New Professional Development Framework gets warm welcome from practitioners

Practitioners and managers from across the public, private and voluntary sectors have met at the Probation Institute to see and discuss the Professional Development Framework, a major piece of work developed by Institute members and training and development specialists. 

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Back row, from left to right: Rosie Goodwin (Merseyside CRC), Tessa Webb (Probation Institute Fellow), Julia Summerfield (LAURUS), Anne Mackintosh (Skills for Justice), Catherine Fuller (National Probation Service), Manjinder Purewal (WWM CRC), Laura Bugby (Nacro), Sue Hall (Probation Institute), Raph Hill (ABPO) and Savas Hadjipavlou (Probation Institute Chief Executive).

Front row, from left to right: Helen Schofield (Professional Development Framework Project Lead), Ann Sherlock (MTCNovo) and Professor Paul Senior (Probation Institute chair).

The Framework’s founding principles, explained by Probation Institute Chair, Professor Paul Senior, are that it is inclusive, integrative, adaptive and aspirational.  And these aims certainly seem to have been achieved, as echoed in the responses of probation and rehabilitation practitioners.

84x59-Probation-Institute-PD-Framework2Nick Hall, Director of Northumbria CRC, said at the event: “The Professional Development Framework is a fantastic opportunity for individuals to grow throughout their careers. With all rehabilitation organisations evolving at the moment, the Framework couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Rosie Goodwin, Assistant Chief Executive at East and West Merseyside CRC said: “The event gave me real insight into the potential of the Professional Development Framework and the opportunities it can create. It is thinking outside the box. It gets us beyond just labelling people in terms of whether they are qualified or unqualified probation officers. The Framework is bigger than that and lets you see how we might design a skill set to suit demand. If we have a big demand for domestic abuse services, why not have specialist domestic abuse workers with specialist skills and qualifications? The Framework allows for this.”

“At the same time, we have lots of local partnerships with, for example, community safety, police and JobCentrePlus,” explained Rosie. “Why not use the Framework to structure training in a general skillset for reducing reoffending? We need to be agile and fluid in our service delivery and the Framework offers that flexibility, while keeping us joined-up.”

Laura Bugby, responsible for Service Design at Nacro said: “The event today enabled me to see how the voluntary sector can be effectively incorporated into what was a traditionally public sector service in an integrated way. The Framework shows how the voluntary sector are able to contribute and gives members an opportunity to progress in their careers.”

The Professional Development Framework has been the result of months of effort by the Institute and its members and particularly Helen Schofield, who has been the lead for the project and Gillian Acheson of Skills for Justice.

Ann Sherlock of MTCNovo said: “I have worked in Learning and Development right across the public and private sector at a high level and I have never seen such a complex piece of work brought together so well and so efficiently.”

Helen Schofield stressed that the Framework is not meant to be static but should constantly evolve to reflect the needs of the sector, through discussions with frontline practitioners and managers.  Out of the discussions at the event, a number of important new areas were put forward for development, including plans for a sector-specific Advanced Apprenticeship programme.

The event concluded with a Service Providers’ Discussion, chaired by Julia Summerfield of LAURUS and a presentation on the new Diploma in Probation Practice by Catherine Fuller, Training Projects Manager at the National Probation Service. The Probation Institute is hosting a consultation event on the new Diploma on 14 January 2015.  Find details here. 

The Institute is activating next week its professional network group for ‘Professional Development’.  Any members who would be interested in joining please email: admin@probation-institute.org.