Service Design, 2021

Worked with Jie Huang, Hanyuan Xue, Qing Liu, Alessandro Castorino

4-GP is a service formed by four guideline packages which focus on presenting possible improvements to be applied to the existing probation system structure to reduce recalls for offenders. The main focus is on the communication gap identified through an extended qualitative research with the assistance of Catch22 studio, Probation Practitioners, and People on Probation.

Our partner is Catch22, a social business studio that cooperates with UK Ministry of Justice to build services for an alternative to recall system for those who are taken back to prison and pose no threat to society or themselves.


In this project, our team were invited to design based on their pilot program which proposed the introduction of a new position: the navigator mentor.

Criminal System 

In the UK, punishment for offenders can take the form of a fine, community service hours, or prison time. However, after a person has gone through half of his sentence, they may be put in a probation period. This means that some offenders are allowed to serve their remaining prison time outside of a detention facility with various limitations applied to their freedom. During the probation period, their behaviour is regulated by the government and no longer by the prison in which they were kept.However, If an offender BREAKS the RULES, they will be RECALLED to prison by their probation practitioner (supervisor) to serve the remainder of their sentence in prison. In recent years, the UK prison system has been under pressure from the high recall rate of offenders, so public service teams, including Catch22, are exploring possible alternatives to recall options.

As service designers, we believe that systematic design thinking can guide us in having an impact on this public field. Our mission is to focus on reflecting upon the humanity, resilience, and social sustainability in the probation system to create creative interventions that will reduce recall rates based on meeting the norms of cooperation with Catch22.

Research & Analysis

A series of workshops and interviews are conducted for emphasising the stakeholders' perspective, difficulty in terms of physical and mental needs. By analyzing the data, we summarised core areas with 4 keywords that we could focus on to build a solid foundation for the duration of our project: Trust, Communication, Time, and Isolation. Then we prioritize the areas due to the feedback got from Catch 22 in terms of feasibility, adaptability and innovativeness. Finally, we decide to focus on the issue of communication gap between the POPs and the Probation Practitioners. 

This timeline shows both the points for the pilot service from Catch22 provided and our optimization points. In the timeline, we showcase 4 main intervention points we developed for. Our design approach is to improve the existing probation system without major additions or reforms.

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Ideation & Solution

Our service proposes a 4 guideline packages format under each stage for the navigator mentors to follow. These are based around the 4 stages which are: in custody, before release, day of release and probation. These packages have been created to help the navigator mentor work better in their rehabilitation supporting role during the pilot program, and create an overall smoother experience.

We define a guideline package as a set of resources that combine existing information and roles into a modular set of information in a uniform format, which will allow NM and PP to select the ones they believe would be useful for their situation. These are meant to strengthen the role of the Navigator mentor and allow them to be better equipped to tackle areas that the POP and the PP are finding challenging or complicated to approach.



The pilot service will be launched in 2022. A more efficient work flow that we created will improve the existing system. The guideline can be measured in terms of flexibility, adaptability and innovativeness. It ends up leading to reduce recall rate. For POP, this could avoid unnecessary confusion and conflict, as well as getting increased support. On the Practitioners' side, they will be able to take advantage of an improved communication structure and enhanced trust building, which will help reduce the workload.