Monday 6 September 2021

How's It All Going?

How come there is little comment on this blog on how the training that is crap e learning and caseloads are going since the merger of CRC NPS not to mention any sickness absence through stress?

I regret I cannot answer but wonder why does not Anon tell us all s/he knows rather than just hint?

I have definitely myself commented more than once on the lack of training available to staff, specifically on one to one work and skills to meaningfully address key issues such as anger/stress management, personal wellbeing and other skills. The "mandatory" e learning in child protection and domestic violence are in particular very basic and belittling. The mantra of probation today appears to be about referring the person on, either to other services, offending behaviour programmes that most have already attended, or watered down commissioned out services. I'm not against individuals working with other agencies...but I have started to question what the point of an individual actually attending probation is anymore. While a load of "exercises" have been chucked into equip, the skills based training to actually deliver meaningful supervision sessions is sorely lacking. The focus on writing parole reports and assessments using paint by numbers QA tools misses the point entirely.

HMPPS/NPS have their foot on the throats of staff - "one wrong move & we'll crush your larynx." Everyone's terrified of getting caught out. Welcome to the New Probation Service. Everyone knows it. Probation Staff Survey 2021 states: "We will only report statistics where we have enough replies to ensure that no individual can be identified." Taking Back Control. Freedom. A World Class System. Or just right-wing totalitarianism? Wouldn't surprise me if JB hasn't had a shot across his bows warning him to "publish positive propaganda or we'll close you down".

You can always make an FOI request. A simple and risk free task for a retired colleague. Just keep bombarding them with FOIs. Stress is the biggest cause of stress across the PS at the moment. They'll blame it on anything other than poor workforce planning and Tory bungling. The people being punished are experienced staff at the frontline. No other profession gets treated this way and certainly not proper civil servants. No one in their right mind would want to join probation whilst it is in its current state.

As a returning PO out after 15 years and in post for 16 weeks what have I found? incredible pressure on main grade staff, cover your arse comments from some managers, a blame culture and the depressing loss of passionate staff who are simply fed up and or over worked. I have huge admiration for my fellow main grade staff, and for some SPO, above that I have no idea, never met them and the blurb that comes out is not relevant. It's the loss of passionate new staff that I find most concerning. They are the future.

If they believe your concern is genuine. There's the rub. Where I am we are starting to see the steely glare of management morphing to the wide eyed panic of rabbits in headlights, as staff leave, recruitment adverts illicit no response, and long term sickness absences seem to be increasing. I'd be interested to know what the long term sickness absences look like across the board: in my office it is a significant proportion of the dwindling staff. Whenever I see this discussed, there is a defensiveness: the figures can't be compared because the CRC stats are not available or comparable or relevant now. Or it's all down to Covid so obviously we can't extrapolate or draw conclusions in this exceptional time. Not for the first time the words WE WARNED YOU spring to mind. It's all a bit of a mess, isn't it?

Yes and the mess is getting bigger as experienced colleagues start taking their early retirement and now leaving as an option to carrying on. 3 months notice and no replacement so the solution of the management team is to add their hours to yours and if you complain it's classed as a business need get on with it. Apparently anyone can do this job and a recruitment drive eventually will fill in the vacancies. Not sure who will train these new people but hey... yet another business need and another job on top of the ever increasing workload.

Staff at 60 will always have planned to go. It's what the NPS actually want. Old ideas values reform ideologies are to be vanquished on the dereliction of people services. It has been said a long while back on this blog there is no need for any professional judgement as we are moving to a penalty organisation. Infiltrated by police, crime is a process for punishment as more attractive to the Tories than reform. Punishment is meted out as a tariff on balance to the crime. Reform is costly and measures are not easily transformed into figures of achievement.

So we have seen and it cannot escape anyone's notice the promotion structure has favoured aggressive thickening attitudes from some nasty characters many at DD level. The CRCs have a part to play in their left over disasters now in power roles. Probation for officers is finished. Probation is not what it was or should be but it will be unrecognisable in a few years and specialist training for certain roles is all we need. The rest of you will be cheap to hire and fire as the PO will finally be sunk by the superior PO managers who have no value stock in their original career base. It is because they think they are special to achieve this financial status and lower so they will do as they are bid.

As a local Napo rep who does her best for members I take exception to all this Napo bashing that makes me wonder whether there are in fact senior management stooges on here having a cheap shot and trying to cause as much anti-union sentiment as possible. Constructive and informed criticism is surely preferable to name calling. The way to change how a union represents people is to join it and use the democratic processes to elect those you want. You are not stuck with leaders. If you resort to name calling or misrepresentation of facts then you are simply contributing to the problem rather than being part of the solution. This blog should be building bridges to the unions and those who want to support probation. Many potential allies of the profession and potential new voices are put off by name calling and lack of reasoned arguments.

JB Things are indeed grim. I have been a probation officer for 17 years and never known so many people going off with stress and no let up of allocations. The so called workload management tool indicates how much in excess of 100%. If we were paid according to the WMT then it would be fiddled to keep us all at 100%. I am 40% over and a PQIP just went off with stress literally ran from the building sobbing on Friday. Surely my salary should be increased by 40%. There is no one left except one other officer who said she is at breaking point. What happens when I am the last one there? 

I heard they are threatening people who are off with stress to come back to work. All the experienced colleagues have left or want to leave. They keep telling us there are more trainees coming but who is supposed to train them? Some left during COVID without actually once seeing a person on probation face to face. This job is now shit and if I get another senior management pep talk I'm liable to puke. I just want to call in sick tomorrow and stay off for 6 months. I advise everyone to go sick and don't put up with this crap any more.

I do not work in the hardest hit LDU OMU whatever the xxxx they call it these days so cannot say, hence the question. I've heard there is huge unrest though. As for outside of this business as usual in shoving people into roles with no proper training or care, staff in tears and unwell with stress because they are left to it without management support or even responses to the problems. Shared services constant xxxx ups and months and years with no reasonable adjustments in place. It beggars belief. Maybe everyone is just too tired and stressed to say or perhaps too under the grip of fear those bxxxxxxs impose.


  1. Hows it going. Well from a Legacy CRC HUB Admin point of view we were basically put into central locations not needing to even work in the same areas as the PP we support. So at the moment it's unknown as to where we are going to work and if the numbers fit which I very much doubt. If we go into the POD system which seems to be the way ahead there are big gaps in our knowledge base. We are basically flying solo as apart from our SCA's who are trying to support us we have noone, we keep getting told when we ask questions about our future, it's business as usual and this will take time. It just seems to us that it's okay building the new structure from the top down, but where is our support... WHAT is happening.

    1. Renationalisation, reunification, unification, TR2 - call it what you will - is merely a revised TR1, i.e. a restructure designed by & for the benefit of the artifice that is NPS/HMPPS management with ersatz 'business thinking' being applied, as opposed to consideration of the *actual* work of the probation service, e.g. effectively supervising people sent by the courts.

      Q: How many of these prolific highly-paid fuckwits have actually & effectively undertaken court duty, written reports, supervised cases?

      This power & control model is addictive to those who are rewarded for exercising the power & control. Its a disease. The disease theory of addiction defines addiction as "a compulsive disorder that occurs due to chemical changes in the brain." It does not have to be induced by use of alcohol or drugs, e.g. gambling.

      "For some people gambling becomes an addiction — the effects they get from gambling are similar to effects someone with alcoholism gets from alcohol. They can crave gambling the way someone craves alcohol or other substances. People with gambling disorder often hide their behavior. They may lie to family members and others to cover up their behavior..."

      And if we look at "the only constant is change" experienced by Probation, we can identify the cycles of the disease model. namely:

      * preoccupation/anticipation - we're going to implement huge changes to probation; you're all going to win & benefit & it will be amazing

      * binge/intoxication - its so amazing! WE'RE so amazing!

      Amy Rees: "the contracts will operate in the way we have now set out. The package to which we have been referring in terms of the £467 million was one that we designed in order to take us to the end of the revised contract period. We believe, from the best knowledge we have, that that will be enough to stabilise as we go forward."

      Sonia Crozier: "The other obvious difference is that we have become a national probation service in areas where it is important to have a greater degree of consistency. We have pursued that very hard and have taken out some of the differences that we inherited from 35 trusts... It is about taking the best of what works nationally but combining that with new opportunities to have a greater focus on local engagement."

      * withdrawal/negative affect - erm, whoops, never mind...

      * preoccupation/anticipation - we're going to implement huge changes to probation; you're all going to win & benefit & it will be amazing (etc etc etc)

      You can apply whichever years/politicians/policies/etc you like.

      Such revisionist bullying by diseased minds has become endemic & spread amongst managerialists in the UK after the apparent successes of Bliar, Cameron, May & Johnson (Brown was an anomaly), also known as "fill yer boots then fuck off".

      Sadly those most negatively affected by Revisionist Bullying are not those with the disease - which is why it is so hard to eradicate. Once one is infected, the craving for power, control & reward becomes all-consuming.

    2. Excellent from "Anonymous6 September 2021 at 10:05" helps to restore my faith in the intellectual ability and understanding of social work practice and related theories of SOME connected with probation.

      When I set out to train - I just thought probation officering (I knew nothing of social work) was primarily about supporting damaged individuals who had resorted to crime.

      As my assessment interviews at the University of Liverpool in 1972 went on - after I had passed an entrance examination & presumably indicated some potential in my written application - I began to realise - there is a bit more to this malarkey than is apparent at face value.

      I was recently wed, in a secure employment, with a mortgage 250 miles from the University & I sensed - yuk - I might not be able to do this and if after a 2 year course having moved my home and very full and satisfying life that distance I could be in a jam. I also sensed that to do the job - I was going to need to change and I quite liked the person I was and did not want to be changed into someone who lost their spontaneity because of following procedures to perform within the job as required and when it came to the - have you any questions Mr H - I thought we better clear a few things up here -

      As I headed back to Kent - the thing that reverberated with me was what the course leader Clare Morris (long may she be celebrated) - had said in a sneering superior way - Mr H - IF you qualify you will just be beginning to ask the right questions - by heck she was right -

      Such an enquiring but confident mind (we have to be confident - we get to challenged my sentencing Judges in a witness box and to be cross examined by QCs in the High Court - at times - or I did several times in Family Court Cases) - is indicated by Anonymous6 September 2021 at 10:05 -s/he would have got on well with Clare Morris!

  2. Probation, everything is back in public hands? Really?

    "Dear Supplier,

    Ministry of Justice is pleased to invite you to participate in the following eTendering Event on Ministry of Justice Sourcing Portal:
    Event Type: ITT - Invitation to Tender
    Title: Prison Leavers Grant Funding Provision Tranche 2
    The deadline for submitting responses for this eTendering Event is: Date: 18 Oct, 2021"

  3. Hi there 123me. I am a fellow lifer, still there but counting down the days. Part of me just wants out, part of me worried I will actually lose my identity when I walk out of the door. Which is the agony of it all. I used to be so very proud of my profession and role. It has become a bit of an embarrassment now, so I am leaving leaving leaving every day. Can't be arsed to keep up with the new stuff, especially the technology. Cant be arsed to be even mildly placatory to aggressive and neurotic (power addicted) management. Today noticed that I cant even be bothered about my "people" much. Burnout on top of burnout.
    It isnt just Probation though. The whole public sector, the infrastructure of the country, is in freefall. Where to start, how to make any sort of postive impact? Given the government at every opportunity manages by dividing, should we be looking to join up with the rest of the public sector. General strike anyone?

    1. Anon 16:22 Powerful and worrying testimony - hopefully you are able to share these feelings with someone. You must look out for your self and take care. My contact details are on the profile page.

    2. @16:22 - your identity is yours.

      The healthier organisation of the past may well have made a positive contribution to who you are, but you are the person formed by your many experiences & a lifetime of developing knowledge.

      No matter how despicable, abusive or shameless they may be, the organisation of today can't take that away - even if they are trying to.

      You have proven that you are above them with your lucid words, through your recognition & acknowledgement of the impact of others' negative behaviours.

      The 'excellent leaders' can't do that because they have too much invested in the lies & the scams they perpetuate to line their pockets & shore up their powerbase.

      Burnout is shit, but its a transient state not a life-defining way of being.

      You could always see your GP (not as easy as it sounds, I know) & get signed off.

      I left in very unpleasant circumstances after years of fighting the command-and-control bullies. I was stubborn & probably did myself more damage (financially & emotionally) than was necessary.

      After months of rage, some therapeutic intervention & an understanding partner - I'm still here.

    3. Oh, forgot to add: as for those sent to be supervised, don't worry. They are survivors too. I've had messages from past colleagues over the years who've said: "Oh, I've got X on my caseload; they asked about you."

      Which suggests it could be argued I made little-to-no difference. Ah well.

    4. They survived, so you did make a difference, I was poised to say that you also made a difference because you connected with your "people on probation" and they obviously trusted and valued you. Speaking from the present frontline, the idea that I would work to make someone trust and value me as a Probation worker feels like grooming. The intitution that I could entice them to trust does not deserve their or my trust. So, in order for both of us -client and worker- to get through this with any integrity- we both agree the objective is "to get through this". As someone once said !We are all in this together"

  4. By email:-

    Lessons from history:

    The Guardian today (06.09.21 ) quotes that Tony Blair as saying there was “now an overwhelming political constraint on military interventions” but said this represented a challenge for Britain and Nato. He believes the loss of the will to fight, combined with an inability to think strategically represents a real self-imposed threat. He warned: “If the enemy we’re fighting knows that the more casualties they inflict, the more our political will to fight erodes, then the incentive structure is plain.”

    My son went to Helmand and returned, physically at least, intact. I know of at least one family whose child was not so fortunate.

    In the meantime, Blair’s children are thriving and making huge sums of money, Euan Alone reputedly worth £70 million, and none of the others starving.

    The threat Blair refers to is that of him losing his life of privilege and the opportunity to travel the globe as a ‘gob for hire.’ This man was elected with massive majorities by working class voters who had been downtrodden by the tories with anti union legislation, the closure of manufacturing industry and the militarisation of the police.
    In return, he gave us nothing.

    I am reminded of other ‘leaders,’ who want the troops to do things they have never done themselves and that are potentially injurious to their physical and mental health whilst they urge them on from the sidelines only to surface eventually to claim the glory despite having contributed nothing.

    Rank hypocrisy is not solely the domain of the politicians.

    1. Replying to Jim Brown at 19:55

      Blair's Governments were especially bad for Probation and Social Work - apart perhaps from MAPPA (good in principle - but I was last directly involved in 2002), and Circles of Support and Accountability - accepted by the Home Office after trials partly funded by British Quakers.

      I cannot think of much else - they did not reverse the Benefits Cuts on young adults introduced in 1988 and went back on a commitment to abandon privatisation within criminal justice and they did not reverse the damage done to probation training, with us in Napo colluding with them moving it away from Social Work.

      At that time, I had given up with Party Politics mostly due to my experiences with the SDP between 1981 and 88 who I realised ultimately also pandered to the lock 'em up brigade.

      As did New Labour, with at the 2001 Election the Home Secretary lying to the public in a radio phone in programme - when I questioned him about the post release supervision provision in North London, as if he knew more about the lack of probation supervisors and the difficulty supervisees had in even getting to the supervisors office (not in rural Wales - but North London) than me, then working as a seconded officer in a prison that released men to North London and found it impossible to establish proper decent post release preparation. I could go on, but I imagine most involved at that time remember how it was in their corner of probation as National Standards took an ever increasing hold on needs led probation service provision to supervisees at a time we were still not resourced to manage the rapid increase in throughcare and post release work from the introduction of Automatic Conditional Release in 1991 with the stupid Home Curfew business thrown on top.

      Please probation folk do not believe Blair's or Brown’s Labour Governments were good for probation clients or probation workers - they also allowed the shambles over role boundaries which again Napo colluded with, so I accept my share of responsibility.

  5. Wonder how much of those Covid £1500-a-month bonus payments were used to take advantage of the SDLT (stamp duty) exemptions to buy second homes? And how many were 'flipped' into holiday lets & thus became eligible for massive grants & tax exemptions?

    "More than 11,000 second homeowners in England have flipped their properties to become holiday lets since the start of the Covid pandemic... Almost 4,000 homes have been flipped in South West England alone... the South East also has also seen a significant 27% rise... Holiday homes were entitled to grants last spring worth £552m [and] top-up grants worth a further £257m were made available in January... This year's Budget also saw further grant funding announced to take total grant support to £1.33bn... About 96% of holiday homes in England are also covered by the small business rate regime, so pay little to no property taxes."

    In other levelling-up news:

    * £20 a week benefit to be clawed back
    * prisoners released into homelessness
    * Nat Ins to rise to fund Tory profligacy
    * there is no Brexit £350 million-a-week for public services

  6. Sick of Sonia's Shitty Probation? 'Ad enuff ov Antonia & Amy? Able & willing to leave? Fancy something else?

  7. How's it all going?
    Maybe it's not going at all because it's already gone?
    It's disturbing to read the comments of those working in probation, the pressure they're under, the high case loads and ever increasing demands.
    However, those problems must impact greatly on those subject to supervision.
    The following article, not in the national press, but reported in a local rag, is both very disturbing and very telling of just how wrong the probation service has gone.


    1. Doncaster man who hanged himself outside the town’s police station did not get the help he needed after being released from prison

      A Doncaster man who hanged himself outside the town’s main police station did not get the help he needed after being released from prison, an inquest heard.

      Now South East Yorkshire Coroner Nicola Mundy has written to the Director General of the National Probation warning that other deaths could occur unless action is taken.

      Father-of-two Todd Salter was released from prison in July, 2019, and the inquest heard that there was confusion over which organisation should have helped him find somewhere to live on his own, so he moved in with his family.

      That, said Ms Mundy, had a deleterious effect on his mental health as independent living was a key element in his re-establishing contact with his daughters.

      His struggles increased and, having acquired a spice habit in prison, he started taking illicit drugs.

      In her Prevention of Future Deaths report, which has just been published, the coroner said: “Although Mr Salter wished to overcome his drug habit he and his family struggled to obtain the support needed from the various agencies.

      “Of note was that the probation officer who had been assigned to Mr Salter stated in evidence that she did not know that an option available to her was to contact ASPIRE Drug and Alcohol Service for Doncaster.

      “She further stated in evidence that she did not know that they could have referred Mr Salter for an assessment, could have sought advice from a consultant psychiatrist and could have liaised with mental health services together with Mr Salter’s mother.”

      The officer was considering ways of having Mr Salter, aged 30, from Kirk Sandall, recalled to prison but that was not made clear to him.

      On September 30 he was said to be at “crisis point” and after leaving his mother’s address, made his way to the police station. He was found hanging nearby in the early hours of the following morning.

      Ms Mundy said she was concerned to learn about the poor engagement and collaboration between the probation service and other agencies and the family.

      The probation officer’s lack of knowledge about the services available suggested inadequate training, she said.

      She also expressed concern that Mr Salter had been “driven to desperate measures of committing criminal acts in an effort to be arrested or recalled in order to secure treatment and support.”

      “This,” said the coroner, “appeared to be the way matters were moving forward without engaging with appropriate mental health services.”

    2. For the benefit of the self-defined 'excellent leaders' who won't be interested because its a report that exposes failures, rather than a gushing, glowing puff-piece:

      "there was confusion over which organisation should have helped him find somewhere to live on his own"

      "the probation officer who had been assigned to Mr Salter stated in evidence that she did not know that an option available to her was to contact ASPIRE Drug and Alcohol Service for Doncaster."

      "she did not know that they could have referred Mr Salter for an assessment, could have sought advice from a consultant psychiatrist and could have liaised with mental health services"

      But in true 21st century stylee...

      "The officer was considering ways of having Mr Salter recalled to prison..."

      "...but that was not made clear to him"

      NB: we know that the media often misreport probation staff grades & also had a tendency to have misunderstood the CRC/NPS split, so this could just as easily be a CRC PSO as a NPS PO.

    3. It's my view that the removal of the Social Work ethos and requirement from probation work signaled the destruction of the service.
      But it feels more and more that not only has the Social Work ethos been removed, but now any concept of responsibility for the social welfare of the individuals being supervised is also being ejected, or being 'outsourced' back to the individual on supervision.
      Probation services and probation officers have to be more then just about crime and punishment, the service and those within it have to be able to respond to and deal with the vast array of complex social issue those they supervise present with.
      I know this will be controversial, and might attract some angry comments, but in my view the skill sets required of the modern day probation officer, and the training they're given falls way below the mark.
      I attribute no blame to the supervising officer in the case posted above, they didn't know, but I find it difficult to understand why someone would, given their lack of knowledge and experience, be seen as someone who is the right person, to be given a caseload that will enevitabley contain a rats nest full of complex social issues?
      It's just as worrying from a public protection perspective as it is for those on supervision.


  8. How's it going? Levelling up just nicely for us wealthy chums who are either past pension age or simply don't have to work & live off income from gifts, inheritances & other means (fair or foul). But thanks for asking.

    Here's what happens to you lot:

  9. oh, and just because everyone's changed the subject, covid hasn't gone away:

    "Official figures show the UK has recorded 37,489 positive COVID cases and 209 further deaths in the latest 24-hour period"

    That's 948 deaths & 6,641 hospital admissions in the last 7 days.

    How many Tory MPs wore facemasks in HoC today? I think I saw one. They really think they can do whatever they like with impunity.

    Just in, courtesy journalist Paul Waugh: "Meanwhile, in a thinly attended Commons, therese coffey just quietly tore up another Tory manifesto promise - ditching the pension triple lock pledge."

    1. Here's why the dumb Tory fuckwits need to be thinking a bit more clearly:

      "More than 1,000 fully vaccinated people in England have died from the Delta variant between 1 February and 29 August, according to the latest data from Public Health England.

      In this time period, 37 people under the age of 50 who had been double jabbed and 1,054 over-50s have died after testing positive for the Delta variant – now the dominant strain of the virus in the UK."

      The vaccines work & is limiting the level of serious illness & death but... the vaccines are not infallible. Spend more time in packed rooms with limited airflow, with others who are not taking precautionary measures, & the risks increase significantly. I don't see hand gel available in the chamber, they move around without a care, patting & touching & generally having no regard for the controls many have been trying so hard to maintain in the broader population.

      Bear this in mind as you use transport in London.

  10. Sarah Arnold, economist: "By my calculations, 2.5 million working households will be affected by BOTH the cut to Universal Credit and increase in national insurance. On average, they will lose out by £1290 in 2022/23. 2.5 million working families on low incomes losing £1290 - not a progressive solution."

  11. Its rubbish, so many staff off sick. Morale as low as when we originally split. Still working with legacy cases at the moment, more chaos when cases are distributed across the board. Now increased tax to pay for the pandemic. No-one held to account for wasting millions of taxpayers money on part privatising probation.

    1. We are paying back the 1500 pcm senior managements armchair pandemic leadership' bonus that's why it's all Rosie in moj probation the bought win out.

  12. Anyone else witness the debacle of Sonia Flynn (OBE) offering her top tips on leadership to London managers today. A succession of fawning senior leaders queueing up to splutter out their empty questions. What inspires you Sonia, what do you do to relax Sonia, how do you cope with so many demands Sonia, that's so inspirational Sonia. Nobody thought to ask why the Service was in total disarray Sonia, or why are offices closing due to a failure to recruit staff into such a toxic culture Sonia, or how can you talk about values and principles while crushing staff morale to its lowest ever level and driving more than ever off sick Sonia, or how can you oversee the roll out of TR one minute then suddenly pretend you were always against it Sonia, or why haven't you learnt to pronounce the London directors name after 5 years Sonia. Any last vestige of respect for those participants has definitely now evaporated. Utterly sickening experience.

    1. Sounds awful and what is worse where no strong union representatives exist to challenge the crap and the audience to scared to voice any truths.

  13. The page on

    Please note: it seems it is now identified as the Probation Service (variously accompanied by the prefixes 'unified' or 'new'). It is *not* the "National" Probation Service.

    Anyone had a briefing about this? Presumably that's yet another shitload of cash spent on rebranding consultancy, reprinting/redesigning logos on letterheads, etc.

    (Not sure why all public enquiries are directed to a 'NOMS' email address - unless it means they just disappear???)

  14. Important info about Medomsley Detention Centre which needs to reach as many victims as possible:

    "The MOJ have confirmed that they will not make any offers of settlement in respect of claims alleging historic abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre where the claim is received after 1st January 2022.

    Medomsley Detention Centre was a prison for young male offenders near Consett in Durham, from 1961 until 1987. The aim of the centre was to provide a ‘short, sharp, shock’ treatment to young offenders aged between 17-21 years. Allegations began to surface from former inmates who were subjected to sexual, physical and mental abuse from prisons officers whilst they were detained."

    Some useful numbers:

    Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s Personal Injury solicitors in Barnard Castle - Nathalie Clayton 01429 405122

    Jordans Solicitors represent approximately 200 clients who have suffered physical abuse. 01642 034134.

    BenHoareBell - Richard Hardy or Andrew Freckleton on 0191 565 3112

    Probation staff please note - I'm sure its perfectly fine to refer any victims to these solicitors. I don't think it would mean you could be told off, given lines or sent to see the headteacher.

    1. Good post thanks having been sent for short sharp shock myself at just 14 for half hearted allegation from dishonest police who lie like coal off a shovel in a steam train. Anyway have had a successful career despite the police and magistrates courts the police guarantee centres I can look back. The regime was aggressive abusive and as a policy dysfunctional . It was complete institutional bullying and nasty . Inmates were encouraged to abuse eachother propogate violence and steal from anyone. I suspect the weaker youngsters were no doubt targeted by the officers who wore civi clothing on those days. The regime was bad but would be unlawful today and we wonder why there are so many damaged in society. Sadly my experience of probation was not all that enlightening at the time either so cannot say there was any balance. None the less it's offenders who get badly treated right through. Awful system . I hope the legals hang these bastards out properly.

    2. The treatment for all new arrivals was a bath in 2 inches of cold water while naked in front of officers. Humiliation started as soon as you entered. Why are not all the detention centres and Borstals facing accountability. The Willie Whitelaw generation deserve justice not lifelong abuse.

    3. What attracted me to Probation in the early 1980's was that it was establishment, but simulataneously anti-establishment. I thought that was truly inspirational, to have a government that did what governments do, but recognised that it had cracks, and had Probation where the light came through, getting alongside (advise assist befriend) those who had failed the system, but who also the system had failed. There is a good piece in "Probation Quarterly" discussing the cognitive dissonance we are experiencing, in the messaging about our role and identity.

    4. Following on, (I just commented and now its off for moderation) While I was revelling in the idea of a state sponsoring an organisation that would mitigate agaisnt the effect of the state on its most failed, I was a naive wee lass, and while I was swanning about being kind and inclusive, children were being tortured. However, I stuck with my ideals and we should. Ideals are to be aspired to. Values, mission statements, what you will. Ar present we have a dwindling (please tell me it aint so) generation of probation staff who hold these values, an academic tradition which continues to support and evidence this, and an organisation leadership which doesnt know WTF it believes in.

    5. When you say tortured it sounds like another country but it is here and still today some incredible stories emerge whereby all sorts of life injustices are meted out. It beggars belief the lack of accountability. The numbers of people who look the other way and the collective who operate in such ways .

  15. I need to change subject to ask a question. Failed to pass civil service application. Already worked for probation 20 years. HR in civil service seem a different breed when it comes to apication forms. Trying g to change position but failing at application. Any advice

    1. I have an old friend in HR and basically the system is corrupt. Transition was a huge shock as it upset their usual system of nepotism towards some individuals and blocking of others. What they don’t realise is people are wise to this. In probation staff are being clawed back to the frontlines because they cocked up recruitment in a vain hope to save money. Promises of increased staffing evaporated in reality. Their failure to retain experienced staff and insistence on promoting fresh cheap management has backfired as there is no one left to hold teams together. No one over 40 would feel comfortable in a probation office these days as it’s like a 6th form common room chatting about how many glasses of wine they had before sleeping with some random stranger or discussing what their real career will be after they get out of their present rat hole. Your chances of getting out are very slim as HR are briefed against letting anyone with a probation qualification escape. They are also stuffed because they have had to put those that failed vetting into court or prisons and there were a lot in the CRCs who had a record. Some experienced staff holed themselves up in those places to weather the storm but now they are wanted back on the frontline. It is an appalling mess with a few happy crappy people, huge numbers off with stress and lots of people still not placed in a job who were promoted beyond their skills and qualifications.

    2. Ive done 10 applications that I ran past an NPS manager who said They were good apps. All rejected. We are all desperate to get out in my office and everyone is off sick taking all their leave or totally stressed with everything.

    3. Hmmm. Seems like a Risk Assessment is required.

      "It is the probability of an uncertain outcome occurring caused by a combination of factors (risk factors) that – if known – offer a chance to intervene to prevent the outcome from happening."

      "Psychological scientists who study human behavior agree that past behavior is a useful marker for future behavior. ... High-frequency, habitual behaviors are more predictive than infrequent behaviors."

      We can, perhaps, apply some of Risk Guru Hazel Kempshall's 'Key Concepts of Risk' to this situation, e.g.:

      Main Indicators

      * Past behaviour? - TR1
      * Access to victims? (that's you guys) - unlimited
      * Disinhibitors? - personal reward, e.g. power, money
      * Situational triggers? - retaining control, ego
      * Conditions and circumstances? - political imperative, willingness to follow orders

      So previously in TR1 they lost/shafted/ejected a heap of experienced, knowledgeable staff at all grades & kept their chums in key positions. They allowed the CRCs to steal the redundancy funds. They gave the CRCs £millions with no checks or balances. They treated staff like shit while spoiling themselves & their chums.

      And did it work? No.

      So what have they done?

      Simply repeated the whole debacle, at public expense, filling their pockets & looking after a few favourites while shitting on everyone else.

    4. Blimey after the first two you might have realised the advice was from an idiot or the more cynical truth all staff are locked in doing the day job. The truth is yet another set of unchecked employment policies being abused and no reps able to take up your obvious and genuine case to move. Napo are a disaster .

    5. 1803 yes agree and añd yet the shafting of staff was left unchallenged in law by the unions and it was that single act of failure that gave the green light to both moj and CRC contract holders to do what they wanted. Ian Lawrence failure or fool the co chairs Napo nec incompetence reigns through their fear to do their jobs properly is why we remain so shafted. The rot starts and ends while our representative don't act properly.

  16. Before I began training to be a probation officer, I learned that giving advice is never advisable!

    Nonetheless, I over commiserations to Anon 10 September 2021 at 23:18

    When after over 25 years as a po, I got into difficulties with my employer, I eventually asked my Trade Union to represent me, Napo did rescue the situation for me, I hope if my Union had been Unison, they would also have looked after my interests.

  17. Same here actually and note to thank jim b who has kept the beacon going for all contributors .

  18. I used to work in the service and wanted to rejoin. Applied and got through pqip application process. Doesn't look like I'll be able to take the job though as they cannot provide me with a contract a month prior to my start date. So I cannot give my one month's notice to my current employer. 5 months ago I applied. Still no contract. There are recruits out there wanting to join the service but the contracts are simply not issued in time for them to start.