HM Inspectorate of Probation: Probation services still in transit

Transitional problems associated with recent changes to probation services under Transforming Rehabilitation have been substantial and persist, but should be resolved in time, said Chief Inspector of Probation Paul Wilson. However, it is too early to say whether the changes have had any effect on reoffending rates, or produced greater innovation, he added. Today he published HM Inspectorate of Probation’s annual report.

In 2014-15, HMI Probation continued to make good progress on the longer-term regular inspections of youth and adult offending work. This work included:

  • continuing with a risk-proportionate programme of Inspection of Youth Offending Work, completing six full joint inspections and 31 short quality screenings;
  • conducting an audit of workloads held by probation trusts, followed by an audit of the way cases had been transferred to the National Probation Service (NPS) and which to the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs);
  • completing 14 inspections under a programme of Inspection of Adult Offending Work;
  • completing 43 inspections of offender management in prisons, jointly with HMI Prisons; and
  • publishing five thematic reports, led by HMI Probation, on girls in the criminal justice system, child protection arrangements in probation trusts and Youth Offending Teams, the contribution of Youth Offending Teams to the Troubled Families initiative, the effectiveness of resettlement arrangements for children released from custody, and the second part of an inspection on people with learning difficulties in the criminal justice system.

In 2015-16, HMI Probation will continue to develop a new inspection model which will be piloted in the first half of the year. The inspectorate will continue to give a prominent focus to the issue of public safety, developing arrangements to improve practice in public protection.

Paul Wilson said:

“Our early Transforming Rehabilitation reports highlight significant operational and information-sharing concerns across the boundaries of the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies, and continuing frustration with old case management systems. We have found probation areas that had struggled to deliver a quality service prior to Transforming Rehabilitation are now finding it hardest to adapt and cope with the reforms. The correlation between historical performance of former probation trusts and progress made with Transforming Rehabilitation implementation extended into the important issue of staff morale. This speaks to the urgent and continuing need to support the necessary improvement in the quality of leadership and management.

“However, with time and continuing goodwill I believe these transitional problems can be resolved. The much bigger challenge for 2015 and beyond will be to turn the rhetoric of innovation and the long-advocated extension of services to short-term prisoners into hard evidence of effectiveness and reduced rates of reoffending. This will be the true test of Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. A copy of the annual report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Probation website at from 0930 on 11 August.
  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
  3. Paul Wilson took up post as interim HM Chief Inspector of Probation on 19 February 2015.
  4. Please contact Jane Parsons in HMI Probation Press Office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452 if you would like more information.