how Forward had evolved its recruitment, training and workforce strategy with Sanctuary’s support. Within the first 12 months, we placed 40 substance misuse professionals.

Before engaging Sanctuary’s support, they had never used an agency to recruit clinical staff (substance misuse nurses). However, faced with the challenge of recruiting substance misuse nurses into prisons, they turned to Sanctuary Criminal Justice for the supply of fully qualified and vetted long-term agency professionals.


Identifying a workforce that matched the profile of the service users RAPt supports was challenging. We worked hard to establish an experienced and sizeable talent-pool of substance misuse nurses who able work within the secure estate. Crucially, we identified those with the necessary security clearance who were ready to work.

Security checks aside, it was our knowledge of the sector that saw us secure a master vendor contract with RAPt, to supply all non-clinical and clinical staff.

Understanding the sector

We take the time to explore exactly what types of addiction a nurse has experience in treating. With NPS use at an all-time high, we had to recruit candidates with knowledge on how to address harmful addictions to NPS; a relatively niche area of substance misuse treatment.

HMP Lewes:

A year into our relationship, Forward won a new contract to deliver substance misuse services at HMP Lewes. Key to winning this contract was the promise they made to deliver a comprehensive clinical and psychosocial care for drug and alcohol issues.

Sanctuary Criminal Justice was asked to supply seven qualified substance misuse nurses inside of four weeks, ready to work on the date the contract started; a process that would independently have taken the client approximately 3-4 months. We carefully selected substance misuse nurses with specific knowledge of the needs of HMP Lewes’ prison population.