THE Probation Service in Ealing and Hillingdon has been rated Inadequate following an inspection.

It is the lowest rating possible and – combined with critical reports for Hammersmith, Fulham, Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster, plus Lambeth - has led to a call for the Probation Service at national level to take urgent action to support the services.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “These are without doubt some of the poorest probation inspection outcomes we have seen.

“Many of the failings are beyond these individual services to fix. The Probation Service, at a national level, must provide urgent assistance.

“These three London probation services have chronic staff shortages, some with less than 50 per cent of the practitioners they need, often exacerbated by high rates of sickness too.

“Even where people on probation did have an allocated officer, we found poor management of cases, with particularly worrying weaknesses around the management of risks of harm to the public.

“This cannot be allowed to continue. Staff need the necessary resources and clear direction to allow them to supervise individuals safely.”

Mr Russell acknowledged the commitment of staff and managers to turn things around, despite the challenges they faced.

“I look forward to seeing if this determination, along with regional and national assistance to these local services, can help them to overcome current failures,”  he added.

Ealing-Hillingdon Probation Service has been approached for a comment.