Monday, 18 August 2014

Omnishambles Update 62

Lets kick this off with a highly significant article in the European Journal of Probation by Mike Nellis that helps explain just where things are going. It's getting rave reviews and well worth taking the time to read the whole thing in full:-
Upgrading electronic monitoring, downgrading probation: Reconfiguring 'offender management' in England and Wales
England and Wales is currently privatizing most of its Probation Service and simultaneously planning to create the largest and most advanced electronic monitoring (EM) scheme in the world, using combined GPS tracking and radio frequency technology. Downgrading one, upgrading the other. 
Using a mix of published and unpublished sources, discussions with some key players in these developments, (and a ‘critical policy analysis’ perspective), this article begins by documenting the post-2010 development of GPS tracking, and the emergence of strong police support for its large-scale use. It notes the role of a right-wing think tank, Policy Exchange, in promoting the view that the GPS-based tracking of offenders’ movements is an intrinsically superior form of ‘electronic monitoring’ that should fully replace the discredited but still prevailing radio frequency EM, which can only restrict people to a single location. 
In the course of devising a third contract with commercial organizations to deliver EM, it transpired that the incumbent providers had been systematically overcharging the government for their services. Although a public scandal, and a series of official enquires – summarized here – resulted from this, the general momentum behind the outsourcing of penal interventions has not been slowed: the Conservative-led Coalition government is pursuing a relentlessly neoliberal agenda, driven far more by financial imperatives and technological preferences than anything that makes proper penal sense. 
The creation of a large, advanced GPS-based EM programme may not in fact work out in practice, but the government’s readiness to envision it shows where untrammelled neoliberalism points in respect of ‘offender management’ techniques. Although England and Wales have always been anomalous in their fully privatized delivery of EM, its preparedness to invest massively in GPS tracking and to simultaneously sacrifice the state-based Probation Service should serve to warn other European services of the penal challenges that neoliberalism may present them with.
Highlights from the conclusion:-
It is clear from the foregoing analysis of policy that recent developments in Probation and EM in England and Wales gained massive impetus from the technocratic, ethics-free, ‘better for less’ imperative of the Ministry of Justice’s all too aptly named Transforming Justice (and Transforming Rehabilitation) strategy. Both developments were latent in the previous New Labour government’s policies; indeed the Coalition tried initially to privatise probation by using old New Labour legislation, before being forced by critics to draft their own (Bardens et al., 2013). In respect of EM, Policy Exchange pushed the Coalition's strategy further than New Labour had envisioned, re-imagining EM as a nationwide upgrade to GPS tracking (which it hoped would eclipse the poor public public and media image that rf EM has acquired). None of this owed much to academic research on good penal practice or to nuanced understandings of penal philosophy and jurisprudence; their underpinning rationalities, in the first instance, were financial and technological, rather than penal.
It would once been unthinkable to terminate Probation as a public service, but Transforming Justice made it seriously thinkable. While Punishment and Reform (Ministry of Justice 2012) did not make it explicit, Probation's downgrading does seem to be strategically connected to the intended mass expansion of GPS tracking. It is certainly part of an ideological 'ground-clearing' that will potentially create space for a re-invented upgraded form of EM to be come a more commonplace, standard feature of offender management within a much more mixed economy of provision. Historically, in England and Wales, the Probation Service has been the cornerstone of community supervision: it long represented the person-centred ideal of offender supervision, and functioned (among other things) as a durable ethical touchstone against which the humanity and desirability of other penal interventions were measured. Its enforced demise means both the loss of a symbol, an institution and a practice against which stand-alone electronic surveillance had always been judged a dubious, lesser - and potentially regressive - measure.
The kind of penal transformation that has mattered most to liberal penal reformers, and to which a modest, imaginative use of probation-based EM might once have contributed, is no longer on offer, at least in England and Wales. Given the momentum that EM is gaining worldwide, partly on the back of neoliberal agendas, the difficulties of upholding traditional penal ideals should not be underestimated; without vigorous and informed contestation, it may well be probation rather than prison services that are shrunk by increased political investment in EM.                  
It looks like there's a hitch with the Welsh 'Titan' prison according to the NewsNorthWales website:-  
A LACK of clarity surrounding the construction of the Wrexham “super-prison” has been criticised.

For months the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been saying work will begin on the huge Wrexham Industrial Estate jail “this summer”, but full planning permission is yet to be granted by Wrexham Council for the project. Despite a contractor being selected, no start date for the massive build has been publicised. The prison will pump million of pounds into the regional economy and provide hundreds of jobs. But an MoJ spokesman said yesterday there was no update on when construction would start on the prison, to be built on the former-Firestone factory site on the Industrial Estate.
Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said he was “surprised” work has not yet begun to build the prison considering the initial timescale given by the MoJ. He said: “I can’t understand why there hasn’t been any clear indication as to when building work will begin given the construction contract was announced in May. “They did say it was going to be summer but I am a bit surprised it hasn’t started yet. “I haven’t received any information from the MoJ but I will be making enquiries as to when construction will begin.”
Full planning permission is yet to be granted on the £212 million jail, while no decision has been taken as to whether it will be run privately or by the state. In May, it was revealed a £151 million contract to build the ‘super-prison’ had been awarded to Lend Lease, an international leader in property and infrastructure, who originate from Australia. About 600-700 workers are likely to be employed during the construction phase. In June, prisons minister Jeremy Wright said the prison is likely to avoid having a direct link with the town in its name. But he also refused to rule out the possibility of category B prisoners being housed in the prison despite initial plans to only house category C prisoners.
The prison is estimated to create about 1,000 jobs when operational and boost the regional economy by bringing in about £23m per year. It is hoped it will be built and be fully operational by September 2017.
Trouble is brewing with plans to close award-winning HMP Askham Grange as reported in the York Free Press:-
CONCERNS are building over the planned closure of a women's prison in York which has been given glowing reports by inspectors. 
Askham Grange open prison in Askham Richard is due to be closed by the Ministry of Justice so prisoners can serve sentences closer to home. However the decision is understood to be the subject of a judicial review after prisoners asked for it to remain open. The prison has a record of having among the lowest re-conviction rates in the country and is the only open prison with the facilities to allow mothers to stay with their young children. 
It has also now been announced that Askham Grange has also been awarded the highest possible rating in recent inspections by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons and by Ofsted. The inspections prove it makes "no sense" to close the prison which is an "asset to the justice system", the Prison Officers' Association (POA) said. A spokesperson said: 
"Following a recent HMIP inspection HMP Askham Grange has been awarded the highest possible rating in safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement. To reinforce their success HMP Askham Grange was awarded the highest possible rating by Ofsted. HMP Askham Grange is an asset to the justice system in terms of rehabilitation and clearly provides value for money for the taxpayer. If there is to be a Rehabilitation Revolution it makes no sense to continue with plans to close HMP Askham Grange." 
Earlier this year The Independent Monitoring Board described the decision to close the prison as "baffling". It warned that shutting Askham Grange open prison could lead to an increased risk of re-offending. 
A prison service spokesperson would not comment at what stage the judicial review is at, only saying "discussions are ongoing between both sides". They said: 
"The planned closure of the two open women’s prisons is currently subject to ongoing litigation, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time. We keep plans for our prison estate under constant review. We make sure we have the prisons we need in the most suitable locations and are able to deliver the most effective rehabilitation of all female prisoners. We will always have enough prison places for those sent to us by the courts and continue to meet the needs of female prisoners."
Here's the uplifting message from the Prison's Minister to all those in the 'country's first National Probation Service'. I'm sure we had one before, but we've been messed about that much it's difficult to remember:-
Minister’s message

It is a great honour to have been appointed Minister for Prison, Probation and Rehabilitation.

I know from my work as an MP the devastation offenders can cause for victims and for the communities they operate in, and how important it is for professionals to work with them to help change their behaviour.

I am the patron of a homeless charity in my constituency of South West Bedfordshire, and many of those who have been through the criminal justice system can end up without somewhere to live.

We are rightly here to protect society from these offenders by enforcing the punishments of the courts. We are also here to reduce reoffending and rehabilitate offenders and we do this by helping them change their lives. Those working in probation often deal with offenders when they can be at their lowest point and when many others have turned away from them. The role you have in protecting society and helping others is often over looked or misunderstood by wider public but make no mistake: it is a vital one.

I know that the recent Transforming Rehabilitation programme has been challenging for staff and it has created uncertainty. We know we are still working through some of the issues arising, as you would expect following a change of this scale, and we are grateful for your hard work in particular during the period of public ownership of the CRCs.

I do not underestimate the impact these changes have had on staff and I would like to thank you all for your work in bringing the reforms to this stage. 
I truly believe that the changes we are bringing in are for the right reasons. TR will allow us to reshape the way we deal with offenders. We can now introduce supervision for those sentenced to under 12 months, a group we know are most likely to reoffended. We can create a Through the Gate prison service which will enable offenders to finish their sentence as close to home as possible, with the same people working with them through their release.

Over the next few months, I am keen to see how you are shaping the country’s first National Probation Service and how the interaction between the NPS and CRCs is developing. I found my recent visits to probation offices in London and Wales and conversations with NPS and CRC staff there extremely instructive. I want to get out to the frontline as much as is possible, and to hear from as many of you as I can.

The probation service has always had a strong reputation and I look forward to working with you all to build on that and to being part of the overall criminal justice transformation.

Andrew Selous, Minister for Prisons, Probation and Rehabilitation
Finally, some CRC's have clearly had second thoughts about funding 'free' membership of the Probation Institute:-

The Probation Institute is an independent not-for-profit organisation. It aims to become a recognised Centre of Excellence on probation practice, applying rigorous standards to the assessment of research and other evidence and its implications for the delivery of services that protect the public and rehabilitate offenders
Membership is voluntary and open to individual practitioners and corporate organisations concerned with the rehabilitation of offenders.

Membership is open to all staff working in the probation sector, regardless of grade, qualification and job type.

Benefits of early membership include: A discounted rate of £20 for standard membership and £5 for students (in 2015-2016 these fees are expected to be £40 and £10 respectively).

Any individuals wishing to join can do so by visiting the Probation Institute website

The CRC Executive have been approached by the Probation Institute to consider corporate membership. After a discussion, which took into account the decision taken by NOMs not to support corporate membership for the NPS, our use of public money and our desire for more information about the Probation Institute, it was decided corporate membership would not be pursued at this time.


  1. What an eye opening blog, suddenly all becomes clear;
    1. Evidence Based Practice traded for Electronic Tagging.
    2. Probation trashed for Monitoring Control Centres.
    3. Desistance Theory replaced by Surveillance.
    4. Altruism and Professionalism replaced by WHAT?? People watching screens for electronic violations????
    I can see the next phase of this being NPS staff becoming administrators of sentence processing and breach work and CRC staff becoming WHAT???

    1. ANON at 08.07 - is missing a bit -

      It is the RARs - reasonable activity requirements of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 - yet to be implemented (I hope it never is) - I think section 15 - I could be wrong about the section - which according to my reading transfers the detail of sentencing with regard to attaching appropriate conditions to the the CRCs & presumably NPS workers - nearly the "screws on wheels" situation we resisted back in the early 1970s, when there were serious suggestions from Government that Probation Officers, could order supervisees into immediate custody for up to three days for being in breach of supervision.

      Meanwhile, I have been listening to BBC Radio Kent, who have had no report in their morning news programme about the very sad death of Sarah Kane, reported yesterday by Mark Leftly in the Sunday Independent.

      I phoned their call in programme after 9 am - they are featuring troubled families - but as I am not in Kent and they do not want angry analysis relating to the ending of DHSS Visiting Officers, in the 1980s, I am not surprised they have not called me back and I have stopped listening - the one size fits all solutions from callers talking about 'those people' was too much to tolerate.

      We have a lot of educating to do.

      I have now phoned the BBC Kent news office and suggested they read that report in yesterday's Independent - I aim to check their website later!

    2. I don't actually agree that it is up to us to justify ourselves or defend our profession. That used to be a role for the ministers. We should be doing the work, not educating those who don't.

    3. " I don't actually agree that it is up to us to justify ourselves or defend our profession.” writes Anonymous -18 August 2014 10:44.

      Nor do I in spite of what I wrote at 18 August 2014 10:20.

      I also think Anon at 18 August 2014 10:44 is wrong in saying - " That used to be a role for the ministers.”

      It still is a role for Ministers but in my, now 41 years, experience of probation - I have no recollection of ANY government minister doing it effectively or anything more than sporadically.

      We also have a very poorly educated public - as far as the majority who choose to express themselves in the media about the reality of criminal justice - so although 'we' concerned about probation are not duty bound to do the educating - unless this ill-informed public issue is tackled, by someone we are unlikely to gain wider support and understanding.

      Eventually, it could be a major focus for The Probation Institute, and were that to be its main focus I would change in an instant from totally rejecting it to actively encouraging it.

      If we just carry on moaning we will be in no better situation, or a worse one in another 40 years’ time - I predict - though I am certain I will not be around then.

      AND JIM - will you please start promoting the rally at Westminster in a few weeks’ time.

      I hope Napo will lay on some speakers to talk about becoming a public representative - folk who want to gain experience - I believe it is best done by current practitioners - might start by offering themselves for some of the vacant Napo posts - I see there are FIVE on the national campaigning committee.

      All folk - like me - leaving it to others.

      I once did try to get involved - I can't remember what went wrong - but as a disabled person - it is probably best that I do take a back seat and cheer from afar - as right now I am struggling to manage my domestic affairs.
      Though I was an Edridge rep for about 3 years in the 1980's and a branch executive member for about 3 years in the 1990s - I guess if all Napo members offered themselves to do some rep work, the Union would immediately become stronger. Even committing to attend branch and national meetings would make a difference that would be noticeable.

      It is hard on top of a busy job, but if our collectively energies are channelled in such ways - I am sure we will get improvements - if we wait for the politicians or media to do it, because probation is worth backing - we are unlikely to see any improvements.

      Meanwhile - despite me contacting BBC Kent and speaking to a reporter (Or a person who said they were a reporter) - my neurological difficulty (poor working memory) - may have contributed to me not asking his name - they do not seem to have published anything about Sarah Kane's sad death, which has been much on my mind.

      Maybe we should honour with some memorial which is about speaking out for probation workers at the front-line - especially the (in my opinion) stupidly named PSOs.

      Maybe, just getting something done about the ridiculous titles and acronyms that are proliferating in probation, is a worthwhile aim.

      It seems so obvious to me that referring to clients as 'offenders' in every written public communication - does our whole trade no good, and condemns the client in the public mind to always be defined as an offender who is unlikely to change or not be defined by one act. We don't even always refer to gold medal winners as first and foremost a medal winner, but an athlete or swimmer or whatever - who won a medal. So it is with 'clients' - people who once committed one, or many, offence(s) but is far more than JUST an "offender".


    4. CONTINUED: -
      And what about 'offender manager' - more nonsense - in fact an oxymoron - but I have probably said more than enough - and like a yesterday man, on yesterday's blog.

      I began by coming back to respond to a point that has been on my mind, I doubt that Anonymous at 18 August 2014 10:44, will even read it. So maybe I am involved in an exercise as metaphorically 'whispering in a thunderstorm'

      Here is to Sarah Kane - and any probation folk who were inspired to give of their best but overwhelmed by the task and public reaction to those who strive to act with courage and decency.

      MY post was prompted by just listening to the wonderful Helena Kennedy interview the French investigative judge - Eva Joly - who obtained convictions against senior French Politicians for corruption involving the Elf oil company. Eva Joly said that nowadays we are effectively ruled by multinational corporations, not politicians - I think she is right and we need to face up to that and find better ways to communicate than whistle into the wind!

  2. How dare Andrew Selous patronise us and say he knows how challenging TR has been. He has no idea. If we weren't all gagged from speaking out and told we must be positive about the changes maybe Sarah Kane coud have received some understanding and support. RIP Sarah Kane.

    1. Do not be over harsh with Selous - at least - a very small thing, I recognise - he has made a statement that acknowledges that SOME <12 months sentenced may already get some supervision.

      " Justice Minister Andrew Selous said: "Currently, offenders sentenced to less than 12 months in prison get no *statutory* support upon release and have the highest re-offending rates. "


      He is still very patronising claim he knows anything about actually being a probation practitioner.

  3. I can recall meeting with our Chief who was completely unwilling to hear anyone say anything negative about TR. The chiefs attitude was if you don't like 'then new probation is not for u, u need leave'. Some ppl spent many years investing and building their career & profession to be the told simply 'leave' is unacceptable.

    1. 'Take my road or the high road' has been common parlance in probation in recent years.


    1. Liverpool Council leaders hit out at use of low-paid prisoners to "undercut" local firms

      Liverpool Council leaders claim the government is using prisoners who could be earning as little as 30p an hour to carry out work that could instead be going to local firms.

      An ECHO investigation has found that convicts at HMP Liverpool in Walton are used on four contracts for a little-known company run by the Ministry of Justice called One3One.

      The inmates tend to work in laundry and general packing jobs.

      Their work has won the praise of Prime Minister David Cameron, and client firms who sub-contract work to them say one of the advantages of using One3One is that “prisons don’t go bust.”

      But councillors say local firms do, and that the use of low-paid lab-our at costs that other companies can’t compete with is putting jobs at risk.

      Some of the firms that use the services say the reason they contract out to the prison service is not necessarily because it is cheaper.

      And the Ministry of Justice insisted it did not try to undercut local firms.

      The ECHO has learned the Walton Neurological Centre recently awarded its laundry contract to a firm that was planning to use One3One to do the work, with the tenders evaluated on “quality and price”, according to a hospital spokesman.

      The move sparked fears among union officials that staff who had worked for the other contractor could lose their jobs, and Walton MP Steve Rotheram wrote to health secretary Jeremy Hunt outlining his concerns over the issue.

      In the end, the firm that planned to sub-contract to One3One decided to partner up with the Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust instead to do the work for the Walton Centre.

      Cllr Barry Kushner, the chair of Liverpool council’s employment and skills select committee, said: “I don’t think the prison service should be competing for work like this, and certainly not where people are losing their jobs.

      “What we want to encourage, particularly in public sector organisations, is that opportunities to tender are given that support local jobs and businesses.”

      Walton MP Steve Rotheram added: “Jobs should not be put in danger because of the availability of cheap prison labour.

      “How can anyone who has a legitimate company paying the minimum wage or the living wage compete against the prisons?”

      Mr Rotheram said when he had written to Mr Hunt over the Walton hopsital contract, Mr Hunt had told him it was a matter for the Ministry of Justice, not a matter for the health service to answer for.

      One3One currently uses workers at Walton jail on contracts for Morgan Hope Industries, SPS (EU) Ltd, the Student Services Centre and the Birkenhead YMCA.

      But one of the companies for whom One3One works, Morgan Hope, said using the services of One3One was not necessarily a significant cost saver.

      Stephen Fisher, managing director of the Southport-based firm, which produces lights and energy-saving equipment, said his company used One3One to put in simple components.

      He added: “What we are really doing is keeping them employed, but they’re sort of doing prelimary work for us and by the time we have delivered it to them and then got it back here we sometimes think it would be just as quick to do it ourselves.

      “There’s no way we could trust their production to send it direct to the customer. “It may seem like an ideal situation and it does help us, but I don’t think it’s of financial help to us.”

    2. The Ministry of Justice insisted that employing people in prisons to do work for outside companies was not about taking away local jobs or undercutting on tender prices to the point other firms could not compete.

      A spokesman added that it was important that prisoners learned skills inside that would prepare them for life on the outside.

      A spokesman said: “It is crucial that prisoners spend their time in custody productively and experience real work-like environments. We want to ensure that prisoners also learn new skills through work opportunities to increase the likelihood of employment in the future - which would mean a lower risk of reoffending, lower crime and fewer victims.

      “All contracts with businesses must comply with our strict code of practice which sets out that prisoners cannot be used to replace existing jobs in the community, and prices are set in line with market rates.”

    3. Tounge in cheek- but only a bit!
      Could CRCs in the future also act as employment agencies for ex offenders as a means of both a method for hitting targets, and generating an income to keep themselves afloat?
      I think Sentinel have a similiar model operating in the states?

  5. Waste management company Veolia appear to be doing lots of in prison training and is perhaps one to watch as Councils are outsourcing refuse management services to them. Once again, a French owned company.

  6. Mike Nellis said this the last time the AGM was at Scarborough. And 15 years ago in committee room 14 Nick Clegg said that Probation was having a rough deal and that he would do all he could to highlight our cause. And here we are, Nellis was spot on and Clegg was a bloody liar.

    Neo-Liberalism is at the bottom of it all, "they" decimated the working class years ago(1984) now "they" are coming for us the lower middle class. What I do not understand is, now it is clear what they are doing why do we roll over rather than fight?


  7. It's a bit like a hollywood movie....the future....implants in the brain and electric shocks if you cross the line. oh actually wasnt one of the ,big boys' already doing that. If you remember those movies, you'll also remember that the baddie always comes back and kicks ass, implant or not!!

    I see that the statement from Selous is very similar to every chief blog we've seen in the last few months...must have gotten a template during their jolly's to London! Lets face it they all repeat the same rubbish, maybe the implants have started, of course they have...the 'dark lord' has taken control of their miniscule brains, the Minister 'Davros' is controlling from his hidden room in Whitehall as he counts the gold bars piling up from his rich international backers, DESTROY, DESTROY, DESTROY!!!

    Shamefully if is us who have worked hard to build a career in public service (and i mean SERVICE as we worked for the public good not profit) who are being DESTROYED. Shame on those that push people to such a low ebb and dont give a damn!

  8. Whoops!!!

    1. So who carries the can for losing £quarter of a billion of public funds? And where does it come from in this age of austerity?

    2. Hard working taxpayers! And to be honest I'm getting a bit sick of it. Maybe if a few mandarins in Whitehall (and Civil Serpents) were summarily executed each time this occurred then it may focus their mind.

      Failing that, put them all in a ring with a 4lb lump hammer and let them bash fuck out of each other, the winner gets a Ford Focus.

      Just a thought.

  9. Once again, I will ask where are the bloody UNIONS!!!!!!!!! Not heard anything from NAPO, we loose a colleague in tragic circumstances and no statement from them WHY.

    1. I am a member of Napo, I have commented on Twitter as have others in various places, Ian Lawrence is on holiday, I do not know if Sarah Kane is a Napo member - I note her former CEO has commented.

      I am angry it has not been reported more widely by main stream media, even after I alerted a BBC reporter in Kent this morning by telephone.

      As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, in the Bible: -

      " To Everything There is a Season
      …6A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 8A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. "

  10. I am less than convinced that capitalising on a death for political purposes is appropriate for NAPO. I may be wrong

  11. It doesn't have to necessarily be about " capitalising on some ones death for political purposes", it could have been a simple statement of condolences to a colleague and her family to show an acknowledgment that they care.

    1. Statements of condolence to family and colleagues are best made privately to them, in my opinion.

      I think I may have written too much and do not plan to respond again.

  12. Between us all, can we perhaps manage to identify and count the cost of failed contracts, abandoned projects and general feckless waste by this coalition government?

    Today's travesty, for starters, is Raytheon, border agency and the costs lost for "APIS" is approx £250M - yep, the cost of "a piss" (nice acronym).

    There's cnomis - cost = £?M
    The real costs of tagging
    The cost of failed IT across parliament
    The costs of military stores and logistics was especially high

    Jim, can you possibly count the losses to the public purse as they are submitted & validated by the Incompetentroller General, then display them by activating the (patented) Brown Blogometer?

    I'm sure we can pass the £Billion mark by tomorrow.

    Maybe if we tell Cameron & that funny little treasurer bloke where all the money's gone, maybe we'll get a reward?

    1. Here's a page of goodies:

    2. From that link:

      The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has established the Shared Services Programme (SSP) to deliver a common operating model for its back-office functions (Human Resources (HR), finance, purchase to pay and payroll). The common operating model is to be fully rolled-out across MoJ by Spring 2013 and will be supported by an in-house shared services organisation which will deliver transactional and professional services using a single Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform and technology stack. The MoJ has procured the following ICT Services to support the delivery of the common operating model: — systems integration and service management (Lot 1), — business applications implementation and maintenance (Lot 2), and, — infrastructure and hosting (Lot 3). Systems Integration and Service Management Services provider will be responsible for: — the integration between MoJ strategic infrastructure and the MoJ SSP hosting service to allow end users to access the shared services via a single user interface, — the integration between the shared services applications and MoJ’s line-of-business applications and external parties (e.g. banking, pensions) to facilitate data interchange, — the provision of support to the shared services application and middleware infrastructure, including service measurement and reporting, capacity and service planning, installation, configuration, release and change management, — the provision of 1st line help desk support, incident and problem management (including managing referrals to 2nd & 3rd line support), performance testing and security, — collaborating with other MoJ SSP suppliers and MoJ programmes to support the delivery of a coherent, efficientand cost-effective end-to-end service; and, — managing the portfolio of Shared Services projects and programmes including, but not be restricted to, the provision of a project management office and associated regular reporting.

      , EC3M 3BD Awarded value: £22,000,000.00
      Is the supplier likely to sub-contract? No
      Supplier is a Small or Medium Enterprise: No

    3. And here's something similar for Steria:

      "The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has established the Shared Services Programme to deliver a Common Operating Model for its back-office functions (Human Resources (HR), Finance, Purchase to pay and Payroll). The Common Operating Model is to be fully rolled-out across MoJ by Spring 2013 and will be supported by an in-house Shared Services organisation which will deliver transactional and professional services using a single Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform and technology stack. The MoJ has procured the following ICT Services to support the delivery of the Common Operating Model: — Systems Integration and Service Management (Lot 1), — Business Applications Implementation and Maintenance (Lot 2), and — Infrastructure and Hosting (Lot 3). The Business Applications Implementation and Maintenance supplier will be responsible for: Selection and provision of the ERP platform; Development, delivery and functional support of main business applications; Collaboration with other MoJ SSP suppliers and MoJ programmes to support the delivery of a coherent, efficient and cost-effective end-to-end service.
      Steria Ltd
      , HP2 7AH Awarded value: 18,500,000.00
      Is the supplier likely to sub-contract? No
      Supplier is a Small or Medium Enterprise: No

    4. Some cnomis info:

      "Why, asked (edward) Leigh, do problems with IT projects re-occur? "The same old lessons have not been learnt: over ambitious, weak project management and all the rest. Give us an honest answer."

      Wheatley said the C-Nomis project was "badly run in the early stages" but now "we are delivering a programme which will give us real gains and which uses the taxpayers' money wisely".

      But Leigh established that even today - five years after the project began - there is a gap in financial control of the main contractor, EDS, such that there is no certainty on expected cost and time to completion.

      Wheatley did not try to defend a spend of £161m on nobody knows what."

    5. The Ministry of Spin would have you believe differently, per a FOI request:

      "The C-NOMIS project was intended to provide a single interactive record of offenders in England and Wales across the Probation Service and Her Majesty’s Prison Service. Estimated budget cost was £234m and implementation date January 2008.

      After commencement, the C-NOMIS project was estimated to cost £690m at completion and was to be delivered late. The budget however still stood at £234m. The product was in the advanced stages of development when a moratorium was imposed by the Minister in mid 2007. At that point, £161m had been spent on developing the C-NOMIS case management system. A strategic review was carried out later that year and a new programme, known as the NOMIS Programme that replaced C-NOMIS was launched in January 2008 through a Written Ministerial Statement (rather than a Bill). The NOMIS Programme has a budget of £444m. The NOMIS Programme budget includes the sunk cost (£161m) from the original C-NOMIS project. The new Programme made use of the development work that had already been undertaken.

      The original C-NOMIS application has been reused as the basis of the revised NOMIS Programme in delivering a case management system, Prison-NOMIS, to all public prisons, which completed implementation in summer 2010 to time and budget. It was also implemented to all private prisons in March 2012 to time and budget."

    6. The healthcare team have also had a go:

      "An abandoned NHS patient record system has so far cost the taxpayer nearly £10bn, with the final bill for what would have been the world's largest civilian computer system likely to be several hundreds of millions of pounds higher, according a highly critical report from parliament's public spending watchdog.

      MPs on the public accounts committee said final costs are expected to increase beyond the existing £9.8bn because new regional IT systems for the NHS, introduced to replace the National Programme for IT, are also being poorly managed and are riven with their own contractual wrangles."

    7. Universal Credit?

      "The government’s recent review of major projects revealed that the flagship Universal Credit welfare programme will cost nearly six times more than previously billed.

      The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Universal Credit will cost £12.8bn – not the £2.2bn figure that has previously been claimed – because it needs to run existing benefits in parallel as it brings in the new scheme."

    8. This is not ignorance and stupidity at the centre of government, its guile, greed and the secret manipulation of power. Grayling and Cameron leave the difficult maths and management to their private accountancy mates like KPMG who are in and out of the revolving door of power of this and the last administration. Jim did some digging about 9 months ago. Whitehall is as corrupt as the Kremlin was in the 70s and 80s. Its all done and dusted by the time we get to know about it. Furthermore the Public Accounts Committee does a sterling job of interrogating the politicians and their mates but after that nothing they just go on defrauding the State with impunity. They have been exposed but they continue.


    9. Maybe the lump hammer suggestion was not so bad after all.

    10. It was a great suggestion, you ask me

  13. Wasn't it NOMs where they were paying £300 a pop to their supplier for computer mains leads? You've probably got a few at home - 3 pin plug on one end, bit of 3 core cable, 3 pin rubber thing on the other end which goes in the back of your PC. I've just checked my box of spare IT stuff - I have 5 - can I trade them in for £1,500 at the MoJ?

    1. I was told that the very important Verbatim USB Memory stick containing 6 powerpoint slides worth of data cost £100. That was why we couldn't keep it and had to share it with the neighbouring county. I laughed a lot.

    2. Three possible explanations: (a) incompetence, (b) corruption, (c) incompetence and corruption.

    3. Just from above:

      £250M + £161M + £10,000M + £13,000M

      = approx £23.5 BILLION of taxpayers' money casually tossed away into the coffers of private companies in the last 5 years. A scandalous, unbelievable, barely understandable sum of money just wasted by incompetent fuckwits who are NEVER held to account beyond being the subject of an anecdote over lunch at a fashionable restaurant, or "The Club", or at a Ministerial home - all provided by the taxpayer on expenses.

      In the meantime we are ground into the dust by collaborators and numbskulls and manipulative greedy swine; threatened, abused, maltreated cur dogs who have lost the will to bite, or even bark. We whimper under cover of darkness (and I include myself here) for fear of being taken to be put down.

      I'm no natural pack leader - and I guess thats where silent NAPO have let folk down, in that they were often seen as giving direction and leadership. Sad to say that aint the case anymore.

      Different tack - I've cancelled my annual leave because we just aint got the staff. If I go off as I had planned there wouldn't be any PO in the building for 8 working days. Being the only one not going overseas, I silently made different plans. No-one at the office knows, but I aint too popular at home this week. Hey ho, it'll pay dividends at a later date - won't it???

    4. Blimey - those computer leads - just checked my wiring store and I've got 12! I retrieved them all from the waste bins when the office got new computers because they've all got european plugs on.

    5. That's worth £3,600 in NOMSland Jim. Ker-ching! Maybe you should donate them to the MoJ to help bring down The Deficit? A bit like our parents (or grandparents to our younger colleagues) gave up their pots and pans to help make Spitfires and Lancasters.

  14. There is a definite role for GPS tracking, particularly with those offenders posing a high risk of serious harm, or a high likelihood of re-offending - IOM cohorts spring to mind. This can complement efforts to desist from committing crime. If offenders are aware that they are more likely to be caught, I would predict that their likelihood of offending will decrease. In our IOM we have had some really encouraging outcomes. It also stops unnecessary speculative arrests being made, and this has been very well received by offenders and police alike. Some of our cohort have spent more time in prison than out, and can slip back into offending all too easily. In such cases, an external mechanism can be a very helpful strategy in promoting change.

    1. If I was determined on offending; I'd cut it off.

    2. I can recall meeting with our Chief who was completely unwilling to hear anyone say anything negative about TR. The chiefs attitude was if you don't like 'then new probation is not for u, u need leave'. Some ppl spent many years investing and building their career & profession to be the told simply 'leave' is unacceptable.

    3. If I was a money grabbing US style surveiallance agency, I'd make a tidy business tagging, surveiling and raking in the money from breach fines, and rehabilitation work would be absolutely not in my business interests. Expensive to do, and net effect to reduce my income stream

  15. I heard that we will not be supervising <12 month prisoners, it was just said by the Govt to push the reforms through

    1. I would struggle to justify the word 'supervising' with my other offenders!!!

  16. Mind boggling numbers - money wasted..on a huge scale. That is before you bring into play the day to day loses and reduction in efficiency. I work in a relatively small office and all in one day, I get notification that a Parole Board decision, made in June is to be set aside, as the prison had not notified the prisoners legal reps of the review and or the existence of a dossier, for them to read. Consequently, the process is to start again. Three PSR requests came in, all RIC, and for another office 10 miles away - they are understaffed due to the sheer number on long term sick; the clients are not RIC to our local nick, but 70 miles away, cos the local is full. Another colleague had to submit a nil to Court as the interpreter did not attend as requested and no explanation was received from them or the company. (Crapita). Everyone lost their shortcuts, again, as the system has been tinkered with over the weekend and most of us had difficulty logging on and just before she left tonight, a colleague lost an entire FDR, and it could not be retrieved. It takes twice as long to make an entry in Delerious, since the 'migration' a few weeks ago, simple information even the most IT illiterate could reasonably expect, i.e. that the computer programme you just logged into actually recognises you and doesn't have to be notified, who your are, where you work etc every time. It is completely mystifying - what the F*ck are they up to in the corridors of power?

    Whle I am at it - I have to say, all these positive statements from MoJ, Minister of Prisons, and Chief's, make me want to leave this job; the job that has been such a huge part of my adult life, and has helped shape and define who I am, by the time of the share sale I won't know who the F*ck I am.

  17. How pathetic this blog is? A bunch of keyboard Ninja's too scared to say anything tangible because your livelihood depends that you keep quiet about abusive practices when you yourselves have been complicit in abusive practices towards clients for many years. Bring on the tagging I say. No psychological bullying with tags, a great deal cheaper and much more effective at measuring "risk" also. Your "profession" is kaput and you all deserve every problem you receive from it's demise. C'est la vie.

    1. Perhaps you can expand a bit on exactly how wearing a tag measures "risk" my friend?

    2. I'd be interested to hear what kind of abusive practices or bullying the poster above has experienced or is aware of. Some clients or their families have made similar claims in the past but usually when they haven't been able to 'get away with' offending behaviour or if they've been 'caught out' and breached. Occasionally it has to be accepted that some clients have been treated unreasonably, but very rarely in my experience. The mischievous part of me would like to think those who have bullied or been unkind to clients have moved rapidly into management posts.

    3. I hope he does give some detail - the only thing I did that was devious (and I got found out) was as a student in 1975 - I told a client (who was a corrupt local politician) that I could not change a court report because it had been sent in to the court already - that was my pathetic way of saying I refused to change something - he claimed he had told me "off the record" - he spoke to a high up relative public official about what he claimed was an error in the report - who spoke to a high up in the probation service - the whole thing was withdrawn - I don't remember what happened to him. It was a fabulous learning experience - I was given quite a ticking off by my boss!

      There after I aimed to do what I said and say what I had done - I let a few down because I did not do all that was needed but I did not directly knowingly abuse anyone, when I got complaints I encouraged folk to speak to my boss, get legal advise or go straight to court, none went to court - I can't recall detail of any making a formal complaint, but I think one or two did in nearly 30 years.

      So please lets have some detail - the same advice applies to Anon at 05.29 - the other place to go with a complaint is your MP - far better to do that than suffer because of abuse by a probation worker - but probably best to check out his/her position with a solicitor first, legal aid can be a problem, if it is try a a law centre, if there is one in your area or try your citizens advice bureau.

      And I am not anonymous - but would still be if I was still working in probation as I had someone threaten my family with violence once, and knew one probation client who almost certainly dangerously interfered with my car, thinking it belonged to a colleague - so anonymity can be necessary!

    4. Tragic how some people think being required to take responsibility for their own behaviour is 'abusive'. In my experience it's a lot less 'abusive' than the crime it's aimed at stopping

    5. I would expect this kind of response...we dont do an easy job, we challenge and we force ppl to look at themselves and their behaviours. It's much easier to blame someone else.. if you've ever done a PSR (interview) then it's water off a duck's back!! we are anonymous because we are being told that we are not allowed to speak out or we are sacked!!!!

  18. The way the Probation Service is set up allows for non-reporting of abuse. You are referred to management and then belittled by them in turn. What happens if a complaint is lodged by a client? The client is spoken to by a line manager and talked to like a piece of shit and then the said complaint is logged then forgotten about?

    Are your complaints taken seriously by management? From the looks of this blog I'd say there is a raft of feeling that they're not. If you were a client with a complaint do you think you'd be given real attention?

    The whole business is corrupt. The Probation service is the naive being led by the corrupt, the best people left about 10-15 years ago when you ceased being a rehabilitative service and became a punitive service. We are now left with the dregs who are only too happy to dish out the punitive and neglect the rehabilitative and will spout the same manipulative rhetoric that their management promote.

    But everyone has their price and the price of Probation is very, very cheap indeed.

    I would be happy to write a guest blog at some point. Though it wont change a single thing, the damage has been done/is being done.

    I do like the idea that seems to be currently held by those in big business etc, that of being "mindful" and accepting that things are that way and being "detached" from the outcome of the results, it's not me it's merely my job type of attitude. No, I'm afraid you have put yourself into the job and if that job contains abusive practice then you are complicit and responsible for your own abusive practice towards clients.

    Still there's probably a load of Probation person's whom this whole post has flown over their heads. They cannot or will not see it because they don't want to. Or they can see it and it is the reason they do the job. They enjoy being in a position of power over others and feel that it's fair game to abuse in the line of work, after all you are dealing with criminals...

    1. So contradictory I cannot make any sense out of this comment or what its point is.

    2. You have just added some more validation to my point.

    3. I have some sympathy with the points I think Anon at 14.38 is making but wish she or he, would give some detail of the precise things that have happened to him or her.

      I acknowledge that practitioners and managers from the same organisation tend to back each other up - hence I always advised the dissatisfied to take their grievances outside of the probation service to court via lawyer, for example.

      I also have some sympathy with the point about collusion - I left in 2003 & soon after folks were saying to me, I would not want to work with pbn as it then was - in my last agency - that is another point - the operation of probation really is different in different places. The management of the front-line almost from the Minister's office is also now very much a problem as well as the legislation that changed the 'spirit' of probation - to the just deserts model introduced - I think initially under John Patten's ministership from about 1991.

      I also very much regret the introduction of compulsory supervision from 1992*, which I think is the origin of many problems. I did protest at that time but not enough and was not able to find enough like minded others to take the issue on. In my branch of Napo I was only aware of one other person who felt sufficiently troubled by the issue, and we realised we were not going to be able to change that, I put up with the changes and was fortunate to 'escape' as it were when I did - however I knew of others who persisted to endeavour to work in the traditional way, and I salute them.

      However, I would be interested to know of specific grievances.

      *Compulsory Supervision did exist prior to 1992 with Suspended Sentence Supervision Orders and release on licence from Young Offender Institutions - but that was a relatively small part of the total work, though did breach the principle of consent as introduced in 1907 similar to agreeing to be bound over to 'keep the peace'.

      However, maybe such comments seem unconnected to the grievances hinted at by Anon at 14.38 but does remind us that ultimately probation supervisors are bound by laws set by parliament - hence members of parliament are the right people to receive complaints about practice.

    4. I guess people who actively enjoy abusing the community with their crime and want to be allowed to continue will always consider efforts to stop them 'abusive'

  19. I'm talking about specifically about SOTP and the idiotic nature and content of it. I have been abused by the probation service. Of course if I say that then I'm accused of victimizing myself and that is an indicator of increased risk... blah blah.

    SOTP is a farce, not fit for purpose and has minimal statistical evidence to back up the idea that "it works".

    Probation Supervisors are complicit and responsible for delivery of product. They are themselves personally at fault for upholding and implementing policy.

    1. Well things are getting a little clearer now we seem to be talking about SOTP and that might mean the accredited programmes run in the community rather than in prison.

      I am and have been critical of accredited SOTP programmes in the community and have described them as 'one size fits all' and failing to recognise that some perpetrators have been victims themselves.

      This blog is about serious debate conducted in a spirit of a desire to seek knowledge and enlightenment. I would welcome a guest blog on the subject, but my only caveat is that it is written without recourse to gratuitous abusive language.

      Please feel free to contact me on the e-mail address contained on the profile page.