Probation inspector leaves post

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Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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The Chief Inspector of Probation has resigned from his post over fears his wife’s job could create a conflict of interest.

Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling today announced that Paul McDowell is standing down.

It comes after it emerged that Mr McDowell’s wife Janine is the deputy managing director of private justice company Sodexo, which won contracts to run probation services in England and Wales.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Mr Grayling said: “I wish to inform the House that Mr Paul McDowell has tendered his resignation from his post as Chief Inspector of Probation.

“As I discussed with the Justice Select Committee on 2nd December and covered in subsequent correspondence with the committee chair, an issue arose about a potential perceived conflict of interest for Mr McDowell given his wife’s employment with Sodexo, and their role as a provider of probation services.

“I have considered carefully all of the potential mechanisms and systems that could be introduced and used to manage any actual or perceived conflict of interest.

“However, Mr McDowell has decided that, in the circumstances, he will resign.

“Throughout this process Mr McDowell has acted with utter transparency and professionalism.”

Mr Grayling praised Mr McDowell’s “assured leadership and the grounded independence” in his work.

He stressed that vetting processes were properly followed when Mr McDowell was appointed in November 2013.

The minister added: “I regret that circumstances have changed and are now such that we have reached this position.

“At time of his appointment, Mr McDowell’s position was fully reasonable and the appropriate pre-appointment processes in place at that time were properly followed.”

He said the justice select committee will be involved in the appointment of a permanent successor.

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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