Tuesday, 30 September 2014

MoJ Answers 4

Continuing our serialisation of more carefully-crafted bullshit from the MoJ.

22. CRC bidders

What will happen if no companies bid for the CRC element of probation?

What would happen if the signing of the contracts does not take place before the election next year?

If you decide not to re-bid a contract what happens then?

Who would manage the contract in the meantime?

If a contract is not put up to re-bid, what is the alternative?

Who will run CRC if goes for re-bidding?

I assume it remains the intention that the TR process will be concluded before the dissolution of parliament? However, what happens if the 'share sale' to the CRC's are not concluded prior to dissolution of parliament?

Under our approach to transition CRCs are currently operating as going concerns under public sector ownership. We have strong bidder interest for all 21 CRCs and are on track to sign contracts with successful bidders by the end of 2014.

23. CRC bidders

Now that Chalk ventures have pulled out of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Mutual Bid will the minister be sending in a Task Force to ensure that services to the Courts and more importantly public protection will be maintained?

We have designed the programme to ensure there is a carefully managed transition process across all areas, and that we only move forward at each stage of the changes when it is safe to do so. The programme is subject to rigorous testing and scrutiny. We will continue to focus strongly on maintaining public protection throughout the transition.

24. Challenging privatisation

Is the ultimate goal to see Probation (as it was) fail to meet the insurmountable demands now placed on the two entities it has now become, in order to pave the way for a complete privatisation of work with offenders?

What’s your vision for probation in 3 years time?Our ultimate goal under Transforming Rehabilitation is to ensure we deliver significant and sustained reductions in reoffending rates. These reforms to the probation service will play a key role in our vision of creating a justice system that produces more effective and more efficient services for all – reforming offenders, delivering value for the taxpayer and protecting victims and communities. I believe these are goals shared by probation professionals.

25. Restorative Justice

RJ is definitely one way forward and sadly overlooked for many years! However, CJS policy of successive Govs always appears to major on punitive measures instead of end to end rehab and restorative work! Tiresome - Gov response now seems to be give up and sell it off!

The Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 is explicit that the activities offenders can be instructed to take part in as part of the new ‘Rehabilitation Activity Requirement’ can include Restorative Justice activities. It will be for CRCs to determine how to best to tackle the offending behaviour of those they manage. However, the contracts we are developing will make it clear that CRCs should be able to deliver Restorative Justice activities where an assessment indicates that it might have an impact on reoffending.

Police and Crime Commissioners will be responsible for commissioning victims’ services from 1 October 2014 and until 2016 will receive funding to build capacity and commission Restorative Justice provision as part of their wider victims’ service grant. In the meantime, I can reassure you that you will continue to be supported by NPS in helping to achieve these aims.

26. Risk/VR

I'm an Offender Manager transferred to the NPS under TR. The last few weeks have been awful and the TR is a complete mess as experienced by me. I now have a totally new caseload of high risk offenders that I don't know. I'm very angry about this because I now have to get to know the risk level of these people while supervising them from scratch! If possible I would like to leave the NPS through voluntary redundancy. Is there any chance of this being offered to OM's in the NPS?

I'm an OM allocated to NPS. I am very angry about what has happened to me over the last few weeks. I now have a totally new caseload of high risk offenders that I don’t know. I would like to leave the NPS as a result of the mess of TR and its repercussions for me. Is there any chance that redundancy will be offered to OMs in the NPS? Thank you.

As you identify, where there are concerns about transferring a particular offender, staff have been able to postpone transfer until they are absolutely confident it is safe to do so. In these cases, the offender will remain with an appropriate probation officer, to ensure continuity and public protection. In addition, we will continue to monitor the balance of work across NPS and the CRCs, and allocate further resources where that proves necessary. Staff from both NPS and CRCs will be able to apply for any new posts that are created.

The enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme, agreed with Trade Unions as part of the National Agreement on Staff Transfer, is funded by the Ministry of Justice in the period to 31 March 2015. The Scheme has been targeted at corporate services and senior grades as this is where we anticipate a potential oversupply in the number of staff.

We are not currently planning to offer VR to probation officers and other operational roles as we believe we need to retain the skills of those who have been transferred to the NPS. I do appreciate that this is a time of transition, but I also believe that the specialist skills in the NPS will help us improve what we do in key areas like decision making on ROTL.

27. Mutuals

Why are mutuals struggling to fulfil MOJ criteria?

How many mutuals are left in the bidding process?

We have recently been told that our local Mutual bid pulled out because "the contract contained some commercial and operational terms which for us were too difficult to bear"? Is it possible to have any further clarification as to exactly what stopped the process?

There remains a strong competition in all regions for the contracts to run the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies with over 80 bids having been received and an average of four bidders for each area. Over half of the bidders include a voluntary, mutual or social enterprise organisation and mutuals continue to feature strongly, with eight potential staff mutuals competing for a share of the contracts.

28. Corporate Services staff

I am a member of corporate services staff assigned to the CRC who will, following share sale, be "surplus to requirements" but currently essential to provide crucial assistance with transition under the TR programme. I trust you will both be acutely aware of the chaotic impact this fundamental re-structure has created for the delivery of services. Without the support and help of those corporate services staff who will shortly be surplus to requirements, the NPS side of the organisation would be wholly unable to function. That support and help has been given by staff who have belief and skill in the work we undertake and who care about the "whole" service. Within the Trust we were recognised for the essential work we undertake and played very important and recognised roles in the successful work undertaken.

Corporate services staff have no guarantee of security in their employment and equally no assurances with regard to their access to the Voluntary Early Departure (Redundancy) Scheme. Receiving repeated thanks for all our hard work rather than any acknowledgement of the very serious position we face in our employment prospects feels extremely patronising and dismissive. What would you both want to say to motivate these staff to continue with the extraordinary level of support they are giving to both the NPS and the CRC?

Are business services admin/PA roles valued by NOMS/MoJ? We aren't seeing any evidence of this at present.

I recognise the hard work by staff to enable the NPS to start to operate and I am grateful for the commitment to overcoming the challenges that are an unavoidable part of any transition to a new model.

The Voluntary Early Departure scheme was open for all in corporate services to apply. Expressions of interest have been received; however, employers cannot give guarantees around eligibility as this is dependent on a number of factors, including the level of interest. While there is only one wave of Voluntary Redundancy during public ownership of CRCs, there will remain the opportunity for further waves of Voluntary Redundancy following contract signature.

29. Implementation

Has the Justice Secretary any idea of how much damage he has done and what an absolute disaster this privatisation has been. Chaos has reined supreme. Do you even care how your employers are feeling?

I understand this has been a challenging time for staff but I do not believe it is accurate to paint such a negative picture.  The vast majority of staff are working at the same desk, in the same team and in the same building. They are managing the same offenders and using the same IT systems as previously. Crucially, they continue to be able to call on their experience and knowledge of working with offenders to continue protecting the public.

Getting back to reality on the ground floor TR is not working what are you going to do about it?

We are continuing to test the new system to understand where we might make further improvements. But I am pleased that the transition to the new structures has been completed safely, and am grateful for the professionalism and hard work of staff.

Late news. I see the redoubtable Pat Waterman managed to 'handbag' Andrew Selous at a fringe event in Birmingham yesterday. He doesn't look very happy.


  1. "While there is only one wave of Voluntary Redundancy during public ownership of CRCs, there will remain the opportunity for further waves of Voluntary Redundancy following contract signature."

    So the truth will out - plenty of redundancies are expected post-privatisation.

    1. "opportunity" yup massive uncertainty about your future certainly is an opportunity.....

  2. Is it me, or are these answers getting more robotic as they go on?

  3. Looking forward to Grayling at Tory Conference. Will he bring back capital punishment as part of his Dark Ages policy? A bit of HDQ for sex offenders or burning at the stake for benefit fraudsters, perhaps?

    "After extensive deliberations, the Conservatives are ready to unveil their plans to scrap the Human Rights Act and ensure that the final decision on controversial legal cases is taken by Britain’s Supreme Court and not judges in Strasbourg, he said.

    Mr Grayling said the ECHR reform is part of the Tory effort to return power to the UK. “Decisions like 'do prisoners get the vote?’ or 'can you send brutal murderers to prison for their whole lives?’ seem to be outside our control,” he said.

    Mr Grayling also disagreed with Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, who warned that limiting the power of the European court in the UK could violate international law."

    * HDQ = hung drawn & quartered

    1. My money's on drone strikes for GPS tag violations.

  4. Off topic, but managers in NPS London are due to be lectured by Collin Allars and Michael Spuur this week. any views on useful questions to put, should the opportunity arise ?

  5. How do you sleep at night and look yourself in the mirror in the morning?

    1. They don't - in common with many forms of the undead, they operate best at night and have no reflection.

  6. " It will be for CRCs to determine how to best to tackle the offending behaviour of those they manage. However, the contracts we are developing will make it clear that CRCs should be able to deliver Restorative Justice activities where an assessment indicates that it might have an impact on reoffending. "

    The implications of those comments from an MOJ spokesman are profound - I would like a reference to where they appeared, please.

    It confirms, as first dawned on me when considering the Offerer Rehabilitation [Bill], (now Act 2014) - when it was going through Parliament that some parts of sentencing are being moved from the Magistrate's and Judges to those who can make a profit or at least earn an income, from how a sentence is carried out, are set to also become actually the people who will determine aspects of the sentences for criminal offences!

    That seems totally against all my understanding of Jurisprudence and the separation of powers.

    It also suggests that our parliamentary system of governance is 'not fit for purpose' as I am not aware of this aspect of the legislation being properly examined by parliament - despite so many members of both Houses (Lords and Commons) being lawyers.

    Neither does it seem to have been made a media issue by anyone, despite a few pathetic efforts by me.

    I presume and hope that if enacted, when problems arise, it will become the subject of Court of Appeal decisions and ultimately the power of sentencing will be restored to its rightful place - the courts - rather than where parliament has now put it in the Boardrooms of companies hoping to earn a profitable income from the criminal justice system of England and Wales.

    Are such decisions taken by Companies in any other Jurisdiction anywhere in the world?

    1. One of the bidders Sentinal have a great history in the USA of imposing sanctions so offenders can never finish their supervision period (which they're charged for at about $35 an hour).
      They're not hard to find on the net Andrew, and makes some worrying reading.
      As for appealing post sentence sanctions (or indeed compansation claims) for adding on extras to that imposed by the courts, well thats something that the bidders need to clarify as a matter of urgency, or they may find themselves out of pocket for quite consideral sums.

    2. I am aware that such happens in USA with Probation charges but I had not realised it went as far as sentencing people to such as Restorative Justice which has implications way beyond the mere way the sentence is managed, for example will victims be approached sensitively, how will details of victims personal circumstances be passed to practitioners, are there data protection implications, will it be handled via court orders and such like?

      I cannot imagine there is even now routine exposure of victim information in every case to probation supervisors.

      I remember, getting such information was sometimes impossible and problematical and that might have been when I was trying to contact a victim to get details of the impact of a crime to properly inform my writing of a PSR or to properly advise the Parole Board when undertaking parole reports.

      Here I am talking about the practicalities, which are difficult enough, BUT the jurisprudence matters are what is really at stake, transferring the powers of the court to a commercial company in an income earning relationship with the supervisee, seems on the scale, that changes the whole relationship of Governments and the governed and is potentially VERY dangerous, but has just NOT apparently been considered in any detail by Parliament, which is supposed to protect the rights of the governed.

    3. I don't always agree with you Andrew, but I think your comments above highlight some very serious concerns and rightly so.
      They also make me think that if you consider all aspects of private sector involvement in probation, there must a vast amount of legal issues present that do not appear to have been taken into consideration.
      Infact, it's almost like the legal complications (and liabilities) for private sector involvement in probation work has never been considered past the point of 'can we sell it or can't we'?

    4. That is a point I first made well over a year ago - i find it very hard to get proper media coverage of these issues - my MP is no help being both a Grayling advocate who dismissed me when I lobbied her at the House of Commons and now herself a member of the Government.

      When I stop and think about that particular issue - I still go into a state of shock - I do not want to make a Nazi reference - but I can imagine folk in Germany in the thirties having similar shocks as the normal legal protections were peeled away and only realised after the deed had been done.

      In probation's case it goes right back to the 1991 CJA which removed the requirement for consent to a Probation Order, which for the first time became a sentence of the court rather than share the status of a 'bind over' or perhaps a 'conditional discharge'

      I and one other then colleague I knew did realise THEN and predict that the CJA '91 would probably lead to the eventual change of the status of Probation Orders and Officers in their relationship to the courts (subsequently the magistrate's have been removed as the legal employer of Probation Officers [except in Inner London {apart from the City of London}] where since at least 1972 The Home Secretary has been the legal employer).

      What I confess, I did not realise until last year, is that the CJA 91 also changed the status of much Parole work because of the introduction of some early release without application - ACR - I am particularly ashamed of that because for a time I specialised in ACR work in the mid 90s and dealt with one VERY dangerous and difficult man who refused to sign his licence [until the actual day he was released] because he did not want to subject himself to supervision and for a considerable while said he would NOT sign and stay in gaol. I had to consider all the implications then but do not remember appreciating that effectively - apart from the need to sign the licence at the point of release - ACR supervisees were like (then) probationers also being 'sentenced to social work' in the manner of the then Juvenile Supervision Orders and also the SSSOs.

      I cannot imagine we will ever return to system of consent or of the absolute right to silence and the absolute right of a defendant to object to any and all members of his/her jury - also steps on the road to what some might term a 'police state'!

  7. I just love all these (funded), programmes that are springing up all over the place at the moment. Some I believe are great ideas.
    However, when the programmes by private companies it all changes.
    They'll have to sell their services, but for how much? They'll need more I'm sure then the private companies recruiting their services are willing to pay. So, they'll have to take on more offenders at a lower price, or cut staff and quality of service, OR, sell the whole programme to a prime to take inhouse, and then be subjected to stripping back as with everything else they do to provide their share holders with maximum profits.
    That was a masive problem for the work programme, and hundreds of millions of pounds in funding were lost as a consequence- just ask A4e!!
    Grayling knows this as the PbR model applied to the work programme was his baby. But he still gets paid, so why give f*** if he makes the same mistake again?


    1. Prisoners coming out of Strangeways will be met at the gates by fellow ex-criminals in a new rehabilitation scheme aimed at helping them beat drugs.

      Criminals who have done their time will be taken to a rehabilitation centre around the corner and will be mentored by specially-trained ex-offenders, known as ‘gate buddies’.

      The Abstinence and Rehabilitation Centre, or ARC, will offer counselling and mentoring, plus help to beat their addiction and find accommodation.

      The RAMP, or Reduction and Motivation programme, teaches offenders to take responsibility for their actions and think of the harm they have caused to victims and their family members.

      It has already proved successful with a number of prisoners.

      It aims to carry on the rehab work already going on inside HMP Manchester - which includes yoga and mindfulness classes.

      Currently 64 per cent of prisoners who leave Strangeways use drugs again within four weeks - with 62pc of them then going on to re-offend, according to statistics.

      Gerrard Connor, 41, from north Manchester, has spent the last seven years in and out of prison due to his addiction to crack cocaine and heroin.

      He was released from HMP Manchester in June after serving 16 weeks for theft from a vehicle.

      He said: “It’s the old cliché that you don’t bother about the effect on your victims, just getting high.

      “Since I got out and have been coming to ARC I’ve seen people who have been in the same predicament and how they changed.

      “I’m now living in a dry house, have done the RAMP course and have an interview to become a gate buddy.

      “I’d say life is 100 per cent better than last time I came out.

      “The future can only get brighter.”

      Funded jointly by HMP Manchester and the NHS, with an annual budget of £180,000, the centre on Robert Street also houses a cafe, which is run by ex-offenders.

      HMP Manchester governor Holly Critchley, head of drugs strategy, said: “What this centre is really about is people beginning to work on the root of their issues.

      “Addiction is a symptom of other problems and what this centre will do is provide a supportive environment to work on those issues and also work with ex-offenders’ families.

      “The peer support from other ex-offenders is very important - there’s an authenticity to someone who has had that life experience.”

      Prisons Minister Andrew Selous MP said: "The [drug related] re-offending figures are much too high and not acceptable.

      We are really keen on anything that reduces re-offending rates.

      There's a great relationship between someone coming out of prison and meeting someone who has done that journey themselves."

    2. Prisoners in HMP Manchester’s rehabilitation wing are made to calculate the cost of their crimes to the tax payer - as well as taking part in yoga and relaxation classes.

      The eight-week Recovery Through The Gate programme helps around 50 prisoners with drug and alcohol issues a year.

      Inmates are also encouraged to use the gym as much as possible, learn about nutrition and open up about their problems in group therapy sessions.

      They are also taught mindfulness techniques aimed at helping manage drug cravings, anger or mental health problems.

      Everything is aimed at helping them stay off drugs once released - with prison officers also meeting them ‘on the outside’ to offer extra support once they have finished their sentence.

      The programme is currently run by prison officers, but will be taken over by a private company under reforms brought in by justice secretary Chris Grayling next April.

      Prison officer Christopher Curtis said: “The key issue is motivation. We’re on at them every day asking how they are going to change their lives.

      “Many have never had any structure in their lives or a father figure or mentor before.”

    3. These Journalists never seem to ask the right next question - such as how many prisoners are doing the eight week course and how many are not having a chance to do it?

      I remember when Jack Straw was Home Secretary and I was an ETS tutor at a London local gaol with over 900 men resident (one wing was being refurbished and closed for a long time).

      The maximum number that were allowed to start an ETS course was ten (allowing for a couple of drop outs) the ideal running number was eight for the twenty x two hour sessions (that was less than the course designer recommended and we had far less after completion follow up than was advised) - nonetheless some benefited from it as it challenged their established patterns of thinking and exposed them to alternative positive ways and the so called "pro social modelling"

      Mounting the course was resource heavy because it took staff (including me) away from other essential duties for which back up cover was not provided - the support from 'home' probation officers - who were supposed to attend at least one review session and be introduced to the programme so they could reinforce the learning on release was very poor - understandably (they also did not have time and sometimes could not get authorisation to attend due to the travel costs) - the take up was probably about 2 or 3 probation officers turning up for those review meetings instead of eight.

      Anyway we pressed on.

      At some public event Straw was speaking - I was there - he made great stress on saying they were doubling DOUBLING the number of prisoners doing the course at any one time ( so instead of 8 - 10 a month there were now 16 - 20 (with holidays etc we could not run every month because there were rarely enough available trained up staff to tutor continuously - the course depended on every staff tutor being available every session and that impacted on the prison shift system.

      Anyway there was Straw bragging about maybe occasionally, for a few days 20 prisoners doing this course at a time - meaning only 880 were not doing it - in fact for some of the 20 to do it some of the rest had to be "banged up" because the staff that would have been supervising them were tutoring on the courses!

      Nonetheless it is a good idea - I remember when I worked in Liverpool in the 1970s there was a similar sort of scheme for prisoners coming out of Strangeways, particularly for drug addicts - for some reason - I cannot now think why I got involved and attended once or twice - I wish them well.

      As my father would say - what is round will come round (again and sometimes again) many times!

  8. Unless you are in a senior or service position there is no point in hanging on for voluntary redundancy

    Note the answer to question number 26 above: -

    " We are not currently planning to offer VR to probation officers and other operational roles as we believe we need to retain the skills of those who have been transferred to the NPS. I do appreciate that this is a time of transition, but I also believe that the specialist skills in the NPS will help us improve what we do in key areas like decision making on ROTL. "

    GO NOW - in the hope of making TR unworkable - once it becomes unworkable, you may well be paid to rescue probation and for once get the salary you are worth (in comparison to the salaries of others in positions of high responsibility for public safety - such as those who manage large numbers of staff or make judicial decisions that decide on issues of liberty and detention)

    1. Whilst VR isn't available to all and sundry now if you read all of the above response it points out the potential for VRs to wider group after share sale.

    2. I wonder what they mean by senior positions for V R would that include SPOs?

  9. Any word on graylings dross speech today?

  10. CJS collapsing says Judge.


    1. A JUDGE has hit out at Government cuts to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), warning that underfunding will lead to miscarriages of justice.

      The judge, Simon Newell, who regularly sits at Burnley and Preston Crown Courts, was speaking after the sentencing of dangerous driver Jonathan Crook at Burnley Crown Court.

      The 21-year-old’s sentencing hearing was adjourned several times because the right evidence was not made available to Judge Newell by the CPS to allow him to pass sentence.

      Judge Newell said: “There are many examples in this court on a day-to-day basis where the CPS are unable to carry out their professional duties.

      “They are best endeavouring to work with a broken machine, it is not their fault.

      “If the Government continue with their underfunding, there will be manifest injustices.”

      The CPS has been forced to reduce its budget by 27 per cent in real terms by 2014-2015.

      This has led to staffing cuts, seeing reductions in the number of barristers, solicitors, and witness care officers and managers.

      At crown courts across England and Wales there has been a rise in the number of trials failing due to basic administrative errors. Cases over-running, judges being unavailable and failures with equipment or accommodation have led to costly delays.

      Blackburn MP and former Home Secretary Jack Straw backed Judge Newell’s comments.

      He said: “Traditionally, the Conservatives were the party of law and order. However, since 2010, and by carelessness not design, they have made life easier for the criminal and harder for the law-abiding.

      “Police numbers have been slashed, prison budgets reduced, and the CPS finances cut to the bone. I am not surprised by Judge Newell’s observations. If this goes on we’ll end with a perfect storm in the criminal justice system.”

      A spokeswoman for the CPS said she was unable to comment on Judge Newell’s remarks.

  11. Andrew Selous Minister of Justice cornered by Pat Waterman he sounds a liar to me, what do you think?


    I do hope the local Napo and Unison members visit his Bedfordshire Committee soon and play this to his constituents.

  12. Chris Grayling has decreed that no member of the NPS should have a special leave day for AGM. Seems he is very anti-Napo (no special leave/withdrawal of the Minister from AGM/telling Tory MPs not to attend any fringe meeting at their conference where Napo are speaking).

    1. sounds like a great reason for us all to join napo !

    2. He is anti-anyone who challenges his authority. I think they call it fascism?

  13. What is the legal standpoint of private companies if they failed to adequately address someone risk of re-offending, and they went on to reoffend? Would the victim be able to sue under Tort laws or similar?

    Just a query as I'm unsure what to do with myself once I get the sack and might jump into bed with some ambulance chasing lawyers on what could possibly get a new get rich scheme (I'm begin slightly flippant there).

    I'm not sure if ANY private company would be too impressed if they kept getting hit with legal action every time there was a new offence?? Might even put a few off from bidding if they knew this was just round the corner. What then for Probation.....

  14. From the "pam" organisation: -

    " We’re delighted to announce that The Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland (DLNR) CRC are the first customer to adopt our ISO 27001: 2013 solution.

    Derbyshire Probation Trust were users of pam before the introduction of CRCs, but since DLNR was formed its work on the platform has been growing at a rate of knots. They’re a great example of a CRC that is embracing the future through innovation and we’re proud to know that pam is part of that. DLNR has seen such growth and value in recent months from its adoption of the platform that they are the first to go live with our new ISO 27001: 2013 solution.

    For those that aren’t aware of ISO 27001 and its relevance in the future of CRCs, you may find Mark’s recent blog post a useful introduction. In a nutshell, ISO 27001: 2013 is the information security accreditation that all CRC organisations need to achieve. The pam people have built a solution based on our own ISO 27001 success to make it easier, at lower cost and risk, for CRCs to attain. "


    1. Pam, pam, pam, pam, pam, pam, pam wonderful pam, etc

    2. lower cost and risk.....we'll see
      and we'll be watching....

    3. PAM (platform for achieving more) is a tool for project management. A. It isn't secure. B. After 5 years, the 12 (twelve) Derbys users who were originally given licences, were so impressed, DLNR decided it might be a good thing to roll out. It's that good!. It makes an absolute dogs dinner of anything simple you might want to achieve. It certainly fills your time trying to use the bloomin' thing, if that's what they mean by achieving more. Another useless bit of kit from the purveyors of magic beans.

  15. Grayling thanks Vichy probation during speech at Tory conference:

    ' And I want to put on the record here my thanks to the probation staff who are working so hard on the ground preparing the way for these changes.'

    1. Yet another offensive remark which suggest two things to me. 1. you are not doing you job, burdening your colleagues with your workload and failing in your duty to protect the public.. or 2. Your actually doing your job, collaborating like the rest of us.. you are like so many on this blog, an anonymous hypocrite

    2. I would say many contributors to this blog are saying that TR is ideological destruction of the probation service. They have as much right as you do to earn a living - they just happen to have a different vision of probation. You may enjoy being whipped into line by your rulers, but to express resistance is not hypocrisy and it isn't collaboration. Your support of Vichy probation is not hypocrisy, it's sycophancy. Will TR protect the public? Is it in the interests of the public good? How does TR sit with your principles?

    3. More like working hard to stay in a job, no one is doing it to support TR, doing it under threat. Get it right Grayling, thank us all you want but work is being done for our clients not to support your shitty TR.

  16. Is it just me who thinks this or is the last picture just crying out for a 'caption competition?'.

    "Frankly my dear, I don't give a dam".

    Any takers :)

    Come on Jim, the winning caption gets their Delius entries put on by somebody else for a WHOLE week :)

    1. What about I fucked up big style, someone please help!!!!!!!!

  17. Damm.

    It's Damm!!!!

    Bliddy Iphones!!!

  18. From Graylings's speech to Conservative Party Conference - he added this old chestnut - for - (I have no idea) - what do you suggest?

    And yet in this country today, if you go to jail for less than 12 months, you are released onto the streets with £46 in your pocket, and with no guidance, no supervision, no mentoring, nothing. "

    http://press.conservatives.com/ (scroll down)

  19. The top photo'. He could be saying 'This is how many Probation Officers are happy with the changes; WTF is your problem???'

  20. Restorative Justice: All the Police and Crime Commisioners have been given a budget to spend for restorative justice. The Target Operating Model (TOM) for TR highlights how the plan is for PCCs to directly commission CRCs to do RJ for them and the process will be exempt from any bidding or competition - CRCs can just be given the work and get paid for it by PCCs. It doesn't make it clear if this is as well as RJ as part of Rehabilitation Activity Requirements or instead of. Will CRCs be able to get paid twice for one piece of work and if so will they make as many RARs RJ as possible just to make money?

  21. Restorative Justice: where terrified victims get nasty letters from Solicitors when the case is RIC awaiting sentence, if they don't give the scrote who made them go through the courts process by going not guilty, a chance to say s/he is actually really not threatening or devious or manipulative at all. If you have a theory that isn't proven by experimentation and observation, it is WRONG. RJ is just plain WRONG. It has been tried and failed so many times, only fools don't understand it doesn't work often enough to make it viable. They should scrap it (again). It makes probation look bad.

    1. Do you mean it's wrong because that's your belief? Because the evidence - from the UK and across the world - is very much against you. When done properly RJ reduces reoffending massively, and the evidence from those who take part is that satisfaction levels are extremely high. Of course like anything it can be done badly - and if CRCs do it on the cheap then that's what will happen - but to say it's"wrong" without pointing to any evidence is very silly.

  22. I worked for Derbyshire Probation Trust & now for DLNR CRC & had no idea we were using/subject to (not sure of the correct phrasing) PAM - does it mean anything to front line practitioners?
    Also, little if no chance of VR for POs as DLNR are advertising for full-time permanent POs...........Bobbyjoe

  23. Staff in Yorks going off sick at an alarming rate. PSR's reaching crisis as CRC officers refusing to do them for the pitiful amount they get for an FDR. I have to say there is a lack of leadership and close to meltdown here. An absolute scandal in terms of how they assist officer's with stress. Threaten capabilities and disciplinaries rather than thinking outside the box and giving idea's on how to help front line officers with their caseloads. What are other area's like? I am in the nps. Senior management are all conspiring with the MOJ in my view. They do not appear to give a flying toss about staff. It's actually easier to go off sick as if you stay behind you still have your head above the parapet and risk the sack if an SFO occurrs. Staff on sick come back on reduced caseloads and all sins forgiven due to illness.

    1. In our office in Manchester there are 5 people of sick leave which leaves just 3 NPS staff to cover a very busy inner city office. There are more agency staff than permanent staff I don't know where all this is going to end. Like I wrote last week things have got alarmingly worse, teething problems and all that bollocks is nonsense It is absolutely horrible, my feet feel like they have had concrete poured onto them, its becoming more and more difficult to motivate myself to go to work. It feels like all the services nationwide are now beginning to experience the meltdown that we had from day one.

    2. Sadly you are right. We can see it coming and CEO's doing fuck all to stop it. Won't get agency in here. Rather see staff going off sick. They think they are saving cash and being clever but at the same time they are actually paying full time wages for folks to stay at home in their pj's for 6 months at a time watching Loose women and reruns of fucking Murder she wrote. That is where the problem lies. If you have had a month off your sickness record is as shite as it is, you may as well do the 6 months than come back and make yourself sicker. Can't get the blame for an SFO, cant get put on a capability, can't be disciplined, still the money in the bank at the end of the month. Can't blame them but, sadly I am old school and not in my make up. I feel for you bro!!!

  24. Sealous would do better on the radio would he not?

  25. I become angrier by the day, its eating me up. As a PO in the CRC I feel continually undermined by thé system and former colleagues. I recalled someone last week who and become psychotic, when I requested info from psychiatric services who had seen him 2 days before I was told I had to go through information security even though it concerned risk. Once we are privatised who will share information with us to enable us to assess and manage risk. Found out today that the psychologists will not be able to help us with CRC cases.

  26. From "what do they know", the diy FOI website:

    "My original FOI request was made in June 2014. In July 2014 you
    told me you were finalising your reply. In August 2014 that reply
    had still not arrived and I requested an internal review.
    It is now September 2014 & I have heard nothing since 9 July 2014."

    "Thank you for your email dated 10 June 2014, in which you asked for the following information from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ):

    Can you please tell me the costs of IT provision by Steria for probation services (i.e. for probation areas, probation trusts and for noms itself) in the financial years 2006/7, 2007/8, 2008/9, 2009/10, 2012/13 and 2013/14?

    Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

    Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying. I can confirm that the department holds information that you have asked for, but in this case we will not be providing it to you as it is exempt from disclosure.

    We are not obliged to provide information relating to commercial interests. In this case, we believe that the information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person including the department who holds it (section 43(2) of the Act)."

    Perhaps answering the request would incite hatred or extremist views?

  27. RJ works when no-one is forced and no-one gains only in my opinion as a trained facilitator!

  28. Please try to understand why staff go sick, there are frequent references in this blog to this becoming an increasing problem. My GP told me that I am suffering from work related stress and was unfit for work because I have an erratic heart rate and other physical and psychological symptoms. I am not off because I need a rest. I have never felt like this but to say work has affected every aspect of my life is an understatement. I am a competent employee, not dead wood as someone referred to in recent days and have made genuine attempts to remain in work. I am acutely aware of the pressure placed upon my colleagues and think about this every day. When I told my doctor I couldn't take time off because of this he pointed out that it was up to my employer to ensure staffing and workload levels and I should not have had my health affected by work in the first place. I had been working longer and longer hours ( sometimes at weekends too) and truly became more ineffective as I started to sink. The IT systems became a real problem occasionally costing me up to three hours a day to resolve, time I simply did not have and could not go on absorbing.
    I just want to make a plea not to blame colleagues who are unfit for work due to the actions of the employer.

  29. As a trained manager and 15 year SPO, I am appalled at the approaches to stress and sickness described here. It is just bad management. Bad and ineffective.

  30. " The vast majority of staff are working at the same desk, in the same team and in the same building. They are managing the same offenders and using the same IT systems as previously "

    Selous also read that out also as part of his script in the meeting gatecrashed by Pat Waterman and the Napo bods.

    Can you please test if it is true - JB - via a feature in a blog post - it is something that might well be highlighted, if it turns out a government minister, or I suppose really his MOJ advisers are actually lying?

    If it is not true, why is it that the MOJ do not know?

    What concerns me is a belief that there is a real disconnect in understanding about the reality and detail of probation work between the practitioners and those writing the Probation Instructions, which surely must eventually end up in a real catastrophe for the nation.

    As an aside - what a sign of the poor state of the governance of the UK is shown, by the fact that the person at the almost top of the probation tree, literally reads out a script' to answer a question, rather than using information provided, personalise an answer that meets the unique situation of the questioner and the question as it is actually being asked, in a specific place at a specific time?

    Can you imagine how much information would be gleaned in a PSR interview if one only asked pre prepared questions without putting them in a way that are meaningful for the specific client, in the context of their offence in its unique circumstances - that is why we were trained, so that we could get personal responses that prompt individual plans for individual clients.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



    "Chaos has reined supreme." - maybe correct (I am not sure - it depends upon the thought that prompted its writing)


    "Chaos has reigned supreme." seems probably more correct!