Probation and after-care service is of great social importance and you want to do a proper job. ‘Doing a proper job’ tends to revolve around effective interventions or instruments. Which is important, but doing a proper and effective job involves more than that. We distinguish three forms of effectiveness:
-Effective methods: what works? For example, working according to the principles of Risk, Needs and Responsivity6. Or structured behavioural training according to the cognitive-behavioural model. Or working according to the Good Lives Model7. Or the network approach. Methods are referred to as ‘effective’ if there is scientific evidence that they increase the chances of achieving the probation objectives. The risk of recidivism decreases if you work according to these methods. Proper coordination of the working method with specific clients is always part of an effective methodology.
-Effective professionals: who works? Methodologies do not lead a life of their own, they only become effective in the hands of professionals8. Effective professionals are rooted in professional values, work with theoretically consistent methods, stand behind their working methods, are able to interact with different types of people (also with people who find this difficult) and systematically provide specific feedback on their actions and results. The importance of effective and open client feedback is important in this. Furthermore, an effective professional attempts to connect his own experiential knowledge to scientific knowledge to the best of his ability. A professional who meets these characteristics is in a better position than other professionals to ‘ensure the effectiveness’ of the method.
-Effective interactions: the working alliance (how does it work?) Methodologies and professionals gain meaning in proper interaction with clients and other stakeholders (for example, social network and volunteers). A proper quality of the working alliance increases the chance of successful completion of a probation programme. The risk of problems within the process is reduced and the risk of dropout (no-show or a negative report) decreases.