Transforming Rehabilitation Contents

Annex 1: Summary of previous evidence relating to Transforming Rehabilitation reforms

1)This annex summarises the concerns raised by witnesses to our predecessor Committee following the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.

2)Implementation of change: Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, explained to our predecessor Committee that the TR changes “happened at a remarkable speed”.365 Those in the sector told our predecessor Committee that the changes felt “rushed” and “there was not a lot of time […] to consult, to listen and to reflect on what was presented back to the Ministry of Justice through various consultations”.366 Napo, a trade union, explained that the absence of a pilot was problematic and if there had been one “everyone would have been better informed”.367

3)Professor Senior, Chair of the Probation Institute, a probation professional membership organisation, was critical of the split in the system between CRCs and the NPS, which meant the questions of which organisation supervised an offender was determined by the offender’s risk of harm. He questioned the logic of that split, and noted that it had “caused and continues to cause issues”.368

4)Contracts with Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs): the Probation Institute, CRC providers and those in CRC supply chains369 raised concern with our predecessor Committee about requirements in contracts and how they were encouraging a “tick-box” approach.370 The CEO of MTCnovo, a CRC parent company, explained that “the service-level measures [these are the percentage at which a provider should achieve specified goals] are a tick box; in other words, you are working to a specific service-level measure, so that you do not incur service credits” (service credits are a form of contractual penalty) and called for CRCs to be measured on their outcomes.371 HM Chief Inspector of Probation made a similar observation and explained that due to financial pressures and the nature of the contracts, “what gets measured gets focused on”.372 The implication of this was that the support provided to offenders was not driven by best practice and the needs of the offender, but by meeting contractual targets which resulted in a payment for the provider.

5)Concern was also raised with our predecessor Committee, for example by Gabriel Amahwe, Director of Probation, Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company, about the financial security of the CRCs: “some of the challenges around commercial and operational stability have been an issue, in terms of the impact that they have had in some of the CRCs […] when going through that transformation”.373 Mr Amahwe went on to explain that a lack of stability ultimately impacted on providers’ ability to reduce reoffending.

6)Finance: related to issues with contracts was the financing of probation. HM Chief Inspector of Probation explained the difficulties that providers faced with regard to the reduced money available to them to provide services as a result of reduced workloads (CRC caseloads were “30% smaller than anticipated”, which impacted the funding they received to provide services). CRCs were having to “cut their cloth accordingly” and were running with fewer professional staff. Dame Glenys Stacey, went on to explain that the CRCs had several “basic costs” (such as premises, staff and running costs) which “must be paid before anyone walks in the door”.374 Since our predecessor took evidence the Government has made changes to the contracts and financing of CRCs. The changes made by the Government in July 2017, included making changes to the payment mechanism to reflect “the fixed nature of most of the costs that providers incur when delivering services to offenders”.375

7)Professor Senior of the Probation Institute indicated to our predecessor Committee that some of these financing issues could have been predicted:

the envelope for probation services, in funding terms, was seen as the same as it was previously—about £890 million—yet they were adding 46,000 new offenders to be supervised with through-the-gate services.376

8)HM Chief Inspector of Probation explained to the Justice Committee in the last Parliament that there had been some IT issues. Delays by the MoJ had inhibited the transfer of confidential information to CRCs and also stifled the transformation planned by the CRCs:

meeting the Department’s information security requirements has been quite a technical matter and has taken a lot longer than was perhaps anticipated. The long-promised strategic IT gateway that must be provided to enable confidential information to pass securely to CRCs is also not yet in place. […] CRCs have sometimes found themselves wrong-footed. They have started, with an excess of enthusiasm, to implement new models—driven, no doubt, in no small part by the cost savings that would come—and have then found the implementation inhibited because they are unable to implement a key component of the transformation, the much-needed IT systems.377

9)Staffing: the trade unions highlighted to our predecessor Committee a number of staffing-related issues which had come about as a result of the TR changes. For example, Unison explained that there had initially been “an almost arbitrary 50:50 split” of staff between CRCs and the NPS, which had left the NPS understaffed and the CRCs overstaffed.378 Napo agreed in evidence to our predecessor Committee that morale was at an “all-time low” across the probation service and that was in part caused by staff feeling “de-professionalised” and “the lack of investment in staff”.379 HM Chief Inspector of Probation painted a similar picture: staff were “overwhelmed” by the amount of work and change taking place, including “half-baked, halfway-implemented operating models that [were] stalled”.380

10)Relationships between the probation sector and courts: the Magistrates’ Association (MA) told our predecessor Committee that there was “great difficulty in creating relationships between sentencers and CRCs”, partly as some sentencers had “concern […] about building relationships with organisations that have a profit motive”.381 The MA explained that a reduced relationship between CRCs and sentencers had resulted in a “lack of confidence” in CRCs’ delivery of community sentences. The MA also highlighted other barriers to effective work between probation and sentencers—due to financial pressures and an absence of statutory requirements for liaison arrangements between probation and sentencers, “that which is not required tends to be that which does not get done”.382 Interserve, a CRC parent company, also explained that increasing pressures on the NPS to deliver pre-sentence reports (see footnote for definition) to the courts quickly.383 This had resulted in more oral pre-sentence reports (these are prepared on the day at court and typically are used for low-risk of harm and first time offenders) from probation to the courts.384 Unison explained the view of a CRC member of staff who found that “poor communication with NPS at the point of sentence results in misallocation of cases and time delays in completing initial sentence plans”.385 The MA also explained that there was a lack of sentencer confidence, including with regard to community sentences: “it really requires some unpicking to work out where the punitive element is”.386

11)Relationships with other parts of the criminal justice system: Achieving Real Change in Communities, who run the Durham and Tees Valley CRC, highlighted to our predecessor “an issue of connection between the different parts of the system”.387 They advocated the need for the Government to look at the whole system: “the story of the offender, from the very start to the very end, whatever happens to them—if their risk rises and falls, if they go through court and certain outcomes result, and so on”.388

12)Support for offenders—Through the Gate provision: in evidence to our predecessor Committee Napo were critical of the TTG provision, explaining that “it [was] £46 and a leaflet now, as opposed to 46 quid before”.389

13)Support for offenders—the approach: The Probation Institute, explained that the “personal touch” was being lost as, “[the contracts were] all about workshops, because you have to get the volumes, the hours and the numbers in. It [was] more about making the referrals than it [was] about the valuable outcome”.390 Unison described the view of one of its members: the “emphasis [within the probation service] appear[ed] to be on quantity and not quality” of work.391

14)Support for offenders—innovation: HM Chief Inspector of Probation explained that changes to probation activity following the TR reforms had not been as expected as there had not been “very much innovation” and “rather than seeing a large amount of activity, with many different things happening, we are seeing less happening than any of us would be comfortable with”.392

15)Support for offenders—role for sentencers: The MA explained that following the TR reforms and the introduction of Rehabilitation Activity Requirements (RARs)393 under Section 15 of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, sentencers had “no power for the sentencer to direct that any particular activity will happen or any particular amount of time will be spent”.394


365 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q20

366 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Qq46-47

367 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q164

368 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q130

369 For example, voluntary sector and other organisations sub-contracted by the CRC.

370 See for example, oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Qq47, 72 and 124 and oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Qq135 and 196

371 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q124

372 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q2

373 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q196

374 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Qq1 and 17

375 HC Deb, 19 July 2017, cols 54–55WS

376 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q132

377 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q2

378 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q162

379 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q174

380 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q6

381 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q33

382 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q31

383 Pre-sentence reports are prepared under Section 156 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 by the probation service before a custodial or community sentence is ordered. They should include an assessment of the nature and seriousness of the offence, and its impact on the victim. Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q78

384 Other types of pre-sentences reports are: fast delivery report (requires a one-week adjournment. They are typically shorter and less detailed and can be used for medium risk of harm cases. Interviews will normally last for up to one hour and take place at the probation office) and Standard delivery report (requires a three-week adjournment is usually used for high risk of harm and serious complex cases. It includes a thorough risk assessment and detailed sentence plan. Interviews are up to two hours long and take place at the probation office).

385 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q168

386 A community sentence combines punishment with activities carried out in the community. Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Qq32 and 34

387 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q200

388 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q200

389 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q171

390 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q53

391 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 28 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018 Q168

392 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q2

393 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements require offenders to obey any instructions issued by their supervisor to attend appointments or participate in activities.

394 Oral evidence taken before the Justice Committee on 21 March 2017, HC (2016–17) 1018, Q33




Published: 22 June 2018