YUP. I cannot understand the massive amounts of instructions telling me where to find stuff on the system, and neither can anyone else in my office. There is a real diversity issue with the one size fits all instruction system which has replaced actual training. I keep bleating on about it, but none of us understand our jobs anymore.
I can say I feel exactly the same in a north east CRC office. Diversity no longer recognised.
We're struggling with the CRC officeless office, soon to be a staffless office, whilst we're all jobless. Its priceless!!!
Professionally I don't who I am or what it is I do any more - Delius, CAS & RSR are unintelligible flim flam - OASys sucked the life out of the job & made it mind numbingly boring - senior management are slaves to targets - it's only my colleagues who help me retain my sanity - the world around me is going crazy. Another job is not that easy to find in a ruralish area when you're pushing 60 & can't retire for another 6 years. And yet weirdly I don't feel as stressed as perhaps I should. Think I've broken through the stress barrier cos I just can't take the job seriously anymore which is perhaps the worst indictment of the mess Grayling wreaked - what a bloody shambles...
I think I have broken through the stress barrier too. Do it this way err wait no, do it this way, err oh no we forgot this (didn't know this) do it this way oh, and here's a weeks notice, just so you have time to reorganise your diary. What you don't have a diary manager? He ho, never mind you have loads of time. You don't have loads of time? Well that takes 5 minutes, this takes 3.5 hours, talk to people who commit offences. Nah you don't need to do that, just tell them this, oops no tell them that, hang on don't bother to tell them just give them a ring once in a while, got it? Okay here's another 40 page policy doc, it's a draft. No it's not, it's the final document. What, it contradicts the one sent out last week? Never mind, just get it done, we'll change the law tomorrow. Stressed? Nahh, not any more.
As good an account of the shapeless deepshit omnishambles we're in as any I've seen or heard anywhere. Thank you.
Thanks from me too. I have no idea how to do anything anymore. I've got a new tactic, I just see the customers like I always used to and do my best to put some kind of contact on Delius. I don't breach or make referrals cos I don't know how. No one's noticed yet.
It's a depressing time to be a PO at the moment and it seems that only the trainees want the job any more! But it must be a very poor experience for trainees in the current climate where PIs change daily and no one knows what they are doing any more! The 2 young graduates in my office don't seem to have a clue or little interest in finding out. But in their defence they have been treated badly and just left to muddle through.
As a past Practice Development Assessor I would concur with your observations about the eagerness, bravado or even arrogance of trainee staff. Enthusiasm is positive, ambition is an energy, but over-confidence is dangerous. The culture of the workplace has changed beyond recognition from my days as an apprentice PO. Humility, deference & ever-open ears were the watchwords for new & trainee staff back then - "if you're talking, you're not listening". I currently find the raw aggression & petulant attitudes that come with some new staff, PSO or Trainee, quite disturbing. Even more disturbing is the fact that most of our management groom them, protect them & will not challenge them. Fear? I'm more inclined to think it's because they recognise them as kindred spirits.
Advice? Do what's comfortable for you. Life's too short & unpredictable. Don't get stuck, bitter & sour like me - enjoy everything, including your young family. In doing what I believed to be "the right thing" - abandon the greedy deceitful world of commerce & develop a professional career with meaning & honour - I find I've sacrificed:
1. My time with my children as they were growing up, (impossible to recover),
2. A marriage (irreparably damaged),
3. My health (work related stress) -
- and now Grayling, Spurr, et al have taken away my professional career & status, and sold me into commercial slavery. But they haven't taken my life, my spirit or my EVR just yet...
I am mentoring a TPO and their experiences reflect yours. From my point of view the lack of PDAs add mounting pressure on me to cover the basics of the job, which I am acutely aware I have not got the time to give.
The simple truth is:
1. This training has been rushed through as contingency planning under the Business Risk Register (remember that?) to ensure service delivery in any eventuality.
2. This will provide a pool of staff able to be employed on different contracts meaning staff costs will be driven down ie expensive/experienced POs out cheaper new starters in.
3. This will provide a mobile staff group given the number of young graduates employed who as young people are today, will become increasingly desperate for work.
4. The shortfall in training will be met by existing practitioners helping colleagues out as we always have done.
5. This was the cheapest possible training to plug potential gaps, not actual.
6. (re) employing POs from CRCs would be more expensive.
That is just my view and I realise how this may look to TPOs but I do think you will have jobs. The world is moving on and new recruits meet the business model. I wish you all well but most of all I wish you could have trained at a time of integrity.
"They want the cheapest not the best" - that's exactly what this is about. The quality of TPO's that I have come across lack personal intuition, understanding, experience, insight and most of all values. They are there designed to model the new world of corporate image. No concept of reality and never ever visited areas outside of their own nice cushy middle class bedrooms. If this is the next generation of offender managers I hate to think what the experience of offenders would be like.
To be fair, that is not my experience, we have 2 TPOs and they are great enthusiastic people eager to learn. That sound a pretty good basis to start to me. Good guest blog and the best of luck to you.
I read your post with mounting dismay at your experience and your grasp of reality of the situation. I qualified in 2002 and my experience was of course totally different. I had four years out of the service from 2011 and live abroad returning to work in a CRC - an alien concept to me if ever there was one - earlier this year. I hit the ground running with a full caseload and after a few weeks was asked to mentor an NPS trainee. I personally felt it was an honour and a privilege to be asked to do so and was aware that other CRC colleagues looked at me with a jaundiced eye for doing it - data protection and all that was part of it, but I suspect that it was also because of tensions between NPS and CRC.
My advice to you is the same as it was to my mentoree - to hold on to the job for all the reasons you say. They are the right ones. When I was a trainee, an old salt of a probation officer gave me the best advice I had ever heard and it has served me well. 'Always tell it like it is' (for an occasion when I was stuck with what to say in a PSR and 'never get out of the lifeboat'.
Sometimes you might have to but stick with this job, the dust has not yet settled from all this dreadful upheaval and good probation officers are born not made and the love of the job goes with the territory. Others may dismiss my views but that is their indaba. I am about to start a contract with an NPS office and if I am asked to mentor a trainee again I will be pleased to do so. So head up, give it your best and every success to you.
With these reflections on Grayling's new-look Probation Service Omnishambles, I'm off on holiday for a couple of weeks. I'm pretty sure internet access will be available at various times, but the blog may have to just coast along for a while. Please keep the info coming in and scouring the media for relevant stuff and get writing that Guest Blog you've been promising yourself. Above all, be considerate of colleagues in this mess and look out for each other.