COVID-19 update (23 September 2020)

A statement from HM Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell:

In line with government guidance, HM Inspectorate of Probation suspended all face-to-face inspection activity in March 2020. Since then, we have been using video and tele-conferencing technology to conduct all of our inspections remotely.

The government has now advised people to work from home where possible for the next six months. As such, we will continue to inspect services remotely and we will not return to on-site fieldwork until it is safe to do so.

We remain as committed as ever to scrutinising the work of youth offending and probation services but recognise that a return to normal business for probation and youth offending services will take many months. Recent contingency arrangements have had a major impact on the volumes of new cases coming into these services and the way that existing caseloads are being managed. With this in mind, we will not restart our usual core local probation or youth offending service inspections until 2021, although we are inspecting a number of small YOTs over the period until the end of October this year, drawing our case samples from work that was completed before the COVID-19 lockdown was implemented in March.

We will also be conducting a number of national thematic inspections over the remainder of this calendar year, continuing to examine how probation services have coped under Exceptional Delivery Model arrangements and looking at how well prepared probation services are to transition to a new, unified offender management model in 2021. In addition, we will be looking at the quality of probation service delivery to black, Asian and minority ethnic service users and will be launching new effective practice guidance for probation and YOT practitioners. We will also be opening up new opportunities to join our team.

I would like to pay tribute to all staff in youth justice and probation services for keeping these essential services running in challenging times. I would also like to say a big ‘thank you’ to staff in the Inspectorate for adapting to new ways of working, for continuing to deliver excellent work, and for the way you have supported each other.