Conclusion: Management and the Pursuit of Effectiveness
We have attempted to set out the kind of contribution that the probation service can now make to the criminal justice system, firstly by suggesting strategies through which probation officers can influence sentencers, and secondly by presenting models of effective, anti-discriminatory practice in work with people who offend. In doing so we have quite deliberately placed the work of probation staff in the context of wider concerns about welfare and social problems, and argued that its aim should be to influence systems as well as individuals. Clearly the extent to which that aim can be fulfilled depends in no small measure upon the commitment, skills, knowledge and hard work of individuals engaged in a wide range of tasks, including amongst other things running programmes, advising people, providing practical help, supervising community work, managing information systems and providing clerical services. However, it is likely to be so much wasted effort unless it takes place within a healthy, confident, self-critical and co-operative organisation. In turn those characteristics hinge, not entirely but significantly, around skilled, person-centred leadership, innovative, relevant practice and the evaluation of effectiveness. We devote the main section of this final chapter to an exploration of the keys to organisational health.
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