Kent, Surrey and Sussex probation service delivers innovative work with offenders

A probation service in the South East has been commended for its innovative work to support people to turn away from crime.

HM Inspectorate of Probation found Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) offers an “impressive” range of education, training and employment opportunities for people under probation supervision.

The CRC runs in-house training courses so individuals can gain qualifications in subjects such as construction and food hygiene. Staff arrange regular job fairs and a third of attendees were offered roles at a recent event. The CRC has also teamed up with the Police and Crime Commissioner in Surrey to improve housing provision for offenders.

Staff at the CRC have also developed a new programme for perpetrators of stalking and harassment – the first of its kind in England and Wales. Staff work with individuals on a one-to-one basis over 10 sessions to explore why they offended and to equip them with the tools they need to avoid further crimes. The programme uses similar techniques to a pilot in New York, which successfully diverted offenders away from this type of behaviour.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC helps people who have offended to gain new skills, get into work and find suitable accommodation. This type of practical assistance makes a major difference to these individuals’ lives and supports their efforts to move away from further offending.”

Although inspectors praised Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC’s commitment to innovation and strong leadership, they did have concerns about the quality of some case supervision and its ‘Through the Gate’ work with offenders leaving prison. There is a widespread shortage of qualified probation officers and the CRC has found it particularly difficult to recruit and retain staff because of its proximity to London. The CRC has decided to tackle the problem by leading the development of a new apprenticeship scheme to offer people a different route into the sector. If the scheme is successful, it could be rolled out nationally.

Mr Russell said: “There is much to commend in this CRC, including its impressive leadership, strong staff satisfaction scores and very positive reputation among partners and stakeholders.

“However, as with other CRCs we have inspected, these have not fed through into their work with individuals under probation supervision. So, for example, while a comprehensive range of services is potentially available, it was disappointing to see these were not being delivered in the inspected cases.

“The CRC also needs to improve the way they assess individuals and the potential risk that they pose. At the moment, they are failing to take sufficient account of information from partners, such as the police or children’s social services, or of past violent behaviour. We recommend the CRC strengthens this area of work to keep actual and potential victims safe.”

The CRC is owned by Seetec, a private limited company, and supervises more than 8,500 individuals across the three counties.

The Inspectorate has given Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’ and has made five recommendations to improve future performance.


 Notes to editor

  1. The report is available at on 19 June 2019 00.01.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
  3. There are 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies across England and Wales
    responsible for supervising low and medium-risk offenders.
  4. Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC supervised 8,652 individuals across the three counties as at September 2018. It works with individuals who have left or are about to leave prison, or are serving community or suspended sentences.
  5. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in February and March 2019.
  6. For media enquiries, please contact Head of Communications Catherine Chan on 07889 405930 or (E-mail address)