"In January 2015 our membership passed the 1000 milestone, and is growing day by day! This represents a significant achievement in a short time. More than that it demonstrates the commitment of many of those who work in probation in the future, as a concept and in the professional practice and ethical value base that supports it.
I anticipate that the next six months will be even busier for the Institute. Members will have received notification of the new governance arrangements following a period of consultation at the end of last year. We will be introducing these from February to April, electing a Representative Council and a new Board to take forward the leadership of the Institute from May. This is realising a key objective: the Institute should be member led. It is vital that Institute members take up this challenge and opportunity. So do think about coming forward for election to the Representative Council. And if you aren’t already a member, join!"
Now before there's a chorus of 'well most have been dragooned and signed up free by CRCs', I'll say you may well be correct, but the thing is still quietly motoring along and on Sunday evening will have concluded on-line voting for the 'Representative Council', so lets take a look at some of the candidates. Interest doesn't seem too great in the North West where the one candidate is assured of election, but in the South West and South Central region, competition is very keen with five candidates and they include some fascinating names like:-
ANDREW BRIDGES “Please don’t vote for me if you want a representative who is driven by a particular sectional ideology....I offer something different from that: well-informed fair-mindedness. My aim is to help probation be successful, whoever is doing it, and if this approach appeals to you, please vote for me."
MIKE MCCLELLAND “I have been involved with the Probation Institute since its inception and have been a member of the Steering Group since it was formed. I would welcome the opportunity to continue my involvement as an active member. There is much to be done in terms of the development of a training framework and the transfer of responsibility of practitioners from NOMS to the Institute."
MAXINE MYATT “I am putting myself forward because I want to contribute as much as I can to maintaining the standards of probation practice, defending professionalism and ensuring our knowledge base continues to develop during the churn generated by the TR programme and beyond. I have lived and breathed probation for all my working life. At this crossroads in its history I seek to do everything I can to use my skills and experience to support the Institute achieve its twin ambitions of providing professional leadership and becoming a centre of excellence.”
In the West Midlands we have three candidates including:-
KEITH STOKELD “A vote for my nomination would allow me to follow the following objectives as part of the representative council ensuring that: • The consultation with members continues to sustain the kind of governance arrangements that remain robust and achieve members’ objectives • Membership categories are inclusive, reflecting the make-up of the Probation Service • Committees within the Governance arrangements remain representative of the membership and provide an appropriate balance of power with the partner forum • To ensure the PI becomes the recognised and respected body to promote probation practice • Ensure the institute carries the objectives of the members in a way that commands the respect of all connected with the Probation Service. • The Probation Institute shapes the agenda for a future of a service that overcomes the ravages of the divide.”
There are four candidates standing in Humberside, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire including a very good friend of probation:-
PAUL SENIOR “I would represent staff in the region with passion and commitment and believe that probation plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process. This is a formative time for the Institute and the role of the Representative Council will be vital to maintaining the right direction as the Institute develops. I will use my knowledge and skills of probation to pursue these goals. It is a difficult time for the future of probation and it is important that we work together, listening and supporting each other to maintain the world of probation. I believe I understand these issues and can make a singular contribution to the development of the Institute.”
But possibly most surprising of all, in the East Region the four candidates includes:-
NEIL MOLONEY “I firmly believe that one of the leadership functions of any CRC CEO is to promote the stability and integration of the wider Probation system. Advocacy for, and support of, a strong, independent and representative Probation Institute is a key means of achieving this stability and integration at a time when there is a significant risk of fragmentation and fracture. If elected I will use my influence and authority to promote the work of the Institute amongst fellow CRC CEO’s. I would also use my position within Sodexo to encourage our new owners to support the Institute and its aims and values - a task which I have already begun.”
With this whole dogs breakfast that probation is rapidly becoming, I don't think I'm surprised by anything any more, not least what Napo's position is on all this. Seeing as they were one of the 'founding' organisations, they've been remarkably quiet on the subject of late, possibly confirming that the readership of this blog may not be as out of touch with reality as has been recently suggested. There have been repeated calls for Napo to pull out of the Institute and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the subject is re-visited, either within the NEC or on the floor of the next AGM.
PS - I notice the subject got no mention in todays increasingly pedestrian blog by Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence.