This page provides the following information:
HMPPS is responsible for running prisons and probation services across England and Wales. Prior to 1 April 2017, HMPPS was known as the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).
HMPPS encourages research wherever it has the potential to increase the effectiveness of HMPPS services, either in the short or long term. HMPPS is particularly interested in research identifying cost-effective ways of:
Back to the top
- delivering the sentences and orders of the court;
- establishing positive, safe, secure and decent environments for managing offenders and delivering offender services; and
- reducing reoffending and protecting the public
You should apply to HMPPS for research projects, which require access across HMPPS (including headquarters) and all community-based/custodial providers in England and Wales, this includes research involving Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and their subcontractors, Contracted Prisons and Young Offenders’ Institutions (YOIs) and, from October 2017, Secure Training Centres (STCs).
Back to the top
The HMPPS National Research Coordinator can be contacted via email at: National.Research@justice.gov.uk
Back to the top
At question 4 of the project filter in IRAS, you should select the option for application to HMPPS.
Once you have completed all fields in the application form, the Chief Investigator should authorise the application via the Authorisations tab for the form. This will record the authorisation within the form.
When you are sure that you are ready to submit your application, you should navigate to the Submission tab for the form and follow the instructions provided. When you click the Proceed to Submission button, you will generate a final version of your application form for submission, which is recorded in the Submission History area at the bottom of the tab. In this area you will have XML and PDF versions of the form.
The PDF and XML versions of the form must be submitted via email to the National Research Coordinator
. Alongside the application form you will need to submit the following supporting documentation:
- CV(s) for chief investigator and all other researchers
- Questionnaire(s) for participants (if applicable)
- Information sheets/consent form(s) for participants
- Ethics approval form/an ethics assessment from an appropriate body/covering letter from sponsor (if appropriate)
A hard copy is not required.
All applications should be sent to the National Research
mailbox for processing. The National Research Committee (NRC) runs on a monthly cycle, applications should be submitted by the end of the month; they will then be processed and reviewed during the following month. Feedback on the application will normally be sent by the end of the month after they were submitted e.g. an application submitted between 1-31 January will be processed and reviewed during February, with the feedback sent to the applicant by 28 February.
Back to the top
There are a number of errors that are seen with applications to HMPPS. These usually delay the progress of an application and in some instances may lead to the application being rejected. Below are some tips to avoid some of the common application errors:
- Application Form
- Make sure that you complete all questions in the form.
- Make sure that the information in your application demonstrates how your proposed research meets HMPPS approval criteria:
- Links to HMPPS priorities: research should be of significant benefit to HMPPS policy/business. Researchers must ensure that their research has a clear link to HMPPS business priorities or explain how their research could support potential future business priorities.
- Resource demands: The demands on staff and resources must be manageable and proportionate to the profile of the subject area and the potential benefits from the research.
- Overlap with existing research: The project must avoid duplicating or conflicting with other current research studies.
- Methodological robustness: The project must be of sufficient quality (in terms of methodological rigour). It is important that your application provides detailed information about your methodology, in particular sampling.
- Data Protection/Security: Data protection and security issues must have been considered and addressed. Ensure that your application contains detailed information about how you will manage these issues.
- Ethics: Ethical issues must have been reviewed and approved. Researchers must make clear the ethical guidelines under which they will be operating.
- Researcher skills/competencies: Researchers must have the necessary skills and experience to undertake the proposed research
- For a complete application you should submit both PDF and XML versions of the form in IRAS.
- Supporting documents
- Make sure that you provide all necessary supporting documentation.
- Prior to creating the final versions of the form you should electronically authorise the declaration within the form.
Further guidance for successful application at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-prison-and-probation-service/about/research
Back to the top
HMPPS review all research applications by asking:
- are there enough links to HMPPS priorities?
- what are the likely demands on resources, e.g. staff time, office requirements, data providers?
- is there an overlap with other current or recent research?
- how appropriate and robust is the methodology?
- are there any data protection / security issues?
- are there any ethical considerations?
- what is the extent of the applicants’ research skills and experience?
The research must not
commence until formal approval has been given.
Applications can be either approved (with or without modifications), declined or a request for further information can be made.
A large proportion of applications are required to provide further information due to lack of detail in the application form. This extra information is usually in relation to the methodology, in particular sampling, the benefits to HMPPS and data protection issues.
Applications are usually declined due to insufficient links to HMPPS business priorities, concerns about the rigour of the proposed methodology or due to a lack of detail on the application form. When research is not approved, reasons will usually be given. However, HMPPS reserves the right not to explain the reasons for refusing a research proposal when there are any sensitivity and/or security issues.
Consideration will be given to one resubmission per research topic. When resubmitting an application, the reasons for the previous rejection must be fully addressed.
HMPPS reserves the right to halt a research project at any time. Reasons will be given unless there are any overriding sensitivity and/or security issues.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT STUDENT APPLICATIONS: All student applications below doctoral level need to be supported by an Ministry of Justice (MoJ)/HMPPS business lead in order to be considered. This business support needs to come from a senior member of staff who is willing to state that they believe the research is going to be of benefit to HMPPS and will have minimal resource demands. Due to the potential volume of student applications, the NRC is not able to assist with student applications below doctoral level that do not have this business support.
Accessing the Frontline
Contact should not be made with potential participants until formal approval has been granted by the NRC or other approving body. When contacting sites to facilitate access, copies of the approval should be provided.
The decision to grant access to prison establishments, NPS divisions or CRC areas (and the offenders and practitioners within these establishments/divisions/areas) ultimately lies with the Governing Governor/Director of the establishment or the Deputy Director/Chief Executive of the NPS division/CRC area concerned.
The decision to grant access to existing data lies with the Information Asset Owners (IAOs) for each data source. Data Sharing Agreements should be established where necessary.
The NRC cannot facilitate access on behalf of researchers.
Back to the top
Page last updated:29 March 2023