PROBATION services in the county need to improve, according to a report published today.

Inspectors found the private company Warwickshire & West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) - which supervises medium and lower risk offenders - compared well against national performance targets but assessed poorly in key areas including protecting potential victims from the risk posed by people under supervision.

Improvement was particularly needed in cases of domestic abuse and those involving the safeguarding of children.

The report by chief inspector of probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, was based on inspections made in July 2017.

The report said: "The organisation was being driven by performance targets, as one might expect, and there was a strong central drive to discern how to meet targets and then do so.

"Managers and practitioners both recognised that this had little to do with delivering positive outcomes for individual offenders.

"Success in managing performance targets was not matched by efforts to maintain and raise the quality of offender management and to achieve positive outcomes with offenders."

The report also noted the rehabilitation company delivered effective unpaid work and services to women.

Whilst staff had manageable workloads, staff supervision and oversight was inadequate.

A spokesman for Warwickshire & West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company said: “We are of course very disappointed by the findings of HMI Probation, ensuring public safety has always been our main priority. 

"A comprehensive action plan is in place which addresses the report’s findings and recommendations; and we are confident that these steps will improve the outcomes for offenders in West Mercia. 

"We are working very closely with the Ministry of Justice and local partners to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to improve outcomes for offenders and to ensure public safety.”

The inspection also covered the work of the Midlands division of the National Probation Service (NPS), which supervises higher risk offenders.

The report said the NPS has experienced staff who managed offenders well and delivered good-quality interventions overall.

However, despite NPS leaders’ clear intentions, NPS staff were not using the wide range of interventions – programmes to support offenders – that were on offer from the CRC to the extent expected.

The report said: “Offenders may be denied the best help as a result, and the interventions themselves will be less viable over time, if they are not used enough.

"This is not the first time we have found this situation, and I urge the NPS to review the position nationally.”