Staffordshire & West Midlands CRC - Quality affected by highest workloads inspectors have seen

Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) had strong leadership and some good aspects but the quality of its delivery of supervision was undermined by excessive workloads, probation inspectors found.

The workload in the CRC, responsible for supervising 13,531 offenders, was the highest seen in the six CRCs inspected since April 2018 by HM Inspectorate of Probation. The CRC covers Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Coventry and Solihull.

Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, said the CRC had been given a ‘requires improvement’ rating – the second lowest assessment.

“There are some good elements of delivery across the organisation, and leadership is strong and provided by a dedicated and motivated management team. The individual workloads of probation professionals are, however, the highest we have seen so far in the current inspection programme and this is clearly affecting the quality of work.”

Dame Glenys said that she had already made the importance of an adequately resourced probation system clear to the Ministry of Justice, which has negotiated contracts with 21 CRCs in England and Wales.

“With a severely stretched workforce, staff morale and sickness levels deteriorate, day-to-day practice becomes overburdened by firefighting, effective engagement with training, policies and guidance reduces and, consequently, individuals subject to probation supervision are let down. It is also extremely difficult to keep the public safe.

“We have found that here in Staffordshire and West Midlands. I am particularly concerned that risk of harm is not being prioritised in the assessment, planning and delivery of services.”

The report noted: “Two-thirds of staff interviewed told us that their workload was unmanageable and this is not surprising; a high proportion of them had more than 70 cases, and the majority, particularly those managed by probation officers, were complex.” Inspectors were concerned about inadequate work to assess domestic abuse and child safeguarding concerns.

Despite the effects of heavy workloads, however, Dame Glenys said the CRC “should be commended for what it is achieving in difficult circumstances. I am impressed by the CRC’s approach to engagement at a strategic level, using feedback from those under probation supervision to improve services when it can.

“And this CRC is employing some people who have previously been subject to probation supervision, demonstrating a commitment to changing lives and showing what individuals can do when we all try.” Supervision of unpaid work orders from courts was also good.

Lastly, Dame Glenys added, “I am impressed by the quality of management information available to leaders here, and the way they have used it to improve the CRC’s contract performance over the last 12 months. Leaders across Staffordshire and West Midlands are focused now on improving the quality of work, and no doubt the right management information will prove valuable.”

– Ends –


Notes to editors:

 The report is available at at 00.01 on Wednesday 19 December 2018.

  1. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services in England and Wales.
  2. There are 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies across England and Wales responsible for supervising low and medium-risk offenders.
  3. The Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC is wholly owned by the Reducing Reoffending Partnership (RRP), itself made up of three organisations: Ingeus (a private company); and two charities, St Giles Trust and Change, Grow, Live . RRP also owns the neighbouring Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & Rutland CRC.
  4. Fieldwork for the Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC inspection took place in September 2018.
  5. For further information please contact John Steele, HMI Probation Chief Communications Officer, on 020 3334 0357 or 07880 787452, or at