How to split up the vast probation estate of buildings in order to accommodate the needs of two separate organisations, the CRC's and NPS, has been taxing those bright young things down at MoJ/Noms HQ for some time. But they've come up with a cunning plan:-
E-mail re updated position on Estates – 3.10.13
“We have no plans for the estate to change as a direct result of transition. The NPS and CRCs will operate from the buildings currently used by Trusts.
Where a building services a function that only exists in the CRC (eg a Community Payback unit) or NPS (eg an Approved Premise) it will be operated by that organisation. Where a building services a function that will exist in both the NPS and CRC (eg an Offender Management unit) both organisations will co-locate within that building. The relative allocation of space will be determined and the cost of the building charged accordingly.
This approach will mean that most staff will continue to work from the same building on transfer to the NPS or CRC.
It will be for the NPS and CRC to determine their future estates strategy and consult on any proposed changes.”
But apart from common sense, there seems to be something else driving this particular policy development and it comes from a reported exchange between a delegate and Michael Spurr after his speech at the Llandudno NAPO AGM:-
After the speech, I was talking to someone in the corridor and Michael Spurr passed me and I said to him, 'publish the risk register' and he came over to talk. He is a complete concrete thinker and I got nowhere, but when I asked him about the risk moving from medium to high, he said that not many clients move from one officer to another. When I pointed out that that's because PO's now hold cases for medium and high, he admitted that the movable nature of risk was something they had to work on, and he was hoping that most CRC's and NPS would be in the same office! When I asked him about computer systems, he said that the CRC's would have to use OASys or develop their own. When I pointed out that the CRC and NPS need the same system if they are going to work together, he said not to worry, CRC's wouldn't adopt a new system because it would be more expensive.
In their latest blog about the TR omnishambles the CEO of West Mercia picks up on something else I hadn't appreciated:-
Mike's place has (been) taken by the 'appointment' of Colin Allars, and Colin's place by another HM Prison appointee. This looks like a full house for HM Prison service in designing the future of probation, with some second tier probation input.
I had the great privilege of working with Sir Graham Smith when he was HM Chief Inspector of Probation (another job seemingly destined for an ex HM Prison governor). Whilst Sir Graham was the Chief Inspector the issue of closer ties between the prison and probation services was already in the air and his avowed view was that were that to take place it would mark the end of the probation service he loved and worked so hard to develop.
Regular readers will be aware that I wrote recently about the 'reception' that was held at MoJ/Noms HQ in order to thank the transformation team for all their hard work in breaking up a world class public service. A Freedom of Information request has been submitted, but I'm grateful to a reader for pointing out the following which might help explain:-
"Recognition and Reward (R&R)
A new system of recognising exceptional commitment and performance was introduced as part of the Pay and Grading review in 2007. The ‘Celebrating your Success’ scheme introduced a range of methods for managers to access the department’s Recognition and Reward budget in order to acknowledge performance and loyalty. These methods included:
Special bonuses of £100 or more
Small bonuses of less than £100
A loyalty award payable to staff who have served 25 years in the Civil Service.
Payments under this scheme were available only to staff who have opted in to the Deal, although team awards could be made to all members of a team regardless of their individual options decision.
The Recognition and Reward scheme was refreshed in 2010 with the introduction of a centralised provider of “Recognition Vouchers” to replace existing arrangements for vouchers/small gifts"