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Institute of Criminology


The McWilliams Probation Lecture is hosted by the Justice and Society Research Centre in partnership with the Probation Institute

with Helen Schofield, Chief Executive of the Probation Institute, and

Respondents – Katie Lomas, HMPPS, and Will Hughes, London Metropolitan University

To attend in-person, register here!

To attend online, register here!



In this year's McWilliams Probation Lecture Helen Schofield will consider the purpose and values of probation and rehabilitation in the early 21st Century and ask what we mean by local and community. 

The lecture will invite listeners to consider what is our responsibility as members of communities to those who breaks our laws and enter our justice system.

Bringing together thinking and endeavours from various sources towards a more local, collaborative and community based approach to preventing crime, and supporting desistance and rehabilitation, Helen will ask why so little attention is paid to innovative projects.

Reflecting on the current organisational structure of the probation service in England and Wales, the impact of OneHMPPS and the location of probation in the Civil Service in contrast with Youth Justice, Helen will pose questions about the alternative structures in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and about wider devolution.

Helen will consider the critical interdependencies of rehabilitation, health, housing, social care and employment working with the justice system and look at the potential for problem solving courts to achieve multi agency approaches.

In the lecture Helen will emphasise the importance to probation of the voluntary sector and question the imbalance of funding arrangements within current contractual arrangements. 



Helen Schofield

Helen has extensive experience in several roles within the criminal justice sector. She worked as a probation officer for several years before taking a leading role in the probation and family courts trade union NAPO. Helen went on to establish the Community Justice National Training Organisation, which developed the first national occupational standards for probation, victim support and community safety.

Helen subsequently held a senior position in national police training at the National Policing Improvement Agency/College of Policing for 12 years.


Since 2016 Helen has been the Acting CEO and then CEO of the Probation Institute – a small professional body supporting and enabling professional development.

Working with the public, voluntary and private sectors to build and enhance professional development across the Justice Sector, Helen believes passionately in ensuring that all practitioners are supported to act with professional integrity in enabling change, managing risk, and respecting diversity. Helen is a trustee of a small charity working with ex-offenders in Brighton.


Katie Lomas

HMPPS Policy Lead

Katie has worked in criminal justice since 2005 when she joined the Probation Service as a Trainee. After qualifying as a Probation Officer in 2007 she went on to specialise in working with women and people with a diagnosis of personality disorder. Since 2008 Katie has been an active member of Napo, the Trade Union and Professional Association for Probation staff. She has held various roles at branch level and in 2012 she was elected to the National Executive Committee. Katie served her union at national level throughout the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation agenda. In 2014 she was elected National Vice Chair and served in that role for four years before being elected National Chair in 2018 and going on to serve the union through the unification process. After her term of office with Napo ended Katie moved into the Probation Workforce Programme, she is now a Policy Lead in the Workforce Planning System project.


Will Hughes

Will joined the probation service in 2000, as a PSO, in Torquay. He did a very short spell as a PSO in London before joining the 4th cohort of Trainee Probation Officers, in Hertfordshire. After qualifying, Will continued to work in Hertfordshire, firstly as a Probation Officer, and then as a practice teacher (then known as a PDA).

Will left the probation service as a permanent member of staff in 2012 to take up a post as lecturer at London Metropolitan University in the department of criminology,  although continued to deliver probation domestic abuse perpetrator programmes, and group based interventions in the voluntary sector. His most recent publication ‘Working with violent men’ is a monograph based on his Phd thesis, which explores the background, delivery, and gendered dynamics of probation perpetrator programmes.



Thursday, 27 June, 2024 - 14:00 to 16:30
Event location: 
Seminar Rooms B3 & B4, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge