Thursday, 16 October 2014

AGM 2014 Speeches

I mentioned a few days ago that I felt it would be a good idea to try and publish some of the speeches I particularly enjoyed from this year's AGM. So, here's the first and thanks go to Martin Cawston for sending it to me. It was passed unanimously if I recall and received raptuous applause, not least from former CEO Sally Lewis.

MOTION FOR NATIONAL AGM 2014

Reconnecting Probation with Social Work

This AGM reasserts the probation service’s proud history rooted in social work and recognises the fundamental relevance of social work theory, practice and values to the probation service today.

To this end, AGM instructs:

(i) The Training Committee to immediately seek the inclusion of social work as a relevant degree for the purposes of the Probation Qualification Framework.

(ii) The Professional Committee to undertake a review of the international definition of social work and produce a report on how this relates to probation practice, identity and values.

(iii) The General Secretary, or a representative he shall appoint, to write to the head of the Probation Institute, informing them of the contents of this Motion and that, as co-founder, NAPO insists that the relevance of social work be properly recognised and active connections between social work and probation be developed, now and in the future.
Proposer: East Midlands Branch

Reconnecting Probation with Social Work

Conference, this Motion is entitled Reconnecting Probation with Social Work and I think I need to begin by saying a bit about what this is not about, before I say what it is about.

This motion is not about nostalgia. It is not a retreat into some kind of romantic past in an attempt to forget the horror of Transforming Rehabilitation. Neither does it deny the real and positive advances made by probation in the last twenty years.

What this motion is about: is making our profession stronger and more coherent. Anyone with the smallest knowledge of the history of social work will see that it is virtually identical to that of probation. Voluntary sector, faith based organisations working with the poor and the dispossessed that were absorbed into the state to perform statutory functions. If not exactly twins, Social work and Probation must be close siblings.

And yet Michael Howard, in his wisdom, tore us apart in 1995. Conference, there was a reason he did this and it was not so different to why Chris Grayling is trying to tear up our service now:

They do not understand what we do, and why we do it, and they despise our core values. Of course, probation staff never stopped doing social work.

As David Smith said in the British Journal of Social Work a few years ago:

“...for all the rhetoric of punishment and public protection, risk management and enforcement, when practitioners decide what they are actually going to do to engage and motivate clients, help them access resources, and convey a sense of hope in the possibility of constructive change, they will find themselves using the ideas and skills that have emerged from social work theory and research.” (2005:634)

At the Probation Chiefs Association conference earlier this year, Professor Rob Canton said the following:

“Just as probation was kicking social work out of the front door it crept back in through the back door“ But what did he mean by this? He meant that although a public show has been made of ejecting social work from probation we actually have no option but to draw on the theory, skills and values of social work, because we need them to be effective. A multi-disciplinary approach, ideas about professional judgement, care and control, a focus on communication skills - that relational dimension that Professor Gelsthorpe was talking about yesterday - safeguarding, anti-discriminatory practice, are all drawn from social work.

These are some of the keys areas of probation practice and yet social work isn’t even deemed a relevant degree for entering training. This is both sinister and nonsensical and is the reason why the first thing this motion instructs is:

(i) That the Training Committee immediately seeks the inclusion of social work as a relevant degree for the purposes of the Probation Qualification Framework.

If supported, this motion will also instruct:

(i) The Professional Committee to undertake a review of the international definition of social work and produce a report on how this relates to probation practice, identity and values.

It would also instruct the General Secretary to write to the head of the Probation Institute, informing them of the contents of this motion and that, as co-founder, NAPO insists that the relevance of social work be properly recognised and active connections between social work and probation be developed, now and in the future.


Conference, we may be in a time of crisis but now is surely the time to hold firm to our core values, set a positive course for this profession and to join arms with our comrades in CAFCASS, in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the global social work community. Please support this motion.


Martin Cawston (East Midlands Branch)

42 comments:

  1. Good morning, i was retweeted by a guy named Leigh Picket, who is a firefighter and friend of Russell Brand's and has 47,000 followers in my attempt to get publicity! I have also tweeted Stephen Fry, Owen Jones and anyone else I can think of. Can everyone do the same and can anyone think of a way we can translate this retweet into attention by Russell Brand or anyone else to publicise our plight? I'm not a great social media person but think we need a massive boost now and some attention which we have only ever had from the Guardian and Independent. Social media can get to so many people so quickly.

    Thanks for getting in touch with the two reporters - they are both keen to do a programme. I am still confident we can win this if Napo keeps its nerve.

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    1. Might also be worth contacting Polly Toynbee at the Guardian.

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    2. I know that a colleague is in touch with Polly T and she is on board

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  2. I wrote about this in yesterday's blog and have tweeted folk including Joanna

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/posts/Listener-Week-Get-Involved

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    1. Thanks for highlighting this Andrew - an excellent opportunity for people to get our plight discussed by the Beeb. Who's up for it then? Be great to have a client or former client on 'Saturday live', women talking about the outrageous way TR will discriminate against them on 'Womens Hour' and perhaps Mike Guilfoyle engaging with Melvyn Bragg on 'In Our Time'.

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    2. I have contacted Womens Hour, (which is my natural home in a way) re Women in and/or impacted by CJS

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    3. To both posts above-just seen tweet from Tania indicating she has been in discussions with Radio 4 for several weeks and believes will be programme (presumably linked to Probation) going out on Nov 2nd. Eve

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    4. Response to Anon at 13:17 Tania Bassett has given an update: -

      " @taniabassett

      @Andrew_S_Hatton @Petrova56 Sorry just realised I put R4 meant R5 investigates. Sundays at 11am."

      https://twitter.com/taniabassett/status/522762950793506816

      Here is the Programme's website: -

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tl99q

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  3. I am alarmed that the MOJ is outwitting us. New dates for signing contracts and now I hear Napo's General Secretary is flying out to his villa in Spain for a week's holiday. What are we to make of this? I'm beginning to think he's been paid off, like the Probation Chiefs who, I've just learnt, were offered up to a £250,000 sweetener.

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    1. Who says the MOJ is outwitting us? I am still not satisfied that the signing of the contracts are being bought forward, I copied Dean Rogers's tweet on here a few days ago. He stated that signing of the contracts was being delayed further to 23rd December. As for Ian going on holiday....is he not allowed a break ?

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    2. We'll all know soon enough where the truth lies.

      "As for Ian going on holiday....is he not allowed a break?"

      I'm speechless.

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    3. We will. there seems to be a post at the bttom saying that NAPO do not feel that the date is moving forward. As for taking a holiday, everyone has a right to a holiday and I don't think it gives people carte blanche to pile in with comments indicating that it's suggestive that he's colluding with the enemy. I should think that the job is virtually 24/7 at the moment so if he's refreshed for the final end game that's good enough for me.

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    4. His holiday isn't what's 'suggestive that he's colluding with the enemy' - that comes from his refusal to fight TR, his sustained efforts to frustrate any attempt at meaningful action by anyone else, and from his leading our Union into collusion with the Probation Institute, an organisation created as a part of the MoJs target operating Model for TR, established and otherwise run by people - the Union's partners in this endeavour - who are on the record as being actively committed to helping the MoJ design and roll out the TR 'refroms'. His holiday at such a critical moment just underlines the fact that he couldn't give a fuck about what happens to us or our jobs, beyond his concern to ensure that he keeps getting his wages - twice the average POs - , and that there is money left for a fat pay off once he's helped to destroy our service and NAPO becomes irrelevant

      Simon Garden

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  4. "now I hear Napo's General Secretary is flying out to his villa in Spain for a week's holiday. What are we to make of this?"

    It's not good is it, lets be honest. However, we have some good people steering the ship in his absence and I'd say it was a good time to make some key decisions without interference.

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    1. Maybe we could make it a permanent arrangement...

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  5. A short but memorable speech, well-grounded, unromantic. The disconnect in some ways started with the language switch from client to offender. Whilst it's unlikely we will get back to 'clients', it's the police and courts who deal with offenders. Once convicted, semantically the individual, becomes an ex-offender. Probation deals with ex-offenders which points to a rehabilitative direction of travel, without the continuing stigmatization of being labelled an offender.

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    1. I still use 'clients'. Often I have to translate this to 'service users' for senior managers though

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    2. I have just re-sent my updated and edited- ' TR- tragedy or comedy?' letter, which is now in blog archives, - to the Mirror again, with a changed title!. I sent it to 8 papers 3 weeks ago and only the Journal responded. I have now been more forceful, pointing our that the likes of the Guardian and further left wing papers like the Morning Star, have had strong articles but never the Mirror in the middle, which reaches out to Mr and Mrs Average. I have emphasised the risk to children and vulnerable communities.I will also phone them. I have suggested at least a full page spread and I thought that mebbee other bloggers could also follow this up to the Mirror, by any media you think most likely to get action. (I'm not on any other social media). Inundate them! Contact details are on Mirror website.And I'm so glad my twitter suggestion last night got off to a flying start today with Joanna's email, closely followed by Andrew. Thank you. Being retired, I can't give current examples, but I will shout as loudly as I can, to get Cameron's dirty secret highlighted! (retired ML)

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    3. update - re the above - I have just phoned the Mirror Newsdesk who interrupted my first sentence and mention of Grayling, to say they had covered this story. I said it was never more than a corner paragraph and proceeded to quickly stress the main issues, and how this was as important as the bedroom tax and NHS crisis and deserved a page or 2. He asked what connection I had with Probation (18 yrs as PO, now retired but maintain active contact)He said they would read my email, but the whole call lasted 4 min 17 sec, and I feel that it needs more voices, to back up what I am saying. If you feel up to phoning, it is 02072933831 or email mirrornewsdesk@mirror.co.uk. fingers crossed - ML

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    4. My Email to The Daily Mirror News desk

      "

      Greetings,

      I am disappointed to hear you fobbed a colleague off today, who gave you lots of detail in an email.

      Probation, is going to crash - will you be chasing the story or leading it with explanations and interviews with practitioners?

      There is sex and death in it already as Mark Leftly reported before!

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/mark-leftly-probation-bidders-may-make-a-profit-but-theyll-never-be-popular-9713354.html

      A better place to see the latest from Practitioners who need, in the main to be anonymous because of restrictions to free speech imposed by Grayling is via the On Probation Blog http://probationmatters.blogspot.co.uk/. It is getting lots of comments from practitioners most days.

      On Twitter today I read : " Risk escalation review completed Mon - Decision still awaited "

      No longer can a decision be made about extra sanctions within a team - that could mean someone needing extra attention from the high risk specialists - it is just a matter of time before a lack of attention results in a serious offence being committed -

      https://twitter.com/CRC_PSO/status/522797430447013889

      Exactly the opposite of what Grayling said who told us he is making the changes to improve services not worsen them!

      I am retired and do not need anonymity.

      Please think again.

      Regards

      AH"

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    5. That above Email was returned - the wrong address was in the post from ML -

      I have checked it and resent - the correct address is: -

      mirrornews@mirror.co.uk

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    6. re your comment above -much appreciated Andrew, I was shocked at his bored dismissive attitude, but he did say my letter, with the previous letter, edited (printed here around 1/10, now bottom of the Oct archived blogs) would be read - then what? I told them about the blog, asking them to read the comments, a handful of samples representing the despair of thousands of committed, hard working people, They have my name, address and phone nbr.. The local Journal was happy enough to do a full page, also quoting our NAPO vice chair and Jeremy Beecham. My only moan was my photo 'cos somehow I no longer look 21! I have forwarded the whole email to Jim and Joanna for perusal..

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    7. oops! sorry Andrew - I sent mine to the correct address then wrote the wrong one- I think I must be getting tired - or frustrated! The phone nbr was correct tho,' I checked it twice!! so angry readers - write to - mirrornews@mirror.co.uk, phone nbr - 02072933831!

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    8. Going back to original theme of todays blog..eloquent,succinct and very relevant. "What a refreshing change" thanks Martin and East Midlands branch. A good hunk of work for professional committee-will anyone from East Midlands be on it I wonder?

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  6. As I know how Jim Brown loves these updates here is an email I have just received from pam - I read about half!

    Katie Coakes Posted this on: October 15, 2014

    Everyone working in criminal and social justice knows that probation is going through its most significant change with Transforming Rehabilitation (TR). As part of that, all new Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) organisations need to achieve ISO 27001, the information security management standard. It will give the government and other interested parties the assurance that CRCs and their supply chains are secure and effective with how information flows through the ecosystem. Back in 2007 Catherine Holland, now Chief Executive of Staffordshire & West Midlands CRC (SWM), was responsible for people, change and business development in West Midlands probation. She was quick then to see how much pam could offer the service. pam was used in the successful transformation of the service from two Boards into the largest merged Trust across the country, and continues adding value as the organisation has morphed into a CRC. Catherine has again been quick to take advantage of what pam offers SWM for fast and efficient delivery of the government requirement for CRCs to have an accredited 27001 environment.

    Catherine also sees ISO 27001 as much more than a tick box exercise: ” This standard enables us to design the organisation our community needs to keep it safe, and reduce reoffending rates, whilst giving our stakeholders the safeguards they need on information security. We hope that as the day to day government management reduces, CRCs will be freer from constraints of dated national policies and systems that slow us down. Mark and his team at pam have pre-empted what we need for success around ISO 27001. Having used their service before, in a range of business areas, I’m excited at what it can do for us around 27001, and how pam can support the changes we need to make during the next phase of our journey.”

    Mark Darby is CEO of Alliantist, the organisation behind pam. He commented “We deliver our own UKAS certified 27001 accreditation with pam as part of our paperless, digital working practices so it made sense for us to adapt that solution for probation as well. We are delighted to be supporting Catherine, she epitomises a leader that embraces the opportunities that arise from change. Using pam for ISO 27001 as part of the wider move to new ways of working is also going to save huge amounts of time and money for CRCs too. “

    http://www.pam-it.com/staffordshire-west-midlands-community-rehabilitation-company-leading-way-prepared/

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    1. Pam is a plaything for those with too much time on their hands. You have to create your own silo/intranet for each piece of work you do. The version Dlnr has is not secure - there have been a couple of 'accidents' but it is vital not to use personal data says the trainer. Er, isn't that the currency we deal in?.

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  7. Left Unity are broadcasting a live debate on building the Left anew in Europe. Simply go to their web site and view. Live streaming.

    papa

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  8. it gets worse as you go down -'as the day to day government management reduces, CRC's will be freer (is there such a word?- ml) from constraints of dated national policies and systems that slow us down.' ah well, so THAT's the problem.. Mr Grayling has been trying to SAVE us all! How grateful are we......

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    1. My tasks are SLOWER and LESS efficient as a result of the contracts of the NEW policies and systems. Everything was so much more logical and efficient before Grayling threw his tantrum and stamped all over probation. I am hanging on to the fact that I enjoy my role but despise and detest those who are being paid out of hard working tax payers money to do nothing but arse lick and dribble bullshit wherever they go.

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  9. In DLNR CRC the CEO sent an email today that the bidders would be known on the 28th October and CRC's being told a couple of days after. Where it stands after that no body knows.

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    1. See latest Napo blog

      Below is a summary of current activity and an outline of our understanding of the competition process.

      Napo have received clarification from numerous sources inside the process, including from bidders and Michael Spurr himself, that the last published timetable remains in place. Rumours and local misdirection to the contrary are inaccurate.

      We expect:

      1. Local preferred bidders to be announced as scheduled between 24th and 31st October. Napo is preparing strong local, regional and national responses for release in parallel with announcements.
      2. A period of negotiation known as due diligence will then take place over the preceding 5-8 weeks. This takes place before contracts are signed. NOMS assert that contracts will be signed towards the end of December.

      Napo continue to prepare for a potential legal challenge as detailed at the AGM and since. Members have responded brilliantly to our request for support. Conversations are ongoing with sister unions about supporting any potential challenge. A full assessment in regard to the potential success of a legal challenge will be presented to Officers and Officials of all unions by the end of this week. Action, if the advice is positive would commence shortly afterwards. This timetable wouldn't be impacted by any acceleration of the sell-off timetable, although we stress this does not appear to be the case at present.

      Napo Officers and Officials want to thank all members for their response to our calls for support throughout this long campaign. We have again, since the AGM, seen the advantage of being an open, accessible union. It is now important that energy and resource are well directed, our nerve and discipline holds and we continue to show Unity in Napo.

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  10. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/16/chris-grayling-force-super-child-jail-teenage-inmates?CMP=twt_gu

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    1. the man is psychotic, controlling those already in a controlled situ, It is against the law, using violence unnecessarily. He is already getting his kicks by ordering early lights out to young people , many of whom who have been abused, will have fear of the dark. He should be locked up himself in the name of public safety.

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  11. Are you ready for some Grayling Bingo - cards out -

    "Justice secretary Chris Grayling visits HMP Standford Hill on Sheppey
    16 October 2014
    by Lewis Dyson

    ldyson@thekmgroup.co.uk

    Justice secretary Chris Grayling visited a Sheppey prison today in the wake of a series of disturbances.

    The top Tory went to HMP Standford Hill where he had discussions with representatives of the Prison Officers’ Association from all three of the Island’s jails."

    - - - - -

    "Mr Grayling accepted there were staff shortages and said there has been an increase in the prison population in the last year, a lot of which is down to an increase in historic and current cases of sex offenders in the wake of the Jimmy Savile affair."


    http://www.kentonline.co.uk/sheerness/news/justice-secretary-visits-kent-prison-25423/
    http://www.kentonline.co.uk/sheerness/news/justice-secretary-visits-kent-prison-25423/

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    1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04fcsyt
      Listen to Radio 4 More or Less (31st August) for the debunking of this statement.....

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  12. Reference IL going on holiday at critical time, whilst he might have planned this to coincide with after the AGM thinking his hardest work would have been done ie having convinced the members all was well, I'm sorry I'm not convinced. Whilst I encourage anyone to have their well earned leave, in this instance, there is little evidence of this. As a PO, if I hadn't achieved my Crown Court PSR or Parole Report, come hell or high water, it would be done. Now if IL is away with his 'finger on the pulse' and in control through email, Skype, texts, calls etc well I have no problem with this, however his and our future is dependant on this, so let's see how he performs! We are all frantically trying to gain attention, throughout day and night so the proof will be in the pudding!

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  13. See post at 20.08 where it says "Action if the advice is positive would commence shortly afterwards" which doesn't sound as if would be waiting on anyones return from holiday.Also note interesting ref to "we've seen advantage of being an open and accessible union" so will be judged accordingly.

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  14. Off topic but if any potential bidders are reading this blog they might be interested by this report.
    It would seem that the market your buying into has shrunk significantly, and thats surely going to your targets much more difficult to achieve.
    Only being helpful!!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/survey-reveals-good-news-on-crime-9800020.html

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    1. In their election campaigns the Coalition partners will trumpet their apparent success in driving down crime – and they will have plenty of ammunition. Today the Crime Survey for England and Wales, regarded as the most authoritative gauge of lawlessness, reported that the numbers of offences had fallen by a record 16 per cent to their lowest level for 34 years.
      This came two weeks after Theresa May told the Tory conference that offending had dropped by almost a quarter since the election. Following the latest statistical signs that Britain is safer and less crime-prone than ever, the Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker hailed a 2.3 million annual fall in numbers of offences committed since the Coalition took office.

      If these boasts sound familiar, that is because they are. At the last election, Labour said crime had dropped by more than a third on its watch, with an even sharper fall in violent crime. It is natural for political leaders to try to bask in the reflected glory cast by good news, but the reality is that they can take little credit for evidence that Britain is at its most law-abiding for a generation.

      Crime is falling around the Western world. Part of the explanation is practical rather than a sudden outbreak of lawfulness among the previously criminal classes. It is far harder to break into cars or houses than it was 20 years ago thanks to technological advances which have led to immobiliser devices and sophisticated burglar alarms – and the proliferation of CCTV is a powerful disincentive to criminals.

      Many electronic items which used to be pilfered in large numbers have tumbled so sharply in value that stealing them is much less profitable. There is evidence that criminals are switching to online fraud, much of which goes unreported and is suffered with a shrug of the shoulders.

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    2. Lies, damned lies... and statistics. Are on the spot penalties included in these figures? Are police and cps pursuing easier options and marking others as no further action? Shockingly I overheard legal adviser saying prosecutor whether they are using new policy of dropping cases where Defendants don't turn up because the cost of an arrest warrant would outweigh public interest. The CJS is becoming a joke under this govt.

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    3. The Probation market has been shrinking for some years now. Lower crime rates and other types of disposals. The CRC bidders will have spotted this though and made allowances in their calculations. I think the less predictable bit is how sentencing and proposals change. If JPs lose confidence in what CRC are offering in terms of rehabilitative options they will move towards more expensive options like UPW or short custodials for complex cases, or choose fines for the low complexity cases. This is where bidders should worry because if the low risk of reoffending clients get fines instead it will really screw up any calculations they mad eon PbR as they will never be allocated many of the easier cases.

      In fact the more I reflect on this, the more unpredictable and volatile I think these contracts will be. It's not like the work programme where you can be confident about the number of referrals. Magistrates could throw the contractors all sorts of curve balls, and if the CRC lose their ability to deliver sentences that satisfy them, then will choose other sentences. And so much depends on police and CPS processes. Conditional Cautioning and Neighbourhood Resolution Panels are outside the scope of TR, and anyone commissioning these services is likely to ignore the big players. Just keep thinking of what problems lie ahead for contractors and go for local agencies. Keep thinking and you will build a long and lengthening list of calculations you can't make..

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    4. Anon at 22:23 and I understand the future powers of the Magistrates - and for that matter the Judges - differently.

      If - as i understand it the Offender Rehabilitation Bill 2014 is ever actually implemented it will effectively remove from Magistrates and Judges the Power to impose an Unpaid Work Order or other conditions of a Community Order, such as drug treatment conditions - under section 15.

      I still find this hard to believe and hope I am wrong - but time will tell.

      It just occurs to me I am not sure whether the courts or CRCs and perhaps NPS will also be responsible for imposing conditions of psychiatric treatment?

      It is probably not worth spending any time on this at least not until we learn that the Act is actually to be introduced.

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