UNISON has welcomed the report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation on the National Probation Service, which was published this week.
The report by independent inspectors bears out what UNISON has been saying for a long time: that
- workloads are too high;
- there are too many staff vacancies;
- the workforce is not diverse enough;
- workplaces are shabby and often unfit for purpose;
- the performance of the private contractors providing facilities management and night cover in approved premises has been woeful.
UNISON welcomes the key recommendations in the inspectorate’s report that the probation service must take the action necessary to resolve these issues.
These include holding underperforming private contractors properly to account, reducing workloads of staff via a workload measurement system, and reviewing the pay grade of victim liaison officers.
UNISON will work with the National Probation Service to deliver these changes on behalf of our probation members.
However, the depth of the crisis faced by the service means that the government needs to step up and significantly increase the funding for the service over the next comprehensive spending review period.
If this does not happen, UNISON believes that the plans to transfer 7,000 staff from the private community rehabilitation companies into the National Probation Service in 2021 will simply add to the crisis.
The government needs to pay the cost of putting right the disastrous probation privatisation – and then to begin investing properly in probation again.