News and Publications
Joint response of the Probation Association and
Probation Chiefs Association to Transforming Rehabilitation
The Government's proposals to reform probation services are too
ambitious for the timescale envisaged and have fundamental design
problems, say the Probation Association and the Probation Chiefs
"The Government would be taking unnecessary risks with public
protection, would damage local partnerships with other essential
services and be trying to do too much too soon with its proposals"
said Sebert Cox, Chairman of the PA and Sue Hall, Chair of the
The PA and PCA claim that to attempt the outsourcing of 80% of
probation work (medium and low risk cases) while at the same time
restructuring the remainder of the service into a high risk
offender management unit is unlikely to be achieved within Justice
Secretary Chris Grayling's stated two-year time frame.
"We have outlined a manageable way forward on what we believe
would be achievable by 2015," said Mr Cox and Ms Hall.
joint response to the Ministry of Justice's Transforming
Rehabilitation consultation paper, the two organisations (who
collectively represent the leadership of the probation service in
England and Wales) urged the Government to scale back and sequence
The joint PA and PCA document states: "Our overall response to
the proposals is that they will increase the risk of harm to the
public; and that they cannot be implemented in the timetable
envisaged without causing serious damage to the delivery of the
"As well as the risks to a critical public service from such
haste, there is a risk that nothing in the
Government's programme will be achieved if advances are attempted
on all fronts. There is an urgent need to scale down and
sequence the changes."
The two organisations said they understood the pressure for
reform and proposed the following which could be put in place by
- a Payment by Results (PbR) scheme for offenders released
serving less than 12 months,;
- development of a programme of further PbR schemes for all
interventions work, including community payback, with the contract
management being handled locally;
- potential savings from reduction in numbers of Probation Trusts
and staff reductions in National Offender Management Service and
prison service to be used to start the less than 12 months
imprisonment PbR scheme;
- this scheme to be expanded as further PbR kicks in, once there
are solutions to the significant problems in contracting out
current probation business, e.g.: pensions, accountability, public
safety, access to information systems and information sharing;
- "mutuals" as a viable vehicle for provision of probation
services (Probation Trust staff would have to form themselves into
mutuals in order to bid for contracts).
The increased risk to the public, they said, was inherent in the
proposal to fragment offender supervision across different
organisations and sectors with the public sector remaining
responsible for "policing" the new providers.
The two organisations said that such an arrangement "would
increase the complexity of information exchange and fracture the
continuity of offender supervision, adding substantially to the
risk of public protection failures".
A Probation briefing for Police and Crime Commissioners
We and the Probation
Chiefs Association have jointly published a briefing about
Probation Trusts for prospective Police and Crime Commissioners and
Policing and Crime Panels.
The briefing outlines:
- Why Trusts will be crucial partners to the local Policing and
Crime Plans of PCCs
- What the probation service does
- What Trusts are and what they bring to strategic
- Effectiveness statistics
Probation Trusts: Working with Police and Crime
Commissioners and panels (2.4Mb)
Joint response of the Probation Association and Probation
Chiefs Association to the Effective Probation Services consultation
Welcoming the opportunity to comment on the Government's proposals
on the future shape of probation services, Sebert Cox, Chairman of
PA, and Sue Hall, Chair of PCA, and said:
"We support competition for interventions aimed at breaking
the cycle of offending, rehabilitating and getting offenders into
jobs and productive lifestyles and the need to stimulate
innovation. We welcome the proposal to devolve commissioning
responsibility to Probation Trusts, but do not, however, support
the proposal to divide offender management and to offer for
competition the offender management of lower risk offenders.
We believe that this will increase the risk to public safety and
damage the relationship with the courts and consequently the
credibility of court orders."
Download the joint response to the Probation Review
here or from the document list (right).
our letter to the Secretary of State.
The Probation Chiefs Association has also submitted its
response to the Community Sentences consultation.
Hitting The Target, Missing the Point
This constructive critique of the regulatory framework for
probation trusts contains a number of recommendations to
government. Hard copies available upon request.
Hitting The Target, Missing The Point in
Probation Trusts brochure
Our brochure explains the local role of probation as well as our
vision for probation trusts. Hard copies can be provided upon
the Probation Trusts brochure in pdf
Our range of Think Local publications, including the
Trust Partnership Development Strategy and Local Scrutiny Guidance,
can be downloaded from our Think Local