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Ealing and Hillingdon probation service rated “inadequate” and needing “urgent” action according to Chief Inspector for Probation

Inspectors for the Probation Service have rated Ealing and Hillingdon as “inadequate” with “urgent” action needed. It is also among the worst in the country scoring just 3 points out of a possible 27.

The report comes as other boroughs including Hammersmith, Fulham, Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster and Lambeth are also criticised by the Chief Inspector for Probation Justin Russell with some of them scoring no points.

Mr Russell said of the findings including Ealing and Hillingdon: “These are without doubt some of the poorest probation inspection outcomes we have seen. For a probation delivery unit not to score a single inspection point is something I did not expect, or ever want, to see. But many of the failings are beyond these individual services to fix – the Probation Service, at a national level, must provide urgent assistance.

“These three London probation services have chronic staff shortages, some with less than 50 per cent of the probation practitioners they need, often exacerbated by high rates of sickness too. In one area we found hundreds of cases without a named probation practitioner and therefore not being properly supervised – some of these cases involved individuals who had committed very serious offences.

“Furthermore, even where people on probation did have an allocated officer, we found poor management of cases, with a rating of ‘Inadequate’ for all five of our case quality standards in all three services, with particularly worrying weaknesses around the management of risks of harm to the public. This cannot be allowed to continue. Staff need the necessary resources and clear direction to allow them to supervise individuals safely. It is critical that appropriate services and interventions are delivered to address offending and manage harm.

“This is a stark picture of the position probation services find themselves in. They need strong leadership, sustained resourcing and recruitment and a relentless focus on improving the quality of supervision and risk management if they are to recover.”

The full report for Ealing and Hillingdon can be found here.

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