Prisons and Probation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:35 pm on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 1:35 pm, 14th May 2019

First, I am of course determined to ensure that that decision succeeds. In July last year, I set out that Wales was going to go down the unified-model route, and we are accelerating that as a consequence of the failure of Working Links.

Before I turn to the wider points, let me put this debate in context. When we debate CRCs, we sometimes forget some of the good examples of innovative and dedicated work with offenders that CRCs are doing. Hampshire and Isle of Wight CRC was praised last week by the chief inspector of probation for offering a comprehensive range of high- quality rehabilitation programmes and unpaid work placements; London CRC is working closely with the Mayor of London on the safer streets partnership to tackle gangs and knife crime; and Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC is pioneering the first behavioural intervention targeted at stalking offences.

It is often when the private sector can bring wider experience and expertise to bear that it is best able to deliver value for money—for instance, in sourcing unpaid work placements, for which several of our CRC parent organisations can draw on experience in the employability sector. Dame Glenys Stacey has acknowledged that high-quality delivery is widespread. In fact, three quarters of the providers assessed have been rated as good. I was particularly encouraged to hear about the involvement of London CRC in the Grenfell disaster recovery operation: it arranged unpaid work placements with offenders who were helping local residents affected by the disaster. That is exactly the sort of delivery that we want to see: providers able to move quickly, respond to local needs and provide meaningful rehabilitation activity for offenders and for local communities.