Morning, Monday, 29th January 2024
This conference will examine next steps for the probation system in England and Wales.
Following reunification in 2021, the conference will bring stakeholders and policymakers together to assess current progress and priorities for future improvements in the probation system
It takes place following the commitment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill in the King’s speech, pledging reform to the parole system regarding the release of dangerous offenders, and following the Government’s announcement in October, allowing for prisoners to be released up to 18 days before their automatic release date, as well as legislating for sentences of less than 12 months in prison to be suspended in an aim to alleviate overcrowding in prisons.
In light of the ongoing heightened staffing pressures within the prison and probation services, and following HMPPS’ Probation Workforce Strategy (2023-2025), discussion will examine priorities for supporting both the current workforce and new staff entering the service, looking at training and recruitment practices, professional development, workforce culture, workloads and resources.
Delegates will also assess the system’s capability to provide rehabilitation for offenders and reduce reoffending through community engagement, local partnerships, commissioned rehabilitation services and offender management, with the Government announcing plans to make more GPS tags available for monitoring offenders.
We are pleased to include keynote sessions with: Kim Thornden-Edwards, Chief Probation Officer, HM Prison and Probation Service; Jenny George, Director, Justice Value-For-Money Studies, National Audit Office; Phil Bowen, Director, Centre for Justice Innovation; and Ian Lawrence, General Secretary, Probation and Family Courts, Napo.
Overall, areas for discussion include:
- Reunification: assessing current progress and next steps for improvement - policy priorities for the probation service
- Workforce: staffing and recruitment - impact of changes to sentencing and to the Victims and Prisoners Bill - priorities for supporting the probation workforce
- Offender management: considering reform - exploring concerns - risk management errors - staff workload - improving information sharing - next steps for public protection moving forward
- Third sector role: priorities for increasing partnerships with the voluntary sector and improving joint-working within the probation system
- Prison overcrowding: assessing the impact of the increasing prison population on the probation system - exploring early releases, changes to IPP sentences and community sentences
- Increased localisation: considering the proposed seven Area Model - exploring devolved offender management - local commissioning and solutions
- Supporting rehabilitation: exploring collaborative approaches to reducing reoffending - community reintegration - risk management