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Jobs fear in probation

PUBLISHED: 09:36 01 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:53 30 June 2010

Probation bosses have admitted jobs will be lost following the merger of services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Martin Graham, currently chief officer of Norfolk Probation Area, will take charge of the new merged probation service which will provide services to offenders, victims and courts from offices in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn, Lowestoft, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

Probation bosses have admitted jobs will be lost following the merger of services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Martin Graham, currently chief officer of Norfolk Probation Area, will take charge of the new merged probation service which will provide services to offenders, victims and courts from offices in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn, Lowestoft, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

He said no probation offices will close but some posts will be lost over the merger period, which could take up to three years to complete. However, he added that frontline jobs will be protected as much as possible.

Mr Graham said: “I am looking forward to establishing Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust as an excellent organisation providing top quality services to both counties.

“Both individual probation services are coming together with a strong record of good performance. I hope to build on this and improve it.

“In the coming years, the public sector is predicted to suffer budget cuts, and we will be affected by these too. However, we will strive to provide the service expected from us, by taking the best from Norfolk and Suffolk.”

The number of roles likely to be affected by the move has not been confirmed. Union bosses are resigned to the merger, first proposed in 2008, but have sought reassurances on the impact on their ability to protect the public.

Gill Lewis, an existing member of the Suffolk Probation Board, will become the new organisation's first chair.

She said: “I know we have many challenges ahead of us, but I have been very impressed by the commitment, the ideas and creativity of our staff, as well as their idealism and enthusiasm. They believe in what they're doing and they want to do a really good job.

“I am determined the new Trust will maintain our current high performance and stay within budget, and become established as a first-rate criminal justice agency.”

All probation services had to apply to become probation trusts by April 1. In Norfolk and Suffolk merger was considered to be the best option.

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