Assessment, supervision and intervention: fundamental practice in probation

Authored by: Ros Burnett , Kerry Baker , Colin Roberts

Handbook of Probation

Print publication date:  May  2007
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9781843921905
eBook ISBN: 9781843926184
Adobe ISBN: 9781134014910


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If asked ‘What do you do?’, a likely answer from practitioners at any point in the hundred-year history of the Probation Service would include descriptions of ‘assessment’, ‘supervision’ and ‘intervention’, although not necessarily using precisely those terms. These three concepts are loaded with various connotations but, in essence, they still stand as overarching headings for most core practice with offenders. They involve skills and activities that are complementary and interlinked, although ‘intervention’ in the broadest sense 1 has always included referrals to other services, while ‘assessment’ and ‘supervision’ have been more exclusively provided ‘in-house’. With the advent of commissioning and contestability, following the Correctional Service Review (Carter 2004; Home Office 2004a), interventions are decreasingly likely to be provided from within the Probation Service. The aim of this chapter is to gain insight into contemporary probation practice: first, by providing snapshots of supervision, assessment and intervention 2 at different points in probation’s history; secondly, by looking at how they are to be played out at the dawn of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS); and thirdly, by examining key themes in recent critiques of trends affecting practice.

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