Congress notes the significant U-turn announced by the government to begin to restore the probation system after its wrecking by Chris Grayling in 2014; marked a watershed in the campaign and will result in 80 per cent of the work currently under the remit of the private sector being transferred to the National Probation Service from the 20 community rehabilitation companies by the end of their contracts, and in Wales by December 2019.
Hidden behind the headline is the news that the government will attempt yet
another part-privatisation of probation services, this time selling off the delivery of unpaid work and rehabilitative interventions to the lowest bidder. The government cannot be allowed to repeat the same mistakes again.
Probation professionals believe that there is a place for a genuine mix of providers of specialist services in probation but no one should ever profit from the delivery of justice.
In order to repair probation and deliver quality rehabilitation and risk management it is vital that professionals working in the system are involved in designing its future shape.
The General Council are instructed to assist in furthering the unions’
i. maintaining the campaign of opposition to the proposed ‘mixed market’
and the further involvement of private sector suppliers, some of whose failed
operational models have a direct link to serious further offences
ii. the full harmonisation of pay, terms and conditions to match those in the National Probation Service for all probation workers currently employed in the CRC estate
iii. restoration of probation into a government-owned concern where the service can again be managed by people who know what they are doing
iv. seeking a public inquiry into the Transforming Rehabilitation project where
those responsible for its design and disastrous outcomes can be accountable to the taxpaying public.
Congress calls on the TUC to support union campaigns for a probation system:
a. staffed by professionals properly recognised and valued for their skill and
experience with training and development embedded and properly resourced
b. that works with all local partners and stakeholders, and is rooted in and
accountable to the local community
c. that involves high-quality, specialist, third-sector providers
d. where quality and evidence-based practice guide decisions and when things
go wrong lessons are learned by the whole system
e. where practitioner workloads are managed to allow them to work effectively and reflectively with clients
f. that restores the confidence of sentencers and the public in rehabilitation and risk management.