Two recent reports by HMI Probation have now been published. The first is in relation to the inspection carried out within the Swansea Neath Port Talbot Probation Delivery Unit (PDU) which has received an overall rating of ‘Inadequate’ by the Inspectorate. We understand that this the first inspection under the new methodology being used by HMIP.
Napo has been contacted by our Branch Representatives in Wales who have told us that the report’s conclusions have not been well received by our members. While HMIP have recognised that there were mitigating circumstances such as the Covid Pandemic seriously impacting on services, and the need to exit the central probation premises due to the discovery of Asbestos, the concerns from members reflect their view that other factors should have been given more prominence. These include unsustainable caseloads, continuing staff vacancies and the consequent pressure on inexperienced staff. Our members have told us that these ought to have been highlighted as a major factor in the verdict that there has been a shortfall in the quality of some aspects of face to face supervision, risk analysis, the delivery of accredited programmes and a backlog in unpaid work orders.
Napo will obviously be supporting our members in Wales against unfair criticism and to fully discuss the nine recommendations for improvement contained in the report. We will also be reminding senior Probation management that the findings by the Inspectorate are symptomatic of the wider crisis of excessive workloads, and the consequences of failing to offer a pay package for staff that makes them feel valued and incentivised to remain in the service.
The full report and recommendations can be accessed here: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/wp-content/uploads/...