Guardian Public Services Awards Demonstrate Probation Excellence

The Probation Chiefs Association would like to congratulate Hertfordshire Probation Trust for winning a Guardian Public Services Award for Digital Innovation, and Nathalie Allard from Leicester and Rutland Probation Trust, for being a finalist in the Public Servant of the Year category.

Hertfordshire Probation Trust was announced as the winner of a prestigious Guardian Public Services Award for Digital Innovation at a ceremony in York earlier this evening (20th November).

Hertfordshire Probation Trust and Hertfordshire Constabulary had been piloting the use of GPS Tracking, which can report on the whereabouts of a person wearing a special tag at any time.

The pilot is just one innovation of the Hertfordshire Horizons Partnership, which is led by Probation and the Police and which uses an Integrated Offender Management approach, focussing on Hertfordshire’s top 200 most prolific offenders in order to reduce reoffending and thereby prevent further victims. First year data indicates a considerable impact on crime reduction.

Since it was launched in April 2011 for the country’s 200 most prolific offenders, their offence rate has dropped 41% in the first year and 70 of them have stayed crime free altogether.

In addition people wearing the tag have said it helps with rehabilitation. The GPS confirms they have not been present at the scene of a crime for which they might have been a suspect, and enables the police to eliminate them from investigations from the outset.

GPS is one aspect of the work being done by probation officers and police through the Hertfordshire Horizons Partnership. Monitoring and providing intensive supervision to address addictions, behaviours and move into education and employment all contribute to the success of the programme.

The Trust vied for first place with the National Policing Improvement Agency.

Tessa Webb said: “The GPS Tracking pilot is something we have worked on very closely with the Police, and the nomination reflects our work as a partnership promoting integrated offender management. We have moved from the old police mantra of, ‘We catch them and you let them out,’ to ‘Together we prevent further crime’, This is an important step forward and contributes to making Hertfordshire safer.”

“Needless to say we are delighted to win this award, not least because it contributes to raising the profile of probation in the public consciousness and creating more public awareness of what we do and how we work in partnership with other agencies.”

You can read more on this in the following Guardian Article

Nathalie Allard was a finalist in the Guardian Public Servant of the Year Award, demonstrating the critical risk management skills she used to protect the public.

Nathalie joined Leicester and Rutland Probation Trust in August 2007 and currently works in a city-based team in Leicester.

Part of her nomination to the Guardian Public Service Awards was for identifying an extensive paedophile network within one family. She meticulously created a detailed ‘genogram’ – a family tree tracing the genealogy through four generations.

Nathalie’s research identified the adults, who were of concern, and the children potentially at risk of further abuse. Her work highlighted several other convicted sex offenders. Natalie Allard said: ‘It was a complicated case, but in tracing the family tree I was able to feed back to social services and the police and they added their own pieces of knowledge and that helped everyone understand better what was going on in that family and what children might be at risk,’ she says.

‘The impact on the victims in this sort of case is so huge and I had that in my mind all the time. If we prevent even one more person becoming a victim that’s fantastic.’ Not all cases are as tricky as that one but, as Allard points out, her work in the probation service can change lives. ‘The satisfaction is seeing some people do change if they are given the right support.’ she explains.

‘People can make different lives for themselves.’ She says strong partnership working with other agencies is key to her approach. ‘It is essential to share information,’ she says.

The Guardian Public Services Awards are in their ninth year. There are seven categories including the Public Servant of the Year Award. It is an excellent achievement to see Probation shortlisted in two of the seven categories.

The work recognised by these awards demonstrates the excellent skill and expertise held by Probation and their critical role in the criminal justice system. It is feared some of this good work could be at risk if the government decides to fragment and outsource offender management. See the PCA response to the Justice Secretary’s speech on criminal justice reforms for more information.

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