Early Implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation - challenges remain, says Chief Inspector

Adult probation services under the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme presented a mixed picture, said Paul Wilson, Chief Inspector of Probation. Today HM Inspectorate of Probation published a second report on the early implementation of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme.

The report, Transforming Rehabilitation – Early Implementation 2: an Independent Inspection of the Arrangements for Offender Supervision by HM Inspectorate of Probation relates to findings from inspections undertaken between December 2014 and January 2015. Inspectors looked in more detail at the Risk of Serious Recidivism tool which helps inform whether cases are allocated to a Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) or remain with the National Probation Service (NPS).

Prior to June 2014, probation services in England and Wales were delivered by 35 Probation Trusts working under the direction of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) introduced a programme, Transforming Rehabilitation, to change the way those services were delivered. A newly created National Probation Service was set up to focus on work with high risk of serious harm offenders and providing advice to courts on sentencing. Most other work with low and medium risk of serious harm offenders is now delivered by Community Rehabilitation Companies .

Overall, inspectors found that many of the challenges identified in the earlier inspection remain. There is still the need for IT systems to better support the way adult probation services are ordered and delivered. A number of tasks at the pre-allocation stage are time consuming and not streamlined. There are now effectively two risk screening tools, the Case Allocation System and the Offender Assessment System. Many of the NPS and CRC staff interviewed expressed doubts about the value of completing the Risk of Serious Recidivism tool at the pre-allocation stage for certain categories of offenders who were automatically going to be earmarked to one or other of the organisations.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • most cases were allocated to the correct organisation in a timely way;
  • where risk escalation processes were started these were generally carried through swiftly; and
  • the small sample of offenders who were interviewed gave positive comments, despite the changes of supervisor experienced by some of them as a result of the NPS/CRC reorganisation.

In order to drive improvements, inspectors made a further 20 recommendations, including suggesting that NOMS streamlines its processes for completing Risk of Serious Recidivism, and considers reviewing its guidance so that the tool does not need to be completed for cases that will automatically be retained by the NPS. This would save time at court where NPS staff already have to undertake additional tasks as a result of Transforming Rehabilitation.

Paul Wilson said:

“Given that we are still in the early stages of the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation, it is not surprising that we found many of the challenges identified in our original report still remain. In what is clearly a fast moving and complex programme of reform, this inspection confirmed that it will take time for a number of the issues to be resolved. It is also true to say that some of the challenges identified by our inspections pre-dated the introduction to Transforming Rehabilitation, and some of the issues are in the process of being addressed. On the ground too, National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Company staff are working collaboratively to ensure a good standard of delivery of services.

“There is much still to do to streamline processes and reduce bureaucratic burdens that could stifle innovation. There remains too the need to continue to review and improve IT systems and processes, so that this supports the business of delivering effective, quality services to offenders that contribute to reducing reoffending and the protection of the public.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. A copy of this report can be found on HM Inspectorate of Probation’s website at http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation from 19 May 2015.
  2. HMI Probation is an independent inspectorate, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, and reporting directly to the Secretary of State on the effectiveness of work with adults, children and young people who have offended, aimed at reducing reoffending and protecting the public. Further information about the work of HMI Probation is at http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation.

Please contact Jane Parsons in HMI Probation Press Office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452 if you would like more information.