§ Mr. John Patten
This is indeed important. It is one of the key themes of the paper, "Tackling Offending: An Action Plan," which was issued by the Home Office in August to promote community-based punishments for young adult offenders. It asks the probation service to consult the courts on local "action plans" and suggests that communication between the probation service and the courts should be improved especially in the areas of social inquiry report writing and content of supervision programmes. We hope that local action plans will take effect next year.
The Home Office has recently taken part in discussions with the Magistrates' Association on working relations between the probation service and the magistrates' courts and on the work of probation liaison committees. Guidelines on both these subjects have been adopted by the Magistrates' Association as a result.