After a turbulent year for the sector, it is a pleasure – and a highly positive comment on those working on the frontline – to report that nominations for the 2017-2018 Butler Trust Awards have equalled the record-breaking nominations seen last year. Once again, there has been an impressive range of nominations by prisoners, accounting for over a quarter of all prison nominations. We have also seen a very high number of nominations from probation, in particular from the National Probation Service.
These results are a reminder that, for all the negative headlines that dominate the media, there is an extraordinary amount of generally unsung and extremely positive work going on. It is work that gets noticed and appreciated by colleagues and offenders alike, however, and so a Butler Trust nomination is a chance to acknowledge someone making a real difference to people’s lives.
“By a quirk of coincidence, we’ve ended up with exactly the same record-breaking number of nominations as last year,” said Andrew Skilton, the Butler Trust’s Operations Manager. “Each of those represents a lot of work by people who have been inspired to make or support a nomination. We’re really grateful to those people because their work helps drive the entire Awards process.”
Director Simon Shepherd added: “Last year a number of initiatives led by the Butler Trust came to fruition. As well as the Awards, these included a conference looking at how we can share best practice, and a pioneering Prison Officers’ Summer School at the University of Cambridge. We sensed – and helped share – a growing awareness at senior levels across the sector that it is vital to both value and recognise the incredible work done by this often-amazing workforce. Not least, it is vital to morale, recruitment, and retention. We plan to continue that work, and as ever, the beating heart is still the Awards process. Seeing so many nominations is an annual reminder that a great deal of really good work goes on quietly, every day, up and down the country.”
Why not follow our progress (Twitter, email) this summer as we sift the nominations and repeat our ground-breaking Prison Officers’ Summer Symposium, this year at Oxford University? Meanwhile, here is a randomly selected ‘taster’ of the kind of energy and enthusiasm found across the nominations:
“Tireless, dedicated, professional”
“Professionalism, personal integrity, and unfailing good humour”
“Common humanity and old-fashioned decency”
“He’s polite, respected, and always such a professional…a voice of compassion, empathy, and a determination to go that extra call of duty…his outstanding work [helped me] build up a normal life again.”
“An extraordinary and highly deserving individual…welcoming, encouraging, dedicated…nothing short of magical.”
“Unique, highly valued and appreciated…genuine empathy, compassion, decency and humanity to us prisoners”
“He ‘gets things done’…day to day energy to the betterment of all… I can think of no one more deserving.”
“Total commitment and personal responsibility…a champion…positive change and hope for many individuals where before there was none.”