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Offender services put out to tender

Offender services put out to tender

Probation services such as the supervision of criminals are to be put out to competition, it has emerged. The move is part of the Government’s Big Society reforms of the criminal justice system. Chief probation officers have been told to investigate the “potential for core probation services” to be put out to tender. Michael Spurr, the chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, told the probation officers:

“We intend to examine a range of possible options for service improvements and different models of delivering offender services within the community. The aim is to create a long-term direction for probation which is consistent with the government’s key objective for reform.” Mr Spurr said that increased competition in the sector would deliver benefits in costs, efficiency, quality and risk management.

The Community Justice Partnership – which includes the charities Working Links and Nacro, and the private security company Sodexo Justice Services – immediately said it would be bidding for some of the work. Debbie Ryan of Working Links, which works with the long-term unemployed, said:

“This is unprecedented in the justice sector and may be the shape of things to come, as private and charitable bodies come together to provide the scope and scale to successfully deliver end-to-end services in large geographical areas.”

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