Guidance

Strengthening probation, building confidence

Engage with our reform programme, get involved and stay updated on progress.

Introduction

The Ministry of Justice is reforming probation. We will make changes to the probation system following careful consideration of the results of the consultation, ‘Strengthening probation, building confidence’, held in summer 2018.

Our plans

  • From 26 June 2021, the new probation service will be responsible for managing all those on a community order or licence following their release from prison in England and Wales.
  • The new probation service will also deliver unpaid work and behavioural change programmes in England and Wales.
  • Specialist organisations will continue to play a role in the probation system, delivering resettlement and rehabilitative services such as education, training and employment and accommodation.
  • There will be 12 probation areas across England and Wales, introducing 11 new probation areas in England, with existing arrangements remaining unchanged in Wales.
  • In England, each area will be overseen by a new dedicated Regional Probation Director who will provide strategic leadership and be responsible for the overall delivery and commissioning of probation services.
  • The Regional Probation Directors, along with the NPS Director in Wales, will work closely to ensure an effective, unified approach from pre-sentence stage in court through to management in the community.
  • We also intend to go further than set out in the consultation. We will take action to strengthen the standing of the probation workforce and also make changes that support continuous professional development.

Progress and updates

  • In February 2021, we published our Target Operating Model setting out how we anticipate the key features of the future model of probation services in England and Wales working once implemented, and providing an overview of what services will be in place as of June 2021. This replaces the Draft Target Operating Model published in March 2020.
  • In February 2021, we published revised draft National Standards alongside the target operating model to outline how we will support the new model from June 2021. We anticipate that these will be finalised in the spring.
  • In July 2020 the Probation Workforce Strategy was published.
  • We are providing updates for the reform programme in the monthly Probation change bulletin
  • In June 2020 the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service announced plans to take control of unpaid work and behavioural change programmes.
  • In June 2020 we launched the Dynamic Framework competition for charities and private sector organisations to compete for more than £100 million a year to run services such as education, employment and accommodation.
  • In March 2020 we published the Draft Target Operating Model, setting out the proposed future model of probation services in England and Wales after June 2021. In June 2020, we published an update document to explain changes to our plans for probation reform to reflect the impact of COVID-19.
  • In Wales offender management moved to the NPS in December 2019.
  • We invested £22 million to improve the delivery of prison resettlement services across England and Wales. These were rolled out from April 2019.
  • We have mandated regular face-to-face contact time between offenders and their probation officer.
  • We have put in place arrangements that allow us to extend community rehabilitation company (CRC) contracts so that we have the necessary time to get the transition to the new system right. We intend to use these arrangements to end contracts in June 2021.
  • We have decided to create a standalone probation area covering Greater Manchester and a revised North West area made up of Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire. The decision has been made in recognition of the significant caseload volumes in the original North-West region.

Contact us

If you have questions or want to send comments and suggestions please email strengthening.probation@justice.gov.uk For questions about the following specific areas please use the contact details below:

If you have a commercial question please email ProbationCommercialTeam@justice.gov.uk

Published 16 May 2019
Last updated 8 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updates to related documents.

  2. Uploaded an amended accessible version of The Target Operating Model for the Future of Probation Services in England & Wales.

  3. Added document 'National Standards 2021: Supporting transition to the Unified Model (in Welsh)'.

  4. Added the attachment The Target Operating Model for the Future of Probation Services in England & Wales (in English).

  5. Added The Target Operating Model for the Future of Probation Services in England & Wales (in Welsh)

  6. Updated multiple elements of TOM

  7. Updated "June 2020" in progress and updates section

  8. Probation Workforce Strategy published

  9. Added 'Update to the Draft Target Operating Model for Probation Services in England and Wales (Welsh language version)'

  10. Added the, Update to the Draft Target Operating Model for Probation Services in England and Wales

  11. Added accessible versions of: A Draft Target Operating Model for the Future of Probation Services in England and Wales (in English) A Summary of the Draft Target Operating Model for the Future of Probation Services in England and Wales (in Welsh)

  12. Added Introduction to the Draft Target Operating Model (in English and Welsh) and added the full Draft Target Operating Model (in English and Welsh)

  13. 'Progress and Updates' section updated with link to new Probation Change bulletin.

  14. Updated 'Our Plans' and 'Progress and updates' sections.

  15. Added link to The Proposed Future Model for Probation - A Draft Operating Blueprint

  16. Added update for June under Progress and Updates

  17. Added new dates for engagement events

  18. Add new event 'Service design, payment and performance for unpaid work and accredited programmes: 12 June, London'

  19. Removed the three events held on 28, 29 and 30 May

  20. Added link to consultation written in Welsh.

  21. Title change.

  22. First published.