Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice
AWARD WINNER 2017-18: Angela is a Probation Officer for the National Probation Service, South West & South Central division. Described as ‘a rare gem’, she wins an Award for her consistently outstanding performance during 37 years of dedicated service, and for the support she gives to both colleagues and service users. [This Award is supported by Ingeus.]
The volume of testimonials to Angela Auty – including an ex-offender who specifically visited the office to add his own – is like a cumulative song in praise of her 37 years working in probation. The relatively dry description of her role – ‘Probation Officer in an Offender Management Team and a Sessional Approved Premises Worker’ – belies someone who has clearly made an enormous impact on many, many people’s lives.
Lucy Van-Waterschoot, a Senior Probation Officer for the South West & South Central division of the National Probation Service (SWSC NPS), is Angela’s formal nominator (although the nomination was initially inspired by service users). She calls Angela:
“Absolutely amazing… someone who lives and breathes to serve others… a selfless, balanced and joyful individual… the most dedicated, resilient & compassionate Probation Officer I know.”
Lucy describes how, over the 14 years she has worked alongside Angela, she has “repeatedly heard from colleagues, offenders, partnership agencies & sentencers how exceptional she is. People really value her humanity, her energy & enthusiasm for doing the job to the highest standards, for her assessment skills, and for finding ways for us all to improve.”
Lucy notes Angela’s gift for bringing “light to the lives of others”. Describing Angela as someone who “comes to work with a smile and an open heart, and is there for whoever may need her advice, guidance or assistance,” she adds that colleagues “report being inspired by Angela’s commitment and achievements, particularly when working with complex and challenging people – frequently those that other organisations have washed their hands of”.
Jon Nason, Head of Plymouth, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Delivery Unit for SWSC NPS, adds his voice, calling Angela “an exemplar of an exceptional practitioner and a first rate individual”. After almost four decades in her work, Angela “retains the drive & enthusiasm of someone who has just been appointed to her dream job!”
The nomination has literally dozens of testimonials, from offenders, colleagues, and partner agencies. As one offender put it, “she takes you under her wing, spends time with you and helps you feel part of society again,” while another, a lifer, said:
“I think she is a Florence Nightingale. She’d go out of her way to help you. I think she is an inspiration to Probation. For the amount of years she’s put in, she’s still prepared to help people. I think she’s one of the best people I’ve come across in terms of helping people…”
Another offender’s remark struck Angela Cossins, Director of the NPS SWSC Division as particularly vivid: “Well, she is above being ‘top’ in my head…She could lose a leg and still come and help you even if she is in pain.” Another added, “She is caring, wonderful. I have a lot of respect for her. She will sit down, listen, have a chat. She’s done me proud, taught me how to cook for the first time. She has fought my corner left, right & centre.”
Colleagues are equally effusive. Probation Officer Chloe said “She never ceases to amaze me as to the amount of knowledge that she has. Her enthusiasm and drive is infectious.” Kirsten added, “Angela is someone who inspires you to be better and for that I am truly grateful”.
A Police Offender Manager said, “I can’t speak highly enough of her.”
Tony, a colleague from Stonham Housing, described her as:
“A rare gem. Ange’s passion to help anyone in need has been inspirational to me…If I ended up half the person that Angela Auty is I would be a very proud man.”
Angela herself says, “I love every aspect of this work and have never lost belief that individuals can effect positive change in their lives if they are provided with support and the opportunities to do so.”
She adds some interesting details that help illuminate her distinctiveness: “I mark birthdays by baking cakes, and Christmas by ensuring every resident has a present and some more luxury food items”. Many items are sourced from local charities, but others come from her allotment and elsewhere. She also sources “items and means to support their progression”, like work clothing, and funding for tools and other specialist items. Cooking with residents helps “establish a forum through which they can undertake an activity then sit and eat together. This enables them to chat and find ways of supporting each other. And in resident’s meetings I ensure that each individual acknowledges a positive thing they are doing and a strength so that others can seek their support”.
The final word goes to Marie, another of many colleagues supporting her nomination:
“Angela is not only an amazing officer but also one of the most kind, empathic and caring human beings I have come across…I am proud to work alongside Angela. She is the core of everything this service stands for.”