Viewpoint: why local solutions to offender management are vital

It is vital that the new probation model resolves some of the long standing issues with the Transforming Rehabilitation legacy writes Tom Keenan-Blair

From 26 June 2021, the new probation service will be responsible for managing all those on a community order or licence following their release from prison in England and Wales. The new probation service will also deliver unpaid work and behavioural change programmes in England and Wales.

Organisations from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and smaller providers, including local and specialist services, continue to play a role in the probation system, delivering resettlement services and rehabilitative interventions such as education, training and employment and accommodation via the Dynamic Framework.

In 2014, Transforming Rehabilitation aimed to increase voluntary sector involvement in probation services, however one of the primary criticisms of the TR reforms was the failure to meet this objective. In October 2018, just 11% (159) of the 1,443 voluntary organisations working in the criminal justice sector were providing services directly to CRCs.[i]

The Ministry of Justice Dynamic Framework intention is to help create a clearer role in probation delivery for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and resolve some of the issues with the Transforming Rehabilitation model.

This is critical to the success of the probation reform programme, as while it is important that offender management is now re-unified and providing a singular service with shared aims, it is equally important to have a varied suite of intervention services that can provide specialist, flexible and, most importantly, local solutions to the range of offending pathways.

Red Snapper Group (RSG) are supporting organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors who play a critical role in the probation system, by delivering innovative training, media, recruitment and consultancy services to build capacity in areas of skill set shortages. We recognise that providers of intervention services are required to balance the needs of their Service User, their end user customers and their employees to provide a high quality service, which is also affordable and commercial.

They can find themselves walking a work force planning tightrope when ensuring they have the right quantity and quality of internal resource available to meet their day one needs.

RSG has collaborated with the sector for almost 20 years.  We’re about more than putting ‘bums on seats’  We provide service improvement solutions which get the best from your already established teams by using mentoring, training and digital intervention tools to drive efficiencies.

We are committed to helping the probation reform programme work. 

[i] National Audit Office, Transforming Rehabilitation: Progress review (March 2019), p 6

Tom Keenan-Blair is a probation services staffing services consultant