Developing cultural competence across the London Probation Service
The London Probation Service oversees probation delivery in England and Wales, supporting the rehabilitation of 30,000 people a year whilst protecting the public.
In September 2020, the London Probation Service approached EW Group and Challenge Consultancy to support their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy and initiatives. We have been working closely with them over the past two years to implement high-impact training programmes focused on fostering an inclusive culture.
“We have worked in partnership with London Probation for 28 years, through its many changes and different challenges, starting with a review of institutionalised racism following the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Over the decades we have witnessed the commitment and dedication of the people who work there, delivering inclusive leadership programmes, coaching and facilitations. It is fantastic to hear about this latest collaboration.”
Jane Farrell, Founder of EW Group
Working in collaboration with the London Probation Service team, led by Regional Director Kilvinder Vigurs, we developed a series of ‘Cultural Competence at the London Probation Service’ webinars. Diversity specialists Yvvone Howard and Judeline Nicholas delivered over 20 sessions to staff across the organisation, with additional sessions tailored for management.
The course covered:
- Developing cultural competence and awareness
- Promoting understanding of culturally competent skills in cross-cultural communication
- A strengths-based approach to applying those skills to day-to-day work
- Understanding potential barriers and challenges and practical ways to address them
“It was reassuring to work in partnership with London Probation to reflect on the impact of current patterns of inequality on colleagues and clients and to understand how to leverage the power of cultural competence to affect change. The client decisively used insights from these sessions to inform their next steps.”
Yvonne Howard, EW Group and Challenge Consultancy Diversity Specialist
Subsequently, London Probation Service commissioned an additional 12 deliveries of the Cultural Competence programme, and our diversity consultants provided a report including insights from the sessions and recommended actions and next steps, ensuring the London Probation Service team was well-informed to keep the conversation alive.
“The London Probation Service embraced the challenges of DEI as leaders during a period of organisational change and stepped up to the questions raised with courage and determination.”
Judeline Nicholas, EW Group and Challenge Consultancy Diversity Specialist
Empowering staff and inclusive leadership
Following the success of the Cultural Competence programme, Kilvinder and her team wanted to build on the foundational DEI interventions already in place and begin to embed this into middle management practices across the organisation, in order to ‘set a standard’ for inclusive leadership at London Probation Service. In collaboration with EW Group and Challenge Consultancy, they identified a need for a training programme focusing on a strengths-based approach to management.
In September 2021, we also designed a bespoke inclusive leadership programme. Pamela Jones delivered 32 Inclusive Leadership sessions, entitled ‘Bridging the Cultural Divide’, over the course of 2021, designed to:
- Create opportunities for managers to lead inclusively and promote change
- Build accountability and confidence in recognising potential barriers to inclusion and finding practical ways to address them
- Use a strengths-based approach to promote fairness and belonging
- Create equity within the organisational culture and your day-to-day work
“Excellent training session and great to work with EW again. Pamela was engaging and another example of why EW over the years continues to flourish – it attracts the very best of people”
The training programme concluded in September 2021, when Pamela Jones was invited to present an ‘Introduction to Inclusive Leadership’ at an internal event for 450 middle managers, marking the transition to a unified Probation Service.
The event followed 18 months of huge challenges and very significant structural reform for the probation service as it managed the twin challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the unification of the service in the public sector.
“London Probation Services has experienced a period of accelerated learning and development within DEI to affect change. There is now a deeper understanding and opportunity to implement practice-based inclusive leadership day-to-day, and begin to create a shift in culture for the better.”
Pamela Jones, EW Group and Challenge Consultancy Diversity Specialist
EW Group and Challenge Consultancy would like to thank Kilvinder and her team for their unwavering dedication to the DEI agenda throughout this period and wish them all the best as they continue to move the dial on inclusion at London Probation Service.