HM Inspectorate of Probation Quality Assurance Strategy

As part of our values, HM Inspectorate of Probation is committed to working in a respectful, transparent, professional way, listening to and sharing learning internally and externally. We recognise the impact of our inspection judgements on the services we inspect, so it is essential these judgements are based on the highest quality evidence. We have a team of staff dedicated to learning, development and quality assurance, including two full-time quality leads, who assure the case assessments undertaken by inspectors.

To ensure that all of our inspections meet the highest possible quality standards we:

  • require all new inspection staff to complete the externally accredited HM Inspectorate of Probation inspection skills certification programme within their first year of appointment, which involves their work being assured by qualified assessors
  • require all new inspectors to undertake a minimum of two weeks intensive initial training, followed by assessed practice, before being deployed on live inspections
  • have employed two full time quality assurance staff who undertake regular and robust dip sample checks on the accuracy and quality of the work done by our staff and by local assessors, which may be real-time during inspection fieldwork, or post-inspection. They can also undertake bespoke quality assurance for particular local inspections, where any concerns are raised about inspection judgements
  • support inspectors and assistant inspectors to understand where their inspection skills require development, and continuously develop and improve their inspection skills and knowledge and understanding
  • set expectations for regular staff development sessions, which include benchmarking exercises for our inspectors to ensure consistent application of our standards and guidance
  • identify areas for improvement in the inspection methodology, systems, guidance and training. And to ensure transparency about how we reach our judgements we publish the detailed guidance manuals used by our inspectors.