Research at HMPPS

We carry out and commission research to measure the effectiveness of offender management services, in the short or long term.

We work to ensure that internal and external research supports effective policy development and operational delivery across HMPPS by providing timely, relevant and robust research.

Research publications

Our other research reports are listed under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) research and analysis reports.

You can find older research publications from before May 2010 on The National Archives website.

Research contracts

If suppliers become aware of an opportunity through a Contract Finder Notice, there will be instructions within the notice on how to apply. We do not have a preferred supplier list. They will either make use of available frameworks or allow open competition.

Research application process

All researchers wanting to conduct research with staff and/or offenders in prison establishments, National Probation Service (NPS)/Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) regions or within Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Headquarters are required to formally apply for research approval to the HMPPS National Research Committee (NRC).

The NRC exists to ensure:

  • the research applicant and HMPPS attain best value from the research conducted
  • the resource implications and impact of the research on operational delivery is considered
  • the robustness and relevance of the research is adequately assessed
  • matters of data protection/security and research ethics are dealt with in a consistent manner

How to submit an application

All applications must be made using the standardised HMPPS research application form HMPPS research application template (XLSM, 286KB) or, for projects also requiring approval from health and social care bodies, through the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS).

All applications should be sent to national.research@noms.gsi.gov.uk for processing. The NRC runs on a monthly cycle, applications should be submitted by the last working day of the month at 5pm; they will then be processed and reviewed during the following month. Feedback on applications will normally be sent by the end of the month after they were submitted: for example, applications received between 1 and 31 January will be processed and reviewed in February, with feedback sent to the applicant by the 28 February.

Application tips

These tips will help you develop your research proposals for NRC submission.

Do:

  • contact the national research mailbox for any NRC-related queries
  • read the guidance on the NRC and application process before completing the NRC application form
  • allow yourself plenty of time and give full consideration to each section when completing the application
  • provide as much relevant information as possible for each of the sections in the application form
  • consult your peers/supervisors for their views and comments on your proposal prior to submitting the application form
  • check your completed application form for typos and grammar
  • attach supporting documents (for example: participant information sheet, consent form, questionnaire/interview schedule, CVs) when submitting the application
  • use plain English when completing the application form and writing consent and data collection tools
  • be aware that the reviewer of your application may not be an expert in the area of study, or a subject specialist. Therefore, explain any specialist terms, techniques, specific policies or operational procedures where appropriate and necessary
  • comply with the research terms and conditions (which are set out in the approval letter) when research is approved
  • send a summary of findings to the national research mailbox one month after project completion
  • seek NRC approval for any amendments to the originally approved application

Don’t:

  • wait until the last minute to complete the application
  • use acronyms/jargon in your application and supporting documents
  • assume that NRC members are subject specialists
  • assume that sections do not need to be completed. If a section does not seem relevant explain why (for example: this is a literature review of publicly available information, data protection does not apply, as no personal information is collected)
  • commence research until receiving written NRC approval

Research application review

Applications are either reviewed by the full NRC or locally by the relevant establishment/NPS division/CRC area. Applications will be reviewed by the full NRC, if the research:

  • was commissioned by HMPPS HQ
  • relates to extremism
  • covers more than one establishment/NPS division/CRC area

All other applications will be considered locally. The NRC will decide if an application is to be considered locally and will inform the applicant if this is the case. Irrespective of the approval route, all applications and decisions must be logged through national.research@noms.gsi.gov.uk. All student applications below doctoral level need to be supported by an MOJ/HMPPS business lead in order to be considered. This business support needs to come from a senior member of staff who is willing to state that they believe the research is going to be of benefit to HMPPS and will have minimal resource demands. Due to the potential volume of student applications, the NRC is not able to assist with student applications below doctoral level that do not have this business support.

The application form must be accompanied by the researchers’ CVs, any ethical approvals, any questionnaires/interview schedules and consent forms/information sheets that have already been devised.

We will notify you in writing of the decision. We will be selective due to the high volume of applications and may insist that the research is also submitted to an appropriate local research ethics committee (for example, University, NHS or research body).

You can read further guidance on the NRC process and application form, including information about ethical issues that should be considered: HMPPS Research applications instruction (MS Word Document, 126KB)

Examples of good applications:

HMPPS research - Qualitative example (MS Word Document, 38.9KB)

HMPPS research - Quantitative example (MS Word Document, 91KB)

Successful applicants

If your application is successful, you will be required to prepare a research summary (approximately three pages, maximum of five pages) at the end of your project which:

  • summarises the research aims and approach
  • highlights the key findings
  • sets out the implications for NOMS decision-makers

You will also be required to submit a project review form (which covers lessons learnt and asks for ratings on key questions). Provision of the research summary and project review form is essential to ensure that value of the research is maximised.

Unsuccessful applicants

If your application is unsuccessful, we will tell you the reasons why. You are allowed one resubmission. The reasons for the previous rejection should be fully addressed.