This blog is going to focus on some of my thoughts and some of the conversations which have been occurring in my team. Before people start pointing out that these changes will impact clients too, I know this. This blog is just from staffs perspective. In that respect it is a little selfish, I admit. I would also like to point out that I have not given up, I am still fighting to save Probation.
Firstly I have been told that my role sits between both CRC and NPS so I will be invited to put in an expression of interest and my trust will see if they can accommodate this. If not, they will have to go to the sifting process. The funny thing is, every PO in my office meets the sifting criteria… so they will have to come up with something else to separate us. I work in a very large team, so this will be tricky.
My CEO and various members of SMT have been conducting briefings around the county keeping us regularly informed. So I do feel somewhat privileged as I know some of you have not had this luxury.
So, I will have to pick between CRC or NPS and this is what I am thinking;
National Probation Service (NPS)
- This will be a tiny organisation with little scope for progression.
- Big focus will be in the Courts and more PO’s working from Court and allocating work to the teams directly from Court. I don’t want to work in a Court.
- What will be left will be Public Protection work. Whilst this is fascinating and vital, I don’t want a whole caseload of high risk clients where I am unable to be as flexible as I currently am. I do not want to be confined by MAPPA restrictions.
- I wont be delivering any interventions. Apart from sex offender work all other interventions, including Specified Activities will be implemented by the CRC.
- From what I have read, if I am NPS my main duties will be to risk assess, mainly from a computer and have little scope to deliver an intervention or work with clients on a one to one basis.
- We are merging with another area so will I be sent there to work? Miles away from home.
- Will this become an ‘elite’ service? Do I really want to be part of this?
- I know the documents state that CRC and NPS will office share initially but I am sure this will change in the future. I can see my trust having tiny NPS offices around the county as a base and then they will ‘rent’ rooms from children’s centres, Police Stations, Courts etc. Do I want to be co-located and not in my Probation team? Will I lose the camaraderie of my colleagues?
- I will be doing what I trained to do - risk assess, write reports and manage high risk clients. Will I have time to complete bespoke interventions with clients or will I just send them to the CRC for this?
- Will we be a civil servant? If so, It feels as if we will lose our voice and will have to roll over every time the Government says so.
Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC)
- We don’t know who this will be, so we could end up working for an organisation we don’t want to.
- Likelihood is that our terms and conditions will change.
- A positive that I can think of is that it will cut all the red tape that Probation currently insist on. Hopefully it will move us into the 21st century and I will be able to email a Social Worker without being told it breaches data protection. We may have better use of technology, thinking outside the box, more resources etc etc. This does sound appealing.
- I wont be writing parole reports, pre-sentence reports or advising the Court about sentencing. I trained for two years to be able to do this, I don’t want to lose it.
- If I do go to the CRC and manage medium and low risk clients - will the new provider eventually realise that they will be paying me a PO wage to do the same work that a PSO can do? Will I take a pay cut or just be let go?
- Working for a CRC may provide more of an opportunity for progression. Some of the companies bidding are multi-national and other roles may frequently come up.
- Do I really want to work for a company who’s number one priority is profit?
How can we be asked to make a decision between the NPS and CRC when we don’t know the full details. We don’t know who the CRC’s are yet. We don’t know what the new NPS will look like and what ‘team’ we may be allocated into. We really don’t know anything. It will not be an informed decision, yet I will get my letter in November asking me to make a decision. What if I refuse? Will it then be made for me?
I have been tweeting lots about this, but it is so important. YOU have to keep informed. You need to get your head around these changes and how they will impact you.
Also, if you are not already in it, please give consideration to joining the local Government pension scheme. I have heard that once these changes take place, the scheme we have now will no longer be available.
Join the union and keep updated! Read the NAPO website and join the fight to save Probation. Loads of activity on twitter.
Courtesy of the Probation Officer @PoOfficer