Probation service for Wigan ‘Requires improvement’

The probation service, or Probation Delivery Unit (PDU*), in Wigan has been rated as ‘Requires improvement’ following an inspection by HM Inspectorate of Probation.

This inspection was one of three carried out in the Probation Service – Greater Manchester region recently. The other two are Manchester North PDU and Tameside PDU, which both received an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’ (also published on 25 May 2023).

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Wigan are a well-managed probation team who are dedicated to protecting the public. However, they need more probation officers and some of their current staff are relatively inexperienced. Time, and investment from HMPPS should help them realise their ambitions.”

The inspection found that Wigan PDU is taking a lead in tackling homelessness in the area, by their management of people leaving custody. It has strong links with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, via the reducing reoffending partnership, and has two specialist accommodation workers to find suitable housing for those in need. We also found that arrangements with the youth offending service (YOS) to help children transition to probation, and the development of staff skilled in understanding childhood trauma, were very positive and an example of innovative practice.

However, we did find that management of the potential risks of harm people released from custody may pose needs to improve significantly, particularly in relation to domestic abuse enquiries with the police, which was not done in two-thirds of the cases we inspected.

Mr Russell continued: “There is no doubt that homelessness, or lack of proper accommodation, for people leaving prison can lead to further offending and this puts the public at risk of being victims of crime. Wigan PDU are working hard to tackle this, but more work is needed in other areas. The risk of harm a person may pose is paramount, so responding to enquiries with children’s services and domestic abuse checks with police must be the rule and not the exception.”

Wigan PDU and the Greater Manchester regional probation service received seven recommendations following this inspection, including to improve understanding of the discrimination and inequalities faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and people on probation, to make sure that there is equal access to services for people on probation. Two additional recommendations were made to HM Prisons and Probation Service to ensure PDUs in the Greater Manchester region are sufficiently resourced with the right staff to protect the public.


Notes to editor

  1. *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.
  2. This probation service sits within the Probation Service – Greater Manchester region.
  3. These reports are available at on 25 May 2023 00.01.
  4. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
  5. 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.
  6. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in March 2023
  7. For media enquiries, please contact (E-mail address)