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Home Office Research Study 273 Accrediting Offender Prograammes 2003

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Home Office Research Study 273

Accrediting Offender Programmes:
A process-based evaluation of the
Joint Prison/Probation Services
Accreditation Panel
Sue Rex, Roxanne Lieb, Anthony Bottoms and Louise Wilson
Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

The views expressed in this report are those of the authors, not necessarily
those of the Home Office (nor do they reflect Government policy).

Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
November 2003

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Home Office Research Studies

The Home Office Research Studies are reports on research undertaken by or on behalf of
the Home Office. They cover the range of subjects for which the Home Secretary has
responsibility. Other publications produced by the Research, Development and Statistics
Directorate include Findings, Statistical Bulletins and Statistical Papers.

The Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
RDS is part of the Home Office. The Home Office's purpose is to build a safe, just and tolerant
society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are
properly balanced and the protection and security of the public are maintained.
RDS is also part of National Statistics (NS). One of the aims of NS is to inform Parliament and
the citizen about the state of the nation and provide a window on the work and performance
of government, allowing the impact of government policies and actions to be assessed.
Therefore –
Research Development and Statistics Directorate exists to improve policy making, decision
taking and practice in support of the Home Office purpose and aims, to provide the public and
Parliament with information necessary for informed debate and to publish information for
future use.

First published 2003
Application for reproduction should be made to the Communications and Development Unit,
Room 201, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AT.
© Crown copyright 2003
ISBN 1 84473 127.8
ISSN 0072 6435

Foreword

The Joint Prison/Probation Service Accreditation Panel (now called the Correctional Services
Accreditation Panel) was established by the Home Secretary in July 1999 as part of the
Government's Crime Reduction Programme. Its task is to ensure that treatment programmes
which offenders undergo to reduce the likelihood of their re-offending are of high quality
and are effective. This work is crucial to the modernisation of the Probation Service and to
improving the effectiveness of prisons.
This report presents findings from an evaluation of the effectiveness of Correctional Services
Accreditation Panel between December 2001 and September 2002. The purpose of the
evaluation was to examine the performance of the Panels central functions of accrediting
offender treatment programmes and monitoring their post-accreditation delivery.
The evaluation found that the Panel functioned well between December 2001 and
September 2002 but makes a number of recommendations on how to improve the
accreditation process and the workings of the Panel. Most recommendations were met when
a new panel was appointed prior to March 2003.
Chloë Chitty
Programme Director
Offending and Criminal Justice (What Works)

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Acknowledgments

There are many people working in different organisations without whose assistance this
study would not have been possible. We are grateful to those working in the Home Office,
Probation and Prison Services, the Courts Service and the Magistrates’ Association, and to
members of the Judiciary and the Magistracy, who helped us to arrange or contributed to
our fieldwork. We are also grateful to the chairman of the Joint Accreditation Panel, Sir
Duncan Nichol, and to all Panel members for giving so freely of their time to talk to us, and
for allowing us to observe Panel meetings. Thanks go too to our University-based colleagues
who contributed to our academic seminar or otherwise provided advice and material,
especially to Ellie Scrivens for her particular generosity. We also received useful information
from those working with the Canadian and Scottish Accreditation Panels.
Particular thanks go to Dr Gareth Hughes, Head of Psychological Services at Kneesworth
House Hospital and Research Fellow at the Institute, for his specialist psychology advice.
We also received a great deal of help from Julian Norris, Mark May and John Lympany of
the Panel Secretariat, and from Robin Elliot and Laura Blakeborough in the Research
Development and Statistics Directorate, for which we are most grateful.
Sue Rex
Roxanne Lieb
Anthony Bottoms
Louise Wilson

ii

Contents

Summary

v

1. Introduction
Background to the Panel and the policy context
The Panel’s developing role
Structure of the report

1
1
3
4

2. Research brief and methodology
Evaluation aims
Overall research design
Stakeholders’ views
Other sources of data

5
6
7
8
11

3. Role and organisation of the Panel
Panel composition
Meeting arrangements and functioning
Support and advice to Panel
Conclusions and recommendations

13
13
17
19
20

4. Accrediting programmes
Progress of programmes towards accreditation
Accreditation process
Submitting programmes
Accreditation criteria
Diversity
Panel costs
Conclusions and recommendations

23
23
24
27
29
31
34
37

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

5. Other contributions to ‘What Works’
Prison and probation: a culture of effectiveness?
Knowledge of the Panel’s activities
Sources of information about the Panel
A communications strategy
Sentencers’ understandings of effectiveness
Implementing effective programmes: the challenges
Maintaining programme integrity
Programme completion rates
Curriculum development – advice to applicants
Experiences of audit
Conclusions and recommendations

39
39
39
40
41
43
44
45
48
49
50
52

6. Future directions
Structural issues and legitimacy
The future role of the Panel

55
55
58

Appendices
I Joint Accreditation Panel: composition, terms of reference and
accreditation criteria
II Views from programme staff
III Progress of programmes towards accreditation
References

iv

61
65

87

Summary

This report presents findings on a process-based evaluation of the effectiveness of the Joint
P r i s o n / P robation Services Accreditation Panel (JAP) (now the Correctional Serv i c e s
Accreditation Panel (CSAP)), in the performance of its central function of accrediting
offender programmes and their delivery.

Introduction (Chapter 1)
The Panel performs an important function in assisting the Prison and Probation Services to
achieve their aim of using What Works principles to reduce re-offending through the
development and implementation of high quality offender programmes accredited by the
Panel. It was set up by the Home Office and Prison Service as part of the Government’s
Crime Reduction Programme, with appointments to the Panel made in July 1999.
The evaluation was conducted against a context of change in the remit and business of the
Panel. As well as a new name, Ministers have approved new terms of reference representing
largely a natural evolution of the Panel’s remit. An important change to the terms of reference
marks a move into ‘integrated systems’, covering approaches to assessment, referral, case
management and throughcare. Accordingly, a new set of integrated systems criteria – as well
as revised programme accreditation criteria – were produced for use by the Panel at its
meeting in September 2002. Another major development is the recruitment of a new Panel
under the continuing chairmanship of Sir Duncan Nichol.

Research brief and methodology (Chapter 2)
The evaluation took place between December 2001 and September 2002. It draws on 394
questionnaires completed by stakeholders, and interviews with 106 individuals, as well as
observation and documentary analysis, as follows:
●

Observation of the JAP meeting in February/March 2002 and the Drugs Sub
Panel in May 2002, plus interviews with panel members.

●

25 interviews with key policy administrators in the Prison and Probation Services,
and with implementation managers and programme developers.
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

●

An academic seminar with nine University-based researchers and evaluators,
hosted by RDS.

●

167 questionnaires completed by staff managing and delivering accredited
programmes in six prison establishments and five probation areas (a response
rate of 66%). Interviews with a representative cross section of 46 local staff.
Efforts were made to obtain the views of ethnic minority programme staff.

●

50 questionnaires completed by personal officers working in the five prisons (a
response rate of 20%). Questionnaires were also sent to probation PSR authors
and case managers but too few were completed to justify analysis.

●

177 questionnaires completed by judges and magistrates sitting in the localities in
which prison and probation views were sampled (a response rate of 46%), and
interviews with eight senior sentencers.

●

A review of literature relating to the accreditation of offender programmes in other
jurisdictions and in other public sectors in the UK, and analysis of policy papers
relating to JAP and to relevant activities in the Prison and Probation Services.

Very different response rates were received from the samples above and it cannot be
determined whether the views of non-respondents would have differed from those who did
respond, but it is reasonable to assume that the lower the response rate, the less
re p resentative respondents' views are likely to be. Caution is there f o re re q u i red in
interpreting some of the findings, particularly those relating to prison personal officers.

Role and organisation of the Panel (Chapter 3)
Panel membership: The clearest views to emerge from stakeholders were that JAP required
more expertise in substance misuse programmes as well as a more ethnically diverse
membership, both matters that recruitment for the new Panel has sought to address. It was
also seen as important to preserve the academic strength and independence of the Panel,
as well as the emphasis on maintaining high standards in programme accreditation. Indeed,
the intention in appointing the new Panel was to restore the balance in favour of appointed
members by reducing the permanent nominated – or ex officio – membership to just three
individuals. Given the presence on the Panel of programme developers, one concern related
to a possible indirect conflict of interest when the Panel was considering a programme in
vi

Summary

which a Panel member had an interest (even though, under existing rules, he or she is
excluded from the relevant sub panel discussion of that programme).
Functioning of meetings: The general view from Panel members was that two five day
meetings of the main Panel enabled them to balance other commitments with the need to get
through JAP business, although they recognised the need for supplementary meetings of the
Drug and Audit Sub Panels. Levels of satisfaction with the support provided by the JAP
secretariat were high, and Panel members appreciated the quality of advice from the
diversity advisor, and seconded experts on drugs misuse and community punishment.
Some specific suggestions to improve the continuity and functioning of the Panel emerged
particularly from interviews with JAP members and programme developers:
●

Intersperse plenary and sub panel meetings during the JAP week, to enable a sub
panel to consider a specific issue and bring proposals to a plenary meeting.

●

Arrange a meeting of sub panel chairs at some point during the week, to talk over
common issues that have arisen at sub panel meetings.

●

Appoint previewers (from Panel membership) of programme submissions to brief
sub panel discussions.

●

Set up a database to track submissions through the Panel, and provide sub panels
with a digest of previous decisions and who contributed to them.

●

Provide additional advice through research briefings to update panel members on
recent literature relating to the range of programmes coming before them, and on
ethical questions.

First recommendation: Introduce a clear distinction between full panel members, whether appointed or
nominated, and other participants. Consider: only full members to have ‘voting’ rights; only full members to act
as sub panel chairs; previewers or shepherds to be selected from full membership.
Second recommendation: Clarify/publicise the arrangements to prevent potential conflicts of interest when the
Panel is considering a submission in which a member has an interest, or what might be construed as an interest.
Consider requiring a panel member who has acted as consultant to a programme to withdraw from Panel
membership for a period, to ensure that he or she does not attend the Panel week in which the programme is
being considered.
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Third recommendation: Improve JAP paperwork management and introduce clearer records of sub panel discussion
and decisions. Consider setting up a database to track submissions through the Panel, and provide sub panels with a
digest of previous decisions and who contributed to them.

Accrediting programmes (Chapter 4)
Progress of programmes: In just over two years, the panel has accredited 15 programmes in
six meetings (including the meeting in February/March 2002). Six of these programmes are
for sex offenders, five are general offending behaviour programmes, two programmes tackle
aggression and violence, one addresses drink impaired driving and another substance
misuse. The progress of these programmes towards accreditation has been as follows:
●

seven programmes achieved accreditation at their first formal submission for that
status (four following ‘advice’ from the Panel)

●

seven programmes achieved accreditation at their second formal submission (four
were separately submitted for advice at least once)

●

one programme required three formal submissions before gaining accredited
status (following initial advice from the Panel)

Accreditation process: Panel members emphasised what they saw as the collaborative
constructive spirit in which they considered submissions for accreditation and advice.
Programme developers shared this view of the Panel’s approach to its work, but sometimes
perceived a tendency for academic debate to overshadow the provision of practical ‘What
Works’ advice. A point of common agreement was the need for high standards to maintain the
credibility of accredited programmes, while at the same time taking care not to make
accreditation a virtually insurmountable hurdle. Generally, local programme staff also rated
JAP decisions fairly positively, with half seeing its decisions as good or very good, and viewed
a c c redited programmes as effective and workable. In their experience of submitting
programmes, some programme developers identified a need for more specific guidance about
the Panel’s requirements through pro-forma or examples of what had been found helpful in
earlier submissions. They also expressed some frustration that panel members were not always
fully familiar with written submission material, and stated a wish for fuller consultation with
panel members about the Panel’s requirements, perhaps in the context of site visits by panel
members to see how a programme ran in practice. As gatekeepers, headquarters personnel in
the Prison and Probation Services were seen as performing an important role in targeting the
viii

Summary

resources of the Panel in accordance with agency priorities, but were not always seen as
effective in managing submissions and communicating Panel expectations to applicants.
Accreditation criteria: Panel members found the accreditation criteria operated as a flexible
and workable tool, and endorsed the arrangements by which submissions were scored. They
saw the new criteria as more accessible to applicants, as accommodating a broader range
of programmes and as addressing diversity (meeting some of the reservations about a
cognitive behavioural bias expressed by programme developers). Programme managers
reported a fair amount of knowledge of the criteria (though 49% of tutors reported ‘no’
knowledge) and 79 per cent of programme staff agreed that the criteria ‘set high standards
that increase the likelihood of effectiveness’. Diversity emerged as an issue, with only a
quarter of staff agreeing that the standards set by the criteria were applicable to all offenders
and, over two-fifths believing that they failed to take account of the needs of some offenders.
D i v e r s i t y: In interv i e w, programme developers and evaluators and staff delivering
programmes expressed doubts about whether the range of programmes accredited so far
met the needs of ethnic minorities, female offenders and offenders with learning difficulties.
JAP interviewees and programme developers both saw diversity as presenting a challenge
with which the accreditation process had been slow to engage, although recent progress
was noted. Views were divided on whether to include a specific diversity criterion, or
whether the solution lay in careful monitoring of how diversity was addressed in the design
and delivery of programmes.
Panel costs: The direct costs of the Panel remained reasonably stable over the period of its
operation so far. Official expenditure in 2001/02, at just over £230,000, was slightly
higher than in 2000/01 but included the costs of the evaluation (1999/2000 was not a full
year of operation). Direct costs in 2001/02 totalled £371,376, including secretariat
(£48,301), letter writers (£6,950) and commitments by ex-officio members or participants
(£84,729). The costs of a Panel Day in 2001/02 were estimated at £14,248, covering the
cost of the personnel listed above (slightly below £10,000 per day) plus accommodation. It
costs between £25,000 to £30,000 to get a typical ‘in-service’ programme accredited by
the Panel (involving two submissions).
Fourth recommendation: Provide clearer guidance on the structure of programme submissions and the contents
of the different manuals. Consider introducing pro-forma manuals, or where this is inappropriate provide
examples of material that has previously been found helpful. Consider how Panel feedback might make a
clearer distinction between adjustments that are required before accreditation can be achieved as opposed to
changes that are desirable.
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Fifth recommendation: Appoint panel members as previewers of programme submissions to brief and guide
sub panel discussion. Consider site visits by previewer(s) to liaise with programme developers about Panel
requirements, and observe delivery of programme. Consider arrangements to ensure that the previewer
does not commit the Panel to a particular decision, for example by not chairing the sub panel considering
the submission.
Sixth recommendation: Consider submission of non-paper material, for example videos, presentations by
programme developers or implementation managers, electronic format (CD roms).

Other contributions to ‘What Works’ (Chapter 5)
Cultural change: Overall, there was a clear endorsement by programme staff of the ‘What
Works’ project to which JAP was contributing. The vast majority, including all managers and
70 per cent of tutors, had heard of JAP, usually through colleagues. Over 40 per cent of
programme staff understood its role as about ‘quality control’, although actual knowledge of
JAP’s decisions was limited. Prison personal officers showed a high level of awareness of
‘What Works’ re s e a rch, and saw themselves as reasonably informed about local
programmes, although most had no knowledge of Panel decisions. In interview, some
programme staff saw their information about the work of the Panel as inadequate and
suggested that the following would be useful:
●

an information pack for treatment managers to use with tutors or colleagues

●

bulletins about research evidence for tutors to use with colleagues and offenders

●

a HQs ‘help line’ for queries about programme material and delivery

●

a ‘news’ section on NPD website, intranet; online reference manuals

●

inputs at training events for treatment managers and tutors.

S e n t e n c e r s ’ v i e w s: Sentencers saw themselves as reasonably well informed about
programme effectiveness, about accredited programmes, and especially about programmes
available locally. There was clearly an appetite for more information about effectiveness
and programme content. This was seen as likely to enhance sentencers’ confidence in
community-based programmes for offenders. Suggestions included:

x

Summary

●

loose-leaf booklet in the Retiring Room, regularly updated

●

videos, bulletins, lunch time presentations

●

direct contact with staff delivering programmes, and visits to programmes

●

leaflet or summary of programme attached to PSRs

●

e-mail summaries of new programme content

●

information published in ‘The Magistrate’ or by HM Probation Inspectorate.

Curriculum development: Much of the Panel’s contribution to curriculum development took
the form of standard setting and advice and feedback to applicants for advice or
accreditation. The piloting of new approaches was seen as the remit of the Prison and
P robation Ser vices. Panel members and programme developers clearly valued the
opportunity for feedback and dialogue on submission.
Audit: The audit of programme delivery was carried out by Prison Service Headquarters
and HM Inspectorate of Probation according to arrangements approved by the Panel. Some
disquiet was expressed about the disparity of audit arrangements and the appare n t
application of tougher standards in probation than in prison audits, with implications for
achievements of KPI targets. Progress was slow in meeting the Panel’s wish to move towards
a unified system of audit for both correctional services.
Seventh recommendation: In order to increase the Panel’s visibility and the transparency of its decisions,
there is a need for a strategic approach to communication between the Panel and staff in the correctional
services on a range of issues. There is also a need to ensure that the Panel plays an appropriate role in
informing sentencers about programme effectiveness. Consider the following mechanisms: intranet, internet
and e-mail; information pack distributed to treatment managers; accessible booklets for sentencers regularly
updated; panel members to visit programme sites, and contribute to conferences and training events;
seminars with programme staff to debate important issues e.g. diversity, models of change for women,
programme integrity, responsibility.
Eighth recommendation: Pending the introduction of a unified system of audit for the correctional services, a
body outside the Prison Service Sentence Management Group should undertake the audit function.

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Future directions (Chapter 6)
A number of structural issues pertain to the legitimacy of the Panel: its role in programme
development, access to the Panel (gatekeeping), and oversight of audit arrangements.
Overall, JAP appears to have performed well in establishing its legitimacy, but it might
usefully review its practices in the light of the literature on procedural justice. Important
a reas of future development in the Panel’s role include: contributing to curr i c u l u m
development and effective programme implementation; reviewing accredited programmes
in the light of research and practitioner feedback; and the accreditation of integrated
systems. As it develops its collaboration with the Correctional Services, the Panel will wish to
ensure that its role remains clearly delineated.

xii

1.

Introduction

The research presented in this report was commissioned by the Research Development and
Statistics Directorate (RDS) in the Home Office. Conducted between December 2001 and
September 2002, its purpose was to conduct a process-based evaluation of the work of the
Joint Accreditation Panel (JAP) in the performance of its central functions of accrediting
offender treatment programmes and monitoring their post-accreditation delivery. Before
describing the methodology for the research and reporting the findings, this chapter starts
by reviewing the background to the Panel, and recent developments in its role.

Background to the Panel and the policy context
The Joint Accreditation Panel (full title, the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation
Panel) was set up in 1999 by the Home Office and the Prison Service as part of the
Government’s Crime Reduction Programme. 1 It replaced the Prison Service’s earlier General
and Sex Offender Treatment Programme Accreditation Panels, which had been established
in 1996. Essentially, its role is first, to accredit offender treatment programmes against a set
of criteria based on so-called “‘What Works’ principles” for the prison and probation
services to use in reducing re-offending (the aim of the accreditation process being to
produce a core curriculum of demonstrably effective programmes). 2 Secondly, it oversees the
audit arrangements to monitor the delivery of such programmes after accreditation.
Appointments to the Panel were initially made (in accordance with the Code of Practice on
Public Appointments) in July 1999, for a period of three years; and the Panel held its first
meeting in November 1999. The Panel is chaired by Sir Duncan Nichol, formerly Chief
Executive of the National Health Service, who was re-appointed for a further three years
1

2

The Panel’s name was changed to the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel in late Summer 2002; however,
the Panel is referred to throughout this report as the Joint Accreditation Panel (JAP) as this is the name by which it
was known during the data collection.
In so doing, the Panel is contributing to the Home Office’s ‘What Works’ Strategy, originally launched by the
Home Office and HM Probation Inspectorate in 1998 as the Effective Practice Initiative, which has prioritised the
reduction of re-offending amongst the aims of the correctional services. Effective practice, or ‘What Works’, is
informed by a set of principles originally compiled by McGuire (1995), and promulgated by HM Probation
Inspectorate in Underdown (1998).

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

(until May 2005) while this evaluation was being conducted. Membership of the Panel
comprises two separate categories: ‘appointed members’, who are independent experts,
and ‘nominated members’, who hold official positions connected to the prison and
probation services. At the time of our evaluation, there were 12 appointed members and
seven nominated members, and the Home Office was in the process of recruiting a new
Panel (not finalised until after the research was completed). The terms of reference for the
Panel and its composition as the evaluation started are set out in Appendix I, together with a
summary of its accreditation criteria. The latter were revised following consideration at the
February/March 2002 meeting of the Panel, as will be discussed later in this report.
According to its Second Report 2000-2001, the Panel regards its key task as enabling the
prison and probation services to equip themselves with interventions that will reduce offending,
and it sees insistence on high quality programmes as a necessary feature of that function. The
Panel’s work is supported by a secretariat comprising both Prison Service headquarters and
National Probation Directorate staff, and it considers programmes largely sponsored for
submission by Prison Service headquarters and the National Probation Directorate (who each
act as ‘gatekeepers’ at the interface between the Panel and the field, as we shall describe more
fully later). Private and non-profit making organisations can also submit programmes to the Panel
(and sometimes do so without ‘gatekeeping’ by Prison HQ or the Probation Directorate), but
such applications form only a small minority of the submissions considered by the Panel.
Constitutionally, the Panel is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) with an independent
chair.3 In practice, the Panel works very closely with its two linked agencies, and its activities
are to a large extent shaped by the policy priorities of these two services. Specifically, the
correctional services see it as their responsibility to decide how many offending programmes
of what type they need, and they target their own resources, and influence the work of the
Panel, accordingly. The prison service determines its priorities through its What Works
Strategy Board, and the probation service through its What Works Clans.
The main business of the Panel is conducted at two separate week-long meetings of the
whole Panel each year. During these weeks, the Panel occasionally meets in plenary
session, and normally does so on the final (Friday) morning of the week. More often, it
works through its formal Audit Sub Panel and Drugs Sub Panel (each with a fixed
membership), as well as through less formal ad hoc ‘sub panels’ or working groups. In
2001/02, both the Audit and the Drugs Sub Panels convened additional meetings,
separately from the main Panel meetings, in order to complete their respective workloads.
3

2

A non-departmental public body is a body established by Government, sometimes but not always under
legislation, which is publicly funded but exists independently of any government department. Examples include
the Youth Justice Board and Parole Board.

Introduction

When making submissions for accreditation, programme developers are required to submit
five manuals to the Panel. They are: the theory manual to set out the model of change; the
programme manual to describe each session in the programme; the assessment and evaluation
manual; the management manual; and the staff training manual. As well as being formally
‘accredited’, applications may be graded by the Panel as ‘recognised’ (where it is considered
that specified changes can be achieved within 12 months to achieve accre d i t a t i o n ) ;
‘promising’ (substantial further work is required, after which accreditation may be achieved);
or ‘no further review warranted’ (the programme has little hope of being accredited).
As well as considering programmes for accreditation, an important part of the Panel’s work
is to provide preliminary advice to programmes before a formal accreditation application is
made. These ‘applications for advice’ can be beneficial both to programme developers
(because they are given an early indication of the Panel’s view of the strengths and
weaknesses of the programme ) and to the Panel itself (because it enables the Panel to
contribute substantially to programme development). According to the Panel’s Second
Report, this provision of advice has helped to produce positive results when programmes
are later considered for accreditation.

The Panel’s developing role
The research evaluation concentrated on the Panel’s existing terms of reference in examining
the work of the Panel, and its impact in the prison and probation services. However, the
evaluation was undertaken against a context of change in the remit and business of the Joint
Accreditation Panel, which it was necessary for the evaluation to take into account.
The most important change was the approval by Ministers of new terms of reference for JAP
after its meeting in February/March 2002. Along with the new name, these substantially
extend the business of the Panel. The paper proposing the new terms of reference noted that
the changes would require the Panel to have a clearer, forward-looking view of its work and
strategic role, matched to the resources allocated. Some of the changes were a natural
evolution of the Panel’s previous remit – these included taking a more proactive stance on
c u rriculum development; ensuring that diversity is taken into account in accre d i t e d
p rogrammes; and adopting a higher profile in communicating with staff across the
correctional services.
More fundamentally, the new terms of reference also require the Panel to assist in identifying
training requirements common to several accredited programmes, to minimise unnecessary
3

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

duplication; and to move to a wider assessment of the impact and effectiveness of
p rogrammes, taking account of audit and evaluation findings. Another new term of
reference articulates the role of the Panel as an advisory body to the correctional services,
providing an innovative perspective for change informed (but not bound) by close liaison
with the services on issues such as operational impact, deliverability and cost. A further
important – and radical – change to the terms of reference marks a move into ‘integrated
s y s t e m s ’ .4 A c c o rd i n g l y, a new set of integrated systems criteria – as well as re v i s e d
programme accreditation criteria – was produced for use by the Panel at its meeting in
September 2002 (after the research fieldwork was completed).
Following consultation, Ministers have decided not to expand the Panel’s remit to
programmes commissioned by the Youth Justice Board for the time being, although the
change in its name to Correctional Services Accreditation Panel is indicative of a move
towards a potentially broader approach.
As was recognised at the time these various developments were proposed, the changes
have potential implications for the future composition of the Panel, which might need to call
upon a wider spectrum of experience and expertise, for example as regards the integrated
systems approach and in considering diversity issues.

Structure of the research report
The remainder of this report is structured as follows. The next chapter (Chapter 2) describes
the research design and the sources of data upon which the report draws. Chapter 3 then
discusses the composition of the Panel, and organisational matters related to how it
conducts its business. Chapter 4 considers the Panel’s main activity of accre d i t i n g
programmes, as well as the costs incurred. Chapter 5 addresses other important aspects of
the Panel’s work in contributing to effective practice: namely, advising on curriculum
development; advising on the audit of programmes; and contributing to a culture of
effectiveness within the prison and probation services. Finally, Chapter 6 looks to the likely
future development of the role of the Panel in the light of the recent decisions by Ministers
(see above) and the findings presented in this report.
4

4

‘Integrated systems’ cover arrangements, such as assessment, referral and case management, intended to ensur e
that the conditions in which interventions are implemented support their effective delivery and pro v i d e
appropriate aftercare. There is an analogy in the health setting, where the success of a patient’s recovery from
an operation will depend in part upon the adequacy of the arrangements for post-operative care and
rehabilitation. One example in the criminal justice setting is the ‘through the gate’ proposals by the Social
Exclusion Unit for a continuous model of case management spanning imprisonment and release into the
community (Social Exclusion Unit, 2002).

2.

Research Brief and Methodology

Evaluation aims
As stated in the introduction to this report, the key aim of the research was to conduct a
process-based evaluation of JAP in the performance of its central functions of accrediting
programmes and monitoring their subsequent delivery. More specifically, the main research
questions (as agreed with RDS, the research sponsors) were as follows:
1. A re the current composition and the working arrangements of the Panel
appropriate?
2. Are the Panel’s accreditation criteria sufficiently flexible to allow agencies to meet
their performance requirements, and how does it deal with the requirement for
programmes to be evidence-based?
3. How useful is the Panel’s advice in the development and delivery of programmes
for offenders?
4. What contribution does the Panel make to a culture of effectiveness?
5. What are the costs of the accreditation process, both to agencies and overall?
It is important to emphasise that it was not part of the remit to review the ‘What Works’
evidence informing JAP’s approach to accreditation. There is a large body of literature
on the effectiveness of offender treatment programmes, on which a number of critical
reflections have already been published. 5 The focus of the evaluation re p o rted here
was rather on the processes by which the Panel perf o r med its functions, and its
relationship with the p rison and probation ser vices and others d eveloping and
delivering accredited programmes.

5

For a recent edited collection on effective programmes and interventions, see McGuire (2002). For some critical
reflections, see Bottoms et al., (2001). Falshaw et al . (2003) recently reported on the evaluation of accredited
prison-based cognitive skills programmes run between 1996 and 1998. It is understood that the Probation
Studies Unit, University of Oxford has recently submitted a report to the Home Office on an evaluation of the
Think First accredited general offending behaviour programme, and that this will be published shortly. This will
be the first formal evaluation of a JAP accredited programme.

5

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

The process-based evaluation was also, necessarily, a ‘snapshot’ of the Panel’s work at a
particular period in time. However, the findings have been placed in context by taking into
account how the Panel has evolved since its inception, and the likely future developments in
its role.

Overall research design
The evaluation took place between December 2001 and September 2002, with data
collected from a range of sources up until the end of July 2002. The work comprised three
main strands:
●

Documentary. A review was undertaken of published literature relating to other
accreditation models, both in the UK public sector and in the accreditation of
offender programmes in other jurisdictions. Documents produced for and by JAP,
and other relevant policy documents, were analysed.

●

Contextual Surveys and Interviews. An analysis of stakeholders’ views in prisons and
probation areas was carried out, as well as the views of sentencers, programme
and treatment providers, and researchers and evaluators. Data for these analyses
w e re obtained through a range of surveys and in-depth interviews (some
following up questionnaire responses).

●

Panel observation, interviews and comments. The Panel was observed in action, and
confidential interviews with all members of the Panel were conducted. The JAP
meeting during the week beginning 25 of February 2002 was attended, as was
the Drugs Sub Panel during the week beginning 27 of May 2002. Panel members
received a copy of an Interim Report (submitted in May 2002) and were invited
to comment on it individually as research participants. The Drugs Sub Panel
meeting offered the opportunity to discuss the Interim Report formally with the
Chairman and three members of the Panel. (Additionally comments on the Interim
Report from the National Probation Directorate were received). The work of the
Panel meeting in September 2002 was not attended or evaluated, as this was
outside the period of the data collection.

Further details of these various data sources are given in the next two subsections.

6

Research Brief and Methodology

Stakeholders’ views
As indicated above, the evaluation is based on analysis of a wide range of stakeholders’
views, in addition to observation of the Panel and review of the relevant policy documents
and literature. Those serving on the Panel and participating in its decisions have provided
an important perspective on its activities. The views were sought of those with a strategic
i n t e rest in the Panel’s work and personnel directly affected by its decisions: policy
administrators, programme development managers, and developers of indivi dual
p rogrammes seeking accreditation (clearly, there is potentially considerable overlap
between these groups). A further perspective comes from local staff in prisons and probation
areas supporting or delivering programmes accredited by the Panel: senior managers,
programme managers and tutors delivering programmes to offenders, as well as prison
personal officers and probation PSR authors and case managers. The survey of programme
staff sought quite detailed views about programmes for offenders, and about the work of
JAP; the questionnaire to other probation and prison staff was considerably shorter and
asked them about their awareness of and sources of information about JAP and accredited
programmes. Another perspective was sought from researchers and evaluators through an
academic seminar. Finally, questionnaires were used to invite comments from judges and
magistrates, and senior sentencers and representatives from the Magistrates’ Association
were interviewed, about their level of awareness of, and sources of information about
accredited programmes, and how this information might influence sentencing decisions. In
all cases, names of respondents have been withheld when reporting research data.
To simplify the task of obtaining the views of probation and prison staff, the data collection
deliberately concentrated on five regions of the country, selected in consultation with the
re s e a rch ste ering group. T hese are as were: Nor th We st (Manchester); Ea ster n
(Cambridgeshire); East Midlands (Nottinghamshire); West Midlands (West Mercia); and
South East (Thames Valley). The aim was to provide a reasonable geographical spread, a
fairly representative selection of types of prison, a metropolitan and urban/rural mix, and
varied experiences of accreditation and audit processes. Sentencers from the five areas
listed above were surveyed amd interviewed, to maximise fieldwork efficiency. The groups
whose perspectives were taken into account in this evaluation are listed in more detail
below, together with the numbers sampled and response rates secured:
●

Interviews with JAP members and key policy administrators (JAP interviewees). Twenty five
interviews were completed with appointed and nominated members of the Panel
(including one past member) and policy administrators closely involved in the work of
the Panel. (There was a 100% response rate among this group, in that no one
7

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

approached declined to be interviewed). The observations of the February/March
2002 JAP meeting and the May 2002 Drugs Sub Panel Meeting were utilised in
interpreting interview data, and in providing a context for that material.

8

●

Interviews with implementation managers and programme developers. Eighteen interviews
were completed with staff from the National Probation Directorate (NPD) and the
Prison Service Sentence Management Group (including the Offending Behaviour
Programmes Unit, or OBPU), and prison/probation and independent programme
developers (including some who have yet to achieve accreditation, or whose
programme was turned down). Again , there was a 100 per cent response rate in
this part of the study. Some of these respondents have considerable experience in
submitting programmes to JAP, and they provided an important perspective to set
alongside that of panel members.

●

Academic seminar. This seminar took place at the Research Development and
Statistics Directorate (RDS) of the Home Office in London. The aim of the seminar
was to enable university-based programme developers and evaluators to
contribute to the evaluation. Of 14 invited, nine researchers and evaluators were
able to participate in the seminar. Although others were sent the seminar
materials and invited to comment, unfortunately none were able to do so because
of other commitments.

●

Programme staff survey and interviews. Postal questionnaires were sent to all staff
managing and delivering programmes in six prison establishments and five
probation areas. Of 254 administered, 167 completed questionnaires were
received – a response rate of 66 per cent, which fell below 60 per cent in Greater
Manchester (55%) and Thames Valley (53%). This response rate was achieved by
sending questionnaires again to non-respondents in areas where initial response
rates were particularly low, emphasising the importance of their views and asking
them again to complete the questionnaire. Nevertheless, the one-third overall nonresponse rate has to be borne in mind in interpreting questionnaire results from
programme staff. In the analysis of programme staff questionnaires, summarised at
Appendix II, respondents are grouped into three staff groups: tutors; line managers;
and strategic managers. Questionnaire respondents were also asked to complete a
form indicating consent to be interviewed. Forty six members of staff, including
senior managers were then interviewed, at subsequent site visits (or in telephone
interviews where necessary). Overall, a reasonable cross section of staff groups
were interviewed, but unfortunately this was not possible in each individual area or

Research Brief and Methodology

establishment. In all but three sites, at least four members of staff were interviewed,
but disappointingly few interviews were secured in Full Sutton prison and the
Thames Valley probation area.

6
7

●

Ethnic minority programme staff. Particular efforts were made to identify and obtain the
views of ethnic minority programme staff, whilst respecting confidentiality and
seeking to avoid making individuals feel singled out.6 In all, just four completed
questionnaires were received from, and three interviews were conducted with,
respondents describing themselves as from ethnic groups other than ‘white’. Three
of th es e r es po nd en ts w er e f ro m Gre at er Ma nc hes t er, a nd o n e f ro m
Nottinghamshire. This no doubt reflects the predominantly white profile of staff
overall in the relevant prisons and probation areas (ethnicity profiles were
requested from local managers). In Albany, Full Sutton, Drake Hall, and Whatton
Prisons, 99 per cent or more staff were described as white. In Manchester Prison
and Cambridgeshire Probation Area, the proportion was 97 per cent white; it
was 94 per cent in Wellingborough Prison, and 93 per cent in West Mercia
P robation Area. The highest ethnic minority re p resentation was re p o rted in
Nottinghamshire (87% White) and Greater Manchester (91%) probation areas.
So far as we could ascertain, of 37 black and 19 Asian members of staff in
Nottinghamshire probation area, only one was working on offender programmes

●

Survey of other prison and probation staff. A short questionnaire was sent to PSR authors
and case managers working in the five probation areas where the views of
programme staff were sampled, and to personal (or sentence planning) officers
working i n five of the six prisons. 7 In achieving the agreed nu mber of
administrations, the questionnaire was sent either to all staff within the relevant
category in smaller prisons or probation areas, or to a random selection of staff
in larger prisons or probation areas. Fifty completed questionnaires were received
from 247 sent to prison personal officers, a response rate of around 20 per cent.
Unfortunately, of questionnaires sent to around 500 probation staff, mostly by email, only seven completed returns were received, too few to justify any analysis.
Unfortunately, the resources to chase up responses to these wider surveys of
prison and probation staff were lacking, as securing the highest possible response
to the more detailed questionnaire sent to programme staff was seen as the
priority. Given the low response rate to the prison staff survey, data from this
survey necessarily has to be treated with extreme caution.

The approach to seeking views from ethnic minority staff was formulated in consultation with the Panel’s
diversity advisor.
In Wellingborough, all but one of the sentence planning officers were also working on offender programmes.

9

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

●

S u rv e y / i n t e rviews with sentencers. With the agreement of the Magistr ates’
Association, the Lord Chancellor’s Department, the Court Service and the
Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales, questionnaires were sent to
magistrates and judges in Manchester, Bicester and Reading (both Thames
Valley), Wo rcester a nd Te l f o rd (b oth West Merci a), Pete rborough and
Nottingham. Again, questionnaires were sent to all judges, and either to all the
magistrates on a bench or to a random selection of the larger benches.
Unfortunately, the magistrates’ courts in Cambridgeshire (both Peterborough
and Cambridge) declined to participate in the survey because of workloads. In
total, 177 questionnaires were completed out of 383 (a response rate of 46%),
and the target of 40-50 completed questionnaires was achieved in each area
w h e r e magistrate s were sur veye d except Notti ngham. A total of ei ght
interviews were secured with senior sentencers (of those sought with the Chair
of the Bench and Resident judge in each court, and with the Chairs of Council
a n d o f t he S e nt e n c i n g C o mm i t te e o f t h e Ma g i s t ra t e s ’ A ss o c i a t i on ) .
Unfortunately, interviews could not be arranged in Thames Valley; and there
was no Resident judge in Nottingham at the time the fieldwork was being
conducted.

As has been seen, very different proportions of the relevant samples described above
responded to our research approach (from 100% among JAP members to 1.4% among
probation case managers and PSR authors). It cannot be determined whether the views of
non-respondents would have differed from those who did respond, but it is reasonable to
assume that the lower the response rate, the less representative respondents’ views are likely
to be. Caution is therefore required in interpreting some of the findings reported below,
particularly those relating to prison personal officers.

10

Research Brief and Methodology

Other Sources of Data
●

Literature review. The literature was reviewed relating to the accreditation of
offender programmes overseas, and in other public sectors, such as health and
education in the UK. An interview with Professor Ellie Scrivens, an expert on
accreditation in health care settings and a member of the Scottish Prison Service’s
Accreditation Panel, was most helpful (see Scrivens, 1995). However, the fact that
the Scottish and Canadian systems for accrediting offender programmes have
incorporated some aspects of the English model (which effectively began in 1996
with the prison panels – see Chapter 1) necessarily limits what can be learnt
through comparison.8 In other countries, offender programme accreditation is in
its early stages: too early for useful comparative analysis.9 The differing contexts
(for example, education or health) in which other public services are accredited
also makes direct comparisons with offender programme accreditation quite
difficult.10 Nonetheless, there are some useful parallels, and these will be referred
to during the course of the report.

●

Analysis of policy papers. The JAP documentation which was made available has
been used to summarise how programmes have made pro g ress toward s
Accreditation (see Appendix III). Access was also given to a wide range of other
papers, which have been incorporated in the findings and recommendations
presented here, for which particular thanks are due to the JAP secretariat, the
audit team in HMI Probation, and staff in Prison Service Headquarters and the
National Probation Directorate.

8

Comparison is also restricted by the different scale of the accreditation activity (covering around 6,000
prisoners in Scotland and 21,000 prisoners and parolees in the Canadian Federal system) and the focus in
Canada and Scotland on site accreditation as well as programme accreditation.
9 The Swedish Government is developing accreditation for offender programmes, based on the UK model.
Otherwise, the only systematic accreditation it was possible to identify is run by the University of Colorado's
C e n t re for the Prevention and Study of Violence, for ‘Blueprints for Violence Prevention’ based on
methodologically rigorous research.
10 To date, accreditation has been most prevalent in health care and education settings in the US, and it is often
individuals or facilities that are accredited rather than programmes. Pickering (1996) summarises the criticisms
directed at accreditation in health care: not a panacea; very rarely detects wilful fraud, and preparation takes
time. A 1999 Task Force on Accreditation sums up the flaws in US education accreditation systems: goals
(protecting public, assuring quality, consultation and protecting professionals) sometimes clash; costs may
surpass the value of accreditation; and an inspection mentality can dominate (Gelman et al., 1999).

11

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

●

12

Enrolment of offenders in accredited programmes and completion rates. One useful indicator
for the evalua tion is the number of offenders going through accre d i t e d
programmes in the prison and probation services. In this regard, OBPU has kindly
supplemented the data presented in the Prison Service Annual Reports. A copy
was also received of the Accredited Programmes Performance Report for 2001/2
circulated by the Head of Interventions NPD to his colleagues in the National
Probation Service.

3.

Role and organisation of the Panel

This chapter begins to present the research results. It starts by considering issues relating to
the composition of the Panel, a matter that was of considerable topicality during the fieldwork
given the imminent recruitment process for the new Panel (now CSAP: see Chapter 1). The
second part of the chapter goes on to discuss how meetings were organised and how they
functioned (including issues relating to the support given to the Panel).

Panel composition
One important feature of JAP is its independence as ‘an advisory body to the correctional
services’ (according to the paper proposing the new terms of reference). This is reflected
both in the fact that the majority of its members are appointed following an open
competition, and by the independent appointment of its chairman. As constituted at the time
of the re s e a rch, the Panel comprised 12 appointed members and seven nominated
members, listed in Appendix I. The nominated members served on the Panel by virtue of
their role in the Home Office, Prison Service or Probation Service. However, others also
played a role in Panel meetings, as outlined below.
The ex-officio Panel members from the Probation Service and its Inspectorate (HMIP) were:
Professor Rod Morgan (replacing Sir Graham Smith as HM Chief Inspector of Probation);
David Perry (Head of Interventions in NPD, formerly the Probation Unit of the Home Office);
and Andrew Underdown (originally representing the former Association of Chief Officers of
Probation, ACOP). As NPD commented in responding to the Interim Report, these were the
three bodies that originally promoted the ‘What Works’ agenda in the probation service,
leading to the development of the joint Prison/Probation Panel. The three bodies
represented three different strands of working with offenders in the community: independent
inspection and audit (HMIP); areas and organisational delivery (ACOP); and policy and
development links with government (Probation Unit/NPD).
Panel membership from the Prison Service originally consisted of Danny Clark (former
head of Prison Research) and David Thornton (former head of OBPU). When Danny
Clark moved to become a programme development manager in the NPD, it was
considered that his research knowledge enabled him to remain as an ‘independent’
Panel member. The Prison Service nominated membership at the time of the evaluation
13

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

was: Elizabeth Barnard (head of What Works Unit) and Peter Atkinson (Prison Governor,
invited to attend the Panel to mirror Andrew Underdown).
However, other developments had blurred the distinction between Panel membership and
participation in meetings. Since taking up his strategic role as Head of Interventions in NPD,
David Perry’s attendance at the Panel has mirrored that of his counterpart in the Prison
S e rvice, Nigel Newcomen, head of the Sentence Management Group (not a Panel
member), in providing context-setting material at the first and last sessions of each Panel
week but taking no active part in considering programme submissions. (To confuse matters,
however, David Perry remained technically a member of the Panel.) Meg Blumson, as head
of Offending Behaviour programmes in NPD, therefore joined the Panel in place of David
Perry, but without full membership. Trish Wincote replaced David Thornton as head of OBPU
and was brought onto the Panel, but similarly without being appointed as a full Panel
member. There were thus, in practice, four active participants in Panel meetings from
probation (Rod Morgan, Andrew Underdown, and Danny Clark as full members, plus Meg
Blumson) and three from the Prison Service (Elizabeth Barnard and Peter Atkinson as full
members, plus Trish Wincote).
Chris Lewis (Home Office, RDS) was the final nominated member, and the research resource
to which he gave the Panel access was clearly valued by his colleagues. Additionally,
however, the Panel had engaged the ongoing services of two advisors for particular
programmes or policies on which it felt it needed additional expertise: they were Diane
Baderin (head of Diversity, NPD), who had a permanent role as the diversity advisor for the
Panel; and Professor Michael Gossop of the National Addiction Centre, who acted as an
advisor on drugs programmes (given the prominence of such programmes in the Panel’s
business). Other outside advisors were occasionally engaged on a more ad hoc basis, for
example when the Panel was considering applications for accreditation in relation to
‘enhanced community punishment’, or from a therapeutic community.
The effect of the incremental growth outlined above is that, at the time of the research, four
additional people regularly attended panel meetings (Trish Wincote, Meg Blumson, Diane
Baderin and Michael Gossop) whom it was difficult to distinguish from Panel members.
This changed the apparent balance between participants who were Panel members
appointed following a competitive process (13, including Sir Duncan Nichol) and those
brought in by some other route (10 plus David Perry and Nigel Newcomen). There was
comment during interviews that the composition of the Panel might have become somewhat
weighted towards officials within the relevant agencies, with implications for the body’s
apparent independence.
14

Role and organisation of the Panel

Turning now to the appointed members, these included five specialists in sex offender
programmes (Hilary Eldridge, Dawn Fisher, Don Grubin, Janice Marques and Bill Murphy).
Three appointed members had a special expertise in the drugs field (Norman Hoffman,
Doug Lipton and Simon Shepherd), and the remaining four were generalists (Moira Hamlin,
Mike Maguire, Frank Porporino and Peter Raynor). Five of the appointed members were
from outside the UK.
As previously noted, the recruitment of new appointed and nominated members of the Panel
was being undertaken at the time of the research. The intention was to reduce the permanent
nominated membership to three, with other nominated members attending as required by the
agenda. The aim appeared to be to restore the independent balance of the Panel, and to
provide the relevant policy input as and when required. However, one question raised during
the interviews was whether only full membership of the Panel should confer ‘voting’ rights.
The independent nature of the Panel, it was thought by some respondents, would be most
clearly delineated if its decisions were the preserve of its full members (whether appointed or
nominated), with others attending in a purely advisory capacity.
As regards the new appointed members, experts were being sought in a wider range of
fields (with fewer specialists in sex offender programmes). These plans addressed some of
the points raised in interviews, where Panel members thought that the Panel’s future
involvement in sex offender programmes would be diminished, and that this change called
for a reassessment of the balance between areas of expertise. Another view was that the
Panel required more expertise in drug and alcohol programmes – in the clinical area rather
than in assessment or research – among its membership. Respondents also identified a need
for more expertise related to programme delivery and ‘operational’ matters (for example,
what it was like to actually run a programme in a prison). The ability of the Panel to give
proper attention to the requirements for staff training was raised at the academic seminar (if
not through Panel membership, then through devolving this responsibility to another body).
The importance of maintaining a focus on quality was emphasised, and here academics
were seen to have played a major role in ensuring adherence to ‘What Works’ principles.
This, it was said, argued for preserving a major academic component in JAP membership
(albeit one that reflected the broader ambit of the Panel’s work as it moved into the
‘integrated systems’ agenda: see Chapter 1).
One source of potential tension identified in interviews was the presence on the Panel of
some programme developers, whose ability to judge programme content was seen as
c rucial. Nonetheless, an apparent conflict arose when the Panel was considering a
programme that a Panel member had played some part in developing. In the eyes of
15

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

p rogramme developers and programme staff, this issue was very contentious. Such
respondents may not always have been aware of the internal mechanisms utilised within
the Panel to attempt to prevent potential conflicts of interest by excluding any Panel
member with an interest from attending the particular sub-panel considering that
application. (Interests had to be declared under the Code of Practice for Panel members.)
Even where respondents were aware of these mechanisms, it was often thought that there
might be pressure to view favourably a submission to which a Panel member was known
to have contributed. One suggestion was that, having acted as a consultant on a
programme, a JAP member might need to withdraw from his or her membership of the
Panel for a period.
Of the other views expressed by JAP members, perhaps the strongest was the need for a
more ethnically diverse membership, an important point given the emphasis given to race
equality in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. Recruitment for the new Panel sought
to address this issue, by encouraging candidates from ethnic minority backgro u n d s .
However, NPD’s response to the Interim Report noted potential tensions between ensuring
balance in the ethnicity of Panel membership and ensuring that the Panel comprised leading
experts in their fields. The suggestion was that another way of ensuring that Panel members
had the capability to consider diversity might be to require applicants to demonstrate their
commitment to the diversity agenda, and to show how they had helped to promote this
agenda in their work.
The general literature on accreditation programmes offers relatively generic advice on Panel
composition. Generally, the importance of including well-qualified, highly re s p e c t e d
individuals is underscored. Individuals who are currently practising in the field are also
valued, given their understanding of changes in the relevant legal, clinical and political
environments. The overall size of the group must be workable, sufficient to cover the tasks
and provide the necessary range of expertise and representation of viewpoints.
In looking to the composition of the accreditation panels in Canada and Scotland, one can
draw some comparisons with JAP:
●

16

In order to cover the range of subject matters, Canada uses an International
Expert Panel with seven members to set general policy, then relies on Individual
Subject Panels to review individual programme areas. The subject panels include
three members from the Expert Panel (to maintain consistency of mission and
focus) with three specialists in the particular area.

Role and organisation of the Panel

●

The Canadian system extends more general conflict of interest provisions by
prohibiting Subject Panel members from having a previous or current connection
with the management or development of a Correctional Service of Canada
programme.

●

The chairs of the Canadian and Scottish Panels are not independent. In Scotland,
the Panel is chaired by a member of the Prison Service Board; in Canada, an
assistant Commissioner of the Canadian Correctional Service chairs the Panel.

●

The Scottish Prison Service panel is relatively small in comparison with the others
(eight members in total), and includes five individuals from outside the service: two
with professional qualifications in psychology and offending behaviour
programmes; two social workers with experience in offending behaviour; and one
person with experience in public sector accreditation. By having two people with
overlapping areas of experience, the Panel can function when some members
cannot attend. The current mix of expertise is not seen as fixed for the future, and it
is envisaged that the Panel composition might change as the need arises.

Meeting arrangements and functioning
The general view from panel members was that two week-long meetings of the entire Panel
each year enabled them to balance other commitments with the need to get through JAP
business (the lengthier meetings in the early days of the Panel were universally regarded as
overly-long and exhausting). However, there was an acceptance that the main Panel
meetings needed to be supplemented by additional meetings of the formally constituted
standing sub panels (the drugs sub panel was cited as having a particularly heavy
workload). UK-based Panel members also frequently committed themselves to a range of
other activities outside main Panel meetings: for example, visits to programme developers to
advise on feedback on submissions, as well as visits to prison and probation areas. In these
circumstances, it is difficult to see how it would be possible for the main Panel to meet more
frequently than twice yearly. The cost implications of additional meetings would also need to
be borne in mind, as discussed in Chapter 4 below.
A slightly different issue is the interaction between the main Panel and its sub panels (both
the more formally constituted Drugs and Audit sub panels and the less formal ‘sub panels’ or
working groups assigned to work on particular submissions during a meeting of the full
Panel). One question is whether JAP should conduct more of its business through formal sub
17

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

panel meetings. Here, Panel members expressed little enthusiasm for a model similar to the
Canadian smaller Expert Panel with separate specialist Subject Panels. They valued the
coherence and equal status conferred by common membership of the main Panel.
JAP members did, however, express some concerns were about the functioning of the main
Panel and sub panels, and suggestions were made for improvement. Some Panel members
seemed more comfortable participating in smaller group discussion than in the larger – and
more unwieldy – forum of the main Panel. The meeting of the full Panel on the final morning of
each week was seen as an occasion for important decisions when the Panel was asked to
endorse sub panel recommendations; yet time constraints and fatigue made it difficult to do full
justice to the business. It was suggested that energy levels and focus might be better maintained
by interspersing plenary and sub panel meetings during the week, to enable a sub panel to give
an issue more detailed consideration and bring proposals to a main Panel meeting.
Programme developers (and programme development/implementation managers) described
mixed experiences of attending sub panels (although the accounts received related to
different periods during the Panel’s history). Some found the experience intimidating and
confusing, although there were also accounts of individual Panel members being very helpful
and constructive during discussion. Interviewees found it helpful to know the identity of the
p a r ticipants in the sub pane l (the guida nce for sub p anel chairs issued for the
February/March 2002 JAP meeting requests introductions to be made), and they expressed
a wish for greater clarity as to what the sub panel was looking for from them. Some found the
discussion disappointing – a tendency for academic ‘debating’ points to dominate; too little
structure to the discussion; and a lack of familiarity with submission material were amongst
the criticisms. This last point is of some significance in the context of the literature on
procedural justice, discussed in Chapter 6. Programme developers typically spent many hours
developing the five programme manuals that the Panel required for a formal submission (see
Chapter 1); understandably, if panel members were then unfamiliar with some of the
materials, there was a tendency among programme developers to see themselves as having
been judged without their case having been fully and carefully considered.
A separate point was the potential lack of continuity in ad hoc sub panel decisions over
time, particularly where there was a change of membership. Some Panel members
expressed concern that a fresh sub panel, considering an application for accreditation,
might disagree with the views previously offered by a differently constituted sub panel that
had considered an application for advice; or the fresh sub panel might raise new points
(although no instances of where this had happened were given). Greater continuity in sub
panel membership was therefore seen as desirable. In some of the sub panels that were
18

Role and organisation of the Panel

observed, documentation was not easily available on previous decisions related to a
programme, and time was spent trying to reconstruct the history. For example, difficulties
were observed in one sub panel in reviewing the history of an ‘enhanced community
punishment scheme’; an earlier submission had been entitled ‘applying accreditation criteria
to community service’, and this name change created temporary confusion. Needless to say,
these kinds of issues were apparent to programme developers, who referred to sub panels
as “moving the goal posts”, changing their minds, raising new points or forgetting previous
decisions. There was some feeling amongst programme developers that the deliberations at
sub panel meetings should be minuted to provide a more detailed record than the formal
feedback letter they received. The sessions during which a sub panel met to comment on the
draft feedback letter were sometimes observed to be hampered by debates over fairly minor
drafting points rather than issues of substance (to which there sometimes appeared to be too
little time to devote adequate attention). It might be more effective – and place less pressure
on the letter-writer – if a draft approved by the sub panel chair was circulated for written
comments instead.11
A related concern raised by Panel members was that their areas of expertise did not always
fit the sub panels to which they were allocated, and some were mystified how allocation
decisions were made. The new (2002) guidance for sub panel chairs was seen as likely to
improve consistency between different sub panels on matters of process, but did not address
more substantive issues of consistency in decisions. One suggestion was to arrange a
meeting of sub panel chairs at some point during the week to talk over common issues.

Support and advice to the Panel
The above discussion touches on the support provided by the JAP secretariat, and other
sources of support and advice for the Panel. Overall, levels of satisfaction were high here,
with Panel members – and others – pointing to marked improvements in secretariat support
since the introduction of a dedicated post and increased resources. Where there had been
difficulties with the practicalities of JAP meetings, these were seen as the natural product of
human error given the size of the administrative task involved. In view of the earlier
comments about consistency between sub panel meetings, a system for tracking submissions
through the Panel, many thought, would be extremely helpful, perhaps using a simple data
base to record the kind of details summarised at Appendix III. This could be developed in
such a way as to provide each sub panel with a digest of previous decisions, perhaps with
11 Letter writers were usually drawn from RDS staff, who might be completely new to the work of the Panel or not
encounter it in the normal course of their duties.

19

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

entries on which panel members participated in those decisions. Again, this would assist
letter writers, who might not have worked with that particular sub panel before.
When it came to sources of advice, appreciation was expressed about the quality of advice
b rought in, for example, by seconded experts on drugs programmes, therapeutic
communities and community punishment. The appointment of a dedicated diversity advisor
provoked a range of comments. The sustained attention to this topic that the advisor’s
presence brought was valued, and it was thought by some that this should be reflected in
the Panel’s own advice to programme developers (discussed under accreditation criteria in
Chapter 4). However, views diverged on whether a diversity advisor should feel able to
contribute to more general discussions, and there was a hint from some that the appointment
of a specialist advisor detracted from JAP members’ own responsibility for examining
questions relating to diversity.
Two areas were specifically mentioned where, in the opinion of Panel members, further
advice would be valuable. These were, first, research briefings to enable Panel members to
remain up to date with the relevant technical literature on the range of programmes coming
before JAP; and secondly, ethics advice. This latter suggestion arose in respect of the
possible impact of psychodrama on offenders, which was seen to raise a wider need to
ensure that offenders were not damaged through participation in confrontational and
demanding processes.

Conclusions and recommendations
On the future composition of the Panel, many of the points raised by stakeholders were
being addressed in the recruitment exercise for the new Panel (e.g. the need to preserve
independence and quality, and for a more diverse membership in terms of expertise and
ethnicity). Having restored the independent make-up of the Panel by reducing the ex-officio
membership to three (from 11 current participants, some of whose status is unclear), it will
be important to ensure that this independence is underlined in the future. One way in which
to achieve this is to make a clear distinction between full Panel members and co-opted
participants, who other wise may over time and with frequent attendance acquire the
apparent de facto status of Panel membership.
First recommendation: Introduce a clear distinction between full Panel members, whether appointed or
nominated, and other participants. Consider: only full members to have ‘voting’ rights; only full members to act
as sub panel chairs; previewers or shepherds (see Chapter 4) to be selected from full membership.
20

Role and organisation of the Panel

Another way in which the Panel can underscore its independence is by clarifying the
arrangements to avoid conflicts of interest, and ensuring that these arrangements are
appropriately publicised. This was a significant concern amongst programme developers
and programme staff, some of whom thought there might be pressure to view favourably a
submission to which a Panel member had contributed, even though the member in question
was excluded from the relevant sub panel. Such pressure might be lessened if the Panel
member did not attend the relevant JAP week, or withdrew his or her membership for a short
period. We suggest that the Panel would visibly strike a better balance between the need for
probity and the value of having programme developers on its membership if it adopted a
more stringent rule requiring temporary withdrawal from panel attendance or membership.
Second recommendation: Clarify/publicise the arrangements to prevent potential conflicts of interest when the
Panel is considering a submission in which a member has an interest, or what might be construed as an
interest. Consider requiring a Panel member who has acted as consultant to a programme to withdraw from
Panel membership for a period, to ensure that he or she does not attend the Panel week in which the
programme is being considered.
Generally, the Panel was seen as functioning well, particularly in sub panel sessions. Recent
improvements were identified; indeed, some were brought in during the course of the
evaluation: increased secretariat resources; better guidance for letter writers and for sub
panel chairs. However, both JAP members and programme developers perceived a need for
greater continuity in sub panels whose membership might change over time. Suggestions for
improving functioning and continuity included interspersing plenary and sub panel meetings
during the JAP week and arranging a meeting of sub panel chairs at some point during the
week. A need was also identified for additional advice through research briefings to up
date Panel members on recent literature relating to the range of programmes coming before
them, and on ethical questions raised by certain aspects of programmes. In the light of the
concerns raised by interviews and our own observations, we recommend as follows:
Third recommendation: Improve JAP paperwork management and introduce clearer records of sub panel
discussion and decisions. Consider setting up a database to track submissions through the Panel, and provide
sub panels with a digest of previous decisions and who contributed to them.

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

22

4.

Accrediting programmes

The process of accreditation formed the predominant activity of the Panel, which accredited
15 programmes in just over two years, and in six full JAP meetings (between its first meeting
in November/December 1999 and the one observed in Febru a ry / M a rch 2002). In
addition, the Panel granted two programmes ‘recognised’ status, and advised that work on
two programmes should be discontinued. The earlier Prison Service General Accreditation
Panel had accredited the Therapeutic Community at HM Grendon, and JAP approved the
‘audit of delivery’ document for this programme. This compares with 15 accre d i t e d
programmes and 22 accredited sites in Scotland, and six accredited programmes (42 sites)
in Canada.12
This chapter looks at various issues relating to the performance of the Panel in its main
function of accrediting programmes. It starts with a consideration of the programmes that
achieved accreditation.

Progress of programmes towards accreditation
The progress of programmes that attained accredited status is presented at Appendix III,
which summarises the Panel’s actions. In brief:
●

Seven programmes achieved accreditation at their first formal submission for that
status (four following earlier ‘advice’ from the Panel).

●

Seven programmes achieved accreditation at their second formal submission (four
of which were separately submitted for advice at least once).

●

One programme required three formal submissions before gaining accredited
status (following initial advice from the Panel).

12 The JAP does not accredit sites; instead the delivery of accredited programmes on site is audited under
arrangements approved by the Panel (see Chapter 5).

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Looking at types of programmes accredited by the Panel (future references will be by the
acronyms used here):
●

Sex Offender (six): Three Prison Service programmes – Sex Offender Treatment
Programme (SOTP), plus the Rolling and Extended versions of this programme (the
Rolling programme after three formal submissions, the others at their first formal
submission). The West Midlands, Thames Valley and Northumbria probation
programmes (all on their first formal submission following initial advice).

●

General Offending Behaviour (five): Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) and
Reasoning and Rehabilitation (R&R) on their first submission; Cognitive Self
Change (CSCP) and Priestly One-to-One on their second, following initial advice;
Think First (TF) on its second submission (following advice on the draft
resubmission document).

●

Others (four): South Yo r k s h i re Drink Impaired Drivers (DIDS) on its second
submission following initial advice; Wiltshire Aggression Replacement Training
( A RT) on its second submission following two submissions for advice; the
substance abuse treatment programme developed by the Rehabilitation of
Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPT), and Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage
it (CALM) on their second submission. RAPT was the only non-prison or probation
service programme to be accredited.

Accreditation process
In their descriptions of how they approached accreditation, Panel members placed considerable
stress on what they saw as the constructive, collaborative spirit in which they engaged in the
task. Their aim was to read material carefully, to offer good advice and to act fairly. Although
they had criticisms, programme developers too saw many aspects of the accreditation process
as constructive and positive. Feedback letters were generally seen as progressive and helpful,
and accounts were given of individual Panel members giving considerable support to
programme developers in interpreting the Panel’s comments and requirements.
Panel members generally received programme submissions as they convened for JAP
meetings, rather than in advance, and seemed somewhat constrained by having to absorb
a large amount of material (five manuals plus appendices) during the busy JAP week.
Indeed, some saw this as restricting their capacity adequately to judge how a programme
24

Accrediting programmes

might run in practice, and suggested that it might be helpful to learn about programmes
through site visits or non-paper material (e.g. videos or presentations). Several programme
developers, in attending Panel meetings, were aware that JAP members had had insufficient
time thoroughly to read and digest the volume of paper work in a submission. As a
consequence, they felt, Panel members showed a lack of engagement with, or sometimes
misinterpreted, the material, or they might over-emphasise certain specific points because
they had not had time to reflect on the submission as a whole. Some applicants saw it as
their responsibility to assist the Panel by cutting down on detail and focusing on the few key
issues on which they needed comments and advice, perhaps offering a presentation to the
relevant sub panel to bring out the salient issues. However, a certain amount of frustration
was expressed by those who perceived themselves as having worked hard to meet
submission deadlines and produce a great deal of material only to discover that it was not
fully read in advance of meetings.
Given these views, one strong suggestion that seemed to emerge from interviews with JAP
members was the potential benefit of a detailed preview of material by one or two
re p resentatives of the sub panel (perhaps in the context of a site visit) prior to the
consideration of a submission at a meeting. Although it would incur additional fees for the
previewer(s), it was believed that this would make meetings more efficient and effective. A
similar approach was agreed by the full Panel at its meeting on Friday 1 March 2002, to
deal with a situation where requirements are attached to the award of accreditation, which
have to be met within a specified period in order to retain accredited status. The Panel
approved the nomination of a ‘shepherd’ to confirm that the requirements were met if the
secretariat advised that this was outside its technical competence in a particular case.
Another point of common agreement was the importance of maintaining high standards for
programmes seeking accreditation. For JAP members, this was tempered by a wish to avoid
being over-exacting, in effect creating a hurdle that made accredited status virt u a l l y
unattainable. In general, Panel members thought the Chairman set the right tone in
emphasising both the need for quality and the ‘real world’ of programme delivery and finite
resources. Programme developers were also supportive of the standards set by the Panel in
applying the criteria. Some saw the quality assurance provided by accreditation as
i m p o rtant in attracting the necessary re s o u rces to ensure that programmes were ru n
properly. However, others were concerned that accreditation might prove an impossible
h u rdle for some programmes. Some programme developers considered that diff e re n t
standards were applied to comparable programmes, and had gained the impression that
Panel members occasionally engaged in academic debate in sub panel meetings, or
allowed their field of expertise to dominate their reactions to a submission.
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Panel members depicted themselves as adopting a flexible, common sense approach to the
requirement for a model of change based on evidence or a reasonable hypothesis. More
complex issues arose over applications in relation to which there was, to date, a lack of
strong evidence in the research literature. Where the prison and probation services needed
to move forward on a particular approach, for which there was not yet a solid evidence
base, it was generally considered possible to apply learning from similar approaches to
give a programme ‘recognised’ status pending the collection of reconviction data. Against
this, reservations were expressed by some academic researchers on the panel as to whether
sufficient time was being allowed for the careful collection of evidence necessary before
programmes were implemented, and the suggestion that JAP could be doing more to
encourage rigour in the evidence required before a programme was rolled-out nationally.
JAP members reported considerable consensus over where the research evidence pointed in
relation to general offending behaviour programmes, sex offender programmes and
democratic Therapeutic Communities. There was much less consensus in relation to drugs
programmes, raising questions over which it was difficult to adjudicate, particularly for JAP
members without expertise in the relevant area. From the programme developers’
perspective, these issues were seen to create sticking points in getting pro g r a m m e s
accredited, as Panel time was given to lengthy debate about the evidence of effectiveness
rather than giving ‘What Works’-based feedback and guidance to applicants. In addition, a
variety of programme developers perceived real practical difficulties in producing adequate
research evidence in relation to certain offender groups, citing women, racially motivated
offenders and psychopaths.
The stance taken by the Panel in insisting upon high standards seems to have the support of
programme staff who completed the questionnaire (see Appendix II). Mostly lacking direct
experience of the accreditation process, they described the Panel as performing a ‘quality
control’ role, although a higher proportion of managers than tutors depicted the Panel in this
way. Only eight per cent of programme staff saw the Panel as distant or disconnected from
practice – nine per cent of tutors, 14 per cent of line managers, and no strategic managers.
Although a small and possibly unre p resentative sample, of whom relatively few had
previously heard of JAP, prison personal officers also saw the Panel’s role in terms of quality
control and monitoring.
There was also a positive, although guarded, reaction to JAP’s decisions on individual
programmes from programme staff. Of the programme staff who answered this question,
only five per cent rated the Panel’s decisions as poor or very poor, and 49 per cent saw
them as good or very good. However, no fewer than 46 per cent were neutral on this point,
26

Accrediting programmes

and 26 per cent of the respondents did not answer the question. Additional comments on
accreditation decisions by JAP were mostly positive, pointing to an objective approach and
approval of effective and workable programmes. However, some concerns were expressed
about the ‘white male’ focus of some programmes. Questions of diversity are explored in
further detail later in this chapter, drawing on the views of Panel members, programme
developers and researchers as well as programme staff.

Submitting programmes
Panel members readily expressed views about the qualities of a submission that was likely to
succeed. Intellectual coherence between the diff e rent manuals and elements of the
programme was considered desirable. Clarity was a key requirement according to a
number of Panel members, and a succinct, straightforward written style was prized. The
starting point was a clear model of change in the theory manual, based on a good grasp of
the relevant literature and evidence. The programme manual should follow from the model
of change, rather than the other way round, so that the submission demonstrated that
people knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. Weak submissions were
defined by the absence of these qualities. One problem identified by Panel members was
where an academic prepared the theory manual with an inadequate understanding of the
actual programme content, producing a dislocation between the practical exercises and the
supposed theory behind them. Some models of change were seen as inspired by ideology
rather than by an appreciation of the current literature. Another temptation to which
programme developers sometimes succumbed, in the view of Panel members, was to include
everything they knew about the area in the theory manual, without developing an integrated
model of change.
One issue about which there was a substantial amount of discussion was the role of the
NPD and OBPU in providing an interface between the Panel and the field to ensure that
accreditation was pursued in accordance with agency priorities, and to assure quality in the
programmes submitted to the Panel. The ‘triangular’ relationship between Panel, gatekeeper
(or ‘sponsor’) and programme developer, though necessary, was seen as creating tensions,
and it was difficult to strike the right balance between setting agency priorities on the one
hand, and over-controlling access to what was an independent Panel on the other. Private
and non-profit making organisations did not have to go through the gatekeeping process, so
independent access was assured, but in general such bodies were seen as disadvantaged
by lacking the infrastructure and resources to commission the expertise and re s e a rc h
necessary to put together a convincing application.
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

It was widely seen as the correctional services’ responsibility to determine their requirements
for offender treatment and to target Panel resources accordingly, though this was a function
they were not always seen as carr ying out eff e c t i v e l y. Both JAP interviewees and
programme developers saw the development of prisons drugs programmes and their
submission to the Panel as having been poorly co-ordinated (or not co-ordinated) in the past.
Although the Drugs Strategy Unit (DSU) in the Prisons Service was perceived now to be
formulating a more strategic approach, it was thought to be hampered by a legacy of
confusion over which of the numerous programmes that had been allowed to develop
should be put forward for accreditation. On a different point, one programme developer
a rgued that the choice of accredited programmes in the areas of general off e n d i n g
behaviour, violence and impaired driving was restricted when compared with the range of
programmes developed for the comparatively small sex offender population.
Gatekeepers were sometimes faulted for being insufficiently proactive in managing the
submission of programmes to the Panel, and not consistently communicating with
programme providers about the requirements and expectations of the Panel. The inevitable
consequence was a certain amount of wastage, although interviewees also suggested that
the gatekeeper was an evolving role and that its performance – and credibility with the field
– had considerably improved with experience. A few programme developers raised
concerns about access to the Panel becoming a bureaucratic rather than an ‘objective’
decision, and saw prison and probation service gatekeepers as impeding their access to the
Panel and obscuring the Panel’s requirements. The role of gatekeepers is revisited in
Chapter 6 below.
People with experience of submitting programmes to the Panel were asked about their
understanding of JAP’s requirements, and their reactions towards the comments made by the
Panel – whether the rationale was clear, and whether the comments were fair and useful. In
interpreting their views, it needs to be borne in mind that interviewees were discussing
contact with the Panel at different stages in its history, and were not always aware of how
procedures had evolved since their own experiences.
Most programme developers found the criteria helpful in setting out expectations, and some
were able to draw on their own experience or that of colleagues, or use earlier submissions
as a guide, in putting together submissions. However, others felt a need for more guidance
as to what to include in the various manuals, and how to structure their submissions,
particularly when they were putting forward novel approaches. Over-prescription, for
example on document length, was not desired, but some interviewees thought it would be
helpful to be able to follow a pro-forma or to be supplied with examples of what the Panel
28

Accrediting programmes

found helpful or unhelpful in a submission. It was also suggested that some panel time might
be set aside for early advice sessions where programme developers could consult individual
Panel members about the requirements; this consultation might be provided through site
visits to enable Panel members to gain an appreciation of how the programme was run onthe-ground.
Although the formal feedback letter from the Panel was described by some programme
developers as constructive and encouraging, written comments were not always seen as
sufficiently clear and precise. Programme developers would have appreciated a clearer
distinction between recommendations whose implementation was crucial in order to gain
accreditation and helpful suggestions on how to improve the programme. Some recipients
perceived the letter as being somewhat critical or cautious in tone. It was suggested that it
could be split into three sections – one covering compliance with ‘What Works’ principles; a
second providing clinical suggestions on how the programme might be improved; and the
third listing typographical or grammatical mistakes in submission documents. More often
than not, programme developers saw panel comments as useful and fair. However, some
believed the models offered in their programmes had been dismissed prematurely without
an understanding of the underlying rationale (although there were also comments that JAP
had become more open to different approaches). One interviewee provided an insight into
programme developers’ immediate reactions to the JAP letter: ‘we all felt quite dreadful …
like every human reaction, you don’t see the good bits to begin with, you just see all the
difficulties’. This is a useful reminder of the emotional dimensions that inevitably accompany
a process such as accreditation,13 underlining the need for fairness to be apparent in Panel
procedures. This point to is revisited in Chapter 6.

Accreditation criteria
At the time of the research, JAP used eleven criteria to make decisions about programme
accreditation and advise on programmes being developed for accreditation (listed in
Appendix I). A programme could score a maximum of two on each criterion, and in order
to be accredited, a maximum score was mandatory on six criteria, namely: model of
change; selection of offenders; targeting dynamic risk factors; continuity of programmes
and services; ongoing monitoring; and ongoing evaluation. A programme required a
minimum total score of 19 (out of 22) to achieve accredited status; a score of 17 normally
conferred ‘recognised’ status, and 12 normally marked a programme as ‘promising’. Two
of the criteria – targeting dynamic risk factors and range of factors – were combined in the
13 See Barbalet (1998) on the way in which certain social structures are intrinsically connected to emotions.

29

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

revised criteria approved by the main Panel on 1 March 2002, a change requiring
adjustment of total scores associated with accreditation decisions. A comparison of the
criteria used by JAP with those used in Scotland and Canada shows striking similarities
both in scope and in specifics, except that ‘effective methods’ is mandatory in Canada,
and Scotland appears to have a more strictly cognitive behavioural focus. The relative
congruence across different jurisdictions is hardly surprising given the tendency for the
Panels to import one another’s practice.
JAP interviewees depicted the criteria as a flexible and workable tool (though one that had
initially been off-putting for some). Concerns and differences of view were expressed, some
of which are resolved by the new criteria, generally seen as an improvement – especially in
making the criteria less repetitive and more accessible to applicants. For example, several
Panel members thought the new criteria would be more easily applicable to approaches
outside cognitive behavioural techniques, such as therapeutic communities. Diversity was
seen as more fully accommodated in the new criteria, but some proposals were made for
further development (discussed below). One suggestion at the academic seminar was for a
greater emphasis on community integration, and how to assist offenders to take up the
opportunities that might be available.
Showing limited awareness that the criteria were to be revised, some pro g r a m m e
developers were frustrated by what they perceived as a cognitive-behavioural bias in the
criteria (or in how they were applied by the Panel); others described re-packaging their
submissions to fit a cognitive behavioural model. Some believed the criteria set expectations
that certain programme designs would never be able to meet, for example because their
emphasis was not on skills training or because they could not guarantee follow-up in the
community for short term prisoners released without licence.
Panel members generally regarded the scoring system for accreditation as appropriate, the
point being made that it ruled out the approval of a programme with a major flaw, which
would fail a number of individual criteria. One doubt raised was that the maximum score of
two for each criterion provided little scope for fine judgement, nor did it differentiate the
relative importance of various criteria (beyond the items on which a score of two was
mandatory). On the other hand, there was resistance to wholesale change of the scoring
mechanism on the grounds that this might introduce undue complexity. A specific suggestion
was to introduce an ‘approved’ status below ‘recognised’, where a model had been piloted
but needed more than 12 months for the systematic collection of data before full
accreditation was considered.

30

Accrediting programmes

Programme staff reported a fair amount of knowledge about the accreditation criteria (63%
had a least ‘some’ knowledge, though 49% of tutors said they had ‘no knowledge’). They
expressed positive views – perhaps more so than Panel members might have expected.
Seventy-nine per cent agreed that the criteria ‘set high standards that increase the likelihood
of effectiveness’, and only 14 per cent that they ‘set unreasonable expectations’. Very few
(6%) saw the criteria as ‘too vague in specifying what is required’. On the other hand,
almost two-fifths (39%) of the staff answering this question thought that the criteria were
‘about right in improving the quality of programmes’.
Diversity was an issue, with only a quarter of programme staff responding to the survey
agreeing that the standards set by the criteria were applicable to all offenders, and twofifths believing that they failed to take account of the needs of some offenders. Additional
comments related more often to diversity than any other issue, with respondents expressing
the view that some programmes did not meet the needs, variously, of ethnic minorities,
women, or individuals with learning difficulties, disabilities or hearing impairment. The
matter of diversity is considered next.

Diversity
Both JAP interviewees and programme developers saw the needs of women and ethnic
minorities as presenting a challenge with which there had been some reluctance to engage.
Programme developers were described by JAP interviewees as claiming that programme
materials were culturally neutral or referring to a lack of evidence about their impact on
certain groups. Conversely, JAP members were depicted by programme developers as
conceding that there was a lack of evidence, for example about the applicability of
cognitive behavioural methods to women, yet being reluctant to consider other models. As
acknowledged at the academic seminar, there remains a real lack of evidence relating to
diversity.14 Unfortunately, in its absence, belief and assertion has tended to acquire the status
of ‘truth’, as was discovered in the data collection.
Some interviewees involved in the accreditation process perceived a lack of open debate on
the topic of diversity. In their view, there was not a ‘receptive environment’ for this (despite a
Prisons/Probation Diversity Review of programme material conducted during 2002, on which
14 Reporting the paucity of female samples in the primary studies on which ‘What Works’ knowledge is based, and the
failure consistently to code ethnicity either in the studies or in meta-analyses, McGuire (2002: 30) concludes that:
There is a requirement for more careful study of the kind of variations that might need to be made in
programmes to accommodate diversity amongst participants. This needs to take account of variations in age,
gender, ethnicity or other cultural differences. It also needs to focus on the adaptation of materials for people
with literacy problems, communication problems or learning disabilities.

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

a report was submitted to the Panel at its September 2002 meeting). A few programme
developers thought that the recent emphasis on diversity questions suggested that the issue
had, rightly, gained more prominence, but it also created the impression of moving goal posts.
At the academic seminar, it was argued that a focus on problem solving in programmes might
not meet the criminogenic needs of Asian or black offenders, or reflect their experiences of
exclusion. However, some seminar participants firmly rebutted the argument that ‘What Works’
research had been done exclusively on white male offenders; many of the studies had included
large proportions of males of black or Hispanic origins – both well-represented amongst
criminal justice populations in North America (but see footnote 14). Yet it was also recognised
that in relation to some types of programmes – such as resettlement – the effect of cultural
context for different ethnic groups needed to be taken into account.
In the absence of an ‘agreed’ treatment model for women, a significant concern was that
women were being denied access to whatever programmes were available as a result of a
failure to resolve debates such as the appropriateness or otherwise of single sex groups.
Offenders lacking in basic skills were another group that was described as neglected by
programme developers to date, being excluded from mainstream programmes because of
the need for conceptual skills as well as reading and writing. It was argued that lessons
could be drawn from educational psychology or other literature from the education field on
how to cater for individuals with special needs, and indeed for offenders with negative
school experiences.
The NPD and RDS have commissioned research to look at the literacy requirements for the
current suite of community-based general offending programmes. Research is also in
progress on the criminogenic needs, and the experiences of supervision, of black and Asian
offenders, in addition to the evaluation of pathfinder projects for these groups (some of these
developments are reviewed in Powis and Walmsley (2002). Unfortunately, there seemed
little awareness of these initiatives among most of the people interviewed.
There was a debate among respondents about how to accommodate diversity in the
accreditation criteria. One argument was for a ‘diversity criterion’, focusing specifically on
whether programme content was suitable for different groups. Another was that the answer
lay not in further adjustment of the criteria, but in careful monitoring of how diversity was
addressed in the choice of methods and exercises, or in the implementation and delivery of
programmes. Other views were that the criterion relating to programme content should
cover adjustments to accommodate cultural diversity, and that further advice was required
under selection, engagement and motivation of offenders on how to meet different ethnic
and cultural needs.
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Accrediting programmes

Of 46 interviewed, only four members of programme staff – all from the Prison Service –
believed that programme material was relevant to all offenders irrespective of gender or
ethnicity. Half the interviewees (24) raised ethnicity as an issue, and it was given equal
prominence within both prison and probation services. A problem cited by some interviewees
was the use of inappropriate scenarios in programme materials, based on white culture, for
example a situation occurring in a pub or an exercise involving the acronym P.I.G. (since
changed following the Diversity Review mentioned above). Views differed as to whether it
was possible to adapt programme material to incorporate more culturally relevant or sensitive
examples or whether programmes effectively needed to be redesigned. A few practitioners
said they had relayed their concerns about the use of inappropriate names or scenarios in
ETS and TF to headquarters staff, but perceived a lack of progress towards change (again,
apparently unaware of the Diversity Review then underway).
Gender was mentioned by 16 interviewed probation programme staff (most prison staff were
working in male only establishments). Again, there was a difference of view as to whether
programmes could be adapted to accommodate women, or were simply inappropriate to
their thinking patterns and criminogenic needs. One manager characterised the approach as
‘trying to squeeze women into a male model of change with a token gesture of not having
any women on their own in [male dominated] groups’. One practitioner was mystified by the
decision to apply TF to women, since he gathered it was a programme designed for men. A
female practitioner thought that ETS processes were equally applicable to women as to men,
although scenarios needed adjustment, and noted that women often performed better
because they were more open to reviewing their thinking.
Fifteen programme staff referred to the absence of provision for offenders lacking in basic
skills or with special needs, with the result that offenders with these difficulties were either
inappropriately assessed or missed out on programmes. Part of the difficulty lay in the
reliance on written work and the re q u i rement for homework. Problem-solving skills
programmes were also seen to require a certain level of theoretical comprehension. One
manager called for an adapted ETS: ‘I see men who would be better equipped to undertake
an SOTP if they had done an adapted ETS first. If you look at some of the deficits that SOTP
people might have, such as being anti-social, lacking social skills like supporting each other,
which they need to develop before they undertake the work..’
Specific enquiries were made about how the Canadian and Scottish panels address issues
of diversity, and advice was sought from Ellie Scrivens as to relevant developments in health
care accreditation. It does not seem that these issues have been taken further in those other
settings. In the health setting, a recent development has been the inclusion of consumer
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

representation in the accreditation process, either in the writing of standards or in the review
process. According to Ellie Scrivens, very similar issues arose in health to the ones discussed
above. Including the consumer perspective raised the question whether to bring in one
consumer to represent the whole of the relevant population, someone representing a
consumer organisation, or an ‘expert’ consumer. In relation to standards, the question was
whether to have special ‘diversity’ standards or to seek to ensure that all standard s
recognise diversity in the population.
According to information received, the Scottish Panel, consisting of a majority of women,
shows particular concern for female prisoners, specifically monitoring the suitability of the
Scottish Anger Management Programme. Ethnicity is not seen as an acute issue in Scotland,
where there are only 80 ethnic minority prisoners in the entire Scottish prison estate, but the
Scottish Prison Service is said to have well-articulated policies on ethnic minorities. In
Canada, by contrast, ethnic minority issues have a high profile, given the existence of
sizeable indigenous population groups. The Canadian Panel re q u i res applicants for
accreditation to address the question of diversity, and their aim is to recruit as diversified a
group of panel members as possible.

Panel costs
One complex area of inquiry was the cost of the accreditation process. Here, the terms of
reference did not require a full economic appraisal of the Panel involving a cost benefit
analysis. In assessing costs, the difficulty lay in drawing the line between the contribution
that JAP makes to the wider ‘What Works’ enterprise within the prison and probation
services, and the support that the latter agencies provide to enable JAP to fulfil its specific
remit. Following consultation with the Steering Group, the following costs were examined:
●

34

Direct costs of the JAP and its secretariat, as provided in budget statements
supplied by the secretariat. To this we re-added the costs of the secretariat, letter
writers and the commitment given by nominated and co-opted members of JAP.
These costs were calculated for 2001/02 as the most recent full financial year,
providing an indication of the costs of the Panel in ‘normal operation’. As well as
p roviding an overall cost for the financial year, a cost per Panel Day was
estimated including the daily fee for appointed Panel members, the day costs of
participation by nominated members and other personnel including the secretariat
and letter writers, and an element for accommodation.

Accrediting programmes

●

Programme submission costs – based on questions asked during interviews with
p rogramme developers, NPD and OBPU, plus additional enquiries where
necessary, an assessment was made of the costs of a ‘typical’ submission to JAP,
taking account of the length of the submission process. Here, we re-estimated both
the local costs (such as preparing submission documents, responding to panel
comments and meeting its re q u i rements) and the costs of the headquart e r s
element in providing advice and support for the submission up to the point of
application. To that we added an estimate of the direct JAP costs, based on the
amount of time committed by the Panel to consideration of the submission.

Unavoidably, this could only provide estimates of costs, but these are perhaps sufficient for
judgements about the value for money that the Panel offers. The following conclusions were
drawn from our calculations:
●

The direct costs of the Panel had remained reasonably stable over the period of
its operation so far. Official expenditure in 2001/02, at £231,396, was slightly
higher than in 2000/01 (£202,978) but included the costs of the evaluation
(1999/2000 was not a full year of operation). Projected expenditure for
2002/03 at £369,460 included £150,000 for recruitment/contingency without
which it would be slightly below expenditure for 2001/02. What is not apparent
here is any escalation in the costs of the Panel.

●

Direct costs totalling £371,376 in 2001/02 were identified, covering the costs of
the secretariat (£48,301), letter writers (£6,950) and commitments by ex-officio
members or participants (£84,729). In fact, secretariat costs were below what
might be regarded as its full complement. As from January 2002, the secretariat
comprised one full time SEO, 0.5 HEO and 0.5 EO, which in 2001/02 would
have cost £59,732 over the full year.

●

The costs of a Panel Day were estimated at £14,248, covering the cost of the
personnel listed above, plus accommodation. It was not possible to allocate a cost
for travel and subsistence. Although official expenditure on travel and subsistence
was over £27,000 in 2001/02, this is presumed to include travel other than to
attend Panel meetings but not necessarily all travel to Panel meetings (i.e. some
attendance may have been funded from other sources). It is useful to note,
however, that the ‘people’ costs of assembling the Panel and providing secretariat
and letter writing cover were a little below £10,000 per day in 2001/02.

35

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

●

The costs of getting a typical ‘in-service’ programme accredited by the Panel
(involving two submissions) varied between £25,000 to £30,000. On the basis
of somewhat limited information, repeated submissions to the Panel appeared to
increase costs for all participants (in other words, more staff time in preparation
did not necessarily save Panel costs).

Compared with the overall budget of the prison and probation services, the costs of
accreditation must be counted as small.15 Only time will tell whether accreditation has been
cost-effective in helping the Services to achieve their target of reducing reconviction by five
per cent under Aim 4 of the Home Office Correctional Policy Framework, as evidence from
evaluations of accredited programmes is only beginning to emerg e . 16 It would be
misleading to compare the above costs with those arising from the activities of the Panels in
Scotland and Canada in the absence of a similarly detailed analysis of cost in those other
two jurisdictions. However, various options for changing the way the Panel runs might have
marginal cost implications, though a reduced cost in one area will often be balanced by an
increased cost elsewhere. The cost implications of different options are indicated below:
1. Changes in Panel membership (to be reduced from 20 to 16 including Sir Duncan
Nichol and three ex-officio members); however, others are likely to continue to
attend in an advisory capacity, so significant costs savings are unlikely.
2. Running more sub panels (the Canadian model). In cost terms, unlikely to differ
from the current arrangement, effectively a number of sub panels meeting within
the same week (there might be savings if the need to consider a particular type of
programme ceases).
3. Additional Panel time – the suggestion that the Panel might meet for an extra
week or a portion thereof (each extra day would cost £10,000 for the personnel
including Panel members’ fees).

15 According to the New Choreography (National Probation Service, 2001), Probation Service expenditure for
2001/2 was £640 million. Prison Service costs exceeded £2,000 million (HM Prison Service, 2002).
16 Friendship et al., (2002) report reduced reconviction following participation in pre-accreditation cognitive skills
programmes in prison, a finding that was not repeated in the subsequent study of accredited programmes by
Falshaw et al, (2003). Hollin et al., (2002) reports encouraging initial findings on implementing pathfinder
probation programmes. However, it is understood that a retrospective reconviction study by Oxford University of
Think First probation pathfinder projects shows disappointing results – see note 5 above. Results were presented
at What Works Conference 2002, and at the time of writing await publication. A prospective study is so far
finding positive treatment effects.

36

Accrediting programmes

4. Preview time/Accrediting programmes ‘on site’ by previewer(s) or small panel –
(additional fees for previewing members, offset against Panel and letter writing
time in formal session).
5. Material presented other than in writing, e.g. videos, presentation by programme
development/implementation managers (less Panel time required for reading,
additional costs in submission preparation).
6. Delegating some functions, e.g. to the secretariat or a ‘shepherd’ (shepherd’s fees
offset against Panel and letter writing time in formal session).
7. Decisions by correspondence or e-mail rather than in meetings (re d u c e d
re q u i rement for Panel time, additional fees/costs for reading material and
commenting outside panel meetings).

Conclusions and recommendations
Both Panel members and programme developers described the Panel as adopting a
constructive collaborative approach in considering programme submissions, and there was
a consensus in favour of high standards to maintain the effectiveness and credibility of
accredited programmes. The sheer volume of submission material presented difficulties for
Panel members, yet programme developers were understandably frustrated if they thought
insufficient attention had been given to the fruits of their hard work. Generally programme
developers identified a need for clearer guidance on the requirements and expectations of
the Panel, close r liaison w ith Panel members and clearer feedback on whether
recommended changes to submission material were mandatory rather than desirable. To
some extent, the publication of audit performance standards for probation programmes will
have clarified the requirements (see: Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel,
HMI Probation, and National Probation Service, 2002). Another issue was the gatekeeping
role played by Prison and Probation Headquarters; though necessary, this was seen as
potentially constraining, and as disadvantaging non-prison or probation pro g r a m m e
developers who might not be in a position to commission the expertise and research needed
for a convincing application.
The question of diversity was prominent in the data collection, and this area has been the
subject of a variety of recent initiatives: the appointment of a diversity advisor to the Panel,
the Prisons/Probation Diversity Review, and research on the literacy requirements for
37

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

offenders attending accredited programmes and on the criminogenic needs of black and
Asian offenders. Indeed, its new terms of reference charge the Panel with ensuring that
diversity issues are taken into account in programme development, accreditation and
implementation. This will give the Panel scope to take a more proactive stance in promoting
steps to address diversity, perhaps through encouraging pilot work to explore how
interventions can cater for the needs of ethnic minorities, women and offenders who lack
basic skills.
The following recommendations are intended to refine the submission process, and enhance
its legitimacy by increasing the extent to which it demonstrably offers a level playing field:
Fourth recommendation: Provide clearer guidance on the structure of programme submissions and the contents
of the different manuals. Consider introducing pro-forma manuals, or where this is inappropriate provide
examples of material that has previously been found helpful. Consider how Panel feedback might make a
clearer distinction between adjustments that are required before accreditation can be achieved as opposed to
changes that are desirable.
Fifth recommendation: Appoint panel members as previewers of programme submissions to brief and guide sub
panel discussion. Consider site visits by previewer(s) to liaise with programme developers about Panel
requirements, and observe delivery of programme. Consider arrangements to ensure that the previewer does not
commit the Panel to a particular decision, for example by not chairing the sub panel considering the submission.
Sixth recommendation: Consider submission of non-paper material, for example videos, presentations by
programme developers or implementation managers, electronic format (CD roms).

38

5.

Other contributions to ‘What Works’

This chapter starts with the broader question of how far a culture of effective practice seems
to have developed within the prison and probation services, drawing largely on the survey
and interviews with programme staff. It then looks at sentencers’ understanding of
a c c redited programmes. Having considered some of the challenges presented in
implementing accredited programmes, the chapter reviews the role of the Panel in
curriculum development and in setting audit requirements.

Prison and probation: a culture of effectiveness?
One of the first points to emerge from the survey of programme staff is that this workforce
saw itself as having a good knowledge of ‘What Works’ (over 80% saw themselves as
having detailed knowledge, or at least a reasonable overview). Perhaps it is not surprising
that managers generally regarded themselves as more knowledgeable about ‘What Works’
than did tutors (the eight people who admitted to no knowledge of the literature all being
tutors). Of course, levels of knowledge amongst programme staff cannot be attributed directly
to JAP’s work, though it is doubtless due to the climate in which JAP operates and which it
influences. The other encouraging finding for those sponsoring the Panel is the overwhelming
agreement with the emphasis on programme design being aimed at reducing offending (well
over 90% of the sample). A substantial minority – 14 per cent – took issue with the use of
reconviction rates as a measure of success, mainly because conviction was not seen as an
accurate measure of offending or because other measures of improvement (employment,
housing, and drugs use) were seen as equally important. But this apart, these results offer a
clear endorsement by programme staff of the overall project to which JAP is contributing.

Knowledge of the Panel’s activities
The vast majority of programme staff said they had heard of JAP, almost all the managers and
70 per cent of the tutors (a finding that may surprise Panel members and policy administrators,
who expected a lower level of awareness). Colleagues were most commonly cited as a source
of information, particularly by tutors (ticked by 70% of the tutors who had heard of the Panel
or its Prison Service predecessors). Both line managers and strategic managers seemed more
likely than tutors to obtain information about JAP from training, and strategic managers
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

seemed significantly more likely to draw from conference presentations, professional journals,
and probation circulars (all mentioned by around a fifth of tutors). This does suggest that tutors
are mostly hearing about the Panel informally, and that it might be worth investing more effort
into relaying more systematic or written information to that staff group.
The small proportion of prison personal officers who responded to the survey also showed a
high level of awareness of ‘What Works’ research (77% having at least some knowledge,
although relatively few saw themselves as having detailed knowledge). Two-thirds agreed
with the emphasis on reducing offending, although less than half (45%) supported the use of
reconviction rates as a measure of programme effectiveness. Knowledge of JAP was far
more limited amongst personal officers than amongst programme staff, with over 70 per
cent having not heard of the Panel or having no knowledge about its decisions. However,
they did see themselves as quite well-informed about local programmes for offenders, they
found that information useful, and they said that it influenced their decisions about prisoners
(though there were large numbers in the ‘middling’ category in response to both questions).
Here, colleagues seemed by far the most common source of information, and relatively few
seemed to access sources of information outside their immediate work environment. Where
they did gain access to such information, it was mainly Home Office reports, professional
journals or conference presentations.

Sources of information about the Panel
In interview, a number of members of programme staff thought that the information they
received about the Panel’s activities was adequate for their purposes, that sources of
information were accessible and that headquarters personnel were approachable and
helpful. Useful sources of information included: the Panel’s 2nd Annual Report (internet); a
glossy headquarters summary of Panel membership and activities; a Panel member’s visit;
presentations from headquarters managers or JAP members at conferences or training
events; and audit feedback. However, despite efforts to brief staff, the more common view
was that information was inadequate or lacking, or negative in tone. Little information was
seen to be provided directly to those running programmes, and it was apparently not
filtered down from senior manager meetings (either to or via middle managers). Programme
staff did not see themselves as well-informed about the evidence underlying accredited
programmes, nor about new programmes being developed or piloted. Although this might
not be JAP’s direct responsibility, it was seen by programme staff as impinging upon the
credibility of the Panel’s work (and their ability to persuade colleagues of the value of
accredited programmes). A number of people recognised, however, that the problem was
40

Other contributions to ‘What Works’

not necessarily simply a lack of information: in-service information flows did not always
operate well, and it was difficult to provide information in a form that busy people would
find time to read.
Amongst the types of information that programme managers and staff thought might be
useful for the future were the following:
●

An information pack containing briefing notes and guides as a resource for
programme/treatment managers to use with tutors or non-programme staff.

●

Videos and booklets. Bulletins with clear straightforw a rd information about
evidence or research results. Material, circulated directly to tutors, which could be
used with non-programme colleagues or with offenders who query their
attendance on a programme.

●

Discussion with colleagues in which there was a chance to reflect, share ideas
and learn from each other (the evaluation was seen as providing an opportunity
for this kind of process); regular updates at programme unit meetings.

●

A help line for queries about programme materials or delivery, particularly when
a new programme was being implemented; a contact person at headquarters
who could provide practical advice to treatment managers.

●

A ‘news’ section on NPD web site, intranet, internet discussion group, using the email to canvass views on programme changes; an online reference manual for
each programme.

●

Input on JAP, and their role in the accreditation process, in annual training for
treatment managers, and in tutor training on individual programmes.

A communications strategy
Support can be drawn from the above discussion for stronger lines of communication
between the Panel and practice, and a communications strategy, a need identified alike by
JAP interviewees and programme developers. One Panel member suggested that ownership
needed to be promoted by giving credit to others – tutors, treatment and programme
managers, and senior managers – who had played a role in developing effective practice.
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Panel members were keen to understand the problems and constraints faced by staff in
delivering accredited programmes and where they perceived a need to deviate from
programme manuals. Some proposed that programme staff should have an opportunity to
transmit written concerns about an aspect of a programme, or an exercise, direct to the
Panel. Indeed, an opportunity for problems to be reported back to JAP will be provided by
the ‘Change Control System’ developed by NPD and approved by JAP in September 2002
for launch over Autumn 2002. Under this system, the Joint Change Control Panel
(comprising Panel members amongst others) will receive reports from NPD and Prison
Service Headquarters and submit an annual report to JAP proposing possible changes in
both prisons and probation programmes. The processes by which issues reach the Change
Control Panel appear to differ between the two agencies, however, in that arrangements in
the NPD build upon its existing infra-structure of regional ‘What Works’ managers, who will
collect feedback from the field to relay to NPD. This is a structure that the Prison Service
lacks, and feedback there will come from prison treatment managers to Headquarters staff.
Programme staff were asked on the questionnaire to describe JAP’s role in their own words,
rather than to select from pre-coded categories. Over 40 per cent of respondents (over half of
managers) saw that role as what is categorised here as ‘quality control’ (maintaining standards,
evaluating programme quality), and over a quarter referred to the Panel as an ‘overseer’
(determining which programmes are to be used, and criteria applied). It is perhaps disappointing
that fewer respondents mentioned ‘programme design’ (development and advice on content and
delivery), and only five per cent (mostly strategic managers) highlighted a research element.
Actual knowledge of the decisions made by JAP was less common, and illustrations of
detailed knowledge seemed to relate to programmes (mainly sex offender treatment or
cognitive behavioural) rather than Panel decisions. The majority of tutors saw themselves as
having only some knowledge, or none at all, and only 39 respondents (24%) claimed a
detailed knowledge or reasonable overview.
These views suggest that an awareness of JAP, and some aspects of its role, has impinged
on practitioners, but it does not amount to an in-depth understanding of the Panel’s decisions
or what informs these. Based on their responses to the survey, programme staff seemed to
perceive some of the achievements identified by Panel members in interview, such as
promoting rigour and the development of a strong set of validated programmes. However,
there seemed greater awareness of the controlling rather than the developmental aspects of
the Panel’s work, and limited appreciation of the emphasis on research. This leaves scope to
raise practitioners’ awareness of these wider activities.

42

Other contributions to ‘What Works’

Sentencers’ understanding of effectiveness
The sentencer perspective is important, as the sentencing decision dictates, in part ,
whether an offender has access to an offending behaviour programme. During the
surveying and interviewing process judges and magistrates, were asked about their level
of knowledge of offender programmes, and their sources of information. They were also
asked what additional information they might find helpful, and how this might influence a
sentencing decision. Their responses revealed a strong case for the provision of good
quality, accessible information about accredited programmes to sentencers, and that this
would be likely to increase their confidence in community-based programmes for
offenders and therefore their choice of such programmes instead of custody. The response
rate to the survey, at 46 per cent, was lower than that secured for programme staff ( see
Chapter 2), and the views summarised below may there f o re overstate the level of
knowledge amongst sentencers (on the assumption that those who had not heard of the
Panel might have been less inclined to complete the questionnaire). Nevertheless, the
data remain very interesting.
There was some awareness of the effective practice initiative amongst the sentencers who
responded to the survey. Around half saw themselves as reasonably well-informed about the
effectiveness of offender programmes, and just under half had heard of JAP. They seemed to
have a similar understanding of JAP’s function to programme staff, with the majority
identifying the Panel’s role as monitoring effectiveness and ensuring high quality
programmes. Nearly half also perceived a research element – either conducting research or
ensuring programmes are based on evidence. Interviewees saw the validating or quality
assurance role as significant in giving sentencers confidence in the integrity of programmes
for offenders as endorsed by a body outside the Probation Service.
Sentencers from all areas certainly believed themselves to be well-informed about
programmes available locally as well as accredited programmes – two-thirds saying in
q u e s t i o n n a i res that they had received at least some information about off e n d e r
p r og ram mes . I nt er vi ew ees re veal ed ver y var ia ble lev els of kn o wle dg e abo ut
accreditation, and little awareness of the research background, but saw themselves as
very well-informed about local programmes. The Probation Service was seen as the main
source of information, both through pre-sentence reports (PSRs) and through other forms
of liaison between senior managers and courts, and the downgrading of pro b a t i o n
liaison committees was a source of regret to magistrates. Court circulars and training
were other important sources of information, particularly for magistrates. Both surveyed
and inter view ed sentencers clearly wanted more i nformation about pro g r a m m e
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

effectiveness, and inter viewees stressed the need for good quality timely information.
Most survey respondents found information about accredited and local programmes quite
or very useful, and almost all indicated that it influenced their sentencing decisions at
least to some extent.
Sentencers, especially judges, were explicit about how information about accredited
p rogrammes might influence their sentencing decision – in favour of a community
sentence where an offence was at the threshold between community and custody.
Considerable confidence was expressed in PSRs, and sentencers portrayed themselves as
reluctant to go against a realistic proposal for a community option (usually equating
programmes with a community sentence). There is clearly scope here to inform sentencers
about accreditation and about accredited programmes. Although detailed technical
information did not seem to be desirable, sentencers were interested in knowing that a
programme was likely to work. There were useful suggestions for how that information
might be provided, and examples were given of information that sentencers had
previously found useful in related contexts:
●

Loose-leaf booklet in the Retiring Room, with information about the content of
programmes and what has been found to work. Regularly updated.

●

Videos, bulletins, lunchtime presentations.

●

Direct contact with staff delivering programmes, and visits to programmes.

●

Leaflet or summary of programme attached to PSRs.

●

E-mail summaries of new programme content.

●

Information published in The Magistrate, or by HM Probation Inspectorate.

Implementing effective programmes: the challenges
Crucial to the development of a culture of effective practice in the prison and probation
services is the successful implementation of programmes as accredited by the Panel, so that
their worth becomes apparent to other colleagues. Here, stakeholders were aware of real
challenges, as we consider in this section.

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Other contributions to ‘What Works’

Maintaining programme integrity
JAP members were aware of numerous obstacles to the widespread achievement of effective
programmes for offenders, and seemed quite troubled by some of these issues. Of major
concern was how to ensure that programmes were delivered as intended, perhaps in a
variety of locations, so that they achieved the desired aims.17 Questions troubling Panel
members included whether the accreditation process had perhaps produced programmes
that were too complex for general ‘roll out’: might programmes look fine on paper, but
prove difficult to operate in practice? Were the resources – specifically staff skills and
training – adequate to ensure the maintenance of quality as programmes were translated to
new settings, and detached from their original conceptualisation and design? One
suggestion at the academic seminar was that greater use could be made of literature on
effective implementation (such as Bernfeld et al., 2001 and Gendreau et al., 1999).
Speed of implementation, coupled with wider recruitment problems, was seen as a major
issue for the Probation Service in ensuring that staff members were adequately prepared for
accredited programmes, and it was suggested that what was needed now was a period of
consolidation rather than the production of new programmes. Although its lengthier
experience of accredited programmes had enabled the Prison Service to develop staff skills in
the area of treatment management and audit, geographical constraints were seen to affect its
ability to recruit staff of the right calibre to deliver programmes. Programme development was
seen as requiring specialised skills, which both services needed to nurture.
For their part, programme staff clearly saw accredited programmes as effective, and tutors cited
examples of individual offenders whom they saw as having been changed by the experience of
going through a programme. Some tutors described themselves as having confidence in
delivering a programme because they knew it had been accredited, and accreditation was seen
as securing credibility with managers and other colleagues, and also with offenders. Perceptions
of the effectiveness of accredited programmes improved job satisfaction, as staff perceived that
they were making a difference and saw the training for accredited programmes as an investment
in them as valued practitioners. Prison officers appeared to find their jobs more interesting as a
result of developing tutoring skills, which they saw as enhancing other aspects of their
performance. However, the psychological language and structured style of some programmes
was experienced as de-skilling to tutors, particularly by some probation staff. For the latter, the
17 There are analogous issues in the more general field of crime prevention, on which see, for example, Crawford
(1998, ch. 5). As Crawford points out, ‘only belatedly have issues concerned with the implementation and
delivery of crime prevention [programmes] risen to the fore’ in the research literature in that field (p.161),
despite early and striking research results (for example, Hope and Murphy, 1983) pointing to the potential
importance of ‘implementation failure’ in contributing to disappointing programme results.

45

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

transition to nationally developed programmes had created some loss of ‘ownership’ of
programmes traditionally developed locally, and a sense that traditional practitioner expertise in
engaging offenders was not valued by those making decisions centrally about the implementation
of programmes. A small number of interviewees also commented that the content of programmes
made delivery, or engaging offenders, difficult, for the following reasons:
●

L ang ua ge used in pro gram mes . So me tu tor s fou nd th at dif fic u lt ies in
understanding the material diminished their ability to deliver it successfully (e.g.
TF and ETS). The psychological style of the language of accredited programmes
was seen to arise from the skew in JAP membership towards psychologists.

●

Programme material . Some of the sessions in TF were described as dry, boring,
and like school lessons. Especially when they appeared at the beginning of
programmes, such sessions were seen as undermining attendance (TF was also
the target of a number of negative questionnaire comments for being patronising,
poorly written and difficult to present). More practical sessions were seen as more
successful in engaging offenders than more theoretical material that was difficult
to apply to practical situations. The theoretical nature of some material had led
some tutors to see JAP as detached from practice.

●

Quality of programme manual. The TF manual was not seen as giving clear
guidelines to tutors – language was seen as obscure, and the stru c t u re
criticised. Lack of clarity might lead to different interpretations of what was
required and consequent loss of treatment integrity. This was contrasted with
experience of the Drink Impaired Drivers (DIDS) manual, which was regarded
as simple and easy to follow.

An absence of advice was perceived about the circumstances in which programme material
could be adjusted, on an on-site basis, to accommodate different learning styles and to
foster engagement. Interviewees described fairly negative experiences of seeking advice
f rom Headquarters, encountering what they saw as rigid attitudes, and a lack of
appreciation of the practicalities of delivery (in the Prison Service), or simply the absence of
a mechanism by which advice could be sought or modifications proposed (Probation
Service). This resulted in some disillusionment, and a perception that their views were not
listened to or valued; the Panel was sometimes wrongly perceived as the source of control.
The introduction of the Change Control System, as discussed above, is clearly an attempt to
enable practitioners’ views as well as evaluation findings to reach the Panel, and it remains
to be seen whether this will give practitioners confidence that their voices are being heard.
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Other contributions to ‘What Works’

A specific dilemma that was identified concerned the need to secure programme integrity
whilst simultaneously ensuring that programmes were responsive to the needs of different
groups and individuals (what might be seen as treatment integrity). In view of the interest
shown by JAP members in practitioners’ views about the circumstances requiring them to
deviate from the programme manual, we incorporated a question on this point in our
interviews with programme staff. Generally, SOTP and Cognitive Self Change were seen as
more flexible and responsive to offenders’ needs than were ETS or TF. A small minority of
programme staff (8) endorsed the need to stick closely to the manual; most of these worked
in the Prison Service, where a little more faith was expressed that methods of delivery were
based on evaluation. Reasons cited for adherence to manual requirements included: to
avoid loss of audit points; to ensure consistency – and equality of treatment – across
d i ff e rent site s; to enable programmes to be evaluate d; and to ensure re l a t i v e l y
inexperienced staff delivered to an acceptable standard.
The most commonly given reason for deviating from the programme manual was the need to
respond to the individual needs and characteristics of offenders. Twenty inter viewees
referred to an apparent contradiction between the need to be responsive and a requirement
to deliver as prescribed (SOTP and One-to-One were seen as giving considerable scope for
responsivity). A variety of circumstances were cited as creating a need for some flexibility:
to accommodate diversity and learning styles; speeding up or slowing down the pace to
match the learning of the group; making the programme material ‘real’ or using more
realistic, relevant examples; dealing with important issues that cannot be predicted or
ignored (e.g. where an offender achieves an important breakthrough in understanding). The
optimal position was regarded as one which allowed some personalisation of delivery
without losing p rogramme stru c t u re or treatment objectives. Experience, and the
development of appropriate skills, was seen as a prerequisite for making the relevant
judgements, and the role of the treatment manager in maintaining treatment integrity
through supervision was seen as crucial.
Management support, both at the local and at the agency or organisational level, was seen as
critical to the maintenance of effective programmes. Panel members perceived a possibility that
the delivery of a programme within a prison might be undermined by the absence of the
governor’s support, or that an agency might regard itself as having had enough advice from
‘the experts’ and overlook the need for continued Panel input. Other dangers were envisaged:
for example, the impetus might be lost if times became more financially constrained; or senior
managers might dispute the ‘What Works’ philosophy, regarding their job as being to ensure
security or containment rather than constructive work with prisoners. In both prison and
probation services, there was some perception that accredited programmes diverted resources
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

from other important work with offenders; for example, some thought that a disproportionate
effort was being put into work with more interesting or challenging offenders (such as sex
offenders). Doubts about the level of organisational support for programmes were reinforced
by the experiences recounted by some programme staff, who saw case managers as having a
crucial role in reinforcing the value of programmatic work. The prison regime and environment
was not always seen as supportive, with practical constraints and a lack of awareness of
programmes being cited as creating particular difficulties.

Programme completion rates
D i fficulties in getting offenders through programmes, especially community-based
programmes, were raised by a number of interviewees as a factor impeding programme
success. Poor attendance was attributed to various factors: required psychometric tests were
off-putting to offenders; case management needed to be strengthened; and there was a
failure to engage offenders actively in the process of change. The issue of responsivity
received considerable attention from all groups of respondents; for example, how some
practitioners were able to use programme material effectively with offenders was identified
at the academic seminar as a potential area for research. As the NPD recognised in its
response to the Interim Report, different challenges were presented in the prison and
probation settings: probation work has to compete with other attractions in offenders’ lives,
whereas prison-based programmes have to compete with other institutional priorities.
For the purposes of assessing agency performance against Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
targets, the number of offenders actually completing a specific programme is multiplied by
the percentage IQR (Implementation Quality Rating) score awarded by the audit process
(see below) for the quality of delivery at that site. According to official records obtained
from OBPU, on this basis the Prison Service achieved 6405 completions in 2001/02,
taking account of IQR scores averaging 95 per cent (meaning that 95% of actual
completions were counted). 839 of these completions were of SOTP. This compared with
5986 KPI completions in 2000/01 (786 for SOTP) – see HM Prison Service (2001). The
Prison Service thus exceeded its KPI targets in both years for all programmes (the targets
were 5000 in 2000/01 and 6100 in 2001/02). It did not, however, achieve its SOTP
targets; instead reaching 77 per cent of its SOTP target in 2000/01 (target=1020) and 72
per cent in 2001/02 (target=1160).
The National Probation Service’s Accredited Programmes Performance Report 2001-02,
obtained from NPD, shows that 3431 actual completions were achieved for the year, as
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Other contributions to ‘What Works’

against a target of 6267 (a 55% success rate). Multiplied by an average IQR score of 70
per cent, the ‘KPI’ completions then constituted only 38 per cent of the target figure. This is
considerably below the Prison Service KPI figure, a contrast discussed further below. On the
positive side, the targets for getting offenders referred to accredited programmes for the
year were slightly exceeded, and the proportion of orders and licences with a requirement
to attend an accredited programme was 77 per cent of the expected figure. But these data
relate to referrals or requirements, not completions. One important factor associated with the
disappointing net completion rate could have been that selection was poor: risk profiles did
not meet targets, with both low and high risk offenders being over-represented and medium
risk offenders being under-represented. However, the real problem appeared to lie with
offenders dropping out before they started or during programmes, with only around half the
orders made resulting in programme ‘starts’. Relevant factors here were cited as case
management, delivery capacity, time to programme start and motivation. The Panel was
briefed about these issues at its meeting in February/March 2002, as an aspect of the
operational environment about which it would wish to be aware. This sort of information is
clearly useful to the Panel in considering the practical constraints of delivery.18

Curriculum development – advice to applicants
It seems clear that JAP’s main contributions to a curriculum of effective programmes took the
form of its standard-setting for accreditation and advice and feedback, especially in helping
to develop programmes submitted for advice. The Panel was not seen as having much
opportunity to play a significant role in decisions about programme development, except in
response to individual submissions in an area that was seen as under-developed. Generally,
programme development was regarded as the responsibility of the sponsoring agencies.
The piloting of new approaches (under the probation Pathfinder initiative) was seen as the
prison and probation services’ rather than the Panel’s remit, although the latter might have a
role in reviewing whether accredited programmes met the range of dynamic risk factors.
Reference has already been made to the value that Panel members placed on providing
feedback to programme developers during the submission process, and the direct dialogue
with applicants. In the past, those submitting programmes for advice were allowed to attend
the Panel hearing to hear directly from Panel members. Some Panel members described
subsequent visits to programme sites to explain written advice in more detail, clarify
misunderstandings and help identify ways forward. Much of this contact was mediated
18 See Underdown (2001) for a discussion of the challenge facing the ‘What Works’ initiative to improving on past
probation service performance on attendance and completion rates.

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

through OBPU and DSU (both within the Prison Service Sentence Management Group) and
NPD staff. Panel members clearly appreciated hearing that their advice had been helpful
and seeing the resulting improvements in programmes as they moved towards accreditation
(such experiences featured strongly in Panel members’ accounts of ‘rewarding’ experiences
of accrediting programmes). On the other hand, some experiences of providing feedback
were depicted as demanding and challenging, particularly when submissions were seen to
fall far short of the required standard. This factor seems to have caused a change of the
Panel’s policy, so that applicants for accreditation (as opposed to for advice) were no longer
required to attend Panel.
Programme developers clearly appreciated direct and specific feedback from the Panel (as
mentioned above) and wanted more of it. Overall, despite some painful experiences,
developers valued attending Panel meetings, particularly where representatives of a sub
panel had time to give direct feedback. One or two more experienced pro g r a m m e
developers described wanting more active engagement with the Panel. One recounted
having to be persistent in seeking answers to questions that the Panel might not have fully
addressed, and another expressed frustration at a perceived inability to involve Panel
members in discussions about further development of accredited programmes.
Of the programme staff who responded to the survey, only 39 (24%), and just 15 per cent
of tutors, were aware of advice from the Panel having been given on a programme on
wh ic h th ey we r e w or k in g – an d on ly 10 p e r c en t o r fe w er r esp o nde nt s fr o m
Nottinghamshire and Greater Manchester probation areas. Where advice was referred to,
it was viewed positively, with 49 per cent rating it as useful or very useful, and 46 per cent
as fair or very fair (18% found the advice of little or no use, and 10% quite or very unfair).
There is some support here for the perceptions conveyed by panel members of ‘adding
value’ in commenting and making recommendations regarding individual programmes.

Experiences of audit
The arrangements for auditing the management and delivery of accredited programmes are
intended to ensure that programmes are implemented as approved by the Panel. The audit
of prison programmes is the responsibility of OBPU, using criteria developed as part of the
documentation for the programme in question. Probation programmes are audited by HM
Probation Inspectorate, using the Performance Standards Manual 2002 to produce IQR
scores based on four aspects of programme implementation: committed leadership and
supportive management (20% of total marks); programme management responsibilities
50

Other contributions to ‘What Works’

(30%); quality of programme delivery (30%); and case management responsibilities (20%).
Having these requirements specified in a common manual means they are available to
inform programme submissions; this may alleviate some of the problems of implementation
discussed above.
Interviewees saw audit as a powerful tool, for example in ensuring that programmes received the
necessary commitment and resources. The stronger emphasis recently given by JAP to audit
arrangements and reports was welcomed, despite some scepticism about the measurement of
‘quality’, and scepticism also about the pressures on auditors to ensure that programmes passed.
The Panel was seen (by those who discussed the matter) as having an oversight role in approving
the documents against which programmes were audited, and also in considering audit findings.
However, checking programmes against the audit criteria was seen as the proper responsibility of
the correctional agencies. Here, an issue of concern for some interviewees was the disparity
between the arrangements for audit in the prison and probation services, particularly the fact that
audit remained the responsibility of OBPU in the Prison Service. It was thought by these
respondents that the prison audit function should be separated from the sponsoring/gatekeeping
function, which OBPU also carries. As one interviewee put it, it was difficult for the unit to be
managing and supporting programme and treatment staff most of the time, then to act as an
objective judge of their performance in an audit. In recognition of these concerns, the Panel was
encouraging the Services to move towards a unified system of audit, and attempts were being
made to rationalise audit arrangements in the Prison Service under an audit development subgroup established by the What Works in Prison Strategy Board. The adoption of a model similar
to probation audit arrangements – that is, the audit function being undertaken by the relevant
Inspectorate – had been resisted by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, which did not see the audit of
accredited programmes as falling within its statutory terms of reference.
Some interviewees also commented on the contrast in IQR scores awarded in audit by OBPU
on the one hand, and the Probation Inspectorate on the other (see above). They suspected
that such differences were more likely to reflect differences in audit criteria than differences in
the respective quality of prison and probation delivery. In contrast to prison establishment
scores usually exceeding 90 per cent, none of the first 15 probation areas whose audit
reports were published by the end of March 2002 achieved IQR scores above 70 per cent
(see: HMI Probation, 2002). The superficial impression is that tougher standards are being
applied to the Probation Service than to the Prison Service, with implications for each
service’s ability to reach KPI targets, a matter of proper concern to the Panel.
Despite these variations, programme staff reported positive experiences of the process of
being audited (see: Appendix II). Of those who had direct experience of being audited,
staff predominantly regarded the process as useful and fair (72% as very or quite useful,
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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

and 74% as very or quite fair), though prison staff rated audit findings more highly than did
probation staff. Additional comments, where given, supported these ratings. Usually, staff
seemed to view the audit as fair and constructive in helping them to improve their practice.
There were, however, some concerns about judgements being subjective, or not focused
sufficiently on questions of quality. Some tutors seemed to find the experience stressful and
time consuming, but – as a group – they remained able to perceive benefits for their
practice in terms of keeping programmes focused or achieving standards. One interesting
point related to a perceived lack of consultation between auditors and those delivering
programmes about the day-to-day problems influencing programme integrity.

Conclusions and recommendations
The news from programme staff is encouraging, with a clear endorsement of the ‘What Works’
project, a strong commitment to accredited programmes and a reasonable understanding of the
role performed by the Panel (though limited awareness of the research input). However,
interviewed programme staff saw their information about the Panel’s activities as inadequate. This
impinged on their faith in accredited programmes, as did their perception of a poor response
from Headquarters (taken as evidence of a ‘controlling’ stance by the Panel) to requests for
advice about or proposed modifications to programme content or delivery. There were signs that
in the long run this could damage the Panel’s legitimacy and the credibility of its decisions.
Although sentencers saw themselves as reasonably informed about programme effectiveness
and accredited programmes (especially programmes available locally), there was clearly an
appetite for more information about effectiveness, and a belief that this would enhance
confidence in community-based programmes. They wanted this information to be of good
q u a l i t y, timely, and accessible so that it could inform sentencing decisions. Briefing
sentencers is clearly the primary responsibility of the correctional services, but it may well be
that JAP could play a role, as did Professor Don Grubin (a Panel member) in the video for
sentencers ‘An Insight into What Works’, produced by the NPD in September 2002.
There is ample support from the research evidence for the development of a stronger
communications strategy, a need identified by both JAP interviewees and programme developers.
Indeed, a programme tutor and a magistrate both independently commented on their difficulties
in locating the Panel’s 2nd Report on the National Probation Service web site. The revised terms
of reference for the Panel recognise the need to raise its profile with staff in the correctional
services, a point reinforced by the low response rate to our survey of prison personal officers and
probation PSR authors and case managers. This poor response could reflect a lack of
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Other contributions to ‘What Works’

engagement with accredited programmes on the part of staff upon whose active support the
success of the ‘What Works’ initiative depends (the National Probation Service’s Accredited
Programmes Performance Report 2001-02 highlighting the importance of case management and
motivational work with offenders). The survey of sentencers also indicates that it would be worth
taking their needs (at least for information about accredited programmes, if not directly about the
activities of the Panel) into account in developing the Panel’s communications strategy.
Views from programme staff underline the need for an adequate change contro l
mechanism to demonstrate that their concerns about specific programme materials are
taken seriously, and transmitted appropriately to the Panel to inform its review of
accredited programmes. The authors of this report are aware that a joint change control
mechanism has been launched, and fully endorse this development. Ideally, a balance can
be found between allowing the Panel to learn directly from practitioners and ensuring
reasonable stability and certainty in programme content. Another area where there is
scope to strengthen the Panel’s role, whilst leaving the primary responsibility for
programme development and implementation with the correctional services, is curriculum
development and the piloting of new approaches (particularly those that address issues of
diversity). Again, this has been recognised in the revised terms of reference for the Panel,
which give it the remit to advise the correctional services on curriculum development on the
basis of an annual review of developments in re s e a rch. Given the range of views
e n c o u n t e red on diversity ( see also Chapter 4) and on pr ogramme integrity and
responsivity, the Panel could both raise its own profile and engage in useful two-way
debates on these questions with programme developers and practitioners by organising or
participating in seminars on specific topics.
Given the growing importance of the audit function in assuring quality in the delivery of
accredited programmes, there is also a need to ensure that prison and probation audit
arrangements are independent and equitable. This report fully supports the Panel’s stance in
encouraging the development of unified audit arrangements for the correctional services.
Until such time as this is achieved, it is strongly suggested that the audit function should not
rest with the main sponsoring/gatekeeping unit (OBPU) in the Prison Service. To preserve the
credibility of audit in assuring that programmes are implemented as approved by the Panel,
that function should not remain within the Prison Service Sentence Management Group.
Seventh recommendation: In order to increase the Panel’s visibility and the transparency of its decisions, there is
a need for a strategic approach to communication between the Panel and staff in the correctional services on a
range of issues. There is also a need to ensure that the Panel plays an appropriate role in informing sentencers
about programme effectiveness. Consider the following mechanisms: intranet, internet, and e-mail; information
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pack distributed to treatment managers; accessible booklets for sentencers regularly updated; panel members to
visit programme sites, and contribute to conferences and training events; seminars with programme staff to
debate important issues e.g. diversity, models of change for women, programme integrity, responsivity.
Eighth recommendation: Pending the introduction of a unified system of audit for the correctional services, a
body outside the Prison Service Sentence Management Group should undertake the audit function.

54

6.

Future directions

The findings presented in this report show that the Panel can claim significant achievements
in the period since it was established. Its main achievement lies in the accreditation of high
quality programmes, and in the provision of advice to programme developers contributing
directly to the quality of programmes developed for accreditation. Secondly, there is its
contribution to a wider culture of effectiveness in the prison and probation services, where
programme staff viewed the Panel’s decisions in a mainly positive light, and expressed
confidence in the programmes accredited by the Panel. In moving forward, the Panel should
seek to build on these undoubted successes.
This is a time of development for the Panel, with major implications for its future relationship
with the correctional services. As acknowledged at the Panel’s full session on Friday 1
March 2002, ‘What Works’ is an evolving environment in England and Wales, and it is
important for the Panel to remain at the forefront of these developments. The question raised
is the direction in which JAP, now CSAP, might be moving given its new terms of reference,
the adoption of the new integrated systems approach, revised programme accreditation
criteria, and the imminent appointment of a new Panel. In considering this question, this
final chapter, looks first at some structural issues that impinge on the legitimacy of the Panel,
before reflecting on how its role might develop in the future. Rather than conclude with
specific recommendations, as in earlier chapters, this chapter highlights a number of matters
that the Panel might have on its agenda in developing its future role.

Structural issues and legitimacy
As has been seen, JAP is a non-departmental public body (NDPB), but one that is
symbiotically linked to both the Prison Service and NPD. It differs radically from some other
NDPBs – for example, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) has a sizeable budget for ‘special
initiatives’, is in charge of purchase of services and of allocation practices in the juvenile
secure estate, and has a significant role in monitoring the work of youth offending teams
(YOTs). JAP’s role is much more dependent on the relevant mainstream field agencies than is
the YJB, and a significant element of its work is necessarily reactive, that is, waiting for
appropriate applications to come forward for accreditation or advice. Despite this, JAP also
wields significant power – programme developers can sometimes be devastated by, or very
angry at, rejections (though these reactions are not usual), and JAP is widely seen in the field
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as controlling the kinds of treatment programme that are deemed acceptable. Thus, overall,
JAP walks a tightrope between power over and dependence upon its linked fieldwork
services. It is vital for its future development that the Panel develops this role sensitively.
Inevitably, the primary role of strategy development must lie with the prison and probation
services, and JAP would not want to contest this. It has been noted, however, that JAP is also
keen to play a developmental role where it perceives that the relevant field agency is having
difficulty in developing accreditable programmes in a particular field of work. Where JAP
sees a need for such a developmental role, it is typically more proactive, e.g. by being
more willing to do site visits, provide extensive feedback, etc. That makes excellent policy
sense, though it is also important that such activities are not seen as unduly favouring
particular programmes, and therefore unfairly helping them by comparison with others. (See
further below.)
As regards actual submissions to the Panel, there is now a well-established ‘gatekeeper’
system in both main agencies. Since the ‘gatekeepers’ regularly attend Panel meetings,
however, the distinction between the Panel and the agencies (and their ‘gatekeepers’)
sometimes looks very blurred from the field. There seems to be significant merit in keeping
these roles clearly separate, so that the gatekeeper may advise, but decisions are clearly
those of the Panel.
The existence of ‘gatekeepers’ has undoubtedly been, on balance, beneficial – both to the
agencies (mo re professional p rogr amme dev elopment) and to JAP (fewer poor
applications, there f o re more efficient use of its limited time). Potentially, however,
gatekeepers could stifle innovation – for example, if a probation board has a new
programme which it regards as promising, but cannot gain access to JAP except through
the NPD gatekeeper, who might be hostile to that kind of programme. Possibly this
potential difficulty could be overcome by allowing some kind of appeal mechanism from
gatekeepers to JAP in such circumstances.
Audit is another area where structural issues are raised. As more programmes become
accredited, and fewer new programmes come forward for accreditation, the audit role will
become increasingly important (as will the review of accredited programmes – see below).
JAP itself cannot perform the main audit role (and none of the respondents suggested that it
should), but it is essential that it retains some oversight over audit arrangements in the two
services, or else these could drift into autonomous practices. JAP’s clear awareness of the
current differences between prison and probation audit systems, and its call for a move
towards a more effective joint approach between the services, suggests it is already very
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Future directions

alert to the importance of these matters. Indeed, JAP perhaps has a wider strategic role to
play in promoting joint work between the prison and probation services, for example in the
area of integrated throughcare systems (which are potentially of great importance as JAP
moves into the ‘whole systems’ approach).
As the above comments suggest, JAP’s interface with its two linked services in part demands
sensitive attention to structural issues. In addition, however, issues of legitimacy are
frequently raised – for example, by programme developers (who, for optimum future
development, need to believe that the Panel operates with both professional competence
and fairness) and programme staff (who sometimes confuse the Panel with their Service
H e a d q u a rters). The way forw a rd here seems to be for the Panel to emphasise its
independence from (as well as its close working links with) the relevant services, and also to
pay close attention to the research literature on fairness and legitimacy. Above all, that
literature emphasises issues of procedural justice in promoting perceptions of legitimacy
among those over whom a given body has power (see Tyler, 1990; Tyler and Blader,
2000). The elements of procedural justice that are seen as important by most subjects have
been summarised in a number of re s e a rch publications; the following (taken fro m
Paternoster et al. 1997) is a representative list:
(i) Participation/representation The opportunity adequately to put one’s case to
decision maker(s) before a judgement is made by him/her/them.
(ii) Dignity and respect Being treated by the authorities as a human being, with
rights, feelings, and status.
(iii) Neutrality The authority being willing and able to exercise an appropriate degree
of neutrality and independence in handling the case.
(iv) Competence The authority appearing to be able to make high-quality decisions,
and to explain them.
(v) Consistency The authority not acting arbitrarily, and, if different cases are judged
differently, being able to explain why this is so.
(vi) Correctability The opportunity for initially unfair judgements to be corrected (for
example, on appeal).

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JAP generally seems to score reasonably well with programme staff on most of these criteria,
but there also appears to be room for improvement.19 In particular, the Panel could perhaps
usefully review its practices in the light of the procedural justice literature, for example on
c onf li ct o f i nt ere st i ss u es ( se e u nd er ‘ ne ut ra l it y’ a bo ve) an d o n i s sue s of
‘participation/representation’ (where applicants did not always believe that Panel members
had thoroughly absorbed submission documents, see Chapter 4 ).
The above remarks focus on the relationship between JAP and the prison and probation
services. It should not be forgotten, however, that private sector providers (e.g. contractedout prisons) may also apply to JAP without going through the pr ison/pro b a t i o n
‘gatekeepers’. Potentially, this could lead to premature applications from such sources
coming before the full Panel, and there have already been examples of this. Where this
occurs, it is not an efficient use of the Panel’s resources, and some filtering mechanism
perhaps needs to be put in place, while retaining fairness and parity of treatment. This
could be particularly relevant since, as indicated in the White Paper Justice for All (2002),
the new plans for intermittent custody (now contained in the Criminal Justice Bill 2003) are
intended to have both a strong offender behaviour programme focus and the possibility of
‘imaginative options’ for ‘community custody centres’ on prison sites (pages 94 and 113). If
‘imaginative options’ means an increasing role for the private sector, this issue could be of
considerable importance for the Panel in the medium term.

The future role of the Panel
Panel members and policy advisers were clearly aware of the Panel’s developing role, and
readily discussed the implications of this. Some interviewees pointed to a need for JAP to move
beyond considering individual applications to provide greater input into policy and strategic
questions relating to programme development. It was argued that the Panel could draw on its
considerable collective experience in the correctional field to contribute more broadly to
curriculum development and decisions about piloting new approaches, for example by
recommending new applications for techniques developed in accredited programmes.
Perceiving a shift in focus from the production of new programmes to ensuring effective
delivery and reviewing programmes, some argued that the Panel might have a role in helping
to devise an action plan to improve the implementation and delivery of programmes in the
light of findings from pathfinder projects. This point touches on the Panel’s role in setting audit
procedures and its relationship with the prison and probation services, as discussed above.
19 Although only 39 members of programme staff were aware of advice being given by the Panel, less than half
rated that advice as very/quite useful or fair (see Appendix II).

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Future directions

A key area for likely future development is the Panel’s role in reviewing programmes in the
light of feedback from practitioners, and of audit and evaluation findings. In time, this will
inevitably lead to questions such as whether to withdraw a particular accreditation, or to
approve changes in design and content. The change control system designed by the
Probation Service will provide a structure for this work. It remains to be seen whether this
mechanism will achieve a proper balance between allowing the Panel to learn directly from
practitioners (via regional ‘What Works’ managers, NPD and the Change Control Panel) and
ensuring reasonable stability and certainty in programme content. Another test will come
when the Panel examines the possible implications of evaluations of accredited programmes,
such as the Oxford Probation Studies Unit’s of Think First (see footnotes 5 and 16 above).
One question debated during the February/March 2002 meeting of the Panel was whether
it should move into the accreditation of integrated systems, such as community punishment,
case management and resettlement. This is a step it has now taken with the inclusion of
integrated systems in its new terms of reference and the grant of Recognised Status to
Enhanced Community Punishment in September 2002. There are interesting parallels here
with the change in focus of health care accreditation from individual facilities to the
connecting networks as it became clear that problems were more likely to arise during
transitions between, for example, hospital and rehabilitation centre than in the hospital itself
(Scrivens, 1995). Some JAP members expressed considerable enthusiasm for this kind of
development, which they saw as a logical extension of their work, responding, for example,
to the need to provide continuity of services. Others doubted the susceptibility of these
broader approaches to the accreditation process, arguing that the Panel should stick to its
‘core business’ or a cognitive-behavioural focus rather than over-stretch itself by attempting
to accredit everything. The following dangers were perceived in the Panel’s adopting too
wide a role in accrediting prison or probation activities: bureaucratic costs, diluting
treatment programmes, and creating confusion over what exactly was being accredited.
These issues bear directly on the Panel’s relationship with the prison and probation services,
and its responsibility for assisting cultural change to effective practice in the two agencies.
The new terms of reference approved for the Panel put greater emphasis on its collaboration
with these correctional services (and possibly in future the Youth Justice Services), and its
assistance with the implementation of ‘What Works’ through appropriate dialogue and
communication. Of particular importance here is its promoting joint working between the
Services to provide continuity in the interventions delivered to offenders in custody or the
community, especially in view of proposals in the Criminal Justice Bill for Custody Plus and
Intermittent Custody.

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

One important question for the future is how to maintain clear boundaries between the
responsibilities of the Panel and those of its sponsoring bodies, while also ensuring that the
Panel’s resources are used most effectively to enable the prison and probation services to
equip themselves with interventions that will reduce offending. On this point, interviews
revealed an awareness that accreditation was not the only mechanism by which to promote
good practice, but also some uncertainty as to where accreditation might sit alongside a
range of other quality assurance measures operating internally within the correctional
services, or applied by other bodies such as Inspectorates. During the period of the
evaluation, an attempt to clarify this matter was being made by the Prison Service through
developing a quality assurance framework for regime interventions, and it is a question that
the correctional services will wish to continue to address in conjunction with the Panel. It
seems important for the continued credibility of the Panel that it is seen to operate within a
clearly defined sphere of activity requiring its particular expertise in research on, and the
development and delivery of, interventions designed to reduce offending.
Thus, overall, the Panel can claim significant achievements since its creation; and in view of
recent changes, it also faces significant new challenges for the future as it moves into new
territory such as integrated systems, and its focus shifts from accrediting programmes
towards reviewing them in the light of audit and evaluation findings and practitioner
feedback. One purpose of this re p o rt has been to assist the Panel, and re l e v a n t
policymakers, to move forward to face these new challenges in the light of a process-based
assessment of the Panel’s internal procedures, and of how its work is viewed by relevant
stakeholders (including those in the correctional services charged with taking forward the
‘What Works’ agenda on a day-to-day basis). It is hoped that the findings presented in this
report, and the accompanying recommendations, will make some contribution to the
developing work of the Panel.

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Appendix I

Joint Accreditation Panel: Composition, Terms
of Reference and Accreditation Criteria20

Membership
Chair: Sir Duncan Nichol, non-executive director of the Correctional Services Strategy Board
and former Chief Executive of the National Health Service in England.

Appointed Members
Mrs Hilary Eldridge, Director, Lucy Faithfull Foundation.
Dr Dawn Fisher, Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist, Llanarth Court Psychiatric Hospital.
Prof. Don Grubin, Professor of Forensic Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon
Tyne/Newcastle City Health Trust.
Dr Moira Hamlin, formerly Head of Psychology Services, United Bristol NHS Trust.
Dr Norman Hoffmann, Senior Adviser, Abt Associates Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Dr Doug Lipton, Retired Senior Research Fellow, National Development and Research
Institutes Inc., New York.
Prof. Mike Maguire, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Cardiff University.
Dr Janice Marques, Chief of Programme Development and Evaluation, California Dept. of
Mental Health.
Dr William Murphy, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Tennessee.
Dr Frank Porporino, Senior Partner, T3 Associates Training and Consulting, Ottawa, Ontario.
Prof. Peter Raynor, Professor of Applied Social Studies, University of Wales, Swansea.
Mr Simon Shepherd, Forensic Psychologist and Chief Executive of the European Association
for the Treatment of Addiction.
20 As at the time of the February/March 2002 Panel meeting.

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Nominated Members
Mr Peter Atkinson, Governor of HM Prison Acklington.
Ms Elizabeth Barnard, Prison Service, Head of What Works Unit.
Mr Danny Clark, National Probation Directorate, Programme Development Manager.
Mr Chris Lewis, Home Office, Head of Offenders and Corrections Unit, Researc h ,
Development and Statistics Directorate.
Prof. Rod Morgan, HM Chief Inspector of Probation.
Mr David Perry, National Probation Directorate, Head of Implementation.
Mr Andrew Underdown, Assistant Chief Probation Board Officer, Greater Manchester.

Terms of Reference

62

●

Recommending and annually reviewing accreditation criteria for programme
design and deliver y (approved by Home Secre t a ry). Accrediting individual
programme design;

●

Authorising procedures for audit of programme delivery, and authorising an
annual assessment of quality of actual delivery for Key Performance Indicator
purposes for both Prison and Probation Services;

●

Advising on curriculum development, and advising on related matters especially
in relation to assessment of risk and need; and

●

Assisting cultural change to effective practice in the Prison and Pro b a t i o n
Services.

Appendix I

Accreditation Criteria (Summary)
1.

A clear model of change backed by research evidence (i.e. the programme has a
realistic evidence-based plan for creating change in offenders’ future behaviour)

2.

Selection of offenders (i.e. the programme chooses participants who need to
change and whose risk is likely to be reduced by the programme)

3.

Targeting dynamic risk factors (i.e. the programme chooses the areas of risk
which need to be and can be offered)

4.

Range of targets (i.e. chooses a range of risk areas to focus upon)

5.

Effective methods (i.e. uses those proven to work)

6.

Skills orientated (i.e. teaches skills for offence-free living)

7.

Sequencing, intensity and duration (i.e. timetables for maximum impact in
reducing risk)

8.

Engagement and motivation (i.e. encourages a positive response)

9.

Continuity of programmes and services (i.e. co-ordinates them to maximise the
effect of treatment and monitoring)

10. Ongoing monitoring (i.e. checks the programme in action)
11. Ongoing evaluation (i.e. checks and develops what works)

63

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

64

Appendix II

Responses:

Table 1:

Sent
Received

Programme Staff Survey

254
167

Responses by area and job role

Area (No. administered)
Greater Manchester (55)***
HMP Manchester (10)
West Mercia (27)
HMP Drake Hall (7)
Nottinghamshire* (20)
HMP Whatton (25)
HMP Wellingborough (6)
Thames Valley* (32)
HMP Albany (25)
HMP Full Sutton (33)
Cambridgeshire (19)
Total (254)

Tutors
20 (39)
4 (6)
12 (21)
2 (3)
7
9 (18)
3 (4)
11
11 (20)
13 (21)
8 (10)
100

Job Role
Line Managers
Strategic
Managers
6
4
4
1
3
1
2
9
1

(9)
(3)
(4)
(2)
4
(3)
(1)
3
(2)
(9)
(4)
38

3
1
2
2
3
0
3
3
5

(4)
(1)
(2)
(2)
1
(4)
(1)
3
(3)
(3)
(5)
26

Total
(% administered)
29
9
18
5
12
15
4
17
16
25
14
164

(55%)
(90%)
(67%)
(71%)
(60%)
(60%)
(67%)
(53%)
(64%)
(76%)
(74%)
(66%) **

* No data available for number sent by job role.
** This figure does not include three responses received from Team Support Officers who do not fit into any of
the above categories.
*** Of the total number sent in the Greater Manchester Region, three were sent to Team Support Officers, the
total received from the area was therefore 32 (58%).

65

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Demographic Characteristics of Sample
Gender:

Male
70 (43%)
Female
92 (57%)
(missing cases 5)

Age:

Evenly distributed in age groups between 20 and 60 years.
Only 2 people were under 20 and 2 people over 60.

Ethnicity:

Sample is predominantly white (98%), with one representative from each of
the groups Indian/Pakistani and Black Other, and two people in the Black
Caribbean group. (Data on ethnicity is missing for only one respondent).

Work-related Characteristics of Sample
The sample has been divided into three groups for the purpose of analysis:
1. Tutors (61%) – involved in delivery of programmes (generally, Probation Service
Assistant, Probation Officer, Prison Officer, Psychological Assistant, Psychologist)
2. Line Managers (23%) – manage tutors, manage particular aspects of programmes,
and also deliver programmes, e.g. treatment managers or throughcare managers.
(generally, Probation Officer, Higher Psychologist)
3. Strategic Managers (16%) – have a more strategic role, not involved in delivery,
generally have management responsibilities for more than one programme, e.g.
Programme Manager, Throughcare Manager (in respect of all programmes at a
particular establishment), Accredited Programmes Implementation Manager,
Director of Psychology, Head of Operations, Director of Resettlement, Head of
Communications and Standards. (SPO, Higher Psychologist and above).

Length of Service

66

●

Most respondents (79%) had been working on programmes for less than 6 years.

●

Broadly speaking, tutors had worked on programmes for the shortest length of
time, followed by line managers, and then strategic managers.

●

32% of tutors had worked on programmes for less than one year, 53% had worked
on them for 1-5 years, only 15% had worked on programmes for more than 5 years.

Appendix II

●

70% of Line Managers had worked on programmes for 1-5 years, 8% for than
less than one year and 22% for more than 5 years.

●

As shown in Figure 1, the length of time that Strategic Managers had worked on
programmes was less concentrated in one category. However, 80% had worked
on them for ten years or less.

Figure 1:

●

●

●
●

Length of time on programmes

The length of time worked in the Prison or Probation Service was fairly evenly
distributed, although there was a larger number in the 1-5 years service category
(34%) than in any of the others.
32 per cent of Strategic Managers had been working in the service more than 25
years; 8 of the 12 people who had worked in the service for over 25 years were
Strategic Managers
88 per cent of tutors had been in the service for less than 16 years.
There was a fairly even distribution of time served in the Line Manager group,
although none had worked for less than 1 year, and only one for more than 25
years; 39 per cent of line managers fell into the 1-5 years service group.

67

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Figure 2:

Length of time in Service

Previous Experience
In answer to the question on work experience prior to working with programmes, broadly
speaking:
●

●

●

68

Tutors cited experience outside the Prison/Probation Services, such as teaching,
youth work, experience in the armed forces or police and relevant educational
qualifications, as well as general experience in the Prison or Probation Service.
Line Managers cited relevant experience in the Services. They pointed to general
experience with offenders, other Prison/Probation roles and experience delivering
programmes.
Strategic Managers pointed to other management experience within the
Prison/Probation Service, other roles within the Services, and work with offenders.

Appendix II

Which programmes were respondents working with?
●

●

●

●

●

●

●

●

●

By far the most well represented programmes were Enhanced Thinking Skills (34
people), Sex Offender Treatment Programme (46 people) and Think First (62
people). The accredited programmes respondents were working with are shown
in Table 2 below.
There were also practitioners working on programmes that have been submitted
to the panel but not yet gained full accreditation; in total, 6 tutors, 4 line
managers and 5 strategic managers mentioned Focus on Violence, and the
substance misuse programmes ASRO and PRISM.
In addition, respondents mentioned programmes not yet submitted to the panel, or
developed local ly su ch as dom estic viole nce pro grammes, courses on
employment, anger management and for women. In total, 14 tutors, 6 line
managers and 8 strategic managers mentioned such programmes. The most
common were locally produced domestic violence programmes (9 tutors, 5 line
managers, and 4 strategic managers).
It appears that training for ETS, SOTP, R&R, One-to-One and CALM had been
undertaken by a greater number of people than were currently working on those
programmes. It is unclear from the questionnaires why this is the case, but that
data may indicate that respondents had been involved in these programmes in
the past and were no longer working on them, or had recently been trained but
had not yet run a course.
It also appears that there are a number of people working on programmes that
they have not been trained for. The figures indicate that this is the case for Think
First, Drink Impaired Drivers, ART, and Cognitive Self Change. It is possible,
h o w e v e r, that individuals did not specify all the training courses they had
attended. (A few answered ‘various’ or ‘numerous’ in response to the question
concerning training.) In addition, strategic managers often appear to manage
programmes without having attended the basic training for them.
Other training courses attended by tutors included motivational interviewing,
psychometrics, general group work courses, and courses on particular offender
groups such as violent offenders, sex offenders, or those with drug/alcohol issues.
Line Managers had attended courses on assessment, supervision skills and
treatment management.
Strategic managers had also received training on treatment management,
throughcare management, programme management, and audit training.
Several respondents from each group had attended domestic violence training.

69

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Table 2:

Experience of programmes

Programme

ETS1
SOTP2
R&R3
CSOGP4
Think First
One-to-One
Drink-impaired Drivers
ART5
Cognitive Self Change
CALM6
1
2
3
4
5
6

Number working
Total
on each programme
Tutors
Line Strategic
M’gers M’gers
18
28
6
6
42
8
8
6
1
1

8
9
3
2
11
3
5
2
3
0

8
9
2
5
9
4
5
3
2
0

34
46
11
13
62
15
18
11
6
1

Number who have
received training
Tutors
Line Strategic
M’gers M’gers
23
32
7
5
38
10
5
5
1
3

9
11
3
3
13
2
5
1
3
1

7
9
2
3
7
4
2
1
0
0

Total

39
52
12
11
58
16
12
7
4
4

Enhanced Thinking Skills
Sex Offender Treatment Programme (Core, Adapted, Rolling, Booster)
Reasoning and Rehabilitation
Community Sex Offender Group-work Programme
Aggression Replacement Training
Coping with Anger and Learning to Manage it

What Works
The majority of respondents (83.8%) felt that they had a ‘reasonable overview’ or ‘some
knowledge’ of the ‘What Works’ research. Figure 3 below shows this in relation to the three
job role categories identified earlier. The distribution of knowledge in the two management
groups shows that, as groups, they have slightly more knowledge than the tutors. Only
individuals in the ‘tutor’ category admitted to having no knowledge of the literature.

70

Appendix II

Figure 3:

Knowledge of What Works Research

There was overwhelming agreement with the emphasis on programme design being aimed
at reducing offending:
●
●

46 per cent ‘strongly agreed’ with this emphasis and 50 per cent ‘agreed’.
This pattern was the case irrespective of management/tutor role. Only 7 tutors out
of the whole sample had a neutral attitude towards the issue; those who were
interviewed confirmed that they had answered ‘neutral’ to those questions about
which they lacked sufficient information to comment. No one had a negative
attitude. This is shown below in Figure 4.

71

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Figure 4:

Agreement with focus on Reoffending

Many (64.8%) agreed that reconviction rates serve as a reasonable measure of programme
e ffectiveness. However, there was little strong agreement (2.5%) and a number of
respondents neither agreed nor disagreed (21%), or disagreed (14.2%).
By job role, the figures are as follows:

72

●

Tutors:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree

2%
60%
26%
12%

●

Line Managers

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree

3%
55%
16%
26%

●

Strategic Managers

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree

4%
81%
12%
4%

Appendix II

JAP
●

81 per cent of the sample had heard of JAP, and 55 per cent had heard of earlier
panels.

●

All of the Strategic Managers and 70 per cent of the Tutors had heard of JAP,
only one Line Manager had not.

●

56 per cent of the Tutors had not heard of other panels but 61 per cent of Line
Managers and 88 per cent of the Strategic Managers had.

The sources of information about JAP and other panels are shown in Tables 3 and 4
(below). Of those in all three staff groups who had heard of either JAP or earlier panels,
colleagues were the most common source of information. It was also common for those in all
groups to get information from managers. It appears that both Line and Strategic Managers
are more likely to obtain information on JAP from training than are Tutors, and that Strategic
Managers are much more likely to use conference presentations, professional journals and
Probation Circulars as sources of information than the other groups.

Table 3:

Information about Panel

Source of Information
Colleagues
Managers
Training
Conference presentations
Professional journals
Probation Circulars
Internet

% of sample

% of those who had
heard of JAP or earlier panels

59%
47%
40%
24%
21%
21%
1%

68%
54%
46%
28%
24%
24%
1%

73

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Table 4:

Information about Panel by job role

Source of Information
Colleagues
Managers
Training
Conference presentations
Professional journals
Probation Circulars
Internet

% of Tutors who had
heard of Panels

% of Line
Managers

% of Strategic
Managers

70%
51%
38%
14%
19%
22%
1%

65%
57%
54%
35%
24%
8%
0%

65%
62%
58%
62%
42%
54%
4%

Sources of information cited under ‘other’ were as follows: personal contact with JAP; OBPU
managers meetings; involved in a submission to JAP; JAP annual report; Prison Service;
family; researchers; and ‘part of own job’.

JAP’s Role
The way in which JAP’s role was perceived by those who had heard of JAP, in relation to
their practice, fell into 8 themes as follows:
Overseer (31%)
This category included comments relating to overseeing programmes, determining which
programmes are used, accrediting programmes, determining criteria to be applied to
programmes, and considering submissions from new programmes.
●

● Quality Control (41%)
This category included comments that pointed to the maintenance of standards, audit,
evaluation of programme quality, and monitoring.
● Design (13%)
Comments relating to the ongoing development of programmes, and advising on content
and delivery.
● Research (5%)
Included identifying what is effective and useful, assessing the potential and success of
programmes, and advising on ongoing research.

74

Appendix II

Interface (2%)
Comments that pointed to JAP acting as a nexus between the Prison and Probation
Services, and the development of programmes that can be used in both.
●

Distant / Unconnected to Practice (8%)
JAP feels disconnected from day to day work.
●

● Equal Opportunities (0.7%)
Providing equal access to programmes for all offenders and equality across the country.

Unclear / Don’t Know (9%)
Role of JAP is unclear.
●

Table 5 relates the above to job role.

Table 5:

Role of Panel

Perception of JAP’s role

% of Tutors who had
heard of JAP

% of Line
Managers

% of Strategic
Managers

27%
31%
9%
2%
2%
9%
1%
14%

32%
59%
22%
3%
0%
14%
0%
3%

38%
46%
12%
15%
4%
0%
0%
4%

Overseer
Quality Control
Design
Research
Interface
Distant/Unconnected
Equal Opportunities
Unclear/Don’t know

It is interesting to note that the Strategic Managers, who possess the most detailed
information about JAP, and who do not have a ‘hands on’ role in programme delivery, did
not feel that JAP was distant or unconnected to their practice.

Knowledge of JAP’s decisions
Responses about knowledge of JAP’s decisions so far were varied. Tutors mostly had only
a small amount of knowledge (40%) or none at all (49%). Amount of knowledge appears
75

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

to increase with seniority, 58 per cent of Strategic Managers having a re a s o n a b l e
overview or detailed knowledge, and 34 per cent of Line Managers having a reasonable
overview (Figure 5).

Figure 5:

Knowledge of Panel decisions

There was a largely positive reaction to JAP’s decisions so far, only 6 people rating their
decisions as poor or very poor. A large proportion of the sample (46%), however, gave the
answer ‘neutral’ and 26 per cent did not answer the question. Those who knew least about
JAP’s decisions were more likely to register neutral views, as were tutors (Figures 6 and 7).

76

Appendix II

Figure 6:

Views of Panel decisions by amount of knowledge

Figure 7:

Views of Panel decisions by job role

77

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Knowledge of accreditation criteria
The manager groups appeared to have more knowledge than the tutors (49% of tutors had
no knowledge of the criteria) as shown below. In total, 63 per cent of the sample had some
degree of knowledge, 33 per cent had no knowledge, and 5 per cent did not answer.

Figure 8:

Knowledge of Accreditation Criteria by job role

In registering their views on the accreditation criteria, the only statement with which more
agreed than disagreed was that the criteria set high standards that increase the likelihood of
effectiveness. Full results are shown in Table 6, percentage figures relate to the percentage
of the total number who answered the question (n=120). Only 47 people did not answer
the question, whereas 55 claimed in the earlier question not to have any knowledge of the
criteria. It must therefore be assumed that either some of those with no knowledge answered
this question, or some of the non-respondents to the earlier question answered this one.

78

Appendix II

Table 6:

Views of Accreditation Criteria

Statement relating to accreditation criteria

‘Yes’

‘No’

Set high standards that increase the likelihood of effectiveness
Set unreasonable expectations
Are about right in improving the quality of programmes
Are too vague in specifying what is required
Set standards that can be applied to all offenders
Do not take account of the needs of some offenders (diversity)

79%
14%
39%
6%
24%
40%

21%
86%
61%
94%
76%
60%

T h i rt y - t h ree people took the opportunity to make additional comments about the
accreditation criteria. Three themes came out of these comments as follows:
●

●

●

Diversity – mentioned by 10 people. Concern exists over the cultural specificity of
some programmes and a concentration on male offenders. Respondents were
c o n c e rned that programmes are unable to meet the diff e rent needs of the
following offender groups: ethnic minorities, women, those with learn i n g
difficulties or low IQ scores, disabled and hearing impaired individuals.
Flexibility – mentioned by 6 people. Accredited programmes were regarded as
inflexible and therefore unresponsive to individual circumstances or groups. The
theoretical principles regarded as effective are not flexibly applied, and alternative
approaches are not considered. The requirement for programmes to be accredited
was also regarded by one individual as restricting the number of programmes
available to be used with offenders in order to address diverse needs.
Context of delivery – mentioned by 5 people. The accreditation process was
regarded by these individuals as insensitive to differences in the context of
delivery, resources and time available.

JAP’s Advice
Thirty-nine people were aware of advice given by JAP on a programme on which they were
working. Managers appeared to be more aware of advice that was given – 15 per cent of
Tutors were aware of advice, 36 per cent of Line Managers and 41 per cent of Strategic
Managers. The percentage of the sample from each area aware of advice from JAP is
shown in Table 7 (below).

79

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Table 7:

Received Panel’s Advice

Site

% aware of advice from JAP

Probation:
Greater Manchester
West Mercia
Nottinghamshire
Thames Valley
Cambridgeshire

10%
28%
8%
29%
21%

Prison:
HMP Manchester
HMP Drake Hall
HMP Whatton
HMP Wellingborough
HMP Albany
HMP Full Sutton

22%
20%
27%
25%
31%
36%

Those who were aware of advice rated it as follows:
Very useful
13%
Very fair
10%
Quite useful
36%
Quite fair
36%
Middling
26%
Middling
31%
Of little use
15%
Quite unfair
5%
Of no use
3%
Very unfair
5%
Missing data
7%
Missing data 13%

Audit
Most respondents (94% of those who answered the question) had at least some knowledge
of audit procedures. Managers had more knowledge than tutors – 46 per cent of Line
Managers and 50 per cent of Strategic Managers had detailed knowledge of audit
procedures compared to only 3 per cent of Tutors.

80

Appendix II

Figure 9:

●
●

●

Knowledge of Audit

62.5% said that a programme they were working on had been audited.
Those working in prisons were either slightly more aware of being audited, or
had been audited on a greater number of occasions. Only in West Mercia and
Cambridgeshire did the ‘no’ responses outnumber the ‘yes’s (Table 8 overleaf).
Where people were aware of being audited, they predominantly regarded the
audits as fair and useful as shown in Figure 10 (overleaf).

81

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Table 8:

Experience of Audit

Site
Probation:
Gtr Manchester
West Mercia
Nottinghamshire
Thames Valley
Cambridgeshire
Prison:
HMP Manchester
HMP Drake Hall
HMP Whatton
HMP Wellingborough
HMP Albany
HMP Full Sutton
Total
* 6 responses are missing

Figure 10:

82

Audit Useful?

Yes

Audited?
No

Total
Unsure

18
3
11
12
1

12
15
1
5
11

0
0
0
0
1

30
18
12
17
13

6
5
14
2
13
23
108

3
0
0
1
2
2
52

0
0
0
0
0
0
1

9
5
14
3
15
25
161 *

Appendix II

Figure 11:

Audit Fair?

Analysis by Prison/Probation
The analysis of the above issues according to whether respondents were working in a prison
or a probation area shows that more prison staff had heard about JAP. Prison staff also had
more knowledge of JAP’s decisions, rated them more highly, and appeared to view audit
findings more positively. Attitudes to JAP’s advice were no different as between workplace.

83

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Table 9:

Comparing Prison and Probation Views

Heard of JAP?

84

Prisons

Probation

89%

72%

Knowledge of JAP’s decisions

0%
32%
40%
28%

detailed
reasonable overview
some knowledge
none

4%
13%
40%
43%

detailed
reasonable overview
some knowledge
none

Rating of JAP’s decisions

15%
47%
36%
2%
0%

very good
quite good
neutral
quite poor
very poor

9%
27%
57%
4%
3%

very good
quite good
neutral
quite poor
very poor

Rating of audit findings

47%
42%
10%
0%
0%

very fair
quite fair
middling
quite unfair
very unfair

26%
44%
28%
3%
0%

very fair
quite fair
middling
quite unfair
very unfair

Rating of JAP’s advice

15%
40%
35%
5%
5%

very fair
quite fair
middling
quite unfair
very unfair

7%
43%
36%
7%
7%

very fair
quite fair
middling
quite unfair
very unfair

Appendix III

JAP’s Accredited Programmes: Showing
Progress Towards Accreditation

A. General Offending Behaviour Programmes
Programme Advice? Formal application
Cognitive
Self
Change
(CSCP)

No

Recognised March 2000
● Model of change: adding contextual and situational factors would help
staff understand high-risk situations for offenders.
● Selection of offenders: should record assessment of neuro-psychological
conditions by appropriately qualified person. Criteria would select
large numbers of violent offenders, but number of places available
limited. Additional assessment measures should be made explicit.
● Range of targets: should consider additional factors that could result in
general rather than violent offending. More detail needed about
referral re vocational factors, relationships and education.
● Sequencing: Block 6 inadequately developed/flexible, too short.
● Engagement and motivation: motivation needs more attention. Stronger
emphasis needed on dealing with discriminatory comments/potentially
volatile situations.
● C o n t i n u i t y : m o re detail needed on using family/friends to monitor
b e h a v i o u r, and re q u i red links to other agencies. Should specify
arrangements to provide future supervisory probation staff.
● Ongoing monitoring: no audit criteria included. Ongoing evaluation:
follow-up period should be increased, preferably to 2 years.
Accredited September 2000
Sequencing: concern about developing and maintaining tutors skills for
post-release module.
● Engagement and motivation: clarification needed about mandator y
involvement of significant others in treatment. Practical demonstrations
of the intention to defuse volatile situations, including those arising
from race/culture, needed.
● Continuity: further submission required to sanction alteration of post-release
arrangements for supervising officer and tutor to be same person. Further
advice needed on linking relapse prevention plan and supervision plan
within probation case re c o rd - also on programme management
responsibilities given small numbers taking post-release module.
● Ongoing evaluation: evaluation of cost-effectiveness of post-release module
suggested.
●

85

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Programme Advice? Formal application
Enhanced
Thinking
Skills
(ETS)

No

Accredited September 2000
● Range of targets: given relatively small range of targets directly addressed,
clarity needed on case management role in addressing social risk factors
presented by community as opposed to prison life.
● Sequencing: concern that limited in length, at lower end of acceptable
dosage for medium/high risk offenders. Generic cognitive skills
booster programmes should be used where available rather than postprogramme sessions with case manager.
● Engagement and motivation: not clear whether low motivation excludes or
addressed in pre-programme work. Insufficient attention to retention.
Engagement/motivation should be covered in tutors training.
● Continuity: suggested post-programme work not appropriate, scoring
provisional pending development of generic cognitive skills booster.
● Ongoing monitoring: National treatment manual needs to specify the
competencies required by treatment managers to carry out the role of
supervisor and quality controller. Two points awarded in the expectation
that the programme will meet the requirements set by the revised manual.

One-to-One March Recognised September 2000
2000 ● Model of change: greater discussion needed relating motivational theory to
one-to-one work.
● Selection: inconsistencies remain on target risk group. Should consider
including those with low initial motivation. Policy on potential
p a rticipants with substance misuse problems whe re no PRISM
programme should be made explicit.
● E ffective methods: I n s u fficient training/p ractice in mo tivational
interviewing and delivery.
● Engagement and motivation: Tutor training manual needs to be more user
friendly with more skill-based practice guidance.
● C o n t i n u i t y : need to address how pr ogr amme would tie in with
supervision planning.
● Ongoing monitoring: required to maintain programme integrity.
● Ongoing evaluation: wide variations likely in type of offenders, access to
programme, and local availability of other services e.g. PRISM. Should cover
relationship between facilitator and offender – possibly critical in effectiveness.
One-to-One March Accredited March 2001
2000 ● Selection of offenders: no response made to previous recommendation to
consider including those with low initial motivation
● Effective methods/engagement and motivation: accreditation will be suspended
in absence of national training programme in motivational interviewing
within one year. Tutor training manuals still stilted and dense.
● Continuity: managers’ one day training should be revised to focus more
specifically on how management task relates to programme and its requirements
– revised manual must be submitted for approval within 12 months.
86

Appendix III

Programme Advice? Formal application
Reasoning No
and
Rehabilitation
(RAR)

Think First
(TF)

No

Accredited September 2000
Selection of offenders: some scope for improving assessment of motivation –
question whether appropriate to exclude for low-motivation in face of evidence
that involvement in programme can increase motivation. Would be useful
for documentation to clarify arrangements for meeting additional needs.
● Engagement and motivation: need to resolve possible contradictions in
manuals on staff selection and training. Panel would welcome more
detail on how high completion rates will be ensured.
● Ongoing monitoring: need to consider how to monitor completion of homework.

●

Recognised November 1999
Sequencing: too many factors addressed in time available. Post programme
sessions should be more clearly linked to core programme and
reinforce its learning.
● Selection of offenders: insufficiently defined and inconsistent.
● Engagement and participation: demands relatively high level of literacy.
T h e o retical underpinnings are culturally neutral. Description of
motivational interviewing (MI) techniques too simple – staff training
should be add ressed. Attendance and compliance rates need
improvement. Summary of training needed.

●

Advice on resubmission document March 2000
Note: development of generic cognitive booster programme will influence final
design. Also rescheduling of sessions will be informed by results of retrospective
evaluation. Programme thus incomplete and application not scored.
● Sequencing: reconviction study will help address previous concerns. Also
needs evidence of effectiveness in addressing the range of targets.
Concern about objectives in post-programme sessions - case managers
might not be able to facilitate them with same clarity as course tutors.
● Selection of offenders: guidelines should give greater weight to probation
officers’ assessments of motivation if staff have completed MI training.
Should emphasise further the need to discuss cases where motivation
appears low. Additional guidance on assessing cognitive deficits
needed so offenders are not wrongly excluded.
● Engagement and participation: Work still needed on whether programme runs
equally well with women, black or Asian offenders and whether they
suffer discrimination either within programme or in access/selection.
● Other issues: tutor selection – some improvements can be made to selection
interview and process. Research needed on relationship between
performance in assessment process, training, and delivery of programme.
More information needed on pass/fail criteria for training course.

●

Accredited September 2000
Ongoing evaluation: limited evidence of programme’s effectiveness – evaluation
report inconclusive. Panel welcomes provision of further information on
measures used to assess offenders pre and post programme.

●

87

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

B. Sex Offender Programmes
Programme Advice? Formal application

88

Sex
Offender
Treatment
(SOTP)

Nov
1999

Accredited March 2000
● Model of change: focuses on problems arising in puberty, should also
acknowledge that problems could arise at other times.
● Selection of offenders: criteria difficult to follow, e.g. on meaning of high
denial, which risk assessment measure is being used, and how brain
damage, mental illness and potential for self-harm assessed for
exclusion criteria. Manual needs to specify training/monitoring
required for those doing psychometric and PCL-R assessments, backed
by audit criteria.
● Range of targets: audit criteria needed on whether those with deviant
sexual interest go on to extended programme or behaviour therapy.
● Effective methods: Training and programme manuals need more detail.
● Engagement and motivation: audit criteria needed to measure numbers of staff
attending training on working with black offenders. Fundamental skills
training should cover cultural awareness/culturally sensitive situations.
● General comments and recommendations: Greater clarification could be given
about ‘old me’, ‘new me’ and ‘future me’. Glossary of terms, contents
list/index would be useful. Panel regrets dropping of exercise on
establishing a hierarchy of offences.

SOTP
Rolling

Nov
1999

Recognised 1) September 2000
● Selection of offenders: More work needed on exclusion criteria, e.g. some
with mental illness may find it beneficial. Assessment should be done
by clinicians who can judge offenders’ readiness/ability to meet
demands of programme.
● Effective methods: Would benefit from additional work on cognitive
distortions that could be picked up in relapse prevention module.
Needs work on modifying cognitive distortions. More guidance needed
on use of personal examples. Treatment targets often over-ambitious.
● Skills orientated: Needs more opportunity to develop skills during roleplay. Lack of guidance for tutors on learning objectives, outcomes
sought, and how to achieve.
● Ongoing monitoring: audit criteria needed to ensure that pro g r a m m e
should preceded by participation in a cognitive skills programme.
● Training manual: should state clear learning objectives. Fundamental skills
training handbook would benefit from section on victimology. Should
distinguish carefully between modelling and self-disclosure, and
contain guidance on dealing with participants’ disclosures.

Appendix III

Programme Advice? Formal application
SOTP
Rolling

Nov
1999

Recognised 2) March 2001
Selection of offenders: needs to cover brain damage and assessment of
suitability by a psychiatrist.
● Effective methods: Section on cognitive distortions needs more realistic
examples. Lacks work on modifying cognitive distortions. Treatment
targets still over-ambitious. Need for guidance on use of personal
examples not fully addressed.
● Skills orientated: More examples and instruction to tutors needed.
● Training manual: particularly high standard of tutor training needed –
detailed training manual needed to ensure effective delivery.
●

Accredited October 2001
Effective methods: need for psychiatric or psychological assessor to be
familiar with programme has been overlooked.
● Ongoing monitoring: training manual should be updated as new research
on effective delivery emerges.

●

SOTP
Extended

No

Accredited March 2002
Selection of offenders: should be requirement for assessment of those
with mental illness or head injuries to be done by Psychiatrist familiar
with programme content.
● Skills orientated: Fully met. Concern over difficulty of work on intimacy
skills in the prison setting. Not clear what expected of offenders with
r e g a r d t o p ro vid in g a cco u nts of f an ta sy an d de vi an t
thoughts/behaviours in a group setting.
● Sequencing: monitoring required to ensure that between session work not
too burdensome on top of 4 sessions a week.
● Engagement: focus on rapists and heterosexual relationships – should be
broadened to include gay relationships and examples appropriate for
child molesters.
●

Northumbria March Accredited October 2001
2001 ● Model of change: motivation should be included in list of factors
pertinent to change.
● Selection of offenders: handling of intra-familial offenders and sadistic
offenders needs to be addressed.
● E ffective methods: examples must address range of offenders and
offending patterns.
● Skills orientated: insufficient time for practice of social functioning skills.
● Sequencing: suggest more flexibility in duration of exercises for offenders
who need varying amounts of time to complete them.
● Continuity: needs guidelines on post-programme re p o rt and clearly
specifying future services.
● Additionally: Awareness of approaches taken by SOTP needed for those
going on to relapse prevention group.
89

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Programme Advice? Formal application

90

Thames
Valley

Nov
1999

Accredited March 2001
● Selection of offenders: should consider including offenders who need
Project sign language assistance.
● Targeting dynamic risk factors: should clarify how concept of deviancy
applies to rapists - classification used derives from child molesters
research.
● Range of targets: section explaining fantasy modification should be
remove d – local areas will decide how to provide thi s wor k.
Purpose/relevance of Life Skills programme should be explained more
fully to offenders at start module.
● Effective methods: clear guidelines needed on when to include nonintimate partners in partners’ programme. More guidance needed on
victim letter writing. No mention of homosexual relationships in Life
Skills programme. Recommendations on dealing constructively with
jealousy needed, plus opportunity for review of homework on jealousy.
● Sequencing: all elements of programme may not be necessary for lowrisk, low-deviancy, high-contextual risk offenders.
● Engagement and Motivation: Training manual for partners’ pro g r a m m e
incomplete. Some objectives phrased using negative language.

West
Midlands

March Accredited September 2000 (Limited accreditation of booster programme)
2000 ● Model of change: concern that theory manual model has not been
accurately applied.
● Selection of offenders: 12 months stabilisation on medication prior to
p rogramme for those with mental illness is excessive. Outside
clinicians need adequate understanding of programmes to assess
suitability. Policy on working with black offenders should be included
in training and management manuals.
● Range of targets: Relatively little time spent on deviant sexual fantasy.
Needs access to work on behaviour modification in relapse prevention
plans. Some relapse prevention time needed on family contacts and
possible family support for pro-offending attitudes (should be covered
in training manual).
● Effective methods: Too many skills taught too quickly without enough time
for practice. Use of Health Education staff to deliver sessions on sexual
fantasy should be reconsidered. Should ensure those with most severe
deficits are referred on for further sex education work. Training manual
should prepare staff to manage emotional reactions of offenders and
families. Teaching assertion through an alcohol related scenario should
be avoided.
● Continuity: management and training manuals should show how the
programme works with other agencies.

Appendix III

C. Other programmes
Programme Advice? Formal application
Aggression 1) Mar Recognised March 2001
Replacement 2000 ● Selection of offenders: ART selection matrix still needs work.
Training
2) Sept ● Sequencing: Lack of time to practise skills.
(ART)
2000 Accredited October 2001
● Selection of offenders: Programme not fully accredited for use with women
– evaluation data required in one year.
Controlling No
Anger and
Learning to
Manage it
(CALM)

Recognised March 2000
Model of change: Panel not convinced about evidence on effectiveness
of anger management programmes.
● Selection of offenders: Not possible to identify offenders for whom anger
is a key dynamic risk factor.
● C o n t i n u i t y : Need to ensure terminology consistent with cog skills
programmes. Needs clear throughcare strategy.
● Ongoing evaluation: Needed to assess whether programme eff e c t i v e ,
disentangling different treatments.

●

Accredited September 2000
Selection of offenders: Data to be provided to satisfy Panel that interview
for selection de-selects unsuitable offenders.
● C o n t i n u i t y : S a t i s f a c t o ry pending development of generic booster
programme with detailed outline of sessions and training plan.
● Ongoing evaluation: Panel would welcome 1 year reconviction data as
well as 2 year outcomes. Methodology to distinguish effects of this
programme from other programmes.
●

Drink
Impaired
Drivers
(DIDS)

March Recognised September 2000
2000 ● Effective methods: Needs more integration and opportunity to acquire,
practice, reinforce skills.
● Sequencing: similar points.
● Engagement and motivation: M o re training time for tutors re q u i re d .
Concern about non-start – needs attention to case management preprogramme and motivation.
Accredited March 2001 (For use with male offenders)
● Selection of offenders: No additional materials/resources provided for
female offenders.
● Effective methods: Inadequate opportunity to practice skills.
● Skills orientated: Lack of opportunity for reinforcement through practice.
● Sequencing: Intensity and duration not yet satisfactory.
● Engagement and motivation: Recommendation to give more attention to preprogramme motivation not addressed.
● Ongoing evaluation: Recommendation to establi sh system of data
collection not addressed.
91

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

Programme Advice? Formal application
RAPt
Substance
Abuse

No

Recognised November 1999
Model of change: Insufficient evidence that 12 step programmes in prison
work with anti-social drug dependent offenders. Also weak methods by
which to identify offenders whose substance abuse is linked to other
crime. Controlled reconviction study needed comparing starters with
non-starters.
● E ffective methods: Must be able to show that the 12 step method
effective. Needs clearer specification of staff training. Methods used to
prepare offenders for handling a lapse must be more explicit. Manuals
need to cover HIV education.
● Skills: Skills component insufficiently specified.
● Range of targets: Programme intensively targets narrow but important
dynamic risk factor, but not clear whether sufficient for this population.
●

Accredited September 2000
Confidence that the programme is capable of reducing re-offending
increased as a result of US research findings and additional data
supplied on post programme drug use and reconviction.
● P revious concern about weak methods of identifying those whose
criminality is demonstrably related to their substance abuse not yet
resolved – selection procedures need to be clarified.
● An additional application needed to accredit programme for use with
young offenders and in non-custodial settings.
●

92

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Approach, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Programmes, London: Home Office.
McGuire, J. (1995) What Works: Reducing Re-offending, Chichester: Wiley Press.
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Powis, B. and Wa l m s l e y, R. (2002) Programmes for Black and Asian Offenders on
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95

Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

96

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Accrediting Offender Programmes: A process-based evaluation of the Joint Prison/Probation Services Accreditation Panel

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Communication Development Unit
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50 Queen Anne’s Gate
London SW1H 9AT
Telephone: 020 7273 2084 (answerphone outside of office hours)
Facsimile:
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alternatively

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where many of our publications are available to be read on screen or downloaded for printing.

98

 

 

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