Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice

ELLEN HODGINS (National Probation Service, Midlands)

ELLEN HODGINS (National Probation Service, Midlands)

AWARD WINNER 2017-18: Ellen is a Probation Officer for the National Probation Service, Midlands division. Described as someone ‘undertaking her job extraordinarily well’, she wins an Award for her compassion, skill and tenacity, in transforming the management of offenders with complex needs, both locally and more widely. [This Award is supported by Interserve.]

The dedication and complex juggling Ellen Hodgins brings to her work as a Probation Officer in and around Leicester illuminates the inherent difficulty at the heart of so many cases – and the genuine difference one “extraordinary officer” can make. Not only do individuals benefit from Ellen’s approach, so do colleagues, the wider system and, crucially, the community at large.

Ellen Hodgins is, in the words of Carolyn Maclean, Head of Probation for Leicestershire Cluster, “the perfect package.” Carolyn goes on:

“Put simply Ellen is an extraordinary offender manager, she is highly skilled, passionate and committed – the more challenging the case the greater her commitment. Ellen’s persistence and dogged determination means that year in, year out, the public is safer, offenders are engaged and rehabilitated and partnership working is genuinely strengthened. Ellen is admired by colleagues, managers, partner agencies and her cases.”

Carolyn describes Ellen as “a lovely person to work with” who is “always willing to take on extra work to help out colleagues, always happy to help others out and has a lovely sense of humour,” adding that she feels “honoured” to have Ellen in her Local Delivery Unit (LDU). Noting that the National Probation Service’s (NPS) Leicestershire Cluster is “a high performing Local Delivery Unit”, she explains that, “even amongst this peer group of talented professionals, Ellen stands out. Put simply: Ellen is genuinely a brilliant, highly talented Probation Officer who comes to work each and every day and gives her all to the cases she works with and with that approach she really does get great results.”

Ellen’s “immense skill in working with difficult cases” involves “always seeing the person behind the offence,” says Carolyn, as well as a “brilliant” gift for “finding the key to engagement”. Roger Bannister, Deputy Chief Constable for Leicestershire (and MAPPA [Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement] Senior Management Board Chair) endorses this, describing Ellen’s skills and dedication as “outstanding.”

As one Detective Sergeant involved in a particularly complicated case said:

“The Probation Service is lucky to have people like Ellen working for them”

Other colleagues are equally enthusiastic in their praise for Ellen, with Senior Probation Officer Dalminder Singh calling her “absolutely fantastic… a dream to manage”. He added, “she is a real team player and go-to person for colleagues”. Another Senior Probation Officer and her previous line manager, Selena Duckham, agrees, saying: “Ellen is an amazing officer, she has a clear idea of what needs to be done and goes about it in the best way possible”.

The inscription from a card sent to Ellen by one of her cases is particular heartfelt: “I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all that you have done for me, especially supporting me through some difficult times. You always listen to me and never judge me. I am going to miss you and the phone calls we have. Thank you again for everything you have done.” Meanwhile, Sarah Chand, Deputy Director, NPS Midlands, calls Ellen “an ‘ordinary’ officer undertaking her job extraordinarily well.”

Ellen suggests that good relationships are at the heart of outstanding probation work, and adds, disarmingly, “I have met few people who are not responsive to good manners, warm humour and an authentic interest in them.” Indeed!

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