Midlands NPS - Rated 'good' with a clear strategy to protect the public and reduce reoffending

Probation inspectors found the Midlands division of the National Probation Service (NPS), supervising more than 17,000 high-risk offenders across a large and complex area, to be well led, assessing its overall performance as good, the second highest assessment.

Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, said the leadership had “a clear vision and strategy to protect the public and to reduce reoffending.”

The division, covering Birmingham, Staffordshire, and the West and East Midlands, had an appropriate range of specialist interventions to provide tailored support for individuals, to reduce their risk of reoffending and to reduce the risk of harm they presented. The volume, range and quality of services provided were found to be sufficient to meet the needs of most service users, the report noted.

Despite the overall good assessment, however, Dame Glenys outlined some serious issues identified by inspectors in August 2018.

Workloads were too high, especially for mid-ranking probation officers and victim liaison officers. Inspectors found “substantial staffing shortages.” The division is recruiting, Dame Glenys said, “but leaders do need to get professional staff numbers up to complement. More also needs to be done to redress an imbalance in workloads across the division and between groups of staff.”

The extent to which premises and offices provided an appropriate and safe environment for working with offenders varied. Some premises needed urgent repairs and improvement.  Dame Glenys said the Ministry of Justice had a role to play in improving NPS property and the facilities management contract.

Although the division was doing some good work to reduce reoffending, it would do better still if it were more consistent, with all local delivery units matching the best of them.

“And as we have said elsewhere,” Dame Glenys added, “the division and the wider NPS would benefit in our view from being clearer about the priority to be afforded by managers to quality management, quality assurance and the professional oversight of the work of individual probation workers.”

Inspectors noted, in areas for improvement in individual case supervision, that there was a “lack of responsiveness where concerning information comes to light.”

Among the Inspectorate’s recommendations to the division are that it should “ensure that interventions provided to offenders are used consistently across the division” and that “risk management plans are reviewed in response to changes in risk of harm.”


  • ENDS –


Notes to editors:


  1. The report is available at www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation at 00.01 on Tuesday 18 December 2018
  2. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services in England and Wales.
  3. The NPS comprises seven divisions: six in England and one in Wales.
  4. The NPS Midlands Division supervises over 17,500 offenders (16 per cent of the national NPS total) and employs over 1,600 full-time-equivalent staff. The divisional structure contains eight LDU clusters, plus public protection, which includes approved premises and the Serious Further Offence (SFO) team, and stakeholder engagement, which includes prisons, victims and MAPPA The Head Quarters, includes performance and quality, equalities, training, divisional corporate support, enforcement and the divisional sex offender unit.
  5. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in August 2018.
  6. For media enquiries please contact John Steele, Chief Communications Officer, on 020 3334 0357 or 07880 78745 or john.steele@justice.gov.uk