The Probation Service finished 2008-2009 on a positive note, having achieved a rate of 88 per cent staff compliance with procedures for managing offenders on parole in June 2009.
The result replaces another previous high of 84 per cent achieved in May 2009.
General Manager Community Probation & Psychological Services Katrina Casey says the figure continued a trend of improved results for probation and has been largely achieved through the considerable additional effort from staff and managers.
“Our staff are very committed to the work they do managing some of the most difficult people in the community and often in challenging circumstances.”
The trend has been further reinforced following a review in March 2009 of staff compliance with procedures for managing a subset of parolees - those who are considered to be high risk.
“The requirements staff have to follow for this group of offenders are more stringent and have tighter timeframes. By March 2009 staff compliance had reached 81 per cent nationally compared to 51 per cent in September 2008.”
Ms Casey says the results are significant because they are being achieved while the bulk of the additional 134 probation officers funded through the 2009 Budget are recruited.
“These staff are essential because having them on board means that we will have the right level of staff to undertake the necessary procedures to manage the actual volumes of offenders we are responsible for. This will take some of the pressure off existing staff and allow them the time they need to do their jobs well.
“Though a lot of work had been done in the last few months to better support staff in the work they do, we are continuing with a programme of work to gain further improvements in the quality of our service delivery.
“While we have done a number of things that have proved successful and we are achieving good results, this is not something we can be complacent about and we must always be looking for ways to further improve our performance.”
Ms Casey said the management of both parole and home detention will receive a further boost in 2010 when a further 112 probation officers are recruited in order to allow an increase in the amount of time that staff will spend working directly with offenders.
Notes to reporter
In 2008-2009 the Probation service managed 66,635 new sentences and orders, 41,357 of which were being managed at any one time. The total throughput for the year was 105,430 sentences and orders.
In total probation received funding for 258 additional probation officers. 12 of these were to support changes being made in the courts system specifically in Auckland.
By June 2010 when all staff are included, i.e. probation officers, administrative support staff, community work supervisors (approx 500), managers and head office staff, the Probation Service will have approximately 2311 staff.
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