Privatisation of the probation service – a timeline

The path to the privatisation of the probation service

This year Chris Grayling completed the privatisation of the probation service. The move replaced the previous 35 probation trusts with a National Probation Service and 21 ‘Community Rehabilitation Companies’ (CRCs). These companies are private providers that will supervise low- and medium-risk offenders after leaving prison – about 70 per cent of the service. The public sector National Probation Service is responsible for the 31,000 high-risk offenders.

But it was a long time in the making and there have been many opposing views on the move. Click on the image above for an interactive timeline with all the twists and turns, tweets and reports, plans and speeches.

Alternatively, the contents of the timeline follows – but it’s not as fun!

12/2010 MoJ publishes ‘Breaking the Cycle’

‘Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders’ is a green paper with plans for payment-by-results pilots and a commitment to apply these principles to all providers by 2015

9/2012 Chris Grayling replaces Kenneth Clarke as Justice Secretary

Chris Grayling justice secretary replaced Kenneth Clarke

Chris Grayling moved from the Department for Work and Pensions to the Ministry of Justice.
Source: Policy Exchange

In his former role in Department of Work and Pensions, Grayling introduced a payment-by-results model for commissioning the Work Programme.

11/2012 Prison gates mentor plan announced

Chris Grayling announces rehabilitation programmes for those serving fewer than 12 months. Currently those on shorter sentences receive supervision after leaving prison, and have very high reoffending rates. Mr Grayling said: “When all we do is just take those people, release them onto the streets with £46 in their pockets and no other support, why are we surprised that they reoffend again quickly?”

1/2013 MoJ publishes ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’

Transforming Rehabilitation: a revolution in the way we manage offenders’: sets out the outsourcing of probation trusts’ work and includes new services to reduce reoffending for short term prisoners.

8/2013 Social Market Foundation publishes ‘Paying for results? Rethinking probation reform’

The think tank’s report condemns the proposed payment-by-results model, saying it creates “perverse incentives such that providers risk making losses if they seek to cut reoffending”.

9/2013 Trade unions strike over privatisation plans

UNISON joins forces with Napo, the probation service union, and the GMB.

3/2014 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act receives Royal assent

Royal assent given to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (2014), which writes the changes to probation into statute.

6/2014 Probation service is split

The probation service is transformed from 35 probation trusts into the National Probation Service and 21 ‘community rehabilitation providers’. The NPS is a public sector body responsible for the circa 30,000 high-risk offenders. The CRCs are effectively private providers that will supervise low and medium risk offenders.

Geographic areas of the 21 community rehabilitation companies probation CRC

Geographic areas of the 21 community rehabilitation companies. Source: Ministry of Justice

10/2014 MoJ announces preferred bidders for the community rehabilitation companies

List of preferred bidders for the private contracts nominates two outsourcing companies, Sodexo and Interserve, to run more than half of the service.

12/2014 Chris Grayling signs contracts for private providers

2/2015 CRCs take over

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act comes into force and the contracts for the new private providers are ‘mobilised‘.

5/2015 Contractual deadline to implement programme to help those short-term sentences

Interested in privatisation? Click here to learn how it happened to the prison system

One Comment on “Privatisation of the probation service – a timeline”

  1. […] Check out our interactive timeline of the privatisation of the probation service […]


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