Newsletter 17 May 2013

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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PCA Media round up following Government’s announcement of ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a strategy for reform’

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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;
http://www.channel4.com/news/probation-proposals-prison-reoffending-chris-grayling

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;
http://www.standard.co.uk/panewsfeeds/probation-chiefs-slam-shakeup-plan-8608456.html

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’;
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/09/probation-trusts-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

 

PCA/PA comment on ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a strategy for reform’ (9 May)

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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