Dozens of jobs to go at South Yorkshire offender rehabilitation service

More then 30 jobs are at risk to the probation services across South Yorkshire including jobs at Peel House, 3 West Bar. Picture: Andrew Roe
More then 30 jobs are at risk to the probation services across South Yorkshire including jobs at Peel House, 3 West Bar. Picture: Andrew Roe

More than 30 jobs are to go across South Yorkshire among staff involved in ensuring criminals are punished and rehabilitated, it has been revealed.

Unions have revealed an estimated 32 jobs are set to be axed across the county by October under proposals by private firm Sodexo affecting the South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company, with those working in administrative roles set to be affected.

The CRC works with thousands of medium and low-risk offenders across Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley each year who are on a community order or on licence after their release from prison.

It currently employs around 200 staff in South Yorkshire.

The national cuts will see more than 430 jobs lost in six community rehabilitation teams around the country.

Sodexo was awarded contracts to run the six services from February this year as part of a controversial privatisation programme which saw half the country’s probation services privatised.

It was revealed in March that jobs were at risk as a result of plans that included proposals to allow offenders to report in at ATM-style electronic kiosks rather than seeing probation officers.

Unions including Unison, GMB and National Association of Probation Officers have claimed that current redundancy packages on offer are trying to get rid of staff ‘on the cheap’ as enhanced terms agreed to with previous Justice Secretary Chris Grayling are currently not being offered.

Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Sodexo’s claim that it follows high ethical standards is in tatters following the company riding rough-shod over our members’ contractual entitlement to a decent redundancy package. We demand the company pays what our members are due.”

GMB National Officer Sharon Holder said: “Sodexo was well aware of our members’ contractual entitlement to redundancy pay when it bid for, and was awarded the contracts. Who will ever believe Sodexo’s claim to be an ethical employer when it is pulling a fast one on redundancy pay?

“GMB with Napo and Unison met with the new Justice Secretary Michael Gove on July 14 and have asked him to review the circumstances behind Sodexo reneging on our members’ contractual redundancy entitlement.”

A Sodexo Justice Services spokesperson said: “We have shared details of a voluntary severance offer and our proposed staffing levels with employees at our six community rehabilitation companies. Given that we are formally consulting on plans, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

“We bid for six CRC contracts on the understanding that the enhanced voluntary redundancy terms would be subject to negotiation with the relevant employee representatives following the sale.”