Sentencing Council publish new sentencing guideline on Sexual Offences

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On 12 December, the Sentencing Council published their new Sexual Offences sentencing guideline, which will come into force in all courts in England & Wales in on 1 April 2014.  The guideline covers 55 offences from rape to voyeurism and will bring about real and significant changes to the way sexual offences are sentenced in courts.  Continue reading …

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

PCA AND PA SUBMIT THEIR JOINT RESPONSE TO TRANSFORMING JUSTICE

The PCA and PA have  submitted their joint response to the Ministry of Justice Consultation Paper on Transforming Justice.  “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 PCA.

The Government’s proposals to reform probation services are too ambitious for the time-scale envisaged and have fundamental design problems, say the Probation Association and the Probation Chiefs Association.The joint PCA and PA statement is here. The full response is available here