Press Release: Union outrage as government throws another £192m at failed justice experiment

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25 July 2018

Union outrage as government throws another £192m at failed justice experiment

Probation union Napo is outraged at government plans to pump a further £192 million into its Transforming Rehabilitation agenda despite the publication of a damning Justice Select Committee report just a month ago on the failed experiment.

JSC chair, Bob Neill said the committee was “unconvinced that the TR model can ever deliver an effective or viable probation service”, but the government refuses to accept that the model itself is wrong. Current contracts will be ended two years early in 2020, only for bigger contracts to be retendered to an unknown number of private companies.

Napo has also slammed what it believes is a deliberate attempt by government to avoid parliamentary scrutiny by launching its short eight-week consultation during summer recess.

The Justice Committee found that:

  • The split in offender supervision between the NPS and CRCs according to risk of harm had complicated service delivery and caused significant problems;
  • The voluntary sector was less involved in probation than they were before TR, despite opening up of the market being one of the reforms’ key aims;
  • Sentencer confidence in community alternatives to short custodial sentences had been badly undermined;
  • Current through the gate (TTG) provision was wholly inadequate;
  • Staff morale is at an all-time low.

It called on the government swiftly to address these problems. However, the proposals largely ignore all of the JSC’s concerns and the options available to them such as introducing legislation to create a community focused justice agency, or using existing Labour legislation from 2007 to give contracts to Police Commissioners or Local Authorities.

Napo General Secretary, Ian Lawrence said: “Napo is sceptical and remain unconvinced about whether this latest bail out will work. It is unbelievable that the government’s initial response to the Justice Committee’s thorough inquiry into this catastrophe is to give private companies a bigger slice of the pie while vital issues such as the unworkable split of the service, inadequate Through the Gate Services, and poor staff morale remain unaddressed.

“It is clear they are wedded to a failed and unworkable ideology, and cannot accept the undeniable fact that justice and public safety cannot be subject to the rule of supply and demand.”

In wales, pressure from the Welsh Assembly for a reunified probation service has seen the decision to bring offender management back into the existing National Probation Service by 2020, but the government remains adamant that this is not a step towards reunification as a whole.

Napo will be heavily involved in Labour’s review into the justice reforms led by Lord Ramsbotham and will continue to call for the reunification of a publically owned probation service.

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Media Contacts:

Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary: 07788 1188005 / ilawrence@napo.org.uk

Tania Bassett, National Official: 07904 184195 / tbassett@napo.org.uk

Napo HQ: 020 7223 4887

 

Notes to editors:

  • The JSC report was heavily critical of the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda and gave the government until January 2019 to respond. Although the government has yet to formally respond, it has proposed changes that will be put forth as part of its eight-week “Strengthening Probation, Building Confidence” consultation.
  • Government proposals will see a reduction in the number of community rehabilitation companies, giving bidders bigger contracts with no evidence that controlling larger geographical areas will address any of the problems identified in the JSC or HMI Probation reports.
  • To date £240 million of tax payer money has been used to prop up failing CRCs.
  • Images of Napo General Secretary to accompany any features available on request.