UNISON members in probation support the government’s plans to reunify the service in England and Wales next summer, but it needs to ensure that proper funding is provided to make that process work.
This was the central theme of the union’s contribution to the Westminster Parliament’s inquiry into the future of the probation service when it appeared before the justice select committee earlier this week.
UNISON was giving evidence alongside fellow union Napo, and also stressed that adequate funding would be essential to:
- provide a pay and conditions package that would retain and attract skilled staff;
- refurbish offices and workplaces that are not fit for purpose; and
- create an integrated IT system.
National officer Ben Priestley also told the committee that the government needs to mend the ‘them and us’ divide that has grown up between community rehabilitation companies and the National Probation Service since the disastrous split and part-privatisation of probation in 2014-15.