Chief Inspector of Probation reappointed

The Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland has announced the re-appointment of Justin Russell as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation for a further two-year term. Mr Russell’s current tenure runs until 31 May 2022; his second term will run from 01 June 2022 to 31 May 2024.

Mr Russell said: “I am delighted to be reappointed as Chief Inspector of Probation for another two years during this crucial period of probation reform. The services we inspect play a vital role in society – yet this work is not always recognised or understood. We will continue to promote excellence in probation and youth offending work to ensure individuals with complex needs get the right support to move away from further offending and that the public are protected.”

Mr Russell’s reappointment comes as probation services across England and Wales undergo major reforms. Probation services were split up in 2015 under Transforming Rehabilitation, with a National Probation Service supervising high risk of harm individuals and 21 privately-run Community Rehabilitation Companies supervising low and medium risk of harm individuals. From 26 June 2021, all probation services will be unified and returned to the public sector – a change that will affect more than 220,000 people on probation, as well as thousands of staff and specialist providers.

The Inspectorate plans to inspect every local unit (known as a probation delivery unit) during Mr Russell’s second term. This will provide a comprehensive picture of the new Probation Service’s performance following unification. The Inspectorate will also complete its current programme to inspect every youth offending service in England and Wales.

New initiatives launched during Mr Russell’s first term will continue into the Inspectorate’s future work including a commitment to better identifying and disseminating effective practice, a greater voice for people on probation in the Inspectorate’s inspection methodology, and a new inspection focus on whether probation leads to better real life outcomes for people under supervision.

Further reading: