Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation for England and Wales, recently published new research conducted by Prof. Peter Raynor: ‘Supervision Skills for Probation Practitioners’. This short report was produced at the request of Dr Robin Moore, Head of Research in The HM Inspectorate of Probation. It is partly based on a longer article in the European Journal of Probation in 2018 co-authored by Peter Raynor and Maurice Vanstone (‘What matters is what you do: the rediscovery of skills in probation practice’, European Journal of Probation 10(3) 199-214), and draws particularly on the Jersey Supervision Skills Study which received the CEP’s Research Award in 2016. The development of practice skills appears to be a promising focus for evidence-based improvement in the effectiveness of probation, and we hope this will encourage further research and practical projects. 

The use of evidence-based practice in the attempt to improve probation’s impact on reoffending became a mainstream policy following the ‘Underdown report’ produced by HM Inspectorate of Probation in 1998. Initial efforts were largely based on cognitive-behavioural group programmes. However, most people supervised by probation officers experience supervision as one-to-one contacts most or all of the time, and some of those who participate in programmes also need preparation, support and follow-up on an individual basis. The identification of practitioners’ skills in individual supervision as an important component in effective practice came late to England and Wales in comparison with work done in other countries. This ‘Academic Insight’ offers a brief summary of key findings from research on probation staff’s practice skills (known in North American research as Core Correctional Practices) and considers some of the practical implications. In the well-known Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) framework for effective practice, research on skills contributes to understanding responsivity, which has until recently received less research attention than risks and needs.

Please click on the link to read ‘Supervision Skills for Probation Practitioners’ by Peter Raynor.

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