Published since 2004 - inc Modern Probation Theory
Much of my viewpoint is captured in the publications, articles, presentations and former speeches to be found on this page and the next page, as well as in my memoir. There is some duplication in parts of the content, but this reflects the underlying consistency of approach that I advocate. To download the file introduced in any item, please click on the icon (usually indicating a PDF file) to the right of that item.
I became Chief Inspector in 2004, so this page covers writings since that date. For pre-2004 writings, please refer to the next page - a link button is provided close by. The Introduction to Modern Probation Theory is at the top - all the other writings since 2004 appear date order below, with most recent first.
ADDITIONAL: HM Inspectorate of Probation 'Archive':
At the foot of this webpage, I am accumulating a more general 'archive' (incomplete) of Inspectorate material from a period of roughly 1998 to just after I retired. This is simply as a reference source, since some of it is just not available online from the National Archives, and some of the material that is there can be quite hard to find, but NB this will not be available in 'mobile phone view'.
Modern Probation Theory (MPT): - What is MPT?
MPT isn’t about telling Probation practitioners how they should do their work with individuals who have offended, since a valuable canon of material already exists for that purpose, including plenty of research and effective practice guidance that will continue to evolve on how to help people to desist from offending.
MPT explains how Probation case supervision needs to be managed, which is mainly from the ‘bottom‑up’. It’s a specific version of practitioner-centred management.
MPT is a ‘grounded theory’: It has not been contrived from an abstract ‘thought experiment’ – instead it has emerged as a theory by drawing on practical experiences of managing Probation that worked successfully in embryo form in the past, and which could be implemented now as a strategically coherent approach.
“All models are wrong; some are useful” George EP Box
A fuller Introduction to MPT (2022) is provided in the adjacent PDF file.
Next to it is a further PDF file that includes within it some evidence of those earlier "practical experiences".
Approved Premises: the mid-2022 ‘State of Play’ was a very date-specific piece, being the text of a presentation I made to the Probation Institute on 16 June 2022. This was my account of the current role and place of "Approved Premises" (probation hostels, in plain language) at the time. I also gave an overview of how they had got there during the preceding 50 years, and just a few of the issues that they expect to be dealing with in the coming few years. A much shortened version of this was then published in Probation Quarterly 25 in September 2022.
Managing Probation: Private v “Private”? was a report co-authored by me, Sally Lester and Andy Smith in late 2020. It was the outcome of our independent study commissioned by Suki Binning, the Chief Executive of KSS CRC (the then Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company), to focus on the three CRCs that KSS had acquired in Wales and South West England in February 2019, when the ownership of these CRCs passed from Working Links to Seetec (the owners of KSS). Our aim was to identify and analyse the differences that arose as a result of that change of ownership, and also from the further change to the Wales CRC in December 2019 when some of its work, and staff, were reintegrated back into National Probation Service Wales. The idea was that from an independent study of those two experiences of changing the organisation of Probation there could be useful learning about how to manage future changes in Probation or comparable services. This was relevant because of the prospective further national reorganisation of Probation in England due in 2021.
We compared the experiences of staff and external partners working with this probation company before and after it passed from one owner to another, and found that there was a substantial difference. Our findings also reflect the folly of how the contractual regime had been established nationally, and we went on to suggest that the more customary debate about ‘Public v Private’ ownership of Probation is misdirected.
In 2018, the Government published a consultation paper on 'Strengthening Probation', in which some reforms to the current arrangements were proposed.
I submitted a 12-page Response to the Consultation, drawing on the ideas set out in the earlier papers (below) - my Prescription and my Recipe for Making Probation Work.
Earlier in the year, I had submitted briefer Written Evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee, focusing on just two key themes.
In October 2018, I also chaired a seminar hosted by the Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC (Community Rehabilitation Company) on the subject of the 'Probation Identity'. This was my introduction, in which I pointed out how the meaning of "Probation" had already evolved in recent years, and could evolve further.
2014 - 2016
My Prescription for Making Probation Work was an immodest paper based on the presentation I gave at the Royal Society in London in 2014 for the University of Southampton on ‘The Future of Probation’ at their Institute for Criminal Justice Research seminar. A largely similar version of the same paper appeared in the Spring 2015 edition of EuroVista, the pan-European journal for Probation professionals; and I have in 2016 produced a followup paper entitled From Prescription to Recipe, outlining a key aspect of how to make it happen.
Where most commentators seem to be either lauding a 'past golden age', criticising the 'present catastrophe', or envisioning an optimistic future with no idea how to deliver it in practice, I'm putting forward a 'how to' guide. Although many of the current developments in the Probation world are not to my personal liking, my aim is both to be constructive, and - based on my experience of doing this in practice myself - to offer something to senior managers which is more than simply a list of visionary good intentions and noble aspirations.
Two of the key points behind both papers are:
1) Prescribe to practitioners What is to be achieved (and the means for measuring it), but only Advise on How they are to go about achieving it; and
2) Integrate this with a Resource plan, which is based on where you want the service to focus its time and attention in future - not necessarily on where time has been spent in the past.
The Recipe paper includes a Tool that demonstrates how a large part of the Prescription can be made to happen in practice.
NB The presentation is a locked PowerPoint file that can be opened Read-Only without the password, and can be viewed in 'Slideshow' or 'Notes Pages' View.
This Introduction to Probation & Youth Offending work reproduces, with only minor tweaking, the opening chapter, co-authored by me and Kasturi Torchia, of the book for forensic psychologists Forensic Practice in the Community (2014), edited by Zoe Ashmore & Richard Shuker, Routledge, London. The original chapter aimed to provide for psychologists new to the setting an overview of the more mainstream “forensic” services and some key aspects of the nature of such work.
I would add here that I continue to note the sharp contrast between the overtly ideological approach so frequently taken to writings from the world of criminology and the almost invariably dispassionate nature of those from the world of psychology. Probation still has something to learn from psychology, where evidence is usually weighed more objectively. I think we all need to resist the temptation to try to use information "as a drunk uses a lamppost, more for support than for illumination."
New Zealand Probation's Change Programme was an article I wrote for EuroVista after describing my work there at a London seminar in September 2011 on the subject of 'Offender Engagement'.
During 2009-11 I had been advising the New Zealand Government on improving the effectiveness of the NZ Community Probation Service. The service moved from being overly bound with detailed procedures and processes towards one where officers were more enabled to exercise individual judgement in order to do the right thing with the right individual in the right way at the right time, and then be accountable for the decisions they had made.
My Tribute to those who do Probation work well was the publication arising from my final public speech after over seven years as HM Chief Inspector of Probation, given in May 2011 at the University of Oxford. I described what doing Probation work well looked like, and confirmed that it was possible for such work to be done well by a range of organisations and individuals.
In the Foreword to my final Annual Report as Chief Inspector, I provided a summary in just over two pages of what the Inspectorate was now doing, what it aimed to achieve by doing it, and how it was doing it. And also how it was being managed. I argued that we were a cost-effective way of helping to improve effective practice in adult & youth offending work, especially but not only in relation to public protection work, and in that way provided a unique added value. I accepted that the work and role of the Inspectorate would need to continue to evolve under my successors, but I also hoped that those successors would recognise what the whole Inspectorate team had been achieving together during the previous seven years. (Any researchers or masochists can find a set of whole Annual Reports in the 'Archive' section at the foot of this page.)
In the Foreword to my penultimate Annual Report as Chief Inspector, I offered a brief summary of our approach to Inspections, and then a longer account concerning Public Protection, with examples of costs & benefits, both financial & non-financial. E.g. We were spending £80k to prevent each 'low seriousness' offence for just over a fortnight, by locking up 59 'low seriousness' people for that fortnight who were NOT going to reoffend in that time in order to ensure that we locked up the one who would reoffend during that same two-week period.
This Annual Plan 2010/11, covering my final year at HMI Probation, illustrates how our strategy, both 'internal' and in conjunction with the wider CJS, was 'operationalised' into a costed Plan, with measurable task-objectives, for the year ahead.
Public Protection work: Achieving the Possible was originally a chapter in the large tome edited by Mike Nash & Andy Williams, A Handbook of Public Protection (Abingdon: Willan, 2010). My co-author Kate White was Assistant Chief Inspector at the time we wrote this in 2009, and our aim was to set out for practitioners and their managers what ‘doing Public Protection work well’ looked like to the Inspectorate.
Our aim was to help our audience understand that it would not always be a case of ‘criticism with 20/20 hindsight’ every time an adverse incident happened in future. Although we refer to the Probation Trusts of the time, our comments are equally applicable to the successor organisations of the National Probation Service (NPS) and the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) - and since 2021 the unified Probation Service within HM Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS).
I had made similar points in a speech to a Youth Offending audience in 2009, seeking to clarify both the differences between Public Protection work and Safeguarding work, and their similarities. As always, I wanted to emphasise what was achievable in these two areas of work, and how the Inspectorate would assess and recognise that. I used graphics to try to illustrate this talk, which are included in this document.
I had also spoken on broadly the same subject when invited to lecture at the University of Birmingham in March 2007; again I had used many graphics to try to make this difficult topic more accessible. This PowerPoint Show, 'What is achievable when working with dangerous offenders in the community?' provides that graphical presentation (just before we changed the Inspectorate logo), but not the text of what I said.
However, the key points should be clear enough if viewed in conjunction with a reading of the chapter above, and/or the 'Youth Offending' speech above.
This History of HM Inspectorate of Probation was written by John Hutchings at my request, and can still be found in the National Archives, so it is in the public domain. So-called 'quangos' were under threat after the 2010 General Election, and many inspectorates had been created and/or reorganised during the previous 13 years of Labour government. Whereas HMI Constabulary produced an enormous glossy tome laying claim to their illustrious pedigree (though I don't think they were seriously under threat), I did think it was important to find a number of different ways of saying that an organisation can evolve (and has done many times already) in response to changing needs - without having to keep reconstituting that organisation.
We survived the 'cull' - not all inspectorates did. There may have been other reasons!
'The Challenges facing Probation' was the title I was specifically asked to address in a speech to the Criminal Justice Alliance on 1st July 2009. I used the device of giving two accounts, one optimistic and one pessimistic, of Probation's history and future prospects, in order to explain my cautiously optimistic perspective. Much of it would still stand up well in my eyes, but for the fact that I did not foresee the reckless 2014/15 'Transforming Rehabilitation' programme.
My Memories of Probation in the 1970s was a piece I wrote in 2007 in response to a flattering request from Professor Paul Senior, who was compiling a series of reminiscences that year commemorating Probation's 100th anniversary.
I later found, when the compilation was published as Moments in Probation, that most authors had earnestly described one or more noble pieces of serious work from the golden past. Mine was in a different vein, since I have always taken the job seriously - but not always completely solemnly.
This also offers a rare example of me using the so-called "historic present" tense in my writing - I wish others used it equally rarely.
The Inspectorate published in early 2006 two of my reports about individual cases that had caused public concern.
The first concerned the poor handling of the cases of Hanson and White, the two young men who murdered the banker John Monckton when under London Probation supervision. We described it as a "collective failure" since several individual officers made obvious bad mistakes, though that didn't necessarily mean that the murder could definitely have been prevented since 'risk' can never be completely eliminated.
The second report examined the case of Anthony Rice, who had been freed on parole and who had gone on to kill again. We described this case as a "cumulative failure", since not only were there some shortcomings in the way he had been managed after release, but also he was in our opinion too dangerous to have been released in the first place.
For 24 April 2006 the then Home Secretary required about a thousand Probation front-line managers to attend an event at Central Hall Westminster for a series of addresses following the very adverse publicity after the publication of the Hanson and White report (see above). I thought very carefully about the messages I wanted to give, and the speech I gave on that occasion is reproduced here.
I would guess that keen students of the role of inspection in public policy in the early 21st century might be the main (only!) people to find interest in my Inspecting the Criminal Justice System: Starting from First Principles and Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Inspection: a Case Study. They were published in the same month in 2005 in the context of continuing turbulent movements in such policy.
As a senior manager and then Chief Probation Officer in the 1990s I had been on the receiving end of several inspections, and I had had my criticisms about their cumbersome nature, though I had been positive about the principles of having a regime of independent inspection. But by 2001 a generally critical mood within the whole of public service that inspection was “too burdensome” was leading to a whole series of strands of changes that Ministers and their senior officials and advisors were keen to promote. Most notably the policymakers wanted there to be fewer inspectorates and for their inspections to be more “light touch”. Linked to these desires were the ideas that inspections should be undertaken only when performance figures were poor, while organisations with ‘good’ figures could have ‘inspection holidays’ (a so-called ‘risk-based’ system for inspection). However it was also thought to be important that public service organisations should not work in separate ‘silos’, so inspectorates should examine ‘how they work together’ rather than examine their ‘operational detail’.
The Labour governments from 1997-2010 reorganised and created (and then sometimes abolished) a number of inspectorate bodies, as well as other public services such as the whole of the national Probation service. For example, the Commission for Social Care Inspection was created in 2004 and abolished in 2009 (and the HM Inspectorate of Court Administration was first created in the same decade, and then survived only until December 2010). From late 2004 until late 2006 the big plan was that all inspectorates would be consolidated into four: for local government, for health & social care, for children’s services, and for criminal justice. In the event the first three were achieved by 2009: the Audit Commission for local government – though its system of ‘Comprehensive Area Assessment’ of local services was to be abolished in the first month of the incoming Coalition government - the Care Quality Commission for health and social care, and the ‘new’ Ofsted for both education and social work with children. Those first three new bodies were also relatively large organisations, from c£75m-c£200m annual budgets, yet it was the relatively small planned inspectorate for criminal justice – combined budget of c£20m – that didn’t happen in the end.
But in March 2005 I was fully expecting the full merger of the then-five CJS inspectorates to take place in due course, and indeed supported the principle of doing so. I had supported Rod Morgan when he had said so as my predecessor in 2003, I noted that there was a single CJS Inspectorate in Northern Ireland, and I could see the potential benefits for public service as a whole. What I did not want, however, was for the five organisations to be thrown together, like five cats in a bag, to sort out their collective future through a power struggle.
Hence, in Inspecting the Criminal Justice System, I was arguing for the opportunity to think through the whole purpose and role of inspection – generally - from first principles, and then sketch how this could apply with inspecting the CJS specifically. In the Assessing the Costs and Benefits paper I was using a fortuitous opportunity of a recent episode to isolate both the costs and the benefits of a particular two-part inspection exercise and thereby strongly challenge the idea that inspection was always a disproportionate “burden” for operational services to have to bear.
Subsequent outcomes: John Reid became Home Secretary in June 2006, and in my view clearly didn’t want to lose the distinct HMI Constabulary since he was working to devolve the new Ministry of Justice from the Home Office by May 2007. Therefore, during the congested end-of-Parliamentary-session in October 2006 he could not only afford to ‘be persuaded’ by HMIs Constabulary and Prisons of the need to stay separate but also be strong and wily enough to outflank the powerful Cabinet Office’s overall inspection policy. The face saver was a commitment required of the five CJS inspectorates to work together on ‘joint inspection’ programmes under an Advisory Group to be created for this purpose. Although I was in favour of the planned merger in principle right through to the very end of the process, it also became very clear from the start that such a merger would never have got anywhere near my proposed First Principles, and would in practice have been carried out in the customary turmoil of organisational politics. Since ‘five cats in a bag’ looked an increasingly likely prospect in reality, and I knew I was at best no higher than the third strongest ‘cat’, I was despite my principles frankly greatly relieved when the merger didn’t happen in practice. There is more to be said about the fairly unsatisfactory path of ‘joint CJS inspection’ after 2006 … another time.
While my Costs and Benefits paper didn’t change the world either, it served to refute robustly the idea that the costs of inspection were a disproportionate burden on the public purse. Meanwhile, the other debates about inspection did start to moderate over the next six years. I was increasingly able to justify successfully focusing on the service delivered in practice (operations) – rather than just on the management arrangements - and to demonstrate the benefits of our approach in promoting improvement. This became easier for me to argue after the Baby Peter scandal, when people realised that Ofsted’s inspections had become much too ‘light-touch’.
The keen historian of Probation Inspectorate methodology - if there ever is one - may find the first page of this two-page document, How HMI Probation contributes to improving the Quality of supervision, an informative summary of our approach during my time as Chief. When the still-new National Probation Service (NPS) was then talking about Enforcement, Rehabilitation and Public Protection - a clear parallel with "Enforcement, Likelihood and Risk" - we could show:
a) That Quality of Supervision is a valid proxy variable* that achieves the long-term aim of reducing reoffending,
b) How achieving the three elements of supervision would be defined, and therefore
c) How the Inspectorate contributed to improving the effectiveness of Probation practice in reducing reoffending.
*Principally, as the Offender Assessment System (OASys) provided a numeric score of an individual's 'Likelihood of Reoffending', effective supervision should lead to a 'lower' OASys score at the end of supervision, meaning less likelihood of reconviction within two years.
I developed this conceptual approach further in our paper (above) on Inspecting the CJS as a whole. And the second page here, which is an earlier graphic from 2003, can be seen not only as one of the building blocks of the Inspectorate chart, but also as a development of the approach we had taken when I was Chief Probation Officer for Berkshire. Over time, both the thinking and the terminology (and the colouring!) have evolved a little in detail, but the underlying concepts have proved in my mind to 'have legs'.
An 'Archive' for HM Inspectorate of Probation:
[NB "under construction"]
Disclaimer: Should there be any future students, historians or masochists looking to study this Inspectorate as it was in the early 21st century, please note that the contents below are incomplete and have been collected and arranged in a somewhat arbitrary manner. Also I plan for it not to be available on 'mobile phone' view.
I'm dividing it broadly into two sections: 1) HMI Probation reports, plans and miscellaneous other documents, with specific Youth Offending 'joint' reports etc at the end of that section, and 2) other 'joint' Reports, plans etc that were also 'owned' jointly with other Inspectorates. I offer a brief description alongside some of these documents, and for ease of reference, John Hutchings' History of the Inspectorate is provided again here.
HMI Probation Annual Plans: On becoming Chief Inspector in April 2004, I finalised and published a Plan for the year ahead - I preferred plain language and did not include either "corporate" or "strategic" or any other descriptor in the title. In the subsequent seven years I published seven further Plans each April; it can be seen that there was a pattern of consistency and continuity of approach on our part combined with a degree of evolutionary change each year, in response to our experience and changing circumstances. I've added a more recent Plan to illustrate how my successors have quite reasonably made changes to the planning of the Inspectorate's work, yet there also appears to be some continuity of approach as well.
HMI Probation Annual Reports: By publishing Annual Reports in July of each year, I was continuing an established practice - since 1992 - of reporting on how we were spending 'our' public money, and explaining what our reports and other work over the year were intended to achieve. However, I also started to use my Foreword each year to offer some comment more generally about some aspect of the CJS world with which we were working. This was a useful device for publicising our views on any subjects beyond individual reports, including leading to media interviews. The series of reports below shows how reports evolved from before I was Chief Inspector through to 2007, when I was able to 'rebrand' the Inspectorate with a new logo (very economically), and then through to my 'valedictory' Report in 2011, and finally on to how such Reports have evolved a little further since my retirement. (I've not found a report for either 2016 or 2018.)
'Inspection News' was a periodic publication we produced during my time to communicate more informally with our various audiences from time to time on what we were doing. This is a fairly random selection of such editions (there were many more).
Examples of Probation 'area' inspections:
Over recent years, HMI Probation has usually conducted 'rolling' programmes whereby each area Probation Service - subsequently Probation Areas, then Probation Trusts, then NPS Regions and CRCs and so on - has been visited and a report then published. Often there were 'Follow-up' inspections, commenting on the implementation of inspections.
When I was Assistant Chief PO in Berkshire in the 1990s, the then new policy of the Inspectorate was that they would concentrate their work on examining the management arrangements in each Service, which would include examining each Service's own arrangements for the "Internal Monitoring & Inspection (IMI)" of their own front-line practice. So it became part of my role in Berkshire to design our own programme for scrutinising our own practice, while the Inspectorate conducted a round of "Efficiency and Effectiveness" inspections from 1989 to 1993. My main recollection of the 'E&E' inspection for Berkshire was the work I had to do to assemble 'advance information' to send to the Inspectorate before they visited - it filled five 'Lever-Arch' ring binders. I understood the theory behind this inspection policy, but I had doubts about its usefulness in practice.
The next programme, from 1994 to 1998, called "Quality and Effectiveness", rightly shifted the focus to include examining some practice as well as the management arrangements. As usual, Berkshire's inspection was near the end of the cycle, scheduled for early 1998, and so my experience of being on the receiving end of this inspection is mentioned in my Memoir.
Also mentioned there is Berkshire's experience in 2000/2001 of the "Performance Inspection Programme(PIP)", which by spanning 1999 to 2002 also spanned the transition to the first National Probation Service in April 2001. More on this further below.
From 2003 to 2006 it was the " Effective Supervision Inspection(ESI)" programme - on no account to be pronounced "easy"!
In parallel with the end of PIP and the start of ESI, between 2001 and 2004, was an additional full sequence, the "Audits of Accredited Programmes", which focused specifically on the provision in each then Probation Area of accredited programmes for offenders. Much more could be said about both these programmes, and about our 'auditing' of them, but not here.
And from 2007 to 2012 there were two rounds of "Offender Management Inspections", OMI and OMI2. My theory was that we shouldn't need separate 'Follow-up' inspections any more, since the new round of inspections would establish whether or not improvements in practice had been achieved.
Another part of my theory was that by focusing on the work, rather than on the organisation, the inspection methodology would be transferable to any future part-privatised or part-subcontracted service. Accordingly, the Inspectorate was able to continue to examine Probation work in a geographical area after 2015 at first, covering the work of both the NPS and the relevant CRC and making judgements about each of them. The system then changed after 2017.
Practicalities: I've not found any E&E inspections online, and I've not been able to download any of the Q&E, or even PIP, inspections successfully, even though I've succeeded with other older documents (further below). The two PIP inspections I've scanned in from hard copies, so they are larger files.
The 2001 Thames Valley report (scanned in) is a PIP report. These reports were the first HMI Probation reports which offered any comparisons of the 'performance' of individual areas. Berkshire and Oxon/Bucks had been visited separately in late 2000, but the report - published after April 2001 - was intended to cover the new combined area as a single unit. It is therefore only in paras 7.7 and 7.36 that it is mentioned, in passing, that BPS's performance was "considerably above average", and that OBPS's was considerably below average. (It is also true that BPS was historically better-resourced, due to Malcolm Bryant's efforts over 15 years.)
The 2002 Gwent report was drafted by me as lead HM Inspector, following visits in late 2001. There was a Welsh language version included that I have not reproduced.
The 2003 Thames Valley report is an example of a Follow-up to an Area 'Audit' of accredited programmes, from that 2001-2004 period.
The 2006 Thames Valley report is an example of an ESI report.
The first two reports here are from the first OMI programme.
The 2010 report is an example of the 'OMI2' programme.
The 1998 report is not an Inspectorate report at all - it was by the Home Office Research & Statistics people, showing that people in 1996 consistently overestimated the quantity and nature of crime overall in England & Wales, underestimated the severity of sentences imposed.
The two 1999 reports are different online versions of the same thematic inspection report on supervision planning in 46 of the then 54 areas.
I have labelled these three 2000 reports badly; in fact they are three parts of a thematic report on the Use of Information by probation services at the time (I've not found the 4th part). It was this report that led to CRAMS being dropped in 2000, but it covers much more.
The 2000 report on the reporting of Serious Incidents by Probation was followed up in the 2004 report. It also illustrates evolving policy, and the arrival of the term "Serious Further Offences (SFOs)". The 1998 paper, a draft, reflects HMI Probation's active involvement under Sir Graham Smith, in the promotion, alongside others, of "What Works?"
The publication of the 2000 Race Equality report led the then Minister Paul Boateng to announce that the Probation Service was "infected with racism" - the reader can decide if this was a fair summary.
There was then a Follow-up in 2004.
Langley House Trust was/is a Christian-based provider of staffed accommodation for, often, people released from prison, and this report an 2001, and its 2003 Follow-up, are an early example of the Inspectorate examining a technically 'non- Probation' service. Also in 2003, a short thematic on the use of video conferencing.
Much of my first year or two in the Inspectorate, as an Inspector, included exercises such as these two, working with the then National Directorate to monitor how National Standards of contact and enforcement, and of managing conflicting work priorities, were being managed by the then new Probation Areas. The new governing Boards themselves were also reviewed in this 2003 thematic inspection.
Other thematic inspections, looking at practice, also continued at this time, such as the one I led over 2002/3 on DTTOs (Drug Treatment and Testing Orders), while others led on Victim Contact work and on the movement of cases between supervising authorities.
In addition, however, we ran a series of further thematics, linked to the ESI programme of area inspections from 2003-6. Since the data collection for these reports was done at the same time as on the main ESI 'visit' we were 'getting more report for the same amount of fieldwork' - a gain for us as well as for the inspected area. We did 'EBS' (Employment and Basic Skills), Domestic Violence, Racially Motivated Offenders, Offender Accommodation, Substance Misuse and 'Enhanced Community Punishment' (extra provisions added to the unpaid work orders at the time).
Some of these carried additional 'occasional' papers, such as the review of literature on Domestic Violence (impressively comprehensive), or summarising the reports on Substance Misuse and enhanced unpaid work orders.
Other 2005 reports included a report 'aggregating' ESI findings to date, as I was keen to establish a baseline for future reference, plus a report on OASys, the rather cumbersome Offender Assessment System, which I was keen to promote despite its drawbacks. We also inspected the Jersey Probation Service, at their invitation.
On a very different note, 2004/5 also saw the Inspectorate become involved in reporting on individual cases where an offender had committed a notorious serious offence while under supervision of either Probation or a Youth Offending service.
Parfitt was under Nottinghamshire Probation supervision, but was in breach and was awaiting arrest when PC Gerald Walker died at his hands in the course of a car theft, and Parfitt was convicted of manslaughter. Rod Morgan conducted this inquiry in person, though in conjunction with Derbyshire Constabulary, and completed it just before he moved on. The issue was largely about whether Probation should have issued the warrant earlier, and/or whether the Police should have executed the warrant earlier. To some extent both allegations were true, but most of the public notoriety was directed at Notts Probation.
Peter Williams was the accomplice in the murder of Marion Bates in the course of an armed robbery of a Nottingham jeweller's - he was on a Licence at the time to Nottingham City Youth Offending Team, and was also subject to an electronically tagged curfew.
In 2006 came the reports on Hanson & White, and on Rice, which I have included on the main part of this webpage, further above. And then in 2007 came a 'hybrid' inquiry, concerning what can be achieved by "Approved Premises" (probation hostels), following an implicitly critical BBC Panorama programme about a Bristol hostel.
Following those inquiries, I was pleased that we were able to move on from examining individual cases to focusing more widely on how often the 'Risk of Harm work' was being done well enough in each Area. This was an integral part of our OMI methodology after 2006, and it could also be done as a stand-alone exercise when needed. These are examples of such RoH Area Assessments, in London and Gwent, during that period. There were also joint RoH inspections - examples in the 'joint' section below, as is a joint report on OMI in prisons.
Early in 2011 we produced an aggregate report on OMI2 findings so far - one-third of the way through the programme - and it would seem that there were later 'OMI2 aggregate' reports too. I am pleased to note that this has enabled the Inspectorate in 2018 to compile a reasonable comparison of performance 'nationally' in 2016-17 with that of 2011-12 in relation to the management of RoH.
Further below are some examples of joint reports of various types, including some Youth Offending reports. Meanwhile at this point I've placed a rather random assortment of miscellaneous 'other' papers from the same broad time period:
the announcement of my CBE, my letter to the Daily Mail in April 2006, my 2007 speech to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Penal Affairs, the draft legislation to rename the Inspectorate formally (bringing formality into line with the by-then common usage), my letter to
BERR the then business-regulation people to make my usual argument
against seeing 'regulation' as principally a 'burden' that needed to be ''lightened', my evidence to the Justice Select Committee in December 2007 and April 2008, my address at a service at Methodist Central Hall commemorating Langley House Trust, the 2009 Framework
paper formalising the Inspectorate's relationship with the MoJ, a 2009
paper from the Centre for Crime & Justice Studies about public spending on prisons and probation with austerity policies looming, my short response in 2008 to the consultation on so-called 'Titan' prisons, the 2010 speech by Minister Crispin Blunt at the Inspectorate's Annual Report launch that year, and letters I sent in 2010 responding to adverse public comments by Ann Widdecombe and Melanie Phillips.
(As I said, this was a somewhat random selection!)
Joint inspections, including Youth Offending inspections:
Youth Offending inspections: These inspections only finally got off the ground as a full programme in 2003, formally constituted as being a programme jointly run with eight or more other inspectorates (including the Welsh ones), covering children's services and healthcare as well as criminal justice. That work is underrepresented here, since 30+ 'area' inspections were being done every year from 2004 onwards, plus several thematic inspections. This pace enabled a full first round of 157 inspections to be completed from 2003-9, and established the principle that inspections were going to happen, though with some resistance from some local authorities and some parts of central government. The second round, over three years from 2009, was leaner and smarter. The selection below includes: the first Annual Report (in 2004) of the first year of the first programme, two thematics that were conducted jointly with the then Healthcare Commission, a 2005 thematic on the YOT contribution to safeguarding children, a 2007 thematic on Junior Attendance Centres, my reply to a letter complaining about aspects of our YOT inspection methodology in 2007, and an example of our second round of 'area' inspections in 2009.
Some other joint inspections, mainly before 2007: These examples include, first, four on Safeguarding children. The first full "inter-Agency" joint inspection, led in 2002 by the then Social Services Inspectorate (subsequently absorbed into Ofsted), was followed by a joint HMI Probation and HMI Constabulary review also in 2002 - provided here - while also provided here are the further full joint inspections in 2005 and 2008, plus a follow-up bulletin of key messages in 2009. Other examples here include a 2001 report, jointly with HMI Prisons, with a "Through the Gate" title, two joint reports with a training regulator on the then Diploma in Probation Studies, the 2002 joint inspections of the Street Crime Initiative, led by HMI Constabulary, and finally two reports that illustrate HMI Probation's involvement in the Supporting People joint inspections led by the Audit Commission during the 2000s.
Further joint inspections, mainly from 2007 onwards: Following the late abandoning, in October 2006, of the plan to create a single Inspectorate for the CJS, the then five CJS inspectorates agreed to undertake an annual programme of joint inspections, which were done under the CJJI label/logo (Criminal Justice Joint Inspections). The nature of these different inspections meant that usually only two or three Inspectorates - the relevant ones - were involved in each specific inspection. Below I have provided, first, two of the 2005 Government documents proposing the single Inspectorate, and then the first few Annual Plans produced by the CJJI group of Inspectorates following the abandoning of the merger.
The two "PPO" reports, which span the 2007 change, illustrate partly how the labelling of joint inspections changed, and partly also how the labelling of the subject-matter changed, and yet also partly the continuity in the subject of "prolific offenders", the work that was being done with them, and how it was being inspected.
The 2004 report on Approved Premises (hostels) was in fact a Home Office funded academic literature review, but the 2008 report was one of the new-style joint inspections.
The 2006 report on managing Risk of Harm, and its Summary bulletin, preceded the 2007 change, but the two reports on managing sex offenders - a different topic but with similarities - span that change, and again illustrate the change in labelling but continuity in the themes and findings.
Whereas the reports above illustrate joint work with HMI Prisons and HMI Constabulary, the inspections on Enforcement of Court Orders, and Getting Orders Started illustrate joint work with the then HMI Courts Administration.
But joint work with HMI Prisons continued, exemplified by this 2008 report on Offender Management in Prisons in the South-West and by this higher-profile 2010 report on IPP - Imprisonment for Public Protection.
Finally, another regulatory regime that in the end never happened: Two leaflets from the Audit Commission describe the plans for CAA, Comprehensive Area Assessment (for local authorities), which included HMI Probation because of the Youth Offending inspections, and which was due to start in 2010, but which was immediately scrapped by the incoming Coalition Government.