Consultation on Expectations for leadership

HM Inspectorate of Prisons is currently consulting on a change to Expectations for prisons holding men and women and establishments holding children. This involves adding a set of expectations on leadership which inspectors will use to write a new section of our reports. The existing ‘leadership and management’ expectations (currently within each of our healthy prison tests) will no longer be used.

We have chosen to strengthen our inspection in this area because we believe the quality of leadership is one of the most important factors in driving improvement and ensuring better outcomes for prisoners. We want to use our reports to encourage effective leadership practice.

The leadership expectations have been developed independently following a period of research and consultation with prison governors and prison group directors. They are underpinned by human rights treaties and standards.

These expectations are not prescriptive about leadership style, because we recognise that different approaches may be appropriate in different prisons at different times. Instead, they describe four generic leadership practices which enable organisations to perform well:

  1. direction
  2. engagement
  3. enabling
  4. continuous improvement.

In these expectations, the term ‘leader’ refers to anyone with leadership or management responsibility in the prison system. We will direct our narrative at the level of leadership which has the most capacity to influence a particular outcome.

Our judgements about leadership will take a narrative form and will not result in a score.


Thank you to everyone who submitted feedback.

Draft expectations for leadership (Word file) (31 kB)