Magazine article Public Finance

Competition for Probation Service Comes under Fire

Magazine article Public Finance

Competition for Probation Service Comes under Fire

Article excerpt

Controversial proposals to overhaul the probation service by opening it up to competition met with fierce criticism this week from employers and unions alike.

A leaked letter from Home Secretary Charles Clarke to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott revealed Clarke's intention to transfer the statutory duty for delivering probation services from England and Wales' 42 probation boards to the home secretary.

'This will enable the [national and regional offender managers] acting on my behalf, to contract directly for both prison and probation services with a range of providers from the private, notfor-profit and public sectors,' Clarke said in the September 30 letter.

He went on to say: 'I propose to abolish existing probation boards and create new smaller, more business-focused bodies.'

The government hopes to introduce a Bill in early December.

The move would help to boost the powers of the National Offender Management Service, the merged prison and probation service that will provide end-toend management'of offenders. …

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