Reforming Probation

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

What progress he has made on reforming probation.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We have already announced that we will strengthen probation by bringing back into the National Probation Service the supervision of offenders. In July, we published a draft operating blueprint.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

The former Justice Secretary’s decision in 2013 to privatise probation was set up to fail from the start. Now that a partial U-turn has been announced, can the Minister set out for the House the full cost, from start to finish, of the failed privatisation of probation services?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We recognise that there is more we can do in relation to probation, which is why we are changing the system, but “Transforming Rehabilitation” brought 40,000 people back into supervision, and we are ensuring that the new procedure will work well.

Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives

Good probation can be the means to transform young people’s lives and help to rehabilitate them in communities. We do not have a prison in Cornwall, but we have many people who are involved in this process. What can the Minister do to help those organisations to get the funds they need to support those young lives, so that they can play a full part in life?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The new system will ensure that, while offender management is brought in-house, private sector innovation will be involved in providing unpaid work, and there will be a dynamic framework to enable new schemes and charities to bid to provide bespoke local services. I am happy to talk to my hon. Friend about what might be provided in Cornwall.

Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I rise as the co-chair of the justice unions cross-party group. Following disastrous mismanagement by the former probation provider, Working Links, it is to be welcomed that probation in Wales is due to come back under public control by 2 December. The terms on which staff are employed by HMPPS in Wales will set a benchmark for England. How confident is the Minister that terms will be agreed with the unions over the next seven weeks, and what will be the consequences if that does not happen?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We are working hard to ensure that we succeed in Wales. As the right hon. Lady mentioned, it is the first of our operations. I met representatives of Napo, GMB and Unison at the end of last month to discuss that very issue, and we are working hard to ensure that matters are in place by the end of the year.