Statutory supervision under the early implementation phase of the transforming rehabilitation agenda

Adamson, Lyn (2023) Statutory supervision under the early implementation phase of the transforming rehabilitation agenda. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis explores the timeless nature of change within probation, with a specific focus on the relationship between probation practitioners and clients. The fieldwork for this study was collected during the early implementation stage of Transforming Rehabilitation (TR), the most profound change to probation supervision in the history of the Probation Service. TR resulted in the previous single organisation being separated into two distinct entities, within which was the creation of twenty-one privately operated Community Rehabilitation Companies. These held responsibility for the supervision of low and medium-risk clients. A National Probation Service, the new, public-sector arm of probation became responsible for supervising those assessed as high and very high-risk of causing harm.

The study was particularly interested in how the changes resulting from TR impacted practitioners and clients within the Northumbria CRC region. Previous research indicated that despite the relentless top-down government drive that increasingly moved supervision away from its original culture grounded in its philanthropic, welfare-based roots, practitioners were still able to maintain elements of this approach within their roles. This study was therefore interested in the extent to which this would once again flourish within Northumbria CRC under the new ways of working.

Interviews conducted with 18 supervising officers and 18 probation clients during the early implementation of TR were analysed. Some 12-18 months later 16 respondents were re-visited, and their insight was again sought, to further understand the longer-term impact of the changes and add a distinctive insight into this critical period of probation reform.

The findings uncover interesting data about the early implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation, which evidences that the initiative was besieged with problems from the outset. These problems negatively impacted how practitioners fulfilled the requirements of their role. The extent to which indicated that TR was unlikely to succeed as it was originally intended in Northumbria, without significant changes being made. Practitioners maintained that the relational aspect of their role should be the foundation of their work with clients, but TR further removed them from this aspect of their work. Pertinent too, was the negative impact TR had on professional relationships between probation practitioners. A subliminal hierarchy appeared between staff allocated to the NPS and those in the CRC, which significantly fractured existing stable occupational cultures. Importantly, the data also provides insight into the irrationality of target-driven processes that detract practitioners from direct work with clients, thereby inadvertently negatively impacting their effectiveness in assessing and managing risk. These findings are of significance to the development of future policy in terms of organisational change and supervision strategy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: the Probation Service, community supervision in the UK, human relations and scientific management models, organisational change in public sector organisations, New Public Management
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
M900 Other in Law
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2023 11:56
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 03:30

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