Press Release: Updated changes to probation services in London and the Thames Valley in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

This press release has been updated as of Monday 30 March 2020. 

The Ministry of Justice today agreed for MTC, who provide probation services for low-and medium-risk people under supervision in London and the Thames Valley, to introduce new measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect probation employees, people under supervision, our partner organisation, and the wider community.

The measures will take immediate effect and enable probation teams to prioritise continued face-to-face supervision of offenders assessed as higher risk.

The changes affect the following areas of the service:

  • Service user supervision: Our probation teams will work from home wherever possible and we will move to telephone supervision for people assessed as low-risk. We will continue face-to-face supervision for those service users:
  • Assessed as medium risk of serious harm complex cases.
  • Prison leavers reporting for their initial appointments.
  • Homeless service users, and others who do not have telephones.

 

  •  Community payback: We are suspending all Community Payback projects, including individual ones, and maintaining telephone contact with all service users in line with their minimum weekly reporting requirements.

 

  •  Aligning our services with the NPS’s Exceptional Delivery Model: In London, we will continue to operate out of the nine offices we share with the NPS. We are currently reviewing all our other offices to see if they need to be remain open. We will update you regularly on this.

 

  • Accredited programmes: Accredited programmes and structured interventions require group work to help people turn away from crime. We will suspend delivery of all group interventions and maintain telephone contact with service users.

 

  • Education, Training and Employment services: We will suspend group working, deliver basic services and maintain contact by phone.

 

  • Senior Attendance Centres (SACs): SACs are for young people aged 18-24 who have committed a low seriousness offence such as non-payment of court fines, restricting liberty within the community while delivering rehabilitative support. We will suspend delivery of SACs and maintain telephone contact with those sentenced to attend an SAC.

                                            

  • Prison resettlement services: Resettlement of prisoners back into the community – also known as ‘Through the Gate’ services – will be agreed in close consultation with individual prisons, based on local COVID-19 conditions and prison’s exceptional delivery plans. We will prioritise support for vulnerable service users who are due to leave custody, and provide telephone support in place of face-to-face contact wherever possible.

MTC also manages Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, a centre for young offenders near Rugby in Warwickshire. From today, we will also restrict non-essential movement of people including employees, young people on release on temporary licence and visitors and external agencies.

 MTC remains in constant contact with the Ministry of Justice, which maintains oversight of the probation service and has approved these changes to service delivery and the Youth Offending Board for Rainsbrook.

 MTC managing director, David Hood, said:

 “This action is a sensible, measured and targeted response to the evolving coronavirus situation and allows us to continue to manage risk in the community. Our priority is to protect the public and deliver a safe and effective service while safeguarding our teams, the people we support and the communities we serve.”

 

Ends.

 

For more information contact MTC Communications Team on or 020 7708 8101.

Notes to editors

  1. MTC’s London Community Rehabilitation Company employs around 900 people and manages almost 29,000 people subject to probation supervision in the capital.
  2. MTC’s Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company employs around 250 people and manages around 4,200 people subject to probation supervision.

About MTC

MTC is committed to reducing reoffending, building safer communities and transforming people’s lives. We operate the London and Thames Valley CRCs, plus a Secure Training Centre for young people in Rainsbrook, near Rugby in Warwickshire.

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