Complaints about probation services can be made by anyone including someone subject to licence, victims of crime, and their family members. The complaint must be within one year of the subject of the complaint (or within one year of you finding out about the thing you are complaining about.)
You can start by making a complaint informally, although you do not have to.
An informal complaint can be made in writing, by telephone or through direct personal contact with the person involved or their line manager.
After doing this you should be sent a letter outlining the complaint and the outcome. If you are not happy you can continue to make a formal complaint.
A formal complaint should made in writing and addressed to the Deputy Director of the NPS division or the Chief Executive of the CRC. They will choose someone to investigate.
You should be informed within 5 working days whether your complaint is eligible for consideration and when you will receive a full reply.
You should receive the outcome in writing, with reasons given, within 25 working days of acknowledgement of the complaint. If there is a delay they should write to you to explain this and tell you when you will receive a full response.
If you are still unhappy, you can appeal within 20 working days from the date of the reply. You should explain why you are not happy with the response you have received.
You should receive the outcome of this appeal within 20 working days of receipt of the appeal. If there is a delay they should write to you to explain this and tell you when you will receive a full response.
Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO)
You can write to someone called the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman if you have already tried to solve your complaint with probation staff and you are still not happy.
The Ombudsman does not work for the probation service. Their job is to look at complaints from people about the management, supervision, care and treatment they receive when on licence or in prison.
The Ombudsman will only be able to investigate your complaint if:
- you have completed the internal complaints process;
- it is less than three months since you had a response to the final stage of your complaint;
- there is a substantial issue raised; and
- you are the person directly affected by the complaint you have raised.
Tell the Ombudsman as much as you can when you write to them. They will not normally come and speak to you themselves so you need to tell them as much as you can in your letter.
If the Ombudsman thinks you were not treated in the right way, they may ask the probation service to change their decision or recommend changes to the head of the National Probation Service.
Contact the PPO
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
10 South Colonnade
London E14 4PU
020 7633 4100
or 0845 010 7938
Prison Service and/or Probation Instructions
- Prisoners’ Advice Service infosheet Probation Complaints