Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.
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I'm delighted both by the publication today of the report into the probation service by the Justice Committee in the Westminster Government and the Minister Ken Clarke's response. The Justice Committee found that only 25% of probation officers' time is actually spent face to face with offenders: they are mostly involved in meetings, filling forms and complying with all sorts of targets and designated procedures. It was refreshing to hear Ken Clarke, speaking on the today programme, be fulsome in his critique of micromanagement, box ticking and bean counting. He said he wanted to get back to a system where probabtion officers themselves have more discretion over their everyday activities.
This is one of the issues which has concerned us at the Centre over the past few years and why we ran a masterclass with Professor John Seddon – one of the sternest critics of this type of management approach. It is exactly this type of micromanagement from the top which undermines staff morale, motivation, confidence and well-being.