Frontline Friday round-up 11th January 2013

Michael Harris /   June 29, 2015 at 8:32 PM 1,283 views

Here’s our round-up of frontline blogs we’ve particularly liked from the week of 7th January 2013. Let us know which posts we’ve missed and which other bloggers we should be following for next week’s round-up. Contrary to the idea of the New Year as being a time of hope, a big theme this week was fear for the future. “Is time being called on the careers of so many dedicated and exceptionally skilled probation staff?” Yorkhull’s Blog, home of a self-confessed optimist, felt downhearted about the future for the probation service in the wake of a new consultation from the Ministry of Justice. “This paper is designed to denude the probation service of the supervision responsibility of large numbers of offenders in the community, possibly as much as 70% of its current 250,000 caseload. Yesterday and today [10th January] looking at many tweets and blogs there is a genuine anger and complete amazement that government is just not listening to the evident successes of the probation service.” The Justice of the Peace (Magistrate’s) Blog also lamented the “obsession that is payment by results” being applied to probation. “There is no doubt that eg telecoms services have thrived since the nationalised telephone service was abandoned but unlike health provision or even welfare services a justice system and its many integrated parts is IMHO best operated by the state and its directly employed work force.” Inspector Gadget reacted to the idea of police officers setting up shop in post offices and supermarkets as the Met seeks to make £500m in budget cuts with his trademark caustic dismay. “Have we really reached the stage in this country where if you have had your head kicked in and your wallet stolen, and you can’t get through on the phone, you have to wait behind someone buying stamps before you get to relay your story?” He also compared the cuts to the continuing size of the UK’s aid budget to countries such as Pakistan and India. “No one came to power promising to cut 15,000 police jobs, close front counters and abolish specialist police teams while maintaining £446m aid payments to a country which can afford to run a nuclear arsenal. Think about it.” In similarly upbeat fashion, Northern Doc looked forward to the coming era of clinical commissioning in the NHS. “Praise be to the Party for ensuring that each NHS reform will lead to nothing useful in healthcare bar an increase in costs and administration coupled with decreased quality and quantity of healthcare. Both of which benefit not the private sector or administrators but the patient and their healthcare . . . you have been warned.” Following the Autumn Statement and this week’s House of Commons vote, Sarah Campbell (@spoonydoc) guest posting on Diary of a Benefit Scrounger dissected the actual situation with disability benefits and whether they are in fact protected from the 1% freeze on benefits for the next three years. As Sarah noted, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is mostly paid to disabled people who are too sick to work, but it is also included in the 1% freeze – well below the rate of inflation and so a cut in real terms. “So how can the chancellor be promising disability benefits be exempt when ESA is included in the cuts?” On @TeacherToolkit, English teacher Julie Smith shared her educational hopes and fears for her own children. Worrying about the increasingly overwhelming focus on exams and what she sees as Michael Gove’s marginalisation of subjects such as drama, music and dance, Julie noted that “Of course summative assessment is vital for effective teaching. However, as a consequence of our current educational system, I worry that assessment is beginning to lead, rather than support, what is happening in our classrooms. I want my children to experience genuine, deep learning; teaching to the test is not helpful for their progress, nor is it beneficial for their teachers’ professionalism.” One retiring blogger understandably looked backwards. On The Not So Big Society (home of ‘Guerilla Health and Social Care’), Ermintrude2 reflected on the changes in her profession of social work with some sadness. “I didn’t become a social worker to make friends or to swan in adulation of my ‘goodness’. I went into it because I felt it gave me more opportunities to make a positive difference in someone’s life. More often than not, certainly over the last couple of years, it became more about saying what wasn’t possible than what was – but if I could deliver that with as much humanity and empathy and transparency as possible, it could be a start.” Time moves on however, and The Not So Big Society is open to newcomers. As Ermintrude2 noted, “My reasons for stopping are work-related but not in a bad way. I just think my voice has changed now and it’s important that those ‘on the ground’ have the way left open to them to find it.” We’re always interested in hearing from frontline bloggers, so if you’re interested in having your post featured on Guerilla Policy then do get in touch: [email protected]

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