Union concerns after London NPS deemed “Wholly Unsatisfactory”

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Napo the Trade Union for Probation staff is deeply concerned that the London National Probation Service has been assessed as “wholly unsatisfactory” by the Chief Inspector for Probation Dame Glenys Stacey. Despite the hard working and dedicated staff in probation who have worked tirelessly to try to manage in in an intolerable environment, the report is one of many that has assessed London National Probation Service as failing to meet the required standard. In particular this report focuses on the failure to support victims of sexual and violent crime.

Ian Lawrence General Secretary said: “ this report is really worrying given the level of violent crime in London. Only last year was it under the spotlight following the Worboys case, and to see that little has changed should be a wakeup call to the Minister.”

The report comes just a week after the Secretary of State for Justice announced that the majority of probation work will brought back under public ownership in the National Probation Service. Ian Lawrence said: “what this shows us is that even in the public sector of probation there are deep flaws. We know from our members that workloads are dangerously high and this is evidenced in the report by a lack of face to face contact with clients.”

Napo has been campaigning for a public owned probation service since 2015 and was strongly opposed to the probation model that split the workforce and the caseloads. The massive staff shortages in the NPS, up to 20% in London alone, has seen staff struggling to cope with supervising the most dangerous people in the community. This is echoed in the report that states that there are 150 staff vacancies within London and Napo asserts that this is unsustainable, a danger to public protection and leads to staff burn out and sickness.

Whilst the NPS has fared better in previous HMIP reports, Napo states that this is purely because the private sector has done so badly that it looks good in comparison. The whole probation model is deeply flawed and a full review of the probation service delivery must take place if the service is to regain its international award winning status.