12 things TOM2 taught me about TR

Second version of Target Operating Model issued

On 7 February, the MoJ issued an updated version of the Target Operating Model (TOM) for the new probation system. TOM2 is 74 pages long and gives a very detailed description of the current MoJ vision of how reducing reoffending will work from 2015 onwards.

The key words emphasised in the introduction are: Quality; Efficiency; Flexibility; Public Protection; Partnership and Standards.

This second version of TOM covers:

“updates made due to further developments in the detailed design, testing with Probation Trusts and discussions with the market.”

In particular, there is more detail about:

  • Restorative Justice,
  • Through the Gate resettlement service,
  • The constitution of CRCs,
  • Integration and partnership working,
  • System governance and
  • Estates

In this post, I’m not attempting to summarise the model but have picked out 12 things which were either new to me or of particular interest because of the way an issue was phrased. So here’s my list of 12 things I learnt from TOM2.


1 TOM2 is not the final version of the operating model

The introduction says that the ICT and data management section will be updated in a future version of TOM and other sections may be expanded.

2 The NPS will mainly purchase interventions from CRCs

Quote: “The NPS will supervise the offenders it manages and will deliver some specialised interventions for them, but in general it will purchase interventions from CRCs.”

3 The NPS and CRCs will both be required to have suitably qualified & competent staff

However, while the NPS will continue to use the Probation Qualification Framework,  CRCs will merely be “free to use the PQF should they choose to do so”.

4 NPS & CRCs required to deliver specific services to female offenders

These turn out to be pretty basic: “Where practicable, the NPS and CRCs will need to offer each female offender the option of a female Offender Manager and to be interviewed in a female-only environment. Female offenders should, where practicable, also have the option of not being placed in an all-male work environment as part of an Unpaid Work or Attendance Centre requirement.”

5 The NPS can’t tell CRCs what to do with offenders

Of course the courts will continue to prescribe what requirements should be in a community sentence and how long the order should last. They will be advised on sentencing by the NPS when a verbal or written report is prepared but: “this advice will not prescribe what rehabilitative activity CRCs will undertake, but rather will inform the courts about what offenders’ needs are, and what sentencing options are available.”

6 The MoJ will seek to keep new providers honest

New providers will be granted considerable flexibility in how they work with offenders (provided they meet national standards). However, CRCs must deliver the range of services which feature in their bids: “The CRC contracts agreed with MoJ will contain commitments made in bids.”

7 PCCs will commission Restorative Justice services direct from CRCs

TOM2 has more emphasis on restorative justice. Police and Crime Commissioners will commission RJ services direct from CRCs (there will be no competitive tendering) as part of their wider victims’ service grant.

8 NPS will use new Risk of Serious Recidivism tool to allocate offenders

Probation staff will soon be talking about RSRs which NPS staff will use to help decide whether offenders are high risk of serious harm (and so should be supervised by the NPS) or not (the majority who will be supervised by CRCs). The tool mainly looks at static factors but will also consider dynamic factors relating to offending behaviour which have been identified in a court report or OASys assessment.

9 NPS allocation decisions are final

There is no appealing against NPS decisions about which side of the NPS/CRC line they decide to allocate offenders. However, NOMS, which is responsible for account management of both the NPS and CRCs, will identify inconsistencies between areas and address any problems.

10 Prison contracts will be amended to encourage co-operation with TR

The Service Level Agreements (of Public Prisons) and contracts (of Private ones) will be amended to enable and incentivise resettlement prisons to work with CRCs to help provide better pre-release resettlement services.

11 Who is the host: lead provider at our resettlement prison?

Another new term. The “host: lead provider” CRC – that is the CRC in whose geographical area the prison is – will draw up a resettlement plan and deliver the plan’s immediate requirements for all prisoners – irrespective of who will supervise them on release. This includes the NPS and other CRCs into whose areas individuals are released. However, there are exceptions. A number of resettlement prisons are now “shared”; in addition to the “host: lead provider” some prisons also have another CRC nominated, confusingly, as just “host”. In these cases – the “host” CRC will provide resettlement work for its prisoners.

This is easier to explain by way of an example. The Essex CRC is “host: lead provider” for Chelmsford resettlement prison. It is also host at Highpoint, Holloway and Littlehey. At Chelmsford, it will do the resettlement work with all  prisoners; at Highpoint, Holloway and Littlehey only with those prisoners being released to Essex. An updated list of resettlement prisons has been published.

12 The regional structure of the NPS may be changed depending on who wins the CRCs

Interestingly, one of the four key principles for the design of the National Probation Service is “best alignment with CRC delivery arrangements”. This had led to an interesting proviso highlighted in TOM2:

“The final regional structure will be reviewed if necessary once CRCs have been transferred to successful bidders.”

Presumably, if one provider won a number of adjoining CPAs which didn’t fit a region, that might require a re-jig of the NPS regions?


As always, I’d be very interested in your views on this latest vision of the future of probation. Please share them via the comments section below.


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