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Following the HM Inspectorate of Probation’s second report assessing the impact of the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, we’ve pulled together a brief overview of the findings. 

As expected, the report published on 19th May 2015 acknowledges that ‘many of the challenges identified in the original report still remain’ and quite rightly, it praises staff at the National Probation Service (NPS) and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) for working collaboratively during the transitional period. 

Amongst the challenges that still remain, yet are crucial to operational delivery, are those which are IT related. There are also some significant barriers at the pre-allocation stage that are having an impact on delivery. 

An area that is of particular concern in the report is the use of the Risk of Serious Recidivism (RSR) tool, which is supposed to help inform whether cases should be allocated to a CRC or the NPS. 

The findings also show that staff have concerns over the use of the RSR tool at the pre-allocation stage for certain categories of offenders. 

Interestingly, claims that the RSR tool only takes 5-6 minutes to complete appear to be somewhat questionable in the report, as is the fact that the RSR tool should be used for all cases. 

The recommendations that follow in the report recognise that NOMS should look to streamline its processes for completing RSR, and that it should remove the need for using the RSR tool for those offenders automatically retained by the NPS. This, it is hoped, will free up time and resource. 

Overall, the HMI Probation observed that cases have been allocated to the correct organisation in a timely manner, and ‘where risk escalation processes were started these were generally carried through swiftly’.

There is, however, much still to implement to reduce bureaucratic barriers that in the report’s words, ‘could stifle innovation’. 

There appears to be considerable work needed with regards to risk reviews that cause a change in the organisation responsible for the case. 

The report also calls for recording procedures to be reviewed in terms of breach and escalation information on nDelius. 

Overall, the report makes 20 recommendations, many of which are aimed at reducing duplication of work and form filling, which we very much hope will help relieve the pressure on those working in probation

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