European journal for research and practice development in probation.
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An update on the achievements and challenges of CEPís Board
Publication date: 27-2-2012
The current Board of CEP is half way through its term. President Marc Cerón chose this as the time to write a ‘Midterm Letter' to update all CEP members. CEP asked for feedback to the letter from Ireland and the Czech Republic. Michael Donnellan, the former Director of the Probation Service in Ireland (currently Director General of the Irish Prison Service) and Pavel Stern, Director of the Probation and Mediation Service in the Czech Republic, reacted positively to the letter.
Marc Cerón's objective was to inform members of CEP's main achievements to date and to outline some of the challenges arising for the remainder of the term. The letter describes several key initiatives of CEP, such as the Dublin Declaration, the establishment of the Criminal Justice Platform Europe and the meetings with the European Commission and the Council of Europe.
In 2010, Europe experienced an economic crisis that has impacted on the decisions made by the Board. The finances of the EU, CEP and the members are therefore limited. Pavel Stern noted this as a challenge for his own organisation. "My situation is similar to that of others, and I have to explain and clarify the effectiveness of our membership to the Ministry of Justice and the wider government and to bring across that being part of the European Probation Community helps in preventing a situation in which every country is inventing the same wheel . So I am very happy to see Marc's letter, it gives me arguments in the negotiations. Being a member of CEP is important to us because we can learn from CEP's activities."Related to this Pavel Stern suggests other challenges: "I would like to see more reports and analysis on concrete issues, a good example is the report on Electronic Monitoring. This was very useful to us in our policy making. Also, the membership rate of CEP, I mean to lower it, would be also challenge for future because some members have to deal with strained budgets."
While Michael Donnellan was familiar with much of the information in the letter he was particularly pleased to read about CEP's achievements in the communication with the European Commission (EC). "I think the collaboration with the EC is critical. The Dublin Declaration gives a mandate for CEP in this and a range of other areas such as exploring under which conditions and on what matters CEP should take the role of lead partner in an EU funded Project. It will be a challenge to see all the objectives of the Declaration realised."
CEP is an organisation that is driven by its members; they determine its goals and contribute to its activities. Pavel Stern sees the benefits of being a part of this network. "The European CEP projects, also mentioned in the Midterm Letter, enable us to learn from other countries. We learn from the good practice examples." The World Congress of 2013 will be an ambitious event, expanding the scope of CEP and its members. For Michael Donnellan, successfully hosting this event will be an important goal for CEP. "The World Congress will be a remarkable achievement for CEP, combined with the General Assembly; it will bring colleagues from the field of probation across the world together in one place. The World Congress will be a great opportunity for all of us." Michael Donnellan had one other suggestion: "Why not send another update at ¾ of the term? I think it is a useful way to communicate with members and keep us well informed."
Download CEP President Marc Cerón's Midterm Letter in English
Download CEP President Marc Cerón's Midterm Letter in French
Download CEP President Marc Cerón's Midterm Letter in German