The probation service is facing a number of major changes over the coming months and years. Currently that service is run by the public sector via 35 different regions or trusts, and these are being combined into 21 regions called CRCs. The MoJ has published a very helpful map which shows the area each of these CRC cover (click here)It has been announced that the supervision of around 200,000 low to medium risk offenders will be handled by private businesses who will be rewarded for the achievement of various “targets” such as reducing re-offending, and that the 50,000 high risk offenders ( those who have committed a serious violent act or crimes of a sexual nature) will remain being supervised by the public sector. This is planned to be finalized by the end of January 2015.
What this means for the service users, or the grass root service providers!, is not yet clear, however it will obviously be a major upheaval.
The formal process started with the publication called ‘Transforming Rehabilitation – a revolution in the way we manage offenders’ was released for consultation in January 2013. The Government’s response (Transforming Rehabilitation – A strategy for reform) was published May 13 which sets out the detail of the reform:
- All the 35 Probation Trusts will cease to exist in their current format from April 1, 2014. The provision of national probation services will be split between a new national public sector probation service ( anticipated to retain retaining approximately 30 per cent of current Probation Trust staff and other resources) and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). These fully functional companies will be sold to the providers awarded the contracts towards the end of 2014.
- Probation Trust which fall in the same geographical area and will merge create one of the 21 CRCs. It is expected that 70 per cent of the probation trust staff will transfer to the CRC to work with low and medium risk offenders on a payment by results system. This will include the majority of offenders sentenced to community orders, suspended sentence orders and custodial sentences. If the risk associated with an offender escalates from low or medium to high or very high, or an offender breaches their licence, the management of that offender will be transferred back to the national public sector probation service. In cases where an offender breaches their order or licence and they have to be returned to court or custody, the national probation service will take over responsibility for risk management.
- Staff within the new national public sector probation service will be responsible for: initial risk assessments of ALL offenders, directly managing high risk offenders and those subject to MAPPA (multi agency public protection arrangements), providing pre-sentence advice to courts, advising the parole board, undertaking the victim liaison role for all cases it applies to and managing the local approved premises. They will also be responsible for enforcement and prosecuting breaches.
- A nationwide ‘through the prison gate’ resettlement service will also be introduced so that offenders in custody will be transferred to a prison local to their area at least three months before release. Continuous support will be given by one provider from custody into the community.
- Statutory supervision and rehabilitation will be extended to offenders sentenced to less than 12 months in custody – equating to up to 50,000 extra offenders per year. This service will be delivered by the CRCs.
- Staff from both the CRCs and the national probation service will be expected to continue to work with local partners on the joint wider community safety agenda.
- The timescale to implement the changes is tight. The operating structure of the new national probation service should be scoped by the end of the summer and CPPT staff ‘virtually divided’ into the two structures (according to national guidelines) by February 2014. The final phase between spring and autumn 2014 will see staff transferring to their respective employers and the new contracted providers taking over the CRCs. The MoJ has indicated there will be no compulsory redundancies, but it is expected that there will be a reduction in the numbers of back office staff required. The change programme is scheduled for completion by January 2015.
As more information becomes available it will; be posted to this site.
In the meantime the government has announced that the following companies have placed bids to operate the CRCs
Community Rehabilitation Companies: 21 Partnerships in detail
- Bidding for six contracts – Sodexo Justice Services and rehabilitation charity Nacro (Northumbria, Cumbria & Lancs; S Yorks, Beds, Northants, Cambs and Herts; Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk)
- Bidding for five: Purple Futures: Interserve PLC, social enterprise 3SC and charities Addaction, P3 and Shelter (Humberside, Lincs and N Yorks; W Yorks, Cheshire & Greater Manchester; Merseyside; Hants and Isle of Wight)
- Achieving Real Change in Communities: Joint venture including probation staff, housing association charities, NHS and local councils (Durham and Tees Valley)
- Bidding for two: The Reducing Reoffending Partnership: Joint venture including Ingeus UK, and charities St Giles Trust and Crime Reduction Initiatives (Staffs and W Midlands; Derbyshire, Leics, Notts and Rutland)
- Bidding for three: Working Links: Public-private-voluntary partnership including probation staff mutual company (Wales, Bristol, Glos, Somerset and Wiltshire; Dorset, Devon & Cornwall)
- Geo Mercia Willowdene: Joint venture involving probation staff, social enterprise and Geo Group UK (Warks and W Mercia)
- Bidding for two: MTCNovo: Joint venture including companies MTC and Amey, probation staff, two charities, social landlord and a college (Thames Valley and London)
- Seetec: A business providing welfare to work schemes (Kent, Surrey and Sussex)
- The basics
- What does the probation service do?
- How does the probation service work?
- Community Service Orders
- Tagging or HDC