26 May 2016 - Immediate Release
Probation union warns of continuing public safety concerns
Napo, the largest trade union in the England and Wales probation service, today warned of its continuing concerns around offender management and public safety following the release of the fifth report by HM Inspector of Probation following the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation.
Whilst recognising that some progress has been made in the interface between the National Probation Service (NPS) and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) Napo believes that the report highlights some continuing deficiencies in the areas of risk management, court reports and the provision of “Through the Gate” rehabilitation services by a number of the 21 CRCs.
Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Ever since the imposition of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, our members have been highlighting the fact that many pre-sentence reports provided to the courts contain insufficient information and are often written by under-qualified staff who are under pressure to meet unrealistic targets. This means that the fears we have consistently raised with Ministers about public safety and the confidence of the judiciary in setting appropriate sentences are still a major issue.”
The union is also highly critical of the performance of some CRC contractors who, HMIP have found, have failed to provide sufficient support for probation clients prior to their release from custody, and the fact that some medium risk of harm cases have been allocated to agency staff due to a shortage of trained probation practitioners.
Ian Lawrence commented: “Napo is pleased that once again the Inspectorate has vindicated the issues that we continue to bring to the attention of politicians and various stakeholders within the criminal justice system. I fully intend to raise these aspects with the Secretary of State at our next meeting, and the union will be calling for the severest penalties to be imposed on under- performing CRCs whose activities are funded by the taxpayer. This must also include the possibility of the removal of their contract with the Ministry of Justice.”
Napo is the trade union and professional association representing staff in the probation and family court services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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.