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Probation: Hertfordshire

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the effect on national standards and service delivery of proposed reductions in the number of jobs in the Probation Service in Hertfordshire Probation Area. (289341)

Hertfordshire probation area has carried out a detailed assessment and analysis of its services for 2009-13 to determine how service delivery and compliance with national standards can be sustained in a scenario where the economic downturn resulted in a challenging financial settlement for Hertfordshire probation. The Four Year Strategic Business Plan 2009-13 addresses the potential impact on work force and service delivery demand and the six strategic priorities outline how the service intends to ensure that services continue to be delivered and developed. The Four Year Strategic Business Plan and supporting planning documents form the cornerstone of Hertfordshire probation board's trust application.

Both internal and external stakeholders have been consulted and contributed to the development of the Four Year Strategic Plan and Organisational Development Plan 2009-13, which has been made available on the area website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) probation officers and (b) probation service officers were employed in Hertfordshire Probation Area on 31 March in each of the last five years. (289348)

The information requested is shown in the following table:

Number

31 March

Hertfordshire

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Probation officers

59

62

52

61

60

Probation service officers1

54

72

81

86

86

1 Community Service Officers are included within the PSO figures, these roles were assimilated into the PSO role during 2006-07.

The data provided for probation officers do not include trainee probation officers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) community and (b) custody caseload of the Probation Service for Hertfordshire Probation Area was on 31 March in each of the last five years. (289349)

The total community and pre-release custodial offender caseload for Hertfordshire as at 31 March in each of the last five years was as follows:

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Supervised in community1

1,798

1,993

2,366

2,661

2,730

Supervised in custody

684

700

719

725

662

1 Includes those supervised on court orders as well as post-release supervision. Note: These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders resident in Hertfordshire Probation Area were categorised as Tier 4 in each of the last five financial years. (289353)

The total number of offenders in Hertfordshire probation area who were categorised as Tier 4 (high risk) as at 31 March in each of the last three years are shown in the following table:

Number

2006

291

2007

374

2008

298

Notes: 1. Information on tier prior to 1 April 2005 was not recorded. 2. These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) probation staff and (b) trainee probation officers he anticipates will be made redundant in Hertfordshire Probation Area in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) the next two financial years. (289354)

Hertfordshire probation area currently has served no notices of redundancy on probation staff for 2009-10.

Five trainee probation officers are anticipated to qualify on 31 October 2009. Hertfordshire probation area is currently assessing potential probation officer vacancies and is conducting an internal recruitment process. Any existing probation officer vacancies will be offered to the qualifying trainee probation officers in the first instance. Hertfordshire probation area is also anticipating an ability to offer some fixed term contracts, to enable the area to remain flexible to manage its resources. No notice of redundancy has been issued to the trainee probation officers due to qualify in 2009.

Four trainee probation officers are due to qualify on 31 October 2010. It is too early to provide an indication of potential redundancies in 2010-11 for trainee probation officers. The work force planning approach is to avoid redundancy and safeguard the skills the area has invested in wherever possible.

No budget decisions have been made for the 2010-11 financial year, or for subsequent years, and it is therefore not possible to produce accurate staffing projections for this period. In relation to their trust application Hertfordshire probation have consulted with stakeholders and a copy of their four year strategic/organisational development plan can be found on their website.