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The Role of the Probation Service

HC 519-I, Eighth Report of Session 2010-12 - Volume I: Report, Together with Formal Minutes

House of Commons - Justice Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)
Price: £17.50
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'The Role of the Probation Service (HC 519-I)' reports the Justice Committee's warning that the Government's proposals for opening up probation services to competition need further thought.

The committee believes that the Government's proposals for payment by results and wider competition in the provision of rehabilitative services are limited because they separate the commissioning of prison places from the commissioning of every other form of sentence provision.

The MPs also criticised the very large and incoherent areas used for the tendering of community payback contracts, which they say should not be a model for future commissioning.

The report recommends that probation trusts are given greater freedoms - for example, over the buildings and IT systems they use - and calls on them to focus scarce resources on the frontline.

MPs were concerned that frontline probation staff spend three-quarters of their time doing administrative tasks rather than meeting directly with offenders.

The committee concludes that:

  • The creation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), which effectively merged prison and probation services, has not led to an appreciable improvement in the 'joined-up' treatment of offenders.

  • The NOMS's handling of the community payback tendering exercise has not inspired confidence; nor has it proved itself proficient at running effective national contracts.

  • An externally-led review of NOMS is necessary.

Leadership and courage from politicians and sentencers is required in order to support community sentences but Government need to clarify to the public what it means by more robust community sentences, and the outcomes it wishes to achieve.

Extent 133 pages ISBN 9780215561015
Size A4 Price £17.50
Format Paperback Published 27 Jul 2011
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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