Back to all Motions

2023 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
6 June 2023

Conference notes that:

1)The Offender Rehabilitation Act (ORA) 2014 is the Act of Parliament that accompanied the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) programme. The Act made changes to the sentencing and releasing framework to extend probation supervision after release to offenders serving short term sentences. It was also supposed to create greater flexibility in the delivery of sentences served in the community;

2)Since the failure of the TR programme and the formation, in its wake, of the new Probation Service it is recognised by many that this legislation, which is 8 years old, is not fit for purpose;

3)Due to the existing staffing and recruitment issues faced by the Probation Service alongside the pay issues and extremely high workloads carried by Officers, changes to the way the organisation works are required to ensure that Probation Service resources are utilised more effectively to ensure that re-offending rates do not rise any further. This means that legislation needs to be enacted to deliver the twin goals of rehabilitation and punishment;

4)The ORA ensured that supervision was extended to approximately 45,000 additional offenders a year who are released from short prison sentences of less than 12 months. This measure has resulted in Probation resources being stretched to extreme which has arguably led to People On Probation (POP) receiving a watered – down service compared to the service that may have been delivered prior to TR;

5)UNISON members have acknowledged that those POP who are assessed as a High Risk of Serious Harm and those at a higher risk of re-offending are not being managed as effectively as they were prior to ORA due to the extra numbers now on Post – Sentence Supervision (PSS). This shift in working practice does not serve POP well and creates more victims of crime in the long run. The addition of another 20,000 Police Officers on the streets will also result in further arrests being made and will probably result in more POP in the future.

Conference calls on the SGE to:

a)Work with the Probation Service Sector Committee and the UNISON Labour Link Committee to repeal the legislation and to draft a Bill that is fit for purpose and ensures that England & Wales receive a service that adequately protects the public through legislation that is modern and reflects the resources that the Probation Service have to work with.