Thursday, 23 October 2014

Countdown to Save a Profession

Mark Leftly writing in today's Independent:-
Probation service sell-off faces legal challenge from unions

Exclusive: Napo is hoping to block the MoJ’s plans, partly because the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling did not pilot the reforms
Government efforts to part-privatise the probation service may end up in the courts, unless the Ministry of Justice reveals a raft of confidential information, including the results of safety tests into the new structure.

The FTSE 100 giant Capita, rail-to-social housing group Amey, and French caterer Sodexo are among those companies waiting to see if they have won the right to run 70 per cent of the service, in deals worth at least £5bn over 10 years. The MoJ is expected to name preferred bidders to run 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), which will oversee all but the most dangerous offenders, by the end of this month.

However, the service has suffered a series of acute problems since June, when it was reorganised from 35 Probation Trusts into 21 CRCs and a National Probation Service, which remains government-run and monitors the most risky offenders. IT systems have failed, case files have been lost and there have been numerous warnings of threats to public safety.

In letter a threatening the MoJ with a judicial review, the Napo probation union’s lawyer, Slater & Gordon, has gathered examples of how the public and officers have come into danger as, allegedly, the result of the confusion caused by the reforms.

These include members of two rival gangs being invited into a probation building at the same time, and a murderer being invited to join a programme to rehabilitate a group of domestic violence offenders.

Napo is hoping to block the MoJ’s plans, partly because the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling did not pilot the reforms. Mr Grayling believes that private sector management will make the service more efficient, but Slater & Gordon has given him until 4pm on Friday to disclose information to prove his argument.

The lawyers intend to force an injunction for breach of duty of care and a judicial review if the MoJ doesn’t respond. If it does, Slater & Gordon has asked for a 21-day pause in the bid process while lawyers look over the documents.

A spokeswoman for the MoJ said: “We have received correspondence from Napo and will respond in due course. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

39 comments:

  1. What must it take before Cameron has to accept that the real crisis in the CJS is Chris Grayling?
    Not only is his drive to impose his ideolocically ill thought out personal agenda creating havoc, failure and deaths, he's also bringing the government into disrepute.
    Maybe the PM should visit the MoJ soon, before it becomes Graylings personal Riechstag.

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  2. They know what is happening and consider it to be collateral damage. The victims are seen as undeserving so they think they can get away with it.

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  3. How apt that the author of the article is called Mark LEFTly!
    Will Grayling notice that?

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  4. I'm looking forward to knowing what this evidence is. Or will MoJ sanitise it?

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  5. Certainly Grayling is NOT 'Rightly'! And we are going to prove it!!!!!

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  6. Undoubtedly we will get more lies from the MOJ and made up bullshit, they have always been one step ahead, don't hold your breath, they've got this far what will stop them now. Its tragic beyond words what they have done.

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    1. My understanding is if Napo progress with JR which is clearly the plan (given deadline given CG and news release which we've not done before)the sale cant take place until outcome of JR. The more evidence of safety issues submitted to Napo asap the better. Us knowing ehat the problems are not sufficient,needs to be highlighted within legal process.

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  7. INJUSTICE secretary and duty of care are complete opposites. The duty of care, stripping probation officers of their roles, jobs and duties has been appalling. He has smashed the service into an unrecognisable unworkable pile of shit. No one in the service knows what they are doing anymore, just daily crisis limitation and fire fighting against systems that are not fit for purpose.

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  8. I came close to walking away after 25 years yesterday. Not because I am stressed but because I the service is fast becoming a joke. I am not giving Capita et al the satisfaction of an easy win, however. But it was close.

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    1. Glad you've staying with us. You"ve valuable experience and principles thst clients and colleagues need.

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  9. Somebody said today,re:a case, "there's no Order anymore". A lightbulb lit over my head-,now THAT'S the new slogan for the MOJ, I thought....

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  10. DLNR CRC sent an email today saying that the preferred bidders will be announced soon. Hopefully it will be may 2015 next year or later if possible

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  11. Hassockfield Secure Training Centre staff learned of its decommission today. Due to close by March next year. All part of the giant youth super jail plan? Heartbreaking seeing staff sobbing and young, vulnerable tainees frantically wondering how far away they will be sent.

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    1. None of these changes could be imposed on probation and the prisons or elsewhere, if there was solidarity against ill-thought-out change. But there isn't, so victims proliferate.

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    2. That's just nonsense. They close down factories with thousands of workers. They can close rural offices with a dozen staff in without breaking a sweat.

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    3. It is neoliberal hegemony, lack of solidarity and weak unions that are the enablers of such changes. Who are the 'They' that you refer to?

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  12. Our local flagship Womens Centre that was only opened last year is officially known as the Isis Centre but is now jokingly called the Crisis Centre on account of staffing and work issues. It is a single office with NPS on one side and CRC on the other - NPS admin not allowed to help CRC colleagues even though she is capable etc Not funny really when you think of the clientele and the hardships they have been through.

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  13. Looks like we will be getting more info re NAPO direction of travel tommorrow. Ian Lawrence has blooged today.

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  14. anon 08:19 for me. gets it just about as it is.

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  15. On Radio 4 this evening as part of a programme entitiled "Can the PM go to War?" is a discussion about Grayling's credentials...

    "The Minister of Justice and Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, gave evidence last week to the House of Lords Constitution Committee. He was asked whether the Lord Chancellor should be a lawyer. Mr Grayling, who is not a lawyer, didn't think so. But what do others think? And does it matter?"

    Now on iplayer -http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04lq28r from 6.06minutes

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  16. You can't refer directly to MAPPA if you work in the CRC, what a joke. Apparently, you need to hand over case to NPS which of course takes time, and in the intervening period an SFO may be committed.

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  17. Having returned to the field, as they say, I was asked to consider a recall. Checking the previous convictions I was alarmed to find a conviction for murder. According to our records the conviction resulted in 120 hours community payback. A somewhat lenient sentence under the circumstances. On reflection I suspect the migration to ndelius may not have been as successful or as factually accurate as I was led to believe.

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  18. Our CRC programmes staff running high risk BBR group can't see NDelius records to see what might be going on for the men before they arrive....you know what I mean trivial stuff like new callouts, charges, child protection issues, homelessness, Restraining or Non-molestation Orders etc. No risk issues there then. What a terribly distorted and broken system.

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    1. I know it's the same with TVP/SOTP facilitators in NPS when they are working CRC cases. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.

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    2. Resolve is similarly full of NPS cases, hence the mention of rival gang members in the Indy piece.

      How many POs are still delivering groups in CRCs?.

      Can't see how there will be many CRC cases needing SOTP

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    3. I know of some. Medium risk of serious harm and not on Sex Offender Register that's all it takes.

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    4. There are very few sexual offences that don't carry registration

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  19. I have someone in court tomorrow out of ares. Court PO asked for the current psr. I had to tell her I had a scrap of paper which I can barely read and no initial oasys even though the order was made in June. How can crc ever be taken seriously as a professional organisation.

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    1. Well, considering that a lot of CRC staff had to spend weeks reviewing E-OASys for NPS cases which they were subsequently stripped of, then had about 30-40 new cases dropped on them in weeks, mainly new Orders for DV, it's no surprise that E-OASys is overdue in some cases!

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  20. One of my cases appeared for a very minor further offence and was almost sent to jail as there were no Probation staff in Court to provide an update on her current engagement. I had contacted the Court to say she would be appearing and sent an update by email! She only avoided custody because I sent a keyworker with her and the judge frustrated at not having any information from Probation asked the keyworker to give a report! I cannot believe what is happening in the Courts-cases arriving for induction without any notification and no access to information to inform the possible risk they may pose. I had no idea it would turn out as bad as it is!

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    1. And this is BEFORE the amateurs arrive. Does anyone believe they will improve things? It never has before. Care, NHS, Facilities Management, IT, Rail, Interpreters... no-one expects anything but more dangerous and chaotic debacles.

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  21. Off topic a bit but has anyone in the NPS seen the waste of cash and possible back-handerisms as a civil servant? We can now book rail travel trough Redfern travel and they basically add three or four quid to every rail journey. As I live in a semi rural area we have to travel to the big city for video links two or three times per week cos the overpiad senior muppets in Hr are too tight or stupid to spend a couple of grand on a video link for ur office. Every time we book a ticket we get charged said amount but if we pay ourselves and then claim it back, no charge. As I begrudge, being a stereotypical Yorkshire tight arse, shelling out ANY of my very hard earned cash on works duties I will not pay upfront no matter what, but times every rail journey staff have to do, well do the maths friends eh. Someone is getting very rich from us lot already eh?

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  22. Yes I noticed this too and rang Shared Services to query. They were bemused at being asked and just said that was how the Redfern service was paid for.As you say the charges/fee must certainly add up!

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    1. Someone with first hand experience of these unnecessary charges might well help us all - as taxpayers - and get the information to the Parliamentary Public Accounts committee either direct or perhaps via their own MP.

      http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/contact-us/

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  23. http://www.redfern-travel.com/about/news/redfern-news/8-mp-cites-redfern-travel-as-example-of-sme-success

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    1. The Rt Hon Oliver Letwin has used the example of the Government Procurement Service's award of the domestic lot in the central government travel management tender to Redfern Travel to highlight the ability of SMEs to win government business.

      The Minister of State for the Cabinet Office was responding to a question from Craig Whittaker, MP for the Calder Valley, which asked how small and medium-sized enterprises in his constituency could bid for central Government information and communications technology and facilities management contracts.

      Letwin responded "It is absolutely vital that small and medium-sized enterprises should be able to bid for ICT and other contracts, and that is why the Minister for the Cabinet Office [...] has set an ambition for 25% of contracts to go to SMEs. We have also simplified the contracting process, making it easier for SMEs to find out what the Government seek to purchase."

      Asked for firm evidence of the award of government contracts to SMEs, Letwin added: "Recently, the Government's very large domestic travel contract was let - the domestic side alone amounts to £1.1 billion a year of travel [sic] - and one might have expected it to go to a very large firm, but, because of the way in which my right hon. Friend structured it, it went to Redfern Travel, a company with 33 employees. It is a small or, at any rate and by anyone's definition, only a medium-scale enterprise, and it was able to win the contract. The managing director said [of its success]: "The award of this contract...clearly demonstrates that...any SME can not only bid for major Government contracts, but also meet the challenging requirements", so I think that that is a very good test case."

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    2. Redfern Travel is the fastest growing Travel Management Company. We have developed systems and technologies which reduce travel costs and the costs associated with administering corporate travel requirements.
      Redfern Travel is the UK’s fastest growing Travel Management Company. We’ve been helping people manage travel better since 1937.
      We specialise in gold star travel and business management solutions that are not only intuitive and easy to use, but save our clients time and money every day.
      Our end to end, fully automated systems can help you with everything from door to door travel booking and real time itineraries, to automatic invoicing and traveller tracking. Even better, whilst our technology is so good it’s won awards, we haven’t forgotten the personal touch. With offices in Bradford and York, we have a fantastic team of highly qualified travel experts here to give you a helping hand.

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  24. "the domestic side alone amounts to £1.1 billion a year of travel"
    Gulp.

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