Regarding Bolton being the new Manchester in meltdown. As far as I know, it's the whole of what was the Greater Manchester Probation Trust area that is in meltdown. Every district but particularly Bolton and Tameside (east Manchester way) are dire. There must be hundreds of temps. Both NPS and CRC have massive staff problems. It's been well known amongst practice staff that GMPT were relying too heavily on temps not just since TR but in the years before. I'd herd once that there had been around a 25% cut in practice staff from 2008-2011ish. I'm sure there must be firm figures on this somewhere?
Since the split things are even worse specifically in the NPS where case loads are in my opinion dangerously unmanageable. For example a colleague of mine works a 3 day week and has approx 40 high risk cases. Absolutely ridiculous. Staff are now being informed of things they don't have to do i.e regarding reporting frequency and no prison visits to try and paper over the gaping cracks in the service.
Regarding senior management, from what I can tell there is some sympathy with staff and awareness amongst the better managers, but little if no idea of what to do. No wonder really when at a recent staff conference the head of the NPS north west area has the gaul to try and tell staff they are over reacting when legitimate concerns regarding case loads and amount of work being expected were raised by staff.
In my opinion she basically implied staff were overreacting that things aren't that bad because according to her caseloads might be high but you don't have to do much with people when they are in prison or in approved premises. She presented as dismissive and showed no understanding of the actual expectation of work with high risk cases.
The head is only interested in her own career, don't expect anything from her. She has never cared about her staff and is only loyal to Graying and what she can get out of this. I heard how dismissive she was to a staff member at the conference when a statement was made about being overwhelmed and she brushed him aside. She makes being in the CRC look attractive.
I know of a couple of officers in Manchester who are now saying that they want to transfer to CRC because they cannot cope. If granted the transfer this will cause additional pressure on the NPS. Things "going smoothly", not so in rainy Manchester. STOP THE LIES!!!!!!
There are more temp staff and those on fixed term contracts in our office than permanent, and most of them are close to walking out. If they did we would have to close our office.
NPS in Manchester have now got contingency plan, tele contact with high risk clients fortnightly, there is a long list of other things too many to list, to help them cope. Merging us back is the only thing that would help, no other contingency plan is going to work. They may realise this in another week or too when the contingency plan goes to pot and they have to think of something else, just do the obvious and right thing and admit that this is not working, any cracks that are papered over will only reappear.
They have issued a long list of things you currently don't have to do with high risk cases including seeing them weekly. The proviso is it's only those who are 'stable' which is a glaring contradiction in my opinion as if we are saying they are high risk we are saying the risk is imminent?
This list does not help in terms of case management as whilst we are being told it's ok to follow and if there is an SFO the instruction will be taken into account. What's the betting though that in the event of any SFO you'll be dragged through the coals for suggesting they were stable enough to see fortnightly.
None of this manages risk and none of this eases concerns amongst staff who on the whole want to do a good job not a 'bodge job' with their clients. The stress of not being able to work to the standard you'd like to keep your own professional values and integrity is all too often dismissed by management particularly those we know who were never good with the client faced work or never interested in this part if the job (and from my experience that is the majority of managers I've encountered).
Might I suggest the union branches in Greater Manchester considers a vote of no confidence in who ever this NPS leader is? It should mention specific reasons such as the ones posted here. It WILL afford you some protection at an ET if you have raised issues and not been listened to so had to take such action, if you mention the specific concerns re telephone reporting or moving to fortnightly reporting for High Riskers this will afford some protection when SFOs happen. Sad you need to consider this but please do. Also, if the branch votes on this, there is safety in a collective decision and that should really ring alarm bells that such action is being taken.
Hmmm - Manchester's contingency planning might have use for that old tried and tested practice from across The Pond, whereby our US Parole Officer colleagues would manage the scarier bad people not by home visits but by the Drive By And Wave method.