A view from inside a prospective Probation Outsourcers Co.

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A view from inside a prospective Probation Outsourcers Co.

Postby Tolkny » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:30 pm

This is a blog, for anyone who needs to know the sort of things an outsourcer considers.

There are some brutal comments here.

I really pity anyone who ends up being transferred away from public probation, unless they can get a very resistant contract with guarantees about continued income.

I wont comment at this point about what particularly struck me - but there are some real high or low points!

Spend to offend (the outsourcing of probation)


http://www.guerillapolicy.org/justice/2013/06/18/spend-to-offend-the-outsourcing-of-probation/
Andrew S Hatton
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Re: A view from inside a prospective Probation Outsourcers C

Postby robpalmer » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:45 am

The problem with a lot of these providers is they think that their experience as 'managers' equips them for the world of managing offenders in the community. They lack the insight that would allow them to recognise the nuanced nature of the work. Trouble is, the commissioners at the MOJ who write the specifications for the contracts ALSO do not understand the nuances of Probation practice.

Can you imagine someone like G4S understanding the need to offer counselling to the admin staff who prepare files on sex offenders? Or a manager from Stobarts who recognise the difference between risk of harm and risk of re-offending? Or the difference between actions borne of fear and actions borne of anger? All they will understand is the requirements of the contract and whether they will get paid. They have no concept of managing non-compliance (I recently had one vol. sector provider complaining about 75% turnout), the therapeutic potential of breach, the subtleties of safeguarding a childs safety when also seeking to maintain family links? If this happens, it will be the end of effective practice, just as the privatisation of 'social care' has undermined the 'care' received by thousands of vulnerable people.

All these people are interested in is maintaining the illusion of effectiveness. The details don't matter to them.
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Re: A view from inside a prospective Probation Outsourcers C

Postby Tolkny » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:50 am

Spot on from Rob very sound thinking.

I am not sure enough of us saw this when the very status of Probation was changed after Consent was no longer required for Probation or Community Service in 1992, it is not even required now for most ex prisoners on Automatic Conditional release. The only area of Probation Work it is now used in is with parole of the over 4 year term prisoners.

A prisoner always has the choice NOT to apply for parole.

I certainly met prisoners who refused to apply because they rejected supervision and other licence conditions.

There is no doubt that some folk push this consent business to the limit with some prospective parolees and particularly Lifers who refuse to be considered for release because it means admitting guilt.

I don't know details but think some prisoners served long after tariff dates rather than admit guilt.

Of course folk say - as I remember when I did public speaking for Probation back in the 70s & 80s it is not really a choice because almost no one would choose prison over probation or Community Punishment (or whatever CSO is called now).

However that is not the point, and this is one of those nuance's Rob referred to, the fact that it was possible to withhold consent became part of the 'counselling' process between Probation Officer and Client.

I have from time to time encouraged clients to 'go back to court' or consult a lawyer if they really object to the way I am operating a Probation order conditions - there is also the internal complaints procedure.

It is in the conversations about these things that clients can be moved on to understand they really do have personal choices and responsibility as opposed to fulfilling immediate gratification. In CQSW training we talked about the balance between Care and Control, knowing that ultimately for those 'in the community' we only have influence and limited opportunity for complete care or control. Hence the notion of being Offender Managers is so damaging to all because it gives a false impression of what happens or can be achieved - reinforces the past offending rather than focussing on self control.

I saw in that piece by the outsourcer the possibility of using call centres for reporting!

Some of us opposed the reporting in schemes of the 90s, when people just had to turn up to comply with conditions ( a way of then coping with high numbers particularly after introduction of ACR) but at least it happened after assessment and we always offered possibility of individual interview, alongside some social activity - pool, table tennis, we also offered specialist support from employment advisers and accommodation finders. But I could not provide such when I worked in a rural location and the whole of the probation service some saw was me in an office of a youth club in a sports field - and some of those clients still travelled 5 miles to get there, but they could do it without needing private transport.

I have rambled on - but a national probation service with rigid rules makes such local activity very difficult. I hear that in some Trusts no individual home visiting takes place - that is ridiculous, probation is about helping folk change and that involves one on one engagement which sometimes needs to be with a whole family at a top of a tower block, in an area where officials are not welcome. I have needed to steel myself to go to some client's homes and occasionally went with a colleague but I would always go - it can be vital.

Nuances!

I stick with the word 'client' because although supervisees are not clients in the sense they have chosen this or that lawyer/accountant or whatever, real change from them is more likely to come when they have the mentality of a 'client' that they can make choices but there are real consequences to those choices. So my work is better if I have that 'client' notion in the forefront of my mind and seek to build rapport rather than blind subservience based on fear.
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Re: A view from inside a prospective Probation Outsourcers C

Postby Tolkny » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:00 pm

There were some comments added to that outsourcers blog and he has answered them.

http://buyingqp.com/2013/06/17/spend-to-offend-the-outsourcing-of-probation/
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