Inspection of adult offending work: Merseyside working well to prevent reoffending

Merseyside Probation Trust’s work with adults who had offended was of a good standard, said Liz Calderbank, Chief Inspector of Probation, publishing the report of a recent inspection of Merseyside Probation Trust.

This inspection is the second of six where inspectors are focusing on the quality of work with violent offenders, which forms a significant proportion of the work of any Probation Trust. The purpose of the inspection is to assess whether the sentence of the court is delivered effectively, and whether work with the individual offender protects the public, reduces the likelihood of reoffending and provides a high quality service to courts and victims. Inspectors also examine the extent to which workers engage positively with individuals, ensuring that they comply with their sentence and are able to respond constructively to the work designed to change their behaviour.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • work to deliver the sentence of the court was effective;
  • individuals were seen regularly and work was undertaken with them in accordance with their sentence plan;
  • a range of interventions was delivered to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, supported by effective work with other organisations at a strategic level;
  • more than two-thirds of individuals under supervision had made progress in tackling the most significant factors associated with their likelihood of reoffending;
  • the Trust was working well with partners in public protection work and had been actively trying to improve the quality of risk of harm work in individual cases; and
  • victim contact work was undertaken appropriately.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • alcohol misuse was nearly always taken into account sufficiently in assessments, but interventions to address the problem were not delivered in one-quarter of relevant cases;
  • further attention needed to be given to the quality of the initial serious harm screening and the completion and quality of risk management plans, where required; and
  • there was insufficient evidence of effective management scrutiny in nearly half of the cases classified as posing a high risk of serious harm or where there were child protection issues.
Inspectors made recommendations to assist Merseyside in its continuing improvement, including: on assessing risk of harm accurately and promptly and reviewing it as appropriate, giving additional attention to protecting children and young people and providing effective management oversight in cases classified as posing a high risk of serious harm to others.
Liz Calderbank said: 

‘We found a good standard of work undertaken with adults who had offended. We were impressed by the positive way both managers and staff engaged in the inspection process and were clearly keen to learn from our findings. Our inspection report contains a number of recommendations addressing our concerns that are designed to promote the necessary improvements.’

Notes to editors:

1. View the report (PDF, 2 MB).

2. This inspection of adult offending work in Merseyside was undertaken as part of HMI Probation’s Inspection of Adult Offending Work programme that started in April 2013 and will cover all geographical areas in England and Wales.
3. These inspections focus on issues not subject to other forms of external scrutiny:  work to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, the management and minimisation of risk of harm to the public, delivery of the court sentence effectively and providing a service to courts and victims.
4. For further information or to request an interview, please contact Jane Parsons in HMI Probation press office on 020 7035 2123 or 07880 787452.