Five unions – GMB, Napo, PCS, UNISON and UCU – are urging the two candidates in the running to replace Mark Drakeford as first minister to continue pushing for the two services to become part of the Senedd’s remit.
In 2022, a report from former UK prime minister Gordon Brown recommended that an incoming Labour government in Westminster should “embark on the devolution of youth justice and probation service”.
Unions want the two leadership candidates, Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles, to stick with the campaign championed by Mark Drakeford for the Wales government to make the key decisions regarding probation and youth justice across the country.
The five say it makes no sense for these important services to be run 150 miles away in London. Both services must be devolved to Wales, urge the unions.
UNISON Cymru Wales head of police and justice Simon Dunn said: “Wales should be responsible for running its own probation and youth justice services. Politicians in Cardiff understand the issues affecting essential services in Wales far better than their counterparts in Westminster.
“Whoever succeeds Mark Drakeford must keep flying the devolution flag for both key services. The public will want to know where the candidates stand on this important issue.”
Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Napo expects both leadership candidates to commit to working towards devolution of probation and youth justice.
“Napo members are clear, the probation service in Wales and England is in crisis. It must be untethered from the Westminster civil service, and separated from the prison service, or the damage will be irreversible.
“After the Tories’ botched reforms, this is a heaven-sent opportunity for a Labour government to start to right the wrongs of Chris Grayling’s catastrophic transformational reform debacle.”