All the latest on TR:

This Transforming Rehabilitation Resource Pack is continuously updated with key policy announcements, results, inspections etc. TR started in 2014, the CRC contracts were cut short in July 2018 and offender management was returned to the National Probation Service in May 2019. All feedback gratefully received.

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Origins

Transforming Rehabilitation was the MoJ’s project for the biggest overhaul of probation since its origins in 1907. The MoJ published the original consultation paper: “Transforming Rehabilitation: A revolution in the way we manage offenders” in January 2013 before setting out a strategy in May of that year, 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.

As a result the probation service was split into the National Probation Service which serviced the courts and supervised all high risk offenders and 21 new, private Community Rehabilitation Companies who supervised medium and low risk offenders. The new providers started work in February 2015.

Problems

You can see a full timeline below which details a number of critical reports; the final blow was probably the Chief Inspector of Probation, Dame Glenys Stacey’s annual report published in December 2017 which concluded that:

  • TR was not working.
  • The Community Rehabilitation Companies in particular were under-funded.
  • Any probation system which does not guarantee consistency in offender manager-offender relationships is unlikely to work
  • Any model which abandons specialist interventions for offenders which have been proved to be effective is flawed.

Acknowledgement of problems

 Justice Secretary David Gauke acknowledged these failings on 27 July 2018 and announced major changes including the cutting short by 14 months of the CRC contracts and a re-modeling of TR, although at this stage the MoJ remained committed to a split public/private system. 

On the same day, the MoJ published a public consultation into the future of probation which ended on 21 September 2018.

Ongoing Crisis

On 15 February 2019, Working Links which operated three CRCs in the South-West and Wales went into administration, the same day that Probation Inspectors rated the service in Dorset, Devon & Cornwall as inadequate. Seetec, the company which runs the CRC in Kent, Surrey & Sussex took over responsibility.

On 15 March 2019, Interserve, which operated five CRCs under the Purple Futures brand, also went into administration. The company will be sold to its lenders and change name with the CRCs (and other businesses) continuing to operate, at least in the short term.

The number of critical reports continued:

  • The National Audit Office warned the government about continuing with a split system in their extremely critical  progress review of TR published on 1 March 2019.
  • Chief Probation Inspector Dame Glenys Stacey annual report published on 28 March described TR as irredeemably flawed.
  • The Public Accounts Committee published a further progress review of TR on 3 May which found probation to be underfunded, fragile and to have lost the confidence of sentencers.

Reverse

On 16 May 2019, Justice Secretary David Gauke announced a major change in the TR model. The MoJ accepted that the split private/public model was not working and announced that all offender management work would be returned to the public sector National Probation Service. Under the revised model, each of the eleven NPS regions in England and Wales will have a dedicated, private or voluntary sector ‘Innovation Partner’ – responsible for direct provision of unpaid work and accredited programmes. The MoJ also announced that the new model will give local criminal justice partners a direct role in commissioning services together with the NPS. 

It took the Ministry a long time to come to this decision and it is clear that there remain many details to be worked out. No new target operating model was published published alongside the announcement and the MoJ has provided only a little additional information about what happens next:

  • The Ministry of Justice will now run a period of market and stakeholder engagement to finalise these proposals, including on how services will be tendered to providers.
  • A commercial competition will launch later this year for providers to bid for to source the necessary rehabilitative services.
  • Offender management in Wales will be integrated on a quicker timescale, by the end of 2019.
  • Three launch events to discuss the reforms in more depth will be held week commencing 27th May in London, Cardiff and Manchester and will be open to stakeholders.

Consultation on Next Stage

The MoJ still intends to base the new model, at least partly, on its formal consultation issued in July 2018 and the response to it. From the end of May 2019 it is holding a number of market engagement events whose details you can find here.

The events are a combination of face-to-face presentations around the country and online webinars and include:

  • Dynamic Framework design 
  • Dynamic Framework payment and performance
  • Dynamic Framework commercial design
  • Dynamic Framework Day One services
The MoJ is publishing slides from these events as they proceed. The following slides have already been published:
 

The proposed future model for probation

On 14 June 2019, HMPPS published more information on the next iteration of the “probation reform programme” with a document entitled: The Proposed Future Model for Probation: A Draft Operating Blueprint.

The Blueprint sets out more detail on what the probation system will look like once CRC contracts come to an end in Spring 2021 and it builds on the proposals set out in the consultation response. HMPPS says the model in the Blueprint will be further refined over the next few months.

The summary included in the blueprint pretty much replicates the Justice Secretary’s announcement of last month:

  • Responsibility for offender management returns to the NPS.
  • There will be ten NPS regions in England and one region in Wales, each to be overseen by a regional probation director.
  • There will be new national standards for offender management which focus on the importance of the quality of offender engagement and the form and frequency of contact with offenders, along with clear frameworks for staffing ratios and caseloads.
  • NPS staff will be responsible for co-ordinating resettlement.
  • There will still be considerable outsourcing with Unpaid Work and Accredited Programmes tendered out on a regional basis to “Innovation Partners” and resettlement and other (non-accredited) interventions commissioned by a new “Dynamic Framework”.
  • HMPPS is also committed to new legislation to recognise probation work as a professional vocation with a regulatory framework.
  • The blueprint also pledges new performances measures for both the NPS  and new private/voluntary sector providers.
  • Finally, there is a commitment to a better IT system.

The blueprint contains a graphic of the overall structure of the proposed new probation system which is reproduced below:

Procurement Timeline

Transforming Rehabilitation Timeline

Key reports

You can read my blog posts summarising the main milestones and reports on Transforming Rehabilitation by clicking in the grid below. The reports are in reverse chronological order, the most recent first.

Current CRC providers

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 the 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 (but went into administration on 15 Feb 2019, with Seetec taking over).
  • 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.

The 10 new CRC areas (+ Wales)

Current Performance

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

The league table is updated on the publication of every new area inspection report.

Further Resources

You can find further information and keep up with all the latest news and developments in the world of probation via the three main sections below.

HM Inspectorate of Probation Reports

Click here to see my summaries of all HMI Probation reports since the launch of TR.

Probation practice & Research

Click here to see all the latest developments in probation policy, practice & research.

Transforming Rehabilitation

Click here to see all the original official MoJ documents for the initial launch of TR.

This page was last updated on 19 June 2019.

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