The Five Minute Interview - By Jim Brown - Probation Officer

I've heard a lot recently about the '5 minute interview', otherwise known as the 'tick box interview' over on the Prisoners Families Voices website. I know exactly what they mean because I've seen it myself. A car pulls up outside the probation office, a guy gets out and he heads for reception and the friend keeps the engine running while he 'reports.' There is clearly no need to bother stopping the engine because just as quickly the guy reappears and is driven off.

A pointless exercise many would say and I have to agree. There's no wonder significant numbers of clients think it's a waste of time and don't turn up, thus triggering either breach or recall action. So, what's been going on, especially as it's long been known that it's the relationship between probation officer and client that is fundamental in effecting change in behaviour? Well by a handy coincidence, the explanation is contained in the latest edition of the newsletter for sentencers produced by the London Probation Trust and I'm grateful to a reader for passing it on to me. It's basically about one of the latest buz issues within the Service generally at the present time, and called 'engagement.'

CLICK HERE and read more over at Probation Matters Blog