Wales politics

Probation service 'failing' over minimum wage, union claims

Prison officer seen through bars Image copyright Getty Images

The probation service has been reported for not paying staff the minimum wage, a union official has claimed.

Dean Rogers, from the trade union for probation officers, said 107 people working for the National Probation Service (NPS) were earning less than minimum wage.

He told Welsh MPs the NPS was "failing on every level" during evidence to a Westminster committee on Tuesday.

The Prisons Service said a report had found the NPS was doing a "good job".

Mr Rogers, who is general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said the service was "the most dysfunctional organisation" he had ever worked with.

He told an inquiry by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee into aspects of the prison service that the union had reported the NPS over not paying staff the minimum wage.

Mr Rogers said that probation responsibilities were split in Wales between a firm called Wales Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and the NPS.

He said the process was "very badly managed contract process" by the Ministry of Justice and "assumptions that the contracts were based on were wrong, and were known to be wrong, but they went ahead anyway."

He said all of the CRC's were finding it difficult to manage within the contracts because they were badly organised, structured and badly funded, and that was all preventable.

A Prisons Service spokesman said: "CRCs have reduced the number of people reoffending and the Chief Inspector's most recent annual report found that the NPS is doing a good job overall.

"Our reforms mean we are now monitoring 40,000 offenders who would previously have been released with no supervision at all."

"But we have been clear there is more to be done - particularly on getting the basics right, and we are working closely with providers to make sure this happens."

A Wales CRC spokesman said: "Our goal is to reduce reoffending over the lifetime of our contract with the Ministry of Justice, and initial results show that fewer people are reoffending

"We know there is more work to be done and we're committed to working with the Ministry of Justice to achieve our ambitious aims. At all times we make sure we deliver a safe service."

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