The evidence base – probation services

We are committed to reviewing, developing and promoting the evidence base for high-quality probation services. We use both research and inspection findings to:

  • inform our understanding of what helps and what hinders probation services
  • develop our inspection programmes, guidance and effective practice products
  • consider system-wide change that could improve public protection, support desistance, and change people’s lives for the better.

In this section, we summarise key research findings, presenting them as concisely as possible.


Find out why we have published this evidence and how you can use this information.

Models and principles

Find out about the key concepts that underpin excellent probation delivery.

Organisational delivery

Find out more about how a probation service’s leadership, management and set-up contribute to high performance.

Supervision of service users

Find out more about the factors that contribute to high-quality supervision.

Specific areas of delivery

Find out more about how different factors can support service users to desist from offending.

Specific types of delivery

Find out more about a range of differing types of service delivery.

Specific sub-groups 

Find out more about working with people on probation with diverse needs and life experiences.

Please note that this evidence is not exhaustive. Additional content is planned for publication in 2021, as well as content exploring our evidence for youth justice services.

Next: Introduction