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Probation Officer Case Load

Volume 743: debated on Tuesday 9 January 2024

We have increased funding for the probation service by £155 million a year to recruit more staff, bring down caseloads and deliver better supervision of offenders in the community. We have also accelerated recruitment of trainee probation officers, particularly in areas with the most significant staffing challenges. As a result, more than 4,000 trainees started on training courses between April 2020 and March of last year.

Probation workloads are too high, which is having a terrible impact on both staff morale and retention as well as public safety. What consideration has the Minister given to the very reasonable proposal agreed between His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and the probation unions to free up staff time by abolishing the post-sentence supervision, which was brought in under privatisation and is seen as simply a waste of time by those probation officers and their employer?

The hon. Lady raises an important point. Although, on partial data for this year, caseloads are going down, she is right to highlight that they are still high. She makes a good point about the post-sentence supervision requirement, which I am happy to reflect on carefully. I understand that the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the right hon. and learned Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) has met representatives to hear their views on the matter.