Category Archives: HM Probation Inspectorate

North London Probation Services – Unacceptable Service Putting Public At Risk Say Inspectors


Probation services in the north of London had deteriorated and work by the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) responsible for managing low and medium-risk offenders was poor. People were more at risk as a result, and this was unacceptable, said Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation. Today she published the report of a recent inspection of probation work in the north of London.

The inspection looked at the quality and impact of probation work carried out by the CRC and National Probation Service (NPS) and assessed the effectiveness of work undertaken locally with people who have offended.

Delivering probation services in London is challenging. Around 17% of all those under probation supervision nationally live in the capital. Probation services in London have long struggled with high workloads. Inspectors last inspected London probation services in 2014, when services did not compare well with others in England and Wales, but the basics of probation were being delivered sufficiently well in most cases.

This more recent inspection found that the quality of the work of the CRC was poor. There was some good practice by individual officers and managers but generally, practice was well below standard and poorer than any other area inspected this year. A combination of unmanageable caseloads, inexperienced officers, extremely poor oversight and a lack of senior management focus and control meant some offenders were not seen for weeks or months, and some were lost in the system altogether.

The CRC’s operating model has led to noticeable disparities in individual workloads and other operational difficulties. The simple lack of management attention to whether offenders were attending and being challenged appropriately about the reasons for their offending was the most striking finding of the inspection and not acceptable.

The National Probation Service was delivering services better, but with plenty of room for improvement. The quality of work was mixed, but inspectors were pleased to find that, overall, public protection work was satisfactory. The CRC and the NPS were working reasonably well together although the delivery of court services was not entirely without problems.

Inspectors made recommendations which included the CRC making every effort to reduce caseloads to manageable levels and setting clear priorities for casework, providing all staff with supervision and support and ensuring all departments prioritise the operational delivery to service users.

Dame Glenys Stacey said:

“Delivering probation services in London is never an easy task, but services have deteriorated of late, largely due to the poor performance of the London Community Rehabilitation Company. Services are now well below what people rightly expect, and the city is more at risk as a result. We expect the company to make every effort now to deliver the inviolable requirements – the basics of probation – consistently well, and as quickly as possible. We welcome work begun during our inspection to begin to bring about much needed improvements, and will be back in 2017 to check on progress.”

The report is available at from 15 December 2016.

CRC and Through The Gate: “Delivery is poor and little to commend.”

The report reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons. Under the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, all prisoners sentenced to 12 months or less are now subject to 12 month’s supervision by probation services on release. This means that an extra 50,000 extra people are now supervised, an increase of… Continue Reading

Good relationship with key worker pivotal in turning young people away from crime

One positive and sustained relationship with a youth worker can make all the difference in helping young people leave crime behind, said Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation. Today she published a report on the effectiveness of practice in Youth Offending Teams (YOTS), looking at the main themes which desistance research has identified… Continue Reading

Little or no progress at all in moving young offenders to adult probation services say Inspectors

Little progress has been made in improving the preparation and planning for young people to move from youth offending services to adult probation services and this can affect their rehabilitation, said Alan MacDonald, Assistant Chief Inspector of Probation. Today HM Inspectorate of Probation published the report of an inspection of transition arrangements. Today’s report, Transition… Continue Reading

HM Inspectorate of Probation reports on early implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation – transitional issues remain‏

Adult probation services under the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme had seen some improvements but more needed to be done, said Paul Wilson, Chief Inspector of Probation. Today HM Inspectorate of Probation published a fourth report on the early implementation of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme. The report, Transforming Rehabilitation – Early Implementation 4: an Independent… Continue Reading


Although some unpaid work was well managed and well delivered, much of it was simply not good enough, and its potential to rehabilitate was not always exploited, said Paul Wilson, Chief Inspector of Probation. Today HM Inspectorate of Probation published a report on unpaid work, the most frequently imposed requirement of a community sentence.  … Continue Reading

Probation Chief Resigns – but what took so long?

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… Continue Reading

Prisoners should have internet access says Chief Inspector

Prisoners need greater access to new technology to assist with their rehabilitation, as long as the risks are carefully managed, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he spoke at the Modernising Justice through Technology, Innovation and Efficiency conference in London. Referring to the findings of a joint report by the Prison Reform Trust… Continue Reading

Integrated Offender Management has potential but more evidence of its effectiveness is needed, say Inspectors

The approach that sees police officers, probation staff and other agencies work together to manage offenders in a co-ordinated way is promising and has potential, said independent inspectors. Today they published the report of a joint inspection into integrated offender management (IOM), but added that a better understanding was needed of its effectiveness. Integrated Offender… Continue Reading

Offenders with learning disabilities being ignored say inspectors

The needs of many people with learning disabilities are going unnoticed when they are arrested by police, go to court and are sentenced, according to independent inspectors. They have published the report of a joint inspection into people with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system which said their needs should be recognised and addressed.… Continue Reading