Leaked Whitehall memo on job cuts: ‘The front line will bear the brunt’
On the eve of the Spending Review, I have seen a detailed internal memo from one of Whitehall’s biggest departments, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
It is dated Friday, and somewhat explodes one the Coalition’s great narratives – that these cuts are about backroom management inefficiencies.
As the memo from Friday makes very clear: “the front line will bear the brunt”.
The memo is titled “Impact of the SR settlement on staff“, and it appears that on Friday the number of jobs lost was expected to be 14,250. I believe that this is even higher now. In an annexe at the back of the memo it shows that 9,940 of these job losses will come from the National Offender Management Service, or Noms, that runs prisons and probation services.
Nick McCarthy of the PCS union told Channel 4 News: “We are shocked and horrified at this memo.
“It does show us the reality of the cuts, it is a tragedy for the people who work in the MoJ, seeing thousands of their jobs disappearing, what it also shows is what we’ve always believed that actually the front line is where the brunt of the cuts will be made”.
Colin Moses of The Prison Officers Association said: “This is ill thought out, we have a criminal justice system under strain as never before. This will lead to dangerous people on the streets.”
Just under 3,000 jobs are expected to go in the courts service. Again this could have increased over the weekend as the Ministry of Justice faced further cuts after other departments were given late reprieves. The memo made reference to plans to cut legal aid, reform prison sentences, and close courts.
Helena Kennedy, chair of Justice, said: “When you let the Justice system take the largest hit, the system itself suffers. The justice system is an essential element of our democracy, and once you undermine that, we all pay the price”.
The Ministry of Justice said tonight it would not comment on leaks and speculation.