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Community Orders

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL1611, tabled on 30 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all Community Sentences are completed.

Answered on

14 July 2021

On 26 June, we transitioned to a new model of probation delivery. These reforms will mean that the delivery of key requirements under community sentences is now the responsibility of the Probation Service. Our new probation service is now responsible for sentence management in both England and Wales, along with Accredited Programmes, Unpaid Work, and Structured Interventions. This simplifies delivery, making it easier for those we work with and giving us greater control of staff and resources to be able to deliver reform. It will strengthen rehabilitation by delivering improved better accredited programmes and other rehabilitative interventions, alongside commissioning specialist services from other organisations.

We have demonstrated our commitment and ability to deliver an effective probation service despite significant challenges during the pandemic. The Probation Service has prioritised public protection and risk management, as well as delivery of advice to courts, whilst ensuring staff, people on probation, victims and the general public remain safe.

Exceptional Delivery Models, which set out how we operate during the pandemic and ensured services could be continued, were implemented across England and Wales. In-person, socially distanced, offender management continued to be the default for those people on probation who posed a higher risk, for example Terrorism Act offenders. For other cohorts, blended supervision models were deployed, involving various combinations of home visits, face to face appointments, telephone or video contact. The delivery of Unpaid Work has been maximised in line with social distancing restrictions throughout the pandemic, keeping staff and offenders safe. Offenders have been working on outdoor projects and those which support the UK’s recovery from Covid-19, and some have completed projects at home where feasible. For Accredited Programmes, we developed alternative delivery formats to enable continued delivery of Programmes remotely or in smaller groups in person where safe to do so, prioritising offenders who posed the highest risk of harm.

As social distancing restrictions ease, we are continuing to increase delivery rates across our services. This includes key requirements such as unpaid work and accredited programmes.