Durham Tees Valley CRC - strong organisation capable of addressing weaknesses in case management

Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) was assessed by probation inspectors as ‘Requiring improvement’, the second lowest rating, despite its clear organisational strengths.

HM Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said that governance at the CRC, which supervised 3,729 people at the time of the inspection in November 2018, was sound.

Senior leaders understood the challenges faced by the organisation. “Unusually, they have full control over strategy, policy and the budget. There is a strong and positive organisational ethos. Leaders and staff aim to improve the life chances of those under probation supervision and contribute to their rehabilitation.”

The report found staff felt proud to work for DTV CRC. Unlike in some other CRCs – Durham Tees Valley is the tenth to be inspected in 2018-19 – professional staff were “not overburdened with large caseloads.”

The CRC is structured with a number of community-based ‘hubs’, with a strong emphasis on local face-to-face engagement with offenders.

Despite these strengths, however, Dame Glenys added, inspectors still rated the CRC as ‘Requiring improvement.’

“When we last inspected this CRC, in 2016, we found its quality management arrangements wanting. Regrettably, that is still the case.” This was despite the particular importance of effective quality management in such a dispersed, local hub-based delivery model.

Team managers in the CRC had a broad range of responsibilities and this dilutes the attention given to overseeing practice. We also found that assessment and planning need to improve.

“Not enough attention has been given to risk of harm and safeguarding issues, from day one and throughout the life of cases, and this has not been identified and addressed systematically. Poor record keeping and poor case review practices are commonplace. We also noted that some case managers have gaps in their knowledge and skills relating to risk of harm and safeguarding,” Dame Glenys said.

The CRC was recommended, in particular, to improve its work in cases involving domestic abuse and child safeguarding. The report noted: “DTV CRC’s caseload analysis indicated that there is a trend towards more violent offending. Domestic abuse featured in 40 per cent of cases. Safeguarding was an issue in 10 per cent of cases. The operating model should see such cases allocated to experienced probation officers; however, the allocation process leads, on occasion, to complex work being allocated to insufficiently experienced or knowledgeable staff.”

The CRC’s supervision of court-imposed unpaid work orders was assessed as good, though its ‘Through the Gate’ services to those leaving prison required improvement.

Overall, Dame Glenys made clear the Inspectorate’s view that the CRC should be able to improve its casework quality:

“The organisation promotes a culture of learning and improvement. With its strong ethos and the clear commitment of staff, challenging but achievable caseloads, and the scope of authority that its leaders enjoy, much better service provision is certainly within this CRC’s grasp.”


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Notes to editors:


  1. The report is available at justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation at 00.01 on Wednesday 6 March 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 Wales responsible for supervising low and medium-risk offenders.
  4. Fieldwork for the Durham TV CRC inspection took place in November 2018.
  5. Durham Tees Valley (DTV) CRC has a contract to provide probation services across the Durham and Tees Valley areas. The CRC is wholly owned by Achieving Real Change in Communities (ARCC). ARCC is a not-for-profit consortium comprising nine partners from different sectors. These include local authorities, charities, other philanthropic bodies and social enterprise organisations providing wrap-around services. ARCC was set up specifically to bid for the DTV contract and is the only staff mutual proposition (from the former Probation Trust) that was successful in securing a contract. ARCC has no other business interests.
  6. For further information please contact John Steele, HMI Probation Chief Communications Officer, on 020 3334 0357 or 07880 787452, or at steele@justice.gov.uk (E-mail address)