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Probation officer: Training

Under the government's Transforming Rehabilitation  reforms, probation staff are now employed either by the National Probation Service (NPS) , a statutory criminal justice service that supervises high-risk offenders released into the community, or by one of the 21 private sector community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) that manage low and medium-risk offenders.

Probation officers in the NPS are supported by the National Offender Management Service's human resources learning and development team, which delivers professional skills training for the NPS. In addition, all NPS staff have access to Civil Service Learning , which provides a range of courses and resources for developing skills common to all UK civil servants.

The professional development of probation officers employed by the 21 CRCs is the responsibility of those companies and training opportunities will vary depending on the company.

With experience and relevant training, it may be possible to specialise in a particular area of probation work, such as working with sex offenders or working in court.

Some probation officers take advantage of secondments that may be offered to spend time working for other agencies, such as in youth offending teams or prisons. Training for those who are thinking of becoming managers may also be available.

Written by Pauline Tait, University of Lincoln
November 2013

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