Speaking with one voice? Probation as a profession and One HMPPS

AuthorNicola Carr
Published date01 December 2022
Date01 December 2022
Subject MatterEditorial
Speaking with one
voice? Probation as
a profession and One
In August 2022, the Ministry of Justice announced further changes to the conf‌igur-
ation of prison and probation services under the banner of One HMPPS. All proba-
tion services have been brought under the ambit of HM Prison and Probation Service
(HMPSS) since the renationalisation of services in June 2021, following the row
back on Transforming Rehabilitation reforms. This has involved signif‌icant upheaval
for staff and services, with the added burden of this taking place in the unprece-
dented context of the pandemic. One may be forgiven for thinking that the dust
would be allowed to settle before further reforms are enacted. The off‌icial announce-
ment regarding the scope and ambition of One HMPPS referred to changes to the
leadership structure of HMPPS, including the appointment of a Chief Executive
Off‌icer and a Director General, and the integration of prison and probation leader-
ship at this senior level. However, some are sceptical about whether integration will
stop there. The Probation Institute issued a strongly worded statement expressing
concerns about the direction of travel amid fears that probation services would be
subsumed within a larger prison system (Probation Institute, 2022). Past readers
of the journal will f‌ind echoes with some of the concerns raised at the time of the
establishment of the National Offender Management Service (NOMs) (see e.g.
Robinson and Burnett, 2007). One of the issues raised by the Probation Institute is
the place of the probation professional within HMPPS and indeed within the
wider civil service and the capacity of professionals to articulate their voices and
to be heard within these wider structures.
The issue of the professional voice of probation has also come to the fore in criti-
cisms of recent changes to the Parole Board rules made by Justice Secretary Dominic
Raab following the publication of the governmentsRoot and Branch Review of the
Parole System (MoJ, 2022). These include a new test regarding the transfer of inde-
terminate prisoners to open prison conditions; the introduction of public parole hear-
ings and changes to recommendations made by HMPPS report writers to the Parole
Board. This means that probation staff are no longer allowed to provide recommen-
dations or views on a prisoners suitability for release or transfer to open conditions
in the reports that they provide to the Parole Board.
Editorial The Journal of Communit
and Criminal Justice
Probation Journal
2022, Vol. 69(4) 413416
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/02645505221138692

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