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Approved Premises (APs)

Approved Premises are premises approved under Section 13 of the Offender Management Act 2007. The term currently applies to over 100 premises, providing over 2000 bed spaces, managed either by the Probation Service nationally or by independent organisations. Currently the independent sector provide around 10% of the overall Approved Premises Estate.


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 - over 50% of these are provided and managed by the independent approved premises sector. All of the independent APs (IAPs) that are associates of NAPA can be found on the 'IAPs' page

Referrals to Approved Premises must be made via the national Probation Service

Brief history:

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.  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.

Over the years, the role of Approved Premises has reflected the changing priorities of the criminal justice system. Under earlier names such as “Approved Homes” and “Probation & Bail Hostels”, APs have evolved from housing homeless boys convicted of petty offences, providing substitute families for adolescents, training unemployed offenders for work, counselling in therapeutic communities, and offering alternatives to custodial sentences, and instead they more recently have been providing enhanced supervision in the community for high-risk individuals on release from prison.

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