Director of Operations Talks About Service User Involvement

Probation is committed to promoting and supporting effective service user involvement to inform our policy and practice.

There are many reasons for Service Users to play a more active role in the services they use. Service users have direct experience of Probation services and can provide important feedback. They can also bring unique insights to the services Probation deliver. Evidence shows that involving people with experience of services can help improve the services being delivered.

Service users themselves may also benefit from their involvement on the Forum. There is a growing body of evidence that involvement and participation may act as a positive intervention for those who have offended, offering them a vision for change and moving on.

Some of the benefits of service user involvement include:
• Services will reflect the views of those using them.
• Gives you a better idea of how Service Users view Probation.
• Helps give Service Users a sense of ownership of the services they use.
• Builds better communication between you and Service Users.
• Can build a Service User’s confidence and self-esteem.
• Can develop and improve Service User skills that can be referenced in job applications.

Watch the video below where Gillian Montgomery, Director of Operations talks about Service User involvement and its benefits to Probation as a whole.

We have approximately five service user groups now across the province and it’s volunteer service users, that’s really important, it’s service users who want to come, who want to have their voice heard, who want to tell us about their experience, to help us make the service we deliver the best it possibly can be.

By having their involvement, we are able to change our service and to adapt it and service users who come after them, they give that much more credibility and it’s really important particularly with that social work background to bring those people who we are working with, along with us, along the journey.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenging conversations, there absolutely will be, and we really want to hear from the service users where things haven’t gone perfect and the service user who’s being breached or who has gone through recall.

What led to that?

What could be done differently?

What could we change to try to not have that happen again?

And that’s really where we can all learn together.

Gillian Montgomery, Director of Operations, Probation Board for Northern Ireland