Revamped prison service starts work today

Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service replaces National Offenders Management Service as Ministry of Justice takes over the commissioning and monitoring of prison and probation services

By Suzannah Brecknell

03 Apr 2017

A new agency to manage the prisons and probation system is launching today. Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is replacing the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

The new agency will be responsible for the operational management of offenders in prisons and the community, including supporting offenders when they are released and strengthening security in prisons.

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The Ministry of Justice will take over responsibility for setting prisons policy, commissioning services, setting standards and monitoring performance in prisons.

Michael Spurr remains in post as head of the agency. He said: "The launch of HMPPS is being backed by new investment which will make a real difference to the work we do with offenders both in prisons and in the community.

"We have a compelling reform agenda and the new Agency will focus relentlessly on improving performance to better protect the public and reduce reoffending."

Justice secretary Liz Truss has announced £100m a year extra funding for HMPPS, equivalent to 2,500 extra staff.

The new agency will also provide extra training opportunities for staff: the Ministry of Justice says there will be 2,000 new senior promotion opportunities open to prison officers. An apprenticeship scheme will also be launched and pay rises for staff with specialist skills.

Another strand of the prison reform agenda is formalised today, as governors in adult prisons in England will take control of their budgets.

They will be able to build commercial partnerships with local businesses, will have flexibility in deciding staff structures and recruitment, and will also be given a say in the process of commissioning health services for the prison.

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