The National Audit Office (NAO) has published its report into the part-privatisation of our probation services and it makes for damning reading.
Chris Grayling – the current Secretary of State for Transport who just had to pay £33million of taxpayers money in compensation to a private firm after he commissioned a ferry service to a company with no boats – was the mastermind behind this decision.
The report is clear that public money has been wasted and rehabilitation of offenders has been undermined. I wanted the Prisons Minister to state who is responsible and what will be done to address these massive failings in government.
I got my opportunity to respond to this year’s Budget this week. In my speech I addressed my deep concerns about the continued austerity under the UK Government and their utter failure to support the people and businesses of North Wales.
It is clear that this was a Budget that included more harm than help for people in work. It continued to cut away at our police, justice and international trade budgets and did nothing of value to unpick the hurt inflicted by Universal Credit cuts.
The Government announced two new prisons would be constructed in England. Both would involve private sector contracts.
Following on from my questioning of the minister in the Justice Committee about the lost £50m of taxpayers money on private contracts today I used an Urgent Question to quiz the minister on how he will stop this becoming another example of wasted money.
The minister is an extremely courteous man, but his warm words did nothing to allay my fears that the Ministry of Justice has not learnt valuable lessons from its past mistakes and it is likely to repeat them.
Following the High Court ruling against the Parole Board that John Worboys should not be released, the Chair of the Parole Board – Nick Hardwick – resigned. I wanted to understand what the Secretary of State meant in his statement regarding rule 25.
This rule currently allows the Parole Board to keep the decision making process on granting parole secret. It is obvious that more transparency is needed and the public should know as many of the facts as possible behind the decisions taken to release a prisoner early.
I am sure the Government will produce more findings and reports on this technical, but important, rule and I will scrutinise it closely to ensure it meets the transparency we all expect from our public bodies.