The purpose of Probation Circular 10/2006 is "to identify and promote best practice in the engagement of offenders in the delivery and development of services provided by local probation areas." The circular argues that an approach that involves offenders and ex-offenders in the shaping of services may lead to greater responsivity to offenders' needs and thus lead to an improvement in retention and completion rates. Given the increasingly punitive nature of the criminal justice system, coupled with the abandonment of social work values in probation practice, what should be made of this circular and its message? What are the factors that might explain an interest in how offenders view the services that they receive and their effectiveness? Gibbs (2000) argued that the probation service had the capacity to be the humane face of the criminal justice system by adopting an empowerment focus, but hitherto there has been very little evidence of the kind of paradigm that Gibbs was arguing for.