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It’s been fifteen months since the launch of Transforming Rehabilitation (TR), and in a final report on its implementation, Dame Gleys Stacey, new HM Chief Inspector of Probation, identifies court work, staff training, and through-the-gate services as key areas for development. 




Court work


Nobody can deny that TR has placed an increased dependency on the quality of court reporting. This was reflected in the report, where the inspectors note that although progress has been made, the system is not working as well as it could. In part, this is due to increasing demand for quicker justice. However, in evaluating cases, they found that checks involving domestic abuse and child safeguarding were often not completed, meaning crucial information was missing at sentencing. 

The Inspectors concluded that “checks are needed in all cases, to inform sentencing and enable CRCs to focus promptly and knowledgeably on the work needed to reduce reoffending”; a message that will hopefully be filtered through to colleagues working at the courts, as it was found that many court staff were unaware of what CRCs can offer.

Through-the-gate


Thankfully, inspectors have recognised the inordinate task of helping offenders prior to release from prison with their accommodation, employment and financial needs. As through-the-gate (TTG) services are still very much finding their feet; more needs to be done to facilitate the greater sharing of information between the responsible officer, TTG resettlement staff in custody and any others providing through-the-gate services. This is a sticking-point also raised by the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry into Transforming Rehabilitation, where it states:

“Service users were most dissatisfied in obtaining help with housing, help with finding employment and having to repeat information to different people; aspects influenced in part by factors outside the control of probation services.”

Going forward


Up until now, restructuring services has remained the focus, but now many of those systems are embedded, Dame Gleys Stacey is expecting a much sharper focus on the day-to-day delivery of services and says:

“Community Rehabilitation Company leaders have been understandably focused on implementing substantial change. For some this has been at a cost to quality assurance and effective management oversight of the day-to-day. With the new arrangements increasingly embedded, we hope to see increased emphasis on the quality of work over the course of the year.”

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