The Government has backed down on plans to rebrand the Probation Service after criticism from several high profile groups. The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Association for Chief Officers of Probation were both openly opposed to the plan (DW 17 December).
Home Office minister Paul Boateng had previously defended the controversial name change, to the Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Service. He claimed the proposed new name “explains the organisation’s purpose, signalling the way ahead for this vital service”.
But this week Boateng reversed his decision, having “listened to views from across the criminal justice system. The Government has listened to representations from MPs and others, and we intend that the new unified service will be called the National Probation Service of England and Wales”.
ACOP, which conducted its own research into a possible rebranding of the Probation Service last year, in conjunction with Interbrand Newell and Sorrell, welcomes the Government’s climbdown. An ACOP spokesman says the title that was originally suggested had “no awareness or recognition”.
“We are quite pleased, but are resisting being triumphalist,” he adds. “The new name makes everything much clearer and we can build on existing foundations without having to start from scratch.”