Inspection of adult offending work: York and North Yorkshire working well to reduce reoffending

York and North Yorkshire Probation Trust’s work with offenders was of a high standard overall, said Liz Calderbank, Chief Inspector of Probation, publishing the report of a recent inspection of York and North Yorkshire Probation Trust.

Inspections 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. This inspection is the first of six where inspectors are looking more closely at the work of Probation Trusts to protect children and young people. It looks at work with a range of people who have offended. In each case inspectors expected to see an assessment of whether the individual may present a risk of harm to a child, and appropriate action taken where required.

In all cases inspectors consider the management of risk of harm to others and the progress in addressing factors that have contributed to the offending behaviour, thereby reducing the likelihood of reoffending. Inspectors also consider the extent to which management arrangements have supported those working with offenders.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • reports to court were of a good quality and sentencers were satisfied with them;
  • work to support individuals was built into sentence plans and throughout sentences, efforts were made to overcome barriers to engagement;
  • offender managers had regular supervision, including observation of practice, which promoted improvements in practice;
  • a good range of constructive interventions encouraged individuals to take responsibility for their actions and maintained a focus on offending behaviour;
  • the Trust had made significant progress in the quality of its risk of harm work and in most cases, the risk of harm an offender posed to others had been managed effectively; and
  • child protection and safeguarding was given a high priority at all levels and work to protect victims was of a good standard.

However, inspectors also found that:

  • reviews of assessments and plans needed attention, particularly in response to significant changes in offenders’ circumstances or behaviour; and
  • more attention to seeking out information from other agencies was needed, in particular from police domestic violence units and children’s social care services.

Inspectors made recommendations to assist York and North Yorkshire in its continuing improvement. These included: seeking information from children’s social care services to ensure work is based on an awareness of child protection issues and reviewing risk of harm plans in response to significant changes.

Liz Calderbank said:

‘We found that although some aspects of practice needed attention, overall work with offenders was delivered to a high standard, and we considered some aspects of the work to be excellent. The Trust provided strong strategic leadership and enjoyed the respect and confidence of its partners and staff. Managers throughout the Trust encouraged innovative practice and their quality performance arrangements had clearly contributed to the encouraging findings of this inspection.’

Notes to Editors

  1. A copy of the report (PDF, 2 MB)
  2. This inspection of adult offending work in York and North Yorkshire 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 please contact Alex Pentecost at HMI Probation on 0161 240 5336. To request an interview, please contact Assistant Chief Inspector of Probation Alan MacDonald on 07917 073528.