About Probation

Probation Board for Northern Ireland

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) is a Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Department of Justice from 12th April 2010 when policing and justice powers were devolved to the Assembly. Prior to that date the Board was sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office.

As a Non Departmental Public Body we are established by statute to deliver a public service and we are overseen by a Board rather than ministers. We employ our own staff and manage our own budget. You can access links to the legislation that govern us on this website

The Board

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland currently consists of 12 Board Members and its Chair is Max Murray CBE. The Chair and Board Members oversee the strategic function of Probation services in Northern Ireland. Read more about the members of the Board.

Appointments to the Board normally run for a term of three years and may be extended for a second term. Only in exceptional circumstances will appointments be extended beyond a second term.

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland works to change people’s lives to enable safer communities through reducing re-offending. This is carried out through

  • Assessing people subject to a community order or licence and annually prepare over 10,000 reports for Courts, Parole Commissioners and others.
  • Supervising over 4,100 people subject to a range of court orders and licences at any given time.
  • Delivering behavioural change programmes in custody and in the community covering areas
    such as violent offending, sexual offending and drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Providing a Victim Information Scheme to any person who has been the direct victim of a criminal offence where the person who offended is subject to supervision by Probation.
  • Working alongside statutory and other partners to minimise the risk of harm posed by people who have offended.

You can read more about the work of Probation and how we are doing through our:

Senior Leadership Team

Probation has a senior leadership team which is made up of the Chief Executive, Amanda Stewart; Director of Operations, Gillian Montgomery; and Director of Operations, Stephen Hamilton along with Assistant Directors and Heads of Departments.

The Senior Leadership team oversee the day to day running of Probation. 

The Senior Leadership Team are:

  • Ms Amanda Stewart OBE - Chief Executive 
  • Ms Gillian Montgomery - Director of Operations
  • Mr Stephen Hamilton - Director of Operations
  • Mr Paul King - Head of Finance
  • Ms Catherine Sweeney - Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development
  • Ms Gail McGreevy - Head of Communications 
  • Mrs Liz Arthur - Assistant Director for Public Protection
  • Ms Aideen McLaughlin - Assistant Director for Urban
  • Mrs Emer Loughran - Assistant Director for Urban
  • Mrs Jill Grant - Assistant Director for Programmes and Interventions
  • Ms Melissa Spence - Assistant Director for Prisons and Courts
  • Mrs Pauline Somerville - Head of ICT
  • Mr Michael McCracken - Principal Psychologist

Senior Leadership Team Register of Interests

Probation - A Professional Organisation

Probation Officers in Northern Ireland hold a professional qualification in Social Work (DipSW or equivalent), are professionally trained in the assessment and management of risk and are registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council.

They are enabled and supported by Psychology staff, Probation Services Officers and corporate staff across specialist functions in HR, finance, IT and communications.

Probation staff are involved at all stages of the Criminal Justice process.

  • Working in Courts, providing pre-sentence reports to assist Judges to make decisions.
  • Working in local communities, supervising sentences that must be served in the community.
  • Working in Prisons, preparing prisoners for release subject to licences.
  • Working directly with victims of crime through the Victim Information Scheme.

If you would like a career with Probation to help change people’s lives for safer communities you can find out more on our Careers page.

Probation works in Partnership

Partnership is of critical importance to the Probation Board. It works with partners in government, Criminal Justice and across community and voluntary sectors. In order to tackle reoffending and the causes of crime there is a need to develop a partnership approach.  To find out more about organisations linked with Probation, please visit the Partnerships section.

We also provide Community and Voluntary Sector Funding where you can find out more about how we work with individuals and organisations. If you have an idea that Community Service could help with you can also submit your idea in our Community Service.

Information for Service Users

If you are under Probation supervision and want to find out more about what to expect while being supervised by Probation you can read more under Delivering Probation. Here you will find out more about the type of Court Order you have been given by the Courts. You can also download the leaflets that give details of the Order you have been sentenced to.

You can also download our Changing Lives app onto your mobile device. Read more about this app.

You can read about what personal information Probation holds about you at under Access to Information. You will also read about how you can make a request a copy of the information Probation may hold on you.

Information for Victims of Crime

We have a Victim Information Scheme to ensure that victims receive information about what it means when someone is sentenced to an Order which requires supervision by the Probation Board. Since October 2012 the Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme, the Probation Board for Northern Ireland Victim Information Scheme and the Mentally Disordered Victim Information Scheme (operated by the DOJ) became co-located. Read more about our schemes under Victim Information Scheme section.

How are we doing?

Probation aims to provide the best possible service and we welcome feedback.  If you would like to comment on any aspect of our work, please contact us by email  – info@probation-ni.gov.uk or telephone (028) 9052 2522. Read more about how to make a complaint under our Complaints Procedure.