I normally start my working day with a nice cup of tea before reading emails and responding to any enquiries. I then ensure that I’ve prepared for 1 to 1 sessions with service users who are attending that day – reading through their recent meeting notes and organising a session based on their risk management plan which could include: attitudes to domestic abuse, victim awareness, drug and alcohol sessions.
After meeting with service users or attending multi-agency meetings, it is important to record these by typing case notes and then acting on any actions. So, much of the day is spent typing up notes, and liaising with various agencies such as Children’s Services or accommodation agencies.
The safety of children is one of my priorities so I may attend a children’s safeguarding meeting in a typical week. These are multi-agency meetings which involve key agencies such as Children’s Services, the Police, NHS and Mental Health teams involved, together with a service user’s family to discuss the welfare of any children involved. These meetings are generally positive but have the potential to be quite emotionally charged so it’s important to prepare fully. The outcomes and decisions can have serious implications for the service user’s life and the relationship between me and the service user.
On Tuesdays, I attend multi-agency meetings to discuss people known to be committing domestic abuse in the local community. Actions agreed amongst the various agencies are designed to ensure victims of domestic abuse are suitably protected and safeguarded.
As we now have new laptops and mobile phones, I can base myself in a community library on certain days and work remotely. This makes it easier for service users to engage whilst encouraging them to access local services. I have found this to be positive change for the better as probation offices can be intimidating places and it helps me give service users a bit more flexibility.
Where possible, I attempt to visit service users in Prison to develop a professional relationship and to find out more about their plans for release. The outcomes of these meetings can be difficult. They may result in a referral to children’s services being made or imposing licence conditions to protect current or previous partners upon the service user’s release.
My colleagues are extremely supportive. I frequently discuss cases with them and vice versa to ensure we are considering all perspectives and eventualities when managing our caseloads.
I normally spend the last half hour in work anxiously looking out of the window and performing rain dances because I commute from home on my bike.
It’s brilliant to see people – supported by Probation – making positive changes in their lives which undoubtedly benefits society.
There is opportunity for development and I am working towards becoming a qualified Senior Case Manager. This involves intensive training, a degree at Sheffield Hallam University, and professional discussions, alongside my current responsibilities. This is tough going at times but I feel I’m learning a lot and making positive progress.
My first job, after graduating in 2013 from Swansea University, was as an ‘Au Pair’ in France looking after a 10-year-old boy whilst teaching him English. This was a fun experience I came back looking for a new challenge. Originally, I looked for a role where I could apply my degree and wanted to join the Police but decided, after doing work experience, that it wasn’t for me. I dipped my toe into Probation when I joined – working for an agency – and ended up diving in head first as I enjoyed my first role as an administrator so much.
My current role as a Case Manager is particularly enjoyable because it’s so social and I feel I’m helping people – who often have come from difficult circumstances – make positive changes in their lives. Sometimes it can be a tough role, especially when having to make difficult decisions which can have a huge impact on people’s lives. However, the colleagues around me are incredibly supportive and are always there to advise me.
I have seen the positive progress that has been achieved with CGM CRC’s help. It’s brilliant to see people – supported by Probation – making positive changes in their lives which undoubtedly benefits society. I particularly enjoy the motivation that me and my colleagues can instil in service users as well as broadening people’s perspectives through encouraging discussion.
I have been fortunate enough to have several special mentors but maybe as I have worked with many incredibly supportive people during my time with CGM CRC. In my previous office, the whole team was positive about helping me develop. In my present office, the support is very positive and everyone is always happy to help with advice or demonstrating effective practice. This includes Reception colleagues, Case Managers, Senior Case Managers and Interchange Managers. I regularly approach my colleagues to the point where I’m concerned they get annoyed – but they never do. The whole office is filled with people who are always so approachable and happy to help despite being very busy themselves.
I like to keep fit, so in the evenings I will either run, cycle, swim or play tennis. I’m preparing for a couple of triathlons which I’m completing with my brother. He beat me in the last one so I have some work to do!
Conversely, I also love to bake (and eat it all too) so I’m in a constant battle between sports and cakes, fitness and fatness, good and evil. Sometimes, I will bring my bakes into the office (but only sometimes).