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House of Commons Hansard
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11 November 2009
Volume 499

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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what services probation staff are to be required to deliver in order to meet efficiency requirements. [297263]

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In line with Government policy across the public sector, probation boards and trusts are expected to meet efficiency requirements in order to maximise the value for money that they provide. These are focused on reducing back office functions and management overheads and maintaining the priority given to resourcing front-line delivery. Boards and trusts are being supported by a national programme of specifying probation work and of benchmarking performance and cost to set clear standards for delivery and remove unjustified variation in costs. This programme, together with the intelligent use of probation work load data, enables local areas to manage the demands placed on individual staff more effectively.

The Specification, Benchmarking and Costing Programme in NOMS has already identified a number of operational efficiencies. One such example is the change in balance between standard and fast delivery reports provided to courts. This process has supported areas in prioritising the delivery of front-line services while maintaining the excellent standard of work probation staff do to protect the public and reduce reoffending.