Probation Union says Reunified service now needs serious investment

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Press Release

Embargo: 00.01 Friday 25 June 2021

Probation Union says Reunified service now needs serious investment

Napo, the largest Trade Union in the Probation Service for England and Wales, today welcomed the reunification of the service into full public ownership and control on 26th June.

This major reform follows a previous Government decision to roll back the part-privatisation of Probation in 2014 which was implemented by the then Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling. This created 21 privately owned Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC’S) who had responsibility for managing the supervision of low and medium risk service users with high risk cases being handled by the state run National Probation Service.

Over the last seven years Napo has led a major campaign to expose the inefficiency of the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) programme and the impact of a fragmented system on public protection and the creation of dangerously high workloads. Serious criticism of the earlier reforms has also come from the National Audit Office, HM Inspector of Probation and the Parliamentary Justice Select Committee.

Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Whilst we very much welcome the reunification of Probation, it’s worth recording that without the superb efforts of our members who have worked tirelessly in the CRC’s and the NPS under very difficult circumstances, the impact of Grayling’s disastrous reforms would have been even worse.”  Adding that: “Napo commends all of the stakeholders who played a role in our ultimately successful campaign.”

The Probation Service, as it will be known from 26th June, is to be managed across England and Wales within 12 new operational regions, each with the ability to commission Rehabilitative services. These will include Education, Training, Accommodation and Employment, as well as those which will address the specific needs of Women within the Justice system, in a renewed effort to reduce the rate of recidivism or re-offending rates.

Napo National Chair Katie Lomas said: “Having realised the mistakes of the past, It’s now time for Government to invest properly in the Probation Service. This means addressing staff shortages, excessive workloads and paying its staff the proper rate for the important work that they undertake in trying to keep the public safe.”

Napo’s next campaign is to ultimately free the Probation service from the strictures of the Civil Service and enable its future governance structures to be open to public scrutiny and local accountability.