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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

May 12, 2004: Probation Protest

1200 staff from throughout England and Wales lobbied against plans to merge the probation and prison services into the new National Offenders Management Service (NOMS). The rally reflected widespread concern amongst probation staff about the transition to NOMS, due to commence on June 1, 2004.

The rally was organised by Napo, the trade union representing over 7500 probation and family court staff. Napo believes that NOMS will mean greater bureaucracy and confusion. According to a Napo statement:

“The Probation Service was last reorganised in April, 2001, is chronically underfunded and understaffed and does not need yet another reorganisation. Staff also feel they are being cajoled into accepting the changes with the threat of contestability or privatisation if they do not meet arbitrarily set targets.”

Napo general secretary Judy McKnight told the rally:

"Today our fight is not just about seeking to preserve our standards and ethos and values, and yes, all those issues are at risk again, but it is also much more. It is about the opposing destruction of the service in its entirety, by splitting it in two, and casting it out to the wolves of the private sector."

Speakers from the three major political parties who opposed the planned merger included Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews. He argued that offenders were best dealt with via rehabilitation rather than punishment and prison. If NOMS moved away from this principle, it represented a “ghastly Orwellian idea."

The Home Office plans to introduce “contestability” by 2009 and allow private organisations and voluntary agencies to compete with the public sector, The Home Office perspective suggests that developing a market will enable value for money for the taxpayer and reduced offending, and ensure that the service can benefit from private sector input.

Napo sees the move to allow this as effectively introducing  privatisation, and inherently problematic in that public protection may be compromised by private firms cutting corners. Members of Parliament were urged by Napo to sign an early day motion which endorses the work of the Probation and Prison Services and urges that these be properly funded to allow them to carry out all their statutory duties free of the threat of contestability. According to a Napo press release:

"The Probation Service was last reorganised in April 2001, is chronically underfunded and understaffed and does not need yet another reorganisation."