London Community Rehabilitation Company - notable improvement from a very low base but much still to do

The company running probation services for nearly 30,000 offenders in London has made clear and at times impressive progress since an inspection in 2016 disclosed numerous problems, a new inspection report has found.

However, in some key areas of work, the improvement means the London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) has only reached national average standards which in themselves are unacceptably low, according to the report published by HM Chief Inspector of Probation, Dame Glenys Stacey.

The 2016 inspection covered north London only. The 2017 inspection was pan-London and scrutinised far more cases. Dame Glenys said the London CRC had used the 2016 recommendations as a catalyst for change, moving from an operating model which grouped offenders in London-wide cohorts, according to age and gender, to a more traditional approach based on local teams, working with local agencies.

As in all inspections, HMI Probation applied key tests for the London CRC in its work with offenders:

  • Protecting the public. Here, inspectors found the quality of public protection work was variable and not of an acceptable standard overall. The report noted: “The CRC has made clear progress since 2016 and the quality of work is improving but it is still not satisfactory. Senior managers acknowledge that they are still implementing effective risk management arrangements…In too many cases, there was an inadequate response to public protection concerns, and too few included interventions focused on protecting those at risk of harm.” Inspectors noted that the evidence suggested the CRC was not treating child safeguarding work as a priority.
  • Reducing reoffending. Inspectors found the quality of work was not acceptable. “We found significant improvements in several aspects of practice but, overall, services did not sufficiently support rehabilitation. Our inspection findings showed that the quality of work was close to the national average for those CRCs that we have inspected. Although that level of performance is not in itself acceptable, this is impressive progress in a short period of time.” A greater proportion of people were receiving specialist services (interventions) than in 2016, though this still fell short of being satisfactory.
  • Abiding by the sentence of the court. The quality here was acceptable overall – with the exception of poor supervision of unpaid work orders – and most individuals abided by the conditions of their sentence. The CRC took appropriate action in response to non-compliance, and undertook enforcement when appropriate in most cases. Contact levels were also generally satisfactory. Dame Glenys said that, with the more conventional model, “Londoners under probation supervision are now being seen, and seen sufficiently regularly, in the main.”

The London CRC still relied “too much for comfort” on agency staff and was in the middle of a large-scale performance improvement project. However, it was now turning its attention to two other key tenets of good probation services: local strategic partnerships, and the range of specialist services (interventions) required to make a real difference to people’s lives and prospects.

Dame Glenys added: “Critical relationships with local strategic partners suffered under the CRC’s previous operating model, but CRC leaders are taking the opportunity now to re-energise these essential networks.”

Inspectors noted that the consistent provision of specialist services is particularly difficult in London, where the funding and other priorities of 32 individual boroughs and the Mayor’s office can differ. However, the CRC had “well-developed” plans to increase the range and quality of its rehabilitative services.

Overall, Dame Glenys said:

“Individual caseloads have reduced when compared with those we saw in North London a year ago. We gauge that staff morale is better overall. And… we are in no doubt that the quality of work has improved from a very low base, and is still improving. Public protection and rehabilitative work are still not good enough, but rehabilitative work is at least comparable in quality to the average in other CRCs we have inspected. That is not acceptable – as that average is itself unacceptable, in our view – but it is a notable improvement and achievement for this CRC and its staff. There is much more for this CRC to do, but it has made significant progress over the last year.”

– ENDS –


Notes to editors:

  1. The report is available at at 00.01 on Thursday 8 March 2018
  2. This is the second HMI Probation inspection of probation services delivered by the London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). The first (in 2016) examined the work delivered by both the London CRC and the National Probation Service (NPS) (London division) across eight boroughs in the north of the capital.
  3. Because of concerns about the quality of work at that time, particularly the work of the CRC, HMI Probation undertook to revisit London the following year. In 2017, it inspected the work of the two organisations separately, across the whole of London. The NPS inspection was published in January 2018 and is here -
  4. The London CRC has the largest number of individuals under supervision of all the 21 CRCs in England and Wales. The CRC is owned by MTCnovo, a company created specifically to own CRCs. The company comprises an American parent company (Management and Training Corporation) and a new UK-based company (novo). In the United States of America, MTC manages private prisons and provides services to help people learn new academic, technical and social skills. In England, MTCnovo also owns a neighbouring CRC, Thames Valley.
  5. CRCs supervise medium and lower-risk offenders. The London CRC was supervising around 29,400 people (18% of the national CRC caseload) in 2017[1].
  6. For further information please contact John Steele, HMI Probation Chief Communications Officer, on 020 3334 0357 or 07880 78745, or at

[1] Offender Management Caseload Statistics as at 30 June 2017, Ministry of Justice.