19 Oct 2010

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.

6 reader comments

  1. dave b says:

    There are going to be a lot of people wanting to get high after tomorrow and a lot of women forced into prostitution to feed their families. So legalise illicit drugs and prostitution we are not going to have the police/courts etc to be able to deal with them any-more. Plenty of tax pounds there. Plus deal on public health not criminal grounds. Break the back of criminals. Also perhaps though criminals with some entrepreneurial nous who would normally only choose crime might be brought into the wider society. Perhaps a dragons den for yardies?

    But i jest. Take drugs and prostitution out of the hands of the criminals and into the HMRC.

  2. Big al says:

    About time I think , this is great news for the tax payer who has funded the hotel service sorry prison service.
    We have rampant drug use in prisons tvs for prisoners and all sorts of amusements for the guests sorry again convicts.
    Lockem up in squaler and stop the luxury life for thieves and low lifes.
    A number of hotel staff , sorry again front line prison officers can go.

  3. Ray Turner says:

    Lets wait and see what happens.

    There are certainly some front-line services that could quite easily go, and probably should go. Legal Aid might well be one of those services, particularly if it means that Lawyers are obliged to reduce their fees to attract business, instead of knowing that the state will cough-up whatever they ask for…

    But look out coalition if these cuts are shown to be yet another example of the managers saving their own skins at the expense of the people working hard to try to provide the service.

    We don’t want Departments full of people managing only each other, because there is nobody left to provide the front-line service.

    The protests in France will look like a teddy bears picnic, if the coalition get these cuts wrong…

  4. Kafka's Ghost says:

    Management efficiencies?!!

    Was this written by Sir Humphrey?

  5. MarcoB says:

    Hi Faisal

    Found this great video commenting on your great breakdown on the piece about savers loosing and your interview with Charlie Bean. Would like to get your opinion on his comments how the bank of england is basically destroying capitalism.


    How about interviewing this guy on channel 4 or do a dispatches piece on alternative views of the economic crisis instead of interviewing the guys working for the system all the time, i want to see more hot debate.

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