National Offender Management Service
|Executive Agency overview|
|Jurisdiction||England and Wales|
|Headquarters||102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ|
|Executive Agency executive||
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) responsible for the correctional services in England and Wales (separate arrangements exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland). It was created by combining parts of both of the headquarters of the National Probation Service and Her Majesty's Prison Service with some existing Home Office functions. The agency's headquarters are in central London.
NOMS was created on 1 June 2004 following a review by Patrick Carter (now Lord Carter of Coles), a Labour-supporting businessman. Carter had been asked by the government to propose a way of achieving a better balance between the prison population in England and Wales and the resources available for the correctional services. He proposed three radical changes. Firstly, that there should be 'end-to-end management' of each offender from first contact with the correctional services to full completion of the sentence. Secondly, that there should be a clear division between the commissioners of services and their providers. And thirdly that there should be 'contestability' amongst these providers. By this means, he argued, efficiency would be increased, unit costs reduced, and innovation encouraged. Growth in the prison population, which had increased by two thirds over the previous ten years, would be constrained by giving the courts greater confidence in the effectiveness of community sentences as opposed to prison sentences through better management of offenders, leading to reduced levels of reoffending. The Government accepted these proposals.
The emerging structure of NOMS saw the appointment of a Regional Offender Manager (ROM) for each of the 9 English regions and Wales. Their responsibilities included the negotiation and performance monitoring of Service Level Agreements with each of the public sector prisons and probation areas in their regions, and of contracts with private sector prisons. The actual management of public sector prisons however remained with HM Prison Service, reporting separately to its own Director General, Phil Wheatley.
ROMs were also given responsibility for the reduction of reoffending in their regions, effected by the development of multi-agency partnerships which harnessed the capacity of other government departments, agencies, and local authorities to influence the factors which affect offending - drugs and alcohol, accommodation, employment training and education, children and families, health, finance debt and benefit, attitudes thinking and behaviour.
Changes following the creation of the MOJ
After a period characterised by changes of political leadership, crises about foreign national prisoners, and a burgeoning prison population, on 9 May 2007 the correctional services element of the Home Office was moved to join the former Department of Constitutional Affairs in the newly created Ministry of Justice. In January 2008, the Secretary of State for Justice announced major organisational reform which resulted in the Director-General of Her Majesty's Prison Service, Phil Wheatley, becoming the Chief Executive of NOMS, and assuming responsibility for both the National Probation Service (NPS) as well as HM Prison Service and management of contracts for private sector operation of prisons and prisoner escorting. Following this the Chief Executive post was reclassified as Director-General. and NOMS was designated as an executive agency within the Ministry of Justice  Subsequently ROMs were replaced by Directors of Offender Management (DOMs) in each of the 10 Government regions in England and Wales, combining responsibility for prisons and probation services in their region.
On 1 April 2008, six probation areas' governing boards were redesignated as Probation Trusts, enjoying greater freedoms than their board counterparts but more susceptible to competition and possible loss of business should their performance prove to be intractably poor. On 1 April 2009 Jack Straw announced the creation of two further Probation Trusts .
NOMS remains an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. It divides England and Wales into 10 areas, each under a separate Director, with other Directors appointed for specialities such as the High Security Estate. The current Chief Executive is Michael Spurr. The Agency is responsible for delivering the Ministry's Departmental Strategic Objective (DSO) 3: “protecting the public and reduce re-offending”, and supporting delivery of DSO 4: “more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for victims and the public”. NOMS operates within the agreed Agency Framework Document, made in 2009. That document sets out its role:
- Probation Services to Court
- The Agency commissions the provision of information, advice and reports on offenders to service court appearances and sentencing processes. It also ensures information is available to sentencers on the availability of services, the costs and benefits of interventions and sentence options.
- Offender Management
- The Ministry sets strategic policy and direction for the delivery of end to end Offender Management by the Agency. The NOMS Agency commissions and operates Offender Management services which ensure offenders are managed in a consistent, constructive and coherent way during their entire sentence, whether in a custodial or community setting.
- Custodial Services
- The Ministry sets strategic policy and direction for adult custodial services and prison capacity. Public sector prisons are run by the NOMS Agency. Individual public sector prisons are managed through SLAs agreed between Directors of Offender Management in NOMS and Governors. Private sector prisons operate under contract to the NOMS Agency. The Agency is responsible for managing the prison population, including Prisoner Escort and Custody Services, maintaining the existing estate and building prison capacity. With ethical walls between the purchaser and provider, it lets, through a competitive process, and manages Service Level Agreements and contracts awarded to public and private sector organisations to build prisons and deliver custodial services. In addition, the NOMS Agency is commissioned by other organisations, in particular by the Youth Justice Board to provide secure accommodation places and attendance centres for young people, and by the Border and Immigration Agency to provide services to immigration detainees.
- Offender Interventions
- The Ministry sets strategic policy and direction for use of intervention services. The NOMS Agency commissions and directly provides interventions which implement sentences and orders of the courts and reduce offender risk of serious harm, address offender needs, and resettle and rehabilitate offenders across custody and the community. The Agency contracts Electronic Monitoring as a sentencing and court service utilised by Agency providers, UK Visas and Immigration, Youth Justice Board and counter terrorism operations.
- Probation Services to Court
The Agency says it will face three significant challenges over the coming years:
- 1) Align supply with demand.
- 2) Increase efficiency and effectiveness.
- 3) Improve performance and public confidence.
NOMS Agency has set out how it will meet these in the Strategic Commissioning Plans for 2010-13, which set out how the agency will provide services and meet demand for all 10 areas.
List of Chief Executives
- Martin Narey (2004 to 2005)
- Helen Edwards (2005 to 2008)
- Phil Wheatley as Director-General (2008 to 2010)
- Michael Spurr (2010 to present)
- Peter, Carter. "Review for HM Government" (PDF). Managing Offenders. Cabinet Office. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- "National Offender Management Service Annual Report and Account 2010–2011." National Offender Management Service. 13. Retrieved on 30 August 2011. "We completed the relocation of NOMS London headquarters to Clive House in September 2010, saving £60 million per year across MoJ."
- "NOMS 2010 Organisation Chart" (PDF). Organogram 2010. NOMS Agency. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- "Offender Services" (PDF). NOMS Agency Framework Agreement. Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- "London Region" (PDF). Strategic Commissioning Plan 2010-2013. NOMS. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- "NOMS Strategic Commissioning Plans". Strategic Commissioning Plans 2010-2013. NOMS Agency. Retrieved 5 April 2011.