Whilst we continue to tread water and await what wonderfully innovative plans the new owners of the CRC's have in store for us, here's a page filler in the form of a breezy staff bulletin from Roz Hamilton, Deputy Director of NPS North West. I'm conscious it contains a raft of yet more acronyms and I'll do my best to add them to the glossary as soon as possible.
My guess is that much the same sort of upbeat stuff will be contained in similar bulletins for the other regions, but hopefully we can rely on readers to send in anything of particular note. For those really keen on such matters, I notice that the MoJ have published the NPS Service Level Agreements on their website and that for the North West can be found here.
I'd just remind people that, given this 'lull before the storm' scenario, now would be a really good time to get any burning issues off your chest and think seriously about submitting a guest blog. If I run out of copy that's probation-related, I just might start wandering off onto other hobby horses of mine such as conspiracies, the state of our democracy, Greece and debt, the failure of capitalism etc, etc. You've been warned.
A Happy New Year to each and every NW NPS colleague. I hope you will all agree with me that we can look forward to building a new organisation and lay the foundations in 2015 to becoming a world class public protection agency.
You have started the year well.
Our performance in relation to the completion of RSR/CAS is excellent. Despite significant disruption in court work both our performance and feedback from our key stakeholders – Judges and Magistrates, remain extremely positive. In 2015 we see:
- The introduction of a new CAS form which will help us ensure that the quality of information passed to offender managers is of a high standard and ensure the delivery of quality interventions with offenders
- The introduction of the Offender Rehabilitation Act (ORA) with new sentencing options such as the new Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR)
- An increase in the number of cases dealt with on the day in Magistrates courts
- New approaches to enforcement including the enforcement of electronic monitoring
In offender management we see on a daily basis excellence in the supervision of offenders. Our OM’s strive to work with dangerousness, protection of victims and the management of risk with dedication and inspired by the desire to do a high quality job. The work is supported ably by administrators of all grades who alongside our divisional support hub provide a strong and valuable infrastructure which ensures we can demonstrate our effectiveness.
In 2015 we will see:
- The supervision of U12 month prisoners, some who will be high risk
- New interventions provided by the CRC’s to reduce reoffending which we will purchase as part of our supervision of High Risk offenders
- Improved confidence and knowledge and experience in the management of risk
- New approaches in our work with foreign nationals, sex offenders, the delivery of Sex Offender Treatment Programmes (SOTP), disordered offenders and Integrated Offender Management (IOM)
- New structures for the delivery of admin support
- The introduction of the social care act which places a duty on local authorities to provide services for vulnerable elderly offenders.
The importance of our work with victims will also see changes as we negotiate with CRC’s as to how we will deliver the services for low/medium risk cases. We have an absolutely outstanding group of victim practitioners and administrators who I am sure will embrace this opportunity and continue to provide invaluable public protection services.
We are very fortunate to have inherited a thriving Approved Premises estate which is responsive both to the risks and needs of the most serious offenders in our community. I want to acknowledge the commitment and care shown by our AP staff day in and day out often with vulnerable and damaged individuals which is inspirational.
2015 will bring:
- An increase in the number of enabling environments in APs across the division to improve the quality of our public protection work
- The introduction of specific services in APs for personality disorder women offenders
- Closer working relationships with our voluntary AP, Adelaide House, in Merseyside
- Greater consistency of provision across the division
Changes to the role of seconded staff in prisons in 2015 will mean a restructuring of probation services, firstly in the open and women’s establishments and then resettlement prisons. The ORA means working alongside CRC colleagues for under 12 month provision. We will need to plan for changes ensuring our seconded staff are fully informed and involved in the process. The new approaches provide real opportunities for our NPS seconded prison colleagues to demonstrate their expertise in risk assessment and management.
2015 also brings an unprecedented number of Probation learners to the NW including the development of at least 2 student units in Southwood and Salford. Any organisation willing to share with learners and to learn from learners will reap the benefits in terms of quality and confidence in practice. I know the exciting and positive opportunities this will bring NPS NW will be embraced by all grades of staff and very much look forward to working with the Probation staff of the future.
In the past 6 months we have been joined by business partners many from different disciplines who bring a positive mixture of freshness and experience with them to support us in managing the NPS going forward.
So, we have much to look forward to and much to be proud of!! As the inevitable distractions, disruption and concerns of our change agenda frustrate us over the next 12 months lets remember and prepared to be reminded of the excellent work we do. Lets look forward and be positive. I know we are a problem solving organisation and you will join me in achieving that world class NPS.
With very best wishes,