Thursday, 28 November 2013

Omnishambles Update 30

Four posts in a day is unprecedented and there is a real danger of us all suffering 'information overload' as this whole TR omnishambles begins to pick up speed. Hopefully we can stick to just the one today and it might as well start, as yesterday, with news from London. This is the latest typically forthright rallying call from Greater London Napo Chair, Pat Waterman:-


Who you gonna call..........your union or HR.

Attached below is a letter from Tom Rendon, National Chair, and Ian Lawrence, General Secretary, which was previously e-mailed to you all directly. This letter sets out why the unions registered a failure to agree at the meeting of the National Negotiating Council (NNC) on 20th November. 

Although in a formal sense the negotiations are between the trade unions and the Probation Association (which represents the employers) it has always been clear that the MOJ, in their determination to break up the trusts and privatise the probation service, were pulling the strings behind the scenes. 

At the meeting on the 20th, and on the previous one on the 11th November, it became increasingly clear that, rather than allowing negotiations to continue, the MOJ had every intention of simply imposing their will on the trusts. 

This is what we call BULLYING and, rather than stand up to it, there is every indication that at their meeting on Friday 29th November the Board of London Probation Trust will simply roll over and do what they are told. 

Attached below are three appendices. The first two documents give you advice on how to construct your grievance. The third document is advice to branch officials on registering a local dispute.

I fully expect that from next week members will start to receive either assignment letters or letters inviting expressions of interest. In accordance with national advice and guidance, you should lodge a grievance even if you think what you personally are being offered is the best of a bad job. 

You should follow this advice and lodge a grievance because, such is the MOJ’s determination to rush this transformation through, you are being asked to make a decision on the basis of inadequate and incomplete information. 

You will probably be asked to give your response within seven to fourteen days. You will probably still have unanswered questions and concerns that your HR advisor will be unable to answer.


Just because LPT has given up does not mean you have to. Take action and lodge a grievance. This is a collective action whose purpose is to highlight just how badly we are all being treated. So even if you are satisfied with your lot; even if you think you’ve done ok; even if you don’t care; lodge a grievance and show LPT what you think of their actions.

The advice attached on how to construct your individual grievance is helpful and I advise you to read it carefully. But it cannot be exhaustive so feel free to call or e-mail me if you need further advice. 

I don’t know exactly what further information Heather Munro intends to send to you on Friday afternoon. I can tell you that if any letters are sent out next week I shall be registering a local dispute. 

Up until now there have been cordial relations between the branch and senior management as they assured us they were doing everything they could to make their concerns about the risks associated with implementing this transformation known behind the scenes. But now, as seems likely, the board will be giving the go-ahead for their implementation. 

At the meeting I attended with Senior Management on Tuesday I was accused of getting agitated as the plans for sifting and sorting were unveiled. I told them that I was here representing over a thousand members who were, to put it mildly, not very happy and, if I sounded  disputatious, it was because we were now in dispute at a national level and probably, very soon, at a local level also. 

I urge you all to stand up for what you believe in. We are not commodities to be sifted, sorted, parcelled up and sold. 

Pat Waterman 
Branch Chair

Sticking with London and following on from the BBC's Newsnight investigation last week into the Serco Community Payback contract. here is the London Evening Standard reporting that Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee is launching an investigation into the claims made in the broadcast:-

Security firm Serco faces a fresh investigation today after claims that a “catalogue of problems” is dogging its contract managing parts of London’s Probation Service.
The powerful Public Accounts Committee will take a detailed look at Serco’s work after whistleblowers alleged serious failings.
Committee Chairwoman Margaret Hodge told the Standard she will also refer the matter to the National Audit Office, to investigate whether Serco is delivering a good deal for taxpayers.
It comes just days after plans to privatise three prisons were cancelled because Serco — the lead bidder —became embroiled in a separate investigation relating to accusations it over-charged the Government for the electronic tagging of criminals.
Ms Hodge said: “We are taking an ongoing look into all of the Ministry of Justice’s contracts and we will now be taking a closer more detailed look at this matter.  I will also refer it to the National Audit Office because the taxpayer needs to know it is getting value for money.”
Ms Hodge is taking action after receiving a letter from shadow justice secretary Sadiq Kahn. The Tooting Labour MP wrote: “In my dealings with probation staff across the city I have heard about problems with this contract.
“A growing catalogue of problems shows it is not delivering quite the value for money ... claimed by ministers.”
Serco and the London Probation Trust were awarded the £37million probation contract last year amid claims it would save £25million.
But concerns were raised after the BBC’s Newsnight broadcast whistleblowers’ claims that community sentence projects were not properly supervised — denied by Serco.

Yesterday saw the announcement of another marriage between a staff mutual called Delta and the GEO Group. I guess many of us will have seen prison vans labelled GeoAmey as this company has one of the prison escort contracts. In case you were wondering, yes the Amey bit comes from the former quarrying company Amey Roadstone who used to build motorways. Clearly nowadays anyone is qualified to run all kinds of services as it's the brave new world of 'no experience is necessary'. 

The parent company is based in the United States and can trace its roots back to Wackenhut Corrections Corporation and has quite a dodgy history of running penal institutions, as recorded here on wikipedia. 

The GEO Group UK Ltd and Delta Rehabilitation Ltd have today announced that they are to form a Joint Venture as a potential bidder for the Ministry of Justice's Transforming Rehabilitation competition in the York and North Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire region. Phil Watkins, GEO UK's Managing Director said:

"We are delighted to be working with a highly professional and dedicated staff mutual with a clear vision for reducing re-offending whilst at the same time maintaining the risk management skills required to keep the public safe".Richard Barker, Delta's Chairman, said:

"I'm delighted that we have secured a partner with the same drive, ambition and values as our own. GEO brings strong sector experience and a unique sets of competences. When put together with those of Delta and our local delivery partners we represent a very formidable proposition indeed".

Project Director Martin Gore paid tribute to the Staff Council and the Project Team for building the successful proposition so quickly:

"We have moved from the initial concept of a mutual in July to a fully developed Project Team and elected Staff Council with supporting Business Plans in four months. In addition, I would like to acknowledge the contribution and support of Cabinet Office Ambassadors and our local partners. Our bid will emphasise local provision, utlising the skills and knowledge of our staff and partners, together with those of the GEO Group, a major international company". 

It's reported that some 80% of probation staff voted in favour of the mutual and as you can see they have seemingly decided to form a Staff Council rather than stick with recognised trade unions in order to safeguard their terms and conditions. Good luck with that then especially as according to twitter traffic yesterday, 'the MoJ have told them they've won the contract'. I wonder if the other contenders know that?    

Not everyone is happy though and I thought it was worth highlighting this comment from yesterday:-

As for the mutual? Enthusiastic amateurs being dangled on the end of a line by canny business people in a bid to tug at heartstrings. They think that 6 months of rubbing shoulder pads with business consultants means they're ready for the dragon's den - they don't see that they're the sprats to catch the mackerel. Wouldn't buy anything from them - a bit like the door to door children operated by the modern day fagins; the kids earn about tuppence from a day's sales, whilst fagin sits at the end of the road watching from the leather interior of his brand new range rover. It was a sad experience, but made more so when seen in the context of working for the MoJ and their immoral backstabbing antics.

Finally, I'm told that this blog is read avidly down at MoJ/Noms HQ, so here's a piece flagged up by a reader yesterday from the Financial Times that seems to have a familiar ring to it and signals a lot more trouble lies ahead:-

Plans to offshore up to 1,000 civil servants’ jobs in a potential £2bn contract for back-office functions across Whitehall could spark an “exodus” of “demoralised” staff, a cabinet minister has warned. Steria, the French outsourcing company, has won the contract to provide procurement and finance across three departments – Work and Pensions, Environment, and Food and Rural Affairs – as well as the Environment Agency.

It took over 1,200 employees on November 1 and has agreed to delay any offshoring for the first six months. But it is understood that shifting jobs abroad will be a key part of the deal, which is aimed at shrinking central government and cutting costs. Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, has sent a letter to Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister in charge of the outsourcing, raising alarm over the deal.

“I am worried about the possible staff exodus and demotivation – and the risk to service even before the bidders have taken over,” he wrote.  

PS I see that tailgunner has just posted this on the Napo forum pages in relation to requesting a caseload printout prior to preparing a grievance:- 

Very good point. Worth doing - and then check all risk flags, tierings etc to ensure they are correct. Make a note for yourself where they appear to be wrong. Grist to the mill in an appeal. Perhaps also worth conferring with fellow members to see if their caseload details are accurate. Being able to demonstrate that any sifting has been done on inaccurate/inconsistent data will cause difficulties for appeals panels. One does not necessarily want to aggravate our direct employers but sadly that is the name of the game that is being foisted upon us all.
For those faced with the dilemma of trying to reconcile irreconcilable problems at appeal stage, I might suggest pushing the problem upstairs to HR Hubs. They are allegedly the specialists. Or, don't start the process until you are 100% certain that caseload data on 11th November was accurate.  


  1. I posted this under the previous blog post and repeat it under today's post:

    Have been following your Blog Jim since January this year and wish to thank you for being a tremendous source of information for the events that have unfolded during 2013. With so much confusion being expressed on a macro level, the impact on individual employees of Probation Trusts at this present time seems to be overshadowed by recent postings. It's really useful to hear about what's happening across the board and the apparent disregard by our present government to the personal impact on individuals and their families.

    I'm pretty convinced that when I submit my Expression of Interest Form and separate grievance letter at the beginning of December, not much interest will be paid by my employer to my individual circumstances and concerns. I'm aware that I'm only a 'number' to be processed and being in a specialised role which has no defined sifting criteria, my future will be decided on a random basis.

    This has left me feeling humiliated and depersonalised. I hope that by expressing my feelings on this blog, it's an avenue for drawing some attention to the micro level implications that will have far-reaching consequences for thousands of other employees.

    Having worked in Probation for 18+ years and worked hard to progress in my specialised role through achieving a number of additional qualifications at vocational and Masters level, I feel that the specialised knowledge and experience I possess will mean nothing when a coin is flipped or my name taken out of a hat in the near future. Who knows what the consequences may be.

    With regards to personal consequences on a family basis, my daughter is a qualified Probation Officer and it really breaks my hear to listen to her worries. Working late hours at present to manage high risk offenders, she is the main breadwinner for her family and is financially supporting her partner and 3 young children. Who cares about the future financial security of such young families?

    We will both be spending time over this coming weekend drafting our grievance letters. One thing is sure, despite the apparent lack of empathy being showed by the current government, we will survive as a strong family unit whatever happens in the next few months. There was a time when in Probation where you felt part of a strong Team unit and could trust your colleagues and employer to support you through difficult times. It's ironic that we are employees of 'Trusts' - unfortunately values of loyalty to hard working and dedicated staff who have worked over and above role requirements have long disappeared.

    This has been a means for me to vent my anger and disgust at what's unfolding. I hope you have read this far and I'm aware that my story is probably repeated on a wider basis.

    1. Thanks! Have just responded to your original posting.



  2. Whilst the MoJ bullies are clearly intent on demolishing the probation service, please be aware that the mutuals - however 'sexy' they might sound - have been built around funding & advice from - yep, the MoJ. The MoJ provided a shedload of coin to buy the time of "cabinet office ambassadors". I understand that no mutual could buy in their own choice of advisor - it was only with consultancies as directed by MoJ. Perhaps an example might be that you have access to the public purse and you put your hand in, pull out a handful of dosh, then give it to your mates.

    Who you gonna call? Margaret Hodge!!! The Fudgebuster.

    This government is so fudged up with sleazy deals, bullying & incompetence it doesn't know what its saying or doing half the time:

    Split the probation casework by risk. Do they stay where they're put? Do they move between NPS & CRC?

    Sell off procurement & other lucrative government contracts to overseas companies. How can you then whine when those companies move the work out of the UK? That's the only way they were ever going to make any savings.

    Demand a free market economy ruled by capitalist principles - then why whine like babies when others are allowed access to the market? Surely there's nowt wrong with allowing access to Romanians, Latvians, Italians, Spanish, Americans, Australians, Russians? Isn't that how it works? Open competition?

    Or is it that YOU (the new tory moneybags, the fat cats, the self-styled "elite" who preen & posture) want access to everything, but don't want to compete with anyone else? The greed culture that has followed in the wake of Thatcher (and was especially embraced by Blair, the uber-weasel) has destroyed most everything - that homogenous capitalist slime that blights everyone's lives; the advertising & marketing; the lies; the duplicity; the abuse; the bullying; the crowing; the contempt.

    1. Annon 8:58

      Incase anyone missed it being foucused on whats occuring with TR Borris has a lot to say about the things you speak about in your comment.


    3. Tackling economic inequality is ‘futile’ because some people’s IQ is too low for them to compete, Boris Johnson suggested last night.
      The London Mayor called for the creation of a new generation of grammar schools to help the brightest children from poor homes.
      Arguing that some people were simply not bright enough to succeed in the modern world, Mr Johnson hailed what he called the ‘spirit of envy’, and said inequality was ‘essential’ for economic growth.
      He also appeared to echo the fictional film character Gordon Gekko, whose notorious motto was ‘greed is good’, saying that greed was ‘a valuable spur to economic activity’.
      But he insisted he did not want the economic recovery to breed a new generation of ‘heartless’ bankers.
      Delivering the annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture – staged by the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies think-tank – he insisted the rich had a duty to help the poor and embrace philanthropy.
      And he urged the Government to do much more to help bright children from poor homes to get a good education.
      He called for the reintroduction of John Major’s assisted places scheme, which paid for the brightest poor children to go to public schools – and accused the Tories of hypocrisy for blocking a revival of the grammar school system.

    4. Good old Borris!! Why not put everyone with an IQ of less then 140 on the list with the badgers and cull them?
      It will be amazing if we get to the general election without seeing civil unrest on the same level recently seen in Spain and Greece. People are starving, being made homeless, committing suicide even because of their circumstances, being forced to do unpaid work for being unemployed whilst this government outsources paid jobs abroad. The NHS is in disarray as is the welfare state and the criminal justice system. Local councils can't function because of the severity of cuts and schools are encouraged yo employ unqualified teachers because they are cheaper. The bankers are corrupt, the energy giants are selling utillities at extortonate prices, and big companies like G4S are stealing from the taxpayer and laughing because if they should get caught all they have to say is sorry. MPs are fiddling their expenses to such an extent to heat their stables whilst the old and infirm are left to die of hyperthermia.
      Other countries are now looking at us for 'how not to do things', but the government don't care because they're far to comfortable. So Borris, you really don't need a high IQ to see whats going on- and far most its begining to stink far to much. This government will be recorded in history as the most destructive and most hated that have ever taken office.

    5. Hmmmm... Well Boris, that's where we differ in opinion. I believe everyone has the ability to get on in life, given equal opportunities but, unfortunately, many people cannot have a top education paid for by daddy. Many people cannot have an education for which daddy and daddy's friends pulled strings. If ordinary mortals become well educated it is in spite of and not because of the unequal and regressive systems in this country. And that's something we aim to do. In probation we aim to help those less fortunate, who have fallen foul of the system and have had unequal choices. We give them hope, help them learn and move them forward. If Tory thinking is that some people are too stupid to learn then there is no hope for the outsourced probationers of the future and criminal activities may continue to be their only recourse. Daddy didn't buy me an education. My daddy was poor but he encouraged myself and my siblings to believe in ourselves. Told us we were not stupid, just poor. As a result I gained a degree and a PhD in biochemistry and completed a decade of research for posterity and to forward human knowledge. I have no mortgage and have self employment as well as my probation work. I work very hard indeed. I joined probation to help those less fortunate than myself, to help them believe in themselves and move forward in life. The only stupid people are those that believe others are too stupid and write them off. Shame on you Boris. Shame on your heartless, selfish Tory government. Your blind rhetoric will gain you nothing more than further increased inequality and a population who feel helpless and disenfranchised. That could quite possibly end in riots and other high crime and there'll be no probation. At least, there'll be no probation that really cares or really works to lift people out of the mire. Around 5 or so years ago, there was an article in Scientific American which contained the results of an experiment on happiness in America. It stated that people were happiest when they were more fortunate than those around them. Well perhaps that is why this government is causing so much abject misery. So it can sit back and bask.

  3. There is an Email from Napo HQ rcvd by me 08.18 this AM

    FURTHER GUIDANCE - deals with how to respond with assignment notices or requests for 'expressions of interests' from Probation Trusts: -

    Andrew Hatton

  4. Could it be a couple of years as suggested here before the big boys can bid for contracts?

    1. A 'humiliating shambles'

      There has long been entrenched opposition to private companies taking on what are traditionally roles fulfilled by government, but recently the criticism has cranked up to fever pitch amid a series of high-profile fiascos. G4S's failure to provide enough security for the London 2012 Olympics was described by its then chief executive Nick Buckles as a "humiliating shambles". The next blow came when the group was exposed as having charged the government for the continued electronic tagging of people who had never been tagged in the first place, or had the tag removed. Some had even died. Fellow government outsourcing giant Serco also stands accused, and the Cabinet Office has launched an investigation into other key contracts held by the two companies. It will report back soon. At that point there should be clarity on whether the companies will be allowed to bid for future government work. The tagging contract is also the subject of a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

      The curse of Serco struck again recently when a consortium - CH2M Hill - containing the British company pulled out at the last minute from a Ministry of Defence weapons buying contract. CH2M blamed commercial viability, rather than the toxic presence of Serco in its consortium. Whatever the reason, it is further bad PR for the sector. What's more, the pull-out leaves just one private bidder - a consortium led by US group Bechtel - and the competitive process in tatters.

      Will they win another government contract?

      Despite the catalogue of errors, the answer is yes, probably. At the heart of all this is an assumption that private companies might be able to do things more cheaply than competitively-unchallenged civil servants. According to a National Audit Office report, the Cabinet Office reported £840m of savings in 2012-13 from using outsourced "strategic suppliers". Most of the evidence suggests government is still wedded to the concept. The controversial electronic tagging contracts are being retendered as a huge, national contract, with G4S and Serco's rival Capita (CPI) the preferred bidder. G4S, meanwhile, won a contract to provide security at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland last June, and the government has said it is even considering the only remaining bid on the procurement contract rather than leave the work in the hands of civil servants.

      At present, the government only outsources around 2 per cent of its total spending. But with pressure on budgets, outsourcing is likely to keep growing. And the reality is that few are willing, or able, to do the government's dirty work, be it managing prisons, tagging criminals or running out-of-hours GP centres. City analysts think it highly unlikely G4S and Serco will be barred from bidding for future UK government contracts, either. And, anyway, keeping public services in public hands is no guarantee of best practice as recent scandals involving the police and the NHS testify.

      Still, both companies must take the threat of exclusion from government work seriously and are, at least, trying to improve their image. G4S installed a new chief executive, Ashley Almanza, in June and Serco is on the hunt for a replacement for Chris Hyman, who resigned last month. Serco has also created a separate division for its UK central government work, and appointed Lord Gold to oversee its internal inquiry into prisoner tagging overcharging. Both companies were eating humble pie in front of MPs on the Public Accounts Committee last week. "We got it wrong," admitted an apologetic Mr Almanza.

    2. Long-term issues remain

      Although G4S and Serco seem likely to win contracts again, their problems are far from over. The government may still be committed to outsourcing, but it has obviously decided to act tough, possibly due to the looming general election. The decision to pull the rug from under Serco's bid for the management of three Yorkshire prisons last week was a case in point. Serco was the sole bidder for the contract, but Justice Secretary Chris Grayling decided the prisons will continue to be run by the state, for now.

      The reputational damage has been done, and it may take a couple of years to wipe the slate clean. So the likelihood is that, even if G4S and Serco do return to the table, the government is likely to plump for less controversial bidders where it can. In the longer term, the government is likely to push for greater competition following criticism it relies on just a handful of big suppliers. There is also likely to be continued close scrutiny of the big outsourcers, which means risk of further revelations and perhaps even an impact on profitability - improved processes, governance and transparency do not come cheap.

  5. leicestershire and rutland getting there letters today, got to respond by 13 december on pain of death. gulp.

    1. Down here in Devon & Cornwall, we're not even going to get ours before 16th Dec - but then life has always been a bit slower round these parts

  6. Jim, Can I use your excellent blog for a little piece of research that I think will prove a point about the Omnishambles?

    I have , in the last five minutes trawled the internet(!) for 35 (the irony of exactly 35 Trusts going should not be lost) possible bidders for probation services following the announcement by MoJ that this is the number completing the PQQ..........and guess what I have 27.

    Why is that important , well a few things ;
    1. Clearly it is that predictable who will be bidding for this work !
    2.Chris Grayling and the MoJ will be shocked to think that we all know who is bidding (since there must be confidential process in competition) - Will they think that this list has been leaked?
    3. Your contributors could add any I have missed and dismiss those I may have wrong , and I am sure we will have a good insight into who's bidding.
    4.Disinformation, If contributors have inside knowledge which we throw in here then perhaps those bidders might smell a rat and suspect fowl play in the procurement process.....perhaps they will dip out , perhaps they won;t do anything at all but we'll see.

    So if anyone has a look and suggests further errors and ommissions we might start to play the ethical walls game!

    1. Working Links
    2. Interserve
    3. Ingeus
    4. G4S
    5. Seetec
    6. Employment and Skills Group
    7. Serco
    8. EOS
    9. Pertemps People Development Groups
    10. Newcastle College
    11. The Rehab Group
    12. Prospect Services
    13. Avanta
    14. Maximus
    15. Sodexho
    16. Capita
    17. A4E
    18. Homegroup
    19. Atos
    20. Mitie
    21. DTV Mutual
    22. Kent mutual
    23. D&C Mutual
    24. Geo/Delta mutual
    25. Manchester Mutual
    26. Lancs Mutual
    27. West Yorks/Prospects

    If anyone thinks it is rocket science, google wikepedia for the work programme contractors and add the mutuals that are in Jims blog or have been advised elsewhere ...simples

  7. Steria , St Giles and NACRO

  8. I am missing a mutual , MoJ say there are 8 from 11 trusts.

  9. Leicestershire mutual going in with stonham services

    1. You maybe interested to google each one of those bidders (not mutuals-no track record), and type scandal or controversy after their name. If it was Graylings private buisness he wouldn't entertain any of them.
      For me Capita is the one to keep an eye on. They've become the governments golden boys since the demise of the other two we all love. Their shares have climbed too as a consequence. But as such, one little slip from them an the governments whole outsourcing stratagy falls to bits. Watch Capita closely!

  10. Strong rumours about Carillion and Babcock. Devon & Cornwall not bidding in mutual after naïvely giving away all technical info to the Shaw Trust (who will probably be one of the 35). Tribal?

  11. Didn't Mitie pull out altogether, or were they just put off the idea of a mutual?

  12. Totally unrelated, but enjoyed reading it so much I just needed to share it. Sorry if I've interupted.

    1. What a miserable charlatan Nick Clegg is. As a rule, I object to personalising politics like this, to injecting venom into public discourse rather than sticking doggedly to the substance. It is about policies, not personalities, as Tony Benn once said. But I know that, years after the event, a breed of contrarian, revisionist historian will emerge, challenging the narrative that the Lib Dems were anything other than voting fodder for an increasingly hard-right Tory party that failed to win the general election. Clegg did as well as he could with the hand he was dealt, Professor Contrarian Historian of 2031 will write. So consider this a message left in a time capsule as a contemporary rebuttal of such nonsense.
      There was the whole thing of inspiring hundreds of thousands of young people who were alienated from politics – and then going on to treble the tuition fees that the Lib Dems pledged to abolish. Many of those young people will never trust a politician again, leaving bitterness as their first taste of democracy. So well played there. Then there was campaigning against Tory proposals for harsh first-year cuts – before making biting austerity a condition of a coalition with Labour in the post-election stitch-up. There was a Lib Dem-led poster campaign against a Tory VAT “tax bombshell” – which the party then voted for. All of these instances are well-covered, of course.
      But it is the Lib Dem capitulation on immigration that really sums up what a wretched waste of political space this party is. In the 2010 general election campaign, Clegg spoke of an amnesty for illegal immigrants, a suggestion endorsed by London Mayor Boris Johnson. It was a pragmatic commitment: given they are unlikely to be deported, why not get them to pay tax and fully integrate instead? It helped inject some common sense into what is an increasingly hysterical “debate”.

      But Clegg has now swung to indulge the Tories’ ever-more hysterical campaign on immigration, backing a crusade devised by the Australian spinmeister Lynton Crosby. The Tories know they are unable to win the next election on the basis of hope, of actually lifting the living standards of an ever-poorer electorate. So, instead, they will fight on the basis of fear and despair. Blame the immigrant, rather than the bankers, the tax-dodgers, the low-paying bosses and the politicians who have plunged this country into this mess. It is clever, it is cynical and it is grim.

      The Tory crackdown on benefits for EU immigrants is a ruse to redirect anger, to toxify political debate, to make sure the real villains are protected. It aims to inflame the idea that those pesky foreigners are invading our shores to leech at public expense. The evidence isn’t there, of course. According to a study by University College London, immigrants who have arrived since the end of the last century are 45 per cent less likely to claim either in-work or out-of-work benefits than native Brits, and less likely to live in social housing. European immigrants have actually paid 34 per cent more in tax than they received in benefits. The OECD reckon immigrants throw in about £16.27bn to Britain’s Exchequer each year. Immigrants are basically a deficit-reduction programme.

    2. Immigrants come over here and flood our public services all right: in the case of the NHS, they make up around 30 per cent of our doctors and 40 per cent of our nurses. They help deliver, yes, native-born Brits into the world; they tend to us when we are sick, from birth to our final moments.

      But immigrants remain a convenient scapegoat for all the ills of British society. Successive governments, both New Labour and the Tories, have allowed a housing crisis to fester, partly because they will not let councils build homes. Some 5 million people languish on social housing waiting lists, many at the mercy of rip-off private landlords, and forcing the taxpayer to splash out billions to subsidise extortionate rents. How convenient for politicians to let themselves off the hook by blaming immigrants.

      The same goes for low pay. The research does not back up the oft-repeated assertion that immigrants depress the pay of the British-born worker. There is evidence they can have a small impact on the pay of those right at the bottom: ironically, in fact many are ex-immigrants competing for jobs that don’t need a high level of spoken or written English. Introducing a living wage and forcing bosses to hire workers on the same terms and conditions is the obvious solution. Instead of pointing the finger at weak trade unions, free market globalisation, and a minimum wage that is falling in real terms, immigrants are blamed for a fall in living standards that set in around a decade ago.

      Driving back this poison is hard. I remember at the last election struggling to understand a middle-aged woman with a strong Punjabi accent: she was berating immigrants for her son being unemployed. This grand deflection of blame is endemic indeed. And the job is made all the harder by the Lib Dems’ capitulation, and Labour’s counterproductive indulgence of anti-immigration sentiment, which merely helps drive it up the agenda.

      A rival populism that blames the real targets – the booming wealthy and our political elite – has to be built. It will need courage, principle and determination: everything, in short, that Nick Clegg lacks.

  13. West Mercia and Warwickshire- Stonham Mutual.

  14. Innovo Manchester College Merseyside


    Good idea! Google the likely providers and get some dirt - Stonham Housing

  16. It's like shooting fish in a barrel

    "An analysis by the Guardian shows that none of the 18 contractors to the flagship Work Programme have reached their target of keeping at least 5.5% of jobless people referred to a scheme job for half a year in the year until July 2012. This is despite the government having spent £435m on the scheme so far. Providers are paid for taking on a jobless person, finding them a job and then ensuring they keep it.

    However some of the biggest companies delivering the Work Programme had failed to meet the targets. Ingeus, part of a multinational founded by the wife of Kevin Rudd, former Australian prime minister, is the biggest private contractor winning seven franchises of the work programme worth £727m over five years.
    In the north-east of England Ingeus was referred almost 28,000 jobless people and got 920 into sustained employment, a success rate of 3.3% until July 2012. A4e, which is the second biggest contractor to the programme with £438m of deals, found 490 jobs for more 17,650 unemployed people in the south of England around the Thames Valley - a performance rate of 2.8%.

    Even in booming capital providers struggled. In West London Maximus Employment, with £176m of contracts, got 760 unemployed people into sustained employment out of 18,830 referrals, a success rate of 4%. The best performer was Maximus around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, which managed to get 5.1% into jobs. The worst was JHP Group which in 13 months until July managed to get 260 unemployed people into work for more than 6 months from a group of 11,820 in Wiltshire and around Swindon."

  17. A4e wikipedia
    It was Grayling who decided that no fraud was present- but charges were brought against employees later on. Also this is a good indication of how they work.

    In 2008, refugee and asylum charities criticised A4e for asking them to work as its unpaid partners.Farrukh Husain, director of the Migrants Resource Centre, accused A4e of "gross exploitation of the voluntary sector". He further commented: "A4e must think the voluntary sector is naive to simply wish to sign up to a relationship that delivers little in return for voluntary organisations and fattens up the profits of A4e."Maurice Wren, director of Asylum Aid, expressed concern that A4e's actions could reduce the quality of bids for future Home Office contracts to help and support refugees: "This could get some organisations thinking 'if we are to have any chance of getting a contract, we have to reduce our costs'. This means a poorer service for a very vulnerable client group."

    1. Seetec, haven't heard of them before but on the list of bidders mentioned above seem to have had there fingers in Graylins very profitable till.

    2. My my - you have all been busy while I've been down the pub! 'Like shooting fish in a barrel'! Lol

  18. innovo - lancs and cumbria bankrolled by the manchester college forming yet another starry eyed staff mutual

  19. Avanta-wikipedia- dodgy credit card dealings and slipped out of it under bankruptcy.

    The truth is, all the big firms that are bidding are rotton to the core. I bet not one of our Tory MPs in there multi-million pound buisness' use anyone of those big names that are bidding for TR contracts, infact they'd run them from their door! And that does really leave a sour taste indeed.
    Maybe if we can get a full list of potential bidders together the guardian or the independent might be willing to list the controversy assocciated with each of them?

    1. Maximus great PbR record

      December 1998- The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported that the State of Florida had paid MAXIMUS $4.5 Million for a Child Support Recovery contract. MAXIMUS was only able to collect $162,000. "On average taxpayers paid MAXIMUS $25 for every 3 cents collected"

  20. Well I was up at 3.10 am after hoping for a good nights sleep, before what feels like now the wait before entering a chaotic workplace. I have exactly the same concerns as my union about continuity, pension, conditions of service etc, so we are in agreement there. The only place where I feel that I might disagree with my union is on the, "we shall not be intimidated". If I am honest I am intimidated. I've still got Boris Johnson's recent speech rolling around in my head, and when I think of that, I am even more intimidated. I do not have the privileged background, parentage, education, or even the IQ as some. Happen, I'm not as greedy as I should be, but I just want a continuity of my work, an opportunity to contribute within society, and the security of having some provision when I am no longer able to what I do. But I seem to have found myself between a rock and a hard place, because the Government's GREED and POLICY is squeezing me out! Yes, I'm intimidated.

    1. That is understandable, David. They are seeking to do you and the rest of us harm. We cannot allow it to happen. The only way to stand up to a bully is direct confrontation. This one we cannot avoid by hiding in the school toilets! Intimidation ishow Grayling is getting civil servants to drive this chaos.

    2. I think theres a lot of sleepless nights for people at the moment, not just for probation but the nation as a whole. I think much of the world and not just us nationals are begining to feel very uncomfortable about our present government. They nothing for anyone or anything except their own accumalation of wealth, and will court anyone that flashes a pound note regardless of moral or ethical concern.
      If they could we'd all be off to work in Maggie T onesies for 20p an hour pulling turnips for 18 hours a day. They're a proper shower. But the nation knows and they'll be gone soon enough and everyone will get busy repairing the damage they've done. That helps be sleep.

  21. Outsourcing is it really the 8th wonder of the world? Great little cartoon video too.

  22. anyone heard of Veolia ( French company ) becoming more involved in prison and probation ?? Watch this one !

    1. Waste management, water and food proccessing. All the qualifications and skills you need now a days to do probation work. They're another G4S in respect of human rights issues in the middle east and piss poor quality of care for staff. Just another shark circling TR contracts for a quick meal, a few dodgy deals and off for their next feed I'm affraid.