Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Probation and Domestic Violence

Seen on Facebook:-

Any thoughts on MARAC meetings?! We've just been told that we'll no longer have a MARAC SPOC and we'll go to a PO rota for attendance. That's so wrong and yet again no one is listening to practitioners, this decision serves monetary gain and is not about saving lives from domestic abuse. ROTA's vs SPOC's! I've experienced the horror of ROTA's when those before you, can't be bovvered to turn up - now those same people are now SPOs demanding that you all turn up for those same meetings!

It's not a rota. The national guidance says that POs attend for their own case. The rationale behind it being that NPS only manages 5% of all cases in MARAC so the idea is that you send the expert on that case to the meeting and don't have a generic officer covering all cases in MARAC.

Sorry but we are being told it's a PO rota, it's being sold to us as a different PO each month who is dependant on others feedback. I've been through this all before and made it work (those that refused to attend are now managers) Sorry buts that's the current non alignment of services horror show. It's a rota in our area - named PO's each month is a rota.

Point me towards that policy wording and I'll gladly take it further.

I have been attending MARAC as an SPO for about 11 years and still do as a CRC SPO. The NPS SPO attendance post-split started as chaotic although more recently has been stable with the current NPS SPO being spot on. However, I heard at the last meeting about the issue you are describing which seems to have been decided at short notice and announced to the NPS SPO the day before that they are not required to attend and a PO managing the case will do so. In addition, no historic information will be shared, only current cases.

This is dangerous for a number of reasons, not least that new cases may still be at the court stage with no 'responsible' person from a probation perspective. Furthermore, guidance from SafeLives (previously CAADA) has always been that representatives at MARAC should be at a sufficiently high enough level of management to be able to commit on behalf of their agency and ensure actions are taken. Hardly likely if a PO (or PSO) is the representative. 

Finally, SafeLives guidance states the following - Chairing the MARAC : Who should Chair the MARAC? The MARAC steering group should decide on who is most appropriate to chair the MARAC and, ideally, who should act as Deputy Chair. These decisions should be included in the MARAC Operating Protocol. The Chair should fulfil specific duties at MARAC and guidance is available in SafeLives’ aide memoire for Chairs. In most areas the best placed person to fulfil these requirements is the Detective Inspector from the Public Protection Unit, or a Senior Probation Officer. This is because they have an understanding of, and responsibility for, public protection. We would normally recommend that the Chair identifies the deputy, either a ranking officer within the police or perhaps from another agency around the table such as probation or children’s services, where this representative has experience in chairing public protection meetings and also has the authority to hold other agencies to account. 

Should the NPS do what they appear to have decided, they will never have an NPS SPO deputy chair as they don't intend to turn up whilst the CRC representation in my patch remains constant at present although subject to change given we are the private sector and there may be no profit in it other than to maintain our professional reputation as a public protection agency. And of course to get one over on the 'experts' in the NPS.

Areas appear to be inconsistent. We had and have someone who used to attend MARAC, the cases coming up she's knows all about because of this knowledge. I'm CRC and all we've been told is that it will be a PO rota attendance based on gathering Information from all case managers.That's never worked and in this area, is dangerous.

The thing is, everyone is talking about Probation policy etc. What about MARAC protocol?! They have confidentiality protocols that mean that any service, inc Social Services and Probation have ONE named representative and a backup (in case that person is unavailable), so I don't understand why MARAC are even allowing this?!

MARAC can't really stop it as they are non stat and therefore don't have the power that MAPPA do to make demands. I agree that the non sharing of historical information is risky and will be absolutely hammered in a domestic homicide review but apparently it was based on research on the info shared which showed that all we tended to share was previous convictions (which the police provide anyway) and the risks posed on termination. If you are NPS then the document is the new national MARAC framework which is on Equip I believe

I'm MARAC SPOC and did not just share previous convictions! For NPS there is always around 4 current cases to share progress, arrange professional meetings etc then there were the pending Court cases with all the DV info for the report authors, in general it was also about contributing to an overall risk management plan in a multi disciplinary setting, invaluable in my opinion. I find this move an utter embarrassment for the Service, not just for MARAC but for IOM and SVPP/Bronze meetings, I wonder what the other services will think? Also, it has massive implications re: risk. Nothing to do with efficiency as far as I'm concerned and much more to do with freeing space on the WLMT.

I don't doubt that there were people who shared loads more information I'm just saying that is the research behind it apparently. Like you I think the lack of information sharing is crazy I was just sharing information not passing judgement.

I've been a SPOC for about two years. I don't get relief for it so I want out. No one wants to take it over though.


  1. If either the manager or the probation officer attends then isn't the job done? MAPPA works well enough with probation officers attending individually. It's great to have a SPOC role for the scraps off the management table unless you're SPOC. These days there's a SPOC role for everything and here we are moaning that one has gone. I say give the SPOC roles back to the SPO's and let them stop delegating their responsibilities to us. Managers are paid to be a 'single point of contact' and sit in these meetings. This is reflected in their job descriptions and they get the workload relief.

  2. Apalling. There is an academic and political debate on the go about gender, the veracity of the Duluth model, the global priority to tackle Violence agasint women and girls, the rights and needs of the LGBT community in this agenda, the need to address male victims of DV, and still, still, two women are murdered every week. Probation should have been and would have been, leading this political, theoretical and practice conversation. Instead TR has severed the probation professional community, sited the majority of DV work in the "low to medium risk" category (scandalous) and we are reduced to bickering about who covers the MARACs

  3. Anyone spot the link between the bullying & controlling behaviours of nps/crc/noms & the bullying & controlling behaviours of DV perpetrators?

    impose your will, rubbish your victim's arguments, disenfranchise them, limit their finances, isolate them, remove networks of support, place unreasonable demands upon them, keep changing 'the rules', blame them, punish them disproportionately for alleged 'misdemeanours', maintain a culture of fear, etc, etc.

  4. My view is that quite a few of these so called low and medium risk dv offenders are probably high or will prove to be high in the future. We are sitting on a time bomb at crc. There should be spot checks by an independent inspector to examine some of these cases. I have risk escalated a few but following sentence nps make the initial risk assessment and there are a few times i have felt their decidion is wrong. Sure enough as things unfold i see that i have a very unpredictable person who could erupt st any time. As for the bullying comment i quite agree. I have also raised the issue of dv offenders using their female officers to vent their fury\basically emotional abuse. Luckily my spo has been supportive when i have challenged dv offenders who try to use me as an emotionsl punch bag. No real impact studies on the effect working with so many dv cases has on wellbeing
    Our employers have a duty of care and this encompasses emotional as well as physical care.