289 Borough High Street, the After Care and Resettlement Unit (ACU) in the Inner London Probation Service 1965-1990

Published 20/06/2007
Type Article
Author(s) Dr Anthony Goodman
Corresponding Authors

This article focuses on the early history of the probation unit in Inner London that had a specialist function to resettle the homeless and rootless, particularly on their release from prison. I worked in this unit from 1984 to 1989 and was able to access material from its inception. I was involved in researching changes in its function and organisation and interviewed an Assistant Chief PO (ACPO) from the early days of the unit. This ‘rich’ history illustrates the changes that occurred in the wider service, from the time when individual officers were independent and could ‘do their own thing’. It terms of the ACU it included setting up hostels, running volunteers and controlling their work. Senior staff worked alongside the main grade and offered casework supervision. They were not managers in the modern sense of understanding how management has quality control and accountability responsibilities. Conversely, the management of the unit became the senior managers of the service as a whole, including the late Sir Graham Smith who became Chief Probation Officer for Inner London and later Chief Probation Inspector. Initiatives from key staff within the unit led to specialist programmes in the wider service. Quoted
material is from unpublished archive documents seen by me.