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Probation Trusts

Volume 570: debated on Tuesday 12 November 2013

9. What steps he is taking to facilitate mutual ownership of probation trusts; and if he will make a statement. (901036)

The transforming rehabilitation competition process has been designed to allow a range of entities to bid to deliver rehabilitation services. This could include alternative delivery vehicles and mutuals designed by individuals within existing probation trusts.

The Cabinet Office’s mutuals support programme has made some of its £10 million funding available to support mutuals interested in participating in the competition. This has included access to coaching and capability-building from experienced commercial mentors and leaders in the field.

I thank the Secretary of State for that reply. Will he reassure me that, while we have examples of good practice in local probation trusts and individuals who want to transfer to a mutual status, those moves will not be opposed by the Ministry of Justice but, rather, facilitated?

I can absolutely give my hon. Friend that assurance. Indeed, we held in this House a week ago, while we were all waiting for the Europe votes, a forum with potential bidders. It was gratifying to see among those in attendance a large contingent from the potential mutual bidders. I am very keen to see them make good progress in this process.

Will the Justice Secretary look again at the geographical boundaries affecting Cheshire, because there seems to be inconsistency with regard to how he, the Home Office and the police are thinking, and that is causing confusion among potential bidders?

I can certainly do that. If the hon. Gentleman would like to write to me with his specific concerns, I will take a look at them.