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:-