Having taken the plunge several years ago and bought my first books on the internet from Amazon, I well remember being hugely impressed that regularly thereafter visits to their website always began 'Hello Jim - You might be interested in the following ....' and invariably, as if by magic, I was!
Yes of course I know it's not magic and just all clever algorithms with past behaviour indicating future behaviour, somewhat spookily reminiscent of probation practice. Anyway, to pinch the idea, I thought I'd point any interested readers in the direction of the Worksforfreedom website and some fairly recent writings by a probation officer of similar vintage who retired in 2010.
Regular readers might have noticed that Mike Guilfoyle regularly comments on this blog and shares many of my own feelings in relation to the way things have gone. Having regard to what I've been writing recently about recall, I was particularly struck by these words :-
"I was instructed to take out a breach and subsequent attempts to meliorate this fact appeared to place my 'intransigence' as indicative of what was colloquially referred to in probation service parlance as an 'Old School' ideological resistance to taking enforcement action! Maybe there was a barely sublimated desire to ensure that the straitjacket of National Standards was in the best sense of the word subverted. Especially when nagging doubts arose that skilled professional judgement and the exercise of discretion should so easily be subsumed for bureaucratic convenience. The Probation Service has put its staff and the way it works into boxes, yet those like this young man whose positive behaviour did not fit so neatly into any box had proved that he had the capacity to change. I was always stronger on relationship building than process management when working as a probation officer."
I'll drink to that!