Wales > News and insights > First words > Challenging times ahead, but we’re on the right course

Challenging times ahead, but we’re on the right course

A national lockdown is in place across England. Wales has recently finished its two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown too, but new restrictions have begun. The pandemic has already added pressure on the probation services, but just like the previous lockdown, we have moved quickly to change our ways of working to support staff and the needs of service users.

Even though public health restrictions across England and Wales have significant implications on all our daily lives, our offices are staying open, and we continue to deliver core probation services. Wherever possible, we’re also continuing to deliver accredited programmes and unpaid work consistent with the latest government advice.

Notwithstanding the latest changes, we are pleased to have quickly recovered our services after the first set of lockdowns, and we are confident we can do it again. Our delivery of face-to-face appointments, accredited programmes, and unpaid work had all been increasing. In Kent, Surrey and Sussex, our unpaid work delivery had returned to 100% in October.

Determined to reduce reoffending

While we know the next months, and maybe beyond, will bring some challenges, we remain determined to prevent more people from becoming trapped in the criminal justice system. With the latest Ministry of Justice proven reoffending rates at the lowest in twelve years, we are pleased to see we are making good progress.

But even in these times, organisations like ours must keep up the momentum to achieve real and lasting change. That’s why we recently launched a new programme, backed by the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA, that will help ex-service personnel break the cycle of their reoffending and reintegrate them back into civilian life.  Elsewhere across the Group, we have a new job support programme for those out of work due to the impact of COVID-19. Starting next year, we will also be delivering new support to help offenders reintegrate back into their communities. We’ll be doing this through five new Ministry of Justice commissioned CFO activity hubs and a new resettlement home for women.

Investing in research

We are also committed to investing in research and increasing our understanding of what works to prevent crime and reoffending. You can read our latest research on the effect Covid-19 on BAME victims of domestic abuse and how we must all respond to tackle this problem here. I am also pleased to be hosting a probation event looking at how we can deepen our use of the evidence-based practice. Michael Sanders from What Works for Children’s Social Care has agreed to chair the discussion. You can join this event by signing up via Eventbrite. By using evidence and research, we can find new and effective ways to prevent crime and reoffending to turn people’s lives around for the better – for victims, our communities and the individuals themselves.

As we head towards the probation transition date next year, our experienced professionals on the ground are continuing to make a difference as we shape a vision for offender management that delivers locally driven interventions that work.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of the newsletter. If you have any feedback, please contact our communications team,