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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

How well is your probation service performing?

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Probation league table - updated 26 September 2019

Similar to the regular football season, we have had to wait nine months to see which “team” has ended up at the top of the probation league table. 

With the publication of the inspection report into the Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset & Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company on 26 September 2019, all 21 CRCs and seven NPS divisions have now been inspected under the new inspection methodology.

Congratulations to the Midlands Division of the National Probation Service.

Rather soberingly, just one CRC was rated “good”, one “inadequate” and the other nineteen areas as “requiring improvement”. On the NPS front, five areas were rated as “good” and “two as requiring improvement”.
 
Although I’m not an instinctive supporter of league tables for public services, I think there is real value in comparing the performance of probation services, given the scrutiny following the implementation of the new public/private system known as Transforming Rehabilitation.

The (totally unofficial) league table I’ve constructed below enables three types of comparisons:

  1. How National Probation Service divisions and Community Rehabilitation Companies compare with their peers.
  2. How NPS divisions are performing compared with the CRCs in their area.
  3. How probation organisations compare in different areas of performance: leadership, case assessment, court reports, unpaid work etc.

The league table benefits from the robust new scoring methodology adopted by Her Majesty’s Inspection of Probation earlier this year. The new system involves inspecting a single organisation (either a CRC or an NPS division) and giving that organisation one of four overall ratings: outstanding; good; requires improvement or poor.

Inspectors give individual ratings for ten different domains set out in detail in the infographic below but covering three main headings:

  1. Organisational delivery
  2. Case supervision
  3. NPS/CRC specific work

As you can see from the league table below, most, but not all NPS divisions are out-performing CRCs by a substantial margin.

Perusing the table does throw up some interesting features; for instance 23/28 probation providers (NPS and CRCs) are rated good or better for leadership. On the other hand, every CRC was rated as requiring improvement or inadequate in the key tasks of implementing and delivering supervision and for reviewing cases.

Given that CRC’s successors, to be known as “Innovative Partners” (although I hear this term may well be changed), will be delivering Unpaid Work (and accredited programmes) via 12 regional contracts, you can also cast your eye down column 4.1 to see how well CRCs are doing the job at the moment.

Related posts you might like:

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All Probation Posts are sponsored by Unilink

With over 20 years’ experience in the criminal justice sector, Unilink is a world leader in probation and community corrections software applications, as well as prisoner self-service, prisoner/case management and prisoner communications. Unilink’s integrated suite of products provide a complete digital solution enabling efficient running of prisons and probation. Underpinned by biometrics it integrates seamlessly to deliver security, efficiency and value – while being proven to help rehabilitate prisoners.

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