Here we have the latest inspection report from the Probation Inspectorate:-
RRP is applying the same ambitious operating model in the two CRCs it owns, and it is reassuring to see the progress made since our inspection in Derbyshire just a few months ago. Implementation in Staffordshire and Stoke is almost complete - albeit case management software and systems are still pending - and the operating model is now almost fully fledged.
RRP’s model provides for an extensive range of interventions and it was pleasing to see some in good use, for example, substance misuse services. We were impressed as well by RRP’s commitment to specific services for women, and commend its strategy to others.
That said, the CRC is not yet delivering the full range of planned services. Delivery has been inconsistent during a period of rapid change, but there is the prospect of steadier times ahead. Individual caseloads, however, look set to stay high with some officers now responsible for up to 80 cases.
High individual caseloads are becoming commonplace in CRCs. Of course CRCs must manage within anticipated resource, but the public is at greater risk when officers are spread too thinly and if quality assurance is not robust.
In common with other regions, the Midlands division of the NPS has so far experienced less (and less complex) change. It was not surprising then that the organisation was more stable and effective. This is generally consistent with what we have found elsewhere.
Overall, the NPS work inspected was of sufficient quality but there were notable weaknesses in places, for example in the provision of rehabilitative services. There was little evidence of the NPS purchasing services from the CRC to assist here, whereas CRC provision of services to the NPS is a key tenet of the model for probation services nationally. In practice and despite leaders’ intentions, the rate card (listing services available) and/or concerns over pricing remain sticking points, here and elsewhere in the country.
Both the CRC and NPS in Staffordshire and Stoke need to improve the quality and impact of their work. We hope that the findings and recommendations from this inspection will help them to do just that.
HM Chief Inspector of Probation January 2017
Russell Webster has summarised the report here and the following is is a taster.
The main inspectors’ findings of the work of the CRC were:
- Assessments of risk of harm were done consistently and to an acceptable standard, thereby providing a good grounding for future work, but those assessments were not followed through sufficiently well.
- In almost half of the cases insufficient steps had been taken to keep to a minimum the service user’s risk of harm to others. Moreover, in a high proportion of cases, sentence planning was poor.
- There was no evidence of the CRC seeking to quality assure public protection work. Management oversight was limited.
- The CRC was not sufficiently effective in delivering interventions to reduce reoffending.
- In most cases, the CRC produced an assessment and plan sufficient for the purposes of reducing reoffending. There was evidence of some effective work but this was offset by adverse consequences of organisational change, particularly disruption to the continuity of supervision due to frequent changes of responsible officer.
- Members of staff were confused about their roles, and the availability of appropriate interventions.
- The use of ‘step down’, where contact is reduced or managed by telephone calls, was not compatible with the risks associated with cases, nor did it support rehabilitative work.
- Most CRC service users had abided by the conditions of their sentence. If they did not, appropriate enforcement action was taken.
- Individual diversity was taken into account in the assessment, planning and delivery arrangements in almost all cases.
- The high turnover of responsible officers was less of a problem in this area of work, but in almost one in four cases the lack of continuity led to unacceptable levels of contact and poor enforcement work.