Welsh critics of the government’s planned probation service reforms are pledging to lobby hard at Westminster to have the proposals scrapped when a bill is published.
Probation union Napo, Welsh assembly members and Welsh MPs hope their pressure will force the government to amend the bill so that proposed measures to allow private companies to run probation services will not apply in Wales.
The government has vowed to push ahead with the reforms despite widespread opposition in England and blanket opposition from Welsh respondents to its consultation on the plans (Failing services face private competition, 6 April).
Critics of proposals to allow the private and voluntary sectors to run failing probation services – known as contestability – say they contradict the assembly’s approach of encouraging agencies to work in partnership.
South Wales Central assembly member Leanne Wood, a former probation officer, said the proposals would not work in Wales. “There isn’t a private sector in Wales that could pick up work currently done by probation staff,” she said.
Darren Daniel, Napo Dyfed Powys branch secretary, said most Welsh backbench MPs had signed an early day motion opposing the plans and would back the campaign when the bill was scrutinised.