We clearly have a problem. For months and months, with the help of thousands of probation professionals, we've been cataloguing and collating the mounting evidence as to the scale and scope of the dangerous TR omnishambles that is destroying our service and profession, and the effect it's having on the criminal justice system, our clients and the public.
Hundreds of staff have left in despair, hundreds more are on long term sick, cases go unallocated, emails go missing, IT systems collapse and now at least one woman has been murdered - all because of Chris Grayling's refusal to admit that TR is an unmitigated disaster and should at least have been rolled out slowly, road-tested first.
The problem is that nothing so far seems to have had the slightest effect in bringing home the seriousness of the situation to our elected representatives or the public. Apart from some notable exceptions, the mainstream media do not seem to feel there is enough of a story here. This shouldn't surprise us that much because the general public never really knew what we did anyway and the media have always had the greatest difficulty in portraying us in any meaningful way, especially in drama. We really do appear to be up shit creek on our own.
August is just around the corner, the time of year universally known by journalists as the 'silly season' because 'news' is normally in short supply. But this creates an opportunity for us to get some headlines and grab some airtime. There is a very well-known TV news programme that is interested in doing a piece about our situation, but we need people to come forward with those horror stories we all know about and ideally be willing to go public on. We need named CRCs and specific NPS offices where it's all falling apart, risky things are happening and tragedies occurring.
This is a very big ask indeed given the climate of fear Grayling has instigated across NPS and CRCs, but depending on the circumstances and the nature of the information, my guess is that anonymity may be the only way to proceed in order to get the stories out. Unless we ask, give it a try and see what comes in, we won't know.
I suspect Joanna Hughes is not the only one who is simply not prepared to roll over and see a service and profession destroyed before our very eyes without first having tried absolutely every avenue to try and halt it. If you agree and know something and want to try and help, then contact this blog using the email address on the profile page, anonymously if you prefer. We've got to do something and there can be real strength in numbers and sheer weight of evidence.
PS I can't resist mentioning the latest blog post by the supremely smug and self-serving Sir Stephen Bubb - at long last it seems to have attracted the attention it so richly deserves!