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New probation services model

Details of the new model

29 June 2021
New probation services model

From 26 June 2021, the new model for probation services in England and Wales is in place. All sentence management for low, medium and high-risk offenders, as well as unpaid work, accredited programmes, other interventions and resettlement services, will be carried out by the National Probation Service (NPS).

The NPS will be able to commission some services from the private and/or third sectors. The Dynamic Framework, a commissioning mechanism, will allow regional probation directors to procure rehabilitation services, for example, in relation to accommodation, employment and training. In May 2021 the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced a list of contracts awarded under the Dynamic Framework according to region.

Probation services will be organised around 12 regions and overseen by a Regional Probation Director with accountability for both the NPS and contracted delivery. The 12 regions are:

  • North East
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • East Midlands
  • East of England
  • Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  • South Central
  • South West
  • Wales
  • West Midlands
  • Greater Manchester
  • North West
  • London

The new model will largely reverse the reforms of probation services that took place from 2014. These reforms, known as ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’, divided the probation service between the NPS and Community Rehabilitation Companies.

The NPS will retain responsibility for the delivery of pre-sentence reports, providing advice and information to help judges and magistrates in their sentencing decisions. In March 2021 the Ministry of Justice launched a pilot which will use an Alternative Delivery Model at 15 sites. The pilot will include the delivery of short format written reports for three priority cohorts: female offenders, young adult offenders and offenders who are deemed to be at risk of custody.

Concerns have been raised about the transition from the old to new model. The Chief Inspector of Probation said the timeline was ambitious and that the pandemic had added further complexity to the schedule. In May 2021 HM Inspectorate found that the reforms were broadly on track but raised some concerns regarding staffing and services.

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