Napo Magazine - The Trade Union, Professional Association and campaigning organisation for Probation and Family Court staff news.

BBC Radio 4 lays bare the state of the Probation Service

Journalist Danny Shaw's podcast ‘Probation in Peril’ covered tragic events of a Serious Further Offence and the state of the Probation Service

This week saw the launch of a major feature by the investigative journalist Danny Shaw. This covered the tragic events of a Serious Further Offence in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, in September 2021 and the current state of the Probation Service (England and Wales) following its reunification into public control in June 2021.

Various interviews are featured in the 31 minute Podcast entitled: ‘Probation in Peril’ .  These include comments by H.M. Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell, Chief Probation Officer Kim Thornden Edwards, and Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence along with some harrowing contributions from the families of the victims and a number of Probation Practitioners, whose testimonies were anonymised. We would want to express appreciation to those Napo members who agreed to take part in the programme.

Napo Survey yields startling results

Some months ago, Napo were contacted by Danny Shaw to explore whether we would be willing to launch a survey of our members working in the Probation Service to ascertain your views about the levels of staffing, the size of caseloads and whether it is felt that Probation provides a good service. As can be heard in the programme, over 900 members responded and the results make for stark listening. Some two thirds of staff surveyed said that their workplace was desperately short of staff and that 50% of respondents felt that Probation was not providing a good enough service. Napo will be publishing the full results of the survey in due course.

Chief Probation Officer agrees that TR ‘failed.’

A notable contribution also came from Kim Thornden-Edwards who, in response to a question about the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) programme implemented by former Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling, called it an ‘interesting part of Probations history.’ Whilst Napo members would take issue with that description it was good to hear the Chief Probation Officer quickly confirm her agreement that ‘TR had failed.’

Napo’s conclusions

Ian Lawrence comments: ‘Much of the ground covered by Justin Russell will be all too familiar to our members facing excessive workloads, huge numbers of vacancies within their PDU’s and sickness rates which would be a lot worse were it not for the dedication of staff who often present for work when they should not. Adding that: ‘Make no mistake, this excellently produced programme is a sombre and at times traumatic reminder of what happens to public safety when Governments do not listen to the warnings that were made before the disastrous part-privatisation of the service. It seems pretty clear to me that we will need a new Government with a serious pledge to re-invest in the Probation Service before things start to change for the better.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts