On 5th June 2019 the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a question she had tabled, on the national probation service. The answer, her follow-up, and those of other Members are reproduced below:
Probation: Voluntary Sector
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the voluntary sector can contribute to an effective national probation service.
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Keen of Elie) (Con): My Lords, voluntary organisations play an important role in helping offenders turn their lives around. We are determined to strengthen this role. In May, the Government set out our plans for future probation arrangements, including that the National Probation Service will directly commission specialist and voluntary sector organisations to deliver rehabilitation services. We are engaging closely with voluntary sector providers to ensure that our arrangements maximise their potential engagement.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his Answer and welcome the proposal in the Strengthening Probation, Building Confidence consultation, which promises a clearer role for the voluntary sector. My concern, however, is that the consultation proposes ongoing mini-competitions and a mixed market for services. Can the Minister tell us how the Government will ensure that smaller charities are helped to spend less time competing for contracts and more time serving the community?