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LUCY VAN-WATERSCHOOT (National Probation Service, South West & South Central)

LUCY VAN-WATERSCHOOT (National Probation Service, South West & South Central)

Lucy Van-Waterschoot

COMMENDEE 2018-19: Lucy is a Senior Probation Officer for South West & South Central NPS. She is Commended for the skill and passion she has brought to all aspects of her role – with service users, and as a manager and colleague – and for her contributions as an equality and diversity champion.

Initial Nominator, Senior Probation Officer and 2017-18 Butler Trust winner Angela Auty,, wrote:

‘Lucy lives up to her name; luminescent, a woman possessing exceptional personal qualities, indeed those who know her almost literally bask in her light…she is a beacon of inspiration.’

Lucy, adds Angela, ‘is known to many across the division as a true champion of diversity and equality’ with a national reputation, but she argues Lucy is that and much more, quoting another colleague who said ‘there are Senior Probation Officers… and there is Lucy’ because ‘she strives for excellence in everything.’

Angela says Lucy is known to colleagues as ‘an encyclopaedia on legs’, adding that ‘many have expanded their knowledge and even changed their practise after discussions with Lucy. A member of staff says ‘she just fills up your brain and causes me to review matters in a totally different way, always for the better’ while another added that Lucy is her ‘go to’ on anything, ‘she is just such a decent and diverse human being.’

Another colleague, an Equality Manager, added that Lucy ‘brings new dimensions to everything and I have observed her fight tirelessly for the rights of those with whom she works. Her aim is to ensure that everyone feels included, valued and they fulfil their potential.’

Angela also emphasised that Lucy ‘has a way of making her staff feel valued and appreciated’, while another colleague added that ‘Lucy is utterly conscientious, empathetic and kind’. Angela concluded by saying that,

‘Lucy always goes out of her way to praise a good piece of work or say thank you if you have gone above and beyond. The impact of working with Lucy is significant and long lasting. She fights for the individual’s voice to be heard and their needs to be met, she is creative, resourceful but most of all passionate about ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against by our service and are treated with dignity.’

Butler Trust Local Champion and Head of Local Delivery Unit, Jonathan Nason, explains that Lucy has ‘instigated a range of projects as a Senior Manager within the Approved Premises and Offender Management Teams in the South West South Central Division. Her most significant achievements however, are linked to her roles around equality and diversity. Lucy’s commitment to her work with staff is evidenced by her role with the National Disabled Staff Support Network as the South West Regional Staff Representative and National Executive Member. She has also co-worked on the development of the Disability Monitoring Probation Circular and maintained her involvement with the MOJ, National and local Equality Impact Assessments.’

He calls Lucy ‘a humble soul’ who ‘simply wants to build capacity for all’ and ‘creates opportunities for others’, and adds:

‘Lucy is unique, she is a leader who works to create other leaders, she will always try to bring out the best in everyone. She recognises others’ strengths and gently draws them out with positive encouragement and support. She has ensured that there are other Champions in the team to provide a high level of service delivery and set the benchmark for excellence.’

Jonathan also draws attention to another of Lucy’s qualities: ‘She does not overlook anything, her vision is not limited to a strategic view, she will scope right down to the small details. [She] understands the language of others and will translate and represent them, she picks up their voice and speaks on their behalf.’

Colleagues and service users added their own testimonials. One management colleague said ‘Lucy is just awesome’, while a service user called her ‘the bike riding super lady without the cape’. Another service user said, simply, ‘She was involved, there, we all knew she wanted to the best for us.’

Colleagues were keen to describe Lucy’s impact on their working lives. ‘She cares, she sees me, she is the first manager who has not just focused on my work, but has really taken time to care for me as a person’ said one Offender Manager, while another said, ‘She always has my back, and manages to pull out the best in me.’ Another colleague wrote, ‘I have never had a manager who cares so much for the welfare of her staff. Not only this, she supports you in a way that helps you to grow and achieve the best out of the work.’

Probation Divisional Director, Angela Cossins, noted that ‘this is such a lovely nomination that recognises such a kind-hearted and decent soul! Lucy really is a champion for me, and for the Service.’

Lucy herself adds that she works ‘within a fantastic team; it is a privilege to be there to journey alongside, to help them protect the public, prevent victims and provide opportunities for rehabilitation’, and concludes with an eloquent credo:

‘In whatever I do I seek ways to give voice to those who may feel silenced, unheard or powerless in the world.’

* Offenders’ names have been anonymised.

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