Probation sickness rates have gone through the roof (presumably due to work pressure, staff shortages & impact of COVID)61,409 working days lost to sickness in year to March 22 compared with35,825 in 202139,520 in 2020 &36,932 in 2019
58,437 FTE staff in post (as at 31 March 2022)
This is an increase of 7,172 FTE (14.0%) staff in post since 31 March 2021 and a minimal change of 255 FTE (0.4%) since 31 December 2021 driven mainly by the transfer of CRC personnel into HMPPS. Of the staff in post, there were 34,180 FTE in Public Sector Prisons (PSP), 16,711 FTE staff in the Probation Service, 5,975 FTE staff in HQ and Area Services, and 1,572 FTE in the YCS.
As at 31 March 2022, there were 58,437 FTE staff in post in HMPPS on a full time equivalent (FTE) basis (Figure 1). This includes 34,180 FTE staff in PSP (making up 58.5% of all HMPPS staff), 16,711 FTE in the Probation Service (28.6% of all HMPPS staff), 5,975 FTE in HMPPS HQ and Area Services (10.2% of all HMPPS staff), and 1,572 FTE in the YCS (2.7% of all HMPPS staff).
Compared to 31 March 2021, the overall staff numbers increased by 7,172 FTE (14.0%): FTE in PSP remained effectively the same, FTE in the Probation Service increased by 6,691 (66.8%), FTE in HQ and Area Services increased by 419 (7.5%), and FTE in the YCS increased by 42 (2.7%). These changes are affected by the organisational changes described above, such as move of over 7,000 staff from Private Sector CRCs into the Probation Service in June 2021.
As at 31 March 2022, there were 28,094 FTE (48.1% of HMPPS staff) operational prison service staff (including YCS staff). This is a slight increase of 213 FTE staff (0.8%) compared to 31 March 2021. Non-operational roles across PSP, YCS, and HMPPS HQ accounted for 12,439 FTE staff (21.3% of HMPPS staff), which is an increase of 300 FTE (2.5%) since 31 March 2021. There were 17,905 FTE staff in the Probation Service (30.6% of all HMPPS staff): an increase of 6,659 (59.2%) FTE since 31 March 2021.
The big increase in Probation Service staff was mainly due to more than 7,000 staff from private sector CRCs coming together with probation staff already in the public sector in the new Probation Service at the end of June 2021. Processing of these staff into the HMPPS organisation is still ongoing. Records are still being updated following this change, resulting in some entries being classified as ‘unknown’ in the accompanying tables. In addition, many staff had not been able to update their voluntary declarations on diversity information by the 30 June, which has led to a drop in recorded declaration rates for many of the indicators, as can be seen in Table 5d, of the accompanying tables.
3. Probation practitioners and senior probation officers
4,338 FTE band 4 probation officers in post (as at 31 March 2022)
This figure is an increase of 799 FTE (22.6%) since 31 March 2021 and a decrease of 152 FTE (3.4%) probation officers compared to 31 December 2021. In addition to the band 4 probation officers, there were 6,103 FTE band 3 probation services officers: an increase of 2,968 FTE (94.6%) since 31 March 2021 and an increase of 364 FTE (6.4%) since 31 December 2021 which would have been driven by the transfer of ex-CRC staff into the public sector in June 2021.
Key grades in the Probation Service include band 3 probation services officers, band 4 probation officers (collectively known as probation practitioners), as well as band 5 senior probation officers. Staff who are training to be a probation officer work as a probation services officer during their training, so a proportion of the probation services officers in post will be working towards the professional probation officer qualification.
As of the June 2019 publication, an experimental statistics annex has been added to this bulletin which presents figures on Probation Officers in post, their required staffing level, in addition to the number of trainee and qualified Probation Officers.
In late June 2021, more than 7,000 staff from private sector CRCs came together with probation staff already in the public sector in the new Probation Service. These staff are being treated as transfers in and will not be counted as new joiners. Processing of these staff into the HMPPS organisation is still ongoing with some yet to be allocated grades or to a PDU.
As at 31 March 2022 there were 6,103 FTE band 3 probation services officers in post, an increase of 2,968 FTE (94.6%) over the past year and an increase of 364 FTE (6.4%) over the quarter; 4,338 FTE band 4 probation officers, representing an increase of 799 FTE (22.6%) over the past year and a decrease of 152 FTE (3.4%) compared to the previous quarter; and 1,249 FTE band 5 senior probation officers, showing an increase of 375 (42.9%) over the previous year and an increase of 30 (2.5%) since the last quarter. These increases have been driven by the introduction of ex-CRC staff back into the public sector in June 2021.
For Probation Service overall, the resignation rate was 6.9% for the year ending 31 March 2022. This represents an increase of 3.7 percentage points compared to the year ending 31 March 2021. Amongst the operational grades within the Probation Service, probation services officers had the highest resignation rate at 9.3%, (an increase of 4.9 percentage points) since the year ending 31 March 2021. Resignation rates for probation officers stood at 5.1% (an increase of 2.4 percentage points) since the year ending 31 March 2021).
5. Sickness absence
HMPPS staff lost an average of 13.8 working days to sickness absence in the 12 months ending 31 March 2022 (including COVID sickness)
This represents an increase of 2.4 Average Working Days Lost (AWDL) compared to the year ending 31 March 2021.
Since June 2021 these sickness absence figures include COVID-19 AWDL sickness numbers, including a revision to all AWDL figures since the start of the pandemic. In addition, please see the annex with experimental statistics on COVID-19 and HMPPS staff, which includes information about staff absent due to COVID on given days.
In the year ending 31 March 2022, HMPPS staff lost an average of 13.8 working days to sickness absence. This is an increase from 11.4 average working days lost for the year ending 31 March 2021, and an increase of 3.5 days compared to the predominantly COVID-19 free year ending 31 March 2020.
YCS staff had the highest sickness absence rate at 18.3 AWDL, followed by PSP (15.1 AWDL), Probation Service (12.6 AWDL), and HQ and Area Services (7.6 AWDL) (Figure 7). Compared to the year ending 31 March 2021, these represent an increase of 3.5 days for YCS, an increase of 2.3 days for PSP, an increase of 4.1 days for Probation Service, and an increase of 1.1 days for HQ and Area Services staff.
For HMPPS overall the category that accounted for the second largest proportion of working days lost was epidemic/pandemic (22.0%). Together the top two categories accounted for 52.2% of all working days lost.