Inspection of adult offending work: Norfolk and Suffolk working to reduce reoffending

Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust was well led and committed to improving its work with offenders, said Paul McDowell, Chief Inspector of Probation, publishing the report of a recent inspection of Norfolk and Suffolk 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 second of six where inspectors are looking more closely at the work of Probation Trusts to protect children and young people.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • almost all reports provided sentencers with sufficient information to aid sentencing and sentencers were positive about the service they received from Trust staff;
  • the individual needs of offenders and potential barriers to engagement were identified and taken into account throughout the sentence;
  • offender managers investigated and responded to instances of non-compliance and took enforcement action where necessary;
  • a good range of constructive interventions encouraged individuals to take responsibility for their actions and maintained a focus on offending behaviour; and
  • strategic relationships with partner agencies, such as police, were strong.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • a number of reviews of likelihood of reoffending were either insufficient or not completed;
  • overall, management of risk of harm to others was not good enough;
  • initial home visits were not always carried out in high risk cases or in response to child protection concerns, nor were they repeated often enough; and
  • the Trust needed to give more priority to the safety of victims, and to take into account more often their concerns.

Inspectors made recommendations to assist Norfolk and Suffolk in its continuing improvement. These included improving the management of risk of harm to others and giving additional attention to work to protect children and young people.

Paul McDowell said:

‘There are a number of key areas on which the Trust should focus its efforts to enhance services, many of which managers have already identified and are working to improve. More needs doing to improve practices to address the risk of harm posed by offenders and the management oversight of this work. Statutory victim contact was working well in cases involving adult offenders, but other aspects of work to protect victims were not given as much priority. Review processes relating to assessment, planning and work need strengthening, especially in response to significant changes in a case. The Trust will wish to take a careful look at the quality of processes to protect children and young people and the management oversight of these. The Trust’s commitment to improvement gives us confidence that it will meet our recommendations.’

Notes to editors:

  1. The report is available at from 4 March 2014.
  2. This inspection of adult offending work in Norfolk and Suffolk 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 Jane Parsons at HMI Probation press office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452.