A statement from HM Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell:

Following the latest government guidance on social distancing and recognising the very significant pressures that local probation and youth justice services will be under over the next three months, HM Inspectorate of Probation will be suspending all face to face inspection activity from Monday 23 March.

Inspections which have recently been announced for London NPS, Warwickshire and West Mercia CRC and Peterborough YOT will, therefore, be postponed and we will not be announcing any new probation or youth justice service inspections that would have involved our inspectors undertaking fieldwork over the period through to the end of June. Inspection activity this week, where our inspectors are already on site and where the local service has agreed to this, will continue. With the consent of local managers, we are aiming to complete fieldwork on our remaining live inspections next week remotely through Skype or telephone interviews.

In addition, some Inspectorate staff with operational experience have volunteered to return to frontline probation services. We will free up as many staff as possible to assist services during this time.

We will continue to pay close attention to the government’s advice on COVID-19 before making any decision to restart our inspection programme. Our top priority is everybody’s health and wellbeing.