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Prison and Probation Service: Finance

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 121213, tabled on 26 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Prison Population Projections 2020 to 2026, England and Wales, published on 26 November 2020, if he will publish estimates of the projected effects on (a) average caseloads per probation staff member, (b) probation service funding per person under probation supervision, (c) prisoners per prison staff member and (d) prison service funding per prisoner over the projection period.

Answered on

4 December 2020

A) Our future model for the probation system is based on enabling our staff to deliver all elements of their role to protect the public to help people live law abiding lives, rather than an average caseload per probation staff member. All staff will deal with work and caseloads that have a range of complexity, matched to their level of training and expertise.

To tackle additional demand and on the probation system we are also increasing our recruitment capacity for new probation officers. We have committed to recruiting 1,000 trainee Probation Officers in 2020/21, with 443 already started in July 2020.

C) Prisoner to staffing ratios will continue to be agreed on a case by case basis specific to the establishment’s design, category and the type of prisoners held. During periods of prisoner unlock, the minimum number of staff on each residential unit is determined by ‘Safe, Decent and Secure Operating Levels’ (SDSOLs) which are agreed in each establishment. Several factors influence SDSOLs such as design and size of a residential unit, specialist functions or prisoner cohort.

B) and D) Government has recently announced the Spending Review settlement for MoJ which will set funding for prisons and probation for 2021-22. Funding for later years are a matter for future Spending Reviews.