Sunday, 13 October 2013

When Tom Meets Pam

If there's one thing I've learnt during the time I've been writing all this stuff about the great TR omnishambles, it's that talking complete bollocks seems to get you a long way. Now just that first sentence should serve to indicate why I would find it utterly impossible to take up the invitation from Professor Paul Senior and contribute towards a special TR edition of the British Journal of Community Justice. I simply could not satisfy the following decency criteria:-

Articles and thought pieces will be subject to peer review in the normal way but we do not want to discourage new writers, so a Thought Piece will not require the same level of referencing and academic rigour as an article. The editorial team can advise on the appropriateness of a contribution. We will not censor any well-argued thoughts either in favour of the TR proposals or against. We will though not publish anything which is written in a way which can be construed as libel or which does not follow the normal bounds of etiquette in writing for publications.

I think most readers are now familiar with Tom, but I'm extremely grateful to a reader for introducing me to Pam, whom I'd never heard of before and knew nothing about. It would seem though that Pam has been waiting quietly in the wings for Tom to come along and the pair are very much destined to become an item as this whole TR omnishambles unfolds. The Target Operating Model very much has it's eyes on the Platform for Achieving More

So, who or what is pam I hear you ask? 

pam is more than a collaborative cloud based environment.  It is at the heart of a rich ecosystem that enables its users to get better results together, at much lower cost than before.

With powerful, easy-to-use functionality going far beyond generic collaboration platforms, pam allows you to get better results enabling you to concentrate on ‘what’ you need to do rather than worrying about ‘how’ to do it. This allows you to have all your work in one place, structured how you want it.
pam avoids the cost and complexity of buying and integrating various specialist applications and continually evolves in close collaboration with its users.
pam collaborate is the core of the pam cloud platform. It enables users to work together efficiently and effectively using tasking, discussions and version controlled document sharing. Intuitive key performance indicator (KPI) measurement capabilities make performance tracking & management really simple. You can also plug in your own tools and templates to equip everyone with a consistent way of working. No physical user training is required and on platform help as well as the free pam academy material supports those that prefer to read or see what to do before trying anything.
Future proof and add more capability as you need it; you can expand and grow the platform with pam solution packs (see public service and private sector solutions areas) which means that not only can your team be much more efficient in your work, they can also be much more effective too with pre built work focused solutions. These can also be customised for your needs quickly.
Apparently, with full cooperation of the Probation Association, most probation trusts have been using pam for years without any of us knowing. Just look at what pam can handle, especially as it's just recently gained a really high security clearance from the government:-
Public service, like private sector, uses pam for many of the organisational and relationship-based solutions around areas such as:
  • Strategic change and organisation transformation
  • Commissioning, partnering, procurement and supplier contract management (and increasingly customer engagement too)
  • Compliance, audit and inspections
They use our protect pam service, which is great for information held up to IL2 Protect levels. In addition, numerous customers asked us to develop a new platform for IL3 restricted information level working. We called it restricted pam. This enables operational multi-agency working for prevention, enforcement, support and disruption across areas such as:
  • Integrated Offender and Prolific Priority Offender Management
  • Child safeguarding and sexual exploitation prevention
  • Coordinating care for vulnerable adults
  • Organised Crime Group management and disruption
  • Urban Street Gangs management and disruption
  • Complex and Troubled Families transformation
  • Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
  • Restorative Justice conference planning and delivery
  • Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)
  • Place-based management for ASB and community development
  • Tasking, briefing and coordination
  • Investigations management (complementary to Holmes 2)
  • Serious case reviews (SCR’s) and serious further offence reviews (SFO’s)
The majority of probation trusts, numerous police forces, police and crime commissioners, local authorities, Ministry of Justice and many of their partners and suppliers use pam in an integrated fashion.
Well I know the above is the usual PR bullshit you get on corporate websites, but assuming for one moment that some of it might be true, why the bloody hell are we having crap like N-Delius and OASys R foisted on us? Mark Darby, the guy behind pam and his company Alliantist seems to have it all sorted from his Sussex HQ, which I assume is like your typical world domination Bond movie film set complete with banks of winking computers and tacky furnishings.
I know the guy has a business to flog, albeit a Community Involvement Company, but the conclusion to his Alliantist submission on the TR consultation exercise sounds remarkably like something many of us could sign up to, especially number 2:-

Yes there are opportunities for taking out cost and waste from the service, but the bigger and longer term gains are to be had from the following:-

1. Equipping those who are involved with the best skills, tools and technology - its much cheaper in the long run.
2. Remove bureaucratic central large IT provider systems that cost a fortune and deliver no value, indeed inhibit change and demotivate the workforce.
3. Make sure that the whole ecosystem is connected and enabled - not just the probation part - that is where there are the biggest prizes.
4. Use the best partnership and relationship practices to drive change and engagement - this is not about a contract, as that is just a commitment on paper - we should also change the narrative to facilitate a more inclusive service. Without the right mechanisms (some of which are listed earlier) to drive and enable change then this will end in tears. With the right investments now, it could be a phenomenal opportunity to inspire the workforce and get society back on track at a much lower total cost.
5. Once this change has been made, give it time to stick and mature - we have seen countless changes in probation where the distraction to the service is immense and the value questionable, at times.          
I guess with hindsight, many probation trusts and the PA itself must have genuinely thought that all this cloud ecosystem stuff was just what was required in a probation future world where Trusts and the new Police and Crime Commissioners would be pulling all the commissioning strings. But then Chris Grayling came along......


  1. Has pam had any involvement with the new border agency integrated systems which made news recently for not working properly? Or maybe even the universal credit (probably never to work) programme?

    1. No Raytheon is the company that had contract cancelled due to it being crap - they are suing the government and Home Office still using a trial programme from IBM from 2004!

    2. Universal Credit failure can be blamed on Accenture, HP and IBM apparently

    3. Thanks for the links.

  2. Russell Webster has Tweeted a link to an article he wrote 4 or 5 months back that mentioned PAM - maybe we need to pay closer attention - not so easy for me - he has blocked me on Twitter - I am not sure why - it might be connected with me being less than polite about his apparent closeness to PbR and also questioning him about who is funding his efforts that look - oh so personal!

    I presume that Tweet is a reaction to Jim's post here - perhaps he was too shy to respond here?

    It does now seem that this where the electronic consultations have gone on, that involve communication not suitable for 'normal' emails.

    I do hope Probation Trust Boards have been giving proper oversight and approved any sharing of confidential information over a commercial website before it happened.

    Hopefully Probation Board members will ask questions of their CEOs now, if they are not sure and parliamentarians will also ask questions of ministers

    Andrew Hatton

    1. Twitter has it's severe limitations and 90% of it is just endless junk, adverts, platitudinous bollocks, inconsequential and inane gossip, wind-ups, arguments and trivia. 10% is gold dust and worth reading. Just my view of course.

  3. Freedom of information request perhaps ?

  4. And we end up with Word 2003,E Oasys and N Delius on an out of date browser-all clunking their way into our lives-leave Pam alone and make the computer tools we use fit for purpose.

  5. TOM: derogatory word for sex worker. That slipped through the NOMS Diversity and Equality Impact Assessment didn't? Or are we not now bothering with all that stuff in the Brave New World?

    1. Good point, but maybe they would remind us it can also be short for 'tom foolery' - jewellery in cockney rhyming slang