Billed as 'Developing a probation mutual : from theory to practice', regular readers will recall that part one featured the 'classic change curve'.
Having decided on the legal structure, in part two Saleha goes on to explain:-
Developing a commercial approach means a mind-set change from looking at an allocated budget and deciding how to spend it, to going out into the world and winning business to create a budget in the first place. This turns the existing model on its head; in that we are anticipating what our potential clients need formulating a variety of solutions up front in anticipation of their requirements. The rest is about listening and bringing innovation to the co-design of services.
One of our values is “acting with a sense of urgency” and this has been the main contributor to our development in the world of probation. Freed from institutional constraints we have reacted swiftly scaling up our ambition to become a national provider capable of attracting and securing business with both the retained public service and the new providers of adult offender services.
This strikes me as fitting perfectly with the whole TR omnishambles 'wishful thinking' ethos I discussed yesterday. The piece goes on:-
Our new mind-set means freeing yourself of all limits in thinking through service offerings.
Historically, we know that major outsourcing initiatives like this create casualties and it is easy to become becalmed waiting for other people to determine your future but, at Laurus, thanks to our management of the speed of the change curve, we are creating our own destinies and that feels much more positive and engaging!
If you are enthused by this and it sounds like your cup of tea, I notice Laurus are holding events in the coming weeks at locations including Preston, London, Birmingham, Bristol and York.
Of course the climate in which the 'new probation landscape' will have to operate in continues to change with the Tory Party making further concerted efforts of living up to its 'nasty party' reputation by announcing further benefit cuts for the under 25's if elected in 2015.
This, added to Chris Grayling's continued efforts at unsettling the prison population by a total smoking ban and gleefully announcing his plan to return to the 'unfinished business' of automatic release, any bidders for probation work are going to have an ever-increasing uphill struggle to deliver lower reoffending rates. Remember, in the wishful thinking world of the TR omnishambles, if reoffending doesn't reduce, you don't make any money.
It was interesting to see that the Centre for Social Justice report I highlighted yesterday not only serves to discuss how jittery some voluntary and third sector bodies are about the financial risks involved, but some are also belatedly waking up to the ethical and reputational risks of working with clients compelled to attend on pain of breach or recall:-
Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of organisations believed being seen as independent was one of the top three critical reasons that made them effective at what they did, and 42 per cent for their clients choosing them and their services. Danny Kruger, CEO of Only Connect described to the CSJ why he felt this mattered:
‘Rehabilitation is built on trusted relationships between the client, professionals, and a
wider supportive community. This means a minimum of coercion and a strong sense that
the organisation is there to help the client, not simply to monitor and manage the risks
What ever Sir Stephen Bubb may say, like it or not, such charities will effectively become arms of the State with a duty to enforce judicial punishments and court orders. For some it's all going to be a bit of a rude awakening to discover that significant numbers of clients are not going to be willing participants and in fact will have a propensity to kick-off big-style if they feel being compelled to undergo monitoring, supervision, and 'rehabilitation' is not fair.
For many the realisation that the refrain "I've done my time" will no longer wash will come as very unhappy news indeed and it will be interesting to see how the Payment by Result contractors deal with such unwilling and un-cooperative 'customers'.
Finally, I notice that Professor Paul Senior, as co-editor of the British Journal of Community Justice, is very keen to encourage contributions on the subject of the probation changes (omnishambles) from both practitioners and clients:-
Articles and thought pieces will be subject to peer review in the normal way but we do not want to discourage new writers, so a Thought Piece will not require the same level of referencing and academic rigour as an article. The editorial team can advise on the appropriateness of a contribution. We will not censor any well-argued thoughts either in favour of the TR proposals or against. We will though not publish anything which is written in a way which can be construed as libel or which does not follow the normal bounds of etiquette in writing for publications.
The challenge is to produce this by mid-November, though if you can get something in prior to that it will help us in production. Please send completed contributions to us by November 15th at the latest. We intend to publish this issue in open access as well as hard copy format so it can be circulating before Christmas.
The remit is simple:
If there are any areas of TR which has exercised you and you can write a full article or a more polemical piece including previous published blogs or you simply want to write a letter as a probation worker or voluntary sector worker to the Minister expressing how it feels to you as you experience it then now is the time to put pen to paper. We will consider anonymous publications in the letters section provided the name and contact is provided to the journal.
This is the biggest change in the history of the probation service and we want your thoughts now!