It’s becoming ever more clear that thanks to the unremitting efforts of ministers Chris Grayling and Jeremy Wright in driving forward the Transforming Rehabilitation omnishambles, normal probation services are breaking down. They have done such a brilliant job in their aim of destroying a well-performing public service that staff are hemorrhaging at an alarming rate, putting intolerable strain on those remaining.
In order to try and ‘keep the show on the road’ Trusts are having to resort to ever more extreme and innovative measures such as giving caseloads to unqualified and untrained admin staff, getting PO’s to undertake OASys assessments without going to the bother of interviewing clients and considering the award of emergency ‘retention’ payments for key staff.
Thanks to the ongoing TR onslaught by arrogant Chris Grayling and the stupidity of Jeremy Wright who keeps talking about the new NPS being staffed by ‘experts’, morale is at absolutely rock bottom. Many colleagues have reached the point where they cannot even wait to hear of the redundancy payment proposals and are ‘jumping ship’ now. The internal intranet EPIC is already carrying advertisements for key roles with CRC’s, offices are being measured up by property agents DTZ and yet the MoJ/NOMS people still blithely think that it can be ‘situation normal’.
It’s vitally important that the public understand what’s going on here and that it’s all going pear-shaped. Sickness levels are rising and senior management are too concerned with their own future to be spending time looking after the well-being of staff. Thanks to probation tweeter and blogger Poofficer, we know what the strength of feeling is on the shop floor, and I hope they don’t mind me quoting from a recent post:-
“My Chief appears to champion everything else but Probation. She is silent when it comes to Probation”
“My SPO has given us a list of questions we are NOT allowed to ask the chief when they come to visit the office. I feel like we have been gagged.”
“Staff are leaving and are not being replaced. Workloads are increasing and those left are struggling to cope. One PO in my office has been issued with capability procedures as she can’t keep up. Our workloads have doubled!”
“We have SPO’s in my office who spend all day devising new rotas, I am tied to a rota! They have increased my caseload, practically chained me to my desk and still continue to tell me I need to be creative in my supervision sessions with offenders….. I tell them I don’t have time and they tell me I need to make time! how do you make time?”
“I work in admin and we have lost a lot of staff already. My workload has increased and I find myself making mistakes as I have to rush most things. This upsets me as I used to pride myself on doing a good job. I have children so I cant stay late in the evening to get things done. I have told my boss who appears to be understanding but she just told me to try my best”
“Everybody needs to remember that this is not Probation’s fault. It is ideology driven policy by an out of touch Government. It is easy to point the finger at CEO’s and other managers but I haven’t met a CEO yet who supports these changes. You also need to remember that they are civil servants and can only say so much”
“I manage PPO’s in my office and I’m concerned whats going to happen to those. Are a company who only get paid by results going to want to take on the most prolific offenders? Also some are high risk of harm so will the PPO’s be split? This is very dangerous in my opinion.”
“Did you know the link between the chair of the Probation Association (who appear to be silent) and the privatisation of the Probation Service? Serbet Cox is the Chair of the Durham Tees Valley Trust AND the Probation Association. I would like to think this isn’t a conspiracy, but who knows? click for link link two“
“You know something is fundamentally wrong with our ‘leadership’ when you rely on updates about your future from twitter and Jim’s blog!”
“Some days Im working 12 hours to keep up as lots have left in my office. I have no energy to do anything else when I get home. I used to love doing this job, now I hate coming to work. Its not the work that I hate, but the politics”
“Probation Managers are in the same position, if not worse, than Offender Managers. I think sometimes people forget this”
“I hate all of this and I hate the fact that decisions about not just my employment, but also the safety of the community and the rehabilitation of offenders is put in the hands of a man I wouldn’t let look after my dog!”
“Transforming Rehabilitation may not be a bad thing. Probation is full of bureaucracy and the focus has shifted from the work we do with offenders to completing unnecessary paperwork. Hopefully the focus will now shift back to the work we do with offenders given the driving force will be to stop them offending. Don’t get me wrong, It does come with its downfalls but Probation only have themselves to blame. For years it has been like a secret organisation and nobody has any clue what we do, we have rolled over to Government and NOMS requests and have lost our backbone”
“Offenders and communities are going to suffer. It is like what they are doing with titan prisons. Localism is going to be lost and we will have no community links. Rural and smaller offices will close and offenders be made to ravel for hours to attend for Probation.”
Courtesy of Jim Brown at On Probation Blog