The government has passed a draft amendment to the Probation Act

The case of the “new” law for probation officers has been coming back for several years. Probation officers have long stated that the applicable regulations, although they have worked for 20 years, require adaptation to changing realities, eg in the area of ​​rights and obligations of probation officers. Let us remind you that in September 2019 they received two information from the ministry – a good news that they, like other employees of the court, will receive an average of PLN 900 in pay increases in 2020, and the second – that the work on the bill being prepared at the time will not end soon and the funds for its implementation will not be secured in the 2020 budget law. The project itself was made public a few months earlier and it caused a lot of controversy. Probation officers immediately said they were concerned about the proposed solutions, and they also called on the ministry to change them. They did not hide that the information about the extension of work on the act is not necessarily bad news.

Read: Minister of Finance blocks amendment to the Probation Act – no money planned >>

Senior specialized curator

Under the draft passed by the government on Tuesday, the president of the court will be able to award the following degrees: professional probation officer, senior professional probation officer and specialist probation officer, but he will have the authority to undertake such activities related to ex officio the promotion. The catalog of entities authorized to request the professional promotion of a probation officer is also being expanded. The regional court president may grant such service rank at the request of the district probation officer or the district court president, the team leader or the interested probation officer, after consultation with the district probation officer, or ex officio, after consultation with the probation officer.

The rank of Senior Probation Specialist – culminating in the long and distinguished work of a professional probation officer, is conferred ex officio by the Attorney General or at the request of the regional court president or the district probation officer. MS estimates that the senior probation specialist position will span several probation officers per year, and that their number will never approach 1 percent. probation officers in the position of specialized probation officer. Importantly, in light of the proposed regulations, the possibility of obtaining a new civil service grade will be optional and at the same time dependent on the fulfillment by the probation officer (so far the highest degree of professional promotion) of the condition of outstanding function. – At the same time, it should be noted that this premise refers to the “stand out” of the work of other professional probation officers, and especially those with the degree of “probation specialist” – it was pointed out.

Functional extras and special extras

The changes will also include provisions on functional and special additions. For example, it was proposed that the professional probation officer acting as head of the probation center would be entitled to a job allowance of 110%. the basic amount, while a professional probation officer gives lessons in a probation center for an amount of 80 percent. base number.

ministry wants to reward probation officers who take over the tasks of colleagues who are absent for a long time. That is why the provisions on the special supplement have been specified. And yes, such a professional probation officer, with the exception of, inter alia, a district probation officer, deputy district probation officer, receives a special allowance for a fixed period of time for periodic increases in official duties, in particular to replace a long-term absentee or to perform other activities outside the usual levies. , up to 40 percent. salary basic, with the proviso that within the funds held specified for personal remuneration of professional probation officers.

The draft also introduces the possibility to reimburse the probation officer for the costs of legal aid in criminal proceedings in which he participated as an injured party or assistant public prosecutor and to obtain psychological assistance. Under the amendment, a probation officer (both a professional probation officer and a social probation officer), who is the victim of a crime in connection with the performance of his duties, is entitled to reimbursement of the costs of legal representation in criminal proceedings at the employer’s request in which he participated as an injured party or assistant public prosecutor. – The reimbursement of the costs of legal aid covers the actual costs, up to the amount determined by the provisions on the treasury, incurring the costs of unpaid legal aid provided by a lawyer or legal adviser ex officio – derives from the regulations.

There is one caveat: reimbursement of legal representation costs is not available to a probation officer participating in criminal proceedings as an auxiliary prosecutor, to whom the court has awarded the costs associated with the appointment of a lawyer.

In addition, under the scheme, the employer must provide psychological assistance to the professional probation officer at his request or with his consent. Such assistance for the social probation officer is provided by the court in which he performs his function – or so it was written.

Doubts – incl. appointing a district probation officer

In accordance with the applicable regulations, the district probation officer is appointed for a period of 6 years by the president of the court from among the candidates selected by the district commission from his group, by an absolute majority of votes in the presence of at least half of the members of the the meeting. After the change – which concerns probation officers – it will be appointed by the Minister of Justice from among the professional probation workers in the district in which he works or from outside the district.

In addition, the district probation officer – if the regulation comes into force – is appointed for a period of four years, with a maximum of two consecutive terms. The criteria that a candidate must meet are also increasing. Currently, a district probation officer can be any person: with at least 7 years of probation; with the rank of specialist probation officer, and exceptionally – the rank of senior professional probation officer and distinguished for management and leadership skills. After changes:

  • with at least 10 years of professional experience as a curator;
  • the rank of senior probation specialist or specialist probation, and exceptionally – the rank of senior professional probation;
  • distinguishes itself through its management and leadership qualities.

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