Probation Service

Supporting the implementation of the Offender Supervision Framework for the Irish Probation Service



  • The Probation Service, an Agency of the Department of Justice and Equality, is committed to providing the best possible evidence-informed service to reduce re-offending and protect the public, while promoting the social integration of offenders. 
  • Probation Officers simultaneously work towards the reduction of re-offending through skilled assessments and court reports, and the promotion of positive change and re-integration of offenders, with the overall aim of working towards creating safer communities and fewer victims.  
  • For the Probation Service to better achieve its goals, it conducted an exploratory scoping exercise to identify an Offender Supervision Framework (OSF) suitable for implementation in the Irish context.  
  • Informed by the scoping study the Service planned to introduce and roll out a bespoke framework over a period of five to seven years. You can read the background to the development of a bespoke OSF for the Irish Probation Service here

The Challenge

CES was commissioned in 2019 to identify the actions required prepare the Service for the implementation of the new framework. This included a requirement for an assessment of the readiness for change, recommendations on the governance, oversight and infrastructure required to deliver the framework, the mapping of resources required for implementing the framework and a communications strategy to support the vision for change.

What We Did

In the research phase we conducted desk-based research to identify the lessons learned from literature on effective governance implementing change initiatives.

We hosted 4 focus groups with Probation Officers and interviewed key stakeholders to explore what was required to achieve identified practice changes.

We conducted a ‘readiness for change’ assessment and provided an analysis of the specific changes required to practice, the implementation enablers and barriers, and a high-level action plan for building implementation readiness.  

We provided a resource map that included a list of resources, annual costs, assumptions and predicted resource requirements based on information gathered

We developed a communications strategy for the Probation Service to support implementation of the Offender Supervision Framework.

The Impact

Our recommendations for implementation were provided to the Probation Service which has committed to the roll out of a bespoke Offender Supervision Framework in its Strategy Statement 2021 – 2023:  

“To this end, a particular commitment over the course of this strategy is the implementation of the Irish Offender Supervision Framework (IOSF), a bespoke model of probation practice, that is evidence informed and underpinned by research. This new practice model will underpin and strengthen our work and enable us to further develop as an organisation, to ensure that we operate as effectively and professionally as we can. Implementation of the IOSF will ensure that our work is effective, consistent and accountable, ultimately resulting in better outcomes for service users and safer communities.”

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