Thanks to angrymammal for drawing my attention to this article in the Sunday Times - in the run-up to the Third Reading of the Offender Management Bill, the prisons minister Gerry Sutcliffe MP asked his officials to identify Chief Probation Officers who were for or against the legislation. Ostensibly this was to use those who were more in favour to act as 'champions' in persuading recalcitrant Labour backbenchers - clearly politicising civil servants - but there's also an obvious, threatening implication for the job security of those who have been more critical.
The Home Office reportedly insisted that "It is normal that the opinions of stakeholders are canvassed and assessed before a Bill is published as often they are on the front line delivering the policies" - unfortunately, whilst they did indeed consult when the White Paper was published, they chose not to listen to the 700+ respondents who criticised the proposals, compared to the 4 who were in favour. More meaningless guff from the Home Office. Still, it does at least show how frightened they were about the potential rebellion.