Belfast Telegraph

Probation Board seeks views of public on delivery of services

The consultation includes looking at international best practice.

(PA)
(PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland is seeking the public’s help to shape future services.

The consultation is part of the development of PBNI’s Corporate Plan for 2020-23, which will set out the direction for the organisation over the next three years.

The probation service has seen a reduction in baseline funding since 2014, with an increase in temporary funding.

The PBNI says the uncertainty of temporary programme funding, not extending beyond one year, is resulting in major implications on staffing, and due to these issues, “it is necessary” to think about how it delivers its service into the future.

The consultation includes looking at international best practice, technological advancements and enhancing partnership work with organisations and across communities.

Some 76% of people under probation supervision in Northern Ireland have an alcohol or drug-related problem, as well as mental health issues.

The PBNI say dealing with these issues and facilitating change is resource intensive, and the board is keen to canvass public opinion on how it delivers its service with these issues in mind into the future

Chair of the Board Dale Ashford says the focus is rehabilitation.

“PBNI is committed to engaging with communities and stakeholders to inform them of our role in tackling offending, leading in reducing reoffending and rehabilitation, working effectively and efficiently in order to deliver ‘smarter justice’,” he said.

“Looking forward, this Board wants to create the circumstances for the organisation to thrive and develop further because in doing so, it will mean fewer people will reoffend and there will be fewer victims of crime. We need your views to help us do that.

“It provides an opportunity for all those with an interest in probation to help us ensure the organisation is fit for purpose, effective and efficient in the coming years.

“Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for everyone in NI to have a say in how probation can contribute towards making every community safer.”

The consultation is open until the end of October 2019.

PBNI intends to publish responses to the consultation and a summary of responses online following completion of the consultation process.

PA

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