Probation Institute CEO Blog
This month the Probation Institute says good bye to Savas Hadjipavlou, CEO since the Institute opened in 2014. Savas successfully set up the Probation Institute as a membership organisation, owned and directed by our members. We wish him well for the future.
The Board have appointed me to lead and manage the Probation Institute to drive forward the future direction. In taking this role I am working closely with Professor Paul Senior Chair of the Probation Institute. Some of you with long memories may recall that Paul and I shared, with others, an earlier challenge nearly 20 years ago in which we succeeded in retaining probation training in higher education despite pretty fierce opposition. That was a long time ago and much has changed since.
Returning to the Probation landscape after 12 years in a senior management role in Police Training with the National Policing Improvement Agency and the College of Policing I am reminded but still surprised by both the differences and the similarities. The proportionate difference in central funding is massive and still deflects criminal justice priorities away from crime prevention and rehabilitation towards detection, investigation and arrest. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, creative alliances between policing and probation rely heavily on the initiative and energy of individuals and struggle to achieve sustainable funding. I read the EHRC report on eliminating all forms of racial discrimination with real sadness; “As well as being more likely to be a victim of hate crime, people from ethnic minority communities and migrants are much more likely to experience disadvantage in the criminal justice system”.
Our ambition and vision for the Probation Institute today is much wider and more radical. Our ambition for consistent, high quality standards must now include all practitioners and managers in Probation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement; in NPS, CRCS, voluntary organisations, private companies, prisons or those managing offenders in policing roles. We want to be the Professional Body and Regulatory Body for everyone working or volunteering to help individuals to stop offending and lead fulfilling lives in positive relationship to others.
I see the role of the Probation Institute to reach out to practitioners, managers and leaders; to work together to set standards of competence, learning and research, to promote qualifications and to speak up for professional practice. Our ambition must be strong and radical because this occupational group is now very widely dispersed and urgently needs regulating to meet standards.The Probation Institute is ready to become the Regulatory Body for Probation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement.
In proposing this I want to build on our achievements in the first two years – the Code of Ethics, the Professional Development Framework, joint projects with partner organisations and position papers to list just a few. All our activity must be relevant and important to public, private and charitable organisations; we can’t afford to neglect knowledge, skills and values for any groups. Our Professional Development Framework seeks to raise and recognise competence and strengthen performance in all roles. The Trailblazer Apprenticeship which we are leading with CRCs and voluntary organisations sets out a single, funded standard of competence, learning and qualification for a Rehabilitation Practitioner at the equivalent to the PSO grade, in all types of organisation. I am convinced that an independent Regulatory Body is the only possible mechanism for setting and achieving the essential standards and consistency where responsibilities have become so devolved to plural groups of employers.
A Regulatory Body would be independent of government, it would have representation from higher and further education, practitioners, trade unions, employers, awarding organisations, sector skills councils and representatives of government departments. It would set levels of competence and qualifications for all practitioner and management roles, and maintain the Professional Register. This would leave the trade unions free to represent their members, and to negotiate pay and conditions of service, collaborating with the Regulatory Body but free to act on behalf of their members. There would be strategic interfaces and joint projects with other bodies. The sector as a whole would be stronger because it could demonstrate consistency, clarity and confidence in professional practice.
This project to establish a Regulatory Body needs to move forward in Autumn 2016. As we drive this forward my priorities will also be to continue to increase our membership, to be the professional voice for practice and learning in Probation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, to work with our partner organisations in joint projects, and ensure that our offer to members is clear, relevant and timely. I will be writing a blog regularly to keep up to date with our activity and look forward to readers’ views.
Acting Chief Executive