HC Deb 15 April 1948 vol 449 cc1155-6
41. Mr. Royle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can give any information as to the constitution of the Probation Advisory Committee and how appointments to this Committee are made; and as to the number of candidates for the Probation Service now awaiting interviews by the Advisory Committee and the methods adopted by the Home Office in placing trainees in suitable vacancies.

Mr. Ede

As the answer is necessarily long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Royle

Is it a fact that in spite of the great shortage of probation officers the present methods of selection do not provide sufficient candidates; and that prospective candidates are kept waiting for long periods for interview?

Mr. Ede

I think my hon. Friend had better read the answer, and then, if he is not satisfied with any part of it he can put down a further Question.

Following is the answer:

I appointed the Probation Advisory Committee on 31st January, 1946, for a period of three years to advise me on questions relating to the administration of the probation system and the other social services of the courts. It consists of 17 members, including six magistrates, a recorder, a clerk of the peace, a justices' clerk, three principal probation officers and other persons experienced in the problems of delinquency.

Candidates for training as probation officers are considered by the Probation Training Board, a body which I have appointed to select men and women for training and to provide facilities for training them. About 40 candidates are awaiting interview by a Selection Committee of the Board. Interviews can now be offered within one to three weeks but 16 of those waiting have asked for their interviews to be deferred.

Outside London probation officers are appointed by probation committees of the local justices; and when a probation committee notifies a vacancy for a probation officer, the aim of the Home Office is to submit to the committee two or three trained candidates for consideration. At present, however, there are more vacancies than trained candidates available, so that usually it is only possible to offer one trainee for interview to each of those committees whose claims are judged to be the more urgent. The most suitable candidate is submitted having regard to the needs of the particular area, the personality of the candidate and, so far as possible, his or her personal convenience.