A multi-billion pound government organisation to prevent criminals re-offending and to protect the public is to be scrapped three years after it started. It is part of a shake-up at the Ministry of Justice aimed at preventing the new department gaining a reputation as a failure. The proposals are in a “classified” document seen by The Times containing recommendations from an organisational review.
Under the proposed new structure the National Offender Management Service (Noms) ceases to exist. Since 2004, the service has spent £2.6 billion. In the past two years it spent more than £5 million on consultants. One Whitehall source [i.e. someone at the Times] said: “God knows where all the money has gone.”
Last month it emerged that there was a £33 million cash shortfall on a Noms computer system after £155 million had been spent and that ministers had halted work pending an emergency review. The system was to underpin the strategy of managing offenders from conviction through prison sentence to supervision by the probation service on their release.
It would have brought together more than 200 disparate databases to allow staff to share records. The project was a radical attempt to reduce stubbornly high reoffending rates.