Bring All of Probation Back Into Local Democratic Control

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Conference
2019 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
Date
4 June 2019
Decision
Carried

This conference notes the Government’s decision to bring all offender management work currently carried out by privately owned Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) back into the public sector from the Spring of 2021.

This is an admission that the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) reforms have failed despite the best efforts of CRC staff and some CRCs to make a flawed system work.

However, Conference also notes that unpaid work, accredited programmes and other rehabilitative interventions and resettlement services, currently provided by the CRCs, are not to be transferred to the National Probation Service (NPS) and will be offered to the private and voluntary sector in a new bidding process.

The devastating criticisms of TR set out in the National Audit Office report published on 1 March 2019 and the Chief Inspector of Probation’s Annual Report published on 29 March 2019 confirmed what UNISON members working in CRCs have known for some time, that splitting the provision of probation services based on whether offenders were categorised as high or low risk was a grave mistake because probation services work best as a unified service.

UNISON has campaigned for the return of all probation services to public sector ownership and control since the CRCs were privatised in February 2015. This was and still is the right thing to do and is the only outcome which will put probation back on its feet again.

Conference agrees that returning offender management to the public sector, as part of the NPS, could be an initial step in the right direction. However, this conference endorses UNISON’s ‘Let’s Fix Probation’ campaign which makes the case for all probation work, including unpaid work, accredited programmes and other rehabilitative interventions and resettlement services, to be brought back under public ownership via the re-creation of Local Probation Services.

Conference therefore calls on the Police and Justice Service Group Executive (SGE) to:

1) Campaign for all probation work to be brought back under public ownership;

2) Campaign for the re-creation of Local Probation Services, under local control and management.