Napo members have already signalled their disgust at the news of the preferred bidders for the 21 CRC contracts which are intended to be awarded under the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda.
The expected grand announcement that we had all been waiting for was something of damp squib and raises questions about the purpose of the veil of secrecy that had been put up by the MoJ and Noms in the weeks leading up to the news. In a press release issued by Napo, General Secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Chris Grayling is pressing ahead with his untried and untested so called reforms to probation despite increasing evidence that it is not safe to sell off. The 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) which will deal with low – medium risk of harm offenders are still in utter chaos following the decision to split the Probation Service up on 1st June this year. Staff of all grades have spoken openly about risks to public safety with offenders not being supervised properly, continuing IT failures, staff shortages and ever increasing workloads.
We have mounting evidence that neither the CRCs or the National Probation Service is stable at the moment and this is having a direct impact on the supervision of offenders and public safety. The fact so few organisations have won contracts also suggests that this has been a flawed competition with little or no real interest from providers in taking these contracts on.”
The announcement below which was deposited in the House of Commons Library sets out the list of preferred bidders, and copy of a letter sent by the MoJ to Napo is also reproduced.
Ian Lawrence also told Napo News that: ‘Grayling has made a written statement to Parliament rather than risk having to answer questions in the House. Yet again he is trying to avoid scrutiny which is in our view further evidence of a lack of transparency in the whole process. We would urge MPs to ask questions of him and to hold him to account for his decision to press ahead without providing evidence that it is safe to do so.” He added: ‘The underhand manner of the announcement will mean that our members will be even more determined to fully exhaust all possible legal avenues to try and prevent the share sale from happening.
See the coverage in the Guardian Online
Sadiq Khan, Labour Shadow Justice Secretary also issued a press statement