Press Release 5th March 2014
Napo Cymru, the Union for probation staff in Wales has voiced its dismay at Liberal Democrat MP, Jenny Willott after she voted in favour of the Government’s Bill to privatise 70% of probation work.
Having met with constituents who raised concerns about the privatisation in September 2013, Ms Willott wrote to the Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling in October 2013 expressing her own concerns about the government’s intentions.
The Napo spokesperson went onto say that the government’s proposals were putting the public safety at risk. The Ministry of Justice has produced its own risk register, which Napo understands contains concerns that the proposals will compromise service delivery and public safety. The government is refusing to publish the risk register.
Napo held a Special General Meeting of members across Wales and England on 5th March at which privatisation was discussed and NAPO took a decision to take strike action at the end of this month against the privatisation programme. NAPO Cymru’s concern is that those offenders who commit serious offences, such as burglary, robbery, domestic violence and other violent offences will be managed by a system that will be fragmented, damaging rehabilitation and risking public safety.
The Union was under the impression that Ms Willott shared these concerns but seems to have forgotten her constituents’ anxieties when it came to a crucial vote in the Commons.
Jo Stevens, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Cardiff Central, said “This is yet another example of Jenny Willott saying one thing to her constituents and doing another. It adds to a long list of votes, including the bedroom tax and Gagging Bill, where the people of Cardiff Central are told one thing and then see their MP vote differently.”
“Probation privatisation is unnecessary and risky. Probation professionals and independent analysts are all warning that this compromises public protection. Not even the usual suspects, G4S or Serco are bidding for probation contracts showing what a flawed policy this is. NAPO and people in Cardiff Central are right to be extremely concerned.”
Napo Cymru is calling on Jenny Willott to make a public statement explaining to her constituents her rationale for not supporting a high performing probation service which is managing offenders in the community.