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National Probation Service for England and Wales: Redundancy

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 30 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many job losses there have been in the Probation Service in (a) Leeds, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England and Wales in the last 12 months. (262524)

Information on the number of job losses in the probation service over the past 12 months is not available centrally as the 42 probation areas/trusts are responsible for their own staffing levels and this information has not previously been collected from them.

Making savings always involves difficult choices, but protecting the public remains the priority for the probation service and this will not be compromised. I have agreed a prudent programme of savings with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) that will maximise central savings and protect the most valuable front-line work.

From 1 April 2009, regional Directors of Offender Management have been in place to provide the necessary strategic oversight of offender management services at a regional level. They are accountable for making sure all delivery agencies, probation, public and private sector prisons and the voluntary sector contribute effectively to offender management. An important part of this role is to ensure that efficiency targets are achieved without undermining service delivery, and they will be expected to monitor any plans for staffing reductions closely.

Probation has received significant increases in resources since this Government came to power in 1997. Total probation staffing (expressed as full-time equivalents) was up from 13,968 in 1997 to 20,894 by 2007, a 50 per cent. increase over the period.