Probation contracts awarded to private organisations

Prison officer seen through bars Image copyright Getty Images

Private contracts to run probation services monitoring low and medium risk offenders have been awarded by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

Most of the 21 contracts in England and Wales have gone to those named six weeks ago as "preferred bidders".

The government hopes the partnerships between companies and charities will turn more offenders away from crime.

But probation union Napo is challenging the arrangements and a judicial review will be heard on Wednesday.

The operations - known as Community Rehabilitation Companies - will supervise 200,000 low and medium-risk offenders, including 45,000 short-sentence prisoners who currently do not receive any probation monitoring.

The contracts are worth about £450m a year over seven years.

At the moment, almost six out of every ten low and medium-risk prisoners re-offend within a year of their release.

In a written statement, Mr Grayling said: "Following the announcement of Preferred Bidders on 29 October, the Ministry of Justice has taken another step towards completing the government's probation reforms.

"Following further negotiations with Preferred Bidders, I have today announced that I am awarding contracts to the successful bidders for the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies. All bidders are receiving formal notification today."

Contracts were awarded to:

  • Sodexo Justice Services in partnership with Nacro (Northumbria; Cumbria and Lancashire; South Yorkshire; Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire; Norfolk and Suffolk; Essex)
  • Achieving Real Change in Communities (Durham Tees Valley)
  • Purple Futures (Humber, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire; West Yorkshire; Cheshire and Greater Manchester; Merseyside; Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
  • The Reducing Reoffending Partnership (Staffordshire and West Midlands; Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland)
  • Working Links (Wales; Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire; Dorset, Devon and Cornwall)
  • EOS Works Ltd (Warwickshire and West Mercia)
  • MTCNovo (Thames Valley, London)
  • Seetec (Kent, Surrey and Sussex)

Earlier this week Napo said changes to the way offenders were supervised may have contributed to two murders.

The Ministry of Justice said it would "robustly" contest the allegations.

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