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10 things I learnt from the 2018 HMPPS Annual Report
What has Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service been up to and how did it spend its £4.6bn budget?

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Prison and Probation performance

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service has just (28 June 2018) published its annual report and accounts for the financial year 2017/18. Here are ten things that I found of interest — I hope you do too.

1: HMPPS has more staff

In addition to the much trumpeted recruitment of 2,500 new prison officers to reverse the cuts of recent years, HMPPS has also recruited 1,000 new probation support officers and trainee probation officers.

2: Offender management in custody

OMiC (the scheme which intends to give every adult male in the estate one to one sessions every week with a band three prison officer, known as a key worker) has been delayed once more by under-staffing but is now being “implemented across the estate”.

3: Prison maintenance problems

In addition to the liquidation of Carillion which was responsible for prison maintenance in half the country, HMPPS admitted to being behind on its own planned maintenance work and being unable to close  Hindley and Rochester prisons because of a rise in the prison population.

4: Private probation

The report says that HMPPS contract management teams have imposed 67 contractually binding “improvement plans” on CRCs for failing to meet contract requirements — 38 of these have been completed and removed with the remaining 29 still in place.

5: Recalls rise – but more slowly

The number of recalls to custody increased by 1.6%  mostly accounted for by Offender Rehabilitation Act (ORA) recalls which increased by around 13% from 7,818 to 8,825. Recalls of offenders sentenced to 12 months and over decreased by around 5% from 13,741 in 2016 to 13,089 in 2017. About 43% of all recalls in 2017 involved charges of further offending. The number of recalls involving female offenders increased by 20% in 2017 from 2016, again largely because of ORA with women disproportionately likely to be sentenced to short sentences. 

6: Who’s who at HMPPS?

The organisational chart reproduced below is the latest official information on senior managers at HMPPS.


7: Prison safety continues to decline

Assaults have increased to 29,485 (an increase of 13%) in the 12 months to December 2017. Serious assaults increased by 10% in the same period to 3,856. Assaults on staff increased by 23% to 8,429. However, the number of suicides fell from 115 to 69; still, obviously, 69 too many.

8: 42% HMPPS budget is on staff

This is the quoted figure but the actual proportion is much higher as the contracts for CRCs, Prisoner Escort and Custody Services, Offender Learning and Electronic Monitoring also involve the costs of employing many thousands of workers.

9: Staff sickness improves

Sickness rates improved markedly last year with the average number of working days lost per year falling from 10 to 9.1 for public sector prisons and 11.5 to 10 for the National Probation Service.

10: Probation completions

The NPS improved the percentage of Community Orders and Suspended Sentence Orders successfully completed from 71.4$ to 73.2% while CRC performance on the same measure fell sightly from 78.2% to 78%.


The 2018 edition of  the Criminal Justice Management Conference will offer delegates up-to-date and cutting edge case studies, providing expert advice and guidance. This year’s conference is taking place on 19 September in London. Click here to receive a £100 discount.

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