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Supporting People :  How It Will Work :  Health, Probation and Social Services :  Probation Co-ordination Team :  Probation Service Site Map

Supporting People and Probation

Background - the National Probation Service for England & Wales


The National Probation Service (NPS) is made up of 42 areas across England and Wales. It has a National Directorate situated within the Home Office (hyperlink to NPD web page?). NPS supervises around 200,000 offenders a year.

What is it?

The NPS is a law enforcement agency. It delivers community punishments by supervising offenders within the terms set by the Court and oversees offenders released on licence from prison. It works with offenders to reduce their re-offending and to protect the public. Where an offender fails to comply with the community supervision requirements their case is returned to the Court to be dealt with and can lead to a prison sentence. Failure to comply with a post custody licence could mean the offender is recalled to prison.

The NPS is a key statutory criminal justice service working in a highly collaborative way with police and prison colleagues, as well as local authorities, health, education, housing and a wide range of independent and voluntary sector partners.

The aims of the NPS are:

  • Protecting the public
  • Reducing re-offending
  • The proper punishment of offenders in the community
  • Ensuring offender’s awareness of the effects of crime on the victims of crime and the public
  • Rehabilitation of offenders

    Who does it work with?

    Of the 170,000 offenders commencing supervision each year approximately 90% are male and 10% are female. Just over 25% of offenders on supervision orders are aged 16-20 years and just under 75% are aged 21 and over. 9% of those starting their orders are from black and minority ethnic groups.

    What does it do?

  • Continuous assessment and management of risk and dangerousness
  • Provision of expert supervision programmes designed to reduce offending ‘What Works’
  • Enforcement of order and licence conditions.
  • Assistance to magistrates and judges by providing ‘pre-sentence reports’ to help them with their sentencing decisions
  • Identification and supervision of unpaid work by offenders in local communities, ensuring they meet the punishment and reparation requirements of their community service orders
  • Provides assessments to assist prison governors and parole and lifer review boards in determining the timing and the terms and conditions for release of prisoners
  • Statutory responsibility falls to the NPS to reintegrate prisoners (serving sentences of over one year) safely back into the community
  • Public protection is central to NPS supervision planning. Work with victims, including the impact of the offence and concern about safety are integral to pre and post release risk assessment work
  • Staff work both directly for the service and as secondees to a wide range of public protection and crime reduction or prevention agencies including youth offending teams, prisons, and other community partnerships.

  • Why is it involved in Supporting People?

    The NPS have agreed to develop new partnerships with local authorities to deliver effective supported housing services within the community. This is to ensure that offenders accommodation receives the support services they need to lead crime free lives and to protect local communities. They are contributing to the local strategic planning processes to ensure crime reduction, public protection and the management of risk of harm is built into evolving models of provision and targeted at safer communities.

    More information about the Supporting People Probation Co-ordination Team