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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

What do we know about the new Probation Institute?

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The partner organisations have produced a Prospectus for the Institute which sets out their initial thoughts on the purpose of the organisation, its stakeholders, scope and priorities and an implementation plan and timetable. This prospectus sets out six key objectives for the Institute: 1) Providing professional leadership, enhancing the professional status of the sector

What is the Probation Institute?

An embryonic Probation Institute was announced by its main partners on 4th December 2013. The Institute is a partnership between the Probation Chiefs Association (PCA), the Probation Association (PA), Napo and UNISON, working with the Ministry of Justice.

The Insitute is described on its website as:

“the body being established to support the professional development of probation workers and of probation practice and skills”

The Institute is clearly a work in progress and there is a roundtable consultation event taking place on 17 December.

Key features

However, the website does set out some key features and we know from the MoJ press release that the Ministry will provide “up to £90,000” towards set-up costs along with £60,000 from the PCA and PA.

  • The Institute will be an independent, not-for-profit Limited Company which aims to be the recognised centre of excellence on probation practice.
  • Membership will be voluntary and open both to individual practitioners (from the public, private or voluntary sectors ) and corporate organisations concerned with the rehabilitation of offenders.
  • Corporate members will include all 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service.
  • The Institute will work closely with academics, researchers and training organisations so that its work is evidence based, rigorous and objective.
  • With the Probation Inspectorate the Institute will be key in setting practice standards and leading professional development of its members.

One of the key drivers behind the Institute is to enable probation staff to transfer between different sectors and providers and to be able to develop their career within the NPS, CRCs and the wider reducing reoffending sector.

The Prospectus

The partner organisations have produced a Prospectus for the Institute which sets out their initial thoughts on the purpose of the organisation, its stakeholders, scope and priorities and an implementation plan and timetable.

This prospectus sets out six key objectives for the Institute:

  1. Providing professional leadership, enhancing the professional status of the sector
  2. Making clear the code of ethics and values that apply in probation and rehabilitation work, and so providing a context and framework for the development of effective practice
  3. Being a centre for excellence, contributing to the setting of standards by providing an independent view of what constitutes good practice
  4. Helping to set the levels of competence expected for various roles so that the employers of probation workers are enabled to ensure appropriate  training is provided
  5. Reinforcing effective practice and through membership of the Institute providing individuals with a vehicle for continuing professional development
  6. Enabling providers of probation services, through membership and participation in the Institute’s work, to demonstrate that they adhere to common, widely recognised standards of practice, ones that are evidence-based and command widespread support.

The aim is to have the Institute formally established by March 2014 at which point individuals and organisations will be able to subscribe. Subscription rates have yet to be agreed, but initial thinking is:

Fellows:                                                            £100
Experts:                                                            £50
Members:                                                        £30
Students/ex-offenders/volunteers: £10

with institutional subscriptions suggested at £10,000 for larger organisations with reduced rates for smaller providers  in the intervention supply chain.

Probation institute partners

The prospectus is certainly well worth a read for everyone working in the probation and reducing reoffending field.

The partner organisations are keen for views on how the Institute should operate.
Email the PCA if you’d like to contribute your views.

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All Probation Posts are sponsored by Unilink

With over 20 years’ experience in the criminal justice sector, Unilink is a world leader in probation and community corrections software applications, as well as prisoner self-service, prisoner/case management and prisoner communications. Unilink’s integrated suite of products provide a complete digital solution enabling efficient running of prisons and probation. Underpinned by biometrics it integrates seamlessly to deliver security, efficiency and value – while being proven to help rehabilitate prisoners.

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