“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” ― Desmond Tutu
So, TR week 9 looms and IMO it is essential that the truth gets out and this blog is the means of doing that. We have the testament of practitioners and yes, we will use that in defence when they come for us. I just want to warn colleagues that there are signs that Senior Managers both CRC and NPS are starting to clamp down on dissent and that this can only have come as direction from the very top.
So, Grayling and Spurr appear to have woken up to dissent of staff and realised what a significant risk to TR this is. Signs are that staff are being spoken to so they have "advice regarding their future conduct". What is "acceptable "is starting to be discussed with staff in a sort of are either with us or against us way.
GREAT!! This should not intimidate us or silence us because it demonstrates that we are at last having some impact, so please keep on telling the truth, there is no place for collusion and cover up. We have all seen Grayling's and Spurr's capacity to re-frame the truth ie LIE to Parliament, to the public and to staff.Given the sheer number of contributions and readership of this blog, it would be naive to think it was having no effect down there at MoJ HQ Petty France. I think this is a well-informed comment and and fits perfectly with the current policy of total denial regarding the evolving crisis in all parts of NOMS and which is all too clear to those involved on the frontline. As another comment put it, in answer to what Colin Allars was saying:-
Try this for size: "Major change programme" "On track" "Teething problems and glitches" "Minority of staff complaining" "NAPO would say that" "Public protection is our highest priority" blah blah effing blahIt's worth spending a bit of time pondering on what's going on down in London and I'm reminded of this tweet a week or two ago by Harry Fletcher:-
Just how 'legal' is the contractual process? The MOJ must be put under pressure to make public its own lawyers advice!!and remember what he said in his blog of July 11th:-
One MOJ official expressed surprise to me last week at the lack of a real fuss about the sell off, another said that aspects of the contracting process and of tagging would not hold up to legal scrutiny.Now we all know Harry is very well connected and it's obvious he smells a rat and is hinting strongly that there's something up with the bidding process. It's a line that this contributor feels is worth exploring:-
In my view the best tactic for stopping TR is to help disgruntled unsuccessful bidders appeal the procurement process. Grayling’s weakness is that he has very little contingency in letting the new contracts. Delaying tactics – especially if they can slow down the letting of any contracts until Feb / March 2015, mean that he could run out of time before the next election.We know that the MoJ is determined that the share sale will go ahead, whatever, before the end of the year, because there is a political imperative. But we know Chris Grayling is between a rock and a hard place because so many bidders have dropped out and those remaining are driving a hard bargain, precisely because they know the electoral clock is ticking. They are ditching all that PbR nonsense and wanting a premium for taking on a poisoned chalice full of pissed-off staff.
I notice from the latest edition of Napo News online that Assistant General Secretary Dean Rogers has been speaking with a number of the bidders. Well, I wonder what they might think of news that's been coming in to blog HQ over recent weeks? There's definitely shenanigans afoot confirmed from a number of sources, including bizarrely a telephone conversation heard over a garden fence. Basically, an MoJ employee was being instructed to revisit the scoring of potential bidders because the scores were not high enough.
You know all that MoJ PR spin bollocks about Simon Hughes not being allowed to visit womens centre's in case it jeopardises the bidding process, as outlined here in the Guardian:-
The justice minister responsible for reducing the population of women's prisons has been banned by his civil servants from visiting the women's community centres that offer an alternative to custody because of commercial considerations.
Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem minister, has been told that an ongoing privatisation of the probation service could be jeopardised if he made a visit to the centres, where women who have been convicted are made to work out their community sentences.well I think that's just designed to deflect attention from the fact that in reality the bidding process has been tinkered with specifically to give some bidders a better chance and amend their bid. Now I'm no lawyer, but I think that's very naughty indeed and will get some bidders with very deep pockets just the excuse they need to cry foul and ring the lawyers. It's happened before remember with the West Coast Mainline and Virgin Rail.
The Ministry of Justice fears that by visiting a centre run by a provider seeking to take over probation services, or which may in the future want to bid for services, the minister could be seen to be showing favouritism. Hughes has been told that the controversial privatisation of the probation service could then be subject to a judicial review, with all the expense and delay that this would involve.
At this point it's probably worth mentioning what Margaret Hodge MP and her Public Accounts Committee have been saying recently about the duty to serve the public interest, as reported in the Guardian:-
Whistleblowers who risk their careers to uncover wrongdoing within public services are being victimised by managers who nearly always escape sanction, a public accounts committee report will say on Friday.
MPs were told that only one senior manager who has victimised a whistleblower has ever faced disciplinary procedures, while many government departments are still failing to support employees who come forward in the public interest. The report also accuses ministers of failing to put in place effective policies to protect whistleblowers despite their role in exposing a series of major scandals including avoidable deaths at Mid Staffs NHS hospital trust and policing of the Hillsborough football stadium tragedy.
Margaret Hodge, the committee chair, said she had been dismayed by the way ministers and senior managers have failed to protect the public interest.
"A positive approach to whistleblowing should exist wherever the taxpayer's pound is spent, by private and voluntary sector providers as well as public bodies. However, far too often, whistleblowers have been shockingly treated, and departments have sometimes failed to protect some whistleblowers from being victimised."