Clause 8

Offender Management Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 18 Ionawr 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

The inspectorate

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I shall make one or two brief points in relation to the clause. I see the need for an inspectorate of those who carry out probation services, but I amnot sure of the point of changing its name from the inspectorate of the national probation service for England and Wales to the inspectorate of probation for England and Wales. The word “national” will be removed, but I think that England and Wales deserve a national inspectorate.

In 2001, the second reform of the probation service since the Government came into office nationalised the service, which is now to be broken down so that it is more a creature of the National Offender Management Service. Is there any purpose, however, in going to the huge of expense of changing writing paper and brass plates on office doors? What is important is that we should have an inspectorate of the probation service, whose functions should be informed by a clear policy. I am concerned that the Government like changing the names of things. Another example is the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which has apparently been changed to the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, no doubt at vast expense. Those may be minor matters but, on the other hand, if the Government are going to introduce them, they might as well explain them in a way that enables the public to understand how and why that money has been spent.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Clause 8 makes consequential amendments to the provisions relating to the inspectorate of the national probation service to reflect the fact that the national probation service will cease to exist when local probation boards are abolished and that the inspectorate will in future need to inspect the services delivered by a range of probation providers. The clause renames Her Majesty’s inspectorate of the national probation service for England and Wales as Her Majesty’s inspectorate of probation for England and Wales, and it renames Her Majesty’s chief inspector of the national probation service for England and Wales as Her Majesty’s chief inspector of probation for England and Wales. It also amends section 7 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to include the inspection of the provision of probation services under clause 3 of this Bill.

Clause 8(3)(b) allows the Secretary of State to give further directions related to the probation purposes referred to in clause 1. It confers further functions on  the inspectorate to reflect any future changes in the clause 1 purposes. The substance of the work of Her Majesty’s inspectorate will not change, and it will continue to be a crucial mechanism for monitoring and maintaining standards.

Clause 8 merely updates the legislative provisions to reflect the other changes in the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for Harborough has referred to the issues around the inspectorate and the variety of changes that the Government have introduced. We want the inspectorates to work effectively and efficiently, and we want to make sure that we set out on the face of the Bill what the consequences will be for the inspectorates in relation to the new providers.

With the explanation, I hope that the clause can stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.