Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has expressed concern at a report stating the Wales National Probation Service is suffering from staff shortages.
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The report found that “the Wales National Probation Service is filled with enthusiastic staff, but suffers from a shortage of probation officers, meaning some staff have unacceptably high workloads.”
The report also noted that the probation service was assessed as good overall and outstanding in one respect.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
Probation services in Wales have made some grave errors in recent years, with tragic consequences. Although these errors were made by the private probation firms contracted to manage low and medium risk offenders by the Conservatives.
These mistakes remind us of the importance of the Wales National Probation Service getting decisions right. Probation officers cannot be expected to do this whilst they continue to be overworked.
The fact the Wales National Probation Service has been managing the highest risk offenders in Wales whilst experiencing a staff shortage is concerning. It is a testament to the commitment of staff that mistakes haven’t been made yet.
We welcome Ministry of Justice (MOJ) plans to bring all probation services back under public control from 2020, although we would prefer it to happen earlier.
The Wales National Probation Service cannot be expected to manage all probation services in Wales without sufficient staff. The MOJ must ensure the service gets the staffing it needs at the earliest opportunity.