Napo briefed parliamentarians in the Justice Unions Group (JUFCPG) on the recent collapse of Working Links. Napo told politicians Working Links had been running Devon Dorset and Cornwall CRC, Bristol, Gloucester, Somerset and Wiltshire CRC and the Wales CRC since 2014, and their struggles to meet contract expectations were well documented.
MPs were also told that the union had raised mounting concerns about service delivery and financial sustainability with the Justice Committee, HMPPS Officials and Ministers at every opportunity. Despite this, calls to bring the three CRCs back into public ownership were ignored by the MoJ. In doing so, the MoJ has neglected its duty to provide adequate probation services, protect the public and ensure rehabilitation of clients. Worse still, beyond the transfer order that was signed last week, the Ministry have also neglected the staff that work in the CRCs by offering them nothing in the way of assurances in terms of job security going forward.
Seetec, who currently run Kent, Surrey Sussex CRC took control of the areas previously run by Working Links under a rescue package. Parliamentarians were told that while this may offer short-term stability, we are concerned that there are potential job cuts ahead as a result of this process, particularly among corporate staff.
The JUFCPG was asked write to the Secretary of State on this issue, the detail behind the collapse of Working Links and the feasibility of the continued marketization of probation as a whole.
With the current contracts due to end in 2020, Napo maintained that the Government should have taken control of the failing CRCs.