Transforming Rehabilitation is the MoJ’s project for the biggest overhaul of probation in the service’s 107 year history. This page is designed as a resource pack for everything to do with TR.

The central component of Transforming Rehabilitation is the split of the current probation service into two with a new National Probation Service managing high risk offenders and servicing the courts with the remaining 70% of current business – interventions and the management of low and medium risk offenders – being outsourced to new providers who will be known as Community Rehabilitation Companies.

Clinks provides a useful list of contact details for all CRCs (correct April 2016).

There are links to all the key documents below and the page is updated regularly with the latest announcements. The MoJ has recently collated some of the key policy papers on this page of its website.

The page is split into six key sections:

  1. Strategy (key policy documents)
  2. Competition (information about the TR procurement process)
  3. Operational (details about how the new system will operate)
  4. Research (TR has spawned a wide range of research about the effectiveness of different interventions designed to tackle reoffending)
  5. Probation Institute (Details of the new body to safeguard and drive best professional practice)
  6. Inspection reports and other performance findings of the new probation system

Strategy 

TheMoJ set outs its consultation paper: “Transforming Rehabilitation: A revolution in the way we manage offenders” in January 2013. It then set out its response and strategy going forward in May 2013, describing the key components of TR as:

  • A new public sector National Probation Service will be created, working to protect the public and building upon the expertise and professionalism which are already in place.
  • For the first time in recent history, every offender released from custody will receive statutory supervision and rehabilitation in the community.  We are legislating to extend this statutory supervision and rehabilitation to all 50,000 of the most prolific group of offenders – those sentenced to less than 12 months in custody.
  • A nationwide ‘through the prison gate’ resettlement service will be put in place, meaning most offenders are given continuous support by one provider from custody into the community.  We will support this by ensuring that most offenders are held in a prison designated to their area for at least three months before release.
  • The market will be opened up to a diverse range of new rehabilitation providers, so that we get the best out of the public, voluntary and private sectors, at the local as well as national level.
  • New payment incentives for market providers to focus relentlessly on reforming offenders will be introduced, giving providers flexibility to do what works and freedom from bureaucracy, but only paying them in full for real reductions in reoffending.

Competition

The formal contract notice was published on 19 September 2013; England and Wales were divided into 21 Contract Package Areas.

35 organisations entered the TR competition and 30 of these were adjudged by the MoJ to meet the PQQ criteria.

On 29 October 2014, the MoJ announced its preferred bidders to run the Community Rehabilitation Companies in these areas. The eight new providers of probation were confirmed when the contracts were signed on 18 December. as shown in my map below.

As you can see, the big winners are:

  • Sodexo and NACRO have been successful in six CRCs
  • Interserve who are leading partnerships in five CRCs
  • MTCNovo, a Joint Venture between MTC and a number of other organisations, have won London and Thames Valley.
  • Working Links are the preferred bidders in three CRCs.
  • The Reducing Reoffending Partnership (a Joint Venture between Ingeus, St Giles Trust and CRI) will run the two large Midlands CRCs (Staffs & West Mids and Derby, Leicester, Notts & Rutland).

A probation staff mutual was part of the winning bid with Working Links although the mutual’s primary service delivery function will be in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall only. Two probation staff Community Interest Companies are part of the winning partnerships in Durham Tees Valley and London respectively.

I suggest you click on the map or download it to make it easier to read, especially if you’re on a tablet or phone. The map is from the NAO report on TR published in April 2016.

CRC winners NAO

 

Resettlement Prisons

A key component of the reforms is the new focus on providing statutory supervision and support for short term prisoners (those serving less than one year) on their release. To facilitate pre-release planning, the MoJ has designated 71 custodial establishments as resettlement prisons, you can find a full list here (updated February 2014 to show which CRCs will have a “host:leader” or “host” presence). They have also designated all women’s prisons as resettlement prisons following a review of the women’s custodial estate published in October 2013.

A mixed economy

The MoJ has placed great emphasis on wanting a mixed economy of providers from the private, public and voluntary sectors and published a Principles of Competition document setting out its vision.

However, existing probation trusts are not allowed to compete for their existing work; although they are able to develop mutual organisations which can come into existence if they are successful in winning the bid for their current probation area. The Cabinet Office is providing some support for those probation areas which are developing mutuals, via their mutual support and information service and dedicated funding.

The MoJ has also provided support for voluntary sector organisations wishing to provide services for TR. They provided funding for a series of events to equip the voluntary sector with the necessary skills and knowledge to become TR providers, typically as Tier 2 or 3 providers. Further details here.

Timescale

Transforming Rehabilitation was implemented very rapidly as this NAO graphic shows:

NAO TR procurement

Payment mechanism

The MoJ made it clear from the outset that the primary purpose of TR was to reduce reoffending and that contracts would be let within a payment by results approach. The precise balance between the Fee for Service element of the contracts and the payments conditional on reducing reoffending rates has yet to be decided.

The MoJ published its original payment mechanism in May 2013 and received a great deal of, mainly, negative feedback. In early October, it published its response to this feedback and indicated the directions it was pursuing in developing a final payment mechanism.

If you’d like to know more about Payment By Results, check out my free resource pack here.

The first reconviction data was published on 27 October 2017 which resulted in 13 CRCs being paid for reducing reoffending, six receiving no payments and two being fined for an increase in rates. Read a detailed analysis here.

Operational

To date, there is limited information about the vision of new provision. To an extent, this is because the MoJ is encouraging the market to develop new and innovative approaches to reducing reoffending. It is expected that more detail about key national standards for the new system and arrangements for how the Probation Inspectorate will inspect the new provision will emerge during the Invitation to Negotiate stage – see the Timeline graphic above.

The MoJ has, however, published three iterations of the Target Operating Model which sets out the proposed structure of the new system. The second was published in May 2014 and further updates are expected.

On 21 November 2013, the MoJ published guidance about which Statutory Partnerships and Responsibilities it would require the National Probation Service and the new Community Rehabilitation Companies to participate in.

Reoffending research

The Ministry of Justice has published a range of new research in an attempt to make the current evidence base widely visible and encourage new research around what works in reducing reoffending.

In April 2013, it launched the Justice Data Lab.

The data lab is a service open to any organisation working with offenders which wants to evidence how effective their work is at reducing reoffending. To use the service, organisations simply supply the data lab with details of the offenders who they have worked with and information about the services they have provided. The justice data lab will then supply aggregate one-year proven re-offending rates for that group, and, most importantly,  that of a matched control group of similar offenders. The first set of published results was disappointing, but the MoJ has ramped up this area of work and now publishes reports on the second Thursday of every month.

In September 2013, the MoJ published a summary of the evidence base around what works in tackling re-offending. The report had three key sections:

  1.  Information on reoffending, including factors linked to reoffending and those associated with desistance
  2.  A description of the features of effective working with offenders
  3.  Evidence on specific approaches to reducing reoffending

In October, NOMS published four rapid evidence assessment reports on intermediate outcomes and reoffending. Rapid evidence assessments are a form of shortened, systematic review of the research literature. The four reports focused on these key areas:

  • Arts Projects
  • Family and intimate relationship interventions
  • Mentoring
  • Peer relationships interventions

In November, the MoJ published results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction survey of adult prisoners sentenced in England and Wales. A number of documents were published at the same time, the three major ones were:

There were a number of additional reports on the same page which profile the prison population in terms of disability, pre-custody ETE status and childhood and family backgrounds.

Probation Institute

The Probation Institute was launched on 3 December 2013. It is a joint initiative between the Probation Chiefs Association (PCA), Probation Association (PA), Napo and UNISON, working with the Ministry of Justice which  opened its doors in Spring 2014.

The Institute aims to be:

“a recognised centre of excellence on probation practice, applying rigorous standards to the assessment of research and other evidence and its implications for the delivery of services that protect the public and rehabilitate offenders.   It will develop a strong probation profession across private, public and voluntary sectors.”

You can find further details at its website.

Inspection findings

The first inspection looking at the implementation of TR was published on 14 December 2014 — after the service had split into the NPS and 21 CRCs, but before the new providers had started operating. The report focused on three main issues:

  1. Case allocation
  2. Court work, assessment and allocation
  3. The commencement of orders

You can read my summary (and find a link to the full inspection report) here.

The second inspectors’ report on TR (published May 2015) found there were still major implementation problems. The report, the first from new Chief Inspector Paul Wilson, found:

  • Serious problems with the new Risk of Serious Recidivism tool
  • It was common for significant sections of the Case Allocation System form to have no information
  • Staff from both the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies continue to be obstructed by poor IT
  • There were not sufficient resources invested in one third of CRC cases
  • Relations between staff in the NPS and CRCs remained “very positive”.

You can read my summary (and find a link to the full inspection report) here.

The third report (10 November 2015) focused on work undertaken at the point of sentence and allocation by the NPS, work undertaken by the CRCs and the NPS to manage offenders, and the interfaces between the two organisations in respect of enforcement and risk review.

The Inspectors’ overall conclusion reflected their continuing concerns about the new system; particularly around risk, and, most seriously, around risk to children.

You can read my summary (and find a link to the full inspection report) here.

The fourth report followed just two months later (15 January 2016) and noted some areas of progress but highlighted persistent concerns about the difficulty in sharing information between the NPS and CRCs.

You can read my summary (and find a link to the full inspection report) here.

Also in January 2016, the probation inspectors published their thematic inspection of the delivery of unpaid work which found examples of high quality work, but generally poor compliance practice and little or no integration of unpaid work into broader probation supervision.

The fifth and final inspectors’ report on the implementation of TR found that the NPS and CRCs were working better together, but some significant problems remain. The report was produced by Dame Glenys Stacey, the new HM Chief Inspector of Probation, who identified court work, staff training and morale and the new through-the-gate service as areas of particular concern. She also warned CRCs that they needed to pay more attention to the quality of work they are delivering.

You can read my summary (and find a link to the full inspection report) here.

Readers might also be interested in an official account of the history and performance of TR published by the House of Commons Library and covering the period from late 2013 to early 2016.

HMIP has also published a number of thematic inspections since TR; the most important of which are probably the inspection on women offenders (September 2016) and the two inspections on through-the-gate work for short term prisoners (October 2016) and TTG for those serving more than 12 months; both of which were blunt in their condemnation of the lack of effective practice. The inspection of the new rehabilitation activity requirements (RARs) in February 2017 was extremely critical, concluding that less rehabilitative work was being done under new probation system.

Area Inspections

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation started inspecting individual areas again in summer 2016. Since the division into NPS and CRCs, HMIP inspects on a police service/Police & Crime Commissioner area which means that many inspections cover only part of a CRC. Below is a full list of inspections and a link to my summary of the relevant inspection report

  1. Durham                                   August 2016           My summary
  2. York & North Yorkshire       August 2016           My summary
  3. Derbyshire                              September 2016    My summary
  4. Kent                                         October 2016         My summary
  5. North London                       December 2016     My summary
  6. Staffordshire                         January 2017         My summary
  7. Greater Manchester            February 2017        My summary
  8. Gwent                                     April 2017               My summary
  9. Northants                              April 2017               My summary
  10. Suffolk                                    June 2017               My summary
  11. South Yorks                          June 2017                My summary
  12. Gloucestershire                   August 2017            My summary
  13. Cumbria                               October 2017           My summary
  14. West Mercia                        November 2017      My summary

I have summarised the main findings of these first 14 inspections in the infographic below:

The Inspectorate is also changing the way in which it is conducting inspections, introducing new standards and a rating system. From April 2018, inspections will be based on CRC areas rather than PCC ones. You can contribute your views on what the new standards should be any time before 8 December 2017.

Justice Committee Inquiry

The House of Commons Justice Committee launched an inquiry into the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation Programme on 12 October 2017. . The inquiry will focus on how current Government measures are effectively addressing the challenges facing the probation services and what more needs to be done in the short-term to improve the probation system. Submit your views by 17 November 2017.

Public Accounts Committee Report (23 September 2016)

In a very critical report, the Public Accounts Committee expressed concerns about the slow pace of implementation of TR and the lack of reliable data to make an informed assessment of its performance:

The Committee concludes that the Ministry of Justice has yet to bring about the promised ‘rehabilitation revolution’, which it must deliver at the same time as implementing other far-reaching reforms.

The Committee questions the effectiveness of changes to the system, for example the impact on reoffending of extending supervision to offenders sentenced for less than 12 months.

It also highlights the wide variation in the quality of arrangements to provide continuity between rehabilitation within prison and the community.

National Audit Office report (28 April 2016)

“Prospects for success not clear for two years at least”  was the overall conclusion of the National Audit Office report on the new probation system. The report, entitled simply “Transforming Rehabilitation” examines the progress of the new split probation service to date and seeks to assess what value it provides for public money.

Surprisingly it found that the newly privatised Community Rehabilitation Companies are performing better in some key areas than the still public National Probation Service.

The NAO says that it is too early to make a definitive judgement about the success of the TR project but does identify five fundamental issues which need addressing:

  1. CRC business volumes are much lower than the Ministry modelled during the procurement, which, if translated into reduced income, would affect the ability of CRCs to transform their businesses. The volume reductions vary greatly, from 6% to 36%.
  2. CRCs are paid primarily for completing specified activities with offenders rather than for reducing reoffending, which also risks hindering innovative practice.
  3. The NPS has higher than predicted caseloads and faces a difficult further period of change if it is to play a fully effective role in the new Transforming Rehabilitation model.
  4. Arrangements to resettle offenders ‘Through the Gate’ are still in their early stages.
  5. The Ministry has more work to do to sustain the supply chain of mainly voluntary sector bodies now working to CRCs and the NPS.

For a full summary of the report, check out my blog post here.

The NAO also produced an excellent infographic summarising their conclusions:

TR NAO infographic

[Page last updated 9 November 2017]