The Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company (DDC CRC) provides probation services to medium and low risk of harm service users, who are subject to various statutory functions of supervision and rehabilitation. It also provides interventions to all risk groups, in order to reduce future reoffending behaviour and contribute to public protection. Their vision is to have safer communities and fewer victims, by helping service users stop offending and leave the criminal justice system, resulting in them leading healthier, happier, and more productive lives.
The company covers the counties of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall and employs around 350 staff.
The CRC has only been in existence since 1 June 2014. However, both the previous Dorset and Devon & Cornwall Probation Trusts have been using the EFQM Excellence Model for a number of years; Devon & Cornwall since 2001.
Read the case study below or download a copy.
On the right track
As the CRC is newly created, it is difficult to benchmark our performance and data against other, similar organisations. An assessment such as this indicates whether we’re on the right track and provides reassurances going forward. Both former probation trusts were excellence award-winners in the past and, although we have only been in existence for just over four months, we wanted to show that a commitment to excellence by staff across the whole company remains important to us. In return, staff are positive, motivated and proud to be part of an excellent organisation.
This award, a first for a new CRC, enabled us to assess how well our company was working together in order to hold service users to account for the harm they have caused victims and communities, and to help them gain knowledge, skills and support to enable them to stop offending and leave the criminal justice system. All of this contributes to them leading healthier, settled and more productive lives. We are on a journey of improvement and it is a very pleasing early step, which confirms that we are progressing in the right direction.
Challenge and action
Previous assessments involved dividing up the EFQM Model’s component parts between various members of a working group set up to review the criteria and collect data. For the recent Committed to Excellence assessment, all criteria were reviewed as a whole; then the evidence and the written submission were collated from a number of internal sources and reviewed by staff and managers prior to being collated into the final submission document.
The main challenge was the lack of historical data to review and therefore the inability to identify trends in performance. This was overcome in part by reviewing the historical data from the previous probation trusts, applying the relevant caveats and considering how this could be applicable to the new environment of the CRC. In addition, the creation of the CRC has provided the opportunity to review how some performance aspects are measured and monitored. Once the areas for improvement in the final Committed to Excellence report have been identified, they are formulated into an action plan for us to consider and progress as appropriate.
Areas for improvement
Our Chief Executive, Rob Menary, welcomed the award and said ‘we are obviously delighted to have achieved this award so early in the life of the company and it was very satisfying to hear not only the positive comments about the company’s progress and leadership, but also to get clarity about where we need to improve.’
An action plan has been drawn up which lists all the areas for improvement (AFI) detailed in the final report. Each AFI has been allocated a lead, timescale and given a priority for completion and this will be monitored carefully, in part to ensure that all are actioned ahead of any potential future assessments. The majority of the AFIs relate to areas which are covered in part, but need to be developed further, rather than any critical approaches being absent from the organisation. The most significant AFIs, and therefore those with the highest priority for action, relate to ‘people’ and ‘strategy’.
A considered and more measured approach is being taken to manage the changes going forward. This is to ensure decisions made will align with any outcomes arising from the Ministry of Justice plans to contract out the ownership of the CRC to new private/public/voluntary owners.
The benefits of excellence
Rob Menary said that ‘as external and completely independent assessments, the Recognised for Excellence and Committed to Excellence accreditations are vital for providing assurances for the CRC that it is an excellent organisation.
There is an added benefit to DDC CRC as we were the first newly-created CRC to achieve this accreditation – which leads the way for other CRCs around the country. It is particularly helpful to demonstrate such accreditations as the CRC moves from public to private ownership.’