08/05/2019 - Time for the Probation Service to return to public control

probationservicelogoUnions have renewed their calls for the probation service to be returned to public ownership.

This follows a report by the Public Accounts Committee that makes a series of highly damning conclusions about the state of probation following the Transforming Rehabilitation restructuring implemented by former Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, in 2014.

Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said: “This report provides yet more incontrovertible evidence that the Probation reforms have been an abject disaster. The breakdown of effective service provision can be directly attributed to a combination of political hubris and the involvement of private providers who had no prior experience of probation and whose incompetence has been laid bare”.

The PAC report, alongside previous findings by the Justice Select Committee inquiry into TR and a series of reports by the Chief Inspector for Probation, is highly critical of the state of operations and the poor value for money that the reforms have provided to the taxpayer.

Ian Lawrence said: “Only the complete return of Probation work into public ownership and control can fix this mess, and it’s now time for the Secretary of State to make the necessary decision to do just that.”

UNISON’s national officer Ben Priestley said: “The justice department was repeatedly warned that privatisation would be disastrous, putting public safety at risk, and this report bears that out.

“Not only has it predictably failed, but tackling the mess will waste almost half a billion pounds. This shambles must end now by returning probation to public control to keep our communities safe and prevent any further disasters. It is time for Chris Grayling to face his own justice as the architect of this fiasco.”