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Probation Trusts

Volume 709: debated on Wednesday 1 April 2009

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State (David Hanson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House that from 1 April 2009, there will be established two further probation trusts operating in England and Wales: Greater Manchester and Lancashire.  This brings to eight the total number of probation trusts.

There remain 34 local probation boards that continue to operate in all other areas of England and Wales. These boards will, subject to satisfactory performance, have the opportunity to apply in 2009 to become probation trusts in April 2010.  Voluntary mergers, initiated locally, will be supported by NOMS where they are more likely to meet the criteria for trust status.

In accordance with Sections 7, 8, and 10 of the Offender Management Act, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Justice has published a strategic and business plan for the National Offender Management Service for 2009-10, his annual plan for 2009-10.

The trusts programme presents a challenge to probation boards to demonstrate that it can deliver locally tailored services efficiently and effectively.  I am pleased that Lancashire and Greater Manchester have met this challenge and I am confident that more trusts will be created by 2010 and deliver significant benefits in reducing reoffending and protecting the public.