Probation Officer Case Load

Justice – in the House of Commons at on 9 January 2024.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee

What assessment he has made of the sustainability of probation officer case loads.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We have increased funding for the probation service by £155 million a year to recruit more staff, bring down caseloads and deliver better supervision of offenders in the community. We have also accelerated recruitment of trainee probation officers, particularly in areas with the most significant staffing challenges. As a result, more than 4,000 trainees started on training courses between April 2020 and March of last year.

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee

Probation workloads are too high, which is having a terrible impact on both staff morale and retention as well as public safety. What consideration has the Minister given to the very reasonable proposal agreed between His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and the probation unions to free up staff time by abolishing the post-sentence supervision, which was brought in under privatisation and is seen as simply a waste of time by those probation officers and their employer?

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The hon. Lady raises an important point. Although, on partial data for this year, caseloads are going down, she is right to highlight that they are still high. She makes a good point about the post-sentence supervision requirement, which I am happy to reflect on carefully. I understand that the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk has met representatives to hear their views on the matter.