The privatisation of the probation service, which some policy analysts have seen as a model of how child protection services in England could be outsourced, comes in for more scathing criticism, this time from an academic study.
In an article in the journal Work, Employment and Society, Professor Gill Kirton and Dr Cécile Guillaume conclude that the privatisation of the probation service has proved to be a disaster which has resulted in a poorer service. They found evidence of compromised professional standards and which put the public at risk, because offenders have not been properly supervised. The Guardian reports that the researchers found that about one third of the 1,000 probation officers they surveyed said that they had insufficient time to provide adequate supervision.
Ministers in the Department of Education, which is responsible for children’s social care services in England, must take notice of how private sector involvement in safety critical services can go badly wrong. They need to stop their reckless talk of outsourcing and privatisation and focus instead on ensuring that public services are safe and deliver the high quality services which vulnerable children require.