The Offender Management Bill places the statutory responsibility for delivering probation services on to the Secretary of State, so that he may contract with other providers for services.
“Improving Prison and Probation Services: Public Value Partnerships”, published in August 2006, sets out our strategic intentions for contestability and outlines our plans for competition to 2010-11. In our current plans, it is only if a probation board or trust is failing, by not adequately protecting the public and addressing offending behaviour, and has failed to improve sufficiently despite support, that we will consider competing an entire probation service.
The Offender Management Bill contains a range of measures aimed at more effective and efficient management of offenders in custody and the community. These include new arrangements for the provision of probation services. These proposals were initially outlined in a consultation paper, “Restructuring Probation to Reduce Re-offending”, which was published in October 2005. A total of 748 written responses were received, the majority of those coming from probation service interests, including the National Association of Probation Officers and a number of individual members of staff. The Prison Governors’ Association did not submit a formal response to the consultation paper.
The consultation paper, “Youth Justice—the Next Steps”, published in September 2003, sought opinions on whether suitable young people could be placed in open and semi-secure, as well as closed, conditions in different types of establishments, as is now proposed in Clause 25. Neither prison governors nor the probation service were specifically consulted on these proposals.
No other measures in the Bill were the subject of formal consultation.