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Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 217027, tabled on 3 December 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of out-sourcing probation services in reducing re-offending rates.

Answered on

8 December 2014

Our Transforming Rehabilitation reforms will tackle the problem of persistently high reoffending rates by opening up the delivery of rehabilitation services to a diverse range of public, private and voluntary sector providers. Providers will only be paid in full if they are successful at reducing reoffending. We are also putting in place an unprecedented ‘through the gate’ resettlement service giving most offenders continuous support by one provider from custody into the community. Rehabilitation support is also being extended to an extra 45,000 offenders on sentences of less than 12 months, who currently get no support on release and have the highest reoffending rates.

As part of the reforms, transition to new probation structures took place on 1 June 2014 and the National Probation Service and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies are now live. The 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies remain in public ownership while the competition to establish their new owners progresses. We will be able to assess the impact of the reforms on reoffending rates once we have transitioned service provision to the new providers.

A significant step towards completing these reforms was taken on 5 December as we awarded contracts to the organisations that will lead a new approach to rehabilitation. There was strong competition for each of the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies, with bids showing real innovation. Nineteen of the 21 contract areas will be led by new partnerships and joint ventures between private sector firms and some of Britain’s biggest and most successful rehabilitation charities. Six will be run with the involvement of a probation staff “mutual”. We expect new providers to be in place by early next year, in line with the Government’s commitment to introduce these reforms by 2015.