Monday, 16 June 2014

Standing Up For Probation

Today is the anniversary of the Magna Carta signing and I notice that the last Napo campaigning bulletin is giving encouragement to the growing facebook campaign to 'stand up for probation'. Today at 1.00pm it's suggested that you take a photo and then send, tweet or facebook it to add to a growing collection. ‪#‎Iamstandingup4probation‬



23 comments:

  1. Gayling justifies his lack of legal background gives him a fresh outlook on our justice system!

    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/lord-chancellors-speech-at-cilex-presidential-dinner

    ‘Talks of young barristers fighting for scraps of business in the magistrates’ courts, his reasoning; number of advocates working in our courts has risen significantly in recent years, whilst the level of crime has fallen. Put simply, there is not enough money or work to go round.
    High quality, diverse legal profession and competitive market needed. That should not be a knee-jerk change for change sake … but it should be purposeful, thoughtful and considered, based upon evidence, discussion and debate’

    It’s a shame he didn’t give the same consideration before he trashed his way through Probation Trusts! (apologies if this got duplicated)

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  2. Here come the gongs!!! Thou shalt be rewarded...

    "Annette Hazel Hennessy, a former chief executive of Cumbria Probation Trust, receives an OBE for services to public protection and reducing reoffending. Ms Hennessy, who lives in Appleby, is now the chief executive of the Merseyside Probation Trust."

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    1. Michael Spurr becomes a Companion of the Order of the Bath

      "Michael Spurr. Director general and chief executive Officer National Offender Management Service. For services to Offender Management. (Norwich, Norfolk)"

      http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/honours-list-june-2014-order-7266209

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  3. Feature on News earlier about G4S developing robots for security work. Imagined them with a CRC logo!!

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  4. Ethical fears voiced over privatisation

    By Sarah Neville, Public Policy EditorThe growth in private companies and voluntary groups providing public services poses “a live risk to ethical standards”, according to a government-appointed watchdog.The independent committee on standards in public life says civil servants fail to monitor companies’ conduct rigorously.In a report to be published on Tuesday, seen by the Financial Times, the committee highlights over-billing in electronic tagging contracts by G4S and Serco – and Serco’s flawed delivery of an out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall – as examples of poor standards “which have undermined trust in the providers concerned”.Both companies have addressed the problems and been approved to resume bidding for government work after overhauling their UK businesses and making substantial repayments.The report comes amid wider concerns over the ability of civil servants to manage contracts as Whitehall moves from being a provider to a commissioner of services.In an inside account of the way that officials supervise providers, it said “there appeared to be limited ongoing monitoring of contracts”.The committee said data collection could be poor, there was “a lack of visibility of complex supply chains” and “contract managers were nervous of challenging the service delivery of big providers and lacked the confidence and training to do so”.Concern was also expressed “about the potential for conflicts of interest, particularly in the context of movement of staff between commissioner and provider”.The report suggested that those providing public services may increasingly lack a grounding in traditional public service values.Research commissioned by the committee from Ipsos-MORI, the pollsters, suggested that the public made no assumptions about the merits of public versus private providers, so long as all observed the same ethical standards. The committee emphasised that it shared this stance.It said: “We acknowledge that poor performance and standards failures have occurred in the public sector – indeed much of this committee’s past work has been reviewing such failures and making recommendations for improvement.”Commissioners tended to assume that providers would conform to ethical standards so they were not explicitly incorporated into either the selection of providers or contracts. If monitoring occurred at all, it was focused on performance and financial measures rather than ethics, the committee said.“This gives us some unease, especially when taken together with an acknowledgment from commissioners and providers that too many commissioners and contract managers were lacking the commercial skills to effectively manage providers, especially the major suppliers,” it said.The committee urged the government to ensure civil servants in charge of big projects, known as accounting officers, “actively seek assurance that public money is being spent in accordance with the high ethical standards expected of all providers of public services”.Ethical standards should be the specific responsibility of one non-executive director – senior business people taken on to inject more corporate expertise into the way government does business – on each department’s board, it added.

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    1. And thats why some services should never be privatised.
      When the prime motive of delivery becomes financial gain, ethical standards and service values will always play second fiddle.
      You're either in it for the money, or you're in it for the cause.

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  5. The only reason I am still here is because I have some notion that 'good sense will prevail'. I cannot belief that there are this many idiots who actually think that TR is safe, defensible or in the public interest. Am I being naïve?

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    1. I dont think you're being naive at all. And maybe this will hearten you a bit. It's the first public call that I've seen for Grayling to step down.

      http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Swansea-MP-calls-Justice-Minister-resignation/story-21239646-detail/story.html

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    2. Swansea MP Geraint Davies has called on Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to step down, after news broke that prisons are dangerously overcrowded.

      Swansea prison currently holds 204 more inmates than it was designed for - a matter which Davies claimed was “completely unacceptable” - and is the most overcrowded in England and Wales.

      Last year, Mr Davies said, the number of prisoners went up by 1,800, which was enough to fill Swansea, Bristol and Cardiff, plus 50 per cent more. This, combined with the closure of 20 prisons and a reduction in prison staff, had pushed the situation to “crisis point”.

      “It’s out of control,” he told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme.

      "My view is that Chris Grayling should resign because clearly this is very much of its own making.

      "His predictions are wrong in terms of the number of people coming forward, his cost cutting measures have been counterproductive and he's now putting officers, the public and indeed prisoners at risk."

      The call came after the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, said on Saturday that “political and policy failure” was to blame for the overcrowding.

      He noted that the prison system was not working under such stress, and cautioned that men were being locked up together, two or three to a cell, for 23 hours a day.

      The Justice Secretary, disagreeing with Mr Hardwick’s comments, said that around 1,000 prison places were currently available and that a further 2,000 would be in place by April.



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  6. A comment about the "standing up for probation" pics. As an ex-PO I couldn't help feeling that the strike photos a few weeks ago, and these pics (great idea, by the way) are lessened in their impact when the subjects smile for the camera. No doubt someone will want to ell me I am a misery (I'm not, believe me, I was and am the class/office clown) but our ingrained British habit of saying "cheese" when the flash goes off makes the protesters look happy-and the point is, we are anything but.

    Please can a I suggest that from now on we look at the camera and think about Chris Grayling? That should stop the phenomenon in its tracks...

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  7. Thought that readers might be interested in reading the reply I received from Nigel Adams M.P. in response to my email to him asking him to do something to save The Probation Service. I wrote to him on the 25th April 2014 and only received a reply today!
    Wonder if this is a stock reply from all Government MPs.
    Thank you for contacting me about probation. I am terribly sorry for my delay in responding.



    Although crime is falling, reoffending rates have barely changed in a decade despite significant increases in spending under Labour. Crime is increasingly being committed by those who have broken the law before. £ 4 billion a year is spent on prisons and probation, yet more than 58 per cent of prisoners serving less than 12 months go on to commit further crimes within a year of release.



    That is why I am pleased the Government has announced plans to transform offender rehabilitation. Every offender leaving prison will have a mandatory period of at least 12 months under supervision in the community, during which they will get the support they need to help them turn their lives around.



    To remain affordable, the system must become more efficient. The Government is therefore opening up probation services to a diverse range of new rehabilitation providers bringing together the best of the public, voluntary and private sectors. Their expertise, skills and innovation will be crucial in properly supporting offenders. Providers will only be paid in full if they are successful at reducing reoffending, so to avoid the safety concerns you outlined in your email. It is aimed at making taxpayers’ money go further and ensuring all sentences deliver both punishment and rehabilitation.



    The National Probation Service will be a new public sector organisation tasked with supervising and rehabilitating 31,000 high risk offenders each year, as well as conducting the risk assessment of all offenders. It will work alongside 21 new community rehabilitation companies to manage offenders in the community.



    The Government is also working closely with the Probation Association and Probation Chiefs’ Association to create a new national Institute of Probation. Probation trust staffs are assigned to one of the new organisations responsible for managing offenders and tackling our shockingly high reoffending rates.



    I hope this information has been helpful, and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.



    Yours sincerely,



    Nigel



    Nigel Adams,

    MP for Selby and Ainsty,

    T: 0207 219 7141 (Westminster)

    A: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

    W: www.nigeladams.org

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  8. Fuck me! It's like they all have a prerecorded script and and letters etc do little more than pull the string at their back.

    Please tell me that you did not/will not vote for this wanker.

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    1. No I did not vote for this wanker but he has a safe seat and is unlikely to be voted out.

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  9. great idea, let us compare replies

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  10. The responses from MPs are the responses THEY get to the question they ask the MoJ. It will always be the party line. It is naïve to expect anything else.

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    1. Naive it may be, but worth doing if only to highlight what a shit service constituents get from some MP's.

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  11. Does anyone remember an officer in the Stratford office mid seventies Mr Fish?

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  12. The persistent focus on ' shockingly high reoffending' always relates to those who have served prison sentences, short or otherwise... Hence the prison service / experience is responsible for the failure NOT the Probation Services. Never a mention ( or if so ....very quietly ) of how many people complete whatever sentence is being managed by Probation Officers / Probation Service Officers without reoffending either during or afterwards. Never a mention of how many people gain and retain employment, go on to lead lawful and fulfilling lives. 30 or so years ago Probation did offer a service to people serving short sentences and then ' they' decided that should stop.
    Very successfully CG has manipulated everyone, clearly his colleagues, other MP's et al, Easily done as people don't know the reality and extent of the 'work' that Probation actually does. Why ...because no one cares /d ..not until their son, daughter, mother or father falls foul of life and the law that is....It is not Probation that has failed it is Prisons and those people who have been managing / running that system.
    And just on the people at the place they like to call the top. They do not achieve the reduction in reoffending, protecting the Public,etc. The people who achieve that work as Probation Officers and Probation Service Officers. Without them , their skills and willingness to spend their time toward enabling all of us to live in safer communities... where would they be. Prison doesn't work obviously ...sticking the word robust into risk management plans doesn't make it work... persuading a person that their life is valuable and that there is something in it for them and everyone else if they decide to build a life without crime..., works....if the person doesn't want to co operate,they won't...however, robust....,however many ' senior managers ' have sat around a table jobbing out work to people other than themselves.. Many of them failed as, what is the current term Operational Staff....they couldn't do it, so moved into management ,,,and many can't do that effectively either.....How dare they take credit. People stop committing offences when they don't want to...Probation Officers and Probation Service Officers make this happen....Not Managers, so called senior or otherwise. Punishment without fairness, equality , justice and humanity (the good not the evil ) doesn't work..... not for the victims, our society, local communities, those who work and honestly pay their way through life or the people who commit offences,.... doesn't work...it never has and never will.

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    1. Oh the pain of being labelled ineffective by a person such as you, senior PO for the last 8 years and an effective PO for the previous 22 years.

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    2. "many" the post says. You must be one of the effective ones.

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  13. How are we going to stop all this, everything we write on this blog doesn't seem to have any impact on this whole thing. It feels like its took a life of its own and we are powerless to stop it despite our efforts.

    Has everyone posted their letters or else we will have to go to plan 2 which is a walk out. I am ready, had enough waiting for my VR, I cannot do this job no longer, I feel as if I am having the life sucked out of me by delius and by those newly appointed managers who are trying to make a name for themselves BASTARDS.

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  14. Surely any walk outs or strike action is only effective when done by those who are considered a valued and skilled workforce en-masse? From what I can gather the Probation Service has been continuously deprofessionalized for a number of years, to the extent that generic temps are considered qualified to do much of the work. The problem being that you do not appear to be considered to possess any rarefied skill-set that cannot be easily replaced by another (apparently) cheaper alternative.

    I am sure Probation Officers can and do help many people and make a positive difference to the lives of Offenders and therefore the Public. But for all the sick notes at work and rants on blogs I cannot help feeling that the vast majority of Probation personnel do not give a Monkey's providing they are paid. They know where their bread is buttered and you cannot blame them for knowing. It's time to put up or shut up and find another job. It's not Probation Personnel who are the ones to suffer, they are free to leave as they like and leave the perceived mess behind them, it's the Clients and the Public who are really on the receiving end of any screw ups.

    It's the unfortunate case of if you are not compliant and get on with what is asked of you then you are only adding to and increasing the problem.

    I do feel for you all,

    Peace and Love. X

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  15. Peace and love my *rs*! Yes, there has been a steady trend towards de professionalisation. However, that is nothing compared to what is now happening. No rareified skill set? Maybe not, but most of us can teach our partnership agencies a thing or to about risk and the aetiology of much of the offending that goes on. Of course we can't resign en masse. Some of us are the main earners in our families.

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