by Tim Lezard Unions have condemned government plans to hand to two private companies the contracts to run more than half of probation services in England and Wales. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling yesterday said Sodexo and Interserve, were the prefer …

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Unions have condemned government plans to hand to two private companies the contracts to run more than half of probation services in England and Wales.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling yesterday said Sodexo and Interserve, were the preferred bidders to run 11 of the 21 planned community rehabilitation companies (CRCs ) that will take over probation early next year.

NAPO general secretary Ian Lawrence General Secretary said: “It is purely ideological that Grayling is pressing ahead with his untried and untested so called reforms to probation. We have mounting evidence that neither the CRCs or the National Probation Service is stable at the moment and this is having a direct impact on the supervision of offenders and public safety. The fact so few organisations have won contracts also suggests that this has been a flawed competition with little or no real interest from providers in taking these contracts on.

“Grayling has made a written statement to parliament rather than risk having to answer questions in the House. Yet again he is trying to avoid scrutiny which is in our view further evidence of a lack of transparency in the whole process. We would urge MPs to ask questions of him and to hold him to account for his decision to press ahead without providing evidence that it is safe to do so.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government is putting community safety at risk by pressing ahead with its goal of privatising probation.

“We should be very worried that the government has not said that public safety will be a factor when assessing the bids. Even their own advisors have warned against these risks

“The government’s decision to ignore advice and press ahead regardless shows a complete determination to privatise public services whatever the cost.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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