Sunday, 23 October 2016

Guest Blog 61

The Joys of Learning the E3 Way

How many of you will remember attending interesting and stimulating training sessions, which in some cases, changed the way we worked together and with clients; and in some cases, changed how we viewed the world of Criminal Justice. A fond memory is that of the 'M62 Club' or more correctly known as the Forensic Psychiatric Interest Group. 

I learned so much and networked with other professionals across psychiatric provision and the secure hospitals, from Leeds to Manchester, Prestwich and Liverpool. Those were the days of enlightenment. However, now as a member of the Civil Service, I find myself wondering what in-service training and development is all about?

Now, bear in mind that we are discouraged from visiting prisons, even when just down the road, or doing any unnecessary journeys in our cars, due to the cost implications, I was completely thrown by the distances I may have to travel in order to complete mandatory training.

Much of this training starts with a boring and tedious on line interactive test, following the completion of a work book. Mandatory training in Adult/Child Safeguarding, and Domestic Abuse are then scored, and once passed, you need to secure a place in a classroom, presumably to build on what appears to be very basic theories and principles.

We seem to be receiving continuous requests by e-mail to complete this learning; and due to warnings that we are being watched, to see how many of us are actually accessing equip and other Civil Service sites, I decided I needed to give it a whirl. So a group of us, one of whom had successfully negotiated their way through the Civil Service site, onto the 'catalogue' we searched for a vacancy on the 2 day course. 

We work in a Northern Town so we deliberately looked for venues within our reach, ie within a 100 mile radius given it is a journey to be made on two consecutive days. The nearest, was 50 miles away, but it was full; and when we reviewed all available northern venues, they were all full. The available dates, up until January 2017, were all between 200 - 400 miles round trip, not in my opinion suitable to join, without the need for an overnight stay.

Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the need to keep up to speed with events, theories and practice, and to be accountable for my own learning, practice and responsibilities. However, I question the wisdom and the ethics of a system of personal development, which seemingly inefficiently runs at the expense of front line work - the bread and butter, our raison d'etre' including face to face people work, engaging with clients, their families and their communities.


An example of the daily nonsense within NPS:-

National Delius Release 3.1 Training


Colleagues; NPS ICT Training Specialist supported teleconference briefings to support Release 3.1 have commenced.

Briefing Schedule

Briefings via telephone conferences have been scheduled to take place from the 2nd through to the 16th September 2016. The following training sessions are available to book onto Nationwide:

Region Type Times

All NPS Divisions from 01.09.16 Telephone Conference/Presentation 09:30-10:30
Telephone Conference/Presentation 11:00-12:00
Telephone Conference/Presentation 15:00-16:00

On Line Self Learning

Additionally I am pleased to announce that if you are unable to join any of the above an alternative is now available via an on-line ‘self learning’ interactive powerpoint presentation, which can be used on your own to familiarise yourself with the changes.

How do I book onto the Training?

Telephone Conference Bookings should be made by Line Managers using Phoenix via OLM (Oracle Learning Management). 
Information on booking is detailed below. On-line ‘Self Learning’ can be accessed by selecting “NDelius R3.1” and clicking on the following link: 

Information for Managers:

1. Log into Phoenix
2. Select Manager Self Service
3. Select the relevant staff member to be booked onto the training
4. Select Manage Learner Action
5. Click on Catalogue in the top right
6. Select National Probation Service (NPS)
7. Select Local Training (and not National Training)
8. Select Next Page until you find NPS (Local) – Local Staff Development
9. Select NPS (Local) – Local Staff Development and select either:

NPS (Local) – Local Staff Development – Briefing (These are for teleconferences)

10. Click on the relevant Course (eg MSS NPS IT – NDelius Rel 3.1 TeleConf)
11. Click Enrol on the right next to the course chosen
12. Click Review
13. Click Submit

Further details on accessing and using OLM can be found on My Services

What happens next?

Those members of staff that have enrolled on a supported teleconference, Joining Instructions will be sent to you prior to the telephone conference training which will include the following:

Details of conference call number for Tele-conferencing training;
How to Join and Rules of Tele-conferencing;
Quick tips on how to View/Print and follow a powerpoint presentation.

For further advice or assistance - Contact your Divisional NPS ICT Training Specialist(s) at: ICT.Training[your division]


  1. Fixed to the wall on your right (or left in some cases) will be a bracket with a moving roller. On that roller (usually wooden, sometimes plastic) will be a cardboard spindle around which is wound a length of paper; that paper is perforated along its length into regular, handy-sized sheets...

    1. Who will take the credit for this amazing new invention?

  2. 1984 immediately springs to mind. This is sadly the reality. I feel slightly hysterical reading this. How on earth do we configure in the time and head space to negotiate another level of imposed unnecessary bureaucracy?

  3. Oh, and more essential, mandatory training-parole and oral hearing stuff! I conceed th is would be helpful, but none of us can access the justice academy website! More reminders arriving every week to get it done! We are told we can log in using free standing PC's in the office- we don't have one! Some guys arrived last month with an all singing, dancing photocopier and scanner, plumbed it in, and our fax and PC hasn't worked since! The solution it seems, is to do the work on your home PC, really? I work with someone who doesn't even own a mobile phone, so how can she get equal access to learning and self development? We have been told we will soon be receiving lap tops, one per office, but no expected date of arrival! Needless, to say, once I've done the on line stuff, I will once again be hunting high and low for a classroom, to complete the training! Croak of white!

  4. My hudl doesn't let me cuss- meant shite!

  5. Sounds like NPS is in a sorry state too. At CRC things were still working ..ish at BGSW CRC up until about a year ago. Then they did away with a perfectly usable system My HR, which we could use to quickly fill in our timesheets and request leave or toil and brought back old methods that take ages to complete and then swap some managers around and no one knows what the hell is going on.offices move, phone numbers change constantly, new system or person for pool car booking. Call WL IT to report that you have problems with delius and they just log it and ask you to call your CRC IT team who are rapidly shrinking. staff leaving on a weekly basis and their tasks having to be swallowed by someone else. And- that is before the major cuts we are now facing! Try to transfer a case to another area, good luck with that! No more joined up system, all using different e mail providers so can't just tap in a name anymore. What happened to napo directory? London CRC apparently needing that new wall mounted invention alot these days! Any more news? Training? What is that? A rare commodity these days! Remember all the great training we used to have from experienced probation officers who had earned their stripes moving around within the organisation? If I think back to the training I have had over my career, the courses I can actually remember what would stand out would be this:
    A trainer who inspires respect through broad knowledge and experience that relates to your organisation.
    a common objective and ownership. All staff owning a way of working and feeling enthusiastic in taking it forward and making it work.
    Putting the service user/ public at the heart of what we do.
    This could also apply to the pre-requisites of any functioning organisation.

    1. Jim Wilson was the best trainer. His knowledge and passion for Probation was infectious. Learnt so much from him, thank you Jim.

    2. My thoughts exactly! A lovely man who was modest yet so knowledgeable. He was still training up until quite recently. CRC have lost so much by not training up new pdople like Jim and allowing others to leave. I hope you are reading this jim because ladt time I saw you i told you about this blog!

    3. Sorry about smart phone spelling!

  6. Probation Officer23 October 2016 at 10:25

    Are you all deluded? If the NPS was interested in staff trading and development it wouldn't be replacing qualified PO's with PSO's. Nor would it have just replaced the previous sub-standard PQF PO training with the far worse PQiP PO training.

    Training in the NPS cannot really be called training. You'll see various training advertised on the civil service website we're directed too by various 'NPS Communications' emails, simply so they can blame us for not accessing or implementing training when something goes wrong. It's either online tick box rubbish or a self read workbook/document that doesn't tell you anything new. If you manage to get onto a classroom based training it will be a PowerPoint presentation (not training) by NOMS trainers who can or won't say anything more than the script in front of them.

  7. Sounds like the Programmes that you have "successfully" run for many years.

    1. Probation Officer23 October 2016 at 16:48

      Actually no probation officers worth their salt will tell you offending behaviour programmes are "successful"!

  8. How many NPS/CRC Trainers are there left?

    1. I heard they were planning to reduce them.

      From one to less than one.

    2. Who is the 1? There is no one if you mean bgsw crc and nps! Jim wilson has said a final farewell and deserves a rest. He ran the last risk training course over a year ago and nothing since. Completely inadequate and quite frankly danderous to leave new staff without such training, particularly the pso's hived off to the hub to 'remote manage' over the phone! Diabolical mess !

  9. If you didn't watch it last week, then "Who's spending Britons millions" on BBC 2 at 6pm tonight is a must watch.
    We know outsourcing is a rip off, but some might be shocked at content of this programme.


    1. Yes, i saw this but i think it is just tip of the iceberg. What about the tax credits company that has been closed down after ripping prople off and the company responsible for pip? They are being allowed to break the law to make profits for shareholders. This is corruption on an epic scale but the government are suppressing it. Who is going to lift the lid and expose the whole rotten mess?

    2. The tax credits fiasco is a scandal, but hasn't Concentrix, who's just had their contracts pulled on tax credits been awarded the contract to take over from ATHOS for disability assessments?
      Outsourcing to the government is what Phillip Green was to BHS.
      I'm pretty sure the government know that's true too.


    3. I simply cannot understand why this isn't hitting the headlines more! I know there have been documentaries but why not in the national news? I can only think that the BBC have been silenced by the government!

    4. Because probation is not sexy or cool, and is no longer respected by other agencies/services. In short, nobody cares!

  10. Have not been on any Nationally Mandated training since 2014. Cannot find my way round the Phoenix system. I get told to look on this site or that site and cannot find them, cannot get on them when I do, cannot access the right page should I actually find them and finally cannot find any relevant training in the mass of pointless programmes when I do. Its a bit shit really.