Friday, 8 November 2013

Eleventh Hour

For many of us, Monday 11th November 2013 is significant because it's Armistice Day and at 11.00 am precisely, commemorates the anniversary of the ending of hostilities during the First World War.

Somewhat prophetically, it's also a very significant date for the Probation Service as the Offender Rehabilitation Bill is due it's second reading in the House of Commons. Harry Fletcher informs us that an amendment has been tabled in the name of E.Miliband and numerous others stating:-

 'This House declines to give the Offender Rehabilitation Bill a second reading'

It is absolutely vital that as many people as possible e-mail their constituency MP this weekend, asking them to attend and vote in favour of the amendment. This is especially important in relation to Liberal Democrat MP's.

Details of how to contact your Member of Parliament can be found on the biography pages of the Parliament website here.  

Lets hope common sense can prevail at the eleventh hour.

PS - The wording of the amendment in full:-

That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Offender Rehabilitation Bill because the implementation of the proposals in the Bill depends on the Government’s proposed restructuring of the Probation Service; believes that this proposed restructuring will see the abolition of local Probation Trusts, the fragmentation of supervision of offenders on the basis of their risk level and the commissioning of services direct from Whitehall; further believes that the Government has failed to provide any costings for their proposals; notes reports that suggest the Ministry of Justice’s own internal risk register warns that the Government’s proposals could result in a high risk of an unacceptable drop in operational performance; and further declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill on the grounds that none of the Government’s proposals has been piloted nor independently evaluated, potentially resulting in an unnecessary risk to the public’s safety.


  1. Sound advice as always Jim but what of us who live in rock solid Tory constituencies? Where I live you could have Myra Hindley as Conservative candidate and the lowing herd would dutifully put their crosses next to her name without thinking to hard about it, if at all. Any Plan B?

    1. A good point - I think the answer is there's no harm in even a hardened Tory knowing what at least some of their constituents think. We wouldn't want any MP being able to say - "no one has brought the matter up with me".

      No Plan B at the moment - but politics is a funny business and things can change at any time.....



  2. Thanks for the information Jim and I do hope that common sense will prevail at the eleventh hour. I've sent another letter to Nick Clegg in Sheffield, and one to another 20 of his MP gang.

  3. And at the going down of the sun.....

    Seems somewhat apt given the circumstances.

  4. DO keep on at the Tories you could be surprised as there are some serious cracks appearing.....Chris Grayling is being blamed for DWP shambles with mounting publicity on this as the criticisms grow....let's make sure the probation omnishambles is linked to any adverse publicity he gets. EVERY MENTION. Let's make sure the Tory's see him for the liability he is. No personal attacks please just his behaviour and his record.

  5. re-posted from Pics 4 blog - not sure where it should be really as long as its acted upon (plus there's a grammar amendment):

    LibDem Tim Farron, Hansard, 15 Jan 2007: "I thank the Minister for his reply. Recently, I met probation officers in south Cumbria, who expressed deep concern about the Home Secretary’s attitude towards the probation service. Given the Minister’s reply, does he accept that the Home Secretary should stop undermining the probation service with ill judged rhetoric in inappropriate places and poorly thought out legislation, and instead support the probation service by acknowledging that it has met the overwhelming majority of its performance targets this year, unlike his Department?"

    EDM 622 tabled 23 October 2012: "That this House welcomes the news that the Probation Service in England and Wales won the British Quality Foundation Gold Medal for Excellence in 2011; notes that no Probation Trust is deemed to be failing or in need of improvement; further notes that each Probation Trust in England and Wales is meeting its target on the production of court reports, victim satisfaction and the successful completion of orders or licences; and acknowledges the achievements of the Probation Service in England and Wales for carrying out its work efficiently and effectively."

    128 signatures were put to the EDM, including:

    14 Conservative MPs - Tony Baldry; Bob Blackman; Crispin Blunt; Peter Bottomley; Graham Brady; Fiona Bruce; William Cash; Robert Halfon; Gordon Henderson; Patrick Mercer; Penny Mordaunt; Mark Reckless; Gary Streeter; Martin Vickers;

    24 LibDem MPs - Annette Brooke; Paul Burstow; Menzies Campbell; Mike Crockart; Tim Farron; Andrew George; Mike Hancock; Martin Horwood; Simon Hughes; Julian Huppert; John Leech; Stephen Lloyd; Greg Mulholland; John Pugh; Dan Rogerson; Bob Russell; Adrian Saunders; Andrew Stunell; Ian Swales; John Thurso; David Ward; Mark Williams; Roger Williams; Stephen Williams

    So there are 38 MPs we should be targetting for Monday's vote.

    1. 'So there are 38 MPs we should be targetting for Monday's vote.'

      I agree!

  6. Jim et al, I feel nervous !
    I would like to think I have done everything asked of me by NAPO - I was on strike, I have a constant dialogue with my (Lab) MP to the point where my kids think I in trouble with the number of cream coloured letters coming to the house from the house!
    I think the strike went better than expected , and I got a sense of both unity and urgency - but I still feel nervous , Why?, because the second reading on Monday seems to be the first time things have been taken seriously , the amendment has the full force of the opposition with Ed and a three line whip, and the backup of some well written research papers. So why was this not done much earlier, why leave it so late?
    Will there finally be ranks broken by the Lib Dems or even some of those Tories who have now been badgered by NAPO colleagues....Will Harry succeed in his guerilla action ,mounting a spirited freelance , pro bono effort in order to spite the NAPO leadership?
    The PCC's, Local Authorities,Academics and even certain Northern Council's are rocking the boat - but has it been left too late ??
    Will Grayling succeed despite the numerous own goals from inspectorate, committees , bidders etc etc
    Now there is a lot going on this week for the probation watchers - Amendment Monday, PA,PCA at committee Tuesday and close of PQQ on Thursday.
    Could there be a great sting in the tail ? On the first couple of days I don't think so but What If ? What if there has been such a poor response to the PQQ that the market thinks there is no legs in this omnishambles?
    What if there is no appetite for investing in a failed competition where anyone with commercial sense would question what they are getting into and more importantly what they might not get out of it!
    Perhaps you can see why despite all the other crucial weeks , this one has me nervous.........

    1. I'm sorry but I'm not entirely sure why you are nervous. Your analysis is spot on I think and I increasingly get the feeling that the tide is turning against the whole TR omnishambles.

      Yes it's taken time to build any kind of momentum, but in the end politics is the art of the possible, and I'm getting the feeling that this is just not possible. The Lib Dems and others may be sensing this and something may happen in order to save face and acknowledge the inevitable at the eleventh hour.

      As you rightly say, the final straw might be the combination of piss poor interest and bids, coupled with the political impossibility of rewarding companies being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. I don't think it's time to feel nervous, but possibly grateful that political decisions in the end are often decided by chance and pure luck.

      Everyone's luck runs out one day and remember it is said that all political careers eventually end in failure.