§ Mr. Letwin
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the cost of the National Probation Service was in the last 12 months; 
(2)when the National Probation Service was established; 
(3)what the remit is of the National Probation Service; 
(4)how many members of staff are employed by the National Probation Service. 
§ Mr. Blunkett
The National Probation Service came into being in April 2001 when the existing 54 local services were disbanded and 42 boards created as part of a new national service to raise standards and improve performance. For example, at least one accredited behaviour programme is now available in all areas and during 2001–02 17,177 offenders were placed on these programmes by the courts.
The National Probation Service is a unified national service for England and Wales, and was established by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. It is responsible for giving courts assistance in determining the appropriate sentence, and in making other decisions, for people charged with or convicted of offences. It is further responsible for the supervision and rehabilitation of such people, including giving effect to community orders, supervising people released from prison on licence, and providing accommodation in approved premises.
In doing all this the National Probation Service has the aims of protecting the public, reducing re-offending, ensuring the proper punishment of offenders in the community, ensuring offenders' awareness of the effects of crime on the victims of crime and the public, and rehabilitating offenders.
The latest forecast expenditure for the financial year 2001–02 is £642 million. The accounts for the year ended 31 March 2002 will not be completed until October 2002.449W
As of June 2001, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 15,401 members of staff (full-time equivalents) employed by the National Probation Service in probation areas.
The National Probation Directorate employed 205 members of staff (full-time equivalents) at the end of January 2002, when the latest figures were collected.