PCA Chair, Sue Hall, gave evidence to the Parliamentary Justice Select Committee on Transforming Rehabilitation on the 12 November 2013.
To watch the Committee session again, please see the link below at approx. 57 mins http://www.parliamentlive.tv/main/Player.aspx?meetingId=14169&wfs=true
The Committee heard concerns over the safety and feasibility of the Government’s timetable for abolishing Probation Trusts, and establishing 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS) all by 1 April 2014. Doubts were raised whether there was sufficient time for proper testing of the new operating model before ‘going live’ on the 1 April 2014, and the complexity Probation Trusts now face when allocating staff and cases to CRCs and the NPS when much of the detail over roles and functions have yet to be defined. The scale and pace of the transition presents challenges for ‘business as usual’ and staff morale and retention throughout the process.
The PCA raised concerns that the proposed operating model could increase risks to public safety through fragmenting offender management, ongoing risk assessment, service delivery, and enforcement functions across the NPS and contracted providers of CRCs. The complexity of the proposed TR operating system, where transfers of case oversight and responsibility between the contracted providers and NPS are to occur frequently, presents risks for the continuity of probation supervision, and creating communication gaps and delay in responding to changes in risk.
The Committee asked for information on how probation officer qualifications, skills and career progression would work between and across the NPS/CRCs. Without a unifying and comprehensive skills framework across the future operating model, this could further fragment the servive. The PCA will be submitting further views on this issue to the Justice Select Committee in the context of our partnering role with the Probation Association, NAPO and UNISON, to develop a Probation Institute.
For all PCA media enquiries please call 020 3657 7844