New era for probation in Northumberland

Nick Hall, chief executive of Northumbria CRC.
Nick Hall, chief executive of Northumbria CRC.

This week marks the start of a new publicly-owned company which aims to protect the public and cut crime in communities.

Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company (Northumbria CRC) was officially launched yesterday, as part of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, which involves a reorganisation of probation services.

Northumbria CRC’s key priorities are to protect the public and reduce reoffending. It works with adult offenders in local communities, including those who are subject to community orders, suspended sentence orders or released from prison on licence.

Northumbria CRC will deliver the majority of probation services across the Northumbria police area, taking over most of the work previously undertaken by Northumbria Probation Trust. The company’s 350 staff also come from a probation background, having transferred their employment from the former trust.

Chief executive Nick Hall, the former chief executive of Northumbria Probation Trust, has 10 years’ experience in probation, and is supported by an experienced senior management team.

“I am delighted to announce the launch of Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company,” he said. “We have an experienced and highly skilled workforce, which is committed to working with offenders in adopting a crime free lifestyle, as well as effectively managing risk in order to protect the public.

“As Northumbria Probation Trust, we had a long history of delivering results. We were the only probation trust to achieve the highest performance rating for five consecutive years. Our excellent performance was also commended by HM Inspectorate of Probation in two recent inspections.

“Northumbria CRC will build on this expertise and experience to further develop our services. Our new structure will enable us to really focus our efforts and deliver the best results for local communities.

“We will also continue to work closely with key partners in delivering the broad range of interventions needed to protect the public and reduce reoffending. This includes our established working relationships with Northumbria Police, drug and alcohol treatment providers, housing providers and education & training providers.”

However, Napo, the probation union, has warned that such a significant change to the system as well as privatisation will put recent achievements by the Probation Trust – which include reducing refoffending rates among those it has supervised – in jeopardy.

Mike Quinn, spokesman for Napo in Northumbria, said: “Our members in Northumbria have been proud to work for one of the best-performing probation trusts in the country. As well as contributing significantly to safer communities across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, the Probation Trust has made huge efforts to improve the conditions for its staff, including becoming Investors In People Champions and achieving the Better health and Work Award. Indeed just this year, it was ranked in the top 100 organisations to work for by Stonewall. We believe it’s no coincidence that an organisation which takes the interests of its staff so seriously has performed so well.”