Probation services to be returned to the public sector

The Ministry of Justice announced that responsibility for offender management will be returned to the public sector. From Spring 2021, the National Probation Service will manage 11 probation regions across England and Wales. Each NPS region will have a private or voluntary sector ‘Innovation Partner’ who will be responsible for providing unpaid work and accredited programmes – up to £280m will be made available each year for this work. However, the core functions of supervision and management will be carried out by the NPS.

The Ministry of Justice published these proposals in its response to its consultation on the future of probation services. Specific proposals include:

  • Dynamic framework to award contracts for resettlement and rehabilitation programmes, similar to the DPS in place for prison education.
  • A statutory professional regulatory framework across the probation system with continual professional development standards and a practise and ethical framework.
  • An emphasis on equalities in both training and the continuous professional development offer, and a focus on improving workforce diversity and progression for under-represented groups.