Image of the audience attending a Graduation ceremony

Steve Collett

Oration

Presented by: Andrew Holroyd

Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Stephen Collett for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University. 

This is a truly civic university, firmly rooted in this extraordinary city, and its defining ethos comprises three deceptively simple yet very powerful words: dream, plan, achieve.

Each July during Graduation Week, the University's highest honour – an Honorary Fellowship – is bestowed on a select band of individuals outside the University, in recognition of their outstanding achievement in a given field or profession, and who personify and inspire others to 'dream, plan, and achieve.' 

We propose Steve today for his outstanding contribution to the criminal justice profession, following a meritorious career in the probation service in his adopted region, a distinguished contribution to the academic advancement of his profession and an exemplary contribution to the welfare of the homeless and underprivileged.  

The probation service is at the heart of an effective criminal justice system. Derived from the Latin word probatio, meaning a time of testing or proving, at their best and most robust, community sentences run by the probation service will test offenders, challenging them to change their offending lifestyles and to confront difficult issues.  

Much of the work of the probation service is unseen by us, the public, and unsung. There are no sirens, no flashing lights, no breaking-down of doors, but there are many families and communities who are kept safe, and many past offenders who have been helped to make positive choices and get their lives back on track.  

Born and raised in Birmingham, Steve came to Liverpool as a student, and has never left. 

He developed his career first with the Merseyside Probation Service and then as Assistant Chief Probation Officer with the Greater Manchester Probation Service. 

From 2000 until 2010, he led the Cheshire Probation Trust as its Chief Executive. 

He saw the potential in what had been a failing service, and inspired its transformation into one of the country's top performers, which was awarded the North of England Excellence Award in 2009.  

He has been involved in the probation profession nationally, working with Ministers and members of both the Commons and the Lords to effect organisational and legislative change affecting both the Probation Service and the Criminal Justice System. He is one of the founding group of Chief Officers who set up the Probation Chiefs Association, a national body established to increase confidence in, and understanding of the vital role of the Probation Service in supporting the work of the courts, and has been invited to address numerous national and international conferences.  

He is committed to supporting and bringing on the next generation of criminal justice practitioners, and has worked with LJMU students in the School of Law within a long-standing and continuing relationship with this University. 

Steve also holds honorary positions with the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool. His belief in social action and the need to support the most marginalised groups in our society is both professional and personal. Outside of work, he has served on the management boards of voluntary groups concerned with recovering alcoholics, the homeless and women offenders.  

The Chair of the Cheshire Probation Board for most of Steve's tenure describes him as "an inspiring, innovative and forward-thinking leader, who combines a commitment to helping troubled individuals, with practical advice and insight for parliamentarians and policy-makers, which together have benefitted the courts, the wider criminal justice system and the public."  

Throughout his career he has continued to live in Liverpool, and is immensely proud of both his adopted city and his adopted football team. As an ardent Evertonian, he is said to be delighted to be following in David Moyes' footsteps as he accepts an Honorary Fellowship from this University.  

Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Steve Collett, this most distinguished adopted son of our city, for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.