Sunday, March 16, 2008

Probation, Natonal Offender Management services in trouble

Government claims that it is giving £40m more money to the Probation Service are ‘totally misleading’ the Liberal Democrats said.

A Ministry of Justice press release says that ‘The National Probation Service is to receive £40 million of additional funding to provide more tough and effective community sentences.’

However, just six months ago the Government announced that probation service funding was to be cut by five per cent for each of the next three years. (The details can be found here.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said:

“The Government is spinning this as additional support for the probation service but in reality it only goes part of the way in restoring funding cuts announced just six months ago.

“Tough community punishments are more effective in cutting reoffending than short term custodial sentences and this is due in part to the sterling work of the probation service.

“Today’s funding commitment will thankfully stave off some redundancies in the probation service but it is totally misleading to describe it as an increase in support for the service when it is the Government taking with one hand and giving with the other.”

Later in the week, the Information Commissioner issued a press release criticising the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) for replying to Freedom of Information requests slowly, Liberal Democrat Shadow Solicitor General, David Howarth said:

“It is not surprising NOMS is failing to respond to such requests when its computer systems are so catastrophic.

“It is unacceptable that requests are taking this long to deal with. NOMS must get its house in order.”

The Information Commissioner's Office is the UK's independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information.
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