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Probation

Justice written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Labour, Wansbeck

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) in the event of probation outsourcing in England and Wales, whether he expects a reduction in staff in the probation service as a result of the proposals within the Transforming Rehabilitation paper;

(2) in the event of probation outsourcing in England and Wales, how he will ensure that the probation system will deal with any increases in demand;

(3) what assessment he has made of an increased risk to public safety should offenders be expected to report less frequently to probation staff.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

On 9 May, the Ministry of Justice published “Transforming Rehabilitation: a Strategy for Reform” that sets out the plans for transforming the way in which offenders are managed in the community in order to bring down reoffending rates.

Our reforms will extend statutory rehabilitation to offenders sentenced to less than 12 months, open up the market to a diverse range of new rehabilitation providers, and see the creation of a new public sector national probation service, working to protect the public and building upon the expertise and professionalism which are already in place.

We expect the majority of staff currently performing probation roles to transfer to the new providers; we will take a sensible and managed approach to making this transition.

We are designing contracts for rehabilitation providers that will be responsive to changing demands and priorities at local and national levels, new legislation and the wider commissioning context.

We will introduce new payment incentives for market providers to focus relentlessly on reforming offenders, giving providers the flexibility to do what works to turn offenders’ lives around, but only paying them in full for real reductions in reoffending.

Public protection is paramount and we will put in place robust systems to ensure that the risk of serious harm to the public is appropriately managed. All offenders who pose a high risk of serious harm, and those who have committed the most serious crimes, will be managed directly by the public sector probation service, and we will place contractual obligations on providers in relation to risk management, including obligations which will ensure that any potential escalation in risk of serious harm to high is identified and referred to the public sector probation service for review. Frequency of contact with the offender will, as now, be partly determined by the risk posed and will be based on the professional judgment of the offender manager.

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