Napo members have regularly reported being under excessive workloads following massive job cuts since CRCs took over responsibility for supervising low and medium risk offenders. This means less time for face-to-face work and detailed risk assessments of clients. On top of that members have also told their union that they are required to take on ever more complex cases beyond their training and experience as professional standards and appropriate training are eroded while the CRCs look to make even more cost savings.
Ian Lawrence General Secretary said:
“These findings will cause outrage amongst our hard pressed members and further demonstrate how the whole of probation has fallen into absolute chaos since TR. The government must take immediate action and bring the probation service back into public ownership as a matter of urgency. This report clearly shows how failing to do so is a direct risk to public safety and the Secretary of State is quite literally putting people’s lives at risk. Our members cannot be expected to carry out their highly skilled professional work in these circumstances.”
Napo is aware that the 21 CRC contracts do not stipulate clearly enough that the Probation Officer qualification is critical in safely supervising complex cases where domestic violence is a factor and that providers have been using less qualified staff as a result in order to further reduce their overheads. Napo warned that this process of work on the cheap would ultimately impact on public protection, a vital role of the probation service. Given this damming report, Napo will be calling on the Secretary of State and Parliament urgently to intervene and to stop the continued “marketization” of probation.