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Changing probation area

The process of how the Probation Service handle “Case Transfers” between probation areas is set out in Probation Instruction 17/2010 (Case Transfers). In particular, this sets out how the Probation Service will deal with such queries.

In the above Circular, it provides details of different responses by Probation depending on whether somebody has simply notified a change of address (as per licence or community order restrictions) or whether they have requested permission.

However, given that it is not possible for some individuals to simply notify a change of address, for example those convictions of certain offences, our advice would be that, if you wish to change Probation Area, you put this request in writing to your Probation Officer and ask for a response back in writing.

If you are moving probation area, both the sending and receiving probation area have to agree, and getting approval is not an automatic right. One difficulty is that a probation area doesn’t always have to take a referral. This is particularly likely to be the case where someone might need a lot of supervision and use a lot of resources.

Sometimes, a probation officer might transfer supervision to another area to help with managing the sentence or because there is a need for someone to be in particular kind of accommodation not available in their local area. There are a number of transfers every year and many people move addresses during their sentence. Any transfer has to be consistent with the sentence plan though.

Sometimes a probation officer will assess that someone needs to move aea because of the risk to a victim or high profile media or public concerns. A MAPPA meeting might also decide that someone could be moved because their risk could be better managed elsewhere.

If you are thinking of moving to another area after prison, and you will be on licence, apply as soon as you can, as this can take time. Make sure you have proof of your connection with the area you want to move to. Try and speak to your outside probation officer as the process might be easier if they support your move. Remember than transfers are not automatic, and can be turned down if the risk assessment is too high.

Your local Probation Area are entitled to refuse a transfer as part of their broad discretion. This was upheld in the case of R (Francis) v West Midlands Probation Board [2010] EWCA Civ 1470. In this case, the individual was serving a life sentence and had been supervised by West Midlands Probation Service since 1983. While in prison, he established a relationship with a woman who lived in the area where he wished to be transferred. However, this was refused, and it was held that Probation had not misdirected itself in law or unlawfully interfered with the individuals rights under Article 8 of the ECHR (the right to a family life).

If you have applied to another area and this has not been accepted, there is a right of appeal.


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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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