Monday, 14 July 2014

Manchester in Meltdown

The sun is out, schools will be breaking up next week and many probation staff will be looking forward to a well-earned break. As we head into week seven of the TR omnishambles, lets look at one area and see how things are going. Are those 'teething problems' the MoJ like to talk about getting sorted out?      

I have heard that Manchester are in critical meltdown. Managers are superficially attempting to cover up many unallocated cases by employing agency staff and allocating to them. This is being done in an attempt to cover their backs so that should an SFO occur they can say well the case was allocated you will need to interview the agency staff which they very well know they cannot because the agency staff has left and moved on. This is affecting both CRC & NPS.

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Manchester seem to have more agency staff at £27.00 per hour than permanent staff, they have probably used up next years budget. We are in crisis and going to work is unbearable. Managers are walking around looking pale. Why doesn't the Chief tell Grayling the truth and admit that they have got it wrong. They will not be able to cover this mess up for long, even agency staff are leaving due to stress. And for some forsaken reason they will not re-employ the CRC staff into NPS. I say let them rot for shitting on us. I hope it falls apart and soon. Our Chief has had no regard for her staff paving her own future, she will come to regret licking Graylings arse scrambling to get to the top without one single thought of what she was doing to her staff. And she will continue to lie so that she can look good, which is all that seems to matter to her.

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I am allocated to CRC in Manchester. I look around at my other colleagues and no one seems to have a clue about what's going on and how to sort this shit out. Managers seem completely overwhelmed with it all. If you ask a manager a question about risk...the response you get is frightening. 'don't know', 'have you looked it up on the policy', 'ring *** and they will know'. I have had one manager who said to me that child protection cases are the responsibility of social services. Was told 'just do the referral and pass it on'. Welcome to our new profession.

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In Manchester all CRC staff have been directed to continue to write PSR's, in fact most of us in CRC are still holding all our NPS cases that we had prior to the shafting. If we transferred them they will go unmanaged. We are not even being pressured into transferring them as there is no one to allocate them to. We are being pulled here, there and everywhere and cannot cope. Strangely, the split is not going to plan.

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In Manchester at this present moment, we will take anyone that can read and write to help us out.

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I work in Manchester and I know for a fact that in one office there are over 100 NPS cases unallocated and in another over 370 cases are shared by 3 and half staff. And most of us shafted into the CRC have yet to transfer all our cases. They are moving staff around, but where ever they take staff from that office then goes into meltdown. Why are higher management not sticking their necks out and saying STOP NO MORE we are going back to as we were because we're not coping. The CRISIS IS IMMEASURABLE ESPECIALLY ON THE STAFF. SOMEONE HAS GOT TO FACE UP TO THIS SHAMBLES.

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There is no massive pool of agency staff soon the Service will realise. One agency staff in our office said that she gets continuous texts and phone calls for work from all over the country. Agencies cannot cope with the demand. 2 of our agency staff in Manchester office have left due to not wanting to cope with the mounting stress and the effect it is having on their health. I don't know how we are going to cope. Staff are also being moved around at speed and without thought or warning, leaving caseloads behind unallocated. It is a monumental mess. Due to stress levels if staff go off sick we will have to close the office. WHAT AN EXCELLENT PLAN GRAYING, ITS REALLY WORKING.

If you work in Manchester, now's the opportunity to let the MoJ know how things are going. 

59 comments:

  1. Gloucestershire going down!
    NPS staff sickness rate is rising due to workload. Stressed out staff trying to manage case loads and extra PSR writing due to the split where about 60% of report writers were sifted into CRC.
    They are now talking about CRC staff covering PSRs.

    Also, I heard a rumour that all enhanced voluntary redundancy applications for support staff have been turned down!!! Not sure what to make of this - surely they can't need 3 different Finance, Estates or HR, Computer staff? The cynic in me thinks it could be a smart move by MoJ - offer the enhanced VR to ensure they collate and manage all the number crunching that was needed to set up this unholly mess. Still, a real kick in the teeth and I can't see how the applications could be refused.

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    1. Where I am CRC staff are already covering PSRs, it's lovely working in Manchester. NOT!

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    2. Take grievances out. If this is not recorded through process it's not happening as far as the MoJ is concerned

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  2. If it is really as these reports suggest, then isn't this an opportune moment to consider a further strike to manifest the discontent.

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  3. It is as we all predicted a mess of gigantic proportions...and the only fix, is to abandon TR and for the Government to plead with staff to return to normal practice - that being excellent, organised, ordered, timely, high quality, positive, diverse, engaging, successful and structured, incorporating well defined professionals roles and responsibilities, and a workforce driven to enhance the public good.

    I might have had a little respect for CG sticking to his guns, if in any part of the TR ominshambles, something was working well or notably improved on previous practice...actually emerged. The likelihood of any of that NIL. Even his own arguments, saving money, reduced bureaucracy, less time at PC and supervising the under 12 months is nothing short of a cruel joke and the Privateers who saw a cash cow, now see nothing but misery, collapse and generating a profit - impossible; I am more likely to be named as Pope or the Manager of Germany FC tomorrow!

    I feel for colleagues in Manchester - all around me, who are struggling and I really don't see a strike as being promoted, let alone happen. As so many people have said, the membership have never been sufficiently militant to force a change in Government Policy, and frankly the Government know it; so they are not exactly running scared. Sadly, it will take something from CG's end to disintegrate to get them to look again, assuming they actually looked the first time. I doubt Dave is brave enough to pass this poisoned chalice to another minister, not whilst IDS is the one in the limelight, and so the re-shuffle probably offers us nowt.

    It is by all accounts becoming unbearable for some staff and therefore, I fear all the more for our client group, and by default the general public. Presently, I am guilty of trying to get on with it, but I also take every opportunity to inform my MP and anyone else who might listen, as to impending doom.

    Something I would appreciate is if colleagues, already retired, some with enhanced early retirement, would not do PSR's cover for Programmes, Training, and or shifts at AP's....it's not helpful.

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    1. There are many who are working hard to keep the sinking ships afloat and will not be thanked. Each one is Chris Graylings little helper and wasting their time propping up a corrupt system devised by a morally deficient government.

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  4. A number of offices in West Mercia can't make outgoing calls. Rumour is that phone bill has not been paid!

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    1. 2nd day of no phones might I add.

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    2. Have you tried smoke signals?? Works for me. I normally throw a car tyre on if I want to spell something out in bold.

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    3. Contact local press. Complain in writing.

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  5. West Mercia has really poor management, no diversity to speak of, perhaps one black face in each office and lends no support to staff. Please don't get me started about West Mercia!

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  6. Derby is short staffed and feel abandoned by management

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  7. Working my socks of - come in early to do a report and have been blocked out my computer. Short staffed and fed up

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  8. My area which shall remain nameless appears to have very few problems, cases are being allocated and caseloads are manageable. All CRC/NPS cases have been transferred and management appear to know what they are doing.

    *wakes up*

    Oh, sorry, that was a dream and the total opposite is true...or I am still asleep and having a nightmare???

    According to the Guido Fawkes Blog the reshuffle has begun!!!

    It's the Night of the Long Knives Pt. II.

    Many analogies about re-arranging deckchairs....appears about right.

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  9. Branch reps and chairs will no doubt be lodging all the concerns listed above and at the least informing CEOs of their branch and union position on the record.
    In my area the pleading has started to deliver target, similar to many posters are reporting.

    I am not anon so cannot say anything that will cause controversy in argument. There is a meeting In London on Wednesday we wait to hear where this will direct us.

    Let us Hope CG is out on his ear tonight ! If he goes perhaps we can attack this 0.5 facility time nonsense and the minute counting of all reps another grayling burden perhaps he will write a book on his time so we can ban it !
    Dino

    Dino

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  10. Sentinel Offender Services are one of the bidders in the West Mercia and Warwickshire CRC area. They were among a number of companies featured in an excellent article in the New Yorker magazine issue of 13 June 2014 written by Sarah Stillman. These companies have contracts with state authorities and courts to provide 'alternatives to custody' which consists of supervising and enforcing court penalties for offences such as theft of a bottle of beer. The neat trick here though is that the supervisee pays a fee to the supervisor for the privilege of being subject to supervision (usually coupled with an electronic tag). Offenders often accumulate huge arrears of unpaid fees to the company, often imposed for late payment.Eventually offenders are returned to court and subsequently to custody. Interestingly, these companies continue to collect fees far beyond the termination date of the original court order. For more information about this lot see:http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/16/georgia-probation-private-contractors-court-protection. They have also been before the Georgia civil courts and ordered to repay hundreds of offenders for whom the company no longer had jurisdiction but whom they continued to collect money from. I recall reading a previous post on this site to the effect that Sentinel were as bad or worse than G4S or Serco. Others would concur: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/09/24/2666401/private-probation-firm-illegally-extended-sentences-judge-finds/. This is what the government has described as the 'best in business' pitching for probation work in the UK.

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  11. Whoops, sorry as I should have apologised for introducing an unrelated thread. Didn't know how else to get this bit of information into the blog.

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    1. No problem - all useful threads welcome as always. I think Sue Hall flagged this outfit up during her infamous speech in Cambridge recently.

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  12. As someone who is working flat out in Manchester the idea of the mutual with Sodexo will not be a mutual but a full takeover by Sodexo. The management who are puppets of the profit making machinery are full steam ahead. I worry about myself and my colleagues as we know very well, that at the end of the day we will not be working in probation but for Sodexo. If Sodexo think this is going to be easy they need to think again. We fully intend to expose and leak info to media of as many issues as possible.

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    1. As one commentator put it 'All over the papers like a f*cking pissing puppy'.

      I love that saying :)

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    2. I hope someone does expose it or else you know its business as normal, and you know Manchester they can't wait to get first in the cue to anything for Grayling. I fear for all those in Manchester Probation both CRC and NPS, I have never in the 24 years of working for them seen such chaos and distress.

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    3. I thought Manchester had a bit more fight in them but compared to some other areas they seem to have lost their mojo You don't have to put up with it. Down tools and refuse to log in.

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  13. No whispers that Grayling's going yet :((

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    1. What I have heard is that they are going to rip his balls off, paint eyes on them, stitch them onto a fucking sock puppet and use that as the new Minister as it will be of more fucking use!!!

      I may have misheard though :)

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  14. Spectator live blog about half hour ago "But I am told that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who is on the parliamentary estate, is not here to see the Prime Minister and so presumably isn’t moving." SHIT ON IT !!!!!

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  15. Just South of Manchester it seems to all be going well - with this in a Tweet: -

    " DLNR CRC Probation ‏@DLNR_CRC_Prob 5m

    DLNR #CRC are piloting 'choice of office' scheme, aiming to maximise benefits of new regional structure for #probation service users "

    https://twitter.com/DLNR_CRC_Prob/status/488760687284715520

    DLNR = Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

    Maybe someone on the inside will tell us more - hopefully they are linking up well with the NPS folk there as well??

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    1. I work in the DLNR CRC & know nothing about this......Bobbyjoe

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  16. I wonder what the Manchester Evening News would make of this IF, and it's a big IF, I 'phone them tomorrow and tip them off about this blog?

    I would imagine that some questions would be asked.

    At a VERY wild guess I would say that their newsroom number is 0161 832 7200.

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    1. Please do it before one of us dies at our desk.

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    2. One of us has already died. Not in Manchester.

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    3. It may be of greater benefit if more than one person contacts them. In addition to the original commentator, I will also phone them tomorrow. Make sure you switch your mobile so that your number does not transmit as they may call you back at a most inopportune moment!!!

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    4. I am sad to hear of the loss of a member of staff, I hope it was not related to TR. If it was health issues related to TR then Grayling and the Chief should be held responsible. I hate them, what are they doing to us. Lets hope members of their family sues the service.

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    5. I will definitely be ringing them, I think this blog makes good reading and is a true account of what is going on in Manchester Probation Service and in general, I hope Jim does not mind if they quote some of the issues. Manchester has a high crime rate with gang issues, and the media would be eager to know that many clients are going unsupervised and placing the communities at risk.

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    6. The MoJ will simply say no complaint has been made through official channels. Staff need to put grievances in and send a copy to their union reps. Need hard evidence.

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  17. When even ACE's are privateley speaking about an omnishambles you know we're in trouble.........

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  18. Overhead in a NPS North west office today...

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  19. As an experienced officer I have never known a time like this. Here in Manchester, managers have a habit of saying 'yes we will do' to everything. I think if Chris Grayling said someone clean my arse, some manager will turn round and say 'yes we can do'. Of course the manager won’t be because they are too busy chatting away whilst the work force is worn down to the ground. They are just pushing and pushing to make it all work when nothing is fitting together. I’m reaching breaking point and worry that either I will go off sick, will snap or even just walk out. Who will they blame, it will be me no doubt.

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    1. I'm getting the feeling that it's a JFDI moment in Manchester.

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  20. http://www.guerillapolicy.org/politics/2014/07/14/the-problem-with-privatisation-is/

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  21. It’s chaos in Manchester CRC. Been allocated a domestic violence case and my manager has instructed me to put him on three week reporting so that I can take on more cases. Before I even got back to my desk I was allocated a further ten cases. I am getting cases allocated to me that I do not even know about. I have complained to my union but they do not seem able to do very much except asking me to send examples into NAPO HQ. What good will that do. I need help now.
    On Thursday last week I had a phone call from reception saying that an offender is here to see me. I was not expecting anyone, did not know he was coming, he does not know me, I have no prior information or history of who this person is & I am expected to induct him without a case file. It turned out that he is a sex offender low to medium risk. I went to see my manager and complained. I was told just get on with it. I tried to explain to my manager that this is not professional practice and was told that no one will be investigating anything and just do whatever you can. When I tried to argue against this I was told that if you do not like it you can leave. How can anyone work in such a climate i.e. health and safety of their staff is actively being ignored. If this is how things are now I can’t imagine what it would be like post share sales.

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  22. immediate grievance is my advice

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    1. Trouble is when you are that saturated and overwhelmed you have no energy for a grievance although in reality that is what is needed. Manchester needs a big shake up as they got all their figures wrong and they were harsh with their shafting, arseholes they deserve what they get which is an enormous meltdown. They have treated the CRC staff disgracefully.

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    2. Grievance

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    3. group grievance, carry it collectively and a union and let the reps sort this...

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  23. In my office, to add to all the misery and low morale, we have been given a talking ban and told all conversations must be about work.

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    1. This is the most frightening comment I have seen on this blog. I am truly shocked and saddened.

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    2. Get out of town, is that legal. If they told me that I would tell them where to get off. You're not joking are you!.

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    3. Surely that is not the case?!

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    4. Sadly I'm not joking. Obviously it's not legal and couldn't be enforced (and no one's taken any notice anyway) but it's a terrible thing to say to staff who are already struggling to keep motivated.

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    5. That is not a reasonable management instruction. These are the kinds of things trade unions were formed to deal with. Put in grievances.

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    6. Name and shame this office....

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  24. I'm a PO in South Wales, we have NPS and CRC staff in meltdown. Both sides holding 65 cases each which is well and truly above the work load management tool (which is suspiciously now not working?). The rate of new allocations for the CRC is very high, a PO informed me that he received 6 new tier 3 cases within 4 days that was after he informed his line manager that he couldn't cope with his workload! I'm in NPS and am struggling with the high level of reports and still trying to get to know all my new cases. The sift still makes no sense to me, with some excellent experienced staff being in the CRC, whilst newly qualified are in NPS? Managers seem to be walking around blindly, living in another planet whilst the staff on the coal face struggle to keep their heads above water! Today alone, we had 4 members of staff in tears and that was before 10am! Been told that in some offices staff are working until 11pm to keep up with the demand of reports. You wouldn't catch me ever working late, I know its easier said than done but all you're doing is attempting to paper over the cracks. TR WILL NEVER EVER WORK!! Please someone save us before we lose all our good staff either by stress or because they got out!! Staff are being treated disgracefully, the basic good management of staff and consideration of welfare/duty of care has been thrown out of the window. I look forward to the work related stress cases before the Court!! CRC's best get your cheque books out......

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    1. If we inundate them with legitimate grievances using the employers processes then this generates evidence. Those who think working harder will make things better need to think again. Work your proper hours and challenge any unreasonable instructions. Ask for everything to be explained in writing.

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  25. I'm fully expecting someone to post soon that they have to put their hand up and ask permission to go to the loo.......
    Deb

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    1. CRC have always been NPS fags up here... We even have to ask permission to warm the seat up for our NPS masters. We also have to leave all written work on the manager's desk for marking, and the NPS breach monitors are allowed to humiliate & abuse us in a manner of their choosing if any informations, summons or reports are inaccurate.

      Don't you just love this modern, cutting-edge approach to life?

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  26. Also in Wales we have been asked by ACE & managers if we would like to volunteer to join a CRC workstream to do a 'Gap Analysis' of our areas of expertise. They are basically looking at all current Tenders and asking Partners to give all their work info to have ready for when the new company takes over. Asked for staff to give briefings on new housing law, and directories of outside contacts and agencies we work with. Turkeys getting ready for Christmas!

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  27. It sounds from above thst staff in Wales have enough to do without volunteering for stuff like this.Any ACE worth their position ought to know what "gaps" exist..I'd have thought gaps were more likely to be in field of resources eg accom or jobs rather thsn gaps in expertise.

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  28. Wales....probably the first area where this brave new world first reared its head when our trust appointed the truly odious Sarah Payne. In the NPS, they continue to hold peer review days of cases...where two people go through supposedly random selected cases. Prior to the split you can imagine how poisonous this got and people were really slagging cases off and what the OM had or hadnt done. You can imagine what this has done for already awful morale that we continue using up resources and taking people away from their work to continue to partake Iin this fucking charade.

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  29. There are areas of manchester with OMs holding 70+ cases in the NPS. The split went very wrong there.

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