Monday, 3 November 2014

It'll All Be Lovely!

It seems a long time since Wednesday and finding out who is buying probation in England and Wales, and what a rag bag of dodgy-looking outfits it is!  Amongst all the excitement, someone was tempted to pose a question that was on my lips:-
 What have the letters been like from the companies?
and the answer gave me a wry smile:-
Bland 'we are lovely, you are lovely and we are all looking forward to being lovely together'. It's lovely.  
Pat Waterman in London wasn't slow with her early thoughts:- 
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Whilst we wait for further news from our National Officers and Officials regarding the legal challenge, and before the various representatives tour offices sharing their vision of our future, let us take a brief look at MTCNovo the company that has been designated the preferred bidder for the London CRC.
MTCNovo is a joint venture involving MTC (Management Training Corporation), who are a US corporation, and Novo, a consortium with a number of public, private and third sector shareholders. MTCNovo Ltd was registered as a private limited company on 28/10/2014 (company code 09284837). Their company address is given as Sharp Pritchard, Elizabeth House 4-7, London, WC1V 6HG. 
MTC Corporate Overview
MTC was founded in 1981 with a mission to be a leader in social impact by giving young people the tools they need to find meaningful jobs and become contributing members of their communities. MTC launched its business in the federal Job Corps program, preparing America’s youth to be successful in today’s job market. The company expanded into other areas which support its commitment to helping improve society. 
Today, MTC employs more than 9,000 people worldwide through four divisions: Education & Training, Corrections, MTC Medical, and Economic & Social Development. Each of these divisions helps make a social impact by improving the lives of those we serve and the communities in which they live. MTC is a private company based in Centerville, Utah.
“Since 1987, MTC has made a social impact by giving thousands of offenders an opportunity to change their lives. MTC’s philosophy in Corrections is rehabilitation through education—that’s why we provide offenders with numerous educational, vocational, substance abuse, faith based, and life-skills programs from GED and adult basic education to anger management and moral reconation therapy. Research has shown that offenders who participate in proven programming are less likely to re-offend after they’re released.MTC safely secures more than 31,000 offenders in eight states at 25 facilities. To ensure we operate the highest quality correctional facilities, MTC pursues nationally-recognized accreditations from the American Correctional Association, the Correctional Education Association, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.”
For more information see their website
The organisations involved in the Novo consortium involved are:
A probation staff community interest company which is a probation staff mutual delivering offending behaviour programmes. 
A Band of Brothers - Brighton based charity
“......... established by men committed to positive social change through personal development and community building. The organisation was born out of concern at the continuing escalation of self-destructive and anti-social behaviour among young men from every section of society, together with the realisation that any meaningful and sustainable solution entails the reclamation of shared local responsibility.”
For more information see their website 
The Manchester College (TMC) - a public sector education provider
“........a large scale social enterprise which has learning, skills, development and transitional services at the heart of its mission. We deliver a comprehensive package of services for learners in custody and the community enabling progression into education, training and employment.”
The Manchester College is the largest offender learning provider in the UK. They have many of the contracts for prison education. Our missionTo improve lives and economic success through learning and skills. Our valuesAs an organisation, we share a common set of values across everything we do. These help to define who we are and how we behave.
For more information 
Sanctuary Supported Living (SSL) - a registered social landlord
“Through quality support and housing services, we help clients gain the life skills they need to build the foundations for independent living.In addition, residents in our extra care and retirement living schemes have access to the care and support they require to live independently whilst our home care services support people to live in their own homes.”
For more information
Amey - a private company
“Our 21,000 employees keep daily life functioning in almost every neighbourhood across the UK”. Amey is one of the largest and most diverse companies working for the public and regulated sectors in the UK, with the ultimate aim of creating better places for people to live, work and travel."
For more information 
What could possibly go wrong?
Pat Waterman Branch Chair
You couldn't seriously make this up. I used to be proud to say I worked for London Probation Trust, but now I'm going to be working for some bollocks organisation called MTCNovo. It's like a poor name for a rapper. The word around the office is we're well and truly 'F****d'.

To describe Innovation Wessex as a mutual - aligned with Working Links for much of the west of England and I believe all of Wales - is absurd. This was a small, secretive group of senior managers, originally set up to work in an alliance with the Shaw Trust before they wised up and pulled out of the race. 

There has been no communication with staff, let alone engagement or effort to secure staff consent to the process. Other areas may have had 'mutuals' as window dressing with some staff discussion, but Innovation Wessex is an outright sham. The losing bidders in those CPAs should take a careful look at the process because if the supposed involvement of a mutual had any bearing on the result, everyone has been had.

Working Links who can't look after offenders properly on the work programme and who were done for fraud in 2012 are going to run Wales CRC.

Oh shit! What a bollox up. How did we get to 5 shit companies cleaning up? (!) Not one has any clue. A bloke down the pub told me the French catering company had done so badly that they extended the competition so they could get it right! It stinks to high heaven. We have bin SOLD to the lowest bidders! GOOD LUCK COLLEAGUES. Lets see if there are any genitals left in the departing Chiefs/ACOs to speak out. Sad, sad day.

I work in Northumbria where Sodexo have just been announced as the preferred bidder. Having seen the EPIC shambles they have made of running the local prison (HMP Northumberland), right down to being unable to answer the telephone, combined with the laying off of 200 staff within days of getting the contract, I fear for the future of Northumbria probation!

Win, win, win! CRC PBR if they complete their orders, HMP PBR if they go to jail.

When (or if) they take over, they need to know that they are inheriting a workforce that is utterly demoralised and will do the bare minimum required to get through the day. No more working through dinner hours, running round after work to see clients, 'going the extra mile'. Zilch. Nada. 

Having seen the epic fuck up that Sodexo have made of running HMP Northumberland, including the sacking of 200 loyal and TRAINED staff, I have this to say to CRC's where Sodexo has been announced as Preferred Bidders. Be afraid. BE VERY AFRAID! I did consider quitting, but feel that I have a duty to make things as difficult as possible for them so will stay and do as little as possible for as long as I can. They will find that they do not have a monopoly on making money for doing fuck all.

Sodexo will sub contract all your work to NACRO. You will be lucky or unlucky to see anyone with a croissant in their hand. Get used to Nacro shit everybody and as for kiosks - coming to an office near you - utter wa*k. I am furious. As someone has said, let one of the shysters from ANY party darken my door and I will rip their rossette off and shove it where a poor quality cleaning company won't clean.

twitter - So Nacro CEO took them into a partnership with Sodexo (run by his wife) which will run half the CRCs he'll now inspect as Grayling's HMCIP?

This from the Guardian 18 June 2014:-  
£100m military contract lined up for company mired in racism allegations
One of Britain's largest military outsourcing contracts is on the verge of being awarded to a company facing damaging claims about racism in its defence division – sparked after an employee was hit by her director who said it was "punch a black week".
Sodexo, a multinational company that operates privatised prisons, NHS pathology services and school kitchens, is the frontrunner to win a contract to run six military bases in the Mediterranean. The deal is worth up to £100m over three years and the winner will be announced next month. 
The company's highly lucrative defence division is facing claims that its personnel department, which is meant to police employees' behaviour, has been systematically "ethnically cleansed" of non-white staff.
Sodexo's senior management including Michel Landel, the Paris-based group chief executive, and the company's UK chief executive, Debbie White, have been informed of the charges, which accuse senior managers including Rachel James, the defence division's personnel director, of racism and sexism.
Under public contracts regulations, a public body may exclude a bidder or reject a bid where it is found the organisation has "committed grave misconduct in the course of their business".
At the defence department's Colchester offices, one black employee complained she was told that certain rooms and corridors in the personnel department were out of bounds because they were for "whites only". This she says was dismissed by executives as "banter".
 Polish up your CV's folks:
Sodexo Justice Services has been running justice services which change lives for the better since 1993. We do this in over 120 sites across the world, including the total operation of 5 prisons in the UK. We have a reputation for delivering excellent, ethical, innovative and rehabilitative services, which provide comprehensive solutions to address our clients’ requirements.
We are pleased to be announced as preferred bidder for six community rehabilitation companies in partnership with Nacro.  
The Operations Lead will 
  • secure the successful mobilisation of offender facing operations in the relevant CRC
  • Lead the implementation of new operational procedures and offender facing working practices 
  • Work with the CRC Chief Executive and SMT to secure staff and stakeholder confidence in the change programme
  • Work with other MTT leads, in particular leads for ICT, Hub and Partnerships, to align procedures and timing within the MTT process, and deliver a consistent message to CRC staff
  • Monitor and coordinate the mobilisation, transition and transformation phases ensuring that SJS contractual and operational needs and obligations are met.
  • Establish and monitor an agreed project plan, including achievement of all key milestones.
  • Monitor the Project Risk Register and update as required and transfer information to the Issues Log if necessary.
  • Provide assurance to the Deputy MTT Director on progress and deal with operational queries arising from the change process.
Previous Criminal Justice experience Excellent interpersonal skills
Proven experience in managing complex projects - ideally including IT implementation Experience of TU consultation and negotiation Desirable Knowledge of Sodexo policies and procedures Competencies Relationship Management Resilience Working with others Planning and organisation Results orientation Impact and Influence £Competitive plus benefits
I can't believe Nacro come up trumps. It's a rubbish organisation. Do nothing really to help offenders; they don't even pick up the phone half the time. And to say they are the biggest reducing reoffending in south London sorry to say bull s**t they will fall flat on their face then others will have to clear up the mess or sub contract. But probation officers please don't give up on your clients - need YOU 100%.

This can be said of a lot of the organisations and charities they have chosen. They have been doing this type of work for years and haven't been effective. Having worked with some of the agencies who are given funding, they are just as bad as the private companies for taking money and providing a shocking service.

I wonder if any of the CRC CEO's or Directors dare show their faces tomorrow in teams? Maybe more unity is required by them at least in this time of unrest amongst staff. Lets not forget, they too, have been Graylings puppet masters in this as well! Or have they or about to all give themselves VR?

What happened to Carillion and Capita? I thought Mike Maiden was advising Carillion and wasn't it Roger Hill advising Capita? I can't see that they have been selected for anywhere.

If I was a top dog in Capita I would be thinking about appealing the bidding process. As how can it really be that the decision to give Sodexo so many areas is impartial? Wife of inspector of probation is a big wig in Sodexo and as such he is very unlikely to squeal if there are problems with his wife's company. Come in Capita kick up a storm. You and other "losing bidders" have been had.

I heard directly from Innovo reps that once the 'winners' have been announced there is no course for redress. However, I'm wondering that with regard to due diligence it can work both ways ie, Sodexo now have time to trawl through data before they agree to sign on the dotted line - I'm wondering if the SOS can withdraw his offer on the grounds of information that's come to light since his announcement?

Fiona Woolf only went to dinner parties with Brittan, but McDowell shares a bed with Janine. So we are to accept they only play Sudoku in bed, but never Sodexo? Didn't they even share a bottle of champagne to celebrate Sodexo's victories?

He must have known there was a potential conflict of interest and not to disclose to the parliamentary committee was a serious misjudgement at best and a deceit at worst. A conflict of interest does not need to be a reality, it's the public perception and public confidence that matters.

Well, perhaps the current HMI has the backing of the SoS we can see that, there may be the opposite in play too, remember Mike Maiden? - he upset Grayling following his position being undermined by NOMS and eventually jumped ship to Carrillion-backed CRR. Perhaps their lack of progress was not now to do with their ability such as it is, but the vindictiveness of Grayling to put the knife in for previous upset? I am convinced there are many such stories of Shakespearean angst and intriń£ue within the whole debacle.

Hmmmm... I know a mate who works in the prisons in a large area of England. The public prisons had Nacro doing their housing service but Nacro really struggled to meet the KPI of 100% housed on day of release. Shelter won the contract. Nacro staff were tupe'd over. Shelter hit the KPI as they use charitable donations to find the unlucky NFA's a B&B for the night of release. Shelter aren't really bothered what happens to them after that first day of release as it doesn't affect their KPI. Nacro pay atrociously low wages so the tupe'd staff were "ok-ish" with being moved over (Shelter's comparable salaries are about £6,000 less than our current salaries for similar roles). 

However, it quickly became clear that Shelter is a scary corporate dictatorship of an organisation and this caused serious unhappiness amongst the housing workers in prisons who constantly live in fear of which direction the organisation are going to take next. The sweetner of the added couple of grand in the pay packet wore off very quickly. My mate says the Shelter front line are genuinely lovely people but the hierarchy are more corporate than McDonalds.

My experience of the Third sector is that they don't cope well with high caseloads. The workload that Probation have to deal with will be quite a shock to them. Yet their multinational allies will expect the caseloads to get higher yet. NACRO run a young persons project in my area and it's a shambles. Not sure if the likes of NACRO and Shelter have anything at risk in these contracts. If they do, we can expect these organisations to be bankrupted quite quickly.

National charities have, in my opinion, lost their moral compass. They think of nothing but the money and do not take into accounts any ethical issues. The charities in partnership with the private sector bidders are nothing but amoral opportunists. However, not all charities are like this. The charity I work for withdrew from this shameful process. Good luck with the JR and I hope CG gets another bloody nose.

I do wonder whether some of these players should lose their charitable status now they are part of a criminal justice enforcement agency.

These charities have fallen for it again. They are bid candy. Nothing more. Watch them fall.

Serious concerns about charities? 'Being used for personal profit or gain'? Now that these charities have jumped into bed with large multinationals, there is a route to complain, or is there? I used to discount the 'conspiracy theorists', however this guidance is on '', a lot of public owned companies are becoming a '' company. 

The documentary this week on 'Baby P: The Untold Story' shows the conspiracy role of the Gov to get a particular result ie the sacking of Sharon Shoesmith and the links with a large children's charity being extracted from critical evidence, the re-writing of the Ofsted Inspection and now the catastrophic break up of a service who in 2011 won the 'Gold Medal of Excellence Award'. 

Let's not forget, Probation was the first public service organisation to win this - let us not rest until Grayling and Cameron are held totally accountable for this abuse of public funds which amounts to millions to cause the biggest breakup of a public service and fund the silk pockets of the fat cats and secure their own financial future. 

Finally, there are signs the charities feel they've been shafted, as discussed here on the third sector website:-
Sector fears not-for-profits will be subservient in MoJ's Transforming Rehabilitation
Not-for-profit organisations due to be awarded contracts for offender rehabilitation are likely to operate in subservience to the private companies they have partnered with, charities have warned.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Justice announced the preferred bidders for 21 regional payment-by-results contracts for the management of low and medium-risk offenders, as part of its Transforming Rehabilitation programme. All but one of the 21 successful bidders are consortia with some charity, voluntary or social sector involvement, but only one involves no private sector firms.
Dan Corry, chief executive of the think tank NPC, said: "Not-for-profits may have a presence in all but one of the preferred bidders, but this doesn’t tell the whole story." The list of preferred bidders does not identify prime contractors within the consortia, but Corry said that in many cases it appeared the private firms were taking that lead role. "Our slight disappointment, and I think the MoJ is slightly disappointed too, is we hoped there might be a number of non-profit primes, the likes of Catch22 and CRI," he said.
Corry said it was not clear whether a charity working as a prime contractor would treat its subcontractors any better than private companies did. "Life as a subcontractor isn’t great," he said. "Risk gets passed down to you, because that’s what a prime contractor does, and then you don’t know how much work is coming to you."


  1. Roger Hill works at Sodexo not Capita. Still in the mix then!

    1. So did he leave MOJ because of a falling out when at the time there were discrete messages about the bloke having a genuine personal crisis within his family?

      If he will not tell - it is time for someone else to because it does not seem as if he is on the sidelines and any respect that may have been due has been lost if he really has rejoined the TR fray so soon?

      I have no knowledge of the man and these remarks are of the top of my head not from any briefing.

    2. Andrew, That is Mike Maiden from CRR that you might be thinking of , his LinkedIn profile has him as the first NPS head but he left very soon after appointment. The official line was that he was going for personal reasons, the word "on the street" was that he was shafted by NOMS!
      By all accounts a nice man will be interesting to see where he appears next......

  2. Just a reminder to send any issues to NAPO (not on your work email) today to help them with JR. We've asked NAPO for JR, so please lets ensure they have more than enough examples to stop this mess.

    Email ----

  3. I think it is a very valid point that charitable status should be questioned for Shelter, NACRO and alike now that they will be enforcing court orders and licences that would see them putting people in prison. They are in effect just government contractors and charitable status of course means they don't have the same tax obligations. I wonder what the process is for challenging their status at Charities House?

    1. So Sodexo will apparently "secure the successful mobilisation of offender facing operations in the relevant CRC" ....WTF? What is that in ordinary language? But I presume that this is the new benchmark for all future probation inspections...

    2. It means that they will spend the ne,t two years trying to rebuild a functioning offender rehabilitation service to replace the one that, until Grayling stuck his awe in, worked perfectly well. Reinvent the wheel only this time it will be an innovative square one.

    3. "Reinvent the wheel only this time it will be an innovative square one." Oh I like that. That's good - very good lol

    4. I am very sad to read that about Shelter satisfying a KPI by getting folk one night in a B & B - did that really happen?

      As a Probation Officer in a semi-rural part of Essex with inadequate emergency housing in the 1980s, Shelters Freephone service was one I encouraged clients to turn to, at times of desperation and they were always reliable advisers though they could never provide accommodation within that rural district.

      Simultaneously at that office, we used a temporarily vacant property - offered to us and the Social Services Dept. on a short lease for emergency accommodation for young people. Getting the project going was hard - (we were trying to be probation officers with large caseloads at the same time) -- on the edge of despair we approached NACRO who came on board and led the project and guided us though the administrative rigmarole of housing finance and it became their first housing project in ESSEX. I drove a furniture van for a day to collect donated furniture with two CSO workers - it was very hands on and shared between three statutory & several voluntary organisations & using client labour! (The sort of project Mr Grayling seems to think Probation Trusts could not do unless forced to by being sold off first)

      This is a brilliant round up of information from Jim Brown. It is a mass of stuff for investigative journalists with the resources of newspapers and broadcasters, to get their teeth into and really expose the shambles that is TR.

      It is also an opportunity for MPs and members of the House of Lords who want to use their parliamentary positions for the common good - beyond (for MPs) serving their constituents well - which can be done by an MP of any Party and whether or not in Government or Opposition.

      There is scope for LOTS of questions to the Ministers to expose the evidence in this disaster of policy making at the expense of the vulnerable and employees of the Probation Trusts.

      I suggest this might begin with an URGENT question to the Secretary of State for the Minister of Justice about appointing a Chief Inspector of Probation who is barred from being involved with a large proportion of the Inspections and producing an over view in an annual report because of the MOJs INTENTION to give major CRC contracts with an organisation (NACRO) that he led prior to being appointed, at exactly the time the initial bids were being prepared. If that is not enough, he also is married to a bidding boss - this needs to be exposed quickly via Parliament.

      I hope we hear more from Sadiq Khan and/or Jenny Chapman (The Official Opposition spokes people on Justice & Probation) TODAY!

    5. VIA TWITTER ALREADY - Jenny Chapman MP is submitting urgent notice question TODAY for Minister of Justice to come to Chamber of House of Commons and answer.

      Depends on Speaker allowing it - so I think it will be touch and go - justifying it as an emergency!

      If I get more news I will share it first via Twitter


    6. VIA TWITTER: -

      " Jenny Chapman MP ‏@JennyChapman 18m18 minutes ago

      @Andrew_S_Hatton @998KCFMNews unfortunately Urgent Question request was declined on this occasion "

  4. Just getting ready to leave for another week of crap. Shark repellent? Check. Kevlar body armour? Check. Ear defenders? Check. Bullshit Detector? Nope, thats in for a service having exceeded its safe operating load last week. Square tyre? Check.

  5. WTF! Moral reconation therapy! You can't make it up, we'll maybe you can!

  6. Summary.-Moral Reconation Therapy is a systematic creaunent strategy designed to
    enhance ego, social, moral, and positive behavioral growth in a progressive, step-by-step
    fashion. It is based upon the assumption that fdy functioning, reasonably content, happy ...

    Copied exactly from the internet - it may exist, but I am still no wiser as to what it is - more lovely words, all put together, to sound impressive, but in fact, just sounds desperate and incoherent.

  7. I look forward to being able to offer it to the courts and of course, to see the CRC's running such programmes! Did we undersestimate them?

  8. Am hearing rumours from other bidders that Sodexo likely to phase out PO grades completely. No surprise but this would mean all DVD perpetrators, sex offenders and child protection supervised by CRCs will be managed by unqualified staff. Dangerous risk to public safety.

  9. When is a charity not a charity?
    The following is taken from the Charity Commission website
    "Legal requirement: to be a charity your organisation must have charitable purposes only. It cannot have some purposes that are charitable and some that are not."
    So just exactly how will those Charities involved in TR contracts operate?1.Will they have targets to deliver?
    2.Will "funding" be dependent upon this?
    3.If not how can measurement be made regarding their success or failure to deliver?
    4. How will the overarching business eg Sodexo then "capture the benefit" of the Charity's work and err, make a profit for their shareholders?
    5. If Charities fail to deliver, will they have penalty clauses built it?
    6.Will the work delivered by the Charity be within the aims and objectives of that Charity?
    7. Is any income to the Charity as a result of TR legally classed as fundraising?
    I could go on but you get the gist. Charities IMO have entered dangerous waters and we are watching !

    1. Hi
      Nice idea but in reality charities have been running large local authority and Govt contracts for years. The TR contract is no different.

      A better line of attack would be the ethical basis for the proposed work, what do their patrons think about these proposals to work in the new TR future and most critically what impact will it have on their brand if/ when there is tragedy involving their CRC.

      All charities are very twitchy when it comes to brand especially the nationals. Perhaps writing to any of their high profile trustees and patrons pointing out you concerns would be a better approach

    2. You are missing the point, it is being "in business" that is the concern, where the efforts of the Charity impact shareholder value of the likes of Sodexo. So the beneficiary of the Charitable work is not only the service user (hopefully) but also the business the Charity is in bed with. The ultimate destination of the benevolence is without doubt, shareholder value and £profit.
      A bit different to Local Authorities me thinks and it is very important not to fudge the two!

    3. What about making money out of victims, I thought under some European law this was not permitted, slave labour ect for unpaid work. I thought the unions were waiting to hear about this, can anyone shed any light.

  10. This is the sort of PR the MOJ are putting out to deflect attention from TR: -

    Heading: - Putting an end to 'soft option' cautions

  11. However they phrase their welcome messages we know what they really think: as Napo reported: '... the view of the Ministers and their advisers seems to be that "it's really no business of the staff to know when they are being sold off!" Just like it was no business of survivors of sexual abuse to be consulted about who would chair the inquiry. Well, the survivors made it their business...

  12. Please remember it is not too late to get info to NAPO today!

  13. In the Midlands a former Probation Trust sent individuals out of prison to a private hostel even though the owner was in prison for assault. The police became involved when it was reported that the licensees were being bullied and assaulted for their benefits. This was over two years ago but the private hotel is still operating however I do not think is is being used by probation now. My point is that in the new private world this type of operation will be reproduced, if its cheap the vulnerable will be sent there. I do have names if anyone would like to write something about this.

    1. I would suggest give the information to the Justice Select Committee of the House of Commons and perhaps involve your own MP and Napo branch.

      Probation Trusts were agents of the State via the Ministry of Justice and therefore answerable to Parliament - Both Houses.

  14. As MOJ/Independent approved premises are managed and paid for by the MOJ, presumably there is a housing benefit payment made from Benefit Dept to the Landlord? If the MoJ were paying directly that would be dynamite?
    Was there conditions on the licenses to abide at the hostel - again , if so that would provide excellent evidence BUT not much use in the current debacle.

  15. VIA TWITTER: -

    " HMI Probation @HMIProbation

    We will be publishing 'Transforming Rehabilitation - Early Implementation July-Sept 2014' on 12 December 2014 "

  16. I cannot wait to read what involvement the Chief Inspector had with this - does he disclose his interest?
    Shall we predict that it includes the following
    "it is recognised that change is not an easy process"
    "it is acknowledged that there was inevitably some disruption caused by this change but that managers worked hard to put processes in place to manage this"
    "there was evidence of significant attempts to engage staff and keep them updated by means of regular email briefings"
    "Early Implementation" ? Try "Award Winning Honourable Professional Destroyed" as a more accurate title me thinks...

  17. Pretty long article, and not related to topic, but an extremely good read.