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National Approved Premises Association

Reference Area

Approved Premises


Approved Premises are premises approved under Section 13 of the Offender Management Act 2007. The term currently applies to 101 premises, providing over 2000 bed spaces, managed either by the National Probation Service or by Independent Organisations. They are not 'Bail Hostels' though some may accommodate small numbers of people on bail where intensive bail conditions with a specific requirement to reside at an Approved Premises has been made a condition of bail.

The Criminal Justice Act 1948 provided for the public funding of probation homes and hostels. Prior to this Act of Parliament, such establishments were funded almost entirely by the voluntary/charitable sector. However, it was not until the powers of the Criminal Courts Act 1973 that Probation Committees were invited to establish and run Approved Probation and Bail Hostels. In the early 1990s, the Government introduced an expansion programme for the provision of Bail Hostels, leading to the current estate of 101 hostels. The role of APs has reflected the changing priorities of the criminal justice system, from housing homeless boys convicted of petty offences, providing substitute families for adolescents, and training unemployed offenders for work, to counselling in therapeutic communities, offering alternatives to custody, and more recently providing enhanced supervision in the community. APs are now widely regarded to be at the forefront of efforts to protect the public by reducing offending and managing risk.


Approved Premises offer residential provision in order to provide enhanced levels of protection to the public and reduce the likelihood of further offending.
They provide enhanced residential supervision by:

  • Working closely with NPS offender managers
  • Providing 24hr staff oversight
  • Monitoring curfews and ensuring compliance with rigorously enforced rules
  • Undertaking ongoing observation and assessment of attitudes and behaviour
  • Providing programmes of regular supervision, support and monitoring aimed at reducing offending behaviour and risk to the public

What the Approved Premises (AP) is being asked to do:

Risk management:

AP residence places considerable expectations on offenders, compared with living in private accommodation. Even with only the standard overnight curfew, AP residents are obliged to observe the national AP Rules and other local rules, keep their rooms clean and tidy, help to keep the AP tidy, plan and carry out their purposeful activities and other day-to-day events, and attend house meetings. The national AP Rules are in Part 34 of the AP Manual, which includes guidance for AP staff on how to apply them. Compliance with these and any local house rules is an inherent part of the residence licence condition; an offender’s failure to do so can lead, at the very least, to his bed being withdrawn, if not to recall in its own right . At the same time the offender is under considerably greater monitoring than in other forms of accommodation. While they may not be directly under observation or subject to enhanced curfews, they will be in constant contact with members of staff who can record their behaviour and report matters of concern. This is what makes APs such a valuable public protection resource.

It follows, then, that offenders should be placed in APs only where it is clear that this level of monitoring and intensive activity is needed. APs should not be treated as the default option for all high-risk offenders; given the limited spaces available, the need for a placement should be determined, and the placement designed, as an integral part of the offender management process. Equally, alternatives should be explored to the same extent in all cases, in case the offender’s risk management and other needs can be met through some means other than an AP.

Purposeful activity:

While APs focus on monitoring, they do more than that. All residents must have an individual programme of purposeful activity, designed by the offender manager in conjunction with the AP. Some will be aimed at reducing re-offending, while some will be focused more on resettlement and reintegration into society. All APs offer some services in-house and have access to services run by other parts of the NPS and other organisations. Many offer training in life skills as well as more offence-oriented work. Each offender’s purposeful activity programme has to be tailored to their needs and so must be designed with both the offender and the AP in mind. The balance of in-house and external provision varies from AP to AP, so access to external activities might need to be reconciled with other licence conditions such as exclusion zones.

Approved Premises cater for men and women separately in single sex provision.There are a relatively small number of "women only" Approved premises throughout the country.

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03/04/18 - NAPA Annual Report 2017/2018 NAPA Annual Report 2017/2018 Published 27/06/15 - NAPA Approved Premises Directory Recently added to our reference library
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03/04/18 - NAPA Annual Report 2017/2018 Published and available on this website
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