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2023 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
5 June 2023

Conference notes the plans from the Ministry of Justice to impose yet another set of top-down reforms on the Probation Service via its ‘One HMPPS’ proposals. These proposals were published less than 18 months following the reunification of probation in 2021 which in turn followed the collapse of 7 years of failed probation privatisation.

The proposals would see the 11 existing English Probation Regions plus Wales replaced with 6 English Mega-Regions plus Wales, the creation of a new role of Area Director over the existing Regional Probation Directors and closer working between probation and prisons.

Conference notes with concern that:

1)UNISON members working in probation do not need another change initiative which will potentially change their terms and conditions;

2)The independence of the current collective bargaining machinery for the Probation Service is potentially under threat from the proposal for closer working with the Prison Service;

3)Probation’s identity and independence is weaker now in HMPPS than at any time post Transforming Rehabilitation (TR), and both will decline further if the One HMPPS proposals are implemented;

4)The creation of 6 HMPPS Mega Regions in England will damage Probation relationships with local statutory partners, take probation further away from service users and ride roughshod over devolution of services to local democratic control;

5)The proposal to create an Area Executive Director role for each Mega Region will create an expensive and unnecessary layer of civil service bureaucracy at a time when the front line is screaming for more resources;

6)The priority for probation, its service users, our members and communities is the future of probation, not the future of HMPPS.

Conference therefore calls on the Service Group Executive to work with the Probation Service Sector Committee to:

a)Liaise with our sister probation trade unions to seek to oppose the One HMPPS proposals via a campaign with other stakeholders as necessary;

b)Seek to protect the existing collective bargaining machinery in the Probation Service from damage from One HMPPS;

c)Seek to oppose any damage which One HMPPS will cause to members’ pay and conditions and future working arrangements;

d)Work via UNISON Labour Link to seek to influence an incoming Labour government to reverse the One HMPPS proposals if implemented.