Probation provided good service in run-up to privatisation

Probation in England and Wales provided a good service in its last year before being broken up and prepared for sale to the private sector – according to an offical report.

The annual probation trust performance ratings have been published by the government’s national offender management service and shows that four of the trusts rated as “excellent” – the highest possible rating – with all the rest rated as “good”.

The four “excellent” trusts were Bedfordshire, Essex, Thames Valley and Warwickshire.

The Probation Trust Annual Performance Ratings 2013/14 measured the performance of each of the 35 trusts in England and Wales against seven measures, covering three main areas: public protection; reducing reoffending; and sentence delivery.

But despite the good results, all 35 trusts were dissolved at the end of May.

The work – and staff – was then transferred to a new National Probation Service and 21 “community rehabilitation companies”.

Those 21 companies are due to be sold to the private sector this autumn.

“The 35 probation trusts in England and Wales were high performing public sector organisations,” commented UNISON national officer Ben Priestley.

“In breaking them apart and attempting to privatise their services, the government has added complication, bureaucracy and uncertainty to a system that was working well. 

“UNISON is continuing to campaign against the privatisation of the community  rehabilitation companies.”

As part of that campaign, UNISON is urging members and everyone else to sign a petition against the sell-off, on the government’s petition website.

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Probation Trust Annual Performance Ratings [external link, PDF]