Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland CRC – Organisational strengths, but quality of casework must improve

Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland (DLNR) Community Rehabilitation Company was assessed as requiring improvement, the second lowest rating, in an inspection which identified a mixed performance picture.

It was well led, with a committed leadership and some considerable strengths, including the supervision of unpaid work orders and good quality Through the Gate services on offer to those being released from prison. However, these positive aspects were undermined by some deficiencies in casework, particularly involving domestic abuse.

DLNR is the second CRC owned by the Reducing Reoffending Partnership to be inspected over the past year by HM Inspectorate of Probation. Its sister CRC, Staffordshire and West Midlands, also received a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating in a recent inspection. In individual areas of performance, though, DLNR achieved more Good ratings, and fewer inadequate ratings.

Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, said there were some common themes between the two inspections.

Resources are tight in DLNR. Tough decisions have been made by the organisation, including reductions in posts and premises. To make savings, the CRC opted to use a very basic approach to assessing individuals. As a result, the information that is key to effective sentence plans is much too scant. A few months before our inspection, this practice had been changed but it was too early to see improvement.”

Dame Glenys added: “The poor quality of assessments and reviews contributed to the risk of harm not being managed properly in domestic abuse and child safeguarding cases.” This was concerning, given the recommendations the inspectorate made in the 2018 thematic inspection on domestic abuse. That inspection included a visit to Leicester, part of DLNR.

“Key findings from that inspection have been seen again in DLNR. The CRC needs to act quickly to improve its handling of risk of harm, to protect victims,” Dame Glenys said. The report noted: “We found omissions in planning to address child safeguarding and child protection risks in just under half of the cases inspected. Worryingly, in domestic abuse cases, the level of care taken over plans to keep people safe was wholly inadequate.” There were not enough home visits to assess risk and information from other agencies was sought and included in assessments “far too infrequently.”

On a more positive note, however, Dame Glenys said, “we found unpaid work and Through the Gate services to be good. People are seen quickly after sentence and offered services matched to their needs. We saw real drive from all the Through the Gate staff and a recognition that, although outcomes need to improve, they will go the extra mile to provide a good service in demanding prison settings.”

Overall, Dame Glenys said: “Leaders in the CRC are committed and passionate. They aim to provide services that will improve the opportunities of people under probation supervision to move away from crime and rehabilitate. The organisation understands its challenges well… Its attention on quality assurance and continuous improvement has ensured that contractual performance is good, and now the challenge is to lift quality.”

  • Ends

Notes to editors:

  1. The report is available at justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation at 00.01 on Wednesday 23 January 2019.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services in England and Wales.
  3. There are 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies across England and Walesresponsible for supervising low and medium-risk offenders.
  4. The DLNR 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 (CGL) – all of which are equity partners in RRP. RRP also owns the neighbouring Staffordshire & West Midlands CRC. The two are run by RRP broadly as one organisation, with one Executive Committee and one Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  5. The operating model is common to both CRCs, and policies and practices are in the process of being harmonised, where appropriate, across them. This model provides each CRC with an extensive suite of interventions from a wide range of providers, with specific arrangements and interventions for women.
  6. Fieldwork for the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottingham and Rutland CRC inspection took place in September 2018.
  7. Domestic Abuse: The Work Undertaken by Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), HMI Probation, September 2018, can be found here – https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2018/09/Report-Domestic-Abuse-the-work-undertaken-by-CRCs.pdf (PDF, 1.72 MB)
  8. The inspection report on the Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) can be found here – https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2018/12/Staffordshire-and-West-Midlands-CRC-inspection-report.pdf
  9. For further information please contact John Steele, HMI Probation Chief Communications Officer, on 020 3334 0357 or 07880 787452, or at john.steele@justice.gov.uk (E-mail address)