Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A Message for LibDems

Former probation officer Joanna Hughes has been taking a long hard look at the Liberal Democrat draft policy paper 118 'Doing What Works to Cut Crime' and has been sufficiently incensed to contact her MP. The draft paper is due to be debated at the party conference starting on 4th October and Justice Minister Simon Hughes MP in particular has requested comments.

We know that privately the LibDems have come to realise that 'they got it wrong with probation' and I think one of our tasks is to get them to admit it publicly. As the General Election gets nearer, they're getting used to voting against their Tory coalition partners. 

Here's an amended version of Joanna's letter, including her personal analysis, and some readers may feel it could form the basis of similar letters to LibDem MP's or indeed any other likely delegate to their Conference in Glasgow. 
My Probation colleagues and myself have tried endlessly to change politicians' minds over 'Transforming Rehabilitation', but Mr Grayling has ignored all professional and academic advice because of ideology, and many are now losing faith in the democratic system. If you read the transcripts of the Offender Rehabilitation Bill debates, good politicians tried to show him how disastrous this would be, but he does not want to know. 

I am aware that the Liberal Democrats are in a difficult position in a coalition government and compromises have to be made. However, I have been shocked at how easily your colleagues have fallen into line and was very disappointed by how few in your party were willing to vote for the amendment merely to put a pilot in place. Colleagues have been writing to their Liberal Democrat MP's and a great deal and have received some encouraging answers, but we are no further in our attempts to halt this and I now ask you to seriously consider what your party can do as time is running out. 

I have read through your Policy Paper for your party conference entitled 'Doing What Works to Cut Crime' and would be very grateful if you could pass on this letter to Julian Huppert, Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg regarding the ways in which 'Transforming Rehabilitation' directly contradicts your policies. Only recently, Andrew George succeeded in his private member's bill regarding the unfair bedroom tax, and it would be a great step for justice if the Liberal Democrats would now make a stand on this. I know that another Liberal Democrat MP has said to a colleague that the Liberal Democrats know that 'they got it wrong with probation'. There is still time to delay the share sale before the General Election and do the right thing for public safety. 

Thank you very much for passing this on, but if you don't feel able to, then please let me know and I will email the MPs directly.

Best wishes
Key Principles:
2. 'Be close to the local community, involve it as far as possible, and be responsive to local needs'
At the moment, the likely bidders are now multinational corporations, including 'Sentinel', an American firm which specialises in GPS tracking and check-in kiosks. As we know from Chris Grayling's last project, the Works Programme, small third sector companies are squeezed out and localism is a casualty. Centralised Courts take away local accountability, removing discretion and independent advice from Probation Services i.e. if the Secretary of State dictates that all offenders get unpaid work or curfews, this will mandate disposals.
9. 'Work to reduce re-offending and create fewer victims of crime in the future by prioritising sentences, where appropriate, that involve restorative justice and robust measures to rehabilitate offenders in the community'
The private companies will have to make a profit and will need to cut costs. Already, some Probation teams are comprised of half the staff and there is a problem with resilience. The CRCs will look to manage everything as cheaply as possible and indications are that the government is extending electronic tagging which is an easy way to make a profit. Tagging may be 'robust' but does not rehabilitate. The plans to increase curfews for the under 12 month group is a 'one size fits all' approach and is dangerous for those offenders with traits of domestic violence and criminal damage, resulting in more crimes and victims. It is worth remembering that 50% of under 12 mths offenders do not re-offend and that thinking, behaviours and attitudes cannot be changed by electronic monitoring.
10. 'Recognise that crime can only be tackled successfully if the health and social issues associated with it are also dealt with in conjunction with other public services'
CRCs are having difficulty in working with other public services and, once sold off to a private company, this will increase. Overall, bureaucracy and the lack of data sharing and transparency are leading to increased risk to the public and to staff. The current IOM (Integrated Offender Management) consist of multi disciplinary teams of Probation, Police, Drug and Alcohol and Housing agencies who work with those offenders who commit 80% of the crimes, including non statutory offenders. This is not new, yet this Bill was designed around working with this group. Whilst sanctions around non compliance are built into this Bill, the prisons are in crisis and speedy justice will grind to a halt with the sheer numbers and the management of these offenders by the private sector means discretion will be more desirable as this will be less costly. Our communities and victims of crime will suffer. The police are also concerned with dealing with private companies whose interests are driven by profit.
Criminal Justice System:

'Create a national body involving all relevant stakeholders to consider evidence of what works and to spread best practice to reduce crime'
All relevant 'stakeholders' were asked to consider evidence of what works and best practice to reduce crime and all of these 'stakeholders', including professionals and academics, cited the world class performance of the Probation Service with its local partners and relationships with statutory and voluntary agencies. Time and again, we have pointed out that the high re-offending rates are of those sentenced to under 12 months who are not supervised by the Probation Service. A national body will not be workable while it includes those companies whose first duty is to make money and second duty is to reduce crime.
'Require courts to adopt a presumption against short-term prison sentences (of less than 6 month duration) because the length of those sentences makes effective rehabilitation impossible. Tough community sentences should be used instead in those cases'
As the Bill stands, any person sentenced to any sentence under 12 months will receive 12 months' supervision. Courts will be tempted to sentence to short term sentences because they incorporate both prison as a punishment and 12 months' supervision (or tagging). Short prison sentences will be seen as a desirable option for the courts.
'Doing what works to prevent crime and reform those who commit it, adopting what has proven to be effective, whilst pushing back against counter-productive dogma and ideology, relentlessly pursuing an evidence-based approach to protect society as a whole, as opposed to just issuing soundbites'
The Probation Service's split by RISK levels is dangerous and untested - risk is dynamic and at the time of escalation, moving ownership of cases between private and public sectors is madness. We only need to think of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation case, the Staffordshire Health Care case and the death of baby Peter to highlight the need for cohesive provision to ensure accountability rather than offenders dropping through the criminal justice system.

Time and again, Chris Grayling has issued the sound bite about 'offenders leaving prison with £46 in their pocket'. Isn't it time for the PM to be asked at PMQs for a definite start date for the 12mth and under cohort to start getting the support and supervison they've been promised? They are after all still leaving prison with £46 in their pockets and perhaps the question could be phrased in a fashion that also includes a question about when the movement of prisoners to 'near home' resettlement prisons is going to begin? There is a crisis in the prison system, despite what Mr Grayling states.

The truth is that the legislation required to incorporate the 12 month cohort with a supervision order will take longer to enact then the time left for this Parliament. Will that cohort ever become subject to supervision? Mr Grayling has extended electronic tagging to this group and it is more profitable than expensive supervision.

Joined up services:

'Liberal Democrats would extend to England and Wales this model of using PSP schemes that reduce reoffending to England and Wales, bringing in the experience, knowledge and innovations of the third sector – those who are closest to our local communities and understand what matters most to them. An initial fund of £10 million would allow for the piloting of the scheme in 10 regions, with the detailed evidence gathering being used to grow the programme sustainably thereafter.'
This Bill encourages VSCE, (Voluntary Community & Social Enterprise) and this can still exist in terms of contracting out interventions i.e. Unpaid Work, Programmes (Excluding Sexual Offending Programmes) Education & Training, Housing, Drugs/Alcohol and Peer Mentoring Services. However the current contracts include medium risk cases with complex child safeguarding, domestic abuse, mental health, personality disorders and in particular female offenders all with complex needs. For every offender there are families and victims. If the Liberal Democrats wish to push back against counter-productive dogma and ideology, an urgent review is required to stop the contract process for medium risk offenders and resume the bid process for interventions only (which has been tested). This would reduce risk levels and make our communities safer with fewer re-offending and victims. If you are willing to spend £10 million on piloting the PSP schemes, why would you not support the amendment to pilot this huge and dangerous scheme?

(Common sense has prevailed in stopping privatisation of Child Protection, Land Registry and Student Loans, yet despite the risks highlighted throughout the consultation process TR is dangerously crashing into the buffers.)

'Investors, be they organisations or individuals, can fund more innovative, new ways of delivering services. Providers are funded upfront and pilots with successful outcomes will receive payment by results, another form of alternative delivery provision. We will continue to foster an environment that has seen advances in funding and delivery models whilst measuring successes, alongside the Transforming Rehabilitation programme'
What evidence is there that payment by results works? I have only seen evidence that the opposite is true and that any task that is beyond the most basic and involves creativity and expertise is executed less effectively than that without any promise of enhanced pay:
The Transforming Rehabilitation programme has been an utter disaster so far and the bidding process is in disarray, with rumours of illegalities in the bidding process.

Prisoners and prisons:

'Offenders who are released from prison are often subjected to conditions on their licenses. A breach of those license conditions can lead to a recall to prison. Breaches can happen for many reasons. For example women may miss appointments due to childcare commitments or in some instances probation and social care officials cancel a meeting which then gets categorised as a missed appointment. To support and aid the process of rehabilitation we will issue guidance that those who commit a minor or technical breach of their licenses should not be recalled to prison'
Lastly, but by no means least, this is a complete falsehood. I worked as a Probation Officer for 17 years and I have never known one instance when anyone was deemed to have missed an appointment due to the above. Probation staff are completely professional and exercise professional judgement at all times and this is a totally false impression of our service. I have known this to happen when clients have come up against the coalition's benefit sanctions, but never in Probation. We are fair and have the skill and training to do our job properly. As CRCs have no statutory training in place, this will not always be the case in future when they are sold off to private bidders.

Joanna Hughes


Some people may feel it's a waste of time writing to MP's, or indeed doing anything, but here's Chris Grayling's response to a question from Caroline Lucas MP about the recent opinion poll results:-
"I take greater comfort from the fact that 90% of probation officers chose not to respond to their union’s survey and are getting on with the job, the excellent work they do on a day-by-day basis, and their good work to help the new systems bed in."


  1. I take a small measure of comfort from Failing Grayling's reply, as it shows that he must have seen what the people on the ground actually think. As for new systems "bedding in"? Well, the only response I have to that is along the lines of "Hahahahahahahaha!"

  2. Nothing Grayling says shows anything but contempt for the professionals he is undermining across the CJS. He is a disgrace and will be shown to be again and again over the coming months and years.

  3. But everything is great in Manchester! I know. I read the CEO blogs.

  4. Just to say that I would like to acknowledge the letter Jim published from an anonymous contributor a couple of days ago and I used that letter to inform my points. I think we should bombard the Lib Dems now and send our thoughts on the policy paper to Simon Hughes, especially as he has invited comments.


    1. I'm not sure this is a good idea and seems to me to be saying rather more about the General Secretary and the image he's trying to portray.

      JUSTICE Secretary Chris Grayling has “blood on his hands” after the summer suicides of two probation officers and a convict’s murder of an ex-partner, probation union Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said yesterday.
      In an impassioned speech, Mr Lawrence blasted the government for splitting the probation service in two.
      High-risk offenders will still be dealt with by the state, but private “community rehabilitation companies” (CRCs) will deal with the rest.
      Mr Lawrence stormed: “Since the split, we’ve seen two members take their lives and in one case there’s a clear empirical link.
      “Grayling, you have blood on your hands.”
      A Napo source explained that one of the union members who killed themselves had accused the Justice Secretary of “murdering the probation service.”
      Other contributing factors to the deaths are not known.
      An eerie silence and sombre faces filled the conference hall as Mr Lawrence continued: “One prisoner slipped through the net of the CRCs and murdered a former partner.”

      And he said Napo, the Prison Officers Association (POA) and Unison would be taking joint legal action against Mr Grayling in the High Court.
      “The man is a liar, he is unfit for purpose and he is the worst justice secretary in the history of this country.”
      POA chairman Peter McParlin, seconding the motion, said: “The fundamental rights of UK citizens in relation to justice are under attack.
      “Successive governments have gambled our justice.”
      The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) deadline for bids from privateers to run the CRCs was June 30, but the department has refused to disclose shortlists for the regional tenders.
      Preferred bidders are likely to be announced later on in the autumn.
      Unison delegate Carol Nobbs blasted the department’s handling of the Probation Service split.
      “What has followed has been a catalogue of errors in terms of staff assignment, mismatch between workload, staffing levels and staff location, compromised risk management, reduced IT capability, increased bureaucracy and a huge rise in the use of temporary and sessional staff.”
      In a subsequent debate, Napo delegate Yvonne Pattison called for the wider labour movement to launch a massive campaign against the privatisation of children’s services.
      She said: “Children’s services should not be a lottery dependent on postcodes, and should never, ever be about making a profit.”
      Both motions were passed unanimously by Congress.
      And Mr Lawrence called on Mr Grayling’s Labour shadow Sadiq Khan to make his opposition to probation and justice reforms more vociferous.
      “If you want an election winner, say what you mean,” he said.
      “Pledge to reverse the changes when you come into office, it’s really that simple.”

    2. Once said of another politician but applies to Sadiq Khan: he has sat on the fence so long you could tear him along the perforation.

  6. I had planned to bombard libdems mps in my area. I've been advised to post anon on here but Joanna may know who I am as we chatted briefly at HoP last week. We have a mutual acquaintence

  7. This is off topic, but demonstrates just how f*****d up Graylings (and Lib Dem supported) rehabilitation revolution has become.

    1. New inmates at Woodhill Prison claim that they were told to share toothbrushes last week, because the Milton Keynes prison had run out.

      Prisoners are usually issued with a standard set of items when they are admitted, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and plastic razors.

      But convicts were told that supplies had run dry last week, and although the Prison Service denies that prisoners were told to share they could not say what advice was given instead.

      The mother of one inmate said: “They were simply told that Woodhill had run out, and they had to either go without or borrow from someone else.

      “Nobody wants to borrow a stranger’s toothbrush, and nobody wants to loan their toothbrush to a stranger. It’s not hygienic, and if you are in prison rightly or wrongly it is not how you want to introduce yourself.

      “My son went in on Sunday and couldn’t brush his teeth for five days.”

      Woodhill is a Category A male prison, with a population of 819.

      The last inspection of Woodhill by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, in January 2014, found that the number of prisoner complaints was more than twice that of comparator prisons.

      The Prison Service admitted that there was a shortage but could not confirm how many prisoners were affected or whether this had happened previously.

  8. From the FT

    Call to fix ‘broken’ public service markets

    By Sarah Neville, Public Policy EditorHalf of voters feel that no one takes responsibility when outsourced public services go wrong, according to a leading think-tank, which is urging the government to focus on fixing “broken” public service markets.The finding, in a poll commissioned by the Institute for Government, came as it called on politicians to increase transparency in the way such markets worked and ensure there was clear accountability for failure.The survey, by Populus for the IfG, also found a widespread scepticism that parties would deliver on their election pledges in government. Only 15 per cent were confident that parties knew how they would fulfil their promises, while almost two in three thought political parties in the UK “generally do not keep their election promises”.Fewer than one in five thought the political parties were good at explaining how their proposed policies would be implemented or paid for.Peter Riddell, IfG director, said that whoever took office after next May’s general election would have to govern differently if they wanted to build public confidence.Mr Riddell added: “Crucially, this does not mean a shift to a technocratic or managerial view of government; rather the reverse. Our advice is about how to get the politics right in order to achieve political goals.”Publishing a “manifesto for effective government” for parties wishing to win public trust, it noted that about £90bn of public services was now delivered by private and voluntary organisations.Yet, said IfG, more complex outsourcing projects often underperformed because of “perverse contractual incentives, weak public sector oversight, and a lack of transparency and competition”.It cited recent scandals in areas such electronic tagging, where Serco and G4S were both forced to repay millions of pounds to the taxpayer after they were found to have overcharged for some services.The IfG said that “worryingly” half the people in the survey it had commissioned “felt that no one takes responsibility when problems occur in outsourced services”.In order to improve public services, the think-tank renewed calls for government to “slow down on outsourcing more services to allow greater focus on fixing broken and underperforming public service markets”.It should “share information on the costs and performance of providers with the public and parliament to show that government is in control, and increase the focus on ensuring value for money”.Government should also increase the scrutiny of new outsourcing deals, particularly those worth more than £100m, to ensure they were “sensible”, adds IfG. It recommends seeking “independent, formal advice on competition issues” from the Competition and Markets Authority, which has a brief to ensure competitive markets.As Westminster prepares to offer more powers to Scotland, in a bid to slow a pro-independence bandwagon, the IfG also suggests that changes are needed in the way that civil servants and ministers negotiate with the devolved nations.It highlights “frustration and practical problems” in Wales, resulting from it being consulted too late on relevant legislation.“The mix of powers that have been devolved is complex, and the devolution processes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue”, it says.An incoming government should create “rules of the game” and appropriate mechanisms “to involve, consult or co-operate with devolved nations in policy development and announcements,” adds the IfG.

  9. This is how "broken" serco & g4s feel the public sector market is for them:

    "Q14 Chair: Has your business with the UK Government, in the wide way you have defined it, gone up or down since July 2013 when the over-bidding on tagging happened?

    Peter Neden: It has declined. I do not have the exact number, but I would think it is around about £20 million per year.

    Q15 Chair: Twenty million pounds—so hardly, then? It is on the margins.

    Peter Neden: I would not consider £20 million to be on the margins.

    Q16 Chair: Well, of £700 million—

    Peter Neden: Against £700 million, yes.

    Rupert Soames: May I correct one figure? The £1.6 billion that I gave you is for our central Government business in the UK. There is a further £700 million with local and regional government, so our total revenues relating to Government in the UK are £2.3 billion.

    Q17 Chair: And that, you reckon, is what percentage of your total turnover in the UK?

    Rupert Soames: That is the bit that is over 80% of our business."

    1. And this is how broken some of our highest paid civil servants see it. This parliamentary question might usefully be repeated in 2014??

      "Jeremy Wright: I can confirm that applications under the Business Appointment Rules (BAR) process were authorised for the following: one payband SCS3 to take up employment as an independent consultant for G4S; one payband SCS2 to take up employment to work for Sodexo; one payband SCS2 to take up employment to work for G4S and one payband SCS1 to take up employment with G4S since May 2010.

      Where appropriate, restrictions were placed on the activities individuals could undertake in their new employment. For example, as a general principle, there is a two year ban on civil servants at SCS3 and above lobbying Government (including Ministers, special advisers and officials) on behalf of their new employer after leaving the civil service.

      Since April 2012 there have been no applications from individuals in paybands SCS1, SCS2 and SCS3 to work for any of these companies.

      I can release the details of the payband SCS3 because his name has previously been released—he is Philip Wheatley, previously Director General of the National Offender Management Service.

      Under the Data Protection Act, it is not appropriate for me to disclose the names of the other individuals I refer to in my answer."

  10. Prospective Probation workers are beginning to realise they are part of an omnishambles as they are given different explanations about a failure in the selection proceedings with interminable delays

    1. it is sad to hear people initially happy at having passed the process but then dismayed at the lack of subsequent information. Unfortunately, working for Probation this is something they will need to get used to - look at the poor woman who'd over 20yrs service and been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is still waiting since 2nd June for her ill-health retirement money. Many of the applicants appear to be young and just happy to get on the career ladder but do they really realise just what a tall task they have in front of them? In 12 months time they will be solely responsible for a caseload comprising of high-risk offenders? Just one thing to bear in mind. There is no guarantee of a probation officer post at the end of this training, posts available will be subject to how many staff have left and so if there are 5 posts but 9 people have passed the training then 4 people will be disappointed. In addition I know in my area you also, having passed or not, have to go through an interview process - you don't just pass the course and then get a job!!
      If this where to happen it could be possible that you would be offered a PSO role the starting salary of which is approx £21k considerably lower than a PO starting salary.

      Finally, the geographical area of some of the areas is vast - somebody tweeted this week that there area is 2000 Sqm. If you don't drive I would strongy advise you start taking lessons as in my area home visits are strongly encouraged and public transport is dire.

    2. Posted on Facebook: Probation Graduate Diploma at 7pm on 10/09/14: I have cut & pasted this as mysteriously unfavourable posts get deleted!! Censorship!!

      Janine Pee Prior to TR I would have wished you all the best, welcomed you with open arms and mentored you. Post TR, you are walking into the worst profession in the public sector with the lowest levels of morale ever and resentment among CRC toward you new trainees who are effectively leapfrogging experienced, highly professional and well regarded Probation Officers who have been totally shafted by this Government. There is no job security, there is no job satisfaction, there is very little opportunity to make a difference and there is no joy or pride in this profession. Go in if you want but do it with your eyes wide open and be prepared for enormous amounts of stress and a highly stressed workforce with no time or energy to help you.

      Somebody has replied and totally missed the point - sounds like somebody either not yet in the service and doesn't know what they're talking about or someone who's a new PSO and on a protected caseload. Gillian Berg has made a short but spot-on reply

  11. Interesting video here.

  12. Napo now happily using omnishambles in their missives.

  13. Margaret Hodge MP Tweeting much interesting stuff including: -

    " Margaret Hodge MP @margarethodge · 9m

    This would mean #taxpayer footing £300-400 million bill if Probation contracts terminated - appalling. What on earth was @MoJGovUK thinking? "

  14. Margaret Hodge asked the question "was parliament misled" over contract to private companies when the SFO was involved? If she thinks so shouldn't NAPO ask the question in court or via a question in the House?

  15. Was Parliament misled ?: YES
    Was the workforce misled ?: YES
    Were the Unions misled ? : YES
    Were the Public misled ?: YES


    "York RI‎Probation Graduate Diploma
    21 mins ·

    I think that the NPS need to review their recruitment process quite frankly. I have worked for probation for many years, I have been allocated to NPS and didn't hit the criteria to get through to the Interviews. I actually did the job of a PSO. The whole point of the split in the first place was for the government to save money. Quite obviously it would save even more money to invest in the staff that you have already got who have got the experience of working for probation and what it entails. Taking on University graduates is all fine and well, everybody deserves the chance to get into the world of work but to take on over the already experienced staff that have worked immensely hard for the service over the years, is quite frankly ridiculous and does not 'make best use of public money'!!! Very disappointed..."

    I do not know if it is my poor internet navigation but some of these posts are just vanishing - my belief is that MOJ are deleting those that are not 'brand friendly'

    If I am wrong do please indicate - late this afternoon there were loads of grievances about misinformation and then they had all gone replaced with 'successful applicants' - now few unsuccessful one's are posting as well as some who still await news of their applications.

    1. I just posted one to an earlier post but i'll put it here again.

      Posted on FB Graduate Diploma on 10th Sept at 7pm.

      Janine Pee: Prior to TR I would have wished you all the best, welcomed you with open arms and mentored you. Post TR, you are walking into the worst profession in the public sector with the lowest levels of morale ever and resentment among CRC toward you new trainees who are effectively leapfrogging experienced, highly professional and well regarded Probation Officers who have been totally shafted by this Government. There is no job security, there is no job satisfaction, there is very little opportunity to make a difference and there is no joy or pride in this profession. Go in if you want but do it with your eyes wide open and be prepared for enormous amounts of stress and a highly stressed workforce with no time or energy to help you.

      there was one reply from someone who obviously has not carried a full-weighted caseload and a spot-one reply to this post by someone who just say's 'you have a lot to learn'.

    2. I am a qualified PO who was an external entrant and just want to make the point that the attitude expressed above nearly drove me not to complete my training. I persevered but initially had to prove myself repeatedly to colleagues who 'did not get through' but had lengthy experience. Sometimes this was expressed by simply withholding information or support from me and sometimes it was just treating me as an outsider. It was always subtle. However, once qualified, I used the experience to be as helpful as I could to each and every trainee PO I then worked with. So to all who have got through I say WELCOME!

  17. I've done some realistic posting Andrew, let's see how and when the censorship hits.

    1. Excellent stuff guys! - keep it up and I'll blend it all into a blog post.

    2. Posts are very hard to find - I just rediscovered something I wrote that I had wrongly believed had previously been deleted.

      I do not properly understand Facebook but it does seems as if some posts can have replies to replies and then replies to those replies so they seem to get hidden as they appear and disappear as one clicks & scrolls through.

  18. I cannot vouch for Grayling's integrity but am reliably informed via an MoJ source that HIS PANTS ARE ON FIRE!!!

    1. Ring 999 - hopefully there'll be a similar response as this one in Bolton:

      "AN MP is demanding the government step in to urgently review fire control systems after a probe was concluded into why the 999 call centre ordered firemen from Cumbria to attend an emergency near Bolton.

      The mistake was made by the North West Fire Control Centre in Warrington, which now handles emergency calls across the country and replaces a system of local switchboards."

    2. We've get somewhere up here called Phillipelphia - god help them!

  19. Criminology , police studies, criminal justice .... Says it all , god help us more robots for the 'training'

    1. Yeh - when I trained we had a Lancashire Bus driver (who was an unqualified social worker and about 35, me a 23 yo bank clerk with an olgy A level I got at night school, a nun, and lots of others with no higher qualifications and one bloke who had got about three degrees - we learnt sociology and criminology from the beginning and within two years got to what I was told was a University undergraduate degree level - because we did extra study to the university degree terms + I had written a dozen or so SERs, done an attachment for a couple of weeks in a Borstal and several more weeks in Children's home - I lost ALL the kids taking them to school - They did it with all the students - and learnt then - summer 1974 - they had real trouble managing teenaged girls who went out at night and it was hard to be sure what they got up to, difficult to coordinate things with the police and difficult to spare staff time to do much (the young kids in bed could not be left) - the residential staff were mostly unqualified and low paid and hoping to go into field social work. The kids had mostly come from very disturbed homes there was about 20 or more altogether.

      That was in an Lancashire mill town in the fells - just as most mill work was ending - not Rochdale - but I am not sure there is much new, apart from the scale of things.

  20. I would have loved to post on that diploma Facebook page .. But as I can't do it anon .. I am unable to without fear of repercussions.
    In answer to 21.28 I would say that as existing staff we do not have a gripe with 'outsiders'. The issue is that we have many experienced, colleagues who as they don't have degree are now excluded from applying for PO training and many other of our PO colleagues who were sifted into crc and can no longer do a lot of the job that they trained for. It's not so much these new applicants we resent, it's the Moj for doing all this

    1. Anon 22.49

      What would you say on the facebook page? - I am not bothered about anonymity, I am not working now. - if I can manage it I'll have a go if you give a quote.

  21. Andrew . I will compose something. Woujd include what I've said above plus a bit more. I'm
    Nps u see and have been warned a bit re criticising Moj etc

    1. DONE -

  22. Who will mentor these successful applicants as it should to be taken for granted that all staff will want or have the time to?

    1. Anon at 06.58 - surely being a student supervisor (or whatevevr it is termed) has long been a discrete part of some probation officers' work for which specialist training and supervison ahs long been given -it used to be seen as part of the route to becoming an SPO for some

      I once did it formally, thereafter I decided it did not suit me although when there were trainees in the office, i would always, where appropriate give them an opportunity to work alongside me and such like - I just avoided the formal role - I was not good enough with administration.

      Presumably it is - still - work for volunteers for which a workload adjustment is made - I think it used to be ten cases per student - but no change in PSRs, because you give the trainee some of those to do.

    2. Long gone Andrew - became a full time job for PDA's - Practice Development Assessors

    3. That's it - I do remember, it being set up - seemed to create a bit more them and us probation bods - were they all split into NPS as no qualifications are obligatory for any CRC worker?

      It does seem a mess unless Grayling presumes future CRC workers will come from the streets, so it means trainees/students - whatever they are called will be working only on so called - high risk cases - I am probably way off track - this seems an area (nonetheless) worthy of parliamentary questioning.

      I have put some of Selous' latest replies on the Napo Forum - they are more relevant for how little is said rather than the actual answers!