Covid-19 update (15 September 2021)

A statement from Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell:

The Inspectorate suspended face-to-face inspection activity in March 2020. Since then, we have published nearly 50 inspections, the vast majority of which involved conducting fieldwork remotely. Thank you to all the services we have inspected for working with us to adapt to this change. I am also grateful to the Inspectorate’s staff – your work behind the scenes is much appreciated and has helped us to fulfil our role during this difficult period.

The government has published its autumn and winter plan, so it feels like the right time to provide an update on how we propose to inspect services in the future.

Our top priority remains the health and wellbeing of our staff and those who work in, or are supervised by, inspected services. We will continue to follow the latest government guidance and take steps to conduct inspections safely.

We have decided to tailor our approach to take into account the circumstances of each inspected service. We will discuss arrangements with inspected services ahead of each inspection; we will review their workplace risk assessments and conduct personal risk assessments and use these to make key decisions. We will take various factors into account, such as any policies regarding onsite visitors and whether there are appropriate safeguards in place to allow interviews to be conducted safely. In practice, we expect this will lead to a mix of onsite and offsite inspection activity.

We continue to engage with our inspectors to promote safe inspections. This includes issuing refreshed guidance and continuing dialogue between managers and staff.

The Inspectorate will continue to monitor the situation closely and any further updates will be published on our website.