Saturday, 7 June 2014

TGI Friday!

That's it then - the first week of the TR omnishambles over for most probation staff:- 

This has been a week of hell. Things can only improve, can't they?????!!!!!!!!??!!!

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No, not in the state that it's in currently. Things won't improve but will get progressively worse making our jobs increasingly difficult. Risk escalation, RSR, no access to delius, oasys requesting and getting things signed off, bureaucracy etc. No things won't improve. They need to press the button this weekend and reverse things back to what they were like last week for things to improve.

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I have never looked forward to a Friday as much as this one. Opening the second bottle of wine already.

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What are the chances of another strike ballot do you think? I seem to remember that IL hadn't ruled it out in one of his recent missives or is that just wishful thinking on my part? We might get a stronger ballot response this time around. Could be a powerful message on top of everything else that's happening.......

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I am all for striking couldn't happen fast enough for me. Unions are not saying anything. All they want is evidence, you give it to them and never hear from them again. I don't know what they are doing with all this evidence of the failures of our practice in TR, does anyone know?

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I wish it were the case they'd be more up for fight but it's more the case of being resigned to split . Don't follow all the news campaigns etc so don't get the fight for the sell off. I've been pulled for being to vocal etc and sometimes feel like an outsider for being such an activists. Also been told by my new SPO 'you're a civil servant now' which is why I've stopped signing my name at the end of my post, cos been warned about Facebook and twitter. It's like some people have been assimilated into the Noms/MoJ Borg collective

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Heard today that PbR no longer happening and that under 12m prison sentences no longer going to be managed as bidders cannot afford to deal with them. Thought the whole point of TR was because Grayling said we cant have offenders leaving prison with only £46 in their pockets and no support. What the held is this TR all about, apart from stressing the hilt out of everyone. I have never looked forward to a Friday night as much as this one. We are at breaking point and staff are just not coping.

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Is that definite in regards to PbR and under 12 months? I've heard rumours. I was one of very few out on strike in my office, I'm NPS and was never in doubt what a car crash this was going to be for all, CRC and NPS, lets hope Grayling goes in the impending reshuffle, which may give them the escape of pausing till after the next election. Hopefully NAPO have a FOI asking how much additional monies are being spent on agency staff too!

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Why am I not surprised. This has never been about under 12 months or PbR. That was just a reason needed to push through Graylings reform of probation. I also suspect there were probation leaders who were well aware of this. This is the way politics works. shame probation has been used as a football.

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The prison I work in is dangerous not enough staff to form working relationships; the good will is gone and I fear that someone will be killed. If the politicians and senior management butted out we could save this omnishambles. It is clear now that trying to manage from the centre will never work. We need to keep posting the truth on this blog in the end the truth will out, they cant control the news agenda all of the time.

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Is anyone out their paying attention, PLEASE MERGE US BACK. This is not working and falling apart at an epic rate.

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My message is simple. SOS

If people are still in work its cos they're frightened of going off and getting disciplined - I'm sure nobody would work for either side if they had a choice. You couldn't make it up. Merge us back asap!!


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Our service - allowing CRC PO's to register as 'sessional' NPS staff - so as to be able to do Flat Rate Reports.......I assume when the sell off takes place, this will be questionable if not a breach of NPS/Data Protection Act/Official Secrets Act? I too hope the bidders are watching this blog, as everything is being done, shady or not, to give the impression TR can or will work - it won't, and stop bloody kidding yourselves, you people at The Ministry of Just What Exactly?

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First week and it looks like an SFO. The question must be asked. Would this have occurred if needless time hadn't been spent on TR process?


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I hope Graylings dept and all the bidders read this blog. It will give them an accurate insight into the truth of what is going on, rather than the one which is fed back to them of how smoothly things are going. Bidders be warned if our employers didn't realise what we do and shafted us you'll have no chance of understanding the intricacies of our work, you'll become public fools again, or are you used to this reputation.

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Anyone else feel like this had been the worst week in their probation career? Was only in work two days and that was more than enough (was on a course). What a shambles!

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Been grumpy all week - seriously grumpy on Monday! It's all pants - nothing seems to work properly, guidance changes from day to day and no body understands the new recall process!


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I have urges of hunting down the people who both designed nDelius and Oasys and the people who "successfully (pah!) migrated" data....! Maybe my transition into NPS isn't through the employment route!

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Seriously the worst week in a job I normally love!

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I have never felt as de-motivated in 15 years of working for probation, as I have done this week . Finding it more difficult than I anticipated, I really hope it passes. I hope that the cases I will start working with help and remind me why I have wanted to do this job for last 22 years! On the plus side , we were able to enter the stationery cupboard and obtain our tools, felt like we were looting! It only took 3 days for it to be unlocked!

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We have one of our cases taking his order back to court as he refuses to be supervised by a private company. Technically a CRC is not a private company but it will be interesting.

54 comments:

  1. CRCs are limited companies registered at Companies House. They are owned by Government but they are commercial entities.

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  2. http://m.berwick-advertiser.co.uk/news/local/all-news/company-aims-to-cut-crime-1-3433153

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    1. A publicly owned company has been created to take over from the probation service in Northumberland.

      Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company (Northumbria CRC) was officially launched on Sunday, as part of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, which involves a reorganisation of probation services.

      Northumbria CRC’s key priorities are to protect the public and reduce reoffending. It will work with adult offenders in the community, including those subject to community orders, suspended sentence orders or released from prison on licence.

      Northumbria CRC will deliver the majority of probation services in north Northumberland, taking over most of the work previously undertaken by Northumbria Probation Trust. This includes Community Payback, offending behaviour programmes, work to address lifestyle issues and victim awareness work.

      Headed up by chief executive Nick Hall, the former chief executive of Northumbria Probation Trust, Northumbria CRC’s 350 staff also come from a probation background, having transferred their employment from the former trust.

      Mr Hall said: “As Northumbria Probation Trust we had a long history of delivering results. We were the only probation trust to achieve the highest performance rating for five consecutive years.

      “Northumbria CRC will build on this expertise and experience to further develop our services. Our new structure will enable us to really focus our efforts and deliver the best results for local communities.”

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    2. I suppose every former probation trust in the country could have rehashed Northumbria's little media splash: all the CRCs are currently publicly owned community rehabilitation companies. Their CEO, Nick Hall, is opportunistically on message and so it's safe to speak out! He wants to deliver better results, but his former trust was the highest performing one for five consecutive years. He will 'further develop' and 'really focus', thanks to the new TR structure which presumably was the missing link.

      As Paul Senior tweeted:

      103/107: Epitaph - ’in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends’. (Martin Luther King Jnr).

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    3. You really do Nick a disservice he in no way shape or form is an advocate of TR, like everyone else he is at the end of the day a paid employee who, for all we disagree with it, is required to perform the duties mandated by a democratically elected government.

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    4. Probationrelic You speak the truth, which is unpalatable to us all.

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    5. Well if he isn't an advocate of TR then he does a good impersonation of a TR advocate. The mantra about 'democratically elected government' is disingenuous. I recall the Thatcher government being described by the Tory Lord Hailsham as an elective dictatorship' – and then bad people defied Thatcher and broke the law and would not pay their poll tax. Sometimes even defying a democratic elected government is the right thing to do if that government is riding roughshod over the public good for ideological reasons. There is nothing sacred about democratic governments as the democratically elected Hitler demonstrates. When democratic leaders lie to the public, whether it's about the reasons for going to war, or why they are dismantling a key criminal justice agency, then they abuse their mandate and red-blooded opposition is not only right but a moral imperative.

      Don't be beastly to Nick, you say. It's not personal as he and all the other so-called leaders and former Trust boards ( with one honourable exception) are equally culpable for not being vocal in opposing TR. Nick is singing from the new hymn sheet at the top of his voice. It's likely that virtually all the CEOs and Trust chairs believed that TR was a crazy way to go, yet they scandalously fulfilled their public duties by sitting on their hands. When you are in positions of leadership you carry extra responsibilities ( and you get paid thousands more) and when it's in the public sector you have, in my opinion, a responsibility to the public – to speak the truth. But all we get are chameleons.

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    6. And another thing: we have had so-called democratic government in this country for hundreds of years. And what is said today about the democratic will could easily have been said, and was said, by those who accepted the status quo and defended group interests. The government was 'democratic' before women died and went to prison, fighting for the vote. It was through civil disobedience and sacrifice that reforms were achieved. Trade unionism was not the result of a private member's bill either. Martin Luther King fought for civil rights for blacks because it was considered 'democratic' to segregate and discriminate – the Jim Crow laws.

      The point is there are sometimes occasions when people have to be counted. If you spout on about how brilliant your probation Trust was for five years running, but yet failed to make common cause with other trusts and probation leaders, then you bear responsibility – and that is different to the responsibility of the rank and file, especially those union members who ignored the call to strike. Anyone who colluded with TR deserve all they get. But the rank and file are not the probation leaders.

      Had so-called probation leaders stood shoulder to shoulder with Joe Kuipers, it would have had our democratic government reeling. There is was never any shortage of leaders, only leadership was in short supply. But now we will get tons of leadership as they champion the new TR order, and jockey for favour with their potential paymasters in the private sector. They won't believe in it, but they will still seek to seduce with their stick on smiles – and they will sack you if you get in their way.

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    7. You do a lot of asking and answering your own questions above, no one mentioned being 'being beastly to Nick', he's an adult and can handle himself. I object to your painting him an enthusiastic supporter of TR which listening to him for the last year, he clearly is not. If we could recombine the service he would be first in the queue. All you say is fine and I agree we need to continue to resist as we can, but stay in the real world about what people are actually able to do.

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    8. acta virum probant

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    9. He who pays the piper calls the tune.......next!

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    10. It's perfectly normal to protect a senior colleague when justified. Difficult to protect them from criticism when the defection is so public and affects so many staff.

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    11. The real world. How many times was that phrase trotted out when the lean, mean Trusts were justifying cuts to conditions of service.

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  3. I have a caseload of 60 as a PO in a CRC. 50 of them are DV cases, problem is when you have a caseload of very similar cases in terms of risk dynamics how do you see the natural priorities and thereby prioritise your work. This naturally emerging risk picture was always a feature of the 'old' mixed caseloads. This idea that PO's in CRC's will take all the DV cases is stupid for this reason and because PSO colleagues are equally capable of doing it.

    Also, is anyone really surpised that PbR & under 12 month cases are being backed off from? It was only ever a Machiavellian tactic to get TR thru the scant scrutiny it got. Time to wake up and smell the coffee folks. We have been turned over by a set of highly skilled con men. An alliance of spiv capitalists and their friends in Shitehall whose aim is to do away with the concept of a publicly owned state carrying out acts in service of the public. It's been a perfect storm of apathy & disinterest on the part of the public and the media and a govt cashing in on its' ability to divide and conquer by making people fearful by engineering a financial 'crisis' that can be used to drive through their ideological vision.

    The Tories took away a well performing and skilled public service and the public do not bat an eye? We have been cowed. In the same month that we recognise the amazing efforts of the allies in June 1944 the government announced it was slashing 16 Air Assault Brigade - not a flicker? Household incomes still bump along the bottom and the top 1000 earners in the UK see their wealth treble....nothing? Not a murmur.

    The shame of it is beyond comprehension. At least the Turks got up and did something. Bravo to them.

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    1. Absolutely! Well said.

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  4. Please keep us posted ref the client who is taking his/her Order back to court as they don t want to be supervised by a private company. I think this is a really interesting turn of events. It wouldn't be the first time that a legal challenge by a client derails a change of practice (viz a viz attempt to reduce number of lifer hearings with paper reviews).
    Deb

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    1. Grayling unwittingly has created a new defence for any offender looking at a sentence of 12 months and under who have already served a sentence.
      He promised supervision and support for all offenders leaving custody. If he fails to now provide it, then the next time joe bloggs is before the magistrate his defence must be
      "I left prison last time with only £46 in my pocket and wasn't given the support that the state said I should have and would get".
      Maybe theres a legal challange there too?

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  5. George Osborne says the economy is booming and things are great-surely he cant be wrong??

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  6. Slaney Street News is a new media cooperative that covers real local news; I'm popping in to Birmingham today and I'm going to have chat with them. There are media cooperatives popping up in several big towns can I suggest that others have little chats too

    http://www.redpepper.org.uk/slaney-street-birminghams-new-co-operative-media-project/

    papa

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    1. Slaney Street is a new Birmingham-based co-operative media organisation. Initially starting as a modest blog last year, it has just held its official founding conference and is gearing up for its fourth print edition to be distributed free across the city.

      It aims to uncover the stories that go unreported by mainstream news corporations and correct the institutional racism and classism inherent in publications like the Birmingham Mail. Its mission statement is to ‘inform and educate’ and ‘move people to action’. The editorial board is keen to promote the voices of those involved in struggles which don't often reach the pages of the Mail.

      We distribute the papers for free across the city, not only because we are keen to move away from the caricature of the left-wing newspaper as a niche thing touted at the doors of conferences to people who are already involved, but because we believe our membership-supported funding model gives people ownership of the organisation. Instead of a consumer relationship, the news is free but people pay membership dues to support the organisation itself.

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  7. What I am particularly worried about is how the spin on the TR is being used. So much of the information used at the moment for CRC/NPS quotes from the previous Trusts ....this is not the same ...it is not correct to say that the Trust did this well so CRC is also going to go well . The whole PR is built on lies and untruths and is now perpetuated by the new companies/MoJ. I wonder how the CRC/NPS will address this issue as they troop off to partnership meetings sat next to each other spouting off how they will be close/joined up/intuative ....what tosh!

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  8. If I am anonymous or have a twitter name that does not identify me HOW will I bring the service into disrepute?
    The MOJ/ NOMS are bullies , remember that it has been an issue on their staff survey responses.

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  9. I've been warned and told you are a civil servant now. Whatever that means and also that someone has spoken to my spo about my Facebook and twitter. Got to the point where I am wondering who I can or cannot trust

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  10. Don't worry we have always worked under these unspoken rules, because its presented in a document staff are making a big deal about it. It will soon die down. Anyway my colleague from NPS said there was nothing to sign just read the secrets act. Have staff forgotten that our trusts have always been harping on about social media.

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  11. Actually when I joined probation training in 1979 you had to sign official secrets act, lasts forever I'm told

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    1. I signed it to in 1984 and am now in CRC so the same rules will apply to me, come on NPS staff I keep repeating it, we have been working under this rule ever since I and Probationrelic started the service concentrate on how to topple TR. All this bullshit about civil servants and secrets act who do you think we worked for in the Trust, the Government nuf said.

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    2. You do not have to physically sign the Official Secrets Act as you are subject to it in respect of certain occupations and places you work in or have worked in. Yes it does last forever. No anecdotes about prison placements allowed.

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    3. The OSA is pretty commonplace: I first came under its provisions at age 17, doing Christmas casual delivery work for the Post Office in the mid 70s. Senior managers getting all excited by it, as if they were becoming Austin Powers, merely reflects their paucity of life experience.

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  12. I would say then if you don't sign anything there is no come back?

    Its the double speak , suggestive but not directive language that gets me .....you might not want to talk about work on your social media.....bollox!
    I want to talk about the shit hole that has developed through this governments seedy, corrupt and incompetent tenure , they have f**ked us over and try to bully us because they changed us into something we didn't want to be a civil servant ....Watching the 70 year D Day coverage made me think of how people stood up and were counted in that previous generation...we have become wage slaves to the state and we will rot in our own squaller

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  13. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2650447/Paedophile-phoned-victim-jail-released-five-life-sentences-Ministry-Justice-mistake.html

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  14. Couldn't agree with you more, if we had stood up as a cohesive group instead of individuals fighting, this would have been overturned by now just by man power. Its not like other professions such as teachers/doctors/nurse etc. where they have a pool of workers we are a small organisation and there's not many spare PO's out there. If we resisted we would have won and we still can EVERYONE GET ON BOARD NOW.

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    1. I am 7th June 12;51. I've not signed anything or read anything. I'm not giving up figting. I will just have anonymise twitter when I figure out how. Keep my head down at work, while silently plotting

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  15. So the police asked me the other day if they can still share information with me now that I work for a limited company. I didn't have an answer for them apart from "I don't know".

    It's got me thinking more about limited companies. As the holder of the 'golden share' can the Secretary of State be found personally liable when a CRC is found guilty of wrongful or fraudulent trading? I'm thinking the answer is yes.

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    1. Corporate manslaughter? A very real possibility.

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    2. The Police would have good grounds not to share (although the CRC is a company currently in government ownership) as this information could in turn be passed on to commercial companies that may misuse it and sell it to others. However the government itself is selling off its records and databases.

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    3. Surely the issue in multi agency work is who claims the reward? If there is a range of stat , non stat and business entities involved and the business is rewarded for it's effort and the others are not!
      How long before the bon ami and mutual respect disappears into the etha?

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    4. Thats why PbR has gone out the window.

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  16. Off topic, but interesting to see just how well 'corpirate renewal' is going.

    http://in.mobile.reuters.com/article/idINKBN0EI0MX20140607?irpc=932

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    1. http://www.insidetime.co.uk/mailbag.asp?a=1526&c=hmp_oakwood_on_the_verge_of_disaster

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    2. I am writing to Inside Time as I feel someone should know about massive problems at HMP Oakwood. I have a relative who is serving a life sentence and has been for a number of years. He re-located to Oakwood because it made it easier for his family to visit. We have been a few times and whilst the prison is very impressive there are serious problems with the lack of regime and staff morale.
      There are more and more inmates coming on a daily basis. I am getting regular feedback that there are drugs being brought in and smoked on the wings in full view of the staff. The smell apparently is so bad that those who have no desire to partake in drugs are suffering with headaches. Tensions are beginning to run high amongst the inmates because of the lack of a regime, very poorly trained staff who have no idea what to do.
      Food runs out and some inmates don't get fed. A lot of the inmates don't want to go to the gym because there is hardly anything there, it is not being run properly and people are now fearful of a riot erupting. I have been told that "it is a ticking time bomb" waiting to go off. A lot of the long term prisoners are frustrated and missing the HMP regime. The staff are ill equipped to deal with the situation and would appear to be giving in to demands of prisoners instead of setting down a regime and sticking to it.
      This really is no surprise given G4S are running the place and after the Olympics fiasco. They are well out of their depth and even the so called "governors" don't know what they are doing. The long term inmates have tried to help them set some things in place but it would seem these are falling on deaf ears. No-one knows what a sentence plan is for each individual, some are being denied access to their children even though there were no previous issues in this respect. There are no workshops in place and I have now been told that 100 staff have resigned this week! That clearly says it all. None of the staff have any HMP experience. Some I am told are tiny and weigh nothing and wouldn't stand a chance if they got attacked. Some previous occupations of staff are things like primary school teachers and sales reps.
      Many inmates are now requesting to move back to publicly run prisons, these are mainly long termers who are not interested in the "luxury" lifestyle Oakwood can give them. They want to continue to complete their sentences and go through the criteria they need to gain their town visits and eventually open conditions but there is nothing in place for any of these goals at Oakwood.
      I am writing separate letters to David Cameron and the Home Office and will copy in G4S as well about this but felt that you also need to be aware of what is going on. Morale is very low and the place will erupt into violence. Someone will get killed for sure. If things do not start improving in a fortnight I will start writing to every newspaper in the country to report this.
      This is a warning to take action now before it is too late.

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    3. LONDON (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates has sold his entire stake in G4S Plc, the British security firm trying to bounce back from a series of scandals that have hurt its reputation and profits.

      Cascade Investment, a firm owned by Bill Gates that manages assets exclusively for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, had last June disclosed a stake in G4S, when its holding crossed the 3 percent threshold for the first time.

      A filing on May 28 showed the holding was reduced below 3 percent, and a spokesman for the Gates Foundation told Reuters on Saturday it no longer held any interest in G4S.

      G4S declined comment.

      G4S, which runs services such as cash transportation and prison management in more than 125 countries, is in the middle of overhauling its sprawling business, shaking up management, cutting costs, improving customer service and restructuring weak divisions to help revive its fortunes.

      Having failed to provide enough security guards for the London 2012 Olympics, G4S suffered another scandal last July when, alongside rival Serco Group Plc, it was banned from new UK government work after being found to have charged for monitoring criminals who were dead, in prison or not tagged at all.

      On Thursday G4S's own security guards ejected protesters from its annual shareholders' meeting, after they criticised the company's work in Israel, where it provides security at prisons and occupied Palestinian territories.

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  17. some people are hoping the 2 week of TR is better than the 1st. I don't, I hope it's still a pile of crap and that that Delius is still down - this gives us ammo to fight our cause.

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  18. I very much doubt that is going to be the case. If you look at how much you FAILED to get done in the first week due to your excessive caseload, it stands to reason that this is going to double next week!!

    I'm dreading Monday, but at the same time have a perverse sense of anticipation when I fail to get done twice as much then go to my MM and say 'don't say you weren't warned'.

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  19. A very stressful first week - Delius issues, unable to take cases back to court because those who know it all seem to have forgotten that the Unpaid work staff (CRC) need access to do our job - hence deleted the most important part on the system, so spent most of the week just swearing. Left work stressed, went home and cried - how did it all come to this. In my opinion it feels like the Unions only started kicking butt when the Probation side came into it, CP has always been the poor relation and i cannot see any improvement - i actually felt suicidal this weekend, i need a job, but dont know if my health can take anymore of this stress!

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    1. Please talk to your manager, talk to a colleague, talk to a friend or family, if you don't feel like you can then talk to Samaritans on 08457909090 or e-mail them at jo@samaritans.org don't try to deal with it alone. You're not alone and we care x

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    2. Also talk to your doctor. The anti-depressants I'm taking are really helping. Stay with us friend, CP is appreciated and a very tough job indeed.

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    3. I echo what my two colleagues have said. Please please please speak to your GP. This job is not worth the stress that it is causing you and by extension your family. It's these who you need to think of. If you are feeling the same tomorrow I beg of you to phone in sick.

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    4. I hope you don't mind me saying but please don't suffer in silence. We can all do something about it. Speak to ur manager, colleague, friend or see the Doctor. Take some time off work. Nothing wrong with looking after yourself. I appreciates it's difficult but more so if you think you are alone. Trust me you are not alone. We are all struggling but very important that we support each other during these difficult times. we are all with you my friend.

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    5. I am so sorry that this TR shyte has made someone feel so low, my heart goes out to you. Grayling take note, your master plan is impacting in ways you couldn't imagine B*stard.

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    6. I am very sorry to read all the comments. I got early retirement in 2006. My health was beginning to suffer and I count myself lucky to have got out when I did. Stress is real and awful. You don't see it as clearly as those around you do. So talk to friends and family. Talk to your GP. Get time off sick. It's no shame on you if the madness of the present Government is wrecking a perfectly good organisation. My thoughts are with you.

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  20. There was a strange surge of evangelical fervour towards the end of last week, with a series of new appointments and shiny suits singing the praises of the CRC. Colleagues seem determined to make something work for their clients, despite the almighty fuck-up that this split has generated. Admin staff are on their knees. As always there are those collaborators eager to pocket extra cash and work extra hours/days on offer, but I guess we have to accept they are making a choice. Not everyone is against TR, and many don't give a crap either way - not if there's a few quid on offer.

    I am also dreading next week, and the week after, and the week after that, etc. Pay me off and let some new eager body fill my chair before I'm found lifelessly slumped over my keyboard.

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    1. The only person shouting loud about the CRC is the senior clerical officer I think they are called DAM's, she keeps spouting on about more opportunities, when I ask her what these are she can't answer me. Case closed

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  21. I am trying to find a place in my mind where this does not matter as much, but I can't. I am trying to rationalise this in terms of just turn up and do what you have to do, just do your job... because that is what I get paid to do. Sadly, no-one seems able to tell me what my job is any more.
    I am so affected by the changes but also by working within such a stressed team with one colleague swearing all the time, another just shouting and railing against the injustice of this. It just dreadful for us all. Part of who I am is to try to help others and I am becoming worn out because colleagues need me (including a very stressed manager) and I need them - this takes all of our energy, there is so little left to give clients however hard we are trying.
    I took some time off to try to recharge my batteries but now just feel fearful of returning. I have never told a client to "pull yourself together" but am trying this one on myself now! This was so much more than a job it was a wonderful vocation and it has been just destroyed.
    Sorry for moaning but it has helped me to just say this here where I cannot be accused of bringing my employer into disrepute... So let's gather ourselves and try to have have a good week!!

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  22. I refuse to 'gather myself to try to have good week'. It is as it is.......awful!!!!!!
    I will do what I can do without ruining my health or promoting an unrealistic view of what can be done.

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