Partnerships in probation

Authored by: Judith Rumgay

Handbook of Probation

Print publication date:  May  2007
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9781843921905
eBook ISBN: 9781843926184
Adobe ISBN: 9781134014910


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At the time of writing this chapter, amid the confusion that has infused the aftermath of Patrick Carter’s (2003) review of correctional services (Rumgay 2005), one element of policy intentions concerning its implementation has remained constant and appears likely to remain so. That element concerns the introduction of ‘contestability’ into the provision of community-based services for offenders. In so far as this term signifies a full-throated policy of contracting discrete elements of probation tasks to organisations outside the service itself, which may be reduced to the status of competitor for the right to deliver services that it has hitherto largely monopolised, it represents the ultimate extension of a market approach that originated in the early 1990s. There are two notable differences, however. Firstly, the terminology favoured hitherto has been the language of ‘partnership’ between the Probation Service and non-statutory organisations, with its connotations of mutual cooperation and advantage. The terminology now preferred, of ‘contestability’, points to competition, not only between non-statutory organisations, but also between the Probation Service and those organisations, for the work of delivering community-based correctional services. Secondly, where the introduction of financially contracted ‘partnerships’ pursued a policy of delegation to local areas to develop arrangements according to need and opportunity, the formation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) anticipates an emphasis on centralised needs assessment and purchasing by Regional Offender Managers (ROMs).

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