Warwickshire probation service has a ‘good foundation’ but ‘Requires improvement’.

Warwickshire Probation Delivery Unit (PDU)* has received an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’ following an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Though rated as ‘Requires Improvement’, Warwickshire PDU showed a good foundation for growth in our recent inspection. Warwickshire was the highest scoring service out of our three inspections of Probation Delivery Units in the West Midlands region, with staff showing a clear commitment to bettering the lives of those under their supervision. However, to do so, the service must address ongoing staffing issues, work related sickness and high workloads. This will allow practitioners the time and resources to deliver high-quality services to the local community.”

While inspectors found impressive working relationships between probation and other local agencies, with practitioners having direct access to the police and child safeguarding systems, there is still work to be done to ensure these information sharing arrangements are used appropriately to keep people safe. Across all the case work inspected at Warwickshire PDU, ‘keeping people safe’ was the lowest scoring aspect of case management, with only nine per cent of the inspected cases showing sufficient work had been carried out to reduce the risk of harm presented by those under supervision.

Inspectors recognised the impact that the implementation of a new probation delivery model, whilst recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, had on the service – noting their decision to delay the implementation of the new model whilst upskilling their workforce. The ongoing issues from this turbulent period were evident, with home visits still not returning to pre-Covid-19 levels and blended working arrangements meaning that staff were often not routinely in the office for more than two days a week. The negative impact of this could be seen in casework, where little was being done with people on probation and there was limited evidence of interventions being accessed through the externally commissioned rehabilitative services. However, it was highlighted that the service had ensured accredited programmes and the delivery of unpaid work orders of the court were in place and returning to the levels seen pre-pandemic.

This inspection made nine recommendations, four of which are aimed at a Warwickshire PDU, including improving the quality assurance of casework and risk management. The Inspectorate also made recommendations to the Probation Service – West Midlands region and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) regarding the use of commissioned rehabilitative services and sharing the referral data from this.


 Notes to editor

 *Probation Delivery Units (PDUs) replaced Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS), which merged into a unified Probation Service in June 2021.

  1. Warwickshire PDU sits within the Probation Service – West Midlands region.
  2. The report is available at justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation on 18 August 2022 00.01.
  3. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
  4. The Inspectorate uses a four-point scale: ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’. The Inspectorate rates specific aspects of each service and also gives an overall rating.
  5. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in June 2022.
  6. For media enquiries, please contact media@hmiprobation.gov.uk (E-mail address)