Sunday, 28 September 2014

TR Week Seventeen

My line manager told me that in his opinion employees had their employment rights trampled on. I certainly fall into that group but having now left the Probation Service because of TR, any case I might have had is defunct. The way in which the split was carried out has been the most outrageous aspect of the whole matter.

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My early grievance was ignored through the application of various HR strategies, now it's out of time. I'm so exhausted I don't really care anymore. Over 50 cases as CRC PO, 32 are DV perpetrators. I'm on my knees most days. Most have been sentenced 'fast delivery' so no oasys. Its my job to complete an initial plan & full oasys within 20 days. I was allocated 7 in the space of a few days. Rather than put myself on sick or in hospital, I'm tempted to wait until I'm sacked or there's the offer of a leaving package.

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This sounds terrible! Hope you are finding support from somewhere and hope your branch is taking issue with caseloads like this? How can anyone (and some are on Twitter) extol the freedom for innovation within CRCs when colleagues are shackled with unrealistic demands like this. Testgate 4 is supposed to "testing" that the split is working safely and well. Examples like this illustrate it is NOT working-hope your area is presenting the facts to MoJ.

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To be honest, I don't think the CRC management team are bothered about anything except pleasing their bidder. I suspect they already know exactly who's in the frame, which is why we're being whipped into submission - in preparation for the invasion of the profit snatchers. The "executive" know they're vulnerable to being axed so are playing hardball to impress their new masters: "look at me, I'm just like you. I'm tough, not a wet public sector wimp." Desperate, pathetic and shameful.

"It ain't about the money". Oh yes it is, panto villain Graything. Its about the money you & your chums will trouser.

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Merseyside NAPO have sent word out that they have arranged a meeting on 23rd Oct for middle managers - they hope a National Officer will be able to attend. The meeting has been caused due to Merseyside NAPO reps receiving a number of emails from managers highlighting their concerns both in the CRC and NPS and these will form the basis of the agenda (Shared Services, workloads, role and responsibilities etc). The branch is also hoping to organise meetings for other grades and/or grades prior to 2015. 

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CEOs are all fiddling while Rome burns and that goes for CRC & NPS. It's like they are either unable or unwilling to face the reality that staff are crumbling under the strain. Staff are there now simply to pay their mortgages - the job isn't a pleasure anymore it's a chore and people are dropping like flies. A new to probation PSO who started in May now has a caseload of 60 female cases. The atmosphere's terrible, we're running round like headless chickens and working all sorts of flexi that we never seem to have time to take.

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It's the same in our office, only mainly NPS staff are talking with their feet, and going off on sick leave. I have never seen anything like this. The stress on the remaining staff is unbearable and no one has any answers, instead ACE's seem to think that all is okay, teething problems and all that denial shit. They must be working in some sort of parallel universe. It is horrendous and they are desperately trying to paper the cracks by employing more and more agency staff, some of whom are not even qualified to do the job. 4 months down the road and nothing has improved, instead things have got drastically worse.

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I am tired of senior managers' posts in our CRC blog of happy home lives with cute kids and the lessons for working together - disingenuous and insulting to our intelligence -( and exploitative of children) please be more honest and just include pictures of kittens and puppies with toilet rolls and motherhood and apple pie and cease the Pollyanna nonsense that there's a hope for TR.

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Heard today of an office in my area where one CRC PO was covering the caseloads of 5 POs as all the others were off sick, on leave or on training. No help from the NPS (and rightly so, given that this is their 'operating model'. 'Not operating', more like.

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The risk escalation process is a disgrace. As a PO it was suggested to me this week that I override a CRC case when the CRC manager, an SPO in my old trust, had signed the case off at CRC side as moving to high risk. I did my bit on the "system" said the case was high risk.....then left it to my (NPS) manager to overrule me.....me thinks too many cases are now deemed to be going to NPS so shenanigans are afoot. You just watch, very soon I predict the RSR score will go even higher so more cases go to CRC. The signs are the CRC managers are trying to send cases back upon allocation to NPS....let the battle begin.....'cos CRCs do not want the complex cases as they are too expensive....

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There have already been some almighty rows about case allocations in my office between former colleagues. But at least they've been face to face and so relatively resolvable. Just wait until the expensive leases run out and the CRCs leave for cheaper premises - then all these debates will take place by phone or email, and stretch on for days, leaving clients, victims and staff in limbo.

You hear this, Grayling? We're not anti-change, we're anti-people dying because of the shambles that's grown from your obstinacy and arrogance.

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Just wait until after share sale when private companies want to send any case that's problematic, difficult to manage or where money has to be spent on interventions back to NPS. That's when the real arguments will begin.

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Make no mistake the arguments have already started - CRC are "auditing" case allocation - looks like the last vestige of trust is rapidly disappearing. NPS and CRC are being set against each other. one of the great strengths of probation working was always the capacity to pull together, now blown to the wind by Chris Grayling.....but remember, he says there is no problem. The "good" staff are making the new system work but those nasty left wing union types are just making mischief. What happens when "the market" starts resisting too?

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Auditors have been in our CRC office checking interface issues and timeliness from sentence to induction to 1st supervision appointment.

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What a load of b????ks. This is appalling. Selected management will tell that man what he wants to hear. It makes me so angry I want to cry !!! If he ever came to my office I'd gatecrash and tell him what I thought!!

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CLM Innovo are visiting all Merseyside CRC offices to give a presentation on their bid and to do a question & answer session. We are all a bit surprised as to why they would feel the need to do this. It's as though they have maybe had a 'nod and a wink'.

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Looking at the comment yesterday claiming a mutual bidder was doing the rounds of offices to give presentations raises serious questions for those also in the running for the area. Should CLM Innovo win the bid I would be scrutinising the way they won against those that didn't. Don't forget this is the company who had to withdraw due to one of the partners dropping out due to financial concerns but who then suddenly were able to amend their bid and submit it after the closing date. You don't have to be a bloodhound to smell a potential rat.

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Our area are trying to give some positive spin to Sodexo. Seems maybe they already know who will be winning the bids?

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I understand the visits are connected to promoting interest in joining staff councils which would form part of the mutual structure. I'm in NPS not CRC so am relying on info from colleagues. Presumably whatever restrictions exist on contact between bidders and staff would allow for latitude here but trouble is who of us knows! We have no legal/business knowledge here, though hopefully Branch Chairs have been given guidance?

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Well, seeing as probation chums in the innovo circus are being allowed to present their case to staff, maybe its only 'right' that sodexo get a good press too? "TR is utter shite" doesn't seem to be the third option on offer.

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Regarding staff councils, they will be a workaround the unions. In businesses with more than 50 employees there is a legal duty to consult, not automatic, but activated by either employer or employees. Of course, you don't need a staff council if there is already a union recognition agreement. I don't know whether to call them Trojan horses or elephants in the room, but I see their purpose as negating trade unionism. They will recruit the school prefects of the workplace.

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The specific intention is to disarm the unions and "enfranchise" staff .... so they do fear the unions in big business 'cos they get in the way of reducing terms and conditions or put another way, "reducing fixed costs" ( staff salaries ). Sounds like the best argument there ever was to join one to me!!!

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Those who genuinely care are having the life crushed out of them by politicians like Grayling, by the new managerialism and by the system. They may be young, vibrant & newly employed, or ancient & creaking with not long to go. What management signed us up to over the years is of their making. As frontline practitioners there is a bitter irony in the fact that we have limited capacity to implement change in our own organisation.

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"...function independently..." just one of the many comments that demonstrate the deep level of ignorance on the part of the minister and lap dogs concerning the work of public protection and risk assessment. A Judge recently requested in court specific assistance from the probation service - totally logical and sensible - and a kind of satisfaction was felt in explaining how that would no longer be possible now that probation had been split into separate functions. "Well that's very helpful" he commented. "Yes your honour" was the reply.

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Grayling talks about 10% of staff completing the questionnaire being not truly representative of staff as a whole. Well I would throw back in his face that his so called pilot of voluntary offenders from two prisons, that he uses as a a success story, not truly representative of offenders nationwide. Also the statistics of reoffending from under 12 months sentenced prisoners, not truly representative of reoffending nationwide!

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I wrote a breach report last week. It has now disappeared into the stratosphere of naff delius! I was so frustrated I cried! Why? For obvious reasons you will be familiar with, but mostly because I cant believe that we have been belittled to this degree!

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We use IAPS in my CRC and you would not believe the stuff that disappears. I too have cried over a lost report.

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I feel you pain. I lost an FDR, had to tell IT I couldn't talk to them as I was too upset. Wonderful colleagues brought tea and sympathy to get me through it. Still not been able to re do it as it had to be wiped off delius and admin start from the beginning again!

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The same happened to me with a couple of Parole reports a couple of weeks ago. Our IT man recovered it for me but it was an old version. Was I stressed? !!!!


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I work in court now but when I was in OM there was a 'glitch' in nDelius with Annex Hs (I think) whereby you saved it and it disappeared. Absolutely nothing we could do, happened to a few of us before IT figured out it was a problem on the system. Honestly. And this at a time when caseloads were through the roof and we were haemorrhaging staff. The only times I've ever come close to losing it has always been due to our crap IT systems at work!!!! I feel your pain x

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Having sat on 2 oral hearings last week within the prison a judge promptly told said individual I may as well release you seeing as there appears to be no probation staff left here to monitor you correctly! I felt so sad that even the prisons are failing our public protection.

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It's great to see the paperless office working at its best - I always print off 2 copies before I save or do anything else! 1 for the file and 1 for court team - I've lost too many reports to risk it any more. Same with DRR reviews!

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I think it's really sad that there appears to be a huge divide between CRC and NPS, especially within the work place. We all predicted that this would happen. The one thing that hasn't changed in the TR process is that the client group are still the same. Both sides. We still all have to do the same work with cases as we did before. Ok a large portion, but not as many that are in the community, of my cases may be in custody as I am in NPS and coming towards the end of PQF, but they still need a lot of work pre release and I suppose one positive is that there is now the time, more so than previously, to engage pre release. I still have a high case load, in fact it is higher than it was pre split.

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I am aware that the MOJ sent in assessors to the CRCs last week to check that the inter agency processes are working prior to share sale. I am also aware that those that met with them told them Ndelius is not fit for purpose and needs to be replaced, that the process for risk escalation is laborious, cumbersome and ineffective.....hopefully they will get the message wherever they go.


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Potemkin Villages hastily being constructed at CRC Kent, Surrey, Sussex as Grayling announces visit to see progress of his 'reforms' .


32 comments:

  1. Not all senior managers are complicit with TR. There are many vocalising their frustration and concern too.

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    1. yes they are! NONE of them are demonstrating anything other than fully complicit behaviour (with the TR agenda) to the staff group NONE OF THEM

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    2. You are wrong

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    3. No, I am just someone who believes what I have witnessed with my own eyes and ears, all of the demands are made by Senior Management with no thought for those at the bottom of the food chain, like me. We have been threatened that performance "must improve" ...or what??? They won't get their bonuses ( and yes I KNOW they have performance related bonuses). It is an appalling system and staff are working flat out with no regard, on the part of senior managers for their well being. It is the senior managers who should exercise the duty of care to staff - not disregarding them and only speaking to those at the top, which is what is implied. They supposedly raise concerns but only with those at the top table - it bloody stinks! Who can check the truth of this? The evidence is overwhelming read the blogs, newsletters and attend a few away days my friend!

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    4. It saddens me to see a colleague feels so let down by the management team. I can't nor won't try to challenge you on your personal local experiences. However, I would agree with the other anonymous post and strongly chalkenge the notion that none of the managers are challenging TR. As a manager myself, yes I hold staff to account for the work they are required to do, but do so with consideration of the situation they find themselves in. We have missed targets where I assess we did all we could (all things considered) and none of my staff were threatened or left hanging out to dry! I raise the concerns regularly higher up the manager chain and try to keep staff informed. However, let's remember that within our workforce many locations have for years been carrying dead wood. It is these people that we can no longer carry - not that I'm making excuses as many hard working staff are putting their all in and then some!!

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  2. Where? To whom? I only see the happy flappy smiling faces and blogs and all the b***ocks about innovation. So a quiet word expressing a bit of misgiving doesn't cut it, I'm sorry. We need someone with a bit of courage to say out loud that this really is not working and post share sale it will get extremely bitter and dangerous. Fiddling whilst Rome burns is bang on..worrying about minute process nonsense with no sense of the bigger picture.

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  3. I don't speak in defence of the collaborators or, in some cases, the architects of TR but... Presumably They are trapped in a dilemma of their own making; to speak out openly & explicitly as a critic of TR and all it stands for they will have to (1) be prepared not to have a job anymore and/or (2) be prepared to pay the price of any gagging order they signed when taking the shilling.

    I can't think of any other reason why rational human beings would persist in believing this omnishambles is anything other than a fucking disaster.

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  4. Doesn't look like colleagues p s o up to s p o will be losing jobs in c r c and. N p s so I have heard in the pub as there isn't enough to do the work. Looks like terms job description and pay will do you concur Jim ?

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  5. The Work Programme - worse than doing nothing.
    The interpreters contract - disaster, farcical
    Facilities Management - chaotic to the point of comedy
    C-Nomis - abandoned at the cost of millions (inc a 'lost' £161m), disaster
    N-Delius - retrograde step, worse than that which it sought to replace.
    Prison crisis caused by the 'Fair and Sustainable' initiative (which is neither) - only the MoJ don't know it is happening, in spite of the evidence of the dangerous situation caused by reductions in staffing.
    ETE Providers handing back contracts because the prisons cannot supply the offenders.
    SERCO handing back the LPA Unpaid Work contract.

    This list goes on. The Border Agency, the West Coast Main Line etc, etc.

    And, after all of that, do they actually think, for a second, that anyone is thinking that this will be anything other than another debacle?


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    1. I fully agree annon 13:18.

      You may like to read this article in the Independent if you haven't already. It's clear that outsourcing some public services is dangerous for society.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/late-diagnosis-of-hiv-blamed-on-coalitions-health-reforms-9760086.html

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    2. Anon at 13:18 - And the Passport Office just taken back into direct government control.

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    3. Health experts are reporting disturbing increases in the number of people being diagnosed late with the HIV virus in England. They warn that healthcare reforms, which, they say, have "fragmented" a previously "seamless sexual health service", may be a major reason for the delays, and have called for an investigation.

      Four in five Aids-related deaths in England and Wales are attributed to late diagnosis. Worryingly, experts say that late diagnosis also means the patient is unaware that they have had HIV for as long as 10 years, when they could have been spreading the virus.

      Health charities and the Department of Health had previously welcomed a decline in late diagnoses. Numbers dropped from 52 per cent of overall new diagnoses in 2008-10 to 48 per cent in 2010-12.

      But closer analysis of the figures shows that in 14 of the 20 areas in England most affected by late diagnosis, the problem had worsened. Barnsley had the highest percentage in the sample, at 77.1 per cent, up from 61.8 per cent two years earlier.

      Jan Clarke, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said the findings were "concerning and would have to be investigated". She observed that there used to be a "seamless service" from testing to treatment, but that health reforms had disrupted this.

      Private companies can now bid to provide NHS services, including sexual healthcare. "If you're delivering down to price and then up to quality, you might see access [to testing] impaired, with fewer staff and capacity," said Dr Clarke.

      The outsourcing of testing services is an added difficulty. Some consultants complain that there is little incentive for local authorities to invest in additional testing facilities, such as community outreach programmes, at a time of severe financial pressure. More tests would mean a greater number of earlier diagnoses, resulting in fewer cases of acute treatment, potentially saving millions of pounds a year, experts argue.

      Mark Lawton, a senior sexual health and HIV consultant in Liverpool, where late diagnosis is nearly 71 per cent, warned: "We're concerned that fragmentation of services could lead to poorer outcomes. A clinician might spend Friday working for a company doing HIV and Monday to Thursday working for another company on sexual health services. What about HIV testing on those days?"

      Luciana Berger, who speaks for Labour on public health, said: "It is highly regrettable that under this Tory-led government's unwanted reorganisation of the NHS, sexual health services have become fragmented and disjointed. The separation of HIV services from other sexual health services in some areas has disrupted clinical care, reduced the quality of the service and put HIV patients at risk."

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    4. We also need to remember that Grayling's approach to sexual activity in prisons (i.e..that it won't be happening on his watch) means that prisoners are not provided with the necessary support and advice to prevent the spread of HIV in prisons. These prisoners mostly get out and, if they are not diagnosed, will spread the infection amongst the community. THIS GOVERNMENT IS TALKING US BACK INTO THE DARK AGES!!

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  6. The Grayling Paradox
    Our senior managers are caught in the perfect storm of Grayling's making. Firstly they all embraced TR ( well did any single Trust SMT not implement TR processes?), then they either took Grayling's thirty pieces of silver (EVR) and walked away or remained in post. For the majority who remain, they have the dual responsibility for making TR work (thereby sustaining their own careers) and being fully accountable should it unravel (thereby jeopardising their own careers). They, for example, had responsibility and ownership for the staff split. Yet they also would be the ones to have to report to NOMS/MOJ on it's implementation.What's in it for them to report upon their own managerial failures? Well, I guess integrity, but perhaps that's why they have lost the hearts and minds of the staff, they are now seen as having none......

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  7. I feel duty bound to report that, as a Branch Chair, I attended a Testgate meeting with representatives from the MoJ and Cabinter office. I was present throughout this meeting and can report that the senior managers (inc CEO) present at this meeting made it absolutely clear that this operating model has massive flaws in it and that the current spplit was causing a huge number of difficulties, particualry in the NPS, which are undermining the CRC in our area. NONE of the senior managers present have got VR and all of them are critical of TR, despite having to implement it. There is a lot of talk on here about CEOs and other managers colluding with TR unquestioningly. I can report that this is not always the case and that the MoJ ARE aware of the problems. If they report that everything is going well, they are doing so IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT IT IS NOT.

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    1. Well Anon 16:19 - what the bloody hell are we to do then?

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    2. As the MoJ are in denial and you report that some CEOs are not, then it would seem they are only expressing their doubts behind closed doors. On the other hand, we do read some of the upbeat stuff that CEO's circulate to their workforces. Are some of these CEO's the same ones who express doubts about 'massive flaws'? Given the serious threats posed by TR, is it defensible to say one thing in public and something else in private? If you do say something in public that you don't actually believe and if you become part of the spin in the process, then isn't this a form of collusion, as it enables the MoJ to misrepresent the facts of TR? They may not be colluding with TR 'unquestioningly' but aren't they colluding quiescently?

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  8. Well said Netnipper !
    What are we to believe? Everything I have been involved with from regional union meetings with senior managers present to team meetings with my own line manager supports the view that senior managers ARE saying very positive "let's make this work" stuff. Their blogs, tweets and newletters also support this view. If what Anon 16.19 says is correct it is really extraordinary also I understood the union was asking for information on Testgate, how come a branch chair is attending such meetings?

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    1. Because my CEO asked me to attend. He also told not to hold back. I didn't but didn't need to because he was saying as much as I was. They know. And they know we know that they know. It is Orwellian.

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    2. Is a Kafkaesque nightmare.

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  9. We can add to anon13:18's list of disasters every PFI contract which is emptying the nation's pockets. Hospitals, police stations, Council buildings, some probation HQs(?), fire and ambulance stations, etc etc. Everyone is paying £billions over the odds, with pisspoor service provision (hospitals with toxic water supplies), and years and years still to pay. Who is to be held accountable? And yes, I know most (if not all) were Labour projects. This isn't party political, its just shit government. Its been a feeding frenzy for years. No wonder Blair was seen as the "friend of business".

    Tory toerags are typically digging in and getting more vicious as they see their futures are at risk; I think we should expect Grayling et al to become more aggressive in the coming months.

    Labour have shown themselves to be toothless; and Farage's lot continue to look like the perfect Ealing comedy - "Carry on Nobheads"?

    Add the Orwellian element as raised earlier (they know we know they know its shit, but they won't admit that its shit or that they know its shit) and the next six months are going to be more bizarre, depressing, distressing and unpleasant than we've ever known.

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  10. and it's all going to be over the Christmas & New Year period AGAIN - last year we had the selection process going on and we didn't know where we'd end up. What a year - I've aged considerably.

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  11. Everyone is so angry because the corruption just does not stop. The bankers are at it again fixing the 4X and SWAPS markets by setting the 4 o'clock price thus knowing how to buy and sell in advance( front running). Our pension funds are invested in the massive 4X market and they are being bled dry. The top is rotten to the core it is killing the public sector. I was on a Union march in Birmingham today to fight austerity, the cameras were there but I have not seen any reports on TV; they control the narrative and plunder as they go, bastards.

    papa

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  12. Nothing to worry about, Grayling knows what he's doing!
    He's an uncaring, unintellegent wannabe dictator.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/fears-sexual-exploitation-raised-plan-imprison-teen-girls-male-inmates-1467568

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    1. Plans to house teenage girls with male inmates at a youth detention facility have been branded "dangerous" and "frightening".

      A proposal for a £85m 'secure college' in Leicestershire includes plans to house teenaged female inmates in the same facility as male offenders.

      But prison reform groups, and Labour are arguing that girls would be at risk of sexual exploitation.

      Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary, said that the proposal created "the frightening possibility of violence and sexual abuse taking place against teenage girls within the confines of a state-run institution".

      He called on the justice secretary, Conservative MP Chris Grayling, to reconsider the plans.

      In a letter to Grayling, Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform said the plan was "ill thought through and dangerous" and could put girls at risk of "sexual assault and exploitation".

      The deputy children's commissioner, Sue Berelowitz, has criticised the design of the proposed unit.

      She told the Guardian in April she was "concerned that the focus on replacing existing small secure children's homes and other parts of the secure estate with a 300-bed secure college will result in a large impersonal environment that does not adequately meet the emotional and mental health needs of children in custody".

      The college would house 320 young offenders and is designed so that teachers can work alongside prison officials to rehabilitate inmates.

      The government told the Joint Committee on Human Rights that it wanted secure colleges "to accommodate both boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17".

      Grayling accused critics of "scaremongering", and said no final decision had been made.

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    2. As usual Graylings right and the rest of the worlds wrong because they're left wing activists.

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    3. There's an unemployed PCC not too far away in South Yorks. Maybe there's a Governor's job waiting for Mr (W)right at this new facility?

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  13. OMG, is there no challenging Grayling ?? How much damage can one person do? It is the sheer bloody arrogance of the man, his will against all reasoned evidence.

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    1. This clip from the FT about Tory defections to UKIP gives a clue to how much damage Grayling can do.
      Take away human rights by claiming its to stop things like prisoners votes and whole life tarriffs and hes free to do anything he feels like without reproach.

      Now Mr Cameron’s lieutenants are trying to work out who might be next, with speculation swirling in the conference bars that Nigel Farage hopes to name his next recruit on the day of the prime minister’s speech on Wednesday.The defections have stiffened the resolve of rightwing Tory MPs to demand a much tougher approach towards Europe at the next election.Chris Grayling, justice secretary, is expected to oblige in the coming days by setting out details of his plan for Britain to pull out of the European Convention of Human Rights, a treaty despised by many Tory activists.Mr Grayling insists Britain can leave the convention without jeopardising its membership of the EU, although civil rights campaigners say the move would make the UK an international outcast alongside the likes of Belarus.

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  14. looks like the gaffe-prone PCC for Kent is in a spot of bother too - allegedly being investigated by her own force for driving with no insurance. (Que benny hill theme tune) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2772292/Under-fire-crime-tsar-faces-police-probe-driving-no-insurance-Gaffe-prone-Ann-Barnes-investigation-Mercedes-collided-car-ploughing-tree.html

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    1. Re the role of middle managers, in my area north of England TR is largely being propped up by retired managers being invited back by their mates to supplement their pensions and disappear without any consequences for them after the damage is done.

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  15. TR is a complete shambles! In my area the accountability game is in full flow, seems that any potential risk escalation is whipped up to NPS no questions asked, even if the PO in CRC doesn't agree with it. We seem to be up-tariffing offenders due to TR because CRC's don't want any potential trouble landing at their door. The days of focusing on the case that sits before you has gone, now were over escalating risk in order to cover our backs, with the cases suffering the consequences. I've heard that CRCs will continue to get paid for cases that transfer to NPS which will make this kind of practice more common.
    Re the role of middle managers, there are plenty who are against TR and are vocal about it, however they are in their minority. Lots of new managers in my area.

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