Chief Inspector and Senior Management Team

Chief Inspector

Justin Russell, HM Chief Inspector of Probation

Justin joined us as Chief Inspector in June 2019, on a three-year fixed term. Justin’s previous role, from 2016 to the beginning of 2019, was as Director General, Justice Analysis and Offender Policy at the Ministry of Justice.

Justin started his career as a social researcher in the Home Office and has worked on a wide range of criminal justice issues including as a Senior Policy Adviser on home affairs in the No10 Policy Unit and as Head of the Violent Crime Unit in the Home Office where he led the Ending Gang and Youth Violence Programme and the government’s strategy on ending violence against women and girls. From 2012 to 2016 he was a Director at the Department for Work and Pensions where he led the production of the 2013 White Paper on state pension reform and was Director for disability employment and support.



Marc Baker director operations

Marc Baker, Director Operations

Marc joined the Inspectorate on 1 May 2018, he has over 20 years experience in Change and Programme Management from Ofqual where he was Chief Operating Officer. Prior to this, he spent two years as a Programme Director with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and many years as a management consultant working in a number of organisations including NATO, the City of London Police and the Financial Conduct Authority.


Dr Louise Falshaw, Director Strategy & Research

Louise Falshaw joined the Inspectorate in 2018 from the Youth Justice Board where she was Director of Partnerships and Performance. She has twenty years’ experience working in criminal justice, with a background in forensic psychology and social research. Louise has held multiple, increasingly strategic roles in Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, HM Prison Service, HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and HM Courts and Tribunals Service.


Heads of Functions

Andy Bonny, Head of Operations Management

Andy joined the Civil Service in 1987 and has worked in a number of departments including what was then the Department for Social Security, the Home Office, as well as the Ministry of Justice. Andy joined HMI Probation in 2000 as Deputy Audit Manager for the Audit of Accredited Programmes.

He is now Head of Operations Management with oversight for support services as well as being responsible for the scheduling and resourcing of inspections.


Catherine Chan, Head of Communications

Catherine joined HMI Probation as Head of Communications in 2018. Catherine originally trained as a journalist before embarking on a career in public sector communications. She held senior roles in three Whitehall departments and has worked across the full range of communications disciplines (strategic communications, media, digital, stakeholder engagement and internal communications).

Catherine has significant experience of changing public attitudes and behaviours. She has led high profile campaigns to increase support for international development, inspire households to switch energy suppliers, and encourage people to save in workplace pensions. She is a member of the Government Communications Service’s Northern steering group, which supports government communicators to access learning and development opportunities.


Helen Davies, Head of Thematic & Joint Inspections

Helen has over twenty years’ experience of working within the Criminal Justice System as both a practitioner and senior manager. Starting her career as a probation officer, Helen then moved to set up and manage a youth offending team. Later, as Head of Improvement at the Youth Justice Board, Helen led the youth offending team national performance improvement programme.

Helen joined HMI Probation in 2009 and has been responsible for inspections across all programmes.  In her current role, Helen works closely with other inspectorates within criminal justice and child protection. Helen is a fluent Welsh speaker and has responsibility for HMI Probation’s Welsh Language Scheme.

Sally Lester, Head of NPS Inspection

Sally qualified as a probation officer in 1981, and worked in Greater Manchester, West Midlands and North Yorkshire, latterly as Assistant Chief Officer. She moved to HMI Probation in 2004, and was Assistant Chief Inspector responsible for the adult inspection programme until 2014 when she had a year on secondment as joint head of the National Offender Management Service Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements team, before returning to HMI Probation. Sally has also undertaken short-term project work in several other jurisdictions, including Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria and Albania.

Alan MacDonald, Head of YOT Inspections.

Alan has worked for the Probation Service for 37 years in a wide variety of operational, strategic and national roles. In 1998 he was seconded to the National Probation Directorate to develop accredited offending behaviour programmes and the following year he was appointed to HM Inspectorate of Probation where he set up a team (and developed the methodology and standards) to inspect the delivery of these programmes. In 2001 he was promoted to Assistant Chief Inspector of Probation and in this role led a large range of adult, youth and thematic inspections.

In 2010 he was appointed the European Union Resident Twinning Adviser to the Albanian Ministry of Justice where on a two-year secondment he helped them establish a newly created Probation Service. In 2013 he was honoured by the Albanian Minister of Justice in recognition of the work of his project. On his return Alan managed both thematic and youth inspection programmes before being seconded to the National Audit Office for one year (2017) participating in a range of studies and investigations and learning about their methodology and approach to assessing value for money in different Government departments.

From 2018 Alan has assumed responsibility of the new Youth Offending Inspection programme.

Helen Mercer, Head of Policy and Standards

Helen has twenty years experience in the youth justice sector in practitioner, senior managerial, performance inspection, and strategy and policy roles across community and custodial settings. Helen holds a BA (Hons) degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and a Masters in Probation Studies. Helen is a qualified probation officer. Helen joined HMI Probation as an Inspector in 2014 and took up post as Assistant Chief Inspector (Youth Justice) in February 2015. Prior to that Helen was part of the senior management team at the Youth Justice Board. In this organisation Helen headed up the resettlement strand of the Transforming Youth Custody programme and was responsible for both establishing the first ever resettlement consortium in Greater Manchester and the subsequent development of further consortia across England and Wales.



Dr Robin Moore, Head of Research

Robin joined HMI Probation as Head of Research in 2015. He provides strategic direction to the Inspectorate’s research team and oversees the research and analytical support to adult, youth and thematic inspections. Robin has over 15 years experience of managing and conducting quantitative and qualitative research projects. Previously he was Head of the Research Programme within NOMS and Chair of the National Research Committee which quality assures internal and external research projects across prisons and probation. During his time in the Civil Service and academia, Robin has published a range of articles, reports and book chapters on offender assessment, intensive supervision and financial penalties. He is the lead author of a book on managing persistent and serious offenders in the community.



Helen Rinaldi, Head of CRC Inspection

Helen worked for over 20 years in HM Prison Service, latterly as a governing governor, Helen was appointed as an Inspector in 2010 and an Assistant Chief Inspector in 2014.

Following a period with responsibility for developing and delivering HMI Probation’s Quality & Impact inspections, Helen now leads on the annual inspection of probation services provided by the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies.


Liz Smith, Head of Inspection Methodology and Assurance

Liz joined the world of probation as a volunteer in 1980, and then worked as a PSO, PO, and SPO, covering tasks including Unpaid Work, Programmes, Approved Premises, and Magistrates and Crown Court Liaison. As an Assistant Chief Officer, she managed a large rural LDU, and led her Probation Trust on public protection and safeguarding. She was involved in joint regional quality improvement projects between prisons and Probation Trusts in the Midlands. Since joining HMI Probation in 2013, Liz has led inspections in the adult and youth sectors, and has taken the lead on POMI (joint work with HMI Prisons). She also designed and led the two thematic inspections on Through the Gate resettlement services.


Steve Woodgate, Head of Training and Development

Steve grew up in Metro-land. In 1981 he left an unpromising career as biological scientist to join the probation service, and qualified as a probation officer. Steve worked in Inner London, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire services, before moving in 2001 to the National Probation Directorate to pursue a passion for developing accredited programmes – including drink drivers and unpaid work. He also led on work to implement the 2003 Criminal Justice Act. Interests include groupwork, residential services, court work, mental disorder (and afternoon tea). Steve has also undertaken short-term project work in Albania, Bulgaria and Romania, but concludes Manchester is a nicer place to work in the winter. For many years he has lived in Chesterfield, the only UK town with a twisted spire on its parish church.