Serious Further Offence reviews

From April 2017 HMI Probation will be responsible for reviewing work with offenders who are under current or recent supervision by providers of probation services and have been charged with a specified Serious Further Offence (SFO). [1]

The purpose of the SFO review is to:

  • understand and set out what happened;
  • analyse what – if anything – could or should have been done differently, and why this did not happen;
  • establish whether there are lessons to be learned from the incident, both locally and nationally, and identify what those lessons are; and
  • make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Justice, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), National Probation Service (NPS), and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) about what, if anything, needs to change to minimise the possibility of a recurrence of similar events.

The SFO review will:

  • provide robust, proportionate, independent scrutiny and analysis of the management of the case;
  • identify and report on systemic, organisational or individual failures, particularly where these may be relevant to the outcome;
  • highlight notable good practice, recognising that those involved may have taken all reasonable action to manage the offender; and
  • contribute to the continuous improvement of the management of offenders by the MoJ, NOMS, NPS and CRCs.

All SFO reviews will result in a written report which will be sent to the relevant NPS Division and/or to the relevant CRC. Where the offender is convicted of a Serious Further Offence, a report will be published on HMI Probation’s website, placing the findings in the public domain. The published report will generally include the delivery organisation’s response to the recommendations together with their summary of any progress made.

Where several agencies have been involved with the offender, separate multi-agency case reviews may be undertaken in addition to the probation SFO review. Where appropriate, HMI Probation will liaise with those conducting other reviews to avoid duplication and to coordinate publication. In some cases, describing the work with the individual will involve comment on the contribution of other agencies; it is not, however, within the remit of HMI Probation to make recommendations addressed to organisations other than MoJ, including NOMS and NPS, and to CRCs.

The publication of SFO reviews is intended to provide transparency about what happened and what lessons have been learned. Where failings are identified, other systems exist to hold individuals and organisations to account, including contract management, criminal or civil proceedings, and formal employment procedures.

HMI Probation’s routine inspection programme will provide an opportunity to seek evidence that the required improvement has been made.

HMI Probation will collate themes arising from SFO reviews and will periodically disseminate lessons learned.

For any enquiries relating to HMI Probation’s Serious Further Offences Reviews, please email sfo@hmiprobation.gsi.gov.uk (E-mail address)

Source: HMI Probation