Probation services are responsible for the rehabilitation of offenders after prison. In 2015, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling sold 70% of the service – the most extensive privatisation in the criminal justice system ever, and created 'Community Rehabilitation Companies' (CRCs). This has jeopardised the quality of probation work - with worsened accountability, stretched workers and increased dangers to public safety.

The 21 CRCs in the UK are split between the companies we've listed below, with Sodexo controlling the largest share of 6. 

Read more about the privatisation of probation services and what we can do about it here.

Interserve is a multinational company delivering 'support services' and construction. It is one of the largest private providers of public services, delivering everything from cleaning for Network Rail to probation and from security, cleaning and catering for London hospitals to upgrading pipes for private water companies. 70% of its turnover comes from government contracts. 

Interserve's share price has been plummeting since 2014. In the last year alone, its share price has fallen by 70%. Alongside this, it has faced major financial difficulties due to delayed and cancelled construction contracts, as well as its bungled work in waste-to-energy projects in which it accrued £630 million of debt. The company has sought multiple refinancing rescue deals, but went into administration in March.


​Sodexo Justice Services is a subsidiary of Sodexo, a French multinational food, facilities and justice services multinational based in Paris.

In the U.K. Sodexo Justice Services provides a range of custodial and post-release services to the UK Ministry of Justice, particularly design, construction, management and financing of contracts for PFI prisons. It directly operates 5 UK prisons.

Sodexo also runs 6 of the 21 regional Community Rehabilitation Companies set up the Government following the privatisation of probation services in 2015.

MTCnovo is a partnership between the US prisons and skills company, Management & Training Corporation (MTC) and novo – a consortium of a number of public, private and third sector shareholders including:

RISE, a probation mutual;  A Band of Brothers, a charity with a focus on positive change for male 18-25 offenders; The Manchester College, an education services provider; Thames Valley Partnership, a charity specialising in restorative justice; and Amey, an infrastructure and construction services company.

MTC is US-based company that runs a swathe of private prisons in the United States, and contracts with the US Government to provide employment and rehabilitation services. It is the third-largest private prison provider in the United States, and has been embroiled in a number of controversies and legal actions about the conditions in some of its prisons.

MTC Novo was established to bid for the 'Community Rehabilitation Companies' (CRCs) that were formed following the privatisation of probation services. They run probation services in two of the largest CRCs: London and the Thames Valley. 


People Plus was formerly a brand of the controversial outsourcing and welfare-to-work company A4e, which was roundly criticised for the way it handled a series of DWP Work Programme contracts,  with six employees eventually convicted of fraud carried out under the programme. The company was bought by Staffline in 2015, which created the biggest Work Programme contractor at the time. Staffline's business is focussed on outsourced public services and government contracts, and is privately owned by a variety of investment funds and pension funds. 

PeoplePlus provides probation and rehabilitation services through the Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company

Purple Futures is a partnership between third-sector organisations P3, PSC, and Shelter,  and Interserve, a multinational outsourcing and construction company. Interserve has been involved in a number of controversial outsourcing and private-public government initiatives, including PFI loans for hospitals and schools and the DWP's controversial Work Programme, and provides services in health, defence and justice. Interserve is a UK plc listed on the London Stock Exchange. 

Purple Futures provides probation and rehabilitation services through Community Rehabilitation Companies in five UK regions, making it one of the largest probation providers in the country. Purple Futures runs CRCs in Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire; West Yorkshire, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Chester and Greater Manchester; and Hampshire and Isle of Wight. 


Reducing Reoffending Partnership is a joint venture between charities St Giles Trust and CGL, and outsourcing giant Ingeus. Ingeus is a UK-based, US company that specialises in outsourced employment, probation and training services, and was a key contractor for the governments controversial welfare-to-work Work Programme. It is owned by the US welfare, justice and probation company Providence Services Corporation, which is listed on the US NASDAQ stock exchange and based in Tuscon, Arizona. 

As part of the Reducing Reoffending Partnership, Ingeus provides probation and rehabilitation services in two regions in the UK: Staffordshire and West Midlands, and Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

According to its 2016 accounts, Seetec is majority owned and controlled by its managing director, Peter Cooper, who received over £1.6 million in dividends in 2016. 

Seetec is a welfare-to-work and probation services company based in Essex. It was a contractor for the government's controversial welfare-to-work Work Programme, and runs probation services through the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company. 


Working Links was established in 2000 by the Shareholder Executive (the body formerly responsible for managing UK Government investments), Manpower and Ernst & Young, to provide welfare and employability services. In 2016 it was bought by Aurelius, a European asset management and investment firm. 

Working Links is responsible for the delivery of probation and rehabilitation services through Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) in Wales; Dorset, Devon and Cornwall; and Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Working Links was also contracted by the government to help people into work through the DWP's controversial Work Programme.

In February 2019, Working Links went into administration. The collapse was in part due to their holding of three loss making contracts, which caused significant financial pressures on the company. 

But aside from the financial disaster at Working Links, the company was also mismanaging the services it was providing. On the day the company collapsed, the Chief Inspector of Probation, Dame Glenys Stacey released a damning report into one of Working Links' CRCs. 

The report identified: 

  • Aims of reducing re-offending and protecting the public were secondary to aims of avoiding financial penalties triggered by contractual targets.
  • A severe lack of staff capacity to deliver high quality services.
  • Leadership, staff, services, planning, and implementation and delivery were all inadequate.

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