Probation union Napo has concluded the Judicial Review they launched into the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, and have forced the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to recognise the serious safety risks in the re-organised probation service, and to provide details of the steps he will take to address Napo’s long-standing concerns.
Napo launched the legal challenge after the Justice Secretary refused to meet with union officials or to acknowledge the evidence presented to him, revealing that the re-organised probation service (government reforms included splitting it in two), created “unacceptable risks to the safety of public and staff”.
Napo obtained a court order which forced Chris Grayling to disclose the results of the safety testing processes – processes that Grayling had initially refused to reveal. The Justice Secretary has told the court that risks and weaknesses will be adequately addressed by the time the contracts become operational in February 2015. Due to confidentiality rules in the court case, Napo cannot yet reveal what the Ministry of Justice has said it will do, and the union is not convinced that they can do it.
The courts are limited in adjudicating what are ultimately political decisions, so while the reforms are due to go ahead, Napo are seeking the Courts agreement to the release of a document which articulates the key areas that the Ministry of Justice acknowledged require resolution. Napo intends to ensure the Minister and his Department are held to account against these areas, if the Ministry of Justice fail to meet the resolutions.
Napo, supported by Speak up for Justice, will be holding the Secretary of State to account on his promises, as well as the new probation service organisations. Napo will be demanding transparency from the Ministry of Justice and the ‘preferred bidders’, and will be monitoring their progress.
Speak Up For Justice will continue to campaign for a properly funded probation service and against cuts to services and jobs. We believe justice should be delivered as a not-for profit public service with professionals working together in an integrated system, and as part of which we still call for a halt to the privatisation of probation services.
Please sign our petition to Chris Grayling calling on the government to halt their disastrous probation privatisation, and to stop gambling with our justice services!
Please see the following links for more information about the Judicial Review: