Surrey PDU rated as ‘Inadequate’

Surrey Probation Delivery Unit (PDU) has received an overall rating of ‘Inadequate’ following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

The inspection revealed motivated and committed leaders, staff and managers who wanted to make a difference in the lives of people on probation but, despite this, the management of cases was insufficient in relation to the quality of work being delivered.

Martin Jones, Chief Inspector of Probation, said: “The leadership team had focused on improving internal processes, resetting the PDU culture, and building the confidence and resilience within middle management. They also worked to ensure priorities and messages were unequivocal, and that communication was clear and relevant given the significant workload and resource pressures in the PDU.”

The report noted that these pressures – including a significant number of staff in post for less than two years – meant the PDU had been authorised by the Chief Probation Officer to operate as a ‘red’ site under the Prioritisation Framework (PF). This meant that some sentence management tasks that were not related to managing risk had been deprioritised.

Despite this, the work to keep other people safe was insufficient in the inspected cases, and where information was received from other agencies, this was not always followed up or analysed sufficiently to drive risk assessment or risk management activity.

In addition, engagement with strategic partners had been intermittent in the 12 months preceding the inspection, contributing to a significant lack of confidence in Surrey PDU from the partnership. Commissioning activity had also been deprioritised meaning that some gaps were not addressed, including services for Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals and young adults.

Mr Jones added: “A focus on the development and learning needs of staff to identify, analyse and respond to risk of harm, along with the improved use of available resources to deliver sentence plans, is necessary for the development of the PDU in managing cases robustly. With the appropriate action given to these aspects of probation work, improvements should be achieved.”


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. Surrey PDU is one of five PDUs in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) probation region. Many of the core services within the PDU are managed pan-regionally, including unpaid work, interventions, programmes, and victim liaison.
  3. The report is available at on 21 March 2024.
  4. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth justice 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 January 2024.
  7. For media enquiries, please contact Louise Cordell, Head of Communications 07523 805224 / (E-mail address)