Clause 130 - Duty to consult on unpaid work requirements

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 15th June 2021.

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:00 pm, 15th June 2021

The hon. Lady makes a very good point. First, I am extremely disappointed and somewhat shocked to hear that people who were supposed to be doing work at a hospice in Rotherham in fact sat around smoking cigarettes. That is obviously shocking and not what the orders are supposed to be about. The hon. Lady says that the probation officer shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well, what can I do about it?” Of course, if the person, the offender, was not doing the work that they were supposed to be doing, that would amount to a breach of the unpaid work requirement, and they could be taken back to court to account for their breach, so I am extremely disappointed by the attitude of the probation officer that the hon. Lady just described.

The hon. Lady asked about resources. Extra resources are going into the probation service for it to supervise exactly these kinds of activities, and I would expect them to be supervised and policed properly. I will certainly pass on her concern to the relevant Minister. I have already made contact about fixing a meeting for the hon. Lady and the Prisons Minister that we talked about in this morning’s session, in relation to victims being consulted about probable decisions. The same Minister, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, is responsible for the probation service as well—I am just adding to his workload. I will raise it with him, but I would certainly urge the hon. Member for Rotherham to raise this issue in the same meeting, because I know that the account she just gave will concern my hon. Friend as much as it concerns me.