We have worked in association with the probation service for some six years and have appreciated our working relations with them. We have regularly received referrals not only into our regional centre based activities but we have often intervened sourcing housing, financial help and employment services on behalf of probation clients. Probation workers have always been grateful for support from organisations like ours due to the ever-increasing demands that have been placed on the probation service over the past few years. To accomplish their goals probation officers face complex paperwork demands, escalating caseload numbers and decreasing budgets. This must have had an impact on the quality of service that can be realistically offered to the clients. To know that the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) has only taken strike action twice before in a 101-year history is quite incredible and this should be applauded.
Whatever the outcome of the government’s plans to privatise the probation service, whether we as an organisation continue to work alongside the probation service or form an official part of a consortium contracted to deliver probation based services, we remain committed to contributing towards a robust support infrastructure that aims to impact and positively effect not only the ex-offender but their families and the wider community.