Friday, 3 January 2014

RIP OM Part 1

I've got a funny feeling that the TR omishambles is going to mirror the weather over the coming weeks. In these circumstances readers are advised to fasten their seat belts and prepare for a very bumpy ride indeed. 

Up until now most of the attention has focused on how the TR omnishambles will affect probation in the community, but what about seconded colleagues in prison? Well, I've become aware of the contents of a very interesting set of documents concerning what those bright young things down at MoJ HQ have planned, and I thought I'd share them with you. I think most would agree that the lack of probation expertise at the top is definitely beginning to show.

This is the first then and apologies for the length, but this is important stuff and will require some careful and critical consideration. I'll hold back from making comment at this stage, but readers are strongly invited to comment. 

Management of cases during the custodial period

At the OMCP Board of 2 September 2013, CL presented a paper (attached in full at Annex A) that argued that offender management responsibility for MAPPA and high risk cases should be transferred from community-based OMs (the current OM Model), to seconded probation officers in custody. This proposal was in line with the original plan of the Specifications, Benchmarking and Costing teams.

The paper argued that the benefits of this change would include:
  • answering criticisms of HM Inspectorates of Probation and Prisons of the present end to end model, which state that the original goal of case continuity has never been realised;
  • allowing the OM in custody to build up a professional relationship with their offender cohorts face to face, thus improving the offender experience of Offender Management;
  • enabling the OM in custody to drive the sentence plan more effectively; and
  • ensuring prisoners sentences are not left poorly managed during the core custodial period because OMs must prioritise their community caseload. 
The paper acknowledged that there were also risks and potential drawbacks to this approach, but that these were outweighed by the benefits. The Board discussion explored some of these risks and asked for further detail about them. The Board also requested further information regarding cost and resource.

Specifically, the Board raised the following queries:
    • Further information on the costs of the proposal;
    • A concern that probation staff had no line management responsibility in prisons could mean that relevant intelligence sharing in prison may not be fully integrated, and as a consequence critical information is not used to inform risk and case management;
    • The consequence of not having a single Offender Manager (OM) throughout a whole sentence is there is a potential impact on consistency and continuity of management;
    • a further assessment of the impact on community-facing agencies, particularly MAPPA;
    • the impact on the experience of the offender should be examined further; and
    • the impact of the proposal on the TTG process for short sentence NPS cases should be further explained. 
Following this discussion, I have carried out a round of consultation in order to bottom out these issues. Consultees have included:
  • West Midlands Offender Management Regional Group
  • London Probation Trust (Resettlement & SFO Manager, and all prison-facing SPOs)
  • Head of Offender Management, HMP Chelmsford
  • HM Inspectorate of Probation
  • HMP Inspectorate of Prisons
  • Directorate of Probation and Contracted Services
  • Transforming Rehabilitation Programme Team (including the OM design, Through the Gate, Public Probation, and costs leads
  • Business Development Group, NOMS
  • MAPP and Public Protection Team, OMPPG
  • HMPS Public Protection Lead, South Central Region
This paper discusses each of the queries in turn.

The activity around the management of a case during custody does not increase much in this option against that which is currently required. Based on the core principles of the ASPIRE model (Assess, Sentence Plan, Implement, Review, Evaluate), the OM, wherever they are based, will deliver the same role. Rather, some of current activity will transfer from the community to the custodial setting. The key activity to transfer would be the completion of assessment and planning (OASys). Other key tasks relating to the oversight and directing of a sentence are already captured within the emerging benchmark for the custody-based probation role and do not, therefore, represent uncosted pressures.

The tasks that will remain with the community probation officer and not transfer are still to be confirmed, but an example is that the community probation officer might still be invited to sentence planning meetings alongside both the key custodial staff, to keep up to date with the case, meaning that three staff could be involved in a task that previously required only two. Currently, some community Offender Managers travel into the prison to interview offenders and attend sentence planning meetings, as opposed to using video links). This practice of physically attending the prison will not be necessary under the proposed option and, therefore, could cancel out the resource impact of having a third person involved in sentence planning meetings. However, if this aspect does develop into a significant resource gap that cannot be bridged, some of the desirable but not essential elements of best practice could be covered as guidance of best practice, as opposed to mandatory actions.

So, whilst this proposal does impact on current cost model assumptions with regard to activity distribution, there is no major tangible change in overall offender manager resource, for the following reasons:
  • the roles of Offender Supervisor, custody-based probation officer and community probation officer will be clearly defined to avoid any unnecessary duplication or overlap (see Annex B for a breakdown of the key roles during the custodial period);
  • the responsibilities of custody-based probation staff in relation to overseeing and driving the NPS cohort cases are already built into the benchmarking role definition and assumptions and
  • the resource for completing assessment and planning for Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection (IPP) cases currently sits with the community. However, this is the same level of resource that would be required by the custody probation officer to do the same task 
It should be noted that, whilst we do not anticipate any significant increase in resource requirements across the business as a result of these proposed changes, there remain current gaps in provision, which the new model would need to deal with. OASys reviews and updated sentence plans are required throughout the custodial period for those managed by community probation, but these are not consistently delivered in practice for all cases. We will work with the Public Probation Directorate to ensure that sufficient resource is applied appropriately and that this critical work is therefore deliverable in future, whichever model is selected.

Probation staff influence in prisons

As highlighted above, there is a concern that probation staff have no line management responsibility within the prison which could affect the sharing of intelligence. If this were the case, it would impact on the quality of offender management.

It is envisaged that the custody-based probation officer, acting as OM for retained public cases, will be working closely and directly with a designated Offender Supervisor, thus improving the relationships and, therefore, the ability to effectively manage these cases. This working relationship is already replicated in many parts of the estate, although with seconded probation officers acting as Offender Supervisors.

With regard to the OM influence in prisons, it is the existing model that presents more difficulty: if the OM were based in the prison, there would be a far greater prospect of generating good working relationships and developing strong protocols around sharing of information and working towards common goals. The proposed new approach therefore actually improves the potential for the OM to drive the case and engage productively with prison colleagues.

Impact on continuity of not having a single OM throughout sentence

The intention of the original OM Model was to have a single OM for the duration of a sentence in order to provide continuity and stability of case management. However, existing practice has failed to deliver this aspiration. HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Probation have confirmed that in over 40% of cases, the Offender Manager has changed during the custodial period, and most often at the critical pre-release stage of the custodial period. This point aside, even where an offender has had a single OM throughout custody, the OM has usually proved unable to drive the sentence and to engage prison-based staff in offender management during this time. The opportunity to develop a good working relationship with the offender has proved limited, as OMs have not usually been able to meet the offender due to geographical and time constraints. Video conferencing has somewhat mitigated this effect, but not enough to allow the original intention to be fulfilled. Further, where the OM has visited, the prison regime impact on offender availability (relative low priority given to offender management meetings) has led to a number of meetings cancelled on the day, making the visit wasted. These conclusions have been a consistent finding of HMIP reports, further supported by a forthcoming National Audit Office report into the management of indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) cases.

It is true that the proposed option will mean the OM will change each time a prisoner transfers to another prison. For the most challenging and disruptive prisoners, this could imply several changes of OM. However, the norm (assuming the prison re-alignment work delivers its anticipated benefits) is likely to involve fewer transfers than currently, as there will be a clear purpose for each prison transfer, making it easier for staff to plan a logical transfer based on an individual’s sentence length and identified risks/needs. A critical aspect to get right, to make either approach work, is to improve the quality of handover. To this end, we have worked closely with the benchmarking team, to ensure the emerging seconded probation role is adequately resourced for such handovers to occur on prison transfer. The new OASys platform means assessments are more readily available immediately to the staff in the receiving prison, which will aid effective handovers. Further, the pre-release handover event is a key aspect of the ‘Through the Gate’ work stream of the Rehabilitation Programme. For the NPS and CRC managed cases, there is a costed requirement for this activity, which now needs appropriate guidance drafted and delivered by the Offender Management Change programme (OMCP) to ensure the handover of a case is not detrimental to the overall aims of the sentence. This task is part of our wider practice guidance plans.

Impact on community facing agencies and processes, particularly MAPPA

Fundamental to effective offender management is good quality involvement in and input to MAPPA and other public protection processes. Currently, a prison can struggle to obtain information in relation to MAPPA until nearer the end of a sentence. Even at that stage, there are too many examples where a MAPPA level is known, but not shared with the prison.

Further, often prisons as a whole don’t understand enough about the different levels of MAPPA, and the custody-based probation officer role could improve this significantly. Moving prisons away from relating public protection just to escape risk is an important developmental need for NOMS.

By having much more significant and present probation officer involvement throughout a custodial sentence, their accumulated knowledge of the offender would become invaluable when considering risk management arrangements for release. Further, the prison would be much more aware of the likely MAPPA level and risk management requirements before the final part of the sentence.

As described earlier, the proposed model does not negate the need for a designated community probation officer (CPO). The CPO would continue to have critical public protection responsibilities, including in relation to MAPPA and victims. The proposed option, as long as it is appropriately resourced, should not therefore pose a threat to these responsibilities. In fact, it potentially enhances them, as increased knowledge about the offender can translate into a more effective risk management plan developed between the community and custody probation officers. As noted by the Board, it is important that the roles and responsibilities of each of these officers are clearly outlined, and Annex B seeks to provide a detailed breakdown of those responsibilities in relation to MAPPA and other critical tasks.

Currently, the responsibility for opening a ViSOR record for violent offenders at MAPPA Levels 2 and 3 (Category 2) sits with the community Offender Manager, as lead worker. This means that often, the prison cannot record anything in ViSOR during the core part of the custodial period, as the record is not opened until the pre-release stage of sentence. By having the lead worker for these cases based in the prison, it means the ViSOR record can often be opened earlier, allowing the prison to start to record information, potentially as soon as custody commences. This would bring practice into line with what is currently achieved with Category 1 (sex offenders) MAPPA cases (all Levels), where the police are the lead workers and open the ViSOR record pre-custody.

At around 8 months pre-release, the community Offender Manager completes a screening, making a recommendation as to which MAPPA level an offender is to be managed at in the community, for approval by a MAPPA Board if level 2 or 3 is recommended. As the custody based probation officer will have had more engagement in the case during the custodial period (notwithstanding prison transfers), they would be best placed to make this recommendation of MAPPA level and present to the initial MAPPA Board. In order to ensure an effective handover, it is envisaged that the community probation officer would have sight of the screening and recommendation and also attend that initial MAPPA meeting. After this initial meeting, the formal handover of responsibilities would commence, and the community probation officer, as the lead worker, would attend all future MAPPA meetings, even if the offender was still in custody at the time of those further meetings.

The offender’s experience of OM

The new model should improve the OM experience of the offender. One of the more common complaints by prisoners is the lack of engagement with, or sight of, their OMs, until near, or even on, release. This perception suggests that currently, the continuity of individuals acting as OM has no real bearing on the offender’s experience of offender management, notwithstanding some examples of good practice. By contrast, under the proposed model, the OM, appropriately resourced, would be a visible figure, beyond a once annual meeting, seen to be proactively managing and, importantly, involved in the offender’s sentence.

Whilst the proposed option has the potential for some confusion, not least through transfer between prisons and the changes to OMs and Supervisors that would go along with this, if the model and practice (including handovers) were implemented well, this need not be a significant issue. Indeed, the developing seconded probation role has some allocated time already for familiarisation with new cases, including transfers, representing the opportunity to deliver a sound handover of cases between prisons. Further, OMCP would need to ensure that communications to offenders about the offender management model and changes was strong.

Taking into account the fact that Offender Supervisors are already changed at each transfer, there is some experience operationally as to how best to manage these changes. Processes on transfer must be handled as well as possible through policy and guidance, based on good practice, and this is a task for the OM Change Programme to deliver against.

Through the Gate Model for short sentence NPS cases

An issue was raised around the impact of the proposed approach on the NPS management of short sentence (under 12 months) cases. The intention for all cases is to handover at 6 months pre-release (or 8 months in MAPPA cases), or as long as possible before release, depending on length of sentence. Therefore, for short sentenced NPS-managed prisoners, the community probation officer would be responsible for the case from the beginning of the sentence, because there would be a maximum (subject to added days) of 6 months to serve in any case.

Other Suggested Improvements

It will remain important that all relevant intelligence is passed on to community probation and so to organisations like MAPPA and SOCA where relevant. We have two suggestions for improving these links.

1) Offender Management Units (OMUs) in prisons often do not have a high enough profile and status and are, therefore, not often able to influence other departments within the prison to a sufficient extent. This issue is evidenced through the constant use of officer Offender Supervisors to plug gaps on wings or go on escorts. Further, the challenges of delivering effective offender management around the prison regime and routine are significant, and it is common that scheduled sentence planning review meetings are cancelled as a direct result of a lack of understanding and importance attached to the work of OMUs by the wider prison. In order to resolve this, a number of changes would need to be made. One of these might be to improve the links that probation staff in prison have up the line of command. This should be aimed for and achievable as probation staff in the new world are directly employed in the same way as prison staff. Improved links would have a positive impact on the passing of intelligence to the community setting.

2) The establishment of the new National Probation Service structure will make the custody-based probation officer a NOMS role, as opposed to an external provider role. It also provides an opportunity to consider how offender management performance is reviewed. One option we are keen to explore with others is the introduction of a probation performance co-ordinator role, sitting with the regional Deputy Directors of Probation (DDP). This role, possibly at SPO level, might have two main functions:
  • Support offender management activity in prisons, providing support and data to establishment SMTs in relation to offender management performance and effectiveness, and which also links to the NPS reporting line and, ultimately, through to NEMC.
  • Oversee and monitor offender management performance in prisons, escalating issues for bilateral consideration between DDCs and DDPs, if necessary.

Following further consideration, and consultation with representatives of a number of stakeholders, it is clear that the proposed approach is the right one, is deliverable and has the potential to deliver improvement in the practice of managing cases throughout custody and into the community.

Work towards effective outcomes starts at the beginning of a sentence and should continue throughout the custodial period, and then into the community. The Through the Gate period is a critical one to get right, but for longer term offenders the OMCP has a responsibility to ensure that effective offender management is also in operation during the core custodial period. This proposed approach to managing cases during custody, coupled with the proposed changes to the seconded probation officer role in prisons, represents an opportunity to make a genuine and lasting difference to the quality of offender management practice in prisons. This, in turn, could give the community probation officer (and the CRC case workers for non NPS cases) a strong base upon which to build.

During the custodial period for the NPS cases, we have been unable, in the lifetime of the Offender Management model, to consistently manage and drive a sentence. This proposed approach gives a clear way of ensuring there is active management throughout this period of a sentence and it is a change we should pursue. As colleagues have pointed out, following principled assent to the proposal, it is important that further detailed work on the respective roles is completed and communicated, so as to provide absolute clarity on who is responsible for which aspect of offender management.

With all that said, senior colleagues in the Prison Unit Cost Programme and the Public Sector Prisons Directorate have expressed concern at the timing of the proposed change, in parallel with all the other changes impacting on both prisons and probation under TRP. TRP is currently locking down designs and NOMS have already started developing the operating models to deliver it. Therefore, whilst this remains an important change for the medium term improvement of offender management, it might be pragmatic to allow the TRP and Benchmarking changes to be put in place and become operational before its implementation.

This paper, therefore, proposes that:
  1. the Board agrees that the proposal to move responsibility for managing an offenders case during the custodial period to the prison (Offender Supervisors for CRC cases, and seconded Probation Officers for NPS cases) should be pursued in support of improving offender management practice;
  2. the Board agrees that OMCP will not look to implement this change immediately, but will agree an appropriate implementation timescale with prison colleagues and will present this to NEMC for agreement. 


  1. Oh dear. The phrase "fiddling while Rome burns" springs to mind - or perhaps adding even more fuel to the fire.

    The paper hints, in places, at the real problem, but is never explicit. Perhaps I can spell it out for OMCP, TRP, OMPPG, LOL and ROFL: the reason the Offender Management Model has never properly worked is THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ENOUGH MONEY (apologies for shouting). Year on year cuts to budgets, regardless of the lies coming out of the NOMS finance departments, have scuppered any realistic chance of it ever working.

  2. I think it must be really hard to do a jigsaw if you haven't got the picture on the lid of the box!
    Offence related courses? Will many of them have to be relocated or expanded to suit this 'through the gate' model?

  3. Sorry - have not been able to read it all, and I was losing the will to seems nobody asked Prison Governors, their opinion, if they want more PO's in HMP, as I suspect there would need to be a significant transfer of resources, and as things stand, Probation Staff are paid from the Gov's budget. I was seconded to a local gaol in 1999 - 2002 and I was frequently the butt of Governor jokes, i.e, " I can get two junior psychologists for the money I pay you". In fairness, they, whoever they are, have picked up on some of the shortcomings of the current model and I am intrigued by their desire to improve the working relationship between OM and client - but using video conferences, is hardly the way forward. Will come back to this later!

    1. Bet he didn't know what they did either!

  4. as with 30YI above, barely survived reading the turgid waffle. However, initial gut feeling is that HMPS want to secure their own world by appropriating PO staff, and thus insulate themselves against failures by the NPS/CRC structures. It puts PO staff under HMPS management and the mgmt link role embeds HMPS into the NPS structures.

  5. I think a few commenters have missed the key point - this will actually entail MORE NPS staff going to work inside prisons, holding and managing a caseload of MAPPA prisoners during the custodial element of their sentence: and therefore logically it will also entail FEWER NPS probation officers working in community based NPS offices. So many PO's transferring to the new NPS are going to be required to up sticks and go and work in their local prisons (particulalry since prison governors have been steadily reducing their numbers of seconded PO's over the years).

    For MAPPA prisoners you'll now have 3 professionals managing the prisoners sentence instead of 2. So even more scope for confusion, duplication of effort, not passing critical info on to the others involved, failing to add to ViSOR etc etc.

  6. Regular readers will note two things , 1.Michael Spurrs commitment to keeping the seconded probation staff in prison and with this the change 2. the mix of staff between CRC and NPS , which has moved from 70:30 to nearer 50:50.
    So this has been on the cards a while - another clear message who is running the show HMPS!

  7. All this does is prove that NOMS and HMP still have no comprehension of what Probation in the community is about. This tome is all about what goes on IN a prison and not where it matters: in the community.

    1. My personal view is that what goes on in prison has always been vitally important, and it annoyed me for years when probationers on licence were frequently short changed with regards to access to support services on release, funding being ring fenced for community sentences (ie DRR's). Interestingly, CG' s missive yesterday hinted at the NPS working differently in the future- perhaps he had this in mind? I'm all for more PO's in prison, however to achieve what is being suggested will require staff to be directed I would imagine. Fine if you're fairly local to a prison - however CG has just closed my nearest prison and reassigned another as an immigration holding centre. Any prison placement for me would require a bit of a hike.....Also I note the above paper talked of PO's being employed the same as prison staff - am presuming this would mean the post wouldn't be a secondment with the extra pay supplement it currently enjoys?

  8. I hope this does not end up with probation officers in uniforms. Once upon a time didn't Napo oppose the secondment of probation officers to prisons? More changes to be achieved at nil cost. What's needed is an analysis, an understanding why joined-up working between probation and prisons is so problematic. Why have all previous collaborative initiatives generally failed? Why have prisons reduced their numbers of seconded probation officers in the past few years? I suppose it was the easiest way for prisoners governors to make cuts? Why do probation officers, in the main, not clamour to work in prisons. In fact notification of a proposed secondment usually triggers a grievance. Why are prisons often seen as lousy places to work? On the other hand, you worry about some probation officers who take to it so well that you wonder about them becoming 'institutionalised'. Prisons, in my experience, tend to look inwards, the prevailing ethos is one of custody, not rehabilitation. Prisons don't see themselves as responsible for what happens after someone is released and this mindset influences the allocation of resources within prisons.

    Look at the training disparities between your average probation and prison officer. Rehabilitation type work is hard and thankless. However, it requires conscientious and professional staff who care about community outcomes for all affected parties. In my experience staff of this calibre like a bit of autonomy and power, they like to focus on effective rehabilitation and they get disenchanted by the petty small-mindedness and bureaucracy that can be evident in prisons. Look at how difficult it is for prisoners to maintain relationships. And the recent vindictive embargo on receiving gifts at Christmas only serves to emphasise that the more you make an environment punitive, the more obstacles you put in the way of rehabilitation. Prisons need to become more humanitarian. Until resettlement is seen to be as important as custody, new initiatives will be nothing more that rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

  9. Beginning to brick it now. Realised I will end up underalot of mental strain whether I am based in community or in prison.

  10. I am quite alarmed by these 'suggestions' to the NOMS board. Whilst I agree we need to examine how to do things differently in prisons, much of this suggests not only a misunderstanding of probation but rehabilitation generally. Throughcare has significance. As a practitioner based in the community, I approach the role in the belief that my involvement demonstrates that the community has a direct investment in the resettlement process. I worry we might lose something very important here if this develops into prisons becoming even more insular.

  11. I have worked in a high risk team for six years under the OM Phase 2 and 3 models. The proposals identify one key point, the lack of standing ( respect ?) for probation staff among prison management especially governor grade. This is the main reason for the failure of the current model and the thought that a performance manager post will be created really chills me, staff will be driven to deliver when they have no influence over resources.I have had some positive experiences with prison officer offender supervisors but also some really negative ones - especially in parole cases where prison staff can not distinguish between compliant prison behaviour and risk in the community. On numerous occasions I have struggled to get information about a prisoner relevant to risk assessment from the prison even at MAPPA Level 3. The only sanction is a letter sent to a governor by a MAPPA chair after the meeting ! Probation officers transferring to the NPS ( and yes I am one) should be really fearful of this new proposal. It looks to me that this is where the buck will stop or put another way, where the blame will be placed on each and every occasion. Prisoners will be encouraged to put in apps to see the seconded PO rather than Prison Officers, thus transferring one of the main sources of complaints made by prisoners. Also, where will the redundancies come from once this has been implemented and prison staff prove cheaper than probation staff in this role? Yup, that'll be us.....

    1. I have often found from attending level 2 MAPPA meetings that info from prison OS if often my OASys regurgitated.

  12. I am beginning to think even more than whether you end up in NPS or CRC, you are fucked

  13. i had a hoot of an experience with gov grade staff at a hi secure gaol where it took 5 years to get a csc prisoner properly relocated into a secure hospital. Noone wanted to know, he was violent and "needed punishing". A public stand up row and £9k of assessment eventually achieved justice. My name is poo at that gaol. Maybe that's my expression of interest?

  14. i'd rather play opener against aus for england cricket team than go to hmps conditions

  15. If such a fundamental feature of the "business" and "no major tangible change in resources" why put on hold? Because once the CRCs are effectively (or ineffectively) 'running the show' they will absorb the community supervision role while the custody PO role disappears and re-emerges as something quite different and significantly cheaper. How to kill a service dead with two very hard rocks. I don't know whether to laugh or cry anymore.

  16. I couldn't agree more, this is the end game for public service probation as surely NPS roles will reduce under this model and community supervision will eventually become a CRC function ( by this time the CRC model will be fully operational and "capable" of then taking over high risk offenders). Read the writing on the wall colleagues, this has always been the plan we have been lambs to the slaughter. Go to CRC's whilst you can or accept you will work for the prisons for a short time until "the model" can be further developed to kill public service probation. It will take a really serious incident before this will be reconsidered and God help the hapless staff involved because you will be blamed not this crap Government or Grayling and his master plan.

  17. Within these walls4 January 2014 at 08:46

    Two distict groups run prisons, prisoners and the OCA not governors....shanghai ing POs in order to cover up the already huge gaps in service provision is a sticking plaster on a broken leg syndrome....and of course will not work but things not working has never stopped NOMS before

  18. How often do prisoners move jails throughout their sentence (particularly the ones that are more difficult to manage)? More often than the OM is changed I would bet.

  19. If more POs r going into prison, how wil other NPS staff cope with number of FDRs & SDRs.

    1. I wonder if the plan is for this to be got rid of too eventually.

      Over the past few months I have been reading up about the Pre-Sentence Restorative Justice Pathfinder Projects planned in Bristol, Manchester etc. It was interesting to see an advert asking for volunteers to be involved in this project, volunteers whose role would include facilitating RJ then preparing a written report to the Courts with sentencing proposals...

      If I can find the link I will post it later.

    2. Here we go...

      'This role will include: Negotiation and facilitation within the Criminal Justice System Completing aftercare and follow up support to both perpetrators and injured parties Producing reports for the courts to consider in pre-sentencing stages of Criminal Justice...'

    3. Unbelievable!!!

      Pre-Sentence restorative Justice Pilot Volunteering

      Victim Support are the national charity giving free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected across England and Wales. We also speak out as a national voice for victims and witnesses and campaign for change. We are now recruiting for a groundbreaking Restorative Justice pilot programme in partnership with Restorative Solutions and working closely with the Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). This is a unique and exciting opportunity to take part in a path-finding project based in Bristol Crown Court, working with both victims and perpetrators of serious acquisitive and violent crime. Successful applicants will be facilitating pre-sentencing conferences as part of the Criminal Justice System and taking responsibility for case management, risk assessment of case handling and decision making as to whether cases go to Restorative Justice conferencing or case closure. It is expected that successful candidates will take on a new case every month over an initial 12 month period.

      About Victim Support
      Victim Support is dedicated to meeting the needs of victims and witnesses of crime in the world. Victim Support helps with all kinds of crime, including the most serious. This includes supporting people affected by homicide, rape and sexual assualt.Volunteers visit victims of crime in their own homes and provide victims with support, advice and information to assist them to come to terms with the practical, social and emotional impact of crime.

      What are they looking for?
      This role will include: Negotiation and facilitation within the Criminal Justice System Completing aftercare and follow up support to both perpetrators and injured parties Producing reports for the courts to consider in pre-sentencing stages of Criminal Justice Evaluation and debriefing with partner agencies Working within national standards set for restorative justice work No previous restorative justice experience is necessary, but the following skills and personal qualities would be an advantage: Knowledge or experience of supporting vulnerable people Empathy, negotiation and conflict resolution skills Commitment to working with prisoners, ex-prisoners and victims of crime Willing to work within our values, procedures and policies. Flexibility in when you work events could be days, evenings or weekends.

    4. Bloody hell. Probation staff are being priced out at every turn. All these pilots they are doing, but they can't pilot TR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Having worked in a local prison for 5 years - probation has no power whatsoever over prison transfers. When I intervened with a receiving prison to alert them to the fact that of the bus load on the way to them a couple needed either rolling Sex Offender Treatment programme or Adapted SOTP (now Becoming New Me) so should not be being transferred to them, I was shouted at and verbally abused over the telephone by prison colleague in OCA overseeing this transfer from the prison I worked at. There was then this big secret enterprise about OCA not telling me about future transfers so it didn't happen again. However I still found out as the inmates would tell me!

    Security concerns always over ride everything in prison workings - take legal visits at most prisons as there is usually a delay in prisoner getting to the visit even if you get there on time and no delay geting thourgh security.

    There simply are not enough places on offending behaviour programmes in prison to make this work as the even on a shortish prison sentence an inmate will be at a local prison, then training prison and if lucky enough then a resettlement unit. So that makes a minimum of 2-3 prisons so 2-3 OMs plus the community OM on release?? Where is the incentive to engage with community OM?? And parole boards will only have the seconded PO report to base release decisions on??