Progress made in service, report says

The probation service has exceeded seven out of 11 service delivery targets for 2005-6, according to a government report published last week.

The under-pressure service was close to meeting the remaining four targets, missing some by a “tiny margin”, and was showing “consistent improvement”, the report said.

Eighty-one per cent of risk-of-harm assessments were completed against a target of 90 per cent. But in his foreword to the report, probation service director Roger Hill said it was unacceptable that in one area only a minority of 36 high-risk cases met the required standard of assessment.

Hill said criticism of the cases of Damien Hanson and Elliot White, who were on supervision when they killed John Monckton in 2004, was “justified”, adding that it was “the exception, not the rule”.

He said: “Our work with offenders is complex and not easily reduced to a sound bite. The people we are charged to manage in the community are by definition the most difficult and disaffected in the country.”

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