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Inspectors warns Probation service failing to carry out necessary child protection and domestic abuse checks

HM Inspectorate of Probation has concluded that the Probation service is failing to carry out necessary child protection and domestic abuse checks when carrying out risk assessments on offenders.

A study has found that officers only made child safeguarding enquiries with council children’s services in 55% of cases where inspectors concluded they should have been made and child safeguarding enquiries had only been completed in 48% of cases where inspectors deemed this necessary in probation officers’ court reports.

Similar findings were found in relation to domestic abuse cases, with checks made with the police in just 49% of supervision cases and 51% of court reports where inspectors concluded they were necessary.

Writing in the Inspectorate’s annual report, Chief inspector of probation John Russell said “time and again we’re also finding that practitioners are failing to draw on a wide enough range of information when assessing risk”.

He also noted a deterioration in the service since it was reorganised as a single public sector institution due to high caseloads and inadequate staffing levels inherited from private-sector community rehabilitation companies (CRCs).

Whilst he noted that a £155m increase in annual funding had boosted recruitment, the service had struggled to train and mentor new starters because of an exodus of experienced staff and the challenges of remote working during the pandemic.

Read the full report here

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Published on 21st September 2023