Tell us about your typical day at work
I wanted to join the probation service to contribute to the local community by supporting individuals that are often very vulnerable due to leading chaotic lifestyles.
The first task every morning is to get some coffee before reviewing the day’s appointments and reviewing emails that require action.
On average I have 12 appointments in my diary for that day, made up of inductions, assessments, sentence plans and reporting appointments. It’s necessary to prepare for each appointment to gather the paperwork, review the last session and any further information that may impact on the session or the service user’s risk assessment. Some sessions are more structured that others because they reflect the service user’s individual needs are order requirements. The approaches I typically adopt range from motivational interviewing through to formal sessions that include specific pieces of work for the service user to complete.
As a Case Manager in a Flex Team, this means I am often delivering a programme to a group of service users. Initially, I found delivering a programme to be the hardest part of the job as I am not a very confident public speaker. Now, after some practice, training and coaching, it is getting easier and is something that I am really beginning to enjoy.
It helps that I work in an open plan office because that creates plenty of opportunity to chat with colleagues, all of whom are all lovely. There is a very good rapport within the office, and we all offer each other support, advice, and – most importantly – a smile and good morning every day!
What was your job before joining the probation service?
Prior to my current role I was a keyworker with Together Women for just short of four years. I’m very grateful to them as I have been able to experience working in several different settings, such as the Women’s’ Centre, police custody suite and prison. This varied experience has helped me see the journey many of my service users have made.
What prompted you to join the probation service? Do you enjoy your job?
I wanted to join the probation service to contribute to the local community by supporting individuals that are often very vulnerable due to leading chaotic lifestyles. I joined the CRC about six months ago and although it has been a steep learning curve (mostly learning the jargon!), it is a job that I really enjoy.
What difference does probation make to service users’ lives?
Probation can make a valuable contribution to local communities by supporting individuals with their chaotic lifestyle and complex needs. By carrying out this role, we also offer protection to the public in a sustainable and meaningful way. This is because if we stop people from re-offending, we are promoting public safety and ensuring less victims are created.
Many of the service users on probation have issues in their accommodation, finances, substance misuse, physical or mental health. It can be hard for individuals to even start to think about making positive changes in their lives when they have nowhere to live or a chaotic lifestyle due to their substance misuse. Probation is the first step for many individuals to accessing support to achieve their goals of a healthy, offence free and stable lifestyle.
Probation is part of a multi-agency approach to support our service users to access appropriate interventions with a number of different agencies. This can be through referrals or meeting clients to show them where the support agency is.
Due to probation being a court requirement, it can provide support to individuals that may not be able or willing to access mainstream services. By working with service users to build their own motivation, they are more likely to access support from appropriate agencies and addressing support needs that may be a factor in their offending.
This joined-up approach supports the individual to access agencies and seek support when their order ends. This in turn helps prevent them re-offending in the future.
Do you have a special mentor who you admire?
In our office, we have a formal mentor system and I have been very fortunate to have Lynne Jones, a Senior Case Manager, as my mentor. She has been able to show me the day-to-day management of a caseload of service users and answered my endless list of questions
How do you relax away from the office? Tell us about your hobbies, sports, family, children and pets
I enjoy reading books by Mark Gimenez in the garden (often with a glass of wine) as way to relax at the weekend.