The mainstream probation services were privatised in 2104, and their work taken on by 21 new businesses, called community rehabilitation companies. Click here for a map of these new regional bodies. The new companies deal with low and medium risk offenders, and will also handle offenders who were sentenced to less than 12 months. Certain offenders will still be dealt with by the public probation service, including any high-risk offenders – including those with convictions for violence and sex crimes.
In all cases the new CRC’s have been formed by merging existing probation trusts together, for example the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire & Rutland probation trusts merged into a new body covering the same regions as before. Many of the staff in the old public service probation trusts have transferred to the new CRCs, and the majority of premises and contact numbers remain unchanged.
The “ownership” of these new CRCs is not yet finalised with various commercial businesses and charities bidding for the contracts. In October 2014 it was announced that the following companies have place “Bids”
- 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) (This bid has stalled and a new preferred bidder, EOS is now moving forward but no firm decision has been publicised)
- 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)
Higher risk or prolific offenders will continue to be dealt with by the national public sector probation centres. These have now been combined into 7 large regions (click here for details). Currently, the 2 organisations share a number of premises throughout the UK but until the dust has settled it is far from clear how it has been structured