Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A balanced approach to probation outsourcing

I've discussed the outsourcing of the probation service on a number of occasions but today revealed a strange 'spin' which requires re-balance and critique if the best option and approach is to be selected.

We have learnt that "Officials have warned the Justice Secretary", but then that the warning is actually in the form of a risk register. Of course there should be a risk register which identifies risks in as objective a manner as possible, but risks 'might happen', it doesn't mean they 'will happen'. Is it fair refer to inclusion is a risk register as a 'warning'?

Then we learn that a "a criminal justice expert said the Probation's sell-off is being carried out too hastily; there is too much risk. It is highly likely that service delivery will collapse and public protection will be undermined. The Government must think again". Well if you heard that from a 'criminal justice 'expert' you'd assume an objective opinion, but if you were then told that 'expert' had been a trade union representative of the probation service perhaps you'd consider the opinion highly subjective and more than a little biased?

The Times. which report that they have seen the risk register, appear to have been a victim of spin and not managed the risk of being a pawn well.

From a procurement perspective, whether or not we agree with outsourcing, we should applaud comprehensive risk registers, but we should also avoid being too influenced by subjective opinions. Professional procurement requires robust options appraisal and risk management as opposed to scare mongering.

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