After training

Your career as a Probation Officer

Once you successfully complete your PQiP training, you will apply to become a Probation Officer with a starting salary of £29,038 (plus allowances if applicable).

No two days are ever the same here, so you'll learn from each new situation that arises as you begin to build your career. All the while, you will be making a real difference to offenders and the public by helping to reduce the risk of reoffending.

Throughout your career as a qualified Probation Officer, you'll continue to grow and develop. You can expect to work for the National Probation Service in each of the following areas:

  • Prison – working with high risk offenders during their sentence to prepare them for release (if this is appropriate). This means undertaking skilled work with prisoners to enable them to change and reduce the likelihood of reoffending or causing significant harm. Probation Officers work alongside Prison Officers to resettle offenders. They use their expertise in risk assessment and management and work with community teams towards reducing risk in the community upon release.
  • Court – working with a dedicated court team to prepare pre-sentence reports and give advice to the court. To compile these reports, Probation Officers speak with offenders, the police and other agencies that know the offender. They assess the risk the offender may pose to the public and their risk of reoffending. They also advise the courts on any orders or terms that may help or hinder an offender’s rehabilitation.
  • Community – managing offenders on community orders or who have been released on licence from prison. This means promoting resettlement and rehabilitation and managing risk, all to ensure communities are safe. By tackling the causes of reoffending, we reduce the chance of an offender slipping back into the cycle of crime.
My day - Vivian, Probation Officer

Vivian qualified as a Probation Officer in February 2018. She started training after finishing university where she studied criminology and criminal justice.

I’m an early bird. When I wake up I have a shower, brush my teeth and get ready for work. I can wear what I want to work but I usually get my clothes ready the night before to make the morning easier. Depending on the day I’ll either have breakfast at home or when I get to the office.

Most of the time I’ll be working in the office so will get public transport to work. About once every fortnight I might be doing a home visit or a prison visit when I’m more likely to drive.

My work hours are flexible. I tend to start a bit earlier than other people. The first thing I do when I get in is check my emails and see if there’s anything I can get done from the to-do list I made before I left work the previous day. If I have time before my first appointment I’ll start typing up some case notes or start work on an assessment.

I have supervision sessions with ex-offenders throughout the day. Supervisions session times can vary but will usually last for around 20-25 minutes. They might involve going through targeted worksheets that address offending behavior, or helping service users sort out every-day things. In-between appointments I’ll continue to check my emails, fill out assessments, and attend meetings.

Every week our team has a 15-minute meeting to discuss the week’s process. There are 9 probation officers in our team and we take turns to tell our manager where we’re up to in the week, reporting on targeted deadlines and any outstanding actions. It’s pretty informal and just helps us all keep on top of things.

I bring my lunch to work with me, and usually eat at my desk.

I’ll have more appointments in the afternoon. Around these I’ll be chasing things up and making referrals for things like housing.

Some days I’ll have a 3-way meeting. This is where another agency (like social services or a drug worker) comes in to discuss a case. We’ll go through a service user’s progress and agree on what steps they need to take to move forward. There are also times where I’ll go to the agency instead.

I usually leave work on time, but it depends on the day.

When I get home I like to unwind as work can be quite hectic. I watch TV with my family or might go out to eat with a friend. It’s important to keep a work-life balance. You have to take care of yourself to take care of others!


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...The best thing about being a probation officer is coming into contact with different people from different walks of life and helping them. Helping them achieve a goal, helping them get closer to seeing their children, helping them stop reoffending, rebuilding family relationships. Overall helping making them a better person in society.


About the National Probation Service

The National Probation Service (NPS), as part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), is a national organisation covering England and Wales.

Our role is to protect the public, support victims and reduce reoffending. Our vision is simple: “Preventing Victims by Changing Lives”.

Our work with offenders is first and foremost about ensuring communities are safe. By providing offenders with the means to rehabilitate, society is better protected against the effects of crime.

Equality and diversity

We’re committed to creating an environment based on respect, opportunity and inclusiveness for all. We actively seek trainee officers with a broad range of backgrounds, as we firmly believe in the value those varied experiences can bring to the services we provide.

In our employment processes and our service delivery, we uphold our duties as outlined in the Equality Act 2010 – which means we tackle discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Anyone who comes into contact with our service – and our people – can expect to be treated with fairness. What’s more, we’re working towards ensuring that our people reflect the communities we serve. And that our services meet our offenders’ needs. Some of the ways we’re improving diversity include:

  • Acting robustly to challenge and eliminate harassment, bullying or prejudice.
  • Training our people in equality, human rights and diversity issues.
  • Providing assistive technology to people with specific needs.
  • Supporting recognised trade unions and staff associations.

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t: 0808 164 9883