Monday, 4 November 2013


I was wondering the other day how that Serco privatisation of Community Payback in London was going, but judging by this internal e-mail from one London Borough, not very well it would seem:-

Dear all

Please see the latest situation regarding this backlog which has persisted since the DELIUS read-only period in August.

I am doing all I can to get this up to date but as today there are still 362 work appts, the outcome of which is still to be advised to the Case Manager/Offender Manager.
Please ensure staff flag ALL issues relating to this using the email address: This would include anything relating to:
  • disputed hours
  • breaches having to be withdrawn
  • incidents with offenders who are unsure of their hours
  • service users unable to be terminated because final hours have not yet been updated
  • service users who may have worked more than the hours order.
Please raise any specific issues with me direct

Do you like that bit - service users who may have worked more than the hours order!

It will be appreciated that when enforcing court orders of any kind, it's absolutely vital that information and recording is bang up-to-date and reliable, especially if it has to be relied upon at some stage in relation to breach proceedings at court. A dickie bird tells me it's not looking good and hence very bad news for the MoJ's flagship privatisation and the ongoing TR omnishambles.

Talking of things not working too well, I see G4S are in a bit of a pickle with their new state-of-the-art GPS tags according to this in the Guardian:-

Prosecutions have been halted in three separate cases over the past week involving terror suspects accused of breaching new-style "control orders" by tampering with their G4S-supplied GPS electronic tags.

Defence lawyers say that the cases have had to be dropped not because of attempts to remove the tracking devices, but because the design of the new tags is flawed. Security experts say that the tags do not appear to have been stress-tested to cope with a devout Muslim who prostrates himself in prayer five times a day.
Birnberg Peirce and Partners, who represent all three men, say there are serious questions about the reliability of the bulkier GPS "tracking tags" which are due to be widely used. The law firm has written to the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, about this "extraordinary situation" and ask for reassurance for the men required to wear the "deeply suspect devices".
Grayling is to roll out a six-year, £400m contract based on the tags for released prisoners and offenders next year.
The Ministry of Justice said it was working with its suppliers to confirm whether the tags were "overly sensitive to tamper alerts".
It will be interesting to see what transpires at G4S in the face of shareholders getting restless and following a key meeting this week:-
As Ashley Almanza, boss of security group G4S, rehearses his lines this weekend for his crucial 5 November strategy presentation on 5 November, several investors are whispering of gunpowder, treason and plot. Almanza is facing the biggest presentation of his life: he will have to spell out why the embattled £6bn group should not bow to activist shareholders and split itself up.
He knows it could be a make-or-break performance. Shareholders remain divided on the question of whether the group is too big for its own good. G4S manages 650,000 staff around the world – and only two years ago came close to a £5.2bn merger (with Danish rival ISS) that would have seen it become the world's second largest commercial employer, behind Walmart.
And if shareholder ferment were not trouble enough, the G4S boss is also facing a series of contract meltdowns and rogue employee scandals, and investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over electronic tagging.
The past week alone has seen two damaging incidents as far apart as South Africa and Scotland. First came what G4S said were "unsubstantiated allegations" of prisoners at its Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein being subjected to electric shocks or forcibly injected with antipsychotic drugs to sedate them.
The South African government last month took charge of the prison as strike threats and allegations of mistreatment mounted. "The contractor has effectively lost control of the facility," the department of correctional services concluded – a damning verdict in a market Almanza had months earlier flagged as a bright spot.
Then, last Tuesday, a G4S security guard was given a life sentence at Glasgow high court for bludgeoning a 42-year-old Thai conference delegate to death with a fire extinguisher. During the trial, the jury was told that the guard, Clive Carter, had complained of fatigue due to long working hours. On one occasion, months earlier, he had worked 26 consecutive days, the court heard. G4S says Carter worked a standard shift pattern in the period before the murder, adding that previous periods of more intensive employment related to specific events "in keeping with the standard work patterns of fellow employees".
Just imagine that - working 26 consecutive days without a break. 
The Guardian article is a rather good canter through most of G4S's current woes, ending with HMP Oakwood and a fascinating statistic about the workforce:-
The group runs one of Britain's largest privately run prisons, HMP Oakwood in the West Midlands, which holds more than 1,600 category C inmates – those thought not to be a particular escape risk. The prison has been the subject of repeated critical reports, the latest of which this month detailed how inspectors were told "you can get drugs here, but not soap".
The report also found: "There were no appropriate interventions for the 300 sex offenders, many of whom were in denial of their offending. A large number of these offenders were due for release without their offending being addressed."
The global workforce that makes up G4S is one of the largest of any FTSE 100 group, reaching 648,254 last year. More than 90% of staff work in the security division, many as poorly paid guards. Two-thirds of G4S staff are employed in developing nations, with the rest largely in Europe. Globally, the business employs 20% more people than Tesco but has a wage bill more than 10% lower than the supermarket group's.


  1. G4S earmark major job cuts...

  2. The boss of G4S, the security behemoth best known for its failures ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, is this week set to outline major job cuts in the UK as part of a new company strategy.

    Chief executive Ashley Almanza is to reveal plans for the company on Tuesday, just a fortnight after replacing G4S's UK chief.

    That was part of an attempt to rescue G4S's damaged reputation and relationship with the Government – one of its major clients – after not only the Olympic failures that saw the army called into fill the shortfall of security guards, but also recent allegations that the firm and its rival, Serco, charged the taxpayer for contracts relating to the electronic tagging of offenders who were dead, in prison, or had never existed.

    Now City analysts expect Mr Almanza to axe thousands of UK jobs.

    G4S may also announce further disposals: on Thursday it sold G4S Norway to Nokas for £30.5m. It has also sold a Canadian cash unit and a data-storage business in Colombia, and hoisted "for sale" signs over two American businesses – US Government Solutions and Regulated Security Solutions.

  3. BDS success: U of Bergen rejects G4S

    DetailsPublished on Friday, 01 November 2013 13:07Written by Alternative Information Center (AIC) Norway's University of Bergen rejected G4S as affiliation with the company would damage its reputation/Photo: University of Bergen on Flickr
    Norway's University of Bergen decided not to award a security contract to the G4S company due to "damage to reputation" that would accrue from working with a company involved in human rights violations against the Palestinian people and elsewhere in the world. The newspaper Klassekampen reports that although G4S submitted the lowest bid in the tender, the University of Bergen added an estimated NOK 2.5 million in costs due to potential damage to its reputation. BDS activist Ingvild Skogvold translates relevant sections of the article for Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK:  "We have a clear set of core values, adn trading with companies that do not have the same ethical platform as us will lead to reputational damage for our institution. This is specifically related to the media coverage on G4S activities in the West Bank," said Dag Rune Olsen, a principal at the University of Bergen. Although the G4S bid was some NOK 2 million less than its next competitor, the university estimated that costs to its reputation from working with a company involved in human rights violation would be NOK 2.5 million."This is an attempt to operationalise last year’s decision on ethical trade. We want our institution's core values to be reflected in which suppliers we choose," Olsen added. G4S has questioned this decision in correspondence with the university, and is reportedly considering the submission of a complaint to the Complaints Board for Public Procurement. Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian Boycott National Committee writes that "This is a very significant victory for the global BDS campaign against G4S, as it deals with the company's involvement in illegal and unethical projects as a financial liability, arguing that hiring a company as complicit as G4S in violations of human rights carries a steep "reputational" cost.  Barghouti adds that "the BDS movement has always argued that investing in companies that are in grave -- and persistent -- violation of international law is not just wrong from an ethical, and possibly legal, perspective. It is also a financial liability in the longer term, as the South African experience showed. The return on investment may be quite high in situations of human rights violations, but resistance to such violations may make the entire investment collapse in a short period." Barghouti adds that "Our human rights are indivisible; our resolve to hold to account all entities involved in denying them is unwavering." 

    1. Very interesting indeed - I wonder what the advice will be from G4S's media consultants - "go ahead and make a complaint - lets get some more shit publicity for the company" I don't think so......

  4. Prisons, not probation service, but highlighting it because Graylings qualifications for playing political games with the Criminal Justice System is again brought into question.

  5. Probe of G4S tagging contract begins

    13 minutes agoElectronic monitoring of offenders gives authorities the ability to track their whereaboutsThe Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into the government's contract with G4S over tagging, the security company has confirmed.In July the government placed all contracts held by G4S and fellow security firm Serco under review after an audit suggested they had been over-charging for tagging criminals.It then asked the SFO to consider carrying out an investigation into G4S.The company said it would co-operate fully with the SFO investigation.The audit found the two companies had charged for tagging criminals who were either dead, in prison or never tagged in the first place.A spokesman for G4S said: "G4S confirms it has today received notice that the director of the Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into the 'contract for the provision of electronic monitoring services, which commenced in April 2005, as amended and extended until the present day'."G4S has confirmed to the SFO that it will co-operate fully with the investigation."Serco is also being investigated by the SFO.The audit by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, launched in May, alleged that over-charging began at least as far back as the start of the current contracts, in 2005, but could have dated back to the previous contracts in 1999.Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the two firms that an independent "forensic audit" - a search for possible illegality - should be conducted, which among other things would need to examine email trails between bosses.G4S was reported to the SFO when it refused to co-operate with this further audit, while Serco allowed a further forensic audit to take place.In the course of the audit in September, the Ministry of Justice provided material to the SFO in relation to Serco's conduct.G4S made headlines after it failed to provide all of its contracted security guards for the London 2012 Olympics, prompting extra military personnel to be called in to fill the gap and leaving the firm with losses of £88m.

    I really wonder how shareholders will be reassured by tomorrows G4S presentation?


    "Mark Johnson User Voice talks about Transforming Rehabilitation"

    8 minutes 14 seconds.



    Utter brilliance - Thank you Russell Webster for giving Mark Johnson a chance to be heard - 'teachable moment' superb - as a probation officer I tried very hard to interview prisoners immediately after sentence when some are open to new ways forward.

    He also has a brilliant analysis of how organisations working with criminals function in the wider world AND (bonus maybe) articulates the omnishambles that is TR


    Andrew Hatton

  7. Jim,

    Agree with Andrew -Mark Johnson podcast needs wider maybe of passing interest that MJ - resigned from the LPT Board 4 months ago...Perhaps he wanted to go public with his TR concerns & break the MoJ corporate gag?....



  8. It is concerning that such a respected newspaper like the Daily Telegraph should publish an editorial about the probation workers strike that effectively just recites the illogical justifications for reorganising the probation service(s) that the government is using.

    I know we expect Conservative bias but not writing lacking in any logic that does not explain itself.

    This after all is the paper that published the MPs expenses information that has been so devastating for their credibility. I wish I could better understand these contradictions.

    I am not optimistic that my (not very well argued) reply that I have sent will be published, but you are welcome to read it and add a comment: -

    Andrew Hatton

    1. I don't think we could ever have expected support from the Torygraph - but the mere fact that they felt obliged to do so suggests we're hitting some nerves. There will be Telegraph readers who see that editorial and disagree with it, and after all that's what we want.


    Andrew Hatton

  10. Extended interview with #Napo @IlawrenceL from 14 minutes

    Andrew Hatton

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