To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) what his policy is on the role of local authorities in the commissioning of probation services within their areas; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what his policy is on the role of police and crime commissioners in the commissioning of probation services within their force areas; and if he will make a statement.
The Offender Management Act 2007 places the responsibility for the provision of probation services on the Secretary of State for Justice. Under the Act, the Secretary of State may make contractual or other arrangements with any other person for the making of the probation provision. The process of commissioning probation services will be informed by engagement with co-commissioning partners including, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and local authorities. Contracts will be responsive to changing demands and priorities at local and national levels.
During the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, we have undertaken extensive engagement at a national and local level with PCCs and local authorities. As part of this process, we have established a national PCC Reference Group and a Local Authority Reference Group which have proved to be useful forums to engage with those PCCs and local authorities which are most interested in our reforms and enabled them to scrutinise the commissioning and delivery of the programme. PCCs and local authorities, together with other key local stakeholders have also been able to provide structured advice on what works locally via the creation of competition local advisory panels.
No organisations are prohibited from bidding in the competition. However, to bid successfully to own and run Community Rehabilitation Companies, they will need to meet the criteria we set, which will include the ability to take on the necessary financial risk under our proposed payment by results mechanism.