Statutory Partnerships and Responsibilities
Last week the MoJ published a new paper setting out the statutory partnerships and responsibilities which are relevant to Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS) under the new split probation service designed under the Transforming Rehabilitation project.
The MoJ will write into the new contracts for CRCs exactly which statutory bodies they will be expected to work with and what duties they will be required to perform. The paper doesn’t cover non-statutory partnerships such as Integrated Offender Management although the TR strategy makes it clear that CRCs will be expected to maintain, and indeed take the lead, on IOM.
The reason for issuing the paper now is:
“to inform the partnership working aspect of the exit strategy for probation trusts and enable them to plan the allocation of resources for the statutory partnerships between the NPS and the CRC in the contract package area during the transition period once probation trusts split in April 2014.”
Essentially this means that new arrangements should be bedded down by the time new providers take over in April 2015.
Overview of responsibilities
Community Safety Partnerships
Both the NPS and CRCs will be designated as responsible authorities under the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act and will therefore be subject to the statutory requirement to participate in Community Safety Partnerships.
As expected, the NPS will continue to be the responsible authority to lead on Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements since it will be working with high risk offenders. CRCs will be not responsible authorities but will have a contractual duty to co-operate.
Safeguarding Children Boards
While the NPS will continue to sit on Safeguarding Children Boards, CRCs will also be designated as “board partners” who must provide a representative to sit on the board.
Safeguarding Adult Boards
Safeguarding Adult Boards responsibilities are currently non-statutory. The Care Bill which is currently going through parliament doesn’t make probation a statutory board member. Both NPS and CRCs will be under a general duty to co-operate with local authorities in relation to social care.
Youth Offending Teams
The NPS will be responsible for deciding whether an offender who is sentenced as a juvenile but who turns 18 during their sentence should be supervised by a CRC or the NPS or stay with the relevant YOTS. CRC will be required to co-operate.
Unsurprisingly, the NPS will retain the victim contact role. CRCs will not be subject to statutory duties except in relation to participating in domestic homicide reviews. CRCs will be contractually required to support the NPS in their work relating to the Victim Contact Scheme.
Police and Crime Commissioners
Both the NPS and CRCs will be required to work with PCCs to “help provide an efficient and effective” criminal justice system within their local police area. Of course, some of the new Contract Package Areas will require CRCs to work with two or more PCCs.