Thursday, 19 June 2014

Omnishambles Update 52

I notice from the Napo website that HM Inspectorate of Probation recently published their latest Business Plan and as summarised by Napo, the proposals certainly look interesting in terms of the TR omnishambles:-

HMI Probation Business Plan 2014-15

This was published on June 14th. One of its key work areas will be inspecting adult offending work in the community. The aim is to provide assurance about the arrangements developing under Transforming Rehabilitation. It says 'Areas of interface between the National Probation Service (NPS) and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) present particular risks...' and it plans to concentrate its attention on these.

An audit of workloads held in trusts immediately prior to June 1st has been completed to establish to what degree caseloads continue to be manageable during the period of change. The results of this audit will form the basis of a Ministerial briefing. This should make interesting reading and Napo will be seeking it's disclosure.

In April/May, it seems they will also have carried out an inspection of the outcomes of this process. Then from July to September, they intend to undertake an inspection of work at court, focusing on the quality of probation work in the court setting and the quality and accuracy of the assessment and allocation decisions in sampled cases. then later in the year HMIP intend to focus on the 'start of order' phase and then continuing work with offenders during the first four months of supervision.

On the OurKingdom website, the proceedings of an Inquest are reported on a very disturbing case from several years ago, but that serves to highlight the consequences when the state abrogates responsibility and hands it over to unaccountable private companies:-
Death by corporate indifference
Who failed Brian Dalrymple, the American tourist who ended up dead in an immigration detention centre six weeks after landing in Britain? A report from Day One of the Inquest.
On 14 June 2011, a white American tourist called Brian Dalrymple landed at Heathrow Airport. It was to be a holiday from hell. Six weeks later he died in a British detention centre.
An inquest opened yesterday at West London Coroner's Court three years after the death of 35 year-old Dalrymple.
He was held at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow for 43 days, then transferred to Colnbrook, the neighbouring removal centre run by a different contractor, Serco. There he spent the last week of his life.
The coroner started the proceedings by telling the jury that their task was not to attribute blame, but to establish how and in what circumstances Dalrymple came by his death.
There are a lot of lawyers at this inquest, representing each of seven interested parties, none of whom want to be blamed for Dalrymple's untimely death: the Home Office, the NHS, and the five companies that run the detention centres and private health clinics that he encountered (or not) during his incarceration. These businesses include Serco, GEO Group, Nestor Primecare Services and The Practice PLC.
This year's Summer Solstice Saturday June 21st sees a major demonstration and free festival in London with speakers including Russell Brand, Owen James and Ian Lawrence. Many Napo branches and members plan to attend:-

No more Austerity
demand the alternative: Saturday 21 June

National demonstration and free festival
Assemble 1pm, BBC HQ, Portland Place, London W1 1AA (Tube: Oxford Circus)
March to Parliament Square

The People's Assembly, Trade Unions and campaign groups are organising a national demonstration and free festival to demand the alternative.

Living standards continue to drop, forcing millions into poverty, yet the politicians remain addicted to austerity.

This demonstration will assemble right on the BBC's doorstep and march to Parliament to demand that the alternative to austerity is no longer ignored. Join us. 


I see there's a new petition on calling for Chris Grayling to get the sack. Seems a shame not to sign it:-

Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Justice, Lord High Chancellor should be sacked or resign due to the dangerous 'reforms' he has made to the criminal justice system. The catalogue of dangerous and chaotic changes he has either made or plans to make is growing and demonstrates how inept, misguided and bungling he is.

From changes to legal aid rules that have led to the poor and vulnerable being denied access to fair justice, prison overcrowding, bans on books and the impending privatisation of probation against the advice of professionals and practitioners, Chris Grayling changes will increase the dangers to the public in our society.

The Probation Service is in chaotic disarray due to his changes to date and this Service manages the people in our society who commit crime and cause harm to others. This Service has achieved continual success in delivering real reductions in reoffending which contributes towards the protection of the public. If privatised and run by companies whose primary concern is profit, against the advice of academics and practitioners , it will only be a matter of time before reoffending rates rise and that means more victims of more crime.

Questions regarding Chris Grayling's expenses, his awarding of lucrative contracts to companies such as G4S and Serco who prove time after time that they cannot deliver, through to his misleading use of inaccurate statistics to justify his plans - this man's integrity should be questioned.

As a member of Napo (the Probation Service union) I believe it is time for him to go.......

Finally, as regular readers will be aware, there has been precious little success in relation to FOI requests concerning TR, but I saw this on Facebook and it's quite revealing that shock horror another government department has been caught telling porkies:-
Hooray! I finally got somewhere with a Freedom of Information request! Not on Probation, admittedly, but still... The DfE claimed that their proposals to outsource child protection services were in response from councils. I asked them for a list of local authorities who had asked for this - they could only name two, neither of whom had specifically asked about outsourcing CP.
Dear Department for Education,
In an article in The Guardian ( you are reported as saying that, in proposing to outsource child protection services, you are responding to demand from local authorities.
Please provide me with a list of all local authorities that have contacted you to request the option to outsource child protection services. Please break this list down into formal and informal requests, where possible.
Yours faithfully,
Dear Mr C....... 
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 19 May. You asked for a list of the local authorities that have contacted the department with a request to outsource child protection services. I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
I can confirm that both Staffordshire and Kingston and Richmond local authorities have discussed outsourcing of functions with government in general terms, potentially including child protection services. Both these authorities have previously been mentioned by ministers in speeches, most recently Edward Timpson on 20 May 2014.


  1. We should get everyone we know to sign the petition, with all the people reading this blog, we should get a million signatures no probs.

  2. After another very stressful day at work just signed the petition and feel great, the minister of INJUSTICE needs to be sacked. Some light in this dark times that we are experiencing.

  3. I've signed too - I also wanted to share a conversation I had with a Team Manager friend the other day. Concerned for the lack of information available to 3rd year PQF's, this particular manager contacted Noms to ask for some up to date information, as the situation is becoming critical - with many of our 3rd year PQF's completing their degrees in the next few weeks. Said manager was flabbergasted when after asking the question, she was asked, "What is a PQF"?

    Locally the message from on high is that there are 'plenty of jobs for PO's in CRC's.....not what was hoped for and I suspect there will be a lot more chaos as a consequences. For example:

    Two 3rd Year PFQ's were sifted into the NPS in my team; area wide there are a fair number of them. So between 1.6.2014 - 30.6.2014 - my 2 colleagues will possibly be - Trainees with a mixed and managed bag by way of caseload - sifted into NPS when their caseload changed accordingly and they transferred a host of folk into the CRC. They took the caseloads of 2 colleagues who had qualified in the last 12 months, who were shafted, sorry, sifted into CRC. So, before the end of the month - they may rejoice that they have successfully completed a 3 year degree course and secured the title of Probation Officer.....but their joy may be short lived, as they again, transfer yet another caseload, if they are to go into the is nothing short of tragic and I for one, would like to see Grayling sacked and forced to work for McDonalds 60 hours a week - minimum wage - no expenses, no stars; cos he's so damn incompetent!

  4. Oops! Probation Qualification Framework - PQF - been watching to much footi and not done much keyboard work for a week.Com'on England!

  5. Interested in the terminology Jim 'to what degree caseloads continue to be manageable'. The hypothesis has to assume workloads were manageable in the first place of course and according to sources they were not. I understand from the grapevine today that the NPS is in trouble in our area, not enough PO's to do Court reports and grasping at CRC PO's for sessional working of which without they would be up the creek as they say. The establishment process was undertaken by NOMS who dictated to the Trusts the numbers of staff needed, now they have ripped apart the complex processes it is becoming all too clear there just aren't enough bodies and not enough skilled qualified workers to fill the gaps. Whilst it would be heroic to turn down work as a sessional not everyone can afford to give up there jobs as some brave soles have chosen to do. The reality is that it is not an option for everyone and wouldn't be any good suggesting this to NAPO members who are struggling financially and emotionally. I know of 2 PO's who walked today. NAPO needs to start counting these losses, they are rapidly increasing nationally, alongside the risks of health to staff. Report these where you can and get them out there. Complete risk assessments and report stress to the right people. The fight against this mad plan of Graylings is not lost.

  6. In our team (NPS) we have 2 off on long term sick (nothing to do with TR) and have drafted in agency workers. Creaking at the seams! Poor enforcement officer has almost had nervous breakdown trying to negotiate the stupid illogical IT system. I completed a start licence Oasys and when asked re RM2000 inadvertently clicked the wrong button................OMG it cannot be undone! I HAVE DEFINITELY SIGNED THE PETITION., HE SHOULD GO ASAP.

  7. In our office nps offered overtime whilst the crc using agency workers. This new system must be saving a fortune. Efficient is not the word. Clever man the secretory of state.

  8. Case Allocation Tool aaaarrrrggghhhh!
    Do it this way, no do it this way , nope that's not right do it this way.....ok you've done it and written loads in now try and open it on Delius ...ooooo it doesn't open as a doc so all the work you've just completed to advise the receiving OM of what needs to be followed up cannot be read

  9. I love Grayling's efficiency saving model, £132,000,000 and counting yup that sure is Tory efficiency. Seriously what planet is this guy on ????

  10. I go into work everyday and want to hide, I have no clue what I am supposed to do, being pulled in all directions and staff moved at some rate of knots, surely this cannot be right, every ones in fear of something serious happening. The look on the faces of staff is so sad, everyone is at the brink of either walking out or of breakdown.

  11. We are a bit like England, down and with a high percentage of being out.

  12. Ridiculous arguments with the IT team this week. Very much abridged but involved two managers, hours of work from a Senior Admin, various correspondence with NOMS and a really touch and go deadline to get a Parole Report Addendum to an Oral Hearing taking place today:

    My team: "Please can you give me access to the assessment and contact records for this man who is serving a life sentence for a very unpleasant murder"
    NPS/NOMS: "No, you are CRC and do not have access to this".
    Me: "But I wrote it!"
    Hours and hours later, finally sorted out but warned very severely by IT that this is the last time they will help us out like this. I have turned into a potty mouth.

  13. I've signed the petition too.

  14. I am just watching bbc news. And they say that a memo has come from ?? To say the government are risking millions in dwp. Biggest fiscal risk to government !! Let's bloody well send a memo to the BBC and tell them not only are the government risking money by TR but risking public safety and staff

  15. Team managers in NPS in our office are routinely using language like "we're in emergency measures", "crisis management" and "trying to hold on" and "it feels unsafe". To be honest, there is no enthusiasm to hold on and lots of people are looking at agency work. This new case allocation tool takes about half the time it takes to write the PSR in the first place. Just bizarre IT systems and no-one can see any end to it. The Court teams are in chaos with high sickness and nothing is getting properly allocated. Our reception staff can't see high risk people on NDelius and are turning them away, whilst lots of new cases haven't found their way onto NDelius at all (ie, not started or allocated) so they too are being turned away. It's a disaster zone. And there is no sense that it will improve soon. It's getting worse all the time as the backlog of unallocated cases increases, like the passport office only more dangerous.

    1. Its encouraging to hear that your managers are responding like this, perhaps they could do us all a favour and pass this onto Grayling instead of passing him lies that "all is running smoothly".

  16. Spoke to 30 year time served PO today who, for reasons we have historically never questioned, chose not to work with sex offenders. Until sift into NPS. She is now working with clients in ways in which she lacks competence and the necessary emotional resources. Skilled group workers now doing OM and skilled PMs now running groups. Sift has replaced skilled workers with nervous conscripts. The farce continues.

  17. Very lovely, enthusiastic and highly motivated young person with a Criminology Degree and now halfway through the PQF has sent us CRC bods this case:
    Previous Manslaughter for battering to death someone he perceived to be having a relationship with his first wife. 2 yr custodial for Threats to Kill second wife and/or partner. New offence: Breach of Restraining Order for driving past new ex-wife's house where she lives with new partner.
    Trying to send a case back to NRP that we think was wrongly allocated in the first place seems to be almost impossible. Meanwhile, he's my case and I'm the responsible officer.

    1. Typo! NPS not NRP!

    2. Before the shafting I guess you would not even have batted an eye lid at such a case. I hate TR.

    3. Thanks anon at 22:42! You're right! I wouldn't have. And I would have worked hard with him and other agencies, probably including a referral to MAPPA Level 2. Now I find myself trying every which way to bat it back to NPS and this man is not being helped, monitored or assessed. I hate TR too.

  18. We all know that we have achieved little to topple TR and are all at risk of losing hope, but now we have a chance to make some difference, sign the petition. I signed it about an hour ago and went to check if the number of signatures had increased and to my surprise they hadn't. I thought we are all desperate to stop this shyte. At this rate we all deserve what happens to us if we can't even be bothered to press a few buttons.

  19. I now wake at this time every night, head full of work and fear about work. There is no point in saying anything no-one is listening. I do not have a poor sickness record but am so fearful of becoming ill. I cannot begin to describe the chaos in my team (NPS). One PO off sick already and saying she will not come back and we cannot cope without her. Work is not being done properly and I read about the Inspectorate plans and am terrified as we will be blamed. Who will tell them about this chaos and that we have done our best...the blame game will end with PO and PSO grades.

  20. Our local paper has been moaning about the loss of "expertise" in managing dangerous and hardened criminals in the community with the changes to the probation service. What expertise? My OM is an idiot who hasn't got a clue. She doesn't even know what a secretary does and so banned me from applying for any such jobs. Every time I go in and see her all she does is tell me that "it isn't supposed to be easy on licence" which is beyond patronising and not exactly productive or that its not appropriate to be discussing that (fill in the blank) at a supervisory meeting when she asks me a question and I answer it (so what exactly we are supposed to be discussing is beyond me). It's a total waste of time and tax payers money and the supervision is a joke. The sooner it goes to private companies like the St Giles Trust or tohers who actually know how to work with offenders the better for everyone. Prisons won't be cluttered up with people on recall because of their OM punishing them for minor infractions of licence or indeed no infraction at all but just recalling them for spite because they don't like them. We might actually end up with meaningful supervision and some actual help (perish the thought). I understand that there may actually be a very few probation officers who do a good job but I can safely say I've never met one nor has anyone else I know. We can't wait for you all to disappear when tings get privatised as it might actually be beneficial for everyone

    1. An interesting comment indeed - can I tempt you to say a bit more, especially what you think 'meaningful supervision' might consist of? What it might be like and what sort of help you would want?

      This is a genuine request and hope you might find time to say a bit more.



    2. I find your comment highly suspect. I have never known any client refer to their probation officer as an OM. I suspect you are a shill. Find something better to do with your time.