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Probation Service for England and Wales

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the merits of converting probation boards into probation trusts; what will happen to a probation board if it fails to convert into a probation trust within the required timescale; and if he will make a statement. (246926)

The advantages of the creation of probation trusts were discussed through public consultation in 2005, during the passage of the Offender Management Act in 2007 and most recently in the analysis of probation services conducted by KPMG on behalf of the NOMS agency. I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Ceredigion (Mark Williams) on 20 November 2008, Official Report, column 797W. Probation trusts will be contracted to provide services which reflect local needs and which have a clear focus on the achievement of outcomes. They will deliver services in partnership with providers from the private or voluntary and community sector based on the application of ‘best value’ principles and processes.

From April 2010, probation services will be provided by trusts delivering to contract or other providers following competition. We are currently developing the policy on what will happen to those boards who fail to become trusts, further details will be available by spring 2009.