Commonweal responded to the recent Ministry of Justice (MOJ) consultation on proposals for reforming the delivery of offender services in the community.

The proposals set out in the consultation paper include; opening the majority of probation services to competition, managing commissioning centrally, aligning commissioning with other public service boundaries to support more integrated commissioning and implementing payment by results contracts.

Commonweal welcomed some of the proposals – including the extension of rehabilitative interventions to those released after serving sentences of less than 12 months – but made a number of recommendations, including:

  • The MOJ should urge commissioners to be brave and select services provided by tried and tested experts in the field, acknowledging that lasting outcomes are often not the cheapest to deliver.
  • The MOJ must act quickly to protect the funding of Women’s Centres: once lost, it will be difficult (and costly) to get them back.
  • Government departments must work together to develop a system for systematically identifying parents in prison early in their sentence.
  • The MOJ should recognise the distinct and unique needs of mothers in the criminal justice system in any payment by results system.
  • The MOJ will need to consider how small, specialist projects will fit into a larger payment by results system where quantity may take precedence over quality.

See our Transforming Rehabilitation consultation response for more details