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Life as a probation services officer

Tackling the root cause of offending is never going to be without its challenges. But you’ll be working with offenders, helping them to build a new life and reintegrate into their community.

As a probation services officer, you’ll undertake the full range of work with offenders on probation before and after sentence, and in the community. This could include:

  • assessing risks and organising interventions
  • supporting courts with sentencing decisions
  • managing offenders on probation throughout their conviction
  • writing and preparing reports

The probation services officer role is varied. Your area of focus might differ depending on the needs of the local probation team that you join.

We work closely with different people and organisations including job agencies, accommodation providers and a whole range of other service providers.

Ultimately, you’ll be part of a team of people who tackle the causes of crime, and rehabilitate offenders into the community safely.

Our closest partnership is with people on probation, directly managing them in the community, as well as before and after release as they re-integrate into society.

We achieve our best results when we focus on the things that matter: making decisions based on evidence, improving and innovating, and sharpening our own skills and experience. By working fairly and inclusively, supporting our people to make the right decisions, and by taking accountability for our actions, we build trust. And we make a difference that lasts.

What it’s like working as a probation services officer?

Read our blog

Types of probation services officer roles

The probation services officer role is varied. Your area of focus might differ depending on the needs of the local probation team that you join. No matter what type of probation services officer role you have, you’ll:

  • help people turn their lives around and reduce the risks of reoffending
  • draw on the training you receive to assess and manage risks to keep the community safe

Sentence management

  • based at a probation office
  • manage a caseload of people on probation who will report to you as part of their probation requirement
  • assess and manage risks and organising interventions for example making referrals to a drug agency to support with an addiction
  • meet with the people on probation to ensure they’re complying with the terms of their probation
  • some evening work may be required

Court officer

  • you will not hold your own caseload – you’ll be in court every day supporting magistrates and judges
  • build a rapport with people on probation to understand their circumstances
  • comfortable presenting in a public forum
  • willing to learn about some legal policies and processes
  • may involve occasional work at Saturday courts

Victim liaison officer

  • work with victims rather than people on probation and support them with the justice process as offenders move through the system
  • you may need to travel within the Probation Service region you work in

Programme facilitator

  • based at a probation office
  • you will not hold your own caseload, but will deliver group sessions to people on probation
  • confident about presenting to groups and managing dynamics between group members
  • undertake a full programme of training to enable you to carry out your duties
  • some sessions could take place in the evening to accommodate those people on probation who work

Pre-release team

  • work in prisons rather than the community
  • you will not hold your own caseload
  • support sentence management staff by accessing services such as accommodation, employment, mental health treatment or substance misuse treatment

Personality disorder programme

  • based at a probation office or prison
  • you will not hold your own caseload but will support the sentence management staff by working with their personality disordered cases
  • complete tailored training to understand personality disorders and know how to engage with those who have them