Westminster Legal Policy Forum

Next steps for probation services in England and Wales

Morning, Tuesday, 29th October 2019

Central London


This seminar will be a timely opportunity to discuss the future of probation services in England and Wales.

It follows the announcement from the Ministry of Justice that the supervision of around 200,000 low and medium-risk offenders will be removed from part-private companies and retaken over by the government.

Delegates will discuss how best to improve staff retention and training of the current workforce, particularly at the probation officer level. This follows concerns raised in the most recent Report of the Chief Inspector of Probation over the shortfall and overworking of probation professionals, as well as difficulties filling vacancies.

Attendees will consider recommendations such as the development of a common code of ethics and a requirement for continuing professional development, as well as the government proposal for a statutory regulatory framework for professional standards.

In light of reports from the National Audit Office (NAO) and the Public Accounts Committee concluding that the Transforming Rehabilitation programme achieved poor value for money for the taxpayer there will also be consideration of recommendations for improving the economic sustainability of probation services.

The future relationship with private sector partners, and in particular the tendering process for contracts, will be a key area for discussion.

This seminar is an opportunity to assess how to best to meet the individual needs of offenders, including ensuring the timely provision of accommodation, benefits payments, mental health and other relevant treatment orders.

It comes with the Government announcing the expansion of the Community Sentencing Treatment Requirements programme as a key element of the Health and Justice Plan, expected in Autumn 2019.

The agenda will draw out the latest thinking on rehabilitation through education, social integration and greater employment, including analysis of current risk assessments and approaches such as the risk-need-responsivity model. Attendees will consider criticisms of the ‘Through the Gate’ model, and how this can be improved during the transition back to government management.

Delegates will also consider the role of the voluntary sector under the new system, as each of the regions created will have a dedicated private or voluntary sector partner. There will be discussion of how to ensure these partners receive adequate support, and the extent to which they are being engaged in the consultation and implementation of changes.

Finally, the agenda will look at the potential for technology in this sector, as the Ministry of Justice announced investment in a new digital and data strategy for probation, along with an annual £20m fund for innovative new approaches.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Nicola Carr

Associate Professor, University of Nottingham; Co-Chair, Working Group on Community Sanctions, European Society of Criminology and Editor, Probation Journal

Jim Barton

Director and Senior Responsible Officer, Probation Reform Programme, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service

Justin Russell

HM Chief Inspector of Probation

Chris Groom

Audit Manager, National Audit Office


Charles Lewinton

Chief Technology Officer, Buddi

Member, User Voice Council with Mark Johnson

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, User Voice

Sandra Paul

Partner, Kingsley Napley

Darren Burns

National Recruitment Ambassador, Timpson

Mike Trace

Chief Executive, The Forward Trust

Tania Bassett

National Official, Press, Parliament & Campaigns, Napo

Dr Suzie Clift

Principal Lecturer, Criminology Research and Enterprise Group, School of Applied Social Science, University of Brighton

Jessica Mullen

Head of Policy and Communications, Clinks