MoJ Analytical Service reports show importance of Probation Practice and Skills to Reduce Re-offending


The Ministry of Justice Analytical Services have published two Analytical Summary reports showing how important professional probation practice is at reducing re-offending.

The first report, Does Supervision After Release From Prison Reduce Re-offending?, shows that those sentenced to under 12 months in custody, who currently receive no probation supervision upon release,  are more likely to re-offend than those who receive mandatory probation supervision during a period of licence upon release.

The second report, Reducing Reoffending by Offenders on Community Orders; Preliminary findings from the Offender Management Community Cohort study, highlights the importance of building positive relationships with the offender manager to reoffending rates and behaviour patterns.

Savas Hadijpavlou, Probation Chiefs Association spokesperson, said: “Short-term prisoners currently have no probation intervention and the highest rates of re-offending. The Government is making changes so that all prisoners are subject to a combination of community supervision and licence lasting at least 12 months from release. We would encourage the Government to work with the probation profession to help safely implement their proposals to extend probation supervision to the ‘under 12 month’ cohort, and build upon probation’s best practice and skills.”

The Offender Management Cohort Study highlights how important the relationship between the offender and probation officer is at reducing re-offending. We believe that the creation of a Probation & Offender Rehabilitation Institute would maintain and develop these important skills and practices, by upholding a set of professional standards that all providers of probation services could follow, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and research over ‘what works’. The PCA are working with a wide range of stakeholders to explore the creation of such an Institute”

PCA response to Institute for Government’s report ‘Making public service markets work’


The PCA  would like to draw attention to today’s publication of ‘making public service markets work’ by the Institute for Government (IfG).

The IfG report looks at successive Government approaches to changing public services through commissioning and outsourcing, and draws on probation and the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms as a major case study.

Concerns are raised by the IfG, including that the Government’s current approach to the outsourcing of probation under Transforming Rehabilitation is “inherently risky” (p116). In particular, the PCA shares the core messages and concerns that emerge from the IfG’s report, over:

  • The ambition of the scale and timetable for the reforms, with all 21 of the new contracts for managing low-medium risk offenders in the community (approx. 80% of Probation Trust’s current caseload) to be completed by summer 2014. The IfG report recommends that “a safer route would have been to sequence carefully the changes,” rather than undertake such a ‘big bang’ in outsourcing all contracts at the same time.
  • Difficulties in measuring outcomes of reducing reoffending in binary terms for a single provider, when successful rehabilitation is often dependent on addressing multiple needs/issues across a range of public services, e.g. complex health issues, lack of job skills, homelessness.
  • That past history of large-scale commissioning and outsourcing of public services by Government departments shows that mistakes are  made.  The IfG report encourages the Ministry of Justice to pay careful attention to the continuity of service, and allowing “as much flexibility as possible to enable rapid learning and adaptation” when risks and mistakes in commissioning and the emerging new market become apparent.

HMI Probation publish their Annual Report (2012-13)


Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation published their annual report today.  The report recognises the excellent work that probation professionals currently do to reduce reoffending rates and increase public protection, alongside critical but constructive recommendations for further improvements. Continue reading here

16th Annual Bill McWilliams Memorial Lecture


The 16th Anuual Bill McWilliams Memorial Lecture was held at the University of Cambridge on the 28 June 2013, and was supported by the Probation Chiefs Association.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Paul Senior, Director of the Sheffield Hallam Centre for Community Justice, who reflected upon the history, ethos and skills of the Probation Service in England & Wales, and the possible implications of the current Transforming Rehabilitation agenda.

To view the lecture please follow the link below:

The annual lecture is in rememberance of Bill McWilliams, who died in 1997, after a prestigious and extensive career as a probation practitioner, researcher and writer, remembered in particular for his work on the ideas which have shaped probation’s development.