Probation officer at work.


His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HM Inspectorate of Probation) is the independent inspector of probation and youth offending services in England and Wales.

Inspections are undertaken by teams of skilled inspectors, and HM Inspectorate of Probation have developed a detailed training programme for new inspectors which has been based on the inspectorate’s bespoke occupational standards to assess inspectors’ competency.

As part of their continual drive to develop their inspection staff and support recruitment, HM Inspectorate of Probation took the decision to accredit their courses to professionalise their training programmes.

A key objective for this project was for the inspectorate to achieve SFJ Awards centre approval and submit their internal training programme for accreditation.

Activity and approach

Skills for Justice, the UK’s Sector Skills Council for Justice, were approached by HM Inspectorate of Probation to support them on this journey by delivering a package of consultancy support and training solutions:

  • An audit was undertaken of the inspectorate’s learning and assessment processes by Skills for Justice’s quality assurance staff against the requirements of SFJ Awards’ centre approval customised certification criteria. The audit included a review of all applicable policies and documentation as well as interviews with key staff. Following this, a mock audit was completed which detailed where the approval criteria were fully met, partially met or not met. This was supported with a corrective action plan and recommendations.
  • Guidance and support were also provided regarding the completion of the SFJ Awards application forms for both centre approval and custom certification.
  • As a result of the audit findings, Skills for Justice supported the design and delivery of bespoke assessor and IQA training to nominated assessor and IQA inspection. The training was designed using HM Inspectorate of Probation occupational standards, forms and assessment, and IQA template documents.
  • Our team of qualified assessors and IQA professionals delivered:
    • 2 x 2-day assessor training events for up to 12 trainees, held remotely, including assessor materials and resources tailored for inspection staff.
    • 2 x 1-day IQA training events for up to six trainees, delivered remotely with tailored IQA materials and resources.


HMI Probation were successfully awarded centre status by SFJ Awards in Spring of 2023 in addition to achieving accredited custom certification status (certificate of achievement) for their inspection training programmes:

  • Assistant Inspector – Inspection Skills
  • HM Inspector – Inspection Skills

The Inspection Skills certificate supports HM Inspectorate of Probation to ensure new inspectors develop inspection skills that are assessed and embedded. In addition to this, HM Inspectorate of Probation can demonstrate quality assurance of internal training programmes which have received external accreditation that fulfil requirements of regulated bodies.

Skills for Justice continue to act as a critical friend as HM Inspectorate of Probation during the implementation phase, offering advice, support and quality assurance of products.

Client feedback

“The development of a bespoke inspection skills certificate and training programme demanded a root and branch overhaul of our approach to learning and development and quality. We are proud of what we have achieved and take pride that our inspectors are equipped with the necessary skills to undertake high-quality inspections and their skills can be recognised via this accreditation.”

Tessa Webb, Lead for Professionalisation – HM Inspectorate of Probation

Find out more

Find out more about our training, quality assurance and qualification services here.