London Probation is a law enforcement agency and part of the National Probation Service (NPS). The NPS and The Prison Service form the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) which is answerable to the Ministry of Justice.
It is the largest of the 42 probation areas in England and Wales, employing over 3000 staff and dealing with over 60,000 offenders a year. London Probation works with other justice agencies and public bodies to protect the public and reduce re-offending.
London Probation staff work with offenders from first court appearances to the completion of a sentence. They deliver sentences of the courts through credible and effective community punishments including programmes to change offending behaviour. They also prepare reports which help inform those who sentence offenders or which assist in the preparations needed when offenders leave prison.
Below we focus on two key areas of London Probation business: Interventions and Offender Management.
Interventions is the generic title for those activities designed to assist the rehabilitation of an offender by addressing and helping him/her deal with their criminal behaviours.
Interventions are delivered by trained, qualified staff in a way that models good behaviour and positive relationships and that is sensitive to the way in which offenders learn.
Offender Behaviour programmes
Various Offender Behaviour programmes have been designed to reduce re-offending with the aims of rehabilitating offenders. For example:
Designed for offenders with established patterns of offending. It challenges offenders to look at the reasons for offending and work to develop skills to avoid re-offending.
Aggression Replacement Training (ART)
Suitable for offenders convicted of offences of assault, serious public order or criminal damage. Offenders on this programme will have exhibited a pattern of violent or aggressive behaviour and be considered as medium or high risk to the public. Offenders must demonstrate some motivation to change and some recognition of the unacceptability of their behaviour.
Other examples include the Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme (IDAP), Community Sex Offender Group Work & Drink Impaired Drivers.
For many years now the prison and probation services have shared some interventions, such as Enhanced Thinking Skills or the Substance Abuse Programme ASRO, which were developed and are now accredited for use in either community or custodial settings. There is a commitment from both services that where possible any new development of accredited programme be a joint undertaking.
The Employability of Ex-offenders
With current changes and developments within the organisation, new ideas and initiatives are being encouraged including the introduction of ‘Employment and Skills’ with a focus on the employability of ex-offenders, involving developing offender’s skills in areas such as IT and literacy. Many ex-offenders can now offer a reliable source of labour if they are given the opportunity. This is an area London Probation is actively engaged in.
Community Payback & Unpaid Work
‘Community Payback’, is a London Probation partnership with the Metropolitan Police and all the capital’s local authorities. It is focused to visibly address crime and the fear of crime as prioritised by local communities. Its objectives are to enable offenders subject to Community Orders with an unpaid work requirement, to make reparation to local communities as part of the Met’s Safer Neighbourhoods programme. This involves offenders carrying out various duties such as removing graffiti and fly-tips, painting and building. It is a fact that £5.7 million ‘worth of unpaid work benefits London each year.
As well as offenders, London Probation also works with the victims of serious crimes. London Probation provides support to any victim of a sexual or other violent offence where the offender receives a sentence of 12 months or more.
Approved premises are for convicted offenders, or persons on bail, for whom no other type of accommodation would be suitable. They provide an enhanced level of supervision to reduce the risk of harm to the public. Placement in approved premises is designed to minimise the risks to the public and/ or victim. The London Probation currently uses 13 Approved Premises across London.
Assessment and supervision of offenders is part of offender management. The boundary between offender management and interventions is sometimes not clear-cut and individual probation areas may draw boundaries in different ways. The ‘grey’ area arises because good offender management arrangements are not purely administrative but help integrate and extend the learning of the various interventions.
London Probation staff produce reports on offenders that provide advice and recommendations to help Magistrates and Judges decide on the most appropriate sentences.
Court reports are requested by the Judge or Magistrate after an offender has been convicted, in order to find out more information about them. This ensures the most appropriate sentence for the offender is given.
Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
MAPPA enables police, prisons, and probation to work together sharing information regarding high risk offenders and to plan and implement management strategies to control the risk that those offenders present to the community.
Due to the size and complexity of London, MAPPA has been organised to work through local panels in order to ensure consistency of practice, whilst being flexible enough to meet local, individual needs and situations in such a diverse and multi cultural society.
End to End Offender Management
End-to-end offender management implemented across London in April 2006 specifically focuses on the quality of the relations between the offender and the Offender Manager. This method of managing offenders places probation staff at the very heart of NOMS. End-to-end offender management ensures offenders are managed in a consistent, constructive and coherent way during their entire sentence. It has introduced the concept of a single named Offender Manager for each offender, who works with them throughout their sentence and accurately assesses their needs whether in custody or in the community. This way of working seeks to improve the selection, sequencing and targeting of interventions for each offender, and is in effect a reversion to the way in which the Probation Service worked at its inception, more than a hundred years ago.
The Offender Management Model
The Offender Management Model is a collaboration of a number of Government initiatives including the paper’ Restructuring Probation to Reduce Re-offending’ and the ‘What Works’ best for offenders. These highlight the aims to reduce re-offending through more consistent, effective offender management and quality assessment. The idea is that the role of the end-to-end Offender Manager is central to the process of assessment, sentence planning leading to interventions' activities and programmes.
A Century of Cutting Crime (1907-2007)
The Probation Service is now in its Centenary year and is proud of its probation system, looking back over 100 years. It is grateful to its predecessors who, seeing the need for treating certain offenders in the open, first supplied the new methods tentatively to a few selected men and women guilty of minor offences, arranging for them to be supervised by voluntary workers.
London Probation has gone through an organisational redesign, and is also carrying out a ‘Model Borough Pathfinder Project’. The objective of these developments is to ultimately improve performance, and operate at greater efficiencies as we work towards attaining Trust Status.
Area Greater London Size 1,578, km(2) (609 sq mi) Population 7.4 million
Operations Formed: 1907 HQ: 71 – Great Peter Street, London, SW1 2BN Staff: 3,000 Offices: 100 Chief Officer: David Scott
At March 2007, London Probation employed 3266 people, of whom 33% were from an ethnic minority background. This level of ethnic minority representation in the workforce equals the target set for LP by the Home Secretary of 33% (by 2010) and exceeds the Labour Force Survey benchmark of 29%.
In terms of grade/seniority, there were fewer ethnic minority employees in the more senior grade groups than in the workforce as a whole. For example, they made up 20% of the assistant chief officer grade compared with 36% of probation officers and 46% of administrative and clerical staff.
Of the 3239 employees of London Probation at 25 January 2007, 2157 (67%) were women. In terms of grade/seniority, women were less well represented (53%) in the assistant chief officer grade than in the whole workforce, about the same (67%) in the probation officer grade and over represented in the administrative and clerical grades (79%).
Chief Operations Officer
Assistant Chief Officer
Senior Probation Officer
Trainee Probation Officer
Probation Service Officer
The designation "Offender Manager" is sometimes applied to staff in all grades, but does not imply any particular level of qualification.
London Probation has been protecting the public and rehabilitating offenders in London since 2001. Before then, five separate organisations provided probation services in London on a regional basis;
South West London Probation Service
South East London Probation Service
North East London Probation Service
Middlesex Probation Service
The merger in 2001 brought together all five organisations into what was then called the London Probation Area. London Probation now provides probation services to the whole of London.
1907 - First Probation Officers appointed under the Probation of Offenders Act 1907.
1920s - Appointing a Probation Officer becomes a requirement of the courts.
1937 - Guy Clutton-Brock appointed London's first Principal Probation Officer.
1948 – The Probation service in London gained its third, and longest serving, Principal Probation Officer, with the appointment of Seldon Charles Forrester Farmer.
1950s - Female Probation Officers began to supervise boys up to 14 and girls up to 17.
1972 - Community Service (Unpaid Work) became an alternative sentencing option to prison as part of the Criminal Justice Act 1972.
1980s - Hostels (now Approved Premises) introduced to increase public protection and supervision of dangerous offenders.
1990s - Tagging and specific requirements for drug and alcohol treatment.
2001 - Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) introduced. Involves probation, police, prisons and other agencies working together to manage dangerous offenders in the community.
2004 - National Offender Management Service (NOMS) formed by merging HM Prison Service and the National Probation Service.
Social Work: A Vital Link between Two Worlds ; Modernisation of the Probation Service Means There's Never Been a Better Time to Qualify
Dec 10, 2002; "Most people's impression of the probation service is at least a decade out of date," says Eithne Wallis, the service's national...