Privatisation of Probation Services

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2014 Police & Justice Conference
18 June 2014
Carried as Amended

Conference expresses concern at the actions of the Secretary of State for Justice, in the preparation of the probation service for sale under the mantra of Public is Bad, Private is Good.

This has:

1)Seen around 50% of a public service being transferred to a CRC (Community Rehabilitation Company) and ultimately the private sector which threatens to undermine public protection, and engages in a dangerous experiment with public safety whilst seeking to line the pockets of the government’s cronies in the stock market.

2)A significant impact on the wider community as potential outcomes will be:

a)An increase in serious further crime due to the fragmentation of management of offenders

b)A lack of any cohesive risk assessment on the provision of control. With accountability split between, what is expected to be large private companies, public bodies and the 3rd sector to the detriment of the community.

c)A loss of the current support for the victims of crime.

d)The obliteration of a public service over 100 years old.

This will further make our members complicit in the denial of the Human Rights of Offenders by directly contravening the International Labour Organisation. A position that would never come about if they remained Pubic Servants and officers of the courts.

Conference believes that public money, our taxes, should not be used to increase private company profit margins through privatisation or payment by results, when there is an effective system in place which puts money back into the public purse for reinvestment into the rehabilitation of offenders. We also assert that the monies earmarked to effect staff redundancies, some £60,000,000 should be put to better use providing a well resourced public service, good for another 100 years.

There are alternatives and those alternatives are better;

i)If expertise exists within the private sector, which we dispute, then that expertise should be brought into the public sector.

ii)To leave the well performing, efficient and effective service as it is with (NPS) Civil Servants working alongside (CRC) Public Servants.

iii)Adopt the model developed with the Government Information Unit, which promotes work between statutory and voluntary providers at a local level under democratic control.

Alternatively, if the government is insistent upon competition then it must allow the public sector to compete on a level playing field, with the removal of financial restraints which, for example,

A)Stop the trusts using their own resources to test new and innovative ways of working with offending behaviour.

B)Punish effective use of finances by not allowing them to be carried from one financial year to the next, and,

C)Constricting trusts into using accommodation, IT and National Facility Management contracts that are ineffective and bureaucratic, instead of allowing them to work collaboratively alongside local partners sharing facilities and promoting local wealth.

Conference calls upon the Police and Justice SGE to work with;

I)The NEC and the components of the NEC to ensure that our branch structures offer the best coverage to our members going forward.

II)Labour Link to raise awareness of the very real risks and promote the model developed with the Government Information Unit.

III) Local Branches to develop events and strategies to recruit and retain members.