Twelve probation trusts will be funded to develop seven spin-outs to bid for contracts under government plans to reform probation services in 2015, the Cabinet Office announced this week.
Staff at those trusts have been granted a total of £500,000 of support from the Cabinet Office Mutuals Support Programme.
The government is planning to remove the 35 current probation trusts and replace them with 21 prime contractors to deliver both existing services and a payment-by-results service to reduce reoffending. The new service will work with all medium and low-risk prisoners in England and Wales, and will go live by 2015.
The Ministry of Justice has promised to design contracts to allow mutuals spun out of the public sector a fair chance to bid for and win contracts.
But the reform agenda suffered a recent defeat in the House of Lords, which voted to block the Offender Rehabilitation Bill.
The seven groups are:
Cumbria Probation Trust, Lancashire Probation Trust and Merseyside Probation Trust
Dorset Probation Trust and Devon & Cornwall Probation Trust
Leicestershire & Rutland Probation Trust
West Mercia Probation Trust and Warwickshire Probation Trust
Kent Probation Trust and Sussex & Surrey Probation Trust
Essex Probation Trust
London Probation Trust.