Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Lets Look at E3 (4)

Chapter 3 Community Supervision

3.1 What does the model look like now? 

The NPS directly manages offenders who pose the highest risk of harm and who have committed the most serious crimes. At any one time approximately 40% of our caseload (42,500 offenders) are managed in the community. 

The current operating model for community supervision (including pre-release work) varies across England and Wales and is reliant on approaches developed in the legacy Probation Trusts. The existing tiering framework does not adequately reflect the new NPS case profile and work was required to better categorise the caseload to enable appropriate and proportionate allocation of resources. In addition there is varying practice in relation to the allocation of work to Probation Services Officers (PSOs) which is inefficient. 

This proposal has been informed by a review of the current tiering framework in consultation with practitioner groups, and a review of role boundaries and resource allocation processes to ensure appropriate and efficient allocation of work. The final outcome of the Offender Management in Custody review is likely to impact upon pre-release work.

3.2 What do we want the future model to look like? 
The main driver for this work-package proposal is to produce a standard operating model for community supervision which delivers a high quality, effective and value for money service. It supports the development of a consistent approach to workload, with equitable spans of control and a fair distribution of work. The design of the operating model aims to ensure that the NPS provides opportunities for innovation and scope for improved service delivery and partnership collaboration. 

Given the profile of the NPS caseload any future operating model needs to ensure consistent and defensible allocation decisions whilst maintaining flexibility in the scope of the Probation Services Officer role. A unified approach supported by an appropriate training and quality framework is required to provide organisational assurance and support individual practitioner development and effective practice. 

The NPS future operating model builds upon the E3 design principles and learning from best practice in former Probation Trusts. The opportunities provided by being part of a national service will be maximised, including our ability to promote effective practice throughout the organisation, provide staff development and learning and influence partners to improve outcomes for offenders. 

3.3 End state proposals 
3.3.1 The introduction of a revised tiering/case allocation model based on static risk factors and clinical judgement to better reflect the NPS caseload profile (diagram 1). This framework will determine the grade of Offender Manager most appropriate for the case.

3.3.2 An individual casework approach - this model requires that one to one supervision is generally delivered by the individual with management responsibility for the case. This promotes the concept of continuity, acknowledges the importance of the relationship between the worker and the offender and reduces inefficiencies that can arise from the transfer of information between those involved which is required when working to an Offender Manager/Offender Supervisor model. There are also clear lines of accountability between Offender Managers and team managers. 

Diagram 1 – Community Supervision Tiering Model

(I'm afraid copying the diagram has proved beyond my technical capabilities)

3.3.3 PSOs will manage some medium risk of serious harm cases (up to C2 on the new tiering framework) supported by a relevant learning and development pathway. This will provide opportunities for PSO grade staff to be involved in more complex cases than is the case in some areas currently, but also provides safeguards to ensure reasonable and defensible decisions regarding allocation. There will be a period of transition to ensure appropriate training and professional support is established. 

3.3.4 The model will include ‘case management support’ for Offender Managers with a range of specific tasks undertaken by other relevant grades to enhance offender supervision. Further work will be undertaken to identify relevant tasks that support the aims of the E3 programme, examples could include; 
  • Completion of referral forms (utilising available assessments completed by the case manager) 
  • Gathering of information from other professionals/ agencies (as directed within the Risk Management Plan completed by the offender manager) 
  • Sharing of information with other professionals/ agencies (as directed within the Risk Management Plan completed by the offender manager) 
  • Attendance at multi-agency meetings (not MAPPA or Child Protection Conferences - the offender manager should attend these) 
  • Accompanying the offender manager on Home Visits in complex cases 
3.3.5 We are also keen to explore the potential for volunteers to support the work of the NPS. The use of volunteers was a feature in some former Probation Trusts and provided an additional resource to support OMs and interventions staff in the supervision of offenders. Becoming a probation volunteer was for some a positive route into future employment in the service. Given the profile of the NPS caseload it is acknowledged that any steps to utilise volunteers needs to be a carefully considered and managed process but we are supportive of this as a principle for further exploration. Given the size of the NPS there may be economies achieved through a national approach and managing volunteers/mentors may be best achieved through contracting with a provider, as is planned for circles of support for sex offenders. 

3.3.6 Targeted delivery of supervision in groups in certain circumstances will be further explored. It is acknowledged that any use of group work based methods needs to be carefully considered. There are a number of possible options available in relation to the use of group based work that could be considered: 
  • The group delivery of intervention packages that are specific to the NPS cohort (i.e. not provided by the CRC on the rate card). These might include packages that address stalking behaviour, housing for sex offenders etc 
  • The group delivery of intervention packages by the NPS where this can be done on a more cost-effective basis than is provided via the rate card, or by accessing existing community resource, e.g. by e-learning 
The work on group-based delivery remains in development and further detail will become available as the design work progresses.

3.4 Impact on service delivery 
The individual casework model has significant overlap with the current approach to service delivery and is well understood by service users and partner organisations. Having a single named offender manager responsible for the management and supervision of the case will result in increased contact time, facilitating a strong professional relationship between the worker and the service user. 

Research evidence supports the importance of continuity of case management. HMIP reviews (Hanson and White 2006, Rice 2006) record the potentially serious risks of “building in discontinuities”. Kemshall (2008) notes that where risk is assessed and managed by different staff, the result can be failures in the delivery of risk management. In more therapeutic terms, the end-to end model set out in the Offender Management Model (2006) and reaffirmed although in a different form in the recent Offender Management review (2015) is consistent with research findings that long term contact with a single worker is beneficial (Partridge 2004 quoted in McNeill and Whyte 2007). Further, research evidence supports the importance of clear accountability, so that it is clear in every case who is doing what and at which point. This is supported in Sheppard’s review of failures in mental health cases (D Sheppard quoted in Kemshall 2008). The NOMS SFO team have noted that in SFO cases which are managed by a PO as OM and PSO as OS, there is a tendency for both to cite a lack of clarity about their roles in the case. 

The individualised approach lends itself to flexibility in working arrangements e.g. mobile working and arguably enables a more responsive approach to individual needs.

3.5 Impact on staff 
The NPS will be an organisation founded on the continuous professional development of all its staff. While Probation Officers will remain the core operational grade of staff within the delivery of community supervision, Probation Services Officers will have a clear role in community supervision, including the offender management of some medium risk of serious harm cases. Some efficiencies will be realised through the rebalancing of cases and the more effective use of PSO grade staff in some areas. 

The model seeks to ensure flexibility in the scope of the PSO role, responding to the individual characteristics, risks and needs of the offender. It is acknowledged that there will be a training requirement to underpin the introduction of this approach given the expansion in PSO work, albeit that training needs may not be consistent across divisions. A training needs analysis will be undertaken and a clear learning and development pathway established. New routes including completion of VQ3 Diploma in Probation Practice and where relevant modules from the forthcoming Community Justice Learning programme, will be agreed to ensure defensible decisions and appropriate professional development. 

The model is well understood by NPS operational staff and this will represent an incremental, rather than a radical change. There will be clarity about the types of cases that are suitable for allocation to Probation Officers and Probation Services Officers. The case manager will be responsible for the offender management and supervision of the case with opportunities to access a range of task-based support and group-based activity in some cases.

3.6 Conclusion 
Community supervision is a core part of our business and our priority is to deliver an effective and value for money service to the public in order to reduce re-offending and help to build safer communities. 

The NPS future operating model seeks to build on the principles of effective, evidence-based practice and utilise learning from all parts of the organisation to inform a national, coherent and effective delivery of services to offenders which is affordable and sustainable into the future. 

In summary our proposals are;
  • A revised tiering model to better reflect the NPS caseload 
  • An individual casework approach 
  • PSOs to manage some medium risk of serious harm cases supported by a learning and development pathway 
  • Exploration of the concept of ‘case management support’ across a range of specific tasks 
  • Targeted delivery of supervision in groups where appropriate
(more to follow)

1 comment:

  1. Probation Officer20 January 2016 at 09:20

    It's good they still recognise supervision, but what's this about "group supervision"!!!

    Not much has been said about the offenders. E3's "more for less" does not mean offenders get more or that the service/support improves. The services of the National Probation Service are set to be delivered by PSO's who do not have the training, qualification and specialist casework skills that are required. There are very good reasons probation officers (PO's) have been required to complete specific and continuous training over the past 70 years.

    I really don't know whatever happened to the principal of a probation and aftercare service. E3 will result in PSO's manning the Courts and proposing sentences of the Courts choosing. Offenders will sit in prisons with no contact, planning or support through sentence and release. Support in the community will consist of being signed in and out by untrained and overworked PSO's. Forget MAPPA, information sharing, local partnerships, etc.

    A better alternative would have been to invest in training and resources which would ensure "more for less" in the long term. Only a bunch of lunatics would think the answer to a lack of staffing problems is to get rid of all the qualified professionals. This is not elitist, it is a fact that many PSO's cannot access training or have no interest in training. This fits squarely with the intentions of NOMS which already has previous convictions for letting services fail by employing second rate staff from third rate recruitment agencies, charities and volunteer agencies, and with staff development and service to clients unnecessary afterthoughts.

    I think now I'll just get on and JFDI until the redundancy payments are ready. In the meantime I'd better start my Napo direct debit as I'll probably need a rep to help navigate all the expected bullying and red tape when the time comes.