Friday, 22 April 2016

Probation Realities 2



I left my post because of targets. I could see that meeting the target and getting the payment was the only goal. Innovative ways of working and helping clients to change was not even considered. Examples of fraudulent behaviour included; 
  • a programme was deleted from Delius towards end of the Order, as it had not been completed, and would have been a 'failure', (it had been taken back to court for amendment but the magistrates had refused to remove it), it was not uncommon to have 20 or more acceptable absences as breaching the order may have led to a resentence: another failure,
  • clients not recalled on licence when they commit new offences as this would be a failure! 
  • pretending clients stayed with 'family or friends' on first night of release in order to meet TTG target. 
Working like this became too stressful, and combined with the other pressures of a high case load; 
  • staff sickness, 
  • the threat of what would happen when it became apparent that some of my clients would not complete their programme or UPW (resulting in more failures, and less payment), 
  • the frustration there were no agencies to send them to, to complete their RAR days,
  • the fear of an SFO and the guilt of knowing there was a seriously injured or worse victim, but also knowing that I would have my work scrutinised, and it would be found wanting, as I didn't have enough time to get to know my clients properly, and knowing that management would not back me, 
  • completing OASys in 10 days, 
  • breaches within 8 days,
all became to much. It became a choice of my health and integrity v a monthly pay cheque, my health and integrity won and I now feel like a burden has been lifted from me.

******
Agree. It's ludicrous. We have case loads in excess of 115% no time to see offenders and do what we should be doing. Simply too much work. Yet they want us to fanny about with yet another stupid system that probably is unfit for purpose. These people are just so distanced from the coal face. Don't even get me talking about the ARMS training. 3 hours to complete the assessment. Get real people. Who dreams this shite up?

******
Does it really matter as it won't make any difference! I will still be struggling just to get to the end of the working week, feeling increasingly under pressure and impossible to do all the tasks required to manage a caseload of DV. Worrying about what I'll find they have been up to when I get in on the morning and whether my contacts and OASys will bear scrutiny because everything so rushed. Who will be off sick and how many of their cases I will need to see. Sounds familiar?

******
In a CRC someone who has zero experience of carrying a caseload and who is not PO trained has become a manager. How is this possible? What qualifies them to manage and give advice to PO/PSOs when they've never done the job? Spent warnings (that were questionable in the first place) being used to deny someone a post. Admin all having to apply for posts and then finding out they've not been successful despite doing the job for years. All leaves a bad taste.

51 comments:

  1. I've just been seconded to one of the new age open plan offices as admin. Basically homeless as our new office isn't ready yet so I have a taste of things to come. It is so noisy when all the booths are occupied and you can hear every word, from people discussing their love life and private personal matters, to the person sobbing their heart out. It reminded me of a pub where noise levels increase as more people arrive and try and make themselves heard. Normally this has been discussed in private type interview booths, and having now sat in an adjacent office to the booths understand why our Officers are going off with stress. To listen to this day in day out and then have to cope with increasing workloads just would burn most people out. Great respect to you all this just cannot work long term.

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  2. Can anyone answer this question. Who actually came up with this crack-pot idea of open interview booths? I don't think when the bids were written that this idea was transported through pyschic visions of how we were going to deliver services written into all of the 21 CRC bids!!!!
    I have well and truly been put off my cornflakes now by reading 7.05

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  3. There has to be job losses in probation because of budgetary constraints. There must be efficiencies and that's why the private sector are involved because they know how to get value for money. There must be pay restraint, because we are all in this together. Some call it neoliberalism, but surely it's just plain commonsense.

    Excellent article on the limits of neoliberalism when it comes to farming. Large EU subsidies are pocketed by wealthy landowners and 67% want to stay in the EU. Spending on farm subsidies is 50bn a year, that's 38% of the entire EU budget. Unlike industry and the public services – whether health, education or justice – who have to face the rigours and rapacious private sector who as the propaganda goes, do everything better, farming is a special case. Free trade does not apply: they can dump their surplus food onto Third World markets, just as the Chinese do with steel, thereby destroying local economies and production.

    I don't think that farming is more special than health, education, justice and local employment. These farming subsidies are on a Soviet scale and landowners are reaping millions annually. The myth is that economics is always about living within means, that expenditure must always represent value for money and that the way to achieve this is through lively competition. But the truth is that economics is about political choices and powerful lobby groups, like the 2% who own 75% of the land.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2016/apr/21/why-our-landed-gentry-are-so-desperate-to-stay-in-the-eu

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  4. You are right it can't! A manager came up to me the otber day and said 'are you absolutely sure this man is homeless since leaving prison?' Yes, i am , i replied, housing said he was not priority. 'Are you sure?'manager replied. Whoever manages targets had put him down as housed! I stuck to my guns.'he is living on the steet and cones in with all his street stuff in a bag, looking scruffy, yed i am sure'.most probation staff have integrity, this was viewed as an asset. My integrity is now seen as a negative. I am supposed to change fta's unacceptable to acceptable abscence to meet targets and avoid breach. I am not happy about this! That was my decision and if managers still don't want to breach that is their problem. I am not going to lie...talk about pro social modelling..this is a joke!

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  5. Looks like the Through the Gate accomodation target will soon hit 99% ( loss of 1% with you sticking to the truth!), and it will look as though everyone leaving prison has accommodation. Faking, fiddleing and fudging figures, I hope these targets are exposed soon

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    1. Maybe there already are, but if not, perhaps the unions should be gathering and collating these examples and getting them out to the media.

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    2. This really needs to be done. Keep a record of all your cases released from prison homeless. Also, if they are housed keep a note of where. We had TTG saying people were housed where they weren't. It's a huge risk issue as their risk may not be effectively managed. Imagine they TTG tell you prisoner is going to a local homeless hostel or rehab on release but they've actually not been accepted so there is no bed and they actually have plans to stay with a friend for a night or two... who has vulnerable children... and you haven't been able to do appropriate safeguarding despite prison and prisoner being aware of these plans for weeks. Just 1 example of many. Keep a record everyone please!!! Meeting targets can kill - TTG employees need to know their actions have consequences!

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    3. Well, we won't hitting them in our area. Currently only 40 - 50% Have housing on release. Local provision has always been dire and options seem to be vanishing by the day. And then we hear this week that there has been some confusion - that Catch 22 aren't here to sort out accommodation for release - it is our job! This will remain an unreachable target in this area - 97%? No chance, Chris.

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    4. Even 40% is a lie. They're counting temporary accommodation, ie sleeping on a friends floor or sofa, as 'housed'.

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  6. In KSS PSO's able to apply for band 4 jobs.

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    1. This is not new. PSO's have always applied for band 4 VLO jobs and programmes managers jobs. I've known a few senior managers and even a chief officer that never managed a caseload. It's when unqualified PSO's are given probation officer jobs it is all over, although probably already happening in CRC's where PO's are now called 'case managers'.

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    2. how anyone can manage POs and PSOs without ever having supervised even one service user is preposterous. End of.

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    3. @ Anon 20:11 Being a manager is not the same set of skills as being a PO or PSO. Why shouldn't someone who has the talent to be a manager be able to apply for those positions? I'd rather have a good manager who didn't have PO/PSO experience than a bad manager who did (I say this as as maingrade PO and someone without any managerial ambitions whatsoever, by the way).

      Obviously they need to have sufficient knowledge of the context their staff are operating in - and that's where this current plague of managers from the CRC owners is causing problem, since they don't have a clue - but a good manager should be capable of enabling their staff to do their best, whilst also holding them to account, without necessarily having done the job themselves.

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  7. We all saw it coming. We all knew it was going to happen. They did it because they WANTED it to happen and they are content to maintain the façade. They are corrupt and self serving and have no place in public service. Vermin.

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  8. I hate being called a Responsible Officer (RO) which is how N'bria are signing letters. I am NOT an RO, I am a Probation Officer and my colleagues are Probation Officers or Probation Service Officers. I worked bloody hard to get where I am!! It again blurs the boundary of PO and PSO. IMO it's an easy way of eroding the PO. Let's give everyone the same job title so everyone can do the same job and hold the same types of case with no boundaries and therefore the same pay regardless of qualifications. In taking the word "probation" out of the equation, it makes the factory flow of ticking boxes without really helping the "Service User" as we now call them, making it all the easier for the private profiteers.

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    1. in purple futures we're all senior case managers or case managers. I'm not happy with the 'senior' bit as they only hold more complex cases infact they're not more complex they are child protection so have multi-agency meetings. No SCM in my office has anymore difficult cases than me imo anyway.

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    2. I'd be calling myself a probation officer. Read guest blog 52.

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    3. @19:13 then what are you doing about it? If you think your cases are more complex than others, and you're not being paid the same as a senior case manager, hand them back! Otherwise you're part of the problem.

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    4. @19:23 I continue to call myself a PO in emails, telephone calls, CP meetings/ reports, in fact anything I have control over. However, when the central hub does letters whether it be warnings or next appointments I am referred to as an RO. Indeed, when the hub admin put an alert on Delius requesting info for an EMC they refer to the RO so part of it is out of my control.

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  9. Im not trying to provoke anyone but I was instrumental in helping TR become a reality. I read comments on here with dismay as they're not true. All the early findings suggest TRs been a runaway success.

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    1. Your talking out your arse, its a farce and you scratch under the surface you will find very dodgy goings on.

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    2. You say that TR's been a runaway success, yet you don't know how to use apostrophes. Says it all, really.

      The reoffending data that tells us whether TR has been a success or a failure won't be available until the end of 2017 at the earliest. Unless you can provide details of the "early findings" that you cite, I put it to you that you're a liar, Anon 19:56

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    3. TR is a success on paper reality is that service users are laughing their socks off...the word is out they know a breach is a failure of targets.

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    4. The evidence may show TR is a success, but that is based on the data from delius which is fiddled. Any OM will tell you that in the CRC it is all about hitting targets, eg trying to take UPW off the order if the client will not complete it in 12 months , when the order runs for 18 months, this is an attempt at massaging the figures in order to hit targets. I'm sure every practioner can site similar examples

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    5. Srry fr th pdnts shld hv bn 'cite' lol

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    6. If TR has been such a success, why as an instrument of TR are you posting anonymously? I reckon your runaway success will benefit the community like a runaway train!

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    7. Its a clusterfuck. A bureaucratic nightmare of pointless forms endlessly repeated. A split based on a flawed concept of risk, undertaken in the face of the opposition of those who knew better. If it works at all it is due to the hours put in to mitigate the worst excessive of a fatally flawed model. Enjoy your award.

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  10. 19.56 Are you serious!!!! You are clearly not a front line officer. Hang your head in shame.

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  11. Runaway success! No doubt you are a pen pusher and live in an ivory tower where the 'little people 'beneath you flatter you and agree with everything you say. Come and do a real days work ss a po or pso for 6 months and then tell me it is a runaway success. Try actually being responsible for a caseload of domestic violence and personality disordered offenders. How would you cope with an sfo? The prisons are full of drugs, an inmate cut off his own penis at bristol prison high on spice, offenders increasingly homeless, social care and mental health in crisis, staff struggling with high caseloads and staff sickness. If you want the truth dig a bit deeper and don"t just listen to what you eant to hear. Remember the people you tresd on on your way up eill be there to greet you on your way down. The truth will come out just as it did with the banks and people who tell lies will be held to account.

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  12. Might be worth listening to "the world tonight", r4, fri 22nd: discussion about child sex offenders being asked to refer themselves to charities for intervention because Serious Crime Agency can't cope. One interviewee described NOMS as "previously known as the probation service". They then went on to describe sex offender programmes being readily available in "all probation services". They seemed to have immediately forgotten that there aren't any; nor are there any 'probation trusts'.

    Sorry I can't give the timng point.

    Even better, or just as good, was hearing Dominic Raab (justice minister) giving his considered view of Barack Obama.

    RIP Prince.

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  13. 11% increase in homicide rates which 'until the end of 2014 had been more or less continuously falling since 2003'. http://www.russellwebster.com/why-the-rise-in-recorded-violence-matters . TR likely to have been a contributing factor?

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  14. Do you know what percentage of those homicides were dv related?

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    1. No but be interesting to find out. Home Office should have the stats for that as they oversee all the Domestic Homicide Reviews. Why?

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  15. Just wondering, as with all the emphasis on dv recently these figures should be accessable. Do you think i could request these figures under freedom of information act?

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    1. Maybe. Worth a try.

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    2. You don't need a FOI – the detailed breakdown will be available soon. This from BBC:

      'As for murders and killings, the increase cannot be explained by police recording practices, but might be connected to an upturn in the economy, which means more people drinking and getting into fights or a reduction in domestic violence prevention work by cash-strapped police.
      The increases were mainly in south-east England and Wales. Alternatively, it could be a statistical quirk - with two months showing unusually high rises: we should find out when more detailed data is published next month.'

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35372940

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    3. Worth knowing how many were SFOs and compare to other years to see if TR had an impact. Where do we get those figures from?

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  16. Happy saint george's day everyone! Multicultural saint of britain, catalonia and lithuania..born in turkey and never killed a dragon or saved a princess!

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    1. The patron saint of Lithuania is the homegrown St Kasamir.
      Before anyone points out that Krakow is now in Poland, it wasn't then.
      I'll swap you Romania for Lietuva ;)

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  17. I forgot to say that saint george's day is also celebrated by christian minorities there. The white flag with ted cross that we consider on england to be a sign of 'white van man' is proudly flying today in catalonia and some parts of palestine/ Israel.

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  18. DTV CRC has bid farewell to a number of Managers in the last 4 weeks, waiting to hear where the axe may fall next. TR is anything but a success but you can be assured the Government and MOJ will do everything in its power to make a soundca success

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  19. Can anyone recommend a good book with worksheets to use in one to one work with perpetrators of dv? I have seen the respect leaflets but wanted something more in depth and practical too. Can only see one book that might fit the bill. Thanks. I'm not keen on the 'working with the dominator stuff' too hard line and telling men they are all women haters as they put it is just going to turn them right off!

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  20. Although retired for a year I do remember that the IDAP manual had a good chapter on 1-to-1 work with DV perpetrators (for use with those who for whatever reason could not do the IDAP groupwork course)... ch 18 I think.....you don't have to follow it line by line, pick the bits most suited to your case.......cheers, Bobbyjoe

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    1. Thanks. We don't use idap in bgsw crc but bbr. The waiting list for bbr can be up to a year so as you can imagine i have to get on and do something! Also if first offence,even serious, they do not meet criteria and it has to be one to one or nothing!

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  21. 23\4@19.56- how I laughed! Put your name on it so we can all be enlightened! Only success is not TR per SE,i.e positive impact and outcomes for our 'customers' aka, clients, but all that money saved, constructively dismissing huge numbers of staff! Hope you sleep at night and successfully dodge those you meet on the way down!

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  22. Yes beware the coming down. One ex manager from long ago wbo referred to drug users as junkies when she though no one of consequence listening but would pull anyone else up for being non pc has applied for pso grade at an approved premises!

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  23. The CRC manager who will be supervising staff with no case management experience or training will fit in well...do as I say and not as I do. A bit like those managers who have had experience but couldn't do the job.

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  24. PO on Twitter: Colleague just given a new role. Job not even advertised nor did they have to interview. No equal opportunities here. #NPS

    Happens all the time in my area too... always has.

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  25. Service users are getting wise/wiser! Recently asked ' are you a po or a pso,' never been asked that before! Anyone else experienced this?

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