This week's news

Discussion forum for general probation topics

This week's news

Postby tabbycat » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:48 pm

is of a 10% drop in the number of offenders given community sentences despite the justice secretary relying on their greater use to help stabilise and reduce the prison population. The judiciary voices concerns about the partial and unsuccessful privatisation of the probation service, the inefficiencies and failures of many CRCs leading to a lack of confidence in making community sentences to be supervised by them, cases reported of infrequent contacts with offenders and by telephone, little relationship between the judiciary and CRCs,.... and a general belief that suspended sentences with treatment options are a better bet.

TR: the greatest mistake since Noah took the two woodworm onto the Ark.

As my membership of Napo slips away from me, and I await the plug being pulled on my member access to this Forum, I recall the ubiquitous aphorism which I used to see on noticeboards and walls of practitioners:

We trained hard; but it seems that every time that we were beginning to form into a team we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.

The quote was always attributed to Caius/Gaius Petronius although we now that that this is untrue; its author was Charlton Ogburn Jnr about 1958.

I can't be sure of the date when I will be denied access but it will be in the next few weeks. I hope that my contributions to this Forum have shown some nous and perhaps even some rigour from time to time; and appreciated by some whilst being ignored by Napo. Incidentally, it was disappointing to see the non-word Xmas appearing from Napo. The word is Christmas. My Christian friends tell me that taking the Christ out of the word Christmas is offensive to them. I agree. We as trade unionists and as people should be showing respect to all faiths (as the law requires).
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Re: This week's news

Postby Tolkny » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:53 pm

Thank you Tabby cat.

I wish you well.

I long ago lost hope in this Forum but remain a Life Associate Member of Napo, following my retirement as a probation officer in 2003.

I have been in membership continuously probably since as a student I attended the first ever student conference initially organised by the old London Branch.

I was one of several, encouraged by contemporaries from The Clare Morris/Institute of Extension Studies University of Liverpool's Diploma in Social Work Course, which was allied to the second award of the CQSW who accepted the challenge of the London organiser's to organise the second conference in 1975.

I believe Napo negation probably saved my life when as a burnt-out addict with DCD(Developmental Coordination Disorder/dyspraxia I was extricated with an early occupational pension from employment for what was then strangely named "London Probation Area" as their medical adviser recommend I be offered early retirement because I was unlikely to be fit for work for at least two years. I reluctantly accepted that offer even though what I really wanted was reasonable adjustments to continue working notwithstanding the job requirements had surreptitiously changed, so that with DCD I could no longer perform the job satisfactorily as I had done for 28 years.

Napo's negotiations bought me time to surrender to addiction and commence recovery in 2005.
Andrew S Hatton
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Re: This week's news

Postby pavia » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:18 pm

I thought I had just posted a response on here but on checking, see it has vanished into the ether. It is so long since I last posted I had forgotten the process let alone passwords. It reminded me partly why I stopped using the Forum (too much faffing about to use). I wanted just to say that I have always enjoyed reading your postsTabbycat(ditto Andrew) and before you sign off, I wanted to say thanks for your contributions and efforts to improve use of the Forum. I think many former contributors may have now left Probation or migrated to Twitter etc. It used to be a lively and, imo, positive,enabling place to exchange views/ideas etc. It has never to my knowledge however been an official means of dialogue with National Officers or Officials although Mike McClelland & myself in a past role, previously did post. No one from HQ was ever designated with responsibility to read content and reply(other than to support member monitors I think?) as it was set up primarily as a means for members to link with eachother . I think Napo missed out on an opportunity for dialogue with members there but as HQ are now flagging up that they want to develop "communication" maybe something else will be set up?? I am not in the loop anymore so have no idea. Anyway, all the very best to you Tabbycat (and will continue reading yr tweets Andrew!)
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Re: This week's news

Postby tabbycat » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:56 pm

Thank you both for your comments.
Tolkny: I did my French A-level oral at the University of Liverpool. I recall even now the examiner trying to discuss with me in French subterranean undersea agriculture. I'd struggle to discuss this in English.
Dyspraxia, dyslexia, Asperger's Syndrome (I'm listing them, not grouping them): I've either repped members having these conditions, or as a prison probation officer been involved in written report assessments for DLPs, MLPs, Oral Hearings,.. I invariably found a paucity of understanding about them in HR, SMTs, and home probation officers; and no acknowledgement by them as such. I recall one spo ringing me highly critical that I could say that risk was reduced in a prisoner with Aspergers after 18 years inside because "he's still got it, it hasn't gone away". I gently pointed out that it wasn't a disease but rather a condition which can ameliorate with maturation and social learning. One of my last repping cases was one of severe dyslexia; not helped by CRAMS. HR tried to define the "reasonable" in "reasonable adjustments" as "what it is reasonable to spend". SMT were putting the staff member in the Managing Underperformance framework and at risk of losing their job. I was telling them that staff are an asset rather than a liability and that they had to take responsibility for adopting CRAMS against advice and putting the staff member in a role requiring lots of typing into CRAMS, thereby setting them up to fail.
I think we'd all like to have hoped that "a caring profession" wouldn't see scenarios such as there and your own, Andrew, but I think they'll always be present. I joined Napo in 1981 or 82 and was a Branch Officer and Union Rep for many of the years following until I had to leave work in 2012.
Pavia: however it's spun, it does seem remiss if national officers and officials are not looking at/responding to this Forum and posts therein. I've tried to be positive, constructive, made suggestions, signposted a comparator,.....and get zero response. Oh, and I've never Tweeted. I do have a Facebook page but don't add to it. I only have it so that I see posts from my relatives. I don't have a smartphone either; just a dumbphone mobile.
Just three musings before I finish:
i) "The Times" number 1 editorial last Monday 15th January is headed "Grayling's Failings - The transport secretary's decision to award lucrative contracts to an ailing Carillion is only the latest worrying misjudgement to come to light". The text then lists a litany of misjudgements and ends that the Prime Minister "needs to consider whether it is time that this transport secretary left the station". Wonderful! Not that this PM is likely to do any such thing. I don't think that she does due diligence.
ii) Why is it that our GS's blogs never mention Napo's famous Seven Principles? Devised by Judy McKnight in 2002 as the anvil around which the campaign on Excessive Workloads was fought, it later added anti-discrimination as a 7th Principle. Completely reasonable in its precepts, it was a vital tool in our armoury, as relevant today as ever, but seems to have been forgotten.
iii) Another Why: why is the National Joint Working Agreement never mentioned nowaday? I used to take it into JNCC and UMMs and often read out its excellent prose about working together in a spirit of partnership, trust, openness, and transparency. Okay, the landscape has changed greatly, as have the policies, but the prose about how all sides should work together is a message well worth repeating.
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