UK

Probation privatisation judicial review dropped by union

Prison officer seen through bars Image copyright Getty Images

A legal challenge to government plans to privatise parts of the probation service has been called off by the union representing probation staff.

The National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) said it was withdrawing its judicial review after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling gave a series of undertakings to the court.

Court hearings had been due to get under way on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Justice said it was pleased and reforms were "essential".

The union says it will "closely monitor" the amendments Mr Grayling makes to the plans.

When the union launched the action in October it said the plans put probation staff and the public at risk.

Under the proposals, private providers are set to monitor 200,000 low and medium-risk offenders. Responsibility for rehabilitating 31,000 high-risk offenders will fall to a new public sector body.

Twenty-one contracts for the out-sourced work were awarded by the justice secretary last week.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "We are pleased Napo have backed down before they could waste even more time and money.

"These reforms have been and continue to be carefully managed with a focus on the safety of both the public and our employees.

"They are essential if we want to bring down the stubbornly high reoffending rates."

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