Changing probation practice: frontline perspectives on a new model for supervising offenders
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
This thesis explores probation practitioners’ views regarding changes to practice in light of the implementation of a new model of practice, namely the SEEDS (Skills for Effective Engagement, Development and Supervision) model. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 female and 5 male practitioners from one Probation Trust in the south east of the UK. The sample was made up of probation service officers, probation officers and one senior probation officer. The research focused on practitioners’ experiences and views regarding the implementation of SEEDS and the impact this has had on their day to day practice. It also looked at the process of organisational change more widely. The results suggest that the introduction of SEEDS has not thus far resulted in its stated aim of achieving a stock change in probation culture. In order to explain why that is, the three themes of ‘Identity’, ‘Autonomy’ and ‘Accountability’ were explored. In addition, a divide was apparent in the views of respondents and this could be understood in terms of experienced versus less experienced respondents. Whilst the less experienced respondents were welcoming of SEEDS as a resource that offers guidance and reassurance about practice, the more experienced respondents were less embracing. They viewed SEEDS as essentially repackaging the skills they already have in one to one work with offenders. Understanding how changes are received at the coalface has important implications for managers and policymakers when trying to affect significant change in the culture of an organisation. The conclusion that the workforce is divided based on practitioners years’ of experience suggests that different strategies need to be adopted for both groups when trying to implement new models of practice.
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