Quality of Engagement in Probation Practice

This study represents the first attempt to examine how probation workers understand and construct the meaning of 'quality' in one-to-one supervision: a previously neglected and yet ubiquitous aspect of penal practice. The researchers have used Appreciative Inquiry-inspired methods to examine the concept of quality in individual interviews and focus groups, and have developed and tested a questionnaire tool that aims to examine 'quality domains', and may be used in future to assist in quality improvement.

Prof McNeill has already collaborated with Scott Grant at Glasgow Caledonian University in replicating the research in Scotland (where the organisational and culture context of supervision is quite different), and interest in doing so in other jurisdictions is beginning to emerge. 


Project led by Joanna Shapland at the University of Sheffield.

Fergus McNeill of SCCJR is the only external member of the research team, and has been involved because the project builds (in part) on his work on 'Changing Lives: Desistance Research and Offender Management' (with Beth Weaver).


National Offender Management Service of England and Wales


Literature Review (PDF)

Robinson, G., Priede, C., Farrall, S., Shapland, J., and McNeill, F. (2013) Doing 'strengths-based' research: appreciative Inquiry in a probation setting. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 13 (1). pp. 3-20

Robinson, G., Priede, C., Farrall, S., Shapland, J., and McNeill, F. (2013) Understanding 'quality' in probation practice: Frontline perspectives in England and Wales. Criminology and Criminal Justice (in press) 

For more information contact Fergus.McNeill@glasgow.ac.uk.