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Role of the Probation Service

22 December 2010

On 20 July 2010 the Justice Committee announced an inquiry into the probation service. The Ministry of Justice green paper Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders, published on 7 December, makes a number of proposals that have significance for the Committee’s inquiry

The Government has pledged to provide frontline professionals with:

  • greater discretion in how they manage offenders;
  • fewer targets for providers; and
  • less prescription in the way that different agencies work together.

It also wishes to encourage joint commissioning—as well as giving new providers the opportunity to work alongside staff in the criminal justice system—and to pay providers by their results at reducing re-offending. Further reforms are planned, including the publication of a competition strategy for prisons and probation in June 2011.

The Committee now welcomes supplementary evidence on its inquiry on the role of the probation service in the light of the relevant proposals in the Government’s green paper, in particular:

  • What are the relative merits of payment by results and place-based budgeting models as means to encourage local statutory partnerships and other agencies to reduce re-offending? What can be learnt from the implementation of payment by results models in health and welfare reform? What results should determine payment in applying such a model to criminal justice?
  • What freedoms would probation trusts like to have to enable them to manage offenders and reduce re-offending more effectively?
  • The Government proposes a lead provider model and suggests that commissioning for the delivery and enforcement of sentences and for efforts to reduce re-offending will not be separated. What is the appropriate role for probation in such a model?

The deadline for submissions is Monday 24 January 2011.

Submissions must address the question above. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum and should be no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary.

View guidance on the submission of evidence to Select Committees.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere, though previously published work can be referred to in a submission and submitted as supplementary material. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

Please bear in mind that the Justice Committee is not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further Information