CASS+ is an independent charity providing advice and support to all who are attending Court or Tribunal hearings and their families.
The CASS team is trained to help people identify their needs for support and provide effective help in getting access, in confidence. We operate independently of other agencies.
The service is delivered primarily by volunteers and focuses mostly on those defendants who do not meet the threshold of probation or custody. We do however provide help to all who need it, not just those attending Court via our easy access drop in sites.
CASS will signpost and encourage clients to access a range of specialist agencies based in local communities and will support effective access in - Plymouth and Cornwall.
Come in to see us, alternatively, you can e-mail our local office - Contact us...
Plymouth Magistrates' Court
Telephone: (01752) 601 153 & 206 187
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday
9:30am to 4:30pm
Bodmin Magistrates' Court
Telephone: (01208) 78003
Opening Hours: Thursdays
9:30am to 4:30pm
Truro Magistrates' Court
Telephone: (01872) 274 104
Opening Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays
9:30am to 4:30pm
CASS has developed expertise in assisting clients to work out what problems are most troubling them and in providing effective referrals to support services to address these problems - whatever they are. We do not 'diagnose' or 'prescribe'. We work with individuals to work out what is going to be most effective in sorting out the difficulties they are experiencing. Our motto is 'access to answers'.
CASS has three paid staff, who recruit, train and supervise a team of approximately 15 volunteers. Our volunteers give their own time freely to help us perform our work and, over the years, have helped to shape the service and provided assistance to thousands of individuals and their families.
The Service focuses primarily but not exclusively on offenders and their families. County Courts and Tribunals are now co-located at Magistrates' Courts and we provide support for people attending these non-criminal hearings.
We consider ourselves to be experts in providing a new kind of service. We assist our clients to work out what problems they have most difficulty with. We listen, understand, advise and support without judgement. We work with our clients to ensure access to the services needed - whatever these might be - and we follow up as needed, so we keep on supporting our clients in improving their lives. Our aim is to help our clients to be able help themselves.
Peter is a retired Justice of the Peace from Cornwall. He enjoyed a career in electrical engineering and has experience of working with various charitable organisations.
Mary Anne was Chief Probation Officer for Devon & Cornwall until she retired from the service. She now works in private consultancy, advising on criminal justice matters around the world as well as in the UK.
Pat is a retired Justice of the Peace from Cornwall. In addition to her criminal justice work she has extensive business experience in the hospitality industry.
Mike is a retired Justice of the Peace who was Chair of the Community Court Bench at Plymouth. He is a retired Head Teacher and works also as a Governor of two schools.
Tim is Associate Professor at the University of Plymouth. He has been closely associated with CASS for some years, involved in research to evaluate the benefits of the Service.
Kim is an ex-Service user and currently works as a volunteer with the Service.
The Trustees meet at least once every three months (usually more frequently) and make key decisions on the Strategy of CASS+, policy matters and business plans. They have a key role in making sure that CASS+ operates in a safe and ethical manner in accordance with our constitution.
Minutes of Trustees meetings are published here. (Parts of the Trustee's meetings that are confidential due to commercial or ethical considerations are not included.)
CASS was introduced as an independent service at the Bodmin Magistrates' Court in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by the opening of a CASS desk at Plymouth Magistrates' Court. In 2012 the service extended to the Truro Magistrates' Court. Although we are based in Magistrates' Courts (and Tribunals), we can support people in Crown and County Courts too, if requested.
Originally conceived by Mary Anne McFarlane and supported strongly by the Probation Service, Magistrates' Courts Committee (now HMCTS) and Devon & Cornwall Police Service, CASS continues to work in partnership with these organisations and others. CASS depends on building strong relationships with organisations that provide support services in order to be able to refer clients for assistance.
CASS was sponsored in the first instance by the Prison Advice and Care Trust, our more recent sponsor was Rethink Mental Illness. We are grateful to both of these organisations for their past support. From April 2015, CASS was relaunched as a completely new, independent Charity - CASS+. We continue to operate much as before but with exciting potential to extend our work to other sites and to innovate.
Currently we are working with the University of Plymouth, the New Economics Foundation and the Centre for Justice Innovation to measure and further develop the effectiveness of our services.
CASS+ works with a wide range of partners. Our work is valued by HM Courts and Tribunal Service which provides us with accommodation at each of the sites we operate. We work closely with the Police, Probation Service and others.
We spend considerable effort in establishing effective networks with providers of support services that are relevant to our clients. These are too many to mention here but they cover needs such as employment, alcohol and substance use, debt management, housing, counselling, physical health, etc etc.
Our service depends on our volunteers for our success. We provide training and support for all volunteers to ensure the quality of our work and the safety of all involved.
CASS provides a rich learning environment for volunteers - contributing to training in Social Work and other professions, or helping to build experience leading to paid employment. We are a recognised placement provider with the University of Plymouth and the Open University.
If you are interested in volunteering with CASS+, please contact your local office.
We work to the standards of professionalism demanded by the Courts and Tribunal environment. Our Trustees ensure that the governance standards of CASS+ are appropriate and properly applied. We are committed to achieving the PQASSO Quality Standard established by the Charities Evaluation Services and most of all, to providing the quality service that our clients need and deserve.
We are extremely grateful to the Hadley Trust which provides the funding essential to keep CASS+ operating. Without this the Service would not exist. We are at present seeking funds from various sources to ensure that we can continue into the future. Donations to support our work are most welcome!