Sadiq Khan MP, Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary, commenting on the Government’s announcement on the reform of probation services, said:
“Payment by results in criminal justice is untested, and the Tory-led Government are taking a reckless gamble with public safety. Pilots were already underway to see if payment by results worked and to ensure any problems were ironed out before being rolled out. The new Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, is demonstrating breath-taking arrogance in choosing to ignore the pilots.
“It’s a good job Chris Grayling isn’t paid by results, as he’s importing the failures of the Work Programme into our criminal justice system. Rushing into payment by results is a danger to the offenders who might not receive the rehabilitation support they require, and to the safety of communities up and down the country. And the Work Programme is showing that experienced and dedicated small and local providers won’t be doing the delivery, but will be crowded out by the usual large private sector companies.
“Our probation service does a good job in difficult circumstances on very stretched budgets, and has been recently awarded the British Quality Foundation Gold Medal for Excellence. Every single Probation Trust’s performance was rated by the Government as either good or exceptional in 2011. Of course, they must get better at reducing re-offending, supported by the expertise and innovation of charities and other providers. But the Government’s proposals risk seeing the probation service replaced by the likes of G4S.
“Given the proposals are for probation to deal with an extra 60,000 offenders a year, the Government must be honest about whether there will be additional funding or whether the current money will be spread ever more thinly. Poorly resourced support for rehabilitation won’t effectively reform offenders, with the risk this poses to public safety.”