A total of 25 staff participated in the first personalisation training event as part of a pilot which will be rolled out across the Community Rehabilitation Companies.
Personalisation aims to deliver rehabilitative support packages that are co-produced with service users, enabling them to make personal change while also enabling the CRCs to deliver the court’s sentence.
In 2017 a proof of concept pilot was run in each of Interserve’s CRCs to test out ways to embed person-centred practice and a focus on community reintegration, which has been evaluated by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
From this learning, an integrated model for personalised service delivery has been developed. It is based on a deeper level of person-centred practice with service users being able to access to some additional innovative interventions.
Interserve’s approach to personalisation is being piloted in Hull, and forms part of a European project exploring the ‘co-creation of services and policy with service users’. The inaugural training session was opened by Caroline Marsh, an expert in personalisation who developed her experience about the subject as Director of Adult Social Care in Greater Manchester while working to change practice to focus on the individual.
Senior case manager Claire Mitcheson attended the session and is enthusiastic about what personalisation can achieve in probation.
She said: “I’m excited by personalisation and glad to be involved in the project. The introduction helped reassure me that what I have instinctively felt as a practitioner with some years experience is actually true. The values that most of us would want to work to are represented by personalisation, such as putting the individual at the heart of their sentence planning and building on their strengths.
“Typically this approach and structure has not been well represented in OASys or the systems that probation has historical used.
“It is good to learn more about the academic underpinning that personalisation has and to really think about how it fits into the Interchange Model and the ways that we can implement it in what we do on a daily basis.
“Often what we did in the probation Trust era was very much focused on risk. Clearly risk is vitally important, but the emphasis the Interchange Model has about working with a service user’s strengths strikes a chord with my professional experience and the theories around desistance. We know it’s better to get a service user more involved with their sentence planning and identifying what is important to them, but the tools we have used have not fully worked toward this objective.
“I believe personalisation is the way to give Interchange real meaning and to make the model more effective in practice.”
The session included a discussion about rolling out a ‘one page profile’ of a service user that staff create to capture the service user’s strengths and what is important to them, and what issues they feel are frustrating their progress. The aim is to build relationships between staff and service users, as case managers will share their own profile with service users as well.
Claire said: “The idea that the profile follows them through their period on probation is so sensible. That means that if their case manager is on leave or away for any reason, whoever picks up the case can get straight to the important issues without having to go over old ground. It is also a great tool to help us share what we are doing with partnership agencies, ultimately giving a better experience to the service user.”
Person-centred practice is based on building on the service user’s strengths, working with them to identify solutions, instill aspiration, self-control and new life skills. The specific interventions for the pilot are designed to build personal resilience, enable access to resources to support change and promote a positive lifestyle in the local community.