Saturday, 13 June 2009

That Time Of Year

Oh it comes around so quickly .. the promotion application. If you've scraped a 50% pass in the multiple guess OSPRE Part 1 then the hard work really begins. Depending where you serve, you will have to complete either OSPRE Part 2 (series of role play exercises) or a TOWBAR application (like a PDR with knobs on setting out how good you are in certain skill areas). This allows you onto a scheme where you have to amass evidence over a year to become substantive in rank.

I personally completed the OSPRE role plays to become qualified. I think even those have become more complex over the years. I actually paid out over 450 pounds to undergo a course and learnt no end of management stuff. I do get it but putting it into practice is a damn sight harder. If you don't find a friend to run through some 5 minute scenarios before you do it believe me it's a struggle. A few years back I had to drive a good few miles to attend an assessment centre in a hotel. If you miss your slot you're out for a year so I had to make sure I was there well early. I knew I'd struggle as soon as I visited trap one and didn't check the toilet paper situation, oh yes planning and organisation was a skill area, and I knew I'd failed before I'd even started or finished as was the case. This was right in the middle of my stress crisis, well that's my excuse anyway.

I didn't mind OSPRE 2 because it's down to you on the day and how much proper preparation you put in. Now this TOWBAR lark I'm not too keen on, I'm talking about the initial application. It's a well known fact that to get your application accepted you have to be rather creative in getting your evidenced example to fit the competence indicators. You are allowed to run it past a friend or two who is permitted to make suggested improvements. I think this is more of an exercise in writing yourself up or being well connected to somebody who can knock your paperwork into shape. I've seen some of the better candidates I personally rate get knocked back year after year, and some weaker one's get through. You have to show you are working at the higher rank workwise in all 7 skill areas to get accepted. This is not easy to show for anybody. What about being a good grafter with the "potential" to work at that higher level?

I've seen quite a few this year and offered advice, some are obviously weak and doomed to fail. I have actually rejigged someone else's this year so am actually excited about being involved in the promotion process. I took it rather personally last year when the application I rejigged failed. It has become rather a lottery I'm afraid, but as they say you've got to be in it to win it.

Again too much time is being spent on these processes. I might be a tad controversial in saying that the role play option is actually fairer and less open to integrity abuse.


Anonymous said...

More importantly the towbar application favours office shiny arses and safer neighbourhood staff as they get the oppurtunites to work with patrtnership agencies an essential box to fill for the application. We had a skipper who was a safer neighbourhood PC one day and a Support Unit sgt the next! Had only experience of team and and SNT! where I work people openly admitt that they are going to Safer Neighbourhood teams to gather evidence for Towbar be it for SGT. or INSP! Most TOWBAR promotions worry more about gathering the evidence than being SGTS!!

Officer Dibble said...

I wish I had had the opportunity to do the old role plays.The ability to squeeze the necessary buzz words/phrases into a 250-300 word box on a form is a skill in itself.
There must be a niche for the savvy ex old bill who devised this stuff to tutor the new form newbies.

Call it How to bullsh*t in 300 words or

I would give it a look.

Stressed Out Cop said...


I think you are right it is easier fot community team officers to fill out. I often wonder how those in CID can evidence some areas but they do.

Some areas won't allow officers to even fill out the form unless they do community first. All right if you like it.


I know assessors who have failed the process and one would hope they know what it's about.

Everybody moaned about Ospre 2 - but you have to show the management skills to pass. Very hard to turn on and off in a 5 minute role play unless you actually take it into the work place. I still prefer it - but then you still have to do the form as per towbar to get promoted

I think it needs looking at again.