Probation and After-Care Service

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Bob Mitchell Mr Bob Mitchell , Southampton, Itchen 12:00 am, 9th February 1972

May I in a short contribution reinforce two arguments. The first is that we should press forward with the argument that the probation officer is one of the underpaid workers in social service. I say this in spite of the fact officers have received a recent award. We can see on page 75 of the Sub-Committee's report details of comparative salaries in the social services. A principal probation officer receives £2,829 per year, which is a much lower salary than is paid to several grades in social work departments. This figure was before the recent pay award, and I should like to know whether it is possible to say how much more a principal probation officer will receive. I am referring to paragraph 402, on page 75. I do not know whether it is possible to be told how much he gets under the new award but I suspect that even with the new award he will still be a very long way down, perhaps equivalent to fifth or sixth in the social services department.

Secondly, I am very glad to see a trend in some parts of the country for principal probation officers to apply for and to be appointed as directors of social services. I do not know in how many cases that has happened. I am glad to say that it has certainly happened in Southampton and more recently in the constituencies of my hon. Friends the Members for Islington. It is a very good thing that principal probation officers can under certain circumstances be considered for and be appointed as directors of social services. This seems to be a very good and progressive move.

I would emphasise that I still believe that those in the probation service are underpaid, despite the last pay award, and I shall be interested to hear what the Minister says about that. I hope that from the review that is to take place we shall see something substantially better.