HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 cc1285-6W
Mrs. Gillan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evaluation his Department made of the restructuring of the Probation Service following its restructuring in April 2001. [150714]

Paul Goggins

The structural changes introduced under the Criminal Justice Act 2000 and implemented from April 2001 were managed as a change programme overseen by National Director (latterly the Director General) of the National Probation Service (NPS) based within the Home Office.

The strategy for the change programme was set out in a three-year strategic document, "A New Choreography". The Office of Government Commerce independently reviewed the initial programme in October 2001. They commended the restructure and noted early performance improvements. Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Probation has covered issues relevant to restructuring, such as governance, training and race equality, in recent reports.

Service-wide performance improvements have continued and these are monitored in regular NPS performance reports.

Mrs. Gillan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of offenders under the management of the Probation Service have been serviced by non-qualified probation personnel over the last 12 months. [150715]

Paul Goggins

The information requested is not held centrally.

Offenders may be supervised by a variety of people who deliver both statutory and non-statutory interventions. These will include probation staff and others from partnership agencies. All probation staff who supervise offenders have been assessed and trained for this work. Probation officers and probation service officers have professional qualifications as do specialist staff, such as psychologists.

Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many probation field staff were employed in(a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each year since 2000. [151190]

Paul Goggins

[holding answer 29 January 2004]The information requested is as follows.

Number of Probation Field Staff1,2 31 December 20003 31 December 2001 31 December 2002 30 June 2003
(a) Coventry 15 17 24 431
(b) West Midlands 541 774 645 706
(c) England and Wales 8,462 9,665 510,439 11,128
1 Figures include Senior Probation Officers, Senior Practitioners, Probation Officers, Trainee Probation Officers and Probation Service Officers employed in all functions excluding Prisons and Courts.
2 Figures shown as full time equivalent (FTC)
3 The figures for December 2000 also exclude those employed within Family Court Welfare. This service transferred during 2001 into Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS).
4 Information provided by West Midlands Probation Area at 31 December 2003
5 Figures for December 2002 include Sussex figures at June 2002.

Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on funding available for the provision of intensive services to offenders on release by the Probation Service. [151192]

Paul Goggins

[holding answer 29 January 2004]The National Probation Service (NPS) is funding or part funding 15 intensive supervision and monitoring schemes (ISMs) which aim to reduce reoffending by persistent offenders. ISMs operate as part of a community sentence or a post custodial licence. Funding was provided for two years by the NPS and the Criminal Justice System Reserve (CJS) which will expire in April 2004. After that areas are expected to have made their own arrangements to fund the projects locally. It is also expected that some continuation funding will be available from the CJS Reserve for an additional year.

Persistent offenders are defined as those who are aged 18 or over and have been convicted of six or more recordable offences in the last year. ISM schemes target the most prolific offenders in a locality. These are the most serious of persistent offenders. Therefore, in addition to six convictions in the last year, those selected will also usually be the target of local police intelligence.

ISM schemes provide intensive surveillance and supervision of offenders, offering fast access to services and support for rehabilitation, alongside swift action and penalties for non-compliance. They incorporate a partnership between police and probation, two agencies that have historically worked in different areas of criminal justice, through the joint aims of apprehending offenders at the same time as addressing offenders' needs. As part of these projects, the police and probation services also work together with other partner agencies such as: providers of housing, education and training, alcohol and drug abuse treatment groups, leisure facilities and employment services.

The ISMs are subject to independent evaluation, which is due to report in spring 2004. A number of areas operate similar schemes to the probation funded ISMs. Plans to deal with persistent offenders will be included as part of the regional resettlement strategies which are to be developed over the next 12 months.

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