Tuesday, 10 June 2014

TR and Bidders

I'm not sure where the information came from regarding PbR turning into Fee for Service and the under 12 month service disappearing from the competition. I am a bidder and these factors are still very much in.

Great. So, how does it feel ordering a Rolls Royce but taking delivery of a Reliant Robin?

Without an engine???

Dear Bidder - those elements, according to Ms Romeo, are not at the forefront of current efforts. She stated in interview she wants to keep bidders interested by asking them how they want to be served their slice of the public pie - and PbR ain't top of that list. Then there was the ministerial tweet in response to Ms Vera Baird which placed u.12 month supervision on the back burner.

Don't know what you're bidding for, but the goods are very much damaged. The MoJ would be banned from ebay if they tried to sell goods by pretending they're something they're not. Its a toxic muddle of utter incompetence, blind faith, ideology, greed and sheer stupidity.

Steer clear - do you really want the blood of those who will inevitably be killed or take their own lives staining your balance sheet?

Dear Bidder

The PbR being dropped - see this interview in Civil Service World with Ms Romeo of MoJ 

.... "In fact, it sounds as if Romeo hasn’t yet made the final decisions on the risk within the payment-by-results mechanisms: it’s “being set through the competition”, she says, with the MoJ “asking people to tell us how much they’re prepared to put at risk, and what reduction in reoffending” they think they can achieve".

If the MoJ are telling you that all is well, then you are in for a shock. Caveat emptor.

Dear bidder your business sense must be in question if you want CRC. Staff have no motivation to make this work and if we did we couldn't because our jobs are so complex you can't just divide us and expect it to work. Week 2 post divide and we are at collapse stage, you will get a demoralised staff group who have no idea what their job is anymore. Please advise all the other bidders and don't listen to those high up you won't get the truth out of them. On a positive note I am pleased that you are reading this blog it will give you a more accurate picture of the shambles that we are in, No amount of money thrown at it will improve anything, you stand to loose not just your money but your reputation.

Shaw Trust reported to have withdrawn from bidding in the South West area today -seems they think that they can be more effective outside the CRCs.

Heard they have pulled out in the East also.

I'm not surprised that this TR has been a shambles. That's how they want it; a complete disaster. This will help when a new bidder comes in making sweeping changes to which staff will embrace with open arms and without any hesitation. Better something new then the shit we have now.

That's a really dumb analysis!! I get that they want to create success for the providers and there are easy wins that they have built into the process (e.g. taking all Corporate Support roles away from the NPS whilst putting the staff into the CRC = automatic savings when the redundancies come) but to make the service a disaster so the private sector can come and save the day is not where this all comes from. This debacle is the consequence not of Machiavellian connivance but of sheer unconscious incompetence. They thought they could do it but, because they didn't understand what 'it' was, the result is chaos..

No we won't embrace it, and I hope you don't too. Bidders be aware, that we are not interested.

I really don't think bidders care. They don't think they need us. The plan is to manage from afar, palming off our work to tier 2 and tier 3 providers. Haven't people read and / or understood the business plan?!?

Just to add... the problems they will face by doing this is breaches won't be dealt with well and risk escalation won't be noticed so SFOs will increase and eventually the work will be taken off them. The question is, how long will this take and what reputational damage will be caused in the mean time? Maybe we need to start lobbying tier 2 and 3 providers now. How about it Napo?!

Pointing out these risks to potential bidders is part of what Ian Lawrence from Napo has been doing. (See blog here).

The following are just for starters and we have already identified a series of more comprehensive questions that will be tailored by the initial responses that we receive, or not, as the case may be.

Are you clear on the industrial relations framework that you will be inheriting under the terms of the contract/staff transfer scheme and staff transfer and protections agreement, particularly in relation to:

Continuation of national collective bargaining
Recognition of existing probation trade unions
Application of national collective agreements to new starters
Voluntary severance

Are you pricing your bid with the above in mind?
Are you committed to avoidance of a two tier workforce in the CRC?
We will expect you to offer the LGPS to new starters – please confirm your position on this.
What plans have you got for sub-contracting?
What plans have you got for re-structuring the workforce, including voluntary redundancies?
Have you any plans to use zero-hours contracts in any part of your business?
How do you evidence your commitment to equality and diversity in employment and service delivery?
How will you avoid infringing the ILO convention on forced labour in delivering CP?
Do you recognise any other trade unions?

How are you going to work with a demoralised work force?
How can your staff deliver good risk assessments without shared information/access to information? 
Do you know what a Probation Officer does?


  1. Delius HQ & local it managers continue to tell us all is okay, that there are "workarounds" for problems. Documents still disappear at random, cases have been lost, historical data aint there. The lies and the spin are everywhere. How can a system that was NEVER 'fit for purpose' be okay? How can two of the most cumbersome pieces of cobbled-together software EVER be described as 'fit for purpose'? If you wanted to make shitloads of cash, stick a handful of existing programmes together with parcel tape and sticky-back plastic then give it a funny name and pretend you wrote it especially for your client. Want to write a report? How about you create a template OUTSIDE the designer software, then require that document to be 'downloaded' from your bespoke system every time its looked at, or edited, or printed, then 'uploaded' back into your fancy creation again. Oh, but it seems to have disappeard... And don't forget that all the hardware is leased and can only be touched by your engineers at £££outrageous rates.

    Then there's the tricky issue of estates management and the contracts with uber-expensive maintenance companies, e.g. 200 mile round trips to change a lightbulb.

    Bidder beware!!

    1. Delius? More like "Incubus" - it shafts you whilst you're sleepwalking your way to disaster.

    2. More Delius shit please! I feel an IT 'special' coming on.....

    3. n-Incubus - Grayling's wet dream.

    4. Incubus - American rock band from California?

    5. According to wikipedia:-

      An incubus (nominal form constructed from the Latin verb, incubo, incubare, or "to lie upon") is a demon in male form who, according to a number of mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have sexual intercourse with them. Its female counterpart is the succubus. An incubus may pursue sexual relations with a woman in order to father a child, as in the legend of Merlin. Religious tradition holds that repeated intercourse with an incubus or succubus may result in the deterioration of health, or even death.

    6. Jim, that description is somehow very prophetic!!

      IMO spending a long time with Delirious does lead to a significant decline in health.

  2. I think we need to focus on potential tier 2 and 3 providers - most of whom will be fairly pissed off that they were unable to bid for tier 1 status because of the capital investment required - and get them to sign up to an agreement not to bid for the work. Think of the boycott of community work placements. This needs to be done before Tier 1 contracts are signed as it will stop them in their tracks. It will also benefit tier 2 and 3 providers who might finally be heard and then have the opportunity to be part of a fairer process. Let's give tier 2 and 3 providers a better option and get them on side.

  3. Anyone know how much Sterile charge noms for their services to probation each year?

    1. From experience, any request to them normally takes about 5 days to resolve :)

      It took me two weeks to have the local college website unblocked. I just took my clients to the local library and looked there.

      I have vision of the 'helpline' being just one guy, in his bedroom, laughing like a sink at the thought of the profit he is making. Hopefully he'll spend some of it upgrading his ZX Spectrum!


    "DailySunday Politics ‏@daily_politics 6m

    "We're reporting very transparently on projects" says Francis Maude. "No gov't has ever done that before. What it does is drive improvement""


  5. Can anyone access this article in the FT?


    1. Richard Ford Home Correspondent
      Published at 12:01AM, June 10 2014

      Australians and New Zealanders are being targeted to be probation staff looking after offenders on pay of up to almost double the salary paid to officers born in England and Wales.

      The move follows a drop in the number of trained probation officers as a result of Government spending squeeze and a shake-up under which private sector firms and charities will oversee criminals.

      Probation officers leaders said the advert added insult to injury following years in which pay has been frozen and the uncertainties caused by Chris Grayling’s reforms.

      Ian Lawrence, general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers said: “This is an absolute insult to our members who are held in esteem by the rest of the world for their knowledge and skills”.

      He said if the Government had looked after their staff in the first place by giving them decent pay, the shortfall in officers would not exist.

      “This is just adding insult to injury to a staff group that is going through immense stress trying to deal with Grayling’s madcap so called reforms.”

      Sadiq Khan, shadow justice secretary, described the advert as a “desperate measure” to deal with problems in the probation service.

      The online advert, headed “Are you a Probation Officer from Australia or New Zealand”, outlined the job opportunities available in the probation system which it said was suffering from a scarcity of candidate with experience.

      It offered pay of £27 an hour or the equivalent of about £50,000 a year compared with between an estimated £28,000 -£35,000 for a fully trained UK born probation officer.

      The advert said several probation clients were interested in employing probation officers from Australian and New Zealand on an interim basis.

      “We are running a course in the next three months to place experienced probation officers from outside the UK who have a minimum of two years experience”, the advert by Criminal Justice Skills said.

      The Agency said the offer was open to Australians and New Zealanders currently residing in the UK. It promised to train candidates in the policies and procedures of the probation service and even the electronic system used by officers in England and Wales.

      Latest figures show a drop of almost 150 front line probation staff who oversee offenders between the last quarter of the financial year 2013/4 and the same period a year previously.

      There were 71 fewer probation services officers who handle low risk offenders and 77 fewer probation officers who monitor more serious and dangerous criminals including sex offenders, those convicted of domestic violence and offenders where there are child protection concerns.

      The Australians and New Zealanders are being offered opportunities to fill probation officer vacancies just as Mr Grayling’s major overhaul of overseeing offenders moves towards implementation.

      Thousand of probation officers will remain with a new national service overseeing the most dangerous offenders while the rest transfer to new community rehablilitation(sic) companies operated by the private, voluntary or charitable sectors.

      Probation officers in England and Wales must have two years training whilst their counterparts in New Zealand undergo just six weeks, the National Association of Probation Officers said.

      Labour’s shadow justice secretary said: “This is a desperate measure designed to shore up a probation system in chaos caused by Mr Grayling’s crazy privatisation. Taxpayers are being left with a big bill for his incompetence, and public safety is being put at risk”.

      Jeremy Wright, the prisons and probation minister, said:”Probation Trusts have always used temporary staff to fill vacancies where necessary - this is nothing new.

      He said around 400 people are currently training to be probation officers.http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/a ... 113934.ece

    2. Another bad day at the office!!!10 June 2014 at 17:17

      So let me get this right.. First we are shafted by the staff split, then shafted with office moves, then shafted with brand new cases, shafted with new (and shit) computer systems, shafted by trying, against all hope, to make it work, missing lunch, working late, early, backwards, forwards and sideways.

      And to put a fucking cherry on top of it, they go and hire someone else less qualified, on more money, and you have to fucking train them??


      Stick your fucking targets right up you MoJ/NOMS/NOS/CRC aresehole because this daft fucker has had just about enough!!
      I cannot believe the sheer gall, it's fucking breathtaking!!

      I'll tell you something right now, I'll not rest until this whole fucking debacle is all over the newspapers like a fucking pissing puppy!!


    3. Well put, I share your frustration, for the first time in my career which is a very long one I want to cry. I am no longer a probation officer but hold the qualification and can do the job they are farming out to less qualified and more expensive staff. Demoralisation does not even come into it. BASTARDS. The papers do need to know of these troubles, delirious has brought me to my knees, and then today seen the new recall paperwork, PO's being treated like PSO having to have our work ticked off by NPS staff, Fuck them.

    4. Extremely well explained mirroring my feelings. I wish we can stop all this.

  6. http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/north-east-justice-system-chaos-7241827

    1. The criminal justice system in the North East is in chaos because of an “ideologically driven” drive to privatise public services and a series of “botched and expensive re-organisations”, a peer has warned.

      Lord Beecham, the former leader of Newcastle City Council, hit out at the Government’s changes in a House of Lords debate.

      He highlighted the Journal’s report that there had been a massive increase in the number of people representing themselves in family law courts, thanks to cuts in legal aid - leading to lengthy delays.

      The proportion of North East parents attempting to make do without a lawyer in court has leapt from 34% to 53% of litigants since the removal of legal aid from family lawyers in April 2013. It means that proceedings are delayed as judges attempt to explain how the law works to parents.

      And local law firms warn that parents taking part in child custody cases, and other cases involving the welfare of children, are failing to explain their case properly to courts.

      Lord Beecham urged the Ministry of Justice to act. He said: “As many of us warned, the cuts in legal aid are having a serious effect on family and especially child-related proceedings.

      “The Journal newspaper reported on Saturday a rise of 61% in people representing themselves, with the predictable result of serious delays.”

      He also highlighted the riot in a North East prison which saw 50 inmates take over a wing at HMP Northumberland in March.

      One inmate has written to prisoners’ magazine Inside Time to claim the riot was down to frustration at staff shortages which had put a stop to some workshops.

      Lord Beecham pointed out that the prison, previously known as HMP Acklington, was run by a private contractor.

      He said: “Also in the North East we have had the experience of a prison riot at the newly privatised Acklington Prison where 130 staff left, about a third of the total.

      “The prison is now managed by Sodexo, one of those oligopolies assumed by the Government to be capable of running any public service.”

      And the Labour peer, who led Newcastle City Council from 1977 to 1994, attacked proposals to split up the probation service.

      Regional probation services will be replaced by a national service responsible for “high risk” offenders while private firms will run Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) which manage lower risk offenders.

      The Northumbria Branch of trade union Napo, which represents probation officers, had written to the Ministry of Justice to raise concerns about “job security, workload, increased management spans, reduced support from human resources and especially the transfer of cases and the split between risk categories,” he said.

      “They are worried about the risk to public safety as a result of the split and point to bureaucratic delays in transfers, with existing users being transferred and high risk offenders going to new officers.”

      And Lord Beecham warned that outsourcing of child protection services could cause further problems.

      He said: “The Government launched a consultation, lasting all of six weeks about plans to permit local authorities to outsource children’s social services to the likes of G4S and Serco.”

  7. This perpetual myth that NPs are supervising the most dangerous in Sunderland echo one so called Medium risk offender kills another medium risk offender, this is what private sector is getting into, it's not easy, it's not predicable and, it's not profitable. Don't listen to grayling the man hasn't a clue potential bidders at all levels walk away now

  8. Shared Services - more like 'Shared Disaster'. Staff data under the hierarchy lists is incorrect. POs graded as SPOs and numerous staff shown as being located in the wrong county - not even in their own NPS region. Shared Services suggest probation trusts may have sent in the incorrect data as opposed to them inputting it wrong! Please!! Trusts kinda know their staff based in Newcastle are not working in a London office!! Apparently incorrect grading will impact on wages!

  9. Have also heard that PbR no longer on the agenda nor the under 12 month custody. Bidders beware, lots of areas have the same information. Probation has been involved in a set up, the whole intention was to privatise the service for financial reasons, nothing about reducing offending or better service for clients. On the shop floor this is not working, I would like to see Chris Grayling stand up in front of a National Probation/Prison Service and tell us what is working, I think he would want the floor to swallow him up because we could then all tell him the truth. In fact I wish he could be swallowed up into a hole the stupid ignorant twat, and the even more ignorant stupid twat who gave him the job in the first place. OMG public safety in the hands of stupid twats !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. ...and don't forget Max Chambers (and the rest of the twats at Policy Exchange), who is now Special Adviser at the Number 10 policy unit!

  10. And now we have the proposal for massive fines for dropping litter. THEY CAN'T COLLECT THE ONES THEY ALREADY IMPOSE!!! Dumb policys from dumb policy makers. That is what angers me most. Intelligent capable people compromised by dumb policy makers making dumb policies. Decades of experience ditched overnight. What idiot thought that was in any way defensible. As a 24 year PO, I now have to be accompanied to Parole hearings by an NPS officer who qualifies this month. Insulting, infuriating but, most of all, dumb.

  11. They can't leave anything alone, can they? From 38Degrees:

    "The Land Registry has a 98% satisfaction rating with people who’ve used it. It’s also entirely self-financing, and passes its profits on in reduced fees. But the sell-off hasn’t hit the headlines, and many of us haven’t even heard about it."

  12. It's been said before and I'll say it again... most of the nasty surprises will come from the lower offender tiers. So far this year there have been three different incidents in the reception waiting area of my office and guess what?! The offenders responsible were all people who would be supervised by the CRC. Also, most SFOs come from this group. Why would a company decide to bid for a contract to manage such an unpredictable group of people when the reputational risk is so high and the rewards so uncertain?

    1. Totally agree, all my new cases risk assessed as low when should have been medium by court staff. Good job me as CRC did a thorough job and accurately assessed the risk. Phew!!!!!! Mr Grayling we are not the poor relatives of the NPS as you have labelled us. Government officials please get rid of this stupid ignorant twat!!!!!!!! Otherwise someone is going to be seriously hurt when this could have been avoided. That is why we have bee trained with evidence based practice in our heads. Apparently no longer needed???????