Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice
COMMENDEES 2012-13: Partnership Officer (Probation) & Streetscene Manager (Chorley Council): for contributions to a work skills-based approach to community payback.
Developing an innovative form of community payback has earned Linda Tune and Robert Webster a Commendation, working at Lancashire Probation Trust (LPT).
The new approach involved members of council staff working directly with offenders who had been sentenced to unpaid work. Wearing highvisibility vests, the offenders provide additional labour to help councils deliver work improving the community environment.
As LPT’s partnership officer, Linda developed the idea with the aim of delivering ‘more for less’. Approaching Preston City Council, she then worked closely with Robert to bring the idea to life, overcoming any obstacles including the concerns of council staff who were worried about the implications and responsibilities of working with groups of offenders.
For the offenders who became part of a team improving the areas where they lived, the benefits soon became obvious. Not only did they take part in restorative justice, taking pride in countering the effects of antisocial behaviour; they also learned a work ethic, getting to their placement on time and participating in teamwork. They were trained in how to use equipment and gained knowledge, skills and experience that would stand them in good stead for future employment.
Council staff also reported that they had benefited from working alongside offenders, with many of them impressed by their transformation into motivated hard workers. Working in a ‘buddy’ system, rather than being required to supervise the offenders, they have had the benefit of assistance with work that they would not normally have time to complete.
Linda and Robert’s combined enthusiasm, dynamic hard work and tenacity in overcoming obstacles has earned them much praise and appreciation. Their partnership approach has become very popular locally, assisting the council and freeing up probation staff to work with offenders who need more specialised supervision.
LPT has credited the duo with creating a businessled approach to managing risk, changing lives and improving communities, ‘which has helped to break the cycle of reoffending and truly improve communities for everyone.’
The Trust is keen to extend community payback partnerships to other areas of work, looking at ways that education, employment and accommodation partnerships could evolve from the scheme. Meanwhile, since the partnership was established, Robert moved to Chorley Borough Council, where he implemented the scheme and is helping it to evolve.