Continuing my theme of what the possible consequences might be for the probation service if large chunks of it were privatised, my attention has been drawn to another piece of investigative journalism by the BBC.
As a result of a Freedom of Information request to the Care Quality Commission by the Inside Out team, it transpires that 217 companies supplying care staff in peoples homes have failed to carry out any CRB checks on staff. They also failed to check if any of these employees had been disqualified by relevant professional bodies and therefore were not deemed as 'suitably qualified' as required by the relevant legislation.
The CQC also found examples of employees that had criminal convictions, but were working unsupervised and without having been risk-assessed. Apparently Care Minister Mr Lamb described the findings as "deeply disturbing" and said that care providers "obviously" needed to be held to account by the Care Quality Commission. But he stressed individual failings did not mean "the whole system has failed." He went on "Inevitably, in all walks of life, sometimes things go wrong."
Now I absolutely love that last bit! Things do indeed go wrong sometimes and in our line of work people can get seriously injured or killed as a result. I do hope the responsible minister can think of something rather more nuanced to say than 'shit happens' when private contractors are supervising high risk probation cases and it goes horribly wrong. Believe me, the resulting media storm is simply unremitting and unforgiving, so it's to be hoped that any private contractors are well prepared for the inevitable negative publicity.
On a slightly different tack, I was bemused to see Emma Harrison of A4E giving an in-depth interview at the weekend in the Sunday Times. It would seem that she feels to have been unfairly treated by politicians and the media and is still smarting from the experience of being forced to resign. She just doesn't seem to understand that the public are not going to take kindly to her living the high life courtesy of huge government contracts, trousering dividends of £8.5million in one year, and all as allegations of fraud filter to the surface by her staff. But then shit happens, doesn't it?