Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

It should be no surprise to anyone that there's now a desperate shortage of qualified, experienced probation staff nationwide on both sides of the great divide. Some weeks ago NPS began a fruitless nationwide search for 900 staff and an attempt to encourage desertion of qualified staff from the CRCs. Such is the stress of life under the dead hand of civil service rule that many experienced staff are either jumping ship, off sick, retiring early or choosing to take advantage of harmonised maternity rights if in a position to do so. 

For some strange reason senior management don't seem to understand why the prospect of no continuation of service and starting at the bottom of the salary scale is proving somewhat less of a draw than expected. Instead, all over the country experienced staff on both sides of the divide are choosing to gain some control over their extremely poor working conditions and prospects and go freelance on temporary contracts through specialised agencies. You hand your notice in one day and four weeks later, start back at work, often amongst the same colleagues, but financially and emotionally much better off. It's a trend that began as soon as TR began, but it's now turning into an effective but disgraceful spiral of casualistion of the whole profession. 

With a burst of effusive nonsense on social media, Interserve entered into the fruitless search for staff yesterday:-  

Biggest recruitment drive announced
04 September 2017

Interserve’s justice business is launching its biggest recruitment drive since being formed almost three years ago, as the company seeks to recruit a total of more than 30 probation case managers. The company is committed to providing the best possible service to people on probation.

Ian Mulholland, Interserve’s director of justice, said: “I am delighted to be announcing details of the recruitment drive and encourage anyone interested in learning more about the exciting positions to explore what we have on offer. We are committed to building a great work environment, which we believe will in turn result in a great experience for our service users. Our aim is to rehabilitate ex-offenders and protect the public. The jobs on offer are tremendously rewarding because they will enable successful applicants to support people to make positive changes to their lives.”


Welcome to the recruitment site for Interserve’s justice business. We’re looking to add to the team and have some fantastic roles that we believe you will find interesting. Our aim is to rehabilitate ex-offenders. We believe this is the best way to protect the public from further crime. Probation is a challenging profession, but it is also tremendously rewarding to support people to make positive changes to their lives.

We are committed to building a great work environment, which in turn creates a positive experience for our service users. We look forward to hearing from you.

Ian Mulholland 
Director of Justice

Our Future

In 2015 we won a bid to transform probation services across five areas in England. Since then we’ve not looked back.We’re changing people’s lives for the better, working with service users in a different, more personalised way and liberating staff from their desks and paperwork by streamlining processes and making better use of community facilities. Our vision is to have a whole system approach to supporting safer communities and preventing crime by stimulating new approaches to reduce re-offending at a local level.

We’re very passionate about redefining the future for people and places, not just for service users and the community, but for you too. For example, we’re forging ahead with a brand new CRC-specific senior rehabilitation practitioner qualification which means more doors will open for highly experienced and able staff to fulfil their career aspirations in probation.

With the help of our colleagues and partner agencies including the Police, Child Protection and Social Services, we’ve learnt and achieved so much but now, with new technology in place and by focusing on making sure our workforce have the right mix of skills and knowledge to make our vision a reality, we can start towards providing an even better service and we’d love you to join us.

Case Manager - Probation

Are you someone who loves to challenge the norm, change things for the better and really make a genuine difference? Then consider a job in probation.

What's involved in the job?

There are many facets to being a great Case Manager but ultimately it boils down to your ability to build rapport and facilitate change, however intensive or flexible that needs to be. You’ll engage with lower to medium-risk service users to ensure they understand and comply with their court requirements, as well as motivate them to make positive life choices. You’ll deliver a mixture of group-work and motivational techniques to do this, whilst also checking-in with them regularly on a one to one basis to offer support and signpost personal and community-based opportunities to learn and give back.

Who you’ll be.

Whatever job history you’ve got, your aptitude for creating personal plans and facilitating well-being and social inclusion will definitely be called upon, as will your people skills and ability to engage with vulnerable or at-risk people. But some of the most important qualities stem from life skills - we’ll be looking for people who are resilient, with an empathetic, committed, innovative, tenacious and supportive approach, and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure our service users are empowered to go out and live a purposeful life.

Your tools for success.

We will support you every step of the way, so alongside a comprehensive training programme we’ll supply you with a new laptop and smart phone, facilitating an agile working practice so you can meet the needs of our service users as best you can – even if that means working outside of normal office hours.

Our employees have been instrumental in making the service transformation work and we’re appreciative of their dedication, input and knowledge now and going forward. So we listen, always.

Senior Case Manager - Probation

What we'll expect.

As you’ll know first-hand, helping someone turn their life around is immensely rewarding, especially with the harder to reach, higher risk and more complex cases which you’ll be supervising to enforce the sentence of the court. Using the Interchange Model you’ll complete assessments, apply risk management principles, plan supervision and deliver specialist interventions to help our service users make their lives the best they can.

In terms of the bigger picture, you’ll also be pivotal to the success of your team - using your experience and knowledge to solve problems and improve ways of working, coaching and mentoring case managers to help them meet the rehabilitation goals of their own cases, whilst fostering good working relationships with partner suppliers and community resources. Your experience and connections may mean that you’re able to recognise and develop non-core probation opportunities that service users can benefit from, which we’ll wholeheartedly support. It’s a challenging job, but also rewarding and stimulating which you’ll thrive on.

What you can expect.

To help you adapt to the new way of working, we will support you every step of the way with an excellent mentorship programme, and we’ll also supply you with a new laptop and smart phone facilitating an agile/flexible working practice so you can meet the needs of our service users as best you can – even if that means working outside of standard office hours. We’re always willing to listen to your ideas about developing the services we offer outside of core probation work.

For your personal career aspirations, we’re there for you too, offering chances to flex, learn and hone your skills in other areas of their business. We’ll listen to what you want from the organisation and promote beneficial training and development opportunities to make sure you excel as a probation professional with Interserve. Join us on our journey today and fulfil your own career aspirations.


But it's the specialised agencies where all the action is. There are jobs all over the country and this is typical from Red Snapper:-

We are looking for Probation Officers in NPS South West
£23.47 p/hWe are looking for Probation Officers in NPS South West

Criminal Justice skills are a niche recruitment agency, who provide staffing services to the offender management and criminal justice sectors. Our agency is recruiting for experienced Probation Officers to work in community teams in South West England. We are seeking experienced Probation Officers who can confidently manage their own caseload of Offenders to include high risk cases.

Vacancies are available in:

Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Court Team

Please state your preferred location on application. Your duties will include:

  • Writing Pre-Sentence Reports
  • Preparation of reports for court
  • Updating offender records on the electronic system
  • Managing and enforcing community orders and monitoring attendance
  • Completing breach reports
  • Court duty as required
You will need to possess good IT skills and be able to ensure work is completed accurately within the timescales required. You will be able to multi-agency work to ensure the needs of the offender are supported. You will be able to communicate effectively with others including Court staff and Offenders and have the ability to develop productive working relationships with other agencies and your team. A current DBS is required for this role, which we can process for you, along with a relevant qualification - DipPS, DipSW, CQSW or equivalent of another Probation or Social Work related qualification.

If you would like to be considered for this position and have the relevant experience, then please send your CV to charmain.barbour@redsnappergroup.co.uk

Alternatively if this role is not for you but you do know somebody who would be interested please refer them. We have a referral bonus scheme and will pay out £75 for any referrals who are not already known to us. Due to the high volume of applications received, if you do not hear from us within 7 working days, I am afraid your application has been unsuccessful.


The position is the same in the North. This from Reed:-

NPS Probation Officers required - Merseyside
£24.00 - £26.19 per hour
Contract, full-time

Servoca resourcing is a recruitment organisation that specialises in placing people in to temporary and permanent roles within the criminal justice system. We have recently won a national contract to provide Probation staff in to temporary contracts within the NPS across England and Wales. We are currently seeking experienced Probation Officers for a number of temporary contracts initially for 3 months, these contracts will be based across a number of offices in the Merseyside area.

Your duties will include:
  • Carrying out risk assessments in order to protect the public for further offending
  • Liaising with outside agencies to assist rehabilitation
  • Managing a caseload of high risk offenders
A current DBS processed through ourselves will be required for these roles, as well as along with a relevant qualification - DipPS, DipSW, CQSW If you would like to be considered for this position and have the relevant experience, then please apply below.

Due to the high volume of applications received, if you do not hear from us within 7 working days, I am afraid your application has been unsuccessful. Servoca Resourcing Solutions is acting as an Employment Business in relation to this vacancy. We are an equal opportunity employer with a diverse workforce. We provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and specialise in criminal justice skills related roles.


Interestingly, there are currently vacancies for HMI's as well:-

10 Probation Inspectors Wanted

HM Inspectors

Contract type: We are offering these posts on a three-year secondment or three-year fixed term contract. In exceptional circumstances we may also be able to offer a permanent contract.

MOJ Pay: £42,454 – £61,649 – Grade 7, Grade 6, MoJ Band A

Closing date: 23:55 – Monday 25th September 2017

We are now recruiting for HM Inspectors, and we warmly welcome applications from minority ethnic and/or Welsh speaking candidates. We are looking for up to 10 HM Inspectors to start in the Spring 2018. The option of part‑time or jobshare contracts can be discussed individually.

HM Inspectors (HMIs) play a key role in our adult and youth offending inspections. As an Inspector you will lead inspections in a designated sector [National Probation Service, Community Rehabilitation Companies, Youth Offending Teams] and be responsible for the assessment of the organisation being inspected, including making recommendations for the rating they receive.

HMIs are responsible for the planning, fieldwork and preparation of the report for each inspection and are accountable for the judgements, rating, grading and recommendations arising from the inspection.

Proven strong relationship-building skills, at a senior management level, as well as the ability to produce clear well written reports to tight deadlines are essential for this role. You will also need to have experience of assessing the quality of work being delivered to those who have offended, a good level of IT skills, and the personal resilience and stamina to spend regular periods of time away from home.

Key Responsibilities

  • Lead inspections in a designated sector of probation or youth offending work, taking responsibility for planning, fieldwork and the preparation of reports
  • Be responsible for the assessment of organisations being inspected, including making recommendations for the rating they receive
  • Be accountable for judgements, ratings, gradings and any recommendations arising from the inspection
  • Lead and facilitate meetings with senior managers and staff from probation and youth sectors, as well as staff from partnership organisations.
  • Analyse and interpret data to make judgements and facilitate the writing of high quality reports
  • Lead and contribute to discussions about inspection findings with colleagues in the MoJ, HMPPS, YJB and other relevant organisations
  • Contribute to HMI Probation’s work on policy areas, based on inspection findings
  • Act as deputy lead, support or duty inspector as required
  • Undertake assessments of front-line practice, providing feedback to individual case managers/ responsible officers about their work
  • Undertake work on joint inspection programmes, working collaboratively with colleagues from other Inspectorates
  • Recognise and promote diversity issues in all aspects of work
  • Undertake other work as allocated by HM Chief Inspector


  1. Don't forget the plaintive plea for POs on LinkedIn from John Wiseman, head of BGSW and DDC, and his whinge that the NPS are poaching staff - posted here a few weeks ago.

  2. I was explaining all of this to my mother - she couldn't see how I was still working as a main grade employed PO when agency options are so good. I was explaining how, right now, I am able to work on a specialist scheme that interests me, and as agency this is work I'd not be able to do - but the second this finishes I'm gone

  3. For any qualified Probation Officer the NPS are the only credible, public service employer. Adverts for private operators do not/ cannot respect the P.O qualification. You will never be referred to as Probation Officer and ur future will be unpredictable. Despite starting at the beginning in NPS u will be respected as a professional Court Officer and given full responsibility for ur case load including enforcement action. You will not be required to consider profit over service delivery. It's a long term decision to return to NPS but necessary if people want recognition, stability and some kind of pension when u retire. The CRCs will always be inferior private operators financially driven. Privatisation of Probation was a social experiment built on ideology. Who knows where its future lies but decent, hard working staff can make decisions to safeguard their future in the NPS. Conditions are no worse in NPS but its future is likely to be more secure. Move while u have the option.

    1. Yeah, come and work for the Civil Service where those at the top would have difficulty pouring piss out of a boot even if the instructions were printed on the sole!

    2. Or take a risk, hang on where you are, in the hope they put the service back together and get TUPE'd across on your existing terms and conditions.

  4. Some of us at the time of the split were not given a choice and left to do other things

  5. Probation officers. The biggest losers with the public pay cap.


    1. The losers
      Probation Officers

      Probation officers have seen their pay fall a whopping 20% in five years. Napo, the probation service union, says its members have been hit particularly hard by the 2010 public sector pay cap.

      Katie Lomas, Napo's vice chair says changes to pay increments means it now takes 23 years for a new officer to reach the next pay bracket. The pay increments officers received three times a year were reduced to one - but remained at just under 1%.

      "Because of the pay freeze most probation officers have given up hope of ever seeing the top of the pay scale. We are seeing people leave the sector because it does not pay like it used to. It was seen as a professional job and a probation officer could have a mortgage and provide for a family on a single income but that is not the case anymore and we see colleagues struggling with day to day living costs."

    2. I looked at that calculator and it suggests PO wages fell 26% in the last year - now I know things have been tough but I don't think it was that bad!! It was suggesting average salary of about £24,500 (down from over £30k) which is well below the starting pay of a PO so I think something is wrong there.

      Katie Lomas is absolutely right that I have given up hope of ever getting to the top of the pay scale though - 15 years in and it just feels further away every year! I'll never understand how they can weasel out of giving us annual increments which are supposed to be contractual.

    3. Because they are cheating, lying, duplicitous bastards with zero conscience, zero compassion & zero ability beyond lookng after their own wants & needs... shorthand = SGBs, aka Selfish Greedy Bullies.

    4. Nothing new under the sun. From script 'Madness of King George':

      "These are the nation's representatives.
      Some come to Parliament in the hope that they might serve
      their country.
      But most of them, being human, are here to fill their pockets."

  6. Agency staff are up to £200 a week worse off if they work for NPS because of a new tax law introduced this April (IR35) that prevents private limited personal service companies contracting with the public sector. NPS can't recruit permanent staff and now they're also struggling to get temps.

    1. I think the government have shot themselves in the foot with the new IR35 tax law.


    2. Hahahahahahahahaha! Unless you're a senior civil servant or 'spad' cashing in on your previous policy work & contacts by selling yourself to the private sector; or simply a Minister or MP just cashing in. Can't have common creatures having access to the pot of gold, what! what!
      Check out Private Eye's Revolving Doors feature for starters.

    3. Or you're a Probation Officer temping for a CRC and they want to keep you because of your previous experience and they offer you a permanent job at the top of the salary scale. I know someone that this has happened to. Their philosophy is that the work might be shit but the money is good. The whole thing stinks and I think it will be the staffing crisis that will force change rather than SFO's, failed contracts etc etc. Good post Jim!

  7. Just keeps getting worse folks. I will have to start looking for another job very soon ( CRC has had its day )