Monday, May 28, 2007

Society: how to really, really, really govern badly

Cost of the national probation service: £860m per year

Cost of the headquarters of the National Offender Management Service (into which the entire probation service was folded in 2004): £899m per year.

The probation service had its origin in work done by Christians and churches.

Government took it over in 1907 and it has steadily grown and changed since, providing more and more ways of dealing with offenders other than by jailing them. Between 1910 and 1930, thanks to Probation, the number of people in prison in the UK halved.

In 2001, our government gave the probation service a huge once-in-twenty-years' shakeup.

In 2004, they did it again --merging prison and probation together into the NOMS.

And in 2007, plans are afoot for yet a further epoch-changing restructuring, to allow for private tendering of probation work.

After these three major efforts, they should have got rid of most of the good people by now.