Digital transformation within the probation sector
On 16 May 2019, the MoJ announced the end of Transforming Rehabilitation, with all offender management now the responsibility of the National Probation Service (NPS).
Justice Secretary David Gauke has set out his blueprint for the future of probation – bringing all offender management under the National Probation Service and building on existing work to bring down reoffending.
These reforms are designed to build on the successful elements of the existing system, Transforming Rehabilitation, which led to 40,000 additional offenders – around 50% more – being supervised every year, along with the introduction of fresh ideas and innovative new rehabilitative services from private and voluntary providers.
The reforms will enhance the work of the National Probation Service, while maximising the skills of the private and voluntary sectors and will provide up to £280m a year for probation interventions from the private and voluntary sectors.
Under the new model, each NPS region will have a dedicated, private or voluntary sector ‘Innovation Partner’ – responsible for direct provision of unpaid work and accredited programmes. This will support the NPS to identify, encourage and deliver greater innovation for vital services, including substance misuse programmes, training courses, community payback and housing support. The new model will also give local criminal justice partners a direct role in commissioning services together with the NPS.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said:
“Delivering a stronger probation system, which commands the confidence of the courts and better protects the public, is a pillar of our reforms to focus on rehabilitation and cut reoffending. I want a smarter justice system that reduces repeat crime by providing robust community alternatives to ineffective short prison sentences – supporting offenders to turn away from crime for good. The model we are announcing will harness the skills of private and voluntary providers and draw on the expertise of the NPS to boost rehabilitation, improve standards and ultimately increase public safety.”
The proposed reforms will transform the use of technology in probation, investing in a digital and data strategy that will replace existing systems and better utilise technology, data and information to inform professional judgement.
At Unilink, we are fully supportive of this initiative and with over 20 years’ experience in the justice sector, we are a world leader in probation and community corrections software applications, as well as prisoner self-service, offender management and inmate communications. Our integrated suite of products means that we are uniquely placed to assist in the digital transformation that is imminent for the probation sector.
Note: Original reporting by Russell Webster
The Unilink Group consists of four companies operating in the Criminal Justice Sector: Unilink Software, providing biometrically enabled Custodial Management Software and prisoner self-service; BCL, providing Offender Case Management software applications to probation and community corrections; Unilink Technology Services, providing Communication Services that connect the “outside world” with incarcerated offenders; Acante, specialised in design and manufacturing of self-service devices for use in corrections; and Subsidiaries in Australia, The Netherlands and North America.