Shine is a national mentoring service for women offenders. The service is provided as a Public Social Partnership (PSP); a strategic partnership between public and social and or voluntary sector organisations.

Shine was launched in April 2013 and is now available nationally across Scotland. Eight voluntary sector providers are involved in its delivery: Apex Scotland, Access to Industry, Barnardo’s Scotland, Circle, Turning Point Scotland, The Wise Group, Venture Trust and Sacro which is also the lead organisation. The PSP is funded by the Scottish Government, it is also supported by Social Work Scotland.  The Service aims to support women identified as presenting a risk of breach of a Community Payback Orders to improve their compliance and to complete their order.  It also supports women remanded or serving short prison sentences to assist their return to their local communities.

For women in prison:

Your first contact with Shine will be with the prison based Shine Champion.  The Champion will explain the Service and if you are agreeable take information from you to enable you to be allocated to a community mentor.  Your mentor will establish contact with you and visit you in prison to begin and assessment which will inform a jointly agreed mentoring plan and the actions and supports required to assist you achieve your goals.  Where appropriate a ‘through the gate service including a gate pickup’ will be available on the day of your release.  Support immediately following release often includes arranging and accompanying women to housing, health, addiction services and DWP appointment, referring or signposting to other services as well as providing emotional support.

Group activities sessions may also offered. These sessions may feature guest speakers and provide information of personal safety, debt management and benefits and health and well-being. Community-based activities may also be arranged. The aim is to provide a social active that may provide an element of reparation.  It is hoped that Shine women will be able to contribute to a community allotment in the Spring of 2015 and engage in a cooking sessions that use the produce.


In the context of a doubling of the female prison population in Scotland in the decade to 2012, the Scottish Government asked Dame Elish Angiolini to chair a Commission on Women Offenders. The Commission reported in April 2012 and made 37 recommendations one of which was that “mentoring should be available to women offenders at risk of reoffending or custody to support compliance with court orders” and defined mentoring as “a trusted one-to-one relationship where practical and emotional support is provided by the mentor on a wide range of issues relating to offending behaviour.” The Commission found that although the breach rate for men and women were similar, the reasons for the breaches were different; women were more likely to be breached for failure to keep appointments and men for reoffending.

Following the Commission’s recommendations the majority of which were accepted by the Scottish Government, resources were made available through the Reducing Reoffending Change Fund for evidence-based mentoring services for women and young and adult male offenders.  An important requirement of the funding involves “effective partnership working between organisations”. Shine will provide and deliver a national women’s mentoring service as part of a Public Social Partnership (PSP). This model involves public and third sector bodies co-designing services or interventions to deliver agreed social outcomes. This approach encourages effective partnership working across sectors, places the third sector at the heart of service design and delivery and explicitly emphasises outcomes rather than activity. The key components of an effective Public Social Partnership model are argued to be partnership working, service user involvement, co-production and sustainability.