10 things I learnt from the 2020 HMPPS report

Key facts and figures from the 2019/20 HMPPS annual report & accounts.

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A more proactive, inclusive and aspirational organisation?

Last week (24 September), HMPPS published its annual report and accounts for 2019/20. As is traditional, I have picked up a few facts and figures from the 152 page document. It seems strange to think that the year under review took place almost entirely before our lives were ravaged by coronavirus.

1: Vision, principles and outcomes

HMPPS lanuched a new strategy in November last year. Its formal vision is:

Working together to protect the public and help people lead law-abiding and positive lives”.

The four principles are:

  1. Enabling people to be their best,
  2. Modernising our estates and technology, 
  3. Having an open and learning culture, and 
  4. Transforming through partnerships

HMPPS also sets itself the goal of delivering five primary outcomes:

  1. Protecting the public
  2. Reducing reoffending
  3. Decent and safe prisons
  4. Diverse, skilled and valued workforce
  5. High-quality sentence management


Those who work for and alongside HMPPS and people in prison and on probation and their families will be in the best place to judge how successful the organisation has been in living up to these principles and delivering these outcomes.

2: What is HMPPS in charge of?

The graphic below gives details of the range of custodial and probation services for which HMPPS is responsible.

3: Prison staff keep leaving

The resignation rate for frontline prison officers (Band 3-5 prison officers) was 8% in the year to 2020, up from 7.2% the previous year and 6.1% on the year to March 2018. The fact that one in 12 prison officers choose to leave the service every year continues to cause concern.

4: Budget increase

HMPPS committed gross resource expenditure of £4.5 billion. This was £0.3 billion more than 2018–19. In addition to this, £0.2 billion of capital spend was incurred.

HMPPS spent £2.975bn on prisons and £1.022bn on probation in the financial year 2019/20. A breakdown of expenditure is shown in the graphic below. 

5: Increase in staffing

HMPPS has been keen to recruit and train more prison and probation officers and has developed a new Level 3 Custody and Dentention apprenticeship as well as promoting the Youth Justice Foundation Degree qualification. Readers will be aware of government pledges to recruit a 1,000 extra probation officers.

6: More probation staff in prison

HMPPS deployed more than 400 probation officers and more 100 senior probation officers into prisons. Plans to deploy more probation staff into prison in the current financial year have been affected by the pandemic. 

7: In-cell telephony

The report says that 58% prisons and 61% cells had in-cell telephony by mid-February this year with 55 public and 13 private prisons having in-cell telephony up and running.

8: Who’s who at HMPPS?

The graphic below shows senior leaders in HMPPS.


9: Low paid staff

The median total remuneration (defined as salary, non-consolidated performance-related pay and benefits-in-kind) – in other words the average annual pay – of someone working for HMPPS (most of whom are prison staff) was £26,697 for 2019/20 ( a drop from £27,738 the year before).

10: Agency staff

HMPPS paid a total of £54.7m for agency staff costs in 2019/20, down from £62.1m the year before. Overall staff costs increased to £2.331bn compared to £2.146bn the year before – or £185m.


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