Are you OK with cookies?

We use small files called ‘cookies’ on Some are essential to make the site work, some help us to understand how we can improve your experience, and some are set by third parties. You can choose to turn off the non-essential cookies. Which cookies are you happy for us to use?

Skip to content

Probation Service

We keep the public safe by supervising offenders released into the community. Our priority is to effectively rehabilitate people on probation.

Facts about the Probation Service

  • 128 probation offices across 12 regions in England and Wales
  • Approximately 240,000 people currently on probation
  • Around 18,000 people employed by the probation service

What the Probation Service does

The Probation Service plays a vital role managing offenders throughout their time in the criminal justice system.

We work closely with the police, prisons and courts to assess the level of risk an offender may present to the public, and recommend an appropriate sentence plan that focuses on rehabilitation.

When offenders are on sentence in the community we meet with them regularly and help them to access programmes that will develop skills and behaviours that reduce their risk of reoffending.

Probation worker sat in an office at their desk

Sentence management

Our job is to make sure the sentences given by the court are completed in a way that protects the public, holds people to account, and supports rehabilitation.

We do this by building working relationships with people on probation, so that we can:

  • assess a person’s risk, needs, strengths and circumstances and find interventions to match their specific needs
  • manage the risk of serious harm to others, working with specialists and other organisations to share knowledge and information
  • empower people on probation to change their behaviour and build motivation

Community payback (unpaid work)

Community payback, also know as unpaid work, can be added to community orders and suspended sentence orders made by courts in England and Wales.

We are responsible for allocating people on probation to the most suitable community payback project or placement. We also supervise people throughout their community payback and motivate them to get the most out of their time.

Projects can include things like clearing allotments, repairing and redecorating community buildings, planting trees, river and beach clean-ups, making toys and recycling donated wood into furniture.

Accredited programmes

Offender behaviour programmes and interventions aim to change the thinking, attitudes and behaviours which may lead people to reoffend. Part of our role is to make sure the right people get access to the right programmes.

Find out more about our accredited programmes (GOV.UK, opens in a new tab)

Structured interventions

Structured interventions are a structured set of exercises for people on probation, usually done in a group. Unlike accredited programmes, these are run and facilitated by probation practitioners in the Probation Service.


A big part of our role as the Probation Service is to help people leaving prison to resettle into the community.

We help identify the individual needs of people leaving prison and put things in place to support them when they are released.

Find out more about our resettlement framework (GOV.UK, opens in a new tab)

Find your role at HMPPS

Extraordinary jobs.

Done by someone like you.

Find the role for you