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Teamwork in Probation - Prospects and Implications

NCJ Number
Social Work Today Volume: 9 Issue: 36 Dated: (1978) Pages: 12-14
D Millard
Date Published
3 pages
The concept of probation officers working together in teams and the implications of teamwork for organizational change in the British probation service are discussed.
The 'teamwork' concept in the field of probations views each officer as a member of a work group or team. The team as a whole is responsible to one senior officer and a pool of resources to be differentially employed. While one or two officers in a team would still be solely engaged in traditional counseling tasks, others would work on special tasks, such as setting up day centers and housing associations or running a team of volunteers. The development of the teamwork concept can be traced to various sources among which the dissatisfaction with traditional one-to-one service methods is probably foremost. In the framework of the new approach, the client is considered as an autonomous individual who, among other possible choices, has chosen deviance and who needs assistance in selecting better options. Emphasizing the clients' self-responsibility, the probation order would include two distinctive dmensions: specific probation obligations which the client is obligated to fulfill and an optional rehabilitation program with a wide range of opportunities. The question is whether the British probation service will be able to adjust to the organizational implications of teamwork: the need for greater autonomy if a team is to respond quickly and effectively and the ensuing problem of accountability. The article suggests a case committee system in which each team is responsible to a local committee. Jointly the probation officers team and the committee would be accountable for the correct discharge of the recommendations imposed by the probation agency. The article includes bibliographical footnotes.


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