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National Probation Service for England and Wales: Contracts

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the performance of the Probation Service against its target to subcontract 10 per cent. of services to the voluntary sector in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. (201826)

The target was for probation areas to sub-contract 5 per cent. in value of services to the private and voluntary sectors in 2006-07, rising to 10 per cent. in value of services in 2007-08. In 2006-07 we estimated, based on self-reporting from probation areas, that overall around 4 per cent. of probation budget was spent on sub-contracted services, although performance varied from area to area. Now that the second reporting period has come to an end we are beginning an assessment of performance against target for 2007-08.

As part of the transition from probation boards to probation trusts, we are currently consulting on whether to move towards a system of Best Value similar to that used by local government. Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office, and on the internet at:

We are determined to ensure that the voluntary sector plays an increasing role in the delivery of probation services.