Below is the text of the speech made by Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP for Reigate, in the House of Commons on 11 June 2020.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I will do my level best, but I was the probation Minister between 2010 and 2012. One of the proudest moments of my time was attending a dinner where the Princess Royal presented the British Quality Foundation’s gold award to the National Probation Service. The reforms that subsequently were done to probation service would not have been done by me. They were visited upon the Department to a degree by some whizz kids—bright people—some of whom are now very senior in the Government.
There were two faults. The first was that the companies were too large and did not equate with the geographical area of the police force. I would have given them, had I done it, to the police and crime commissioners, saying that they were responsible for the input and the output. A very good point was made by the shadow Lord Chancellor about engaging local authorities in all the services we have to bring to an offender for there to be a decent chance of getting them rehabilitated.
Secondly, I say to my right hon. and learned Friend that, attractive as going back to the position of 2012 might seem to me, we were trying to find the opportunities to make sure that we can get the charities, the private sector and everyone else engaged in the great work of rehabilitation of offenders. We are in many ways back to square one, but there is a huge opportunity to be grasped.