Probation Director General answers members questions

Share this

 

Following on from the post-AGM Q&A session held with Reform Director Jim Barton, another event took place this week where Director General Amy Rees was joined by Jim and the  Workforce Director Ian Barrow. Yet again this was a highly successful event which provided our members with the opportunity to directly engage with senior leaders on many current issues of concern.

Following a short introduction from Amy, a range of questions followed. These included the need to reduce excessive workloads and stress levels for staff, and how the needs of Victim Liaison Officers must be factored into future solutions. On the same theme came questions about how staff can be incentivised to remain in the service; the insufficient levels of available training for SPOs to support them in addressing performance issues and attendance management, and the possibility of refresher training for experienced staff. Another contributor asked about how the requirement for fair and open competition for vacancies could be balanced against the need for experience.

Following the necessary changes to operating models due to the Covid Pandemic came questions about the benefits that have flowed for some staff and the service from Homeworking, the impact on the mental wellbeing of staff (especially among PQIP’s) due to excessive workloads and what avenues are available to support them. 

Additional barriers to staff trying to carry out their work effectively were also highlighted in terms of the need to ensure access to IT for all staff and the plans for dealing with perennial issues around information databases;

A question on whether Vetting procedures failed to reflect the communities we serve was acknowledged as being especially topical in light of the Probation Service Race Action Plan (due to be published at the end of January). 

Other questions included: the role of the Treasury in pay negotiations; support for young people transitioning over from Youth Offending teams; the need to ensure that central planning is involved in the delivery of messages and new policies; and effective Estate planning to fully take account of the needs of disabled workers.

Appreciation to our members

As can be seen, these questions very much reflected the desire of our members to find workable solutions to these problems, and the Director General was left in no doubt that serious action will be needed to improve the position on pay, workloads and future staffing among the many other important issues that were covered.

It was also agreed that questions which could not be asked on the day would be referred to Amy Rees and her team and we will feed back responses to all members once we have them. Please look out for future Q&A events which are open exclusively to Napo members.

Napo contact: klomas@napo.org.uk