Dear PCA member
This edition reports, in particular, on the Government’s plans for Transforming Rehabilitation and the PCA’s communication work over the past few days to make sure that our views and concerns are understood within the media and stakeholders more broadly.
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This is the first in a new series of newsletters aimed at parliamentarians, policy-makers, commissioners, academics and other stakeholders who have shown an interest in the future of probation.
Following the Government’s announcement on 9 May of ‘Transforming Rehabilitation; a strategy for reform,’ the Probation Chiefs Association voiced serious concerns that the reforms pose risks to public protection through service fragmentation, and the dismantling of a currently high performing public probation service structure and effective local partnerships. Below is a roundup of media coverage which specifically featured the PCA:
Channel 4 News focused on how the reforms could dismantle established and successful Integrated Offender Management schemes through removing local Probation Trusts as core partners. The footage was filmed in Avon & Sommerset and featured Sally Lewis, PCA portfolio lead for IOM , the local police force, a current service user and the local Police & Crime Commissioner;
Sue Hall, PCA Chair also featured on the BBC 1 news piece covering the story. The PCA was also represented on the BBC website story ‘Payment by results plan for offender supervision under fire’; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22452239
On radio, the PCA spokespersons Sonia Crozier, Sarah Billiald, Savas Hadjipavlou, John Budd and Sue Hall voiced their concerns on the BBC Today Programme, Radio 5 Live Breakfast, local radio stations across the country, and on international radio.
The Evening Standard article ‘Probation Chiefs slam shakeup plan’ featured Sarah Billiald, PCA Communications lead;
The PCA featured in the Guardian articles ‘Ministers accused of dismantling probation service’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/09/ministers-accused-dismantling-probation-service?CMP=twt_fd
And in ‘public service probation trusts to become public service mutuals’;
The Independent also featured the PCA in the article ‘Risking public safety; probation chiefs vent fury at payment on results private sector shakeup’ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/risking-public-safety-probation-chiefs-vent-fury-at-payments-on-results-private-sector-shakeup-8608859.html
For the PCA’s immediate comments concerning the Transforming Rehabilitation strategy, please see here..
For all media enquires, please call the PCA media phone on 020 3657 7844
The Probation Association and the Probation Chiefs Association, together representing the leadership of Probation Trusts in England and Wales, said:
The Government has today (May 9, 2013) announced the dismantling of Probation Trusts within its proposals to reform the rehabilitation of offenders.
Judged by both the Government’s own performance rating system and the independent benchmarking provided by British Quality Foundation, Probation Trusts are high-performing, excellent organisations.
The Government is dismantling Trusts at the very moment that it needs them most and replacing them with an untested system of nationally-let Payment by Results contracts. The reformed system will deal with 267,000 offenders but only 31,000 will be managed by the national public probation service: 88% of the work with offenders will be put to the market and current probation providers prevented from bidding.
These proposals were first announced in January and while there have been some modifications as a result of consultation responses by us and other stakeholders, the substance remains unchanged. Therefore, the substance of our fundamental concerns remain unchanged:
- The proposals to fragment offender supervision across different organisations and sectors – with low and medium risk outsourced to other providers and high risk retained by Public Sector Probation – will increase the complexity of information exchange and fracture the continuity of offender supervision, adding substantially to the risk of public protection failures
- The government proposals rely on national contracts which do not fit with local approaches to reducing crime and will damage relationships and the effective joint delivery of services with the police and other local partners
- The scale and pace of reforms – over the next 18 months a new national probation service will need creating together with a complex market competition across 21 regions with large elements of new services, all to be in place by Autumn 2014. We have serious concerns that this timescale is unrealistic and will compromise public safety.
We acknowledge that the Government has put some safeguards in place in the design of the new system in an attempt to manage dynamic risk. But the Government is still splitting offender management by risk – a move we are fundamentally opposed to as experienced providers of probation services. With no clear aspiration for the levels of Payment by Results in the new contracts, the rationale for excluding Probation Trusts from bidding remains unclear.”
The full PCA submission to the Transforming Rehabilitation consultation back in February 2013 can be found here..
For all media enquiries, please call the PCA media line on 020 3657 7944
The Daily Mail article ‘Crimes probation failed to prevent’ forgets to mention that probation working alongside the police and other partners stops offenders from committing nearly twice as many offences as those that go on to occur.
The workshop will hear from those involved in the pilots, identifying the early successes and challenges experienced by Probation Trusts across different pilot regions. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to discuss how the Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ reform plans could interact with local partnership initiatives such as community budgets, and what actions are needed to ensure that localism is incorporated into the outcomes of any such reform.
The PCA Annual conference is a two day event open to all PCA members and external stakeholders. There is a mixture of plenary sessions and workshops that address the key issues faced by probation and offers an opportunity to hear about the work of the PCA and other trusts. The conference also presents an important opportunity for probation staff and stakeholders to meet and share experiences and best practice.
The PCA is exploring options for the development of a professional register and framework for probation / rehabilitation practitioners. This workshop will aim to build the business case for professionalisation amongst stakeholders, and will help the PCA gauge the views of stakeholders over the credibility of the various options. Limited spaces are available, and are invite only.
The PCA will be inviting guests with a key interest in the potential for payment by results contracts for delivering rehabilitation services, and exploring some of the main issues surrounding this topic. Very limited spaces are available for this event, and are restricted to specially invited guests only.
The workshop will raise awareness of reflective practice in promoting an offender engagement culture to reduce reoffending. Paul Turnbull, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), Birkbeck, University of London, will be the key speaker. Invitations have been sent via Chief Executives of Probation Trusts, and circulated around NOMs and the MoJ. If you would like to attend, please contact ben.ritchie@localhost