Frances Crook of the Howard League tweeted this the other day:-
"We have to find a new word to describe the privately run community sentences, as it's definitely not probation"It was subsequently retweeted by shadow justice minister Jo Stevens MP, adding:-
"Met #probation officer in a CRC today who told me exact same thing. CRC owners simply don't understand probation"
So, if it's definitely not probation, what is it? The answer probably lies in all that carefully-crafted new management-speak crap that appears on each CRC website, indeed like this fine example from Seetec Justice. Note particularly how the word 'probation' is never mentioned, oh and all that obligatory swadling about "Our skilled staff are our greatest asset" yeah, right:-
Community Rehabilitation has undergone a revolution in recent times and we have emerged from it leaner and more focused on who we are and what we do. In KSS CRC this means we believe that service users are at the heart of the rehabilitation journey and we will work with them and support them to change. Change is evident from the word go, as we reject the ‘offender’ label that only serves to perpetuate stereotypes. Rehabilitation is by its very nature about new starts, not easy to do when saddled with that burden. Our ethos is that this is a journey only service users can take; it is their problems that need to be resolved so it must be their solution. This is the theory that underpins the My Solution Rehabilitation Programme, a delivery model grounded in What Works, combining strong social work practice with clear messages about responsibility to themselves, their families and society. Our skilled staff are our greatest asset and they work across many different functions either directly or in partnership with others to create opportunities for service users to grasp.
New technology plays an ever-increasing part in our daily lives, never more so than at work, and this is true at KSS CRC. However the technology we are creating is different than that which has gone before, simply because it is ours; we are creating it, it is there to serve our purposes and it is designed to respond and evolve according to our needs. Our new systems enhance what our skilled staff do, not replace them; it engages service users not alienates them and above all it will be user friendly. We believe that the job is tough enough, without having to battle outmoded and onerous electronic systems.
Our attitude is one of optimism and purpose, in a world where the former can sometimes be in short supply. We believe that staff should be free to focus on the work their role demands and we support this through a clear command structure with a hierarchy that delegates responsibility appropriately and without micro-management. In short we believe that managers manage and practitioners practice, both ably supported by a capable and agile administrative function. Our purpose is clearly articulated at every level of our organisation; we are here to reduce reoffending and through that, protect the public.
We engage with those around us in different organisations who share this aim because we know that together we are more effective and deliver better value for communities. Through collaborative working we aim to increase our reach and speed up the rehabilitative journey so that service users become responsible citizens sooner. Naturally this brings us into contact with all those whose purpose it is to resolve problems associated with families, attitudes, health, money, substance misuse, work and homes. These organisations enhance not replace what we do, adding value to the efforts of service users as they begin the process of change.
The challenge has been clearly set out by Government and we will stand or fall by the results we achieve, but we are confident by investing in that which we know works and by focusing on our core values, we can meet this challenge and become a top-performing Community Rehabilitation Company.
Meanwhile, the reality:-
Been in probation nearly 20 years in various roles/areas. It is heart breaking to witness such a swift, mindless destruction of a public service that wasn't broken. Now each day a continual slurry of emails: missing information, complaints, a sheer waste. We are bombarded with demands/threats on a daily basis for explanations re targets. Good staff treated appallingly, have already left or fighting on. Everyone in this team, what's left of it, looking for another job. A miserable, oppressive state of affairs - no doubt precisely the view of these so called politicians as to how our experience of labour should be. Where is this leading?