A Day In The Life: Dave Finney, Community Placement Supervisor featured image

“I start work at 7:15 am and my first job is to open the garage in Low Moor, Bradford where we keep our minibuses.

“I then load the minibus with tools and equipment we wilI need for the day (including all PPE) and carry out any checks on the vehicle to make sure it is safe to use. After that I head down to our main office at Fraternal House in the centre or town where our service users on Community Payback report in to be assigned to that day’s particular job.

“At Fraternal House the team divide the duties which need to be carried out between us – these include working on the door taking names and signatures of any late comers; manning the stairs to ensure the service users are in the right place or working in the main room, where service users collect safety boots and high visibility vests.

“When pool has finished, we are given a sheet of paper or roll call with the names of the service users we are to supervise that day – normally around eight people. I call out their names and ask them to follow me outside and get into the minibus.

“I introduce myself and explain about the worksite we are going to and then give a talk about Health and Safety – we call this the ‘Toolbox Talk’. I take this opportunity to re-enforce rules such as the use of mobile phones, wearing of high visibility vests and safety boots.

“We arrive at the work site and we have the morning break. I then ask the service users to sign a form which states that they have had and have understood the toolbox talk information. We get out the required tools for the day and I give them jobs to do. We carry on working until around lunchtime where we have a break for lunch.

“During my time with West Yorkshire I worked on a wide range of projects in the community. These have included cleaning up cemeteries, parks and gardens, litter picking and refurbishing old buildings. We recently completed a major project to return the Bradford Park Avenue crick ground back to first class cricket after more than 125 years.

“During lunchtime, I will complete most of the paperwork I need to do. I fill in a report for each service user which is a carbonated document. I make notes on how the person has interacted with the rest of the team, if they have worked to instruction and how they are progressing.

“We then work for the through the afternoon with a short tea break until we set off back to Fraternal House around 3.20. As they are leaving the minibus I get them to sign their carbonated documents – this is their proof of them working on the day. I then give all my paperwork to a project officer for them to scan and send to the admin department. Then it’s back to Low Moor to drop off the minibus where I can check my laptop for any new emails and information. I’m usually heading home by 4.30.

“I have been working as a supervisor for 18 years and it is a joy to come to work – I am a people person who likes the engage and encourage my team. I love seeing people change and gain life skills that will make them more employable. I feel so good when a service user completes his order.

“I believe that unpaid work does make a difference to our service users. They can go on training courses, gain qualifications, learn life skills such as working as part of a team”

“I was a mechanical engineer before I joined the probation service. I was prompted to join the service after a conversation with my father-in-law’s brother who worked as an accountant for the service. He said that I would make a good supervisor. So, I applied and the rest is history.

“I believe that unpaid work does make a difference to our service users. They can go on training courses, gain qualifications, learn life skills such as working as part of a team. I address any anti-social behaviour which educates some of our service users. Also, coming regular to unpaid work helps reinforce the work ethic.

“Mike Pedley was my first project officer. He was a great mentor. He used to go to every worksite on a weekend and make sure everything was in order and he always was there for support. I can remember him asking me to run the pool which was not an easy thing to do. He was a great encourager and liked to stretch us out of our comfort zones. He was good at seeing potential problems before any of us realised there was a problem.

“Outside of work I like to play guitar to relax. I also love riding motorbikes and often meet biker friends at Squires Biker Café just off the Great North Road near Sherburn-in-Elmet. I like to fly stunt kites and like to canoe and mountain bike with my wife.
I have two sons – one has been married for five years and he is a social worker and the other has his own electrical engineering business.”