Training for Probation Service Officers: Lessons from Evaluation

Published 14/12/2011
Type Article
Author(s) Jane Dominey, Michelle Walters
Corresponding Authors Jane Dominey, PhD student, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

This article describes and discusses the implementation and impact of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) programme for Probation Service Officers (PSOs). This was a work-based programme integrating assessment of practice with assessment of learning about the concepts and ideas that underpin the practice of this group of staff. It used a variety of teaching and learning methods, including group tutorials, distance learning materials, and practice workshops run by the Consortium. This evaluation draws on information and evidence gathered from a range of sources, including managers, tutors, trainers and PSOs. This CertHE programme has now been superseded by the new qualifications framework introduced into the probation service in April 2010. The article seeks to identify learning from the CertHE which can inform and improve the development of new training arrangements. It identifies the importance of factors such as good communication between the university and the probation service, as well as adequate protected learning time for PSOs and the provision of skilled and supported practice tutors. The article also explores the extent to which the CertHE has been a useful, effective and stimulating programme of study for the PSOs who undertook it.