Job swap was eye-opener for top dog

FROM top dog to put-upon receptionist.That is the step that Suffolk Probation's chief officer took when he came downstairs from his fifth floor office to man the phones and deal with offenders at the front desk.

FROM top dog to put-upon receptionist.

That is the step that Suffolk Probation's chief officer took when he came downstairs from his fifth floor office to man the phones and deal with offenders at the front desk.

John Budd, who normally spends the day in top level meetings, said working in the service's Ipswich reception yesterday had been an eye-opening and rewarding experience.

He said: “It's been incredibly busy and clearly way beyond my level of competence!

“But it's also been fun. It is great to deal with the general public and I've had a real lesson in how skilful my receptionists are.

“It is challenging to make so many things happen at once - being a man I'm not very good a multi-tasking!

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“I was very apprehensive about doing this because it has been so long since I dealt with offenders.

“I would recommend it to other managers because it lets you see what your staff do and get closer to the public.”

Mr Budd took up the challenge following a job-swap raffle. He opened up the Lower Brook Street office at the start of the day, checked messages on the answer phone, opened post, signed visitors in and answered calls throughout the day.

He had offered the top prize of a day off work in a raffle organised by probation officers at Christmas - and he promised that he would cover the winner's work in their absence.

A probation officer in the drug rehabilitation requirement team won the prize but so many staff wanted to see Mr Budd working as a busy receptionist that he agreed.

Mr Budd's colleague, Pat Woods, who works on the reception during the afternoon, said she was pleased he had come down and he had really thrown himself into his task.

She added: “He's done very well. We've given him everything we would have to do and he has done it.”

Are you taking part in a job-swap? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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