Commenting on the National Audit Office report, Investigation into changes to Community Rehabilitation Company Contracts, out today, the Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Richard Garside, said:
The government admitted some months ago that it had bailed out the struggling private probation companies. Thanks to the National Audit Office, we now know that the bail-out was worth a third of a billion pounds. It is unlikely to be the last bail-out the government will make before the current contracts come to an end in early 2022.
Far from transforming probation in England and Wales for the better, the changes the government introduced in 2014 have fragmented it and left it facing ongoing financial and delivery crises.
It is time for the government to show the same determination in remedying the problems in the probation system as it showed in creating them in the first place.
A good start would be to launch an open and inclusive review of the current arrangements as soon as possible, seeking the views of a range of stakeholders, including: the private probation companies and their sub-contractors, staff representatives, voluntary and community sector providers and independent researchers and policy analysts.