people exchanging pamphlets & smiles


Amanda Lacey, CEO of Nepacs reflects on the impact winning the Weston Charity Awards and Pilotlight 360 has had on the charity’s strategy going forwards.

What is Nepacs?

Nepacs is a long standing, respected charity, based in the North of England founded 140 years ago. We support and enhance the lives of people in contact with the justice and social care systems and provide services at each juncture of the criminal justice system.

Leading through adversary

I joined Nepacs as CEO three years ago, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, when everything was in a state of flux so at that time, we agreed to produce a one year ‘survive covid’ strategy, to ‘get us through’.  The second year saw the procurement of our largest prison contracts and so again we agreed a one-year strategy while we put our efforts into retaining the contracts — which thankfully we did.  It was clear though that we needed to grow and diversify to remain agile, flexible, viable and stable.

Being a relatively new CEO, we thought the Pilotlight 360 programme would be useful to help with my leadership development and focus.  We were thrilled to be successful in our application to join the programme, not quite knowing what to expect, but we were really open to what the project would bring and in particular how it could help us in writing and developing a new three-year strategy.

Journeying through Pilotlight 360

Understanding Nepacs is quite tricky as we deliver a lot of things to a lot of different user groups across several service arms, so it took the Pilotlighters some time to gain a full understanding of what it is we do and what we want to do going forward.  It was crucial to get this right for us to start to articulate what our strategy might look like and what it should include.

We benefited most from the space it allowed us to think and plan — which you don’t always get when you are busy working and delivering operationally.  Being challenged on our processes by the Pilotlighters didn’t feel critical, but instead it helped us consider other things and broaden our thinking.   And the resources and tools provided were also useful as we started to pull together the strategy document.

A clear vision for the road ahead

As a result of the programme, we have a new three-year strategy document — which I am really proud of.  It describes what we do, who we are, and also, where we want to be.  It is a real balance between the ‘old and the new’ Nepacs, and we are greatly reassured that in developing it, we have been challenged by impartial experts across a variety of fields, to make sure the strategy is robust and that it articulates the right course for us.

It is also a strategy that has the buy-in of our Board of Trustees and our staff as we took them on the collaborative journey with us.

A huge thanks to the Pilotlight Team and the Garfield Weston Foundation!