Demand review of Offender Management

Wednesday July 27th, 2011

According to new reports MPs have called for the National Offender Management Service to be reviewed after finds of  ‘incoherent’ tendering processes for some probation services.

The Commons justice select committee criticised the ‘very large and incoherent’ areas used for the tendering of community service contracts where organisations, including probation trusts and private sector firms, are currently bidding to Noms to run community payback schemes.

The committee said that the tendering process for the schemes, where six cross‑regional lots of contracts in England and Wales are being put out to tender, should ‘not be a model for future commissioning’.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Justice announced that more offender services would be put out to tender in the next year, both in prisons and the community, with the aim of six contracts being in place by 2015.

The committee said that in probation services, which are responsible for overseeing offenders released from prison on licence and those on community sentences, there is ‘significant scope’ to increase the contribution of private and voluntary sector organisations.

However, the role of the Probation Service report states that the experience of the community service contracts across the country has ‘not inspired confidence that Noms understands its business sufficiently well to draw up robust contracts that meet the needs of future stakeholders’.

It calls on government to undertake an external review of Noms, adding that its creation, which effectively merged prison and probation services in 2004, had not led to an appreciable improvement in the ‘joined-up’ treatment of offenders.

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