Unfortunately my blog will commence with three areas of concern to our CRC this week but it is important that you are all aware of the issues and their implications.
Firstly, we have seen a significant increase in information security incidents recently and these do represent a serious reputational risk to the Company as well as creating understandable anxiety for the individuals whose personal details have gone astray. Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx, our Information Security Officer, is developing new policies, procedures and e-learning courses, but we have a few simple actions that we can all take to minimise the risk of information loss. These include
Using an email attachment sent to a secure email address to transfer personnel information in preference to paper documents and encrypt as appropriate.
Ensure that paper documents are securely packaged.
Send documents to a specific individual / team and double check that the address is clear and correct.
Use Royal Mail / courier delivery service that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.
Record how and when the letter /package was sent and keep an audit trail by email return receipts, mail logs and Delius contacts.
If a letter or package does fail to arrive, even after the measures above have been taken, please contact Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx immediately.
Secondly, our sickness rates are high, with August running at an average of 13.5 days per person — the same figure as July. The HR Department are currently analysing the August data and I am grateful to Xxxxx Xxxxxxx and Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx for their work on this. The impact of high sickness rates on our teams is clearly significant with staff who are in work carrying higher workloads. All managers have been asked to focus on our sickness absence by supporting colleagues to return to work where possible and by ensuring that you are all aware of our health and wellbeing initiatives which you will find here. The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) data for 2013 indicates an average of 7.6 days lost per full time employee across all employment sectors with 7.2 days in the private sector. Our sickness rate is clearly running very much higher than this and I believe that at share sale our Company needs to be viewed as a strong, well performing, 'Going Concern' with all staff working to the best of their capability and capacity. This will place all staff in the best position for the future and will provide evidence to the preferred provider of the effectiveness and commitment of the Cheshire & Greater Manchester CRC staff.
Thirdly, this year it has been a personal priority of mine to continue to invest significantly in the training of our staff to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge required to successfully undertake the work. Whilst I am very aware of the operational pressures that currently exist it is vital that once people are booked on to training events their attendance is prioritised in all but exceptional circumstances. Unfortunately we are seeing an upward trend in non attendance without notice which I find worrying. Not only is this a waste of money but, more importantly, those members of staff are not receiving the training that they need to better equip them to undertake the often challenging work of our organisation and to enhance their skills for the future. Therefore I would like all staff and managers to continue to prioritise attendance at training events.
On a positive note, programme staff across the CRC have focussed on aligning the suite of Accredited Programmes to ensure consistency of provision for all service users. This has now been successfully achieved and high numbers of programme staff are now trained and delivering Building Better Relationships (BBR) - the replacement domestic abuse programme. Additionally, from October Control of Violence for Angry Impulsive Drinkers (COV AID) will be available in Cheshire. The New Direction Activity Requirement (NDAR) and the Entitlement Specified Activity Requirements will also be rolled out across Cheshire, ensuring greater alignment across the CRC. These developments should not be under estimated and all staff in the CRC programmes team should feel proud of the significant progress achieved. The enhanced range of programmes and SARs better meet the need of our service users and our focus will now be on improving completion rates, enabling the programme targets to be achieved.
You may recall that some time ago I mentioned the development of a CRC practice forum to keep up to date with new research and innovations, share good practice and keep focussed on developing effective service delivery across the Company. I am grateful to Xxxxx Xxxxxx, for agreeing to take this forward — she will work with local change managers and any interested colleagues to get this initiative up and running. If you would like to be involved please do contact Xxxxxx, who will be delighted to hear from you.
Xxxxx Xxxxxx attended the Cheshire LCJB on Thursday, where he participated in discussions regarding domestic abuse, integrated offender management and violence against women and girls with our criminal justice partners. The CRC has been invited to work in all of these areas and both Xxxxx Xxxxx and Xxxxx Xxxxx will now be involved in these working groups on behalf of the CRC.
You may also remember that, when discussing the newly formed Probation Institute, I indicated that the CRC would fund a years subscription for anyone who wished to join. A number of you have done so and the offer remains open, please click here please use the special discount code of CGMCRC06201XXXX. I am aware of some cynicism regarding the Probation Institute, however, and in order for us to be involved in discussions about its future and influence the direction of the Institute, Xxxxx Xxxxx will be attending a round table event next week on our behalf. I will include an update of her attendance in a future blog. In the meantime the Probation Institute are arranging a conference on Personality Disorder and Offending Behaviour in Liverpool on 24 October 2014 click here to which we will send a number of delegates.
Last week I attended the Community Payback team away day in Cheshire and heard about some of the issues facing the team. As we know our CP colleagues spend many hours in direct contact with service users and are a source of considerable knowledge of the people we supervise. We discussed the importance of bringing the two CP teams in Cheshire & Greater Manchester together into a single, aligned unit to assist with staffing cover as well as reflecting the single company that is our CRC. It was good to meet CP colleagues, so my thanks for inviting me to participate in the day. I was asked specifically about two practical issues — how to record employment sustained on Delius here and how to log on to Compass Extra from home here.
Some of you may have seen the article in the Guardian this morning in which it states that the preferred bidders will be announced in December. We have not had any formal notification of this and I will be seeking urgent clarification. I will of course let you know once I have definitive confirmation of this.