Inspectors use our standards to assess how effectively practitioners deliver services to children and people on probation. Our standards are based upon the best available evidence and our experience of inspecting across the country.

Those in the probation and youth justice services must understand the pathways into offending behaviour and the journey to desistance. We specifically look to see if the assessment, sentence planning, implementation and planning, reviews and evaluations address a range of needs and bolster strengths in the following areas:


Image shows a range of needs for adults: Accommodation; education, training, and employment (ETE); finance, benefits and debt; relationships; lifestyle and associates; alcohol misuse; drugs misuse; emotional management and wellbeing; attitudes; thinking and behaviour

The guidance we have developed to date are:

Effective Practice Guide: Youth Resettlement (February 2023) (PDF, 2 MB)

Between January and October 2022, six youth justice services were rated ‘Outstanding’ in resettlement. This guide seeks to share the practice from these services to help improve practice in this area. We explore organisational delivery, case supervision and share the evidence base which supports effective practice.

Read the youth resettlement effective practice guide. (PDF, 2 MB)

Effective Practice guide: Mental health (February 2022)

Based on our thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, this guide explains how practitioners can support people with mental health needs. Through a series of real-life examples, handy tools and frontline perspectives, we explore what good work looks like in this area, against our inspection standards.

Read the mental health effective practice guide.

Effective practice guide: Substance misuse (January 2022)

Based on our joint thematic inspection of community-based drug treatment and recovery work with people on probation. This comprehensive guide, focusing on leadership and working in partnerships, highlights where we have seen our standards delivered well in this area of work.

Read the substance misuse effective practice guide.

Online Insights 2022 festival event: The chicken AND the egg: mental health and substance use needs in probation (May 2022)

This 1:13:50min YouTube video provides an overview of the principles of effective supervision, exploring assessments, planning, implementation and delivery and reviews, we hear about the importance of getting the sentence right, principles of effective engagement for people with mental health needs and for those with substance use needs and then we summarise to bring together the learning points.

Watch the recording and view the resources from the online event.

Effective practice guide: Integrated Offender Management (February 2020)

Based on the CJJI’s joint thematic inspection of the Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Approach, this guide explores what IOM is and how it can be delivered effectively. Through a series of cases studies, we look at IOM leadership, governance and multi-agency working.

Read the IOM effective practice guide.

Further reading

Read more about the research which underpins service and pathways here:


Specific areas of delivery (the evidence base – probation services).

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