Regular readers will be aware that this blog has been moving on at a relentless pace since it entered campaign mode. The downside is that there's barely time to notice, let alone highlight excellent contributions. Well, here are two from way back in June and I certainly think they are worthy of republishing at long last. I warmly thank both contributors and repeat my offer to publish guest blog posts on pretty much any topic felt remotely connected to probation.
Risk escalation process - has any other CRC staff member had to do a risk escalation on one of their cases? what a job - med risk DV case was discovered breaching his restraining order against his victim, also breaching his residency requirement, and also found to have developed an intimate relationship with another female, but good case management by probation pulled all the bits of the deceit together.
That was the easy bit, now the mad TR bit, having spoken with police, housing, children services and come to the decision that this mans behaviour was of concern, given that he stabbed his last victim, a discussion was had very quickly with team manager. After a professional discussion, when information and decision process was tested, it was agreed that this case met risk escalation criteria, discussion took 20 mins. Then started to complete OASys review and RE form. This took 4 hours, then needed to scan all into system all the supporting evidence and new info(lots of duplication as all info in delius and OASys).
Then OASys sent to CRC TM manager to counter sign, then rang NPS to inform of Re DECISION, told they were too busy and short staffed so would need to ring back tomorrow, after 12 noon. It was stated this needed to be dealt with ASAP, but no one available to speak to so still needed to wait for duty PO tomorrow. After a night worrying, called NPS again and was told again speak to duty officer after 12 noon. At 12.02 CRC staff called and spoke to the duty PO who is 6 years her professional junior. Told that she would speak with her TM about accepting case and her TM would speak to my TM.
What an absolute farce, a decision to up risk would normally take a quick clear and concise professional discussion with TM, new risk management plan would be devised, case manager would contact appropriate agencies mappa etc and have the best knowledge of the case to manage this risky period. But no the case was transferred to NPS, to an officer who didn't know the case, doesn't know the victim, doesn't know the area, and who only recently started to supervise HR cases due to being previously working in court, started in field team Sept last year, when I've been in field team for over 12 years supervising every possible type of cases from murders, rapists, child sex offenders, DV, mental health etc etc.
The end result by the way was that case was arrested and charged with breach of restraining order and possession of knife. The case at time of writing has still not been subject of any professional hand over between CRC and NPS staff as no one from NPS has contacted CRC.
Margaret Hodge needs to know about this bureaucracy that is slow, time consuming, resource intensive, duplicative, ineffective and a system so stupid that it beggars belief that supposedly intelligent people even considered that this was a good idea.
Sadly, I cannot mourn the passing of the Trust I worked for as we experienced an oppressive executive (noted by many in previous posts), but I can see others who worked for decent Trusts (ASPT comes to mind) may be sad.
What I am devastated about is the passing of Public Sector Probation, the two are very different. I believe all of Probation should be now transferring into the National Probation Service as a cohesive platform from which improvements should be made. We can not truly mourn the passing of the Golden Days of Probation, for they are long gone and yes, things need to change.
In my view it was the advent of NOMS with the gradual exclusion of the probation voice at the big table by prison managers, that brought about our demise. However, a rise in macho management too eager to align itself to this culture, as over promoted managers sought to prove themselves capable of making others jump to the ever increasing heights demanded, also had its part to play.
Ideology too had its part, lack of it on the part of Probation executives (for theirs was the only voice that would have been listened to had they been united in opposition to this debacle and they, with the exception of Joe Kuipers, failed to raise a whisper) and blindly driven politically motivated ideology on the part of Grayling the Destroyer.
Staff too, we have not listened to the warnings about what was coming and not acted in a cohesive manner. It is by no means perfect but had the entire work force unionised this would have signalled cohesive opposition. But we were fractured before the split in reality. Once Unison failed to follow the NAPO lead and take strike action our bluff was called, because it was signalled so well in advance.
So for many of us we now enter the world of Probation the Business. Adding shareholder value being the aim and objective of the CRC future. Yes, we will be told this is our chance to shine and be innovative away from the diktats we were used to. We can make this work but for whose benefit? I have never, ever, heard the service user put at the centre of any of the briefings I have attended. Rather, how to engage staff in the change process to make this work. It is sad beyond measure.
And what of the NPS? Flagged as the standard bearer of community safety but in reality the political sop there to take the flack from Grayling the Destroyer so Parliament could be fooled that so called high risk offenders would be safely managed....but they always were!
I am sad beyond words about the destruction of my beloved Public Sector Probation which has bled out slowly, cut by cut being delivered by NOMS. I mourn the loss of opportunity for positive change that failing to unite delivery of all Probation Services under the National Probation Service could have achieved. Here was the opportunity to be a professional cohesive workforce with unified standards working for the best interests of society not the profit of shareholders, and it is now all blown to the winds of market forces.
We must look after ourselves and our service users for there is no-one else to do this now. Unite in compassion for others as we always have done. We do not cease to be who we are but we can become what we do not want to be.