Lobby briefing: Harry Fletcher

The National Association of Probation Officers' assistant general secretary on the Offender Management Bill.

What's the latest on the Offender Management Bill? 

There have been some significant government defeats in the Lords recently. One of the most interesting ones was about whether probation services will be commissioned locally or nationally.

What happened?

The Government wants services to be commissioned at the national level, but during the report stage the Lords showed that they want it to be done through local probation boards and trusts.The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats engineered the defeat.

What other defeats have there been?

The bill cannot be entered onto the statute book until the Government provides a business case for the proposals contained within it.

What's your view on third sector involvement in probation?

We want to see cooperation with the third sector, rather than competition. We also want the award of service contracts to be based on best value, not on which provider is the cheapest.

What's the next stage of your campaign?

It's estimated that the bill will come back to the House of Commons on 19 July. So we're writing to Labour MPs asking them to support the changes to the bill on commissioning.

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