Thursday, 12 December 2013

More Frontline Voices

For today's offering I thought it would be good to re-publish some of the excellent contributions that you as readers are providing on a daily basis:- 

CRCs only have a short life before they get sold? Maybe all those busy setting them up whilst their colleagues carry their workloads should consider that. Only a short life before they get sold. Really what those champions of TR are doing is just carrying their own crucifix. But as CRCs only have a short life before they are sold you may not have to carry it for long.

Having worked within the work programme your comments ring very true indeed. With the outsourcing of the welfare state, many state employed staff were recruited by private organisations, given fantastic titles, a name plate on their desk in a nice large office, and salaries (personal experience) anywhere from 28k a year to 65k a year. They had the skills, knowledge and contacts that the private sector required.

But once you've set the structure up you're an overpaid surplus to requirement.
I saw many ways that this surplus was weeded out, and none very nice. I even saw one person arrive at work to find their personal belongings in a carrier bag at reception and their office being used to store files.

I saw paperwork being changed so as to make compliant files impossible to complete and the person who's responsible sacked for failing in their duty.

I saw many legal challenges being brought for unfair dismissal, abuse of process, and all pointed to the contract they had signed promising them gold and status.

But the private sector's pursuit of profit is tireless, unethical and ruthless. So by the time the legal challenges were brought the companies were restructured, amalgamated, sold, swallowed up and lost within bigger companies. Many won their legal challenges, and many won compensation. But none got their jobs back, and very few saw much of the compensation they were awarded. Many in hindsight may wish they had stayed in the public sector. But when you're promised status, autonomy and riches and the full support and protection of those who are going to help you achieve that, what do you do?

I think all those jumping into the life boats of the sinking good ship probation would do well to remember just how big the ocean really is, just how many sharks live in it, and if you're lucky enough to be washed up on a beautiful desert island, remember that there's still cannibals about.

But we all have to live with the choices we make.

Most, most prophetic and insightful comment I have seen in a long time. I would like to add a bit of Ozymandias comment myself. Look around your office now. Those amongst us on disciplinary, grievance, sick, suspension or competence are some of the most influential colleagues you have. Minion managers have done Chris Grayling's bidding by selecting these hard working moral individuals for special attention in order to rid the private sector companies of their most "troublesome" prospective "whistleblowers".

Open Comments/Questions to the Prime Minister & Deputy Prime Minister

Why are you allowing Chris Grayling to destroy the Probation Service? Why are you allowing the MoJ, with Grayling & Wright as the prime political movers, to persist in ruining not only an honourable and much admired profession but also to destroy the careers of many professionals who have committed years to training and their work.

The MoJ and their agents (especially NOMS) have been dishonest in their actions, disingenuous in their claims and utterly dismissive of the concerns raised with them by a range of highly qualified critics. They have refused to discuss or disclose the risk assessments, they deny access to important information requested by Parliamentarians and they have ridden roughshod over national negotiations, imagining they can simply impose their will because they believe its right – irrespective of any advice to the contrary.

The impact upon all probation staff throughout England and Wales is profound. The MoJ must have begun to realise they would haemorrhage the legacy of knowledge and experience with the staff who will choose to leave; I suspect that’s why they withdrew what they described as the “generous” Voluntary Redundancy package.

As of now (given the staff looking at leaving due to the lack of any hope for a future career that is meaningful) this country is left with the prospect of very limited and inexperienced provision of the necessary supervision and rehabilitation of those who have committed offences. It is a dangerous and stupid option to pursue, not least because there is a hundred years of experience and history being flushed away.

If you would take the trouble to visit the blog site “On Probation” you will read the many accounts of dismay, despair and fury – not only at the principle of privatising this key service, but also at the bullying and ignorant behaviour by Ministers of the Crown in their blinkered desire to ensure they get their way - and the impact that has had upon real people.

The costs of the research, the papers, the PR and the administration of Grayling’s “Transforming Rehabilitation” programme must far outweigh the costs he claims to be saving the public purse? How much, for example, has it cost in terms of civil servants and researchers’ time to prepare for TR? How much has it cost in terms of meetings, seminars and bidding events, wooing the private sector with slick presentations at London venues? How much has it cost in terms of meetings with Trust staff, who have had to travel to London on a regular basis so they can be berated and bullied into doing the Minister’s bidding? Why wasn’t any of that money or time invested in the existing Gold Standard Probation Service?

Probation staff use a range of techniques when working with their clients – one of which is known as ‘pro-social modelling’. You might want to take a look at the principles and practice of pro-social modelling, then see how the behaviours of Grayling et al compare – and how they reflect upon your Government’s attitudes.

I regret I am publishing this anonymously, but I fear reprisals from the bullies that inhabit the MoJ, and NOMS in particular.

Thank you for reading this letter. I will endeavour to share it as widely as possible in the hope it will eventually land on your desks.

On the subject of open letters, I notice that the latest edition of the British Journal of Criminal Justice, 'Transforming Rehabilitation - Under the Microscope' contains a number of such and intended for the Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling. Happily this special edition can be found online here. 

Finally, thanks are due to a very regular reader for pointing out that for one lucky probation officer there is a way of avoiding the Transforming Rehabilitation omnishambles completely, but the solution is a little extreme:-

Looking for Something Different?
Falkland Islands Government
Salary package circa £38,000 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to establish a new service in the Falkland Islands and as such you will need to be an experienced qualified Probation Officer with ten years post qualifying experience with the ability to adapt practice to a small, close-knit community. The ability to work as a sole practitioner is essential along with sound judgement and assessment skills and a flexible and adaptable approach.
As a sole Probation Officer, with support from the Social Services Team, you will work with offenders aged 18 and over who have been either sentenced by the courts to a Probation Order, Community Service or Suspended Sentence Order. You will prepare pre-sentence reports for judges and magistrates in the courts and work with offenders in the community to help them to stop committing further crimes. You will also work in the prison assessing offenders to prepare them for release.
Benefits include:
• Paid airfares of post holder and dependants at beginning and end of contract and for mid contract leave
• Relocation grant payable
• Accommodation available to rent
• Favourable tax rates
Employment will be initially on a fixed 2 year contract extendable by mutual agreement.
An application pack can be obtained from: Recruitment Officer, Falkland House, 14 Broadway, London SW1H OBH.
Telephone: 020 7222 2542
Fax: 020 7222 2375
Closing date for applications: Friday 3rd January 2014.


  1. Tweeting from the frontline of probation for 24 hours from 8am are those working in the District of Trafford in Greater Manchester, inviting comments and questions using #tag #GMPT24. I have given them a couple to get them started!

    Andrew Hatton

  2. The way things are looking at the moment, the Falklands office may be far more populated then the one I work in.
    Bet interserve still have the cleaning contract though!

  3. What a bunch of cry babies us lot are. Of course it's unfair but no one elected us.

    1. No-one mandated the current Coalition to do half of what it has done, inc trashing Probation. We have a duty to campaign against dangerous and destructive policies. That is as much part of the domecratic process as an election. Patronising comments like the one above are just ignorant and contribute nothing to the debate.

    2. Keep calm guys - could be the MoJ propaganda unit - this blog is getting traction.

    3. The reality is that in my office not everyone thinks TR is a bad idea. Badly planned and poorly implemented yes but theoretically some of it makes sense. Those of us with long memories will remember the uproar when we were told we were going to responsible for running community service.

    4. Agree with the above. In a few years the new way of working will be the old way and no one will give it a second thought. Oh and 8.26 is right, we weren't elected

    5. We may not have been elected but we were interviewed by those knowledgeable and practiced in our profession. We were assessed in assessment centres. We have been trained an educated in said profession. Can MPs and even Ministers say the same? When elections can ride on whether a leader sweats or not in debates, it hardly fills me with confidence that they are 'elected'.

  4. I quite like the idea:

    A bunch of unassuming professionals have been incited to become angry and outspoken by the incompetence of an ambitious idealogue with no finesse or backbone; and because of the political landscape, the technological environment & the ridiculous yet dangerous nature of the SoB's big idea, there might actually be staff in the MoJ trying to undermine the impact of Jim's blog... fantastic!

    Chapeau!!! Monsieur Jim. Et Chapeau, mon amis!!!

    1. If the MoJ is reduced to that, we have won already :lol:

  5. Interesting developments methinks.

    1. Private security firms G4S and Serco have been stripped of responsibility for tagging criminals in the UK.

      It follows allegations they charged the government for tagging people who were either dead or in jail.

      The monitoring contracts will instead be handed to Capita by the end of the financial year, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said.

      He said the rival firm would continue to use Serco and G4S's equipment.

      Capita is bidding to take on the contracts permanently.

      "Under these arrangements, Capita will be using the systems and equipment of G4S and Serco," Mr Gralying said.

      "But the two companies will no longer have a direct role in delivering the service on the ground."

      He added: "This signals a fresh start for electronic monitoring that brings us a step closer to introducing the most advanced tagging system in the world."

  6. i wonder, has Grayling "impaired" the tagging in order to open the door for probation contracts? It doesn't make sense, but IDS seemed to think it worth pitching the "impairment" argument at committee when he had to tell silly old Glenda what he meant when he "impaired" £40m of public money. Silly Glenda still thinks it means threw away or lost or gave away or screwed up - she can't get her pretty little head around the fact its an accountancy term meaning "inevitable collateral damage which always happens, so just calm down - its not that much really".

  7. Independent.

    Private security giants G4S and Serco are to be stripped of all responsibilities for electronically tagging criminals following an overcharging scandal.

    Electronic monitoring contracts will be handed over to rival firm Capita on an interim basis at the end of the financial year, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said.Capita is in the running to take on the contracts permanently.In a written statement, Mr Grayling said: "We have signed a contract with Capita to take over the management of the existing electronic monitoring services on an interim basis."This will mean that management of these services, which are now operated by G4S and Serco, will transition to Capita by the end of the current financial year."Under these arrangements, Capita will be using the systems and equipment of G4S and Serco, but the two companies will no longer have a direct role in delivering the service on the ground."The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened a criminal investigation after it emerged G4S and Serco overcharged the Government for tagging offenders, some of whom were found to be dead, back in prison or overseas.G4S and Serco both withdrew from competition for future tagging contracts, which were due to expire at the end of March.During the interim period, Capita will be subcontracting tagging equipment from G4S and Serco but will take on full responsibility for supply if it wins the contract. Other preferred bidders include Buddi, Astrium and Telefonica.Mr Grayling added: "This signals a fresh start for electronic monitoring that brings us a step closer to introducing the most advanced tagging system in the world."Monitoring the movements of dangerous and repeat offenders will be vital in cutting crime, creating a safer society with fewer victims and offering greater protection and reassurance to the public."An audit by big four accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, launched in May, alleged that overcharging began at least as far back as the start of the current contracts in 2005.Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the two firms that an independent forensic audit was required to look at, among other areas, internal email trails between executives to establish what happened.In July, the Government reported G4S - well-known for its botched handling of its Olympics security contract - to the SFO when it refused to take part in an additional investigation to rule out any dishonesty.Serco allowed a further forensic audit to take place, during the course of which the Ministry of Justice passed material to the SFO.

  8. So Capita will have the responsibility for delivery of tagging 'on the ground'. Does that mean that G4S and Serco will still have oversight?

  9. If Capita do this tagging thing as well as they have the interpretting contract, we will see Offender Managers tagged instead of offenders! The lunatics have taken over the asylum!!

  10. Its good to see everything about TR is well tuned , well thought out and all going to plan. There is a plan isn't there?

    1. SOUTH Dorset MP Richard Drax has called for answers over the future of Portland’s Young Offender Institution.

      Last month it was announced the YOI would be one of a number of newly-designated resettlement prisons.

      Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said he received a letter from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling confirming that the resettlement prisons for the Devon, Cornwall and Dorset contract package area will be HMP/YOI Portland, HMP Exeter and HMP Channings Wood.

      The previous resettlement prison for the area was Dorchester prison, but its closure was announced in September.

      Prisoners are transferred to resettlement prisons close to their local area towards the end of their sentence if it is a longer one, or they may spend the entirety of a short sentence in a resettlement prison.

      But the Government has since said that a decision would not be made until the New Year–casting doubt on the YOI’s future.

      Mr Drax yesterday met the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State (Prisons and Rehabilitation) Jeremy Wright, to ask him to confirm that the YOI prison will be designated as Dorset’s new resettlement prison.

      YOI, the Young Offenders’ Institution on Portland, has seen a change in its inmate population over the last year. Formerly housing younger prisoners, the prison is now home to a wider cross section of offenders of all ages from across the South West.

      In his meeting with the Minister, Mr Drax was representing the views of a number of interested parties, all of whom are closely involved with the resettlement of prisoners.

      He said: “The current Governor, the Dorset Probation Service and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, are understandably keen that YOI should be nominated as a resettlement prison.’ “As prisoners reach the end of their term, it is important that they should live as close to their friends and families as possible.

      “Research has shown that they are more likely to succeed in the outside world and less likely to reoffend with a good support system in place. That only happens if the support system is relatively close to home.

      “The last prison before their release - the resettlement prison – is therefore of the utmost importance to prisoner rehabilitation. If we can keep ours in Dorset, it will help enormously.’ “I am glad to say that the Minister was listening and understood our point. He will give us his answer in the New Year.”

  11. Got my EOI letter today...sad really, 30 years of continuous, profesional and dedicated service and this amounts to a side of A4 - in which I am advised that I fall into either CRC or NPS and to sign up for an EOI.

    Oh and if one is over/under represented in the feedback, I may be directed to balance things up - and of course, my EOI means nowt! Grayling, the Grinch that stole Probation and now doing a good job of Christmas too!

    I am on leave and so catching news, and reading this blog. Mr Grayling, despite ample evidence to the contrary must consider Serco and G4S honest and fair - having given their contracts to Centrica, but stating that Serco and G4S equipment will continue to be used...lovely, I can see the 'alleged' fraudulent folk, running around sabotaging the equipment and staff, so that Centrica come out of things looking dross by the time the real, bidding starts. I think it's called competition.

    Is it just me, or is this not a recipe for disaster? Whatever, Mr Grayling, fill yer boots' and may Christmas bring you only that which you deserve....any suggestions what he might find or should find in his Christmas Stocking? We may as well have a laugh!

    1. I think he needs stuffing.....

  12. In response to the anonymous "commenter" at 08:36, who suggest that the staff are "cry'babies" and points out that Probation staff aren't elected... he/she makes an interesting gaffe there:

    There was a sad MoJ troll
    Who scored an amazing own goal
    He cried “you're not elected'
    And as might be expected
    There came a response somewhat droll

    “You're right”, someone readily affirms
    We're employed, with conditions and terms,
    We are focused on task
    So don't bother to ask.
    We aren't going to turn like you worms

    We do this as good public servants,
    Effective, efficient-quite fervent
    So no, not like you
    In fact it's quite true
    That you really aren't very observant.

    For you need the electorate's blessing
    To continue this misguided messing
    And in a couple of years
    It will all end in tears
    Perhaps you find that quite depressing?

    As for us, we have things we call 'contracts'
    A concept your boss thinks is abstract
    But they can't be torn up
    That's just his bad luck
    We suggest that he now gets his bags packed...

    1. Brilliant, bloody brilliant! Lol

    2. Reading some of the comments on todays blog I get the feeling that theres been more then a tweetathon going on today. Wonder if it will continue?

  13. With regard to Crapita now taking over the tagging, I have only one question.

    Why the feck are we still asking for tags knowing that the money is going to a company like G4S/Serco and now Crapita??

    I for one have not asked for any 'tags' since this whole debacle began; under no circumstances could I ever think to line the pockets of companies such as these. I respect anyone's professional judgement and in some circumstances and 'tag' may be the best option, however, I would urge all readers of this blog, and those whom they work with, to NEVER EVER do anything which will give money to the parasitic companies. Our actions are little more than turkeys voting for Christmas!!!!

    It's only by making money on these contracts that makes them come back for more!! If they make nothing....

    1. I'd love to agree, because I detest what outsourcing does.
      But...... I have to do whats right in the end even if it hurts me to do so.

    2. I've just googled Capita and their just as dodgy as the two thats just got the elbow.

    3. Theres quite a simple answer to your question. I am assuming from your content that you are a Probation Officer. We don't 'ask' for anything. We make proposals. It is no more up to you or any other Probation Officer to make a recommendation to the Court based on your view of the arrangements in place by the M o J, and indeed you bring your profession into disrepute when you suggest that you have deliberately not recommended curfew requirements based on the alleged conduct of the supplier.

    4. It was a terrible custom that grew up in the 1970s to make recommendations in SER's & later PSR's. I was surprised to see it when I became a probation officer and moved further from my Liverpool Training.

      The 'Clare Morris' CQSW course was totally practitioner led, as might have been expected for a Course that had as its 'home' The Institute of Extension Studies, University of Liverpool.
      The Law Tutor - was none other than the then Clerk to the Liverpool Justices - John Pearson LLM. He was clear it was not the place of a probation officer to recommend anything, by way of sentence, that was usurping the role of the sentencer.

      However, it was very reasonable for an SER writer to comment on a defendant's likely reaction to sentence, if such an assessment was possible from the report writer's personal experience and knowledge of the defendant. Otherwise it was unnecessary for a report writer to make any comment about sentence, providing they provided a comprehensive report of the defendant's personal and family circumstances(involving almost always a home visit), including attitude to the offence and conviction.

      We also had the Liverpool probation officer David Mathieson's Napo published book to guide us (written with Leslie Herbert) the principles which I used for 30 years in parole and family court reports (To some extent)

      My conclusions usually contained, something like, - In my opinion if so & so sentence is passed such and such could be the response. Were the court minded to impose supervision I would aim to x,y, or z.

      Very often courts had different opinions to me, but that did not mean I felt my report was rejected. I found that approach, professionally freeing and that it also could lead to useful enquiries from sentencers or advocates.

      I found a less than fully appreciative review of that little book!

      I suspect others will disagree with me, as ultimately I just had to accept others felt they were expected to make recommendations!

      Andrew Hatton

    5. I think that was the way we viewed the process, always aware of where the ultimate authority rested. Also I was at court once or twice a week, either as duty officer or 'speaking to a report'. There was clear demarcation at the same time as a close working relationship.


    1. We welcome the news that multinationals G4S and Serco are being stripped of their contract tagging offenders.
      G4S and Serco are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office after they allegedly overcharged the government by millions of pounds. Allegations included charging for offenders who were either dead or in jail.
      The monitoring contracts will be handed over to fellow justice contractor Capita in the new year, which shows the government is missing the chance for a major re-think of delivering justice for profit and does not, as justice secretary Chris Grayling asserts herald a “fresh start”.
      Campaigning against outsourcing
      We are campaigning to stop the privatisation of the enforcement of fine and compensation set by criminal courts. About 2,000 civil servants currently deliver this work and have improved collection rates for five years running yet Grayling’s department has proceeded with plans to outsource the service.
      The Ministry of Justice has refused to share who the bidders are, citing commercial confidentiality. We believe it is in the public’s interest to know whether companies like G4S and Serco are being allowed to bid for this lucrative contract, particularly as the personal data of victims of crime will be put at risk.
      We are also calling for an independent review into the impact of prison privatisation. Plans to hand over three prisons in South Yorkshire to Serco were abandoned last month but so far the government has shown no signs that it intends to review its use of contractors in the prison service.

  15. I wonder if the troll is CG himself? Lol

    1. Of course it isn't CG himself, he would of outsourced it....

      But I do think it would be wise not to respond in anger.

  16. It seems this blog is only open to people of the same mind set. I never post. But it does appear that dissension is met with insults about being trolls. I too went on strike. I don't agree with the earlier comments about cry babies but nor do I agree with comments about writing our reports on the basis of whether we like a company. I am concerned about t r but I am probably like many p o's and am not leaving or going sick or spending my working day thinking about it. I suppose I may also now get called a troll.

    1. I feel all comments are welcome on this blog as long as they are not intentionally offensive.
      I do however think that making a recommendation about what should happen to someone based on achieving a personal objective falls short of the mark for me.

    2. No, honestly held differences of opinion are always welcome here and I can honestly say this blog is almost completely troll free. However, we must all be alert to the possibility of fifth columnists....

    3. I agree - one cannot skew a PSR recommendation on the basis of a crap tagging contractor.

    4. No, not a troll. Just someone speaking their mind in a considered fashion. Trolls don't do that. Glad you have commented.

    5. here's hoping that anon@18:44 did not intend to suggest Probation staff are 'choosing' to take time off sick...?

      The tension twixt psr & court's view of matters has always been a critical part of the sentencing process. Without it we may as well have been sentencing by numbers. I've always enjoyed being involved in constructing a good report - and was once unintentionally privy to a red judge embarrassing a young barrister who thought quoting verbatim from my report would save time & effort. Judge made it clear a barrister should not be "comfortable" with probation's assessment as s/he should be acting on client's instructions, & that a defendant should feel challenged by probation's assessment. An invaluable insight & lifetime lesson for me - not sure what the barrister thought as they sat down, obviously feeling chastised, and said nowt more.

  17. RE: Anonymous12 December 2013 16:54

    I am the 'poster' of the above comment and stand by it. I know it was not warmly received by some on here, however, I would bet that many thought it a good idea and said nothing but will be looking to implement it!
    It's all fine and good having a conscience and I'm sure that it will be something for you to hold on to when you/I/we get our P45's next year.

    If you're not part of the solution.....

    1. I'm sure you're right and we all know at various times we will have concerns regarding colleagues and their practice - even if they should be in this line of work at all - TR is just bringing out all the best and worst in people I suspect.

      Debate, discussion and differences of opinion are all to be welcomed and I'm very proud that this blog is a troll-free zone.



    2. I can go to sleep with a P45 in my pocket.
      With a bad conscience, however....

    3. As long as you are all right then!!! Maybe the young mother and baby child can use it to pay their bills. Or the concerned parents of officers can use your conscience to help them sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that any job loss have absolutely no impact on you.

      I salute you and your benevolence.

    4. Maybe the wife and child of someone finding themselves sent to prison, who really would have been more productively suited to tagging, will find a way to pay their bills?
      To use a human being as a pawn to strike a blow against a greedy corporation is immoral, wrong and displays the same moral underpinning that the greedy unethical corporations work to.
      I find the idea a base and disgusting one.

    5. We now have nothing to fear then. With your disgust and anothers clear concience we can all be content with what is happening csn we?

      You cannot make an omelette without sitting down the eggs and having a really frank discussion!

    6. Anon 22:51, I think it unlikely that the other anon (golly this gets confusing) would recommend prison as an alternative to tagging. That would be highly unusual. I rather think that he/she probably requests another of the potential 12 requirements possible with a community order. I'm hoping I'm right.

    7. You are. I see no reason to prpose any requirement which lines the pockets of G4S et al. Others may disagree and that is their right; it does not make them right!

    8. I am anon from 12 December 2013 21:01, and reply to anon at 21:23.

      So, you salute me and my benevolence, eh?

      I do not think this blog should be a scene of infighting, although the anger is understandable-in fact inevitable. I will limit my response to this:

      Your comment seems to assume I am disconnected from the pain of the distress some people suffer...
      I will not disclose my own personal suffering on this public forum, suffice to say I have very keen extensive experience of the things you suggest I am numbed to.
      That's not my point.

      Your argument in relation to tagging and the big corporations is no different to a scenario where a paramedic drives slowly to an accident, because he objects to the private hospital he will take the patient to making a profit.

      The apt point was made by another:
      "To use a human being as a pawn to strike a blow against a greedy corporation is immoral, wrong and displays the same moral underpinning that the greedy unethical corporations work to.
      I find the idea a base and disgusting one."

      Lets talk about that, rather than throwing out unwarranted comments at my indices of compassion when you know nothing about me.

    9. Again, it isn't probation practice to recommend prison, not unless that person really needs to be locked up. The anon at 21:23 appears to be suggesting alternatives such as supervision, community payback, exclusion etc. I'm finding it odd that, if you do work for probation, your immediate thought is tagging as an a direct alternative to custody. Neither of them really work as regards rehabilitation and change.

  18. interesting that civil service senior officials' union have no apparent public view about TR, this based on a search of the FDA website. They do have concerns about government, e.g.

    1. Responding to the Secretary of State for Work and Pension’s public statements that a lack of “professionalism” and a “culture of secrecy” among the team of civil servants originally in charge of the Universal Credit programme were to blame for its problems, FDA Assistant General Secretary Rob O’Neill said:

      “Iain Duncan Smith’s comments go to the very heart of the ongoing debate about the accountability of Ministers and civil servants. They represent a growing blame culture in Government where Ministers blame civil servants but fail to take any responsibility when things go wrong or overrun.

      “Ministers can do this because they know that civil servants are unable to publicly answer back. The public will not be aware of the policy advice that Ministers have received from civil servants and whether, for example, they been warned about the feasibility of implementing complex policies or projects in relation to scope, resourcing and timescale.

      “Ministers telling the media that civil servants are to blame as soon as anything doesn’t go to plan is unhelpful and regrettable. It impacts on the morale and motivation of civil servants and does nothing to attract those with the skills and capability needed to deliver efficient Government.

      “It is imperative that the Government matches resources to priorities - and ensures that it has the right skills in its workforce to deliver those priorities. This means setting pay at the right level to recruit and retain those skilled professionals. The Government’s civil service pay policy currently acts as a significant barrier to achieving its objectives.”

    2. thanks Jim - food interrupted the full posting. Can't get staff!!!

  19. I'm very cynical about failing Grayling suddenly stripping tagging off the corporate version off G4S and Serco I think he has done it, so that they can get easier bids of probation contracts.

    Got EOI letter felt like ripping letter up, the letter which had investors in people symbol at the footer of letter. Investors in people my arse!

    1. "I'm very cynical about failing Grayling suddenly stripping tagging off the corporate version off G4S and Serco I think he has done it, so that they can get easier bids of probation contracts."

      Me too, I was thinking the same thing as soon as I heard the news.

  20. Love this quote " think all those jumping into the life boats of the sinking good ship probation would do well to remember just how big the ocean really is, just how many sharks live in it, and if you're lucky enough to be washed up on a beautiful desert island, remember that there's still cannibals about."