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Napo renews calls for public inquiry following BBC documentary

Napo has renewed its calls for a public inquiry into the probation service following the airing of BBC's License to Kill?

Napo has renewed its calls for a public inquiry into the probation service following a documentary aired on BBC Radio 4 last night.

License to Kill? explored the impact of Transforming Rehabilitation, claiming over 500 serious further offences had been committed since 2014.

The programme featured two separate families whose loved ones had been murdered by people who were under probation supervision at the time. Sharing their anguish, they also spoke passionately about their respective campaigns for answers and accountability.

In the wake of the documentary, Napo GS Ian Lawrence said: “Napo welcomes this expose of the earlier disastrous political decision by the former Secretary of State for Justice which has cost the taxpayer unknown millions and has directly led to an underfunded and overworked Probation service which currently simply does not have the capacity to guarantee the required levels of public protection that our communities deserve. The thoughts of our members go out to the families of the two victims featured in the BBC programme and to all those families who have lost their loved ones as well as the victims of other serious further offences.”

Despite the service being reunified, Napo knows the problems are far from over. Ongoing staffing and workloads crisis continue to plague the service.

The private sector cut staffing levels to the bone during TR, while poor pay across both sectors has led to poor recruitment and retention rates, low morale and ultimately dangerously high workloads. On average staff are working to 130% of the workload management tool with many nearing 200%.

Ian Lawrence said: “It is simply not sustainable for probation staff to continue in this current crisis with dangerously high workloads without the public being at risk of serious further offending. It is inevitable that under this extreme work pressure, mistakes will be made and the public and our members will be the ones most affected.”

Napo is calling for urgent Ministerial intervention for probation, a detailed plan of how this crisis can be resolved, a full public enquiry into how the probation service has been allowed to fall into such disarray and what impact that has had on public safety.

6 Responses

  1. On the front line is that we are in freefall. The appeals from our employer to our “goodwill” have finally dried up, presumeably in the realisation that there is none left between us and our employer. Frontline staff still strive to serve their communities and their clients, but the situation is fast becoming untenable. Staff are stressed and struggling. Our communities are not being protected as they should be by our service. Something must give, and soon.

  2. Offender Management at the coal face is referral after referral to outsourced services that have little if any resources, form filling, spending day after day in front of a screen ticking boxes, firefighting crisis cases to no avail. The inevitable SFO investigations focus on the OM not the quagmire of bureaucracy in a service led by bureaucrats with no idea.
    27 years in & can’t wait to retire. The training for pquips is laughable. The service has become a depressing joke.

  3. I set up the Gov petition before privatisation took place and I went on strike, I also noted in the write up for the petition that more people would be put at risk and that privatising the Probation Service would not work, I am so sad that I was right… WHY DID NO ONE LISTEN TO US? It was heartbreaking to hear these families talk about our failings… we too have been failed and we have nightmares as we are not being equipped with the necessary workforce to do an effective job.
    We have also been on a pay freeze for practically ten years, our pay is not at all in line with the true cost of living… is it really a surprise that people do not want to work/ remain working in the organisation, when they can get paid much more with a lot less stress elsewhere?
    Pay your staff properly, in accordance with the work they undertake.
    My nursery fees for 1 child per month- £1450
    My after school and breakfast club fees per month – £350
    My rent per month – £1250
    This is without Council Tax, car insurance, home insurance, road tax, Food, TV, internet, phone bill, Electric, Transport, Gas, pet insurance etc etc…
    Yet the above 3 listed items already far outweigh my pay!
    Everything goes up, including case loads, but pay seems to stay at a standstill….
    When will our mileage rates reflect the true cost on our vehicles? When will sessional rates increase, they have remained the same for over 10 years! We need a huge overhaul of the Probation Service as we have been taken advantage of for far too long.

  4. I’m on long term sick leave and will be reduced to half pay at 6 months. I’ll have to deal with the stress of shortfall in my pay due to Covids effect on NHS wait lists and only getting help with dye to 2 A&E admissions in recent 2 months. After nearly 20 years service I feel penalised by circumstances beyond my control. My good will has definitely run out.

    1. If you’ve got a disability and you’re waiting for a reasonable adjustment your absence should be disability leave not sickness and this attracts full pay.

  5. Nearing the last six months of the PQIP, I’ve noticed there is already a narrative that puts the onus on the PQIP and ignores the shortcomings of the process- even the training programme. Co-working high risk cases is often high risk case work on the cheap, as beleaguered POs try and cut their work load by using PQIPs as a ‘fresh meat’ resource.

    Delius entries paper over shortcomings with cleverly worked and timed entries that ignore the recent history- often it means things weren’t done. POMs in prisons not realising or assessing risk levels at point of custody, but then expecting the COM- actually demanding- they do a PD1 set of licence conditions at the last minute- with, I suspect no comeback for their shortcomings- but failing a duty to protect the public- there’s a lot of that: POMs expecting COMs to do thy bidding.

    It’s all a fairly sorry state of blame culture that puts trainees at the bottom of an oft exploited pile of long hours, inconsistently applied VQ tasks, high case loads (20-26) for trainees and the degree on top- which often involves a complete absence of tangible teaching support, with the Probation service only to happy to encourage Zoom/Teams meetings to save money- and, to, indirectly, increase productivity, as there is less travelling time. Coupled with the laptops that also encourage work to be undertaken outside office hours.

    I’m not sure how I would be able to complete all my work-with three different and competing pressures-within my 37 contracted hours, so it encourages cutting corners or having other POs or PQIPs having cases dumped on them so others’ can complete their essays, VQ work etc.

    This all adds up to more resentment and is leading-or is already causing, a toxic (and normalised and begrudgingly accepted) work culture, where service delivery to POPs or offenders is compromised, as is public protection, the mission zeal of the Probation service.

    Like knife crime, the root causes have to be looked at, otherwise this is the definition of madness: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Unless this is all by design and certain people want it this way?

    Let’s stop paying lip service and improve things tangibly, if they can be.

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