HC Deb 22 June 1972 vol 839 cc153-4W
Mr. Fowler

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has considered the future organisation of the probation and after-care service in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maudling

Yes. The Government intend that the probation and after-care service should continue to be a separate service, organised in local areas under committees of magistrates. They also intend that the system of financing it through local authorities should in principle remain unchanged, but are prepared to increase the grant from its present level of 50 per cent. to 80 per cent. I have so informed the local authority associations.

The boundaries of probation and aftercare areas will have to be adjusted in consequence of local government reorganisation. After consulting the national probation organisations and other interested organisations, I have decided to use my existing powers to establish a probation area for each new county, subject to the possibility of combination of those where the service would otherwise be very small. I am aware of anxiety in the service that the creation of probation areas in the largest metropolitan counties might, because of their size, be detrimental to the relationship between individual officers and their employers, but this could be met by establishing sub-areas and delegating functions to them in relation to the operational work of the service.