London Probation Councils

London Probation Community Council

This project presents a unique opportunity for users of Probation services to have their voices heard.

In 2011 London Probation Trust (LPT) initially commissioned User Voice to develop Community Councils in four London boroughs:

  1. Greenwich
  2. Haringey
  3. Kingston & Richmond
  4. Tower Hamlets 

This was part of LPT’s Offender Engagement Project (OEP), an initiative to improve the quality and effectiveness of one-to-one work with offenders and reduce re-offending.

Over the last 3 years, the project has grown and User Voice has now set up Councils across the whole of London.

See the drop-down menus below for further information about each phase and videos explaining the project.

Phase 1 - Consultation

First, User Voice carried out a consultation of service users between February and April 2011. This consisted of:

  1. A user-led survey of 560 service users;
  2. 118 of whom then participated in 13 discussion groups;
  3. An Open Space event in May 2011, which was facilitated by ex-offenders and attended by 11 service users (who had been nominated by their peers in the focus groups) and 13 senior probation staff.

One of the purposes of this phase was to canvas interest amongst service users and identify some of those who could go forward to pilot the council model in the next phase.

Phase 2 - Councils

Community Councils were then set up by User Voice in each of the four London boroughs. Council meetings commenced at the end of January 2012 and continue to be held every 4-6 weeks.

The Councils are based on the innovative model we have successfully delivered in several prisons. They provide an opportunity for Council Members to voice the concerns and ideas of the wider service user community in a solution focused way.

The Councils are made up of issue-based groups that have been democratically elected by service users and staff; the first elections took place between 12th and 19th December 2011. All candidates underwent training delivered by User Voice to support this process. Click here to view the results of the elections.

Phase 3 - Clusters

The Community Council model was then gradually rolled out across more London boroughs. These boroughs were clustered together in the following areas:

  • North West - Harrow and Ealing
  • West – Wandsworth, Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham
  • North – Barnet & Enfield and Camden & Islington
  • South Central – Lambeth and Southwark
  • East - Waltham Forest & Redbridge and Newham
  • South East – Bexley & Bromley and Croydon

The West and North West councils had their first meetings in October 2012 and have been discussing issues such as having Probation employ service users.

The North and South Central councils had their first meetings in January 2013 whilst East and South East followed in April 2013.

Phase 4 - Pan-London

As a result of the success of this project, London Probation Trust has commissioned User Voice to set up Community Councils in every borough in London!lptphase4website This means that there will be councils representing Probation service users across the entire city.

The Probation Local Delivery Units (LDUs) are clustered into five councils as follows:

lptphase4website

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As part of Phase 4, User Voice also set up the very first dedicated…

Women's Council

Following the on-going roll out of the councils in each of LPT’s 5 clusters a Women’s Council was requested by the members, as there were more and more issues raised within this area and for this specific group of service users.

The Women’s Council was therefore born. There are currently 10 female council members who circulate within all 23 Local Delivery Units in London to gain a greater understanding of issues faced by the wider female community.

lptphase4website

As with the mixed Councils, these highlighted issues are then reviewed and proposals are brought forward to the 6 weekly meetings, chaired by a Senior Manager.

 

User Voice are always recruiting new Council members. So, if you are on probation in London and would like to have your say about the services you use, get in touch! Email info@uservoice.org OR call us on 020 3137 7471.