I find myself in reflective mode. One thing this blog has taught me is that you can sense the mood of readers out there. As one person pithily put it recently:-
you can hear the tumbleweed blowing through the blog.The recent results from the Napo and Unison opinion poll amply confirm all the anecdotal comment that's been flowing through this blog for weeks. People are seriously pissed-off and many are just 'giving up'. Not giving up in the sense of accepting the TR bollocks and deciding to 'just get on with it', although some clearly might. No, giving up spiritually or intellectually like this from saveprobation on the Napo Forum:-
I'm done too, and I mean not just here but with the entire campaign/situation. I'll sit back and see what happens, and move on when the time is rightor giving up literally and joining increasing numbers packing the job in and just leaving without even hanging around for the so far elusive redundancy package. Interestingly, there are also signs that low morale is causing NPS to have difficulty signing up enthusiastic new recruits to the Probation Graduate Diploma:-
Allegedly interviewed 1000 for 300 places - but have only filled 1/4 due to lack of suitable candidates (twitter)There is talk everywhere of 'exit' strategies, as confirmed by blogger PoOfficer:-
I can vouch for this. Many colleagues have left or are working on exit plans. What a waste of talent!It's all understandable and I guess a result of battle fatigue as much as anything. As Sarah Champion MP said last week at the Rally, 'the trouble is you can't fight ideology with reason' or as 'The Slog' puts it:-
the sad truth is that there is a 100% negative correlation between faith-fuelled belief and fact-based discernment.Which brings me on to the current leadership of Probation and what kind of people they are. It strikes me they are compounding the situation by continuously defying gravity and pretending everything is just fine and dandy. In my experience probation officers are pretty adept at telling the difference between truth and bollocks and they don't take kindly to being treated like idiots:-
There is a generation of Probation staff out there that earn their living unpicking the flawed thinking of deviant others. They DO NOT fall for spin. I advise management to stop trying to bullshit us. It belittles them and it belittles us.What is it with people like Mary D'Arcy CEO of Hampshire and Isle of Wight CRC that tweets stuff like this:-
Another excellent week in Hampshire CRC, Making a Difference through mentoring & service user engagement. Have a great weekend allWhen the reality is like this:-
grinding through innumerable tedious emails full of ersatz enthusiasm for a lost causeAnd not just emails either. There are also those dreadful upbeat management blogs, Manchester providing particularly good examples. As the Service goes into 'meltdown' and the tide laps around their feet Canute-style, the Chief writes breezily:-
Our Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company is now two months old and I believe that we have made good progress in developing our vision, mission and the principles that we will work within. We have completed our business plan and undertaken some training needs analysis which is being developed into a robust training plan. Governance arrangements are in place and we have held two directors meetings and been involved in two Relationship Management meetings to report on our progress against the CRC interim contract. As noted above, we have also published our first performance data. While I am well aware that the transfer of cases was difficult in some parts of Manchester in particular, and that staff vacancies have placed pressure on remaining staff, I have been impressed by your determination to find solutions locally so that our work with offenders continues to be effective. I know that you are all working hard to embed the new processes and our work at the interface with the NPS must remain central to our work. I continue to raise IT issues nationally; they are largely beyond our control and really do represent the biggest risk to the work we do.
It is important that we continue to develop our corporate brand and identity over the forthcoming months – we need to be viewed by our partners and communities as an organisation that delivers world class offender rehabilitation across Cheshire and Greater Manchester.And now even more bullshit opportunities present themselves as house magazines start popping up, such as the unfortunately-titled 'Northumberland Crack' and 'The Bench Press' from BeNCH (Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire CRC). The latter seem to be having difficulty getting copy, according to this contributor:-
I hear that due to a short take up of contributors, staff are being instructed - on a rota basis - to submit contributions.Doesn't it all make you want to weep? Whatever happened to 'Probation'?
PS Since writing the above, it looks like a listener to Radio 4's PM has been moved to contribute the following to Eddie Mair's IPM:-
"My probation career has been devastated by the imposition of the coalition government's disastrous Transforming Rehabilitation programme."