Sunday, 30 June 2013

Musical Chairs

It's a good job Joe Kuipers, Chair of Avon and Somerset Probation Trust, tells us what's going on, because no one else does. In his latest blog post he reveals that all CEO's had to gather round their screens at 9 am sharp on Friday morning in order to take instructions from MoJ/Noms HQ in London.

Despite the recent House of Lords vote, clearly HQ are intent on giving every impression that the omnishambles is progressing nicely and according to the plan they are still making up as they go along. The two top civil service probation jobs will be advertised shortly and will be filled by open competition, one Director for England, and one for Wales - I can't wait to see who gets these. 

There will be a further 7 Deputy Director civil service posts in the National Probation Service, but it's not clear how these will be filled. I guess volunteers amongst current CEO's might like to chance their luck? 

As for the leaders of the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies, or newco's? Well these poisoned chalices will be available to any interested CEO's, but of course the successful appointee's will have absolutely no idea who will ultimately be their bosses and on what terms and conditions they will eventually be employed. 

Apparently those interested are encouraged to have a 'quiet word' with Noms HQ before the music stops. If not enough CEO's come forward, or are not successful for any reason, then it looks like the field might open up to other senior grades. Would it be reasonable to expect that any chief who finds themselves without a seat at the party might be tempted to fill the yawning gap that is a leadership voice of reasoned opposition?    

All this has got to be done before the autumn, and presumably at the same time as many of the same people are involved in setting up 'alternative delivery vehicles' such as mutuals. The omnishambles is clearly still progressing, so there's still a lot to do guys as we head for a summer of discontent all round.              


  1. So the House of Lord's amendments will not interfere with the timetable for divvying up probation. And that all thanks to the legislation passed by Labour!

    1. Correct I'm afraid - the HoL action is just one part of stirring up a discussion and helping to delay things generally.

    2. Grayling isn't daft. He knew his plans would have difficulties in the lords and thsts why he's pushed such an aggressive timetable from the start. He's now under more pressure and needs to start deconstructing the service as quickly as possible. Once you go so far you cant put it all back together again and makes any subsequent opposition to privatisation a bit more difficult.
      As for not knowing who you'll be working for well they're all the same really when you realise that Capita are major corporate shareholders in G4S. It's all a bit incestuous. There will be some shananagans going on over the nexts few weeks I'm sure. Seatbelts maybe needed!

    3. I don't doubt the sincerity of opponents in the Lords. But the Lords is a sideshow, the main event of dismantling probation goes on regardless. It has always been ideological and a battle of ideas can sometimes force a government to back down. But I don't see this happening, not least because there is now the necessity to make deep cuts. This is now as much about the outsourcing of redundancies as it is about models of service delivery.

    4. Unfortunately I think you're right. But lets not roll over eh!

  2. I read elsewhere I think from a Tweet I cannot now find that there is concern in the Coalition Government's Justice team as they were not expecting the defeat in House of lords.

    I suspect it was handled very tactically and had they realised the strength of the opposition, they would have got a lot more Government Supporting Lords out.

    The opposers of the ORB did not get the same level of support for the subsequent Amendments - the second one proposed by the Labour MOJ Lords spokesperson was defeated and no others were pushed to a vote.

    Harry Fletcher has Tweeted "@hfletcher10 26 Jun #Probationselloff-#Justice Select Committee holding emergency hearing next Tuesday at 9.30 into selloff plans.Napo will be quizzed.great news" and a lot more interesting stuff.

    In particular he asks - "@hfletcher10 29 Jun #probationselloff email any evidence that trust or NOMS are carrying on regardless as matter of urgency. TO"

    Andrew S Hatton

  3. Jim,Those 7 jobs for the regions will be ACO grade not CEO!! The 150 LDUs left will be run by SPO grade - that will be a very flat hierachy which reflects how small the High risk NPS will be..............

    1. Well you might possibly be right - but it's not what Joe Kuipers says:-

      "7 national deputy director posts are to be filled by mechanisms not entirely clear at this stage; possibly by ‘matching’ existing CEOs to the posts"

      You are right about the size of the NPS though - and it will have a reducing budget to operate under. If only all this cull of managers had happened some years ago.... or not allowed to balloon even. We've always known managerialism has been out of control.