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Transforming Rehabilitation Consultation

The Ministry of Justice has released a consultation in Transforming Rehabilitation. The overall aim is to privatise 75% of the work of Probation Trusts on a payment by results basis, with the Trusts retaining responsiility for high risk offenders.

The proposals set out in the consultation paper include:
  • opening the majority of probation services to competition, with contracts to be awarded to providers who can deliver efficient, high quality services and improve value for money;
  • commissioning to be managed centrally, with specifications informed by local delivery requirements within 16 regional contract package areas, to generate economies of scale and deliver efficiencies, whilst responding to local needs;
  • contract package areas to align closely with other public service boundaries, to support more integrated commissioning in the future;
  • more scope for providers to innovate, with payment by results as an incentive to focus on rehabilitating offenders – we expect to see increased use of mentors and an emphasis on addressing offenders’ ‘life management’ issues;
  • key functions to remain within the public sector, including the direct management of offenders who pose the highest risk of serious harm

There are four consultation events across the country, and responses to the consultation must be submitted to us by 22 February 2013.

The private sector already play a large role in working with offenders with many of the Ministry of Justice's existing "reducing re-offending" programmes being run successfully by private companies, so the idea of using the private sector is not new.  In addition, those working within the sector can see first hand the issues with Probation Trusts and in some cases the need to modernise them and pull them out of the "civil service" mentality that exists.  But shouldn't we be trying to modernise our public sector and start to run it like a business rather than just privatising it?  The age old question rears its head again - wouldn't a well run public sector be more cost effective and better for society than a private company?  

You can have your say at the Ministry of Justice website.

10 January 2013

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