An analysis of inspection in probation and its impact on practitioners, practice and providers

PHILLIPS, Jake (2021). An analysis of inspection in probation and its impact on practitioners, practice and providers. Probation Journal: the journal of community and criminal justice.

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This article analyses the impact of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation on practice, providers and practitioners. Since 1936 HMI Probation has aimed to improve practice through independently inspecting probation services. However, no research has looked at its impact on those it inspects. This is important not only because the evidence on whether inspection improves delivery in other sectors is weak but also because oversight has the potential to create accountability overload. Following a brief overview of the history, aims and policy context for probation inspection the article presents data from interviews with 77 participants from across the field of probation. Overall, participants were positive about inspection and the Inspectorate. However, the data suggest that inspection places a considerable operational burden on staff and organisations and has real emotional consequences for practitioners. Staff experience case interviews as places for reflection and validation but there is less evidence of the direct impact of inspection on practice. Ultimately, the article argues that inspection can monitor practice whilst also contributing to improving practice and providing staff with a way to reflect on their work, yet this balance is difficult strike. Finally, the article considers the implications of these findings for the Inspectorate and the probation service.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1602 Criminology
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2021 09:07
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 10:27

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