19 June 2017 - Immediate Release
Suffolk probation services failing across public and private sector
Today Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Probation published yet another damning report of probation services.
Following an inspection in Suffolk earlier this year HMIP have found that both the public and privately run probation providers are not doing enough good work in the delivery of probation services. The Inspector said that due to failings by the Ministry of Justice to deliver key IT systems and tight funding issues for the Sodexo run Community Rehabilitation Company has led to a delay in the company implementing its full operating model.
On top of that the Inspector has raised serious concerns about how Sodexo deliver their services, condemning the use of telephone contact to supervise offenders and their open plan office area for interviewing clients. Sodexo, who have already made significant redundancies to reduce service costs, implemented the new telephone approach and open plan interview areas as a direct result of funding limitations and cost cutting. The Inspector says that these approaches are not conducive to effective rehabilitation and risk management.
The Inspector has also criticised the public probation service citing workloads and staff shortages across the board as negatively impacting on the work staff can deliver. "To deliver well, all probation providers must be able to employ enough skilled staff and then make sure they can give their best. To do that they need sufficient funding and the right priorities, systems and ways of working. Above all, staff need to be engaged and valued in order to deliver well."
Ian Lawrence Napo General Secretary said: "Napo has been campaigning for the last two years to raise our concerns of poor service delivery across probation providers. This report is worrying as it is the first time the public sector has been so heavily criticised and is a clear indicator that probation services are in chaos. The situation is not sustainable for any of the providers and the government must take urgent action to rectify the situation."
Napo's own research into workloads and stress has revealed significant increases in staff’s workloads with many citing that they are simply firefighting on a daily basis. Stress and sickness have significantly increased while morale is at an all-time low. Napo will be publishing their findings shortly and briefing parliamentarians on what is now a critical situation.
For further information and possible media opportunities please contact Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence on 07788 118005 or Tania Bassett (lead for media and parliamentary issues) on 0790 4184195.