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Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service publishes its first business plan setting out priorities and budgets.

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Planning the prison & probation business

Just before Christmas (14 December 2017) Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service published its business plan for 2017/18. A little late in the day, you might think, but then the agency only came into being in April 2017, replacing the National Offender Management Service.

In this post, I share some of the key contents of the business plan.

What HMPSS is trying to achieve

HMPPS lists five key objectives under this heading:

  1. Deliver and manage efficient and effective prison, probation and youth justice services in England and Wales
  2. Safe, secure and decent prisons and community services that protect the public
  3. Support offenders to reform through tackling the underlying causes of offending
  4. Provide a continuous path to reform by integrating the prisons system more closely with services in the community and making better use of early intervention
  5. Deliver more effective and tailored interventions for those in our care who are vulnerable or have distinct needs – such as women and young offenders.

How HMPPS will achieve it

The plan goes on to identify eight key activities which it sees as key to achieving these objectives:

  • Developing our leaders and staff by providing them with the right kind of training and development experiences
  • Setting tough standards for our leaders on what we expect them to achieve such as supporting offenders with drug and alcohol dependencies in prison or helping them find work
  • Empowering governors and probation leaders to use evidence, resources, levers and decision making authority to make the difference in reforming offenders
  • Tackling the behaviours that we know make people more likely to commit crimes
  • Delivering change and implementing reform in areas that need a national response such as:
    • recruiting an extra 2,500 officers so that every offender has a dedicated officer to supervise them and prepare them for life after prison
    • building the right estate for safety and reform supported by better technology developing a safe rehabilitative culture
  • Using community penalties and earlier interventions that have the confidence of sentencers and the public, to punish offenders, provide reparation for actions and reduce reoffending
  • Working with partners to improve resettlement and ‘through the gate’ services for prisoners on release from custody
  • By operating in line with MoJ values promoting decency and inclusivity to allow both staff and those under our supervision to expand and fulfil their potential.

There seems to be an echo here of the Justice Secretary’s speech before Christmas of the need to improve confidence in community sentences to reduce the prison population — of course, there will almost definitely need to be considerable investment in and changes made to the probation service for this to happen.


The business plan lists nine priority areas:

  1. Prison
  2. Probation
  3. Women’s Justice
  4. Youth Custody Service
  5. Security Order and Counter Terrorism
  6. Digital
  7. System Integration, Assurance, Operational Systems
  8. Joining up the System and Reducing Reoffending
  9. Prison Safety and Reform

Implementing change

The plan lists then key areas where HMPPS wants to implement significant change:

  1. Implementing a new operating model for HMPPS Agency to drive performance improvement across the system
  2. Formation of the Youth Custody Service
  3. Implementing the Offender Management in Custody model
  4. Completion of the programme to build and bring HMP Berwyn to operational capacity
  5. Complete the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Excellence (E3) programme to design and implement a New Operating Model for the NPS
  6. Implementing the outcome of the Probation Review to achieve better integration and improvement in community service interventions
  7. Delivering improved services for both EM and PECS
  8. Delivering MoJ policies on Prison Reform within the Agency, including Prison Estate
  9. Transformation, Digital Transformation and recruitment of 2,500 prison officers
  10. Embedding the new food contracts and ensuring continuity of service

Probation watchers will note that only two of these ten related to probation and that despite a commitment to “be open, honest and transparent”, HMPPS will be implementing a probation review which has never seen the outside of Petty France. (To be fair, this is of course a political, rather than HMPPS decision.)


Finally, I have picked out some of the individual targets with their milestone dates. HMPPS has committed itself to:

  • Deliver the offender management model in all public sector prisons by March 2019
  • Review the prisoners categorisation tool to better manage risk and assign individuals to lowest appropriate level of security by March 2018
  • Award grant funding to the voluntary sector to develop capacity and reform offenders by February 2018
  • Roll out the SMART tool to support probation officers to make the most effective and appropriate recommendations in pre-sentence reports by March 2018
  • Recruit an additional 2,500 prison officers by December 2018

Those interested in MoJ finances can see how HMPPS has allocated resources between its different directorates:


All prison posts are kindly sponsored by Prison Consultants Limited who offer a complete service from arrest to release for anyone facing prison and their family. Prison Consultants have no editorial influence on the contents of this site.

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One Response

  1. Bland and irrelevant to the self inflcited crisis in prison and probation, which is down to over use of custody, irresponsible cuts and botched privatisation of probation. MoJ’s plan promises nothing on these issues.

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