Sunday, 29 June 2014

TR Week Four

Just found this useful blog (no time to suss it out at work. . .) and have now for the first time in 18 yrs in Probation been forced to take l/t sick leave due long-term stress and anxiety about the farcical 'sift' process which landed me in the CRC and the fact that I feel wholly deprofessionalised, marginalised, thoroughly shat upon by the former Trust and MoJ, and the worst I've ever felt over 30yrs + at work in my life. 

No-one who isn't in the CRC appears to understand how totally demeaning this is for qualified PO's, although some NPS [former] colleagues appear to have rather more insight and sympathy than others. Sorry if this sounds very pathetic and 'poor me', but it's a good opportunity to get it off my chest. Each day brings fresh scandal about the TR joke. The entire process has got to be illegal, surely??

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2 offenders details merged into one OASys...interesting....

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Paperwork is being lost between CRC & NPS. We still work in the same building. Imagine what it will be like when we don't!!

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So many people now involved in simple processes mean mistakes are being made. Some pre sentence reports are being allocated twice!

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More TR issues. Clients just reporting in following court. No info on systems. Nobody knows who they are seeing. We look stupid.

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The duplication of work that TR causes is unbelievable. 3 admin & 4 managers allocate work in my office now. Pre TR, this was 2 people!
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More staff leaving, extra pressure on the rest of us trying to keep things afloat, wondering who'd be crazy enough to join this sinking ship

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After 30 years in the service I desperately want to leave, I hate my job and am worried about people of my age who are not quite retirement age and no one else wants them due to being 50+. I don't know which way to turn and what else I can do this is the only job I've done since I was 21. Grayling and delius are very high risk and dangerous and nothing is getting in the way of their destruction, this can't be right, there must be someone out there with some common sense who can put a stop to all this shyte.

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This whole debacle is a disgrace. It takes a special kind of incompetence and malice to take a gold award winning service and turn it into the shambles we are now witness to, and all right under the nose of Parliament. A stunning achievement. I don't think it could have been more poorly managed if they had INTENDED to do it badly. And all this BEFORE the amateurs get their hands on the service. 

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In my area staff are fleeing the NPS, either leaving the service entirely or jumping ship for the CRC. It comes to something when the prospect of not knowing who your employer is or even how long you're likely to have a job for, is better than being a civil servant under Grayling.

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CRC allocation makes frightening reading: all but a few tier 4 cases can be managed by PSO.
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Probation staff don't want to hear hollow words & false promises. We want to be heard. This dam TR is a nightmare. Someone wake me up!!!

55 comments:

  1. In the CRC in our office we are doing office duty either once or twice a week depending on the rota, as a whole team it used be once every 2 months. Seeing on average about 10-12 clients, can't put some delius entries in due to the split on delius. THIS IS NOT WORKING. I am left feeling exhausted having to stay late at work to catch up with my own work, soon people will be going off sick due to this utter bollocks. The quality of work is crap, PSR are a joke and my SPO tried to allocate me a PSO caseload after a member of staff left. Is there any need for PO's in the CRC.

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  2. in our CRC POs still manage all T4, DV, CP cases etc, there is already talk of reducing PPOs down to T3, which im assuming would allow PSOs to work with them. Do you think that the companies that take over will allow PSOs to work with all CRC cases in order to cut costs?

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    1. My view (which has no basis in fact whatsoever); is that as soon as bidders realise the level of involvement CRC PO's have in Child Protection cases they will insist that these are allocated to the NPS. They won't want any risk of being named in a Serious Case Review. As for Domestic Violence, I can see these being hived off to a specialist unit. In our area Barnado's have run a voluntary Domestic Violence Perpetrators Programme for years. If I was a bidder, I would send all the DV cases there and get rid of the nasty 'what do we do with the CRC PO's?' problem. Prophet of Doom? Yes. But this is surely to be the likely reality.

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    2. We are the same, I have the same caseload as I did before the split plus doing 2 office duties a week and mopping up NPS reports and work that they cannot manage, never mind band 4 they should give me band 5. I have a feeling that they will use us and then like lambs to the slaughter get rid of us.

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    3. POs in our CRC are working with the same kind of cases as the PSO but they tend to be getting the ones that need pre-group work programme stuff doing - besides that there is nothing significantly different to the caseload of a PSO.
      I can see in the future there will be no need for them purely based on cost.

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    4. I am confused about the continued use of Tiering, as a risk measurement or allocation tool. I thought the RSR was to replace all that. It is also my recollection that PPO's were artificially tiered as T4, to reflect, not risk but the amount of work involved, so as to accurately be reflected in the workload measurement scale. Why are PO's in the CRC's "mopping up" - this gives the impression that things are unchanged and working normally...please stop it!

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  3. I may be wrong about this, but I thought terms and conditions does not restrict even the current CRCs carrying out a job evaluation and look to reduce costs. They can then claim the previous Band 4 pay is no longer applicable as CRC does not carry out Band 4 work. If that were to be the case, they can have the knowledge/skills of Band 4 but at Band 3 pay.

    Just to add, I've also been sifted into CRC.

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    1. Check pay slips carefully for errors & unauthorised deductions.

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  4. Probation officers from Austraila at twice the cost?
    Now this in the prison service.
    Where's the savings?

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28078857

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    1. Remember, that nice Mr Grayling said that TR isn't all about saving money - except when he tells the Treasury that it is. No, it's about diverting public money to private sector interests. How long before this 'reserve army' of prison officers gets sold off to Capita?

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    2. The government is planning to set up a reserve force of prison officers for England and Wales, the BBC has learned.

      The initiative was described by the Ministry of Justice as the HM Prison Service Reserve, in a letter sent to ex-prison officers to gauge interest.

      Those who sign up could be called in on short-term contracts from August.

      The MoJ explained in the letter the move would help it respond to short-term demands, such as a rise in inmate numbers or "operational pressures".

      One prison officer who received the letter told the BBC: "The reason for this 'reserve force' being considered is the critical shortage of prison officers in prisons up and down the country."

      It comes after the government last month ordered dozens of already full jails to take more inmates because the jail population - which stands at 85,410 - was growing faster than expected.

      The MoJ is yet to officially comment on the reserve scheme.

      'Zero-hours contract'
      The former prison officer said the terms of one of the offers was "almost a zero-hours contract".

      It is understood the letter is being sent to prison officers who took the voluntary early departure scheme (VEDS) or retired when a number of jails closed recently.

      The ex-officer said there were concerns workers would have to return some of their lump sum payment from VEDS or their pension before they could take up the employment.

      The letter acknowledges any ex-officer who joins the reserve may find it has an impact on their pension.

      It is understood a number of former officers have rejected the offer.

      Forty prisons in England and Wales have been told to raise their "operational capacity" at a time when most prisons are running at full capacity or are overcrowded.

      It follows the closure of 16 prisons in the past four years, with a number of them closed at short notice.

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    3. How long before they start a similar scheme for redundant CRC PO's to prop up overworked, overwhelmed and stressed NPS PO's?

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  5. Off topic but worth noting.
    Hewlett Packard, who are paid £140m a month by whitehall have just paid a fourtune in the states for dodgy dealings, and the UKs serious fraud office have just launched an inquiry.
    Surely with all the 'crooks' the government are dealing with there must be a case for a charge of conspiracy?

    http://m.gurufocus.com/news_read.php?id=266008

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    1. the majority of our offenders are more trustworthy than the govt and the big companies wanting to take us over.

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    2. Interesting little article this -awards for contributing to offender services.

      http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/northdurham/durham/11307905.Awards_for_people_who_work_with_offenders/

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    3. The Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) has settled three lawsuits brought on by its shareholders over allegations of malpractices in its disastrous $11 billion buyout of British enterprise software maker, Autonomy Corporation, in 2011.

      The clause of the lawsuit calls for sweeping changes to HP’s governance structure to prevent such an episode from happening again, and asked the company to pay for litigation expenses stemming from the lawsuits. The lawsuits and harsh criticism amid the Autonomy saga has also prompted an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who are looking at criminal aspects of the case. The UK's Serious Fraud Office has also launched a probe and the multi-national investigation into the matter is currently under progress.

      Autonomy entered administration in 2012 amid claims of accounting improprieties and falsifying performance metrics. HP took an $8.8 billion accounting charge and restructured the company noting that over $5 billion of Autonomy’s value had been misrepresented and inflated using fraudulent tactics.

      Sources report that HP has agreed to settle the cases with the shareholders’ attorneys in an out-of-court deal with the help of mediation. Under terms of the deal, shareholders will drop all charges against HP, its executives, board members, and CEO Meg Whitman. Furthermore, the settlement means shareholders will now work with the company to pursue charges against former executives of Autonomy, including former CEO Michael Lynch, and CFO Sushovan Hussain, among others.

      Following news of Autonomy’s collapse in 2012, shareholders moved to sue HP, claiming that the company had breached its fiduciary duties, wasting resources, and damaging the company’s financials. HP on the other hand is pointing towards Autonomy co-founder and its then-CEO Michael Lynch, who had orchestrated the deal. Lynch left the company in 2012, and has claimed no wrongdoing, attributing the Autonomy’s failure to HP’s own mismanagement following the acquisition.

      Private IT companies are being paid almost £5bn a year by the taxpayer to run Government computer networks. An analysis of contracts across Whitehall shows that the American computer giant Hewlett-Packard alone was paid £140m a month last year by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Ministry of Justice for computer services.

      The sums paid out to major international IT firms dwarf the £2.2bn paid to ‘outsourcing’ companies like Serco and G4S, who have been subjected to the most ferocious public criticism over their state contracts.

      The figures were uncovered by the Whitehall think-tank, the Institute for Government, and Spend Network, which aggregates raw Whitehall spending data to show which private companies are the biggest recipients of taxpayer largesse.

      Overall there are at least eight IT suppliers receiving more than £100m every year from a single government department, and at least 15 suppliers receiving more than £100m in annual revenues from multiple Government departments. The largest contractor – the American IT giant Hewlett-Packard – has contracts worth £1.7bn a year.

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    4. With all this money being paid out to them, they can't even sort out delius. I suppose its that bad that no amount of money could not sort it out.

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    5. How much is the State paying it's Police forces to investigate fraud in contracts the State has poorly managed? Is it factored into the cost of privatisation?

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  6. Just published in the FT.

    Bids due for £800m probation privatisation

    By Gill PlimmerPrivate companies are finalising bids for £800m a year in contracts to run UK probation services, one of the government’s most ambitious privatisations so far.The bids to take over around 80 per cent of the 107-year-old National Probation Service are due by Monday. The contractors will be responsible for supervising all the actions required by the courts, such as community orders, supervision or unpaid work, with rewards for cutting reoffending rates.The move to create a market in probation services on this scale is untested and will be closely watched worldwide.Although some US states and European countries have outsourced parts of their probation services – including Austria, for example, through Neustadt, a private not- for-profit organisation – this is the first time that core probation services have been privatised anywhere.Paul Senior, professor of criminology at Sheffield Hallam University, said the move was “unprecedented”. “Everywhere else the state has always retained oversight of the core services, so this model is completely untested,” he said.The process will be watched in Australia and in eastern Europe, where many countries are introducing probation services based on the old model used for England and Wales.Chris Grayling, justice secretary, started the process by turning 35 probation trusts into 21 community rehabilitation companies earlier this month. These will be sold off for £1 each later this year in preparation for the transfer of almost 10,000 staff, premises and resources to the winning private-sector contractors.A national probation service for high-risk offenders – including those with convictions for violence and sex crimes – will remain in state hands.Bidders for the main contracts are expected to include Sodexo, Interserve, MTC Amey, Capita and Sentinel Offender Services, a privately owned US company that runs some services in Georgia, the US.The bidders are expected to team up with smaller voluntary sector organisations, either as partners or subcontractors.Ministers say the “rehabilitation revolution” will raise standards in probation and reduce reoffending. Six out of 10 people who leave prison are reconvicted within two years, although probation unions dispute these figures.The MoJ is seeking £2bn cost savings across the department by 2014/ 2015 but hopes to reinvest savings on the probation contracts – estimated at around 30 per cent – into the service.It is extending the scope of the work to cover the 50,000 offenders who are sentenced to less than 12 months in jail and currently receive no supervision on release. This group has the highest reoffending rate, of 60 per cent within a year.The plans are going ahead despite fierce opposition from MPs and peers of all parties, who say they are being rushed through ahead of next year’s election. Both the Justice and the Public Accounts select committees have registered their concerns, while the National Audit Office has also warned of risks.Napo, the probation workers union, which strongly opposes the outsourcing, says staff – now divided between the new community rehabilitation companies and the national probation service – are struggling to cope.Napo says that computer failures with a new IT system have wiped thousands of offenders’ files, many staff have left leading to increasing vacancies, and morale is low.The 35 trusts were wound up on May 31 and the new system should be fully in place by the new year, just before the general election.Chris Grayling, justice secretary, said the coalition was tackling a problem that had “dogged successive governments for decades”.

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  7. just read comments from yesterday and saw serco cp and interserve are in same building. So are they working together now? Also how much do we know about the serco cp operation? Could be worthy of a blog post of its own as its the only private probation service currently running . would be good to know more.

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    1. it's all so murky - it goes against everything that as a probation member of staff I stand for. I am as honest as they come - I worry that I am going to be working for one of these companies and therefore if I stay I will be aiding and abetting shady dealings. I really think I will not be in the building much longer - desperately looking for the escape route. If only I didn't have a mortgage because that is all that is stopping me.

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    2. Some of us who read this blog are Serco staff and we are neither murky nor shady. I'm probation through and through. Who pays my salary didn't change that.
      There's just less of us that's all.

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    3. It doesn't alter the fact that it's still shady and murky corporate Serco that employs you.

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    4. EXACTLY !!!

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    5. Serco? G4S? Heres an interesting little read.


      http://www.fool.co.uk/investing/2014/06/27/are-serco-group-plc-and-g4s-plc-doomed/

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  8. Off Topic but in case anyone wonders what the future holds for our trust chairs and board members follwing TR, Well I would not wory too much as the chair of Northumbria Probation trust lesley Besant started work on the 1st April,the day after the demise of the trust, as the new chair of Tees Esk valley and Durham mental health trust .
    I can only add that if she fights as passionatly for the NHS as she did for the probation service then the already gloomy predictions for the future of the NHS just got a good deal worse. While I am sure the appointment was on merit I also have no doubt that steering a probation trust towards its wholesale demise, without lifting your head above the parapet to utter a whisper of public opposition also played its part in the appointment but then I am just an old cynic.

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    1. Thanks for that you old cynic you - makes you a perfect member of this club.

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    2. Not flagging up this article in the Mail, but theres a sentence in it that states that MAPPA is a serious offender probation agency- but not the police.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2673875/Outrage-Sidney-Cooke-gang-paedophile-raped-killed-boy-14-streets-months-jailed-letting-children-home.html

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    3. As if TEWE did not have enough problems!!!!!!! My daughter works for them and they are apparently that shit it would take TWO shit companies to even mirror them!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    4. TWEV , They are also in partnership with the ARCC DTV mutual,perhaps hoping for similar business!

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    5. I think that Daily Mail article has been rewritten - now no mention of MAPPA -

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    6. Yes indeed Andrew. The whole article now reads very different then when first published.

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  9. How much in total has now been written off by government on botched IT systems? Was it 90 odd million by DWP and now this by the MoJ.
    You couldn't make it and as always no-one is accountable.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/29/ministry-justice-56m-writeoff-it-project

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    1. The Ministry of Justice has written off £56m spent on an IT project after discovering it was late, over budget and duplicated by another department.

      Ministers decided to shelve the project, designed to save money on back-office functions, when they realised it was obsolete.

      "We wrote off the money because we discovered in 2012 that the Cabinet Office was planning to implement a similar scheme. We could not recoup some of the costs, such as staffing," a Ministry of Justice spokesperson admitted.

      The French firm Steria was one of three companies asked to set up a £116m programme to help run staffing, procurement and payroll services for 90,000 civil servants.

      But the project has run into a number of problems, official accounts disclose, and will be replaced by another, set up by a consortium to be headed by Steria.

      The writeoff – equivalent to about a quarter of the amount being cut from the legal aid budget – has infuriated union representatives, who say that once again a private company appears to have been rewarded for failure.

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    2. It will be the same following Privatisation. There will be a total fuck-up, jobs lost and people dead but private companies will pocket their money and walk away whilst Grayling et al will go 'nothing to do with me Guv'.

      I can see it now.

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    3. Growing up around the time much of the world moved on from black & white, I was always told "cheats never prosper", "honesty is the best policy", and "your lies will catch up with you". Seems my folks and their generation were wrong. Cheats seem to earn £200k weekly playing football; dishonesty is a key skill for most politicians; and lying seems to be the easiest truck in the book, and when found out the penalties are non-existent. Grayling is dishonest, a liar and a cheat. No matter how much evidence is forthcoming he seems to be untouched and untouchable. He cheated with his expenses, he has lied to Parliament and he's been persistently dishonest in selling TR to the bidders - that seems to be why they're pulling out. The only bidders who can handle the dishonest scam are those who are better at being dishonest, like Steria (see earlier post), G4S, Serco, Sodexo, et al.

      I'd like to think I'll die with my integrity intact, but it will probably be in abject poverty. That will no doubt make Grayling, Wright and the other greedy bastards laugh and snigger in their oversized, overheated mansions with big cars and second or third homes elsewhere. And that sums them up.

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    4. You will have your chance next year to remove these leaches.

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  10. Can we play "where are they now?" re-the ex-chairs and chiefs of Trusts?

    Northumbria have helpfully started the ball rolling...

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  11. Fairly quiet and settled in my office. I am CRC and we appear to have enough staff to cover. In the NPS...completely different matter. I was once royally miffed at being moved to the CRC...appears to have been a blessing in disguise. Their manager has made some noises about CRC Po's helping out completing PSR's...my noises in reply have sounded a lot like 'duck' and 'cough'....to my ears at least ;)

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    1. We'll I have been sifted to CRC and I have been directed to write PSRs. To say I am angry is an understatement. I am not good enough to be in NPS but hey use me in the meantime until I am made redundant.

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  12. Sorry to be off topic but can someone kindly tell me what RSR Tool stands for, what it is exactly and how it works. I've been reading the blog and want to get my head around new things that have been introduced by MOJ as part of TR omnishambles.

    Thank you in earnest for your replies.

    PS. John, any chance of you blogging on changes to probation practice post TR eg. ndelius, changes to oasys, different levels of access between CRC and NPs Officers.

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    1. I meant Jim, not John... Sorry, my bad.

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    2. Risk of Serious Recidivism (RSR) and case allocation (CAS) tools.

      To recap, RSR is an actuarial calculator devised by the MoJ to assess the risk that someone will commit a serious offence, using an algorithm to produce a score from basic info about their history. CAS is a separate form using the RSR score and other relevant risk information to decide whether a case goes to the NPS or CRC. Anyone getting an RSR score of 6.9% or above should be allocated to the NPS, and anyone below that to CRC unless the assessing officer can make a case that they pose a high risk of serious harm. There are other criteria such as MAPPA status (and, curiously, anyone subject to a deferred sentence automatically goes to the NPS).

      (NB the percentage varies according some say to supply and demand.)

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    3. Both use the old 'wet finger in the air trick' as a means of deciding which s whom and where :)

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    4. PPOs and any gun/knife nominals automatically go to NPS. I've no idea why the former go as most are at most med risk of harm & offending although admittedly require extra monitoring/interventions. The talk in the CRC is that NPS have kept PPOs as one way of justifying their existence as in my LDU they are grossly over-staffed.

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    5. Interesting.....in my area PPO cases are in the CRC.....different areas seem to be making their own rules to suit...Bobbyjoe

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    6. We need more examples of this.

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    7. Our PPO equivalents are held by a CRC IOM team but because some are high risk of harm as well as reoffending they include NPS cases. Solution? Lend a couple of NPS POs on an informal basis to the CRC. The POs in that team are rightly unhappy.

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    8. CRC holds PPO' in my area. I know as it's me and my colleague who manage them.
      Just ;)

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  13. Scanning the Internet about the Prison Officer 'Reserves' and noticed that there were a lot of assaults on Prison staff. It would be quite interesting to compare the reported stats from NOMS against those reported to the POA. I would guarantee there will be a significant discrepancy between them. One would almost think NOMS were hiding something.

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  14. MoJ staff expected to strike

    By Gill PlimmerCivil servants at the Ministry of Justice are expected to strike on Monday after being told they will transfer to the French IT company Steria this year, with the risk that a number of jobs will be taken offshore.In a move aimed at shrinking central government and cutting costs, about 900 MoJ staff running payroll, personnel and finance services are to be outsourced to a new joint venture called SSCL, which is majority-owned by Steria.In a Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) ballot last week 93 per cent – of a 47 per cent turnout – voted in favour of the strike.The government holds a 25 per cent stake in the joint venture, which is looking to establish an offshore centre for some of its services.The Cabinet Office argues that the move – part of a wider drive to reconfigure the civil service – will save taxpayers £600m a year.But it comes at a time when public sector outsourcing is in the spotlight after a series of botched government contracts, including the referral of Serco and G4S to the Serious Fraud Office for overcharging the MoJ on contracts providing electronic monitoring for offenders.Offshoring is doubly controversial because of the loss of jobs to Britain as well as concerns that commercially sensitive and personal information such as procurement and payrolls will be handled overseas.It also marks a U-turn in government policy after Chris Grayling, now justice secretary, told parliament in 2011 that he had intervened personally as employment minister to stop a plan by Hewlett-Packard to send jobs offshore on one of its Department of Work and Pensions contracts.Steria, which also provides back-office functions for hospitals and emergency services for the police, declined to comment other than to say it was pleased to have “been selected”. But a National Audit Report has confirmed that SSCL is looking to establish an offshore centre.Recently published MoJ accounts also showed that the department was forced to write off £56m on its own project to co-ordinate back-office services in-house, which included payments to Steria.The project was abandoned when the Cabinet Office developed its own plan to create five independent shared service centres to cover HR, payroll, procurement and finance across government departments.SSCL has won contracts to provide these services for the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Environment Agency. Meanwhile, Arvarto, a business processing provider, has been given the contract to run the Department for Transport’s shared service centre in Swansea.Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, said: “This shows again how private companies are raking it in on the backs of taxpayers and being rewarded for failure. This contract should now be cancelled and a proper in-house bid given serious consideration to prevent millions of pounds more of our money being squandered.”The MoJ said it would work with staff, trade unions and stakeholders but added: “We are committed to modernising the department’s administration services – creating a fit-for-purpose organisation which offers the best value for money to the public.”Steria employs 4,800 staff in the UK, 60 per cent of whom have transferred into Steria from other public sector and private organisations.

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    1. FFS this is probably why I had missing pay this month. Why is everything SO SHIT

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  15. Can we also have a competition for the siliest made-up name for a company of thieves, and its possible meaning?

    Sodexo - maybe self explanatory?
    Steria - without feeling?
    Crapita - shurely shome mishtake?

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  16. Last week it was 6 in as many days from Sudbury. Now this:-

    http://m.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/open-prison-hit-by-fifth-escape-in-just-six-weeks-as-burglar-goes-on-the-run-1-6700980

    And two have just been sentenced this week for a cash in transit robbery whilst one leave from Kirkham, one on homeleave the other on day release for work.
    But there is no problems with the prison system.

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    1. PRESSURE is growing on the Government to explain a rash of escapes from an open prison in South Yorkshire after a fifth offender absconded in just six weeks.

      Damian Pearson, sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail for burglary in 2013, escaped from HMP Hatfield in Doncaster at around 7am yesterday.

      The 24-year-old, who has links to the local area, is the fifth inmate to abscond from the category D open resettlement prison since the middle of May.

      Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, met with Prison Minister Jeremy Wright last week to question him about the flurry of escapes.

      She said local people were becoming increasingly concerned about security in the area.

      “When I met the Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright I impressed upon him that he has responsibility for making sure that, above all else, public safety is put first when people are put in these open establishments,” she said.

      She questioned whether this was a problem linked to overcrowding in other parts of the prison service but added: “Mr Wright assured me that is not the case but the truth is that we have had five prisoners go on the run in nearly as many weeks.

      “Yesterday a member of the public came up to me and said ‘my family and neighbours are really concerned about what is going on’.

      “We have had escapes where there are some prisoners with violence in their pasts. To the public, whether this is the case or not, if someone is on the run that doesn’t give them peace of mind. They are worried about their children and what might happen if they encounter one of these individuals.”

      A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Absconds have reached record lows under this Government – down 80 per cent over the last 10 years – but each and every incident is taken seriously.”

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