Serious Further Offence reviews

Serious Further Offences are specific violent and sexual offences committed by people who are under probation supervision or have very recently been under probation supervision at the time of the offence. The probation service conducts a Serious Further Offences review in each case, which looks at the services received by the individual. HM Prison and Probation Service quality assures these reviews nationally.

HM Inspectorate of Probation does not have responsibility for conducting such reviews. However, we do have two specific roles.

Very occasionally, the Secretary of State for Justice can ask the Inspectorate to review a particular case or aspects of a case. In these instances, we publish the reports on our ‘Inquiries and reviews’ page.

Following our thematic inspection of Serious Further Offence reviews in May 2020, the Secretary of State has asked the Inspectorate to take on a new quality assurance process from April 2021:

  • the Inspectorate will examine and rate a sample of Serious Further Offence reviews (approximately 20 per cent of all submitted reviews). Our work seeks to drive improvement and increase public confidence in the quality of the reviews.
  • the Inspectorate will convene multi-agency learning panels to bring together agencies involved in specific cases to improve practice and strengthen partnership working
  • the Inspectorate will provide an annual update of this work.

Read HM Inspectorate of Probation’s annual report: Serious Further Offences (2022).

Our inspectors use the quality assurance standards to ask the right questions and look for evidence to rate the quality of Serious Further Offence (SFO) reviews. All reviews are rated overall as either ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’ as well as being rated at the level of individual standards. This will assist services in targeting their improvement activity. Our quality assurance reports clearly explain why we have given reviews a particular rating. The standards used by inspectors are guided by more detailed rules and guidance to inform the judgements made on the quality of each SFO review and ratings are assigned in line with ratings characteristics.