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Probation: Manpower

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) managers, (b) qualified probation officers and (c) unqualified probation officers there are in the West Mercia Probation Service. (297264)

The current position for managers, qualified probation offices and unqualified probation offices in West Mercia are as follows:

153—Probation officers.

111—Unqualified probation officers, including probation service officers, community punishment officers and trainee probation officers.

68—Managers of all grades.

The Probation Service’s budget for 2010-11 has just been announced and we expect this money to be used to support front-line services. The additional funding will be targeted to increase confidence in the community penalties and divert low-risk offenders from short-term custody. Directors of offender management will be required to negotiate specific service improvements with individual boards/trusts which will be incorporated in SLAs/contracts for 2010-11 to ensure that this additional funding is targeted on front line delivery. Detailed work will be undertaken by directors of offender management with areas/trusts to agree additional service delivery requirements and finalise individual allocations.

The overriding priority for the Probation Service is public protection which will not be put at risk. Probation areas are looking to make any required savings through back office and management rationalisation and improvements in efficiency and processes, protecting front-line delivery.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many qualified probation officers there are in the Probation Service. (297265)

On 30 September 2008 there were 7,884 full time equivalent (FTE) professionally qualified Probation Officers1 up to middle manager level2 in the Probation Service. In addition, there were also 944 FTE Trainee Probation Officers going through the qualification process at that time.

A significant proportion of staff above middle manager level3 also hold a professional qualification having progressed through the service to senior manager level. However, collating and compiling this information would incur disproportionate costs as it would require all 42 Probation Areas/Trusts to be contacted individually to ask for this information.

1 Includes Senior Probation Officers, Senior Practitioners, Probation Officers and Practice Development Assessors.

2 Middle Managers are those who manage front-line operational staff.

3 Chief Officer, Deputy Chief Officer, Assistant Chief Officer and Area/District Manager.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many full-time equivalent staff the Probation Service employed in each of the last five financial years; and what estimate he has made of the number of staff to be employed in each of the next three years. (297168)

The following table shows the total number of staff in post in the probation service for 2004 to 2008.

Staff in post in the Probation Service 2004 to 20081, 2

NPS

2004

19,237

2005

19,755

2006

21,103

2007

21,246

2008

20,850

1 Figures as at 31 March for each year.

2 The figures on staff in post for 2004 to 2007 have been taken from the relevant quarterly Workforce Information Reports. The figure for 2008 has been taken from the HR Data Warehouse.

Note:

Staff in post figures shown as full-time equivalents.

Staff in post figures for 2009 are currently unavailable.

Over the five-year period, the overall staff in post in the Probation Service has increased by 8.4 per cent., with the number of qualified probation officers increasing by 4.4 per cent.

Responsibility for resourcing levels ultimately lies with each probation board or trust as they are the employers of probation staff. It is for them to take the action necessary at a local level to ensure they can deliver the required service within available resources.

The budget for 2010-11 has just been announced and once this money has been allocated directors of offender management will agree with each area how that money is to be used.

As no final decisions have been taken on budgets for subsequent years, it is not possible to provide information for 2011-12 and 2012-13.