Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Here is a letter I have emailed to Alok Sharma (soon to be FORMER Reading West MP, hopefully!) this morning - asking for his position on the changes to the Probation service.
It will be the first of many I will be writing, asking about the 'stealth' privatisation that is taking place of services in this country - Please feel free to send one to your MP - you can find their details on
If you have any concerns about local or national issues, Please drop me a line and I will be glad to 'Get on my SoapBox' for you!

I'll let you know what he says!


                                     Wednesday 9 January 2013

Dear Alok Sharma,

I was really shocked to hear Chris Grayling on Radio 4 this morning
discussing the 'break up' of the Probation service in the UK. I am
extremely concerned regarding this and would like to know your
opinion/position on this.
I would be grateful if you would sign the above Early Day Motion
(Performance of the Probation Service – EDM 622)which says:
“That this House welcomes the news that the Probation Service in
England and Wales won the British Quality Foundation Gold Medal for
Excellence in 2011; notes that no Probation Trust is deemed to be
failing or in need of improvement; further notes that each Probation
Trust in England and Wales is meeting its target on the production of
court reports, victim satisfaction and the successful completion of
orders or licences; and acknowledges the achievements of the Probation
Service in England and Wales for carrying out its work efficiently and
The Probation Service has performed very well in recent years. Indeed
it won the British Quality Foundation (BQF) Gold Medal for Excellence
in October 2011. This award is given to an organisation in recognition
of its outstanding, continued, commitment to sustained excellence over
a number of years.

Evidence from the Ministry of Justice shows that the Probation Service
met virtually all its targets during 2011-12. The figures for all
Trusts show that victim feedback in 2011-12 was positive in 98% of
cases; that 49% of offenders were in employment at the termination of
their orders; that 89% had accommodation and that 82% of orders or
licences were successfully completed during the period.  Completion
targets were also met or exceeded on the vast majority of probation
programmes. The service was set a target of 90% in terms of court
reports timeliness and was successful in 99% of cases. In terms of
reoffending, the actual rate was better than the predicted rate
nationally and in all but five probation areas three-quarters of orders
or licences were successfully completed. 

The Probation Service is relatively small, but has a caseload in excess
of 240,000, and last year wrote nearly a quarter of a million court
reports. The service has been in existence since 1907 and available
information from the Ministry of Justice suggests that it is performing
more effectively than ever.

I am therefore very concerned that plans in the future involve
fragmenting Probation, which could undermine all its achievements and
compromise public protection.

I  was delighted to hear the BQF saying:  “The Probation Service … are
on the right path to achieving and sustaining excellence and
essentially to being the best providers of these essential services”. I
would be really grateful therefore if you could sign the Early Day
Motion 622 or, if that is not possible, if you could explain why your
support will not be given.

Best wishes

Eileen McElligott
Reading West Constituent and Reading Borough Councillor

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