Guidance

Strengthening probation, building confidence

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

Introduction

The Ministry of Justice has announced plans for the future of probation. This follows careful consideration of the results of the consultation, ‘Strengthening probation, building confidence’, held in summer 2018.

Our plans

  • The National Probation Service (NPS) will be responsible for managing all offenders on a community order or licence following their release from prison in England and Wales, and will continue to deliver those services reserved to the public sector such as advice to court.
  • There will be a significant and more clearly defined role for the voluntary and private sector in the delivery of unpaid work; accredited programmes; and resettlement and rehabilitative interventions. We are committed to increasing innovation through this approach.
  • 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 director who will provide strategic leadership and be responsible for the overall delivery and commissioning of probation services.
  • The regional 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 will seek (when Parliamentary time allows) to implement an independent statutory register for probation professionals. We will also make changes that support continuous professional development.

Progress and updates

  • We are providing updates for the reform programme in the monthly Probation change bulletin
  • We ran a public consultation between July and September 2018, receiving over 450 written responses, and hosting more 38 events with over 1,000 delegates. This feedback was invaluable. It has informed our thinking and we have published the Government’s response.
  • We have invested £22 million to improve the current delivery of prison resettlement services across England and Wales. These are being 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 spring 2021.
  • In Wales offender management will move to the NPS slightly quicker - by the end of 2019.
  • In June the probation programme published an Operating Blueprint, setting out the proposed future model of probation services after Spring 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.

Events

We are hosting events to engage with key stakeholders across England and Wales. All the events are free and you can book using the links below:

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 23 August 2019 + show all updates
  1. 'Progress and Updates' section updated with link to new Probation Change bulletin.
  2. Updated 'Our Plans' and 'Progress and updates' sections.
  3. Added link to The Proposed Future Model for Probation - A Draft Operating Blueprint
  4. Added update for June under Progress and Updates
  5. Added new dates for engagement events
  6. Add new event 'Service design, payment and performance for unpaid work and accredited programmes: 12 June, London'
  7. Removed the three events held on 28, 29 and 30 May
  8. Added link to consultation written in Welsh.
  9. Title change.
  10. First published.