HMI Probation Annual Report 2014 – 15

The annual report was published 11th August 2015 and Napo had hoped that it might give us some formal evidence to support the anecdotal evidence we have been collecting and hearing from members. However, although the report mentions an inspection carried out in 5 areas between December 2014 and Jan ’15, it largely reflects back on an earlier report published in May which collated evidence from an inspection last year just after the split had occurred.

The report in May gave 67 recommendations, some of which required urgent attention, for example workload pressures on SPO’s in the NPS and the lack of case oversight they are able to give to staff due them having to grapple with HR issues and non-practitioner tasks as a result of the split.   Other areas of concern will come as no surprise to members; IT issues and lack of training, overly complex processes such as RSR and case allocation that are more long winded and resource intensive than previously.

It was also hoped that these issues and an update on their progress would be included in the new report. However, due to the difference in sample types (inclusion of TTG for example) the inspectorate did not feel they were comparable and as such have not been included in the new data. Significantly, the Inspector was not able to offer much comfort to staff about the likelihood of these issues being resolved:

“Our early Transforming Rehabilitation reports highlight significant operational and information-sharing concerns across the boundaries of the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies, and continuing frustration with old case management systems. We have found probation areas that had struggled to deliver a quality service prior to Transforming Rehabilitation are now finding it hardest to adapt and cope with the reforms. The correlation between historical performance of former probation trusts and progress made with Transforming Rehabilitation implementation extended into the important issue of staff morale. This speaks to the urgent and continuing need to support the necessary improvement in the quality of leadership and management.

“However, with time and continuing goodwill I believe these transitional problems can be resolved. The much bigger challenge for 2015 and beyond will be to turn the rhetoric of innovation and the long-advocated extension of services to short-term prisoners into hard evidence of effectiveness and reduced rates of reoffending. This will be the true test of Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.”

Paul Wilson CBE
HM Chief Inspector of Probation

Napo will continue to monitor, through members, progress on the following areas: IT and workarounds, workloads including tasks that are not formally measured, manager tasks and shared services, increased bureaucracy and the operating models of the new providers.

The report was quite damming about probation work in prison. 38 prisons had been inspected between April 2014-15. Very few of those did not have a backlog of Oasys assessments with most prisoners having no sentence plan or one that was out of date. It highlighted a lack of continuity with community offender managers as a direct result of the TR split. OMU staff in prisons were pulled to other tasks, possibly as a result of staff shortages and there is a significant shrinking of programme provision in prisons.   Napo will work, alongside the POA to look into these issues further with a view to a possible joint campaign about prisons and probation and the impact on rehabilitation and staff.

For a full copy of the report follow this link: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/hm-inspectorate-of-probation-annual-report-2014-15-arolygiaeth-prawf-ei-mawrhydi-adroddiad-blynyddol-2014-15/

Tania Bassett

National Official

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