Friday, 21 November 2014

Of Mackerel and Dumplings

For a psychopathic bully like Chris Grayling, it must be very annoying not to be in control of people, situations and events. He must be extremely irked that the now infamous 'mackerel and dumplings' disobedience last October at HMP High Down was not in fact a case of prison mutiny, but rather a legitimate demonstration against his draconian, harsh and unfeeling austerity measures at the prison.

He likes to think he can control, intimidate, silence and ignore most of those opposed to him, but he cannot influence courts and twelve ordinary citizens convened as a jury at Blackfriars Crown Court delivered their verdict on his new harsh prison regime and found all eleven defendants not guilty. 

Displaying Chris-Grayling.jpeg
Mr Burns

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Chris Grayling
The Epsom Guardian has the story:-
Prisoners cleared by jury of staging 'mackerel mutiny' at High Down prison
Eleven men have been cleared by a jury of staging a mutiny at a prison after Government cuts sparked an uprising among inmates. The men, who were all imprisoned at High Down in Banstead last October, were accused of taking part in a prison mutiny and causing criminal damage over October 21 and 22 last year. They had claimed they were protesting Ministry of Justice cuts and denied trying to overthrow lawful authority at the prison by barricading themselves into a cell for seven-and-a-half hours.
Pyrotechnics were eventually used by prison staff to startle the inmates when specialist prison officers stormed the cell to restore order to the prison. The jury returned a not guilty verdict today at the end of a three-week trial at Blackfriars Crown Court. The court heard their demand note, which was passed under the door, read: "The reason for these capers is we are not getting enough food, exercise, showers or gym and we want to see the governor lively." They also said: "If we get mackerel and dumplings we will come out."
Andrew Jefferies QC, one of the barristers representing the men, said this afternoon: "By its verdicts, the jury must have accepted that the defendants may have been legitimately protesting rather than intending to overthrow the prison authority. "During the trial, the jury heard about the independent monitoring board report and the growing complaints within the prison, particularly since the implementation of the cuts in September 2013."
Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This trial has highlighted the serious problems that can arise when overcrowded prisons are forced to implement major changes while struggling to overcome budget cuts. “As the governor of High Down said during the hearing, the government has ‘got it wrong’. Prisons are in meltdown. “It is unfortunate that so much money has been spent on this ultimately failed case when there are prisons across England and Wales crying out for more staff and resources.”
During the trial prison governor Ian Bickers took the stand and told the jury that the Government had admitted that it "got it wrong" after introducing reforms to the prison system. Mr Bickers said the prison had undergone "significant change" in the period leading up the uprising. The charge of mutiny is normally linked in popular imagination to the high seas but the charge can also be used in prisons and other correctional facilities.
It's interesting to see that former Tory prisons minister Crispin Blunt was quick to rub salt in the wound, but the MoJ spin doctors are strangely quiet. It's all in the Surrey Comet:-
Following the acquittal of 11 prisoners accused of mutiny, a former Tory prisons minister has attacked Chris Grayling’s prison policy and warned the verdicts could spark unrest in other jails. The men were cleared by a jury this morning of staging a mutiny at High Down in Banstead last October after Government cuts sparked an uprising among inmates.
Banstead’s MP, Crispin Blunt, who was the prisons minister until September 2012, said: "In the light of the evidence from the governor the acquittal is unsurprising. "This is reinforced by the reports of the Independent Monitoring Board. They reflect the consequences of prison policy under the current Justice Secretary. "I am surprised this prosecution was brought. The protest did not appear to cross the threshold of ‘mutiny’, which is an extremely serious offence.
"The failure to secure a conviction will make prisons, which are now very tautly staffed, at greater risk of disorder, with some prisoners possibly misled into thinking they have some right of protest. "They don’t and their interests will be best served by helping their prison regime help them make the best of their time in prison."
Earlier this year a damning report revealed a prison "pared to the bone and beyond" where staff cuts had sparked safety fears, undermined rehabilitation and left prisoners in their cells for long periods. The report, by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), described 2013 as "a dreadful year" and said many changes had produced an "unhappy prison".
Its findings mirrored complaints to this newspaper this year by worried ex-officers and relatives of prisoners - although the Ministry of Justice repeatedly denied the prison was in crisis. Concerned about what was going on Mr Blunt visited the prison himself in May. Afterwards he said: "The prison appeared to be settling down after a difficult period, to a new and more tightly staffed regime. I haven’t heard anything to contradict this."
Speaking about prison policy today, Mr Blunt said: "Previously the ambitious savings targets were being found by putting prisons out to competition. "This was parallelled by rhetoric around sentencing that was accompanied by a drop in offenders being sentenced to custody and a greater focus on rehabilitation and work in prison."Whilst every prison is different it was my experience after over 70 prison visits that the private sector prisons were overall significantly more efficiently run.
"As far as rehabilitation of offenders is concerned they generally had more imaginative regimes and a greater commitment to meeting my objectives of getting prisoners put to useful work inside prison. "This programme would have been expanded under Ken Clarke. "Instead Chris Grayling decided, at the behest of the Prison Officers Association and Public sector prison service management to find the savings from stopping the competition programme and just making staff cuts in the public sector prisons. "At the same time his message to the courts has been unambiguously robust and this has seen a rise in the number of offenders being sent to prison. This has exacerbated the problem."
The MOJ has been contacted for a response to the trial verdict and Mr Blunt's views but has yet to respond.
Nice as it is to see a bit of discord within the Tory ranks, Crispin Blunt is way off the mark about private prisons being 'more efficiently run' and it's probably as good a link as any to mention some recent stories about privatisation in general. Here is the Independent pointing out how bizarrely foreign governments are making money out of the British taxpayer:-  
Revealed: How the world gets rich from privatising British public services
Foreign governments are making hundreds of millions of pounds a year running British public services, according to an Independent investigation highlighting how privatisation is benefiting overseas – rather than UK – taxpayers.

Swathes of Britain’s energy, transport and utility networks are run by companies owned by other European governments – meaning foreign exchequers reap the dividends while UK customers struggle with increasing fares and bills. In the past two years alone, overseas taxpayers have taken dividends totalling nearly £1bn from companies which make their profits from UK households and passengers.
The figures unearthed by The Independent in corporate filings will fuel calls for the Government to rethink its privatisation agenda – and boost those who argue that the railways should be opened up to publicly owned UK operators, or even renationalised.

An analysis of companies’ financial filings for the last financial year shows that currently 20 national train lines are run or owned by foreign state-owned or controlled companies. Only last month, the ScotRail franchise was offloaded to the Netherlands’ state-owned Abellio.
Christian Wolmar, a rail industry analyst, said: “It is a completely daft situation where state-run companies in foreign countries can bid for our rail services but UK ones can’t. It is specifically banned by law for the likes of Transport for London, or Directly Operated Railways to bid for UK rail contracts.”
Of course it will be recalled that Probation Trusts were not able to bid for the contracts to run probation services in England and Wales, but the likes of French catering companies were, and here is an article on the thirdsector website warning members to tread very carefully indeed:-   
Probation scheme enters crucial negotiation period
The Ministry of Justice was keen to emphasise the voluntary sector's involvement in the consortia due to be awarded contracts potentially worth a total of £450m in the latest stage of its Transforming Rehabilitation programme.

The government trumpeted this as a ground-breaking success, with a headline on its press release announcing the bids that read "Voluntary sector at forefront of new fight against reoffending". However, fears were raised that the real winners were the private firms leading most of these consortia, and that the charities and voluntary groups involved would carry too much risk. The Howard League for Penal Reform and the National Coalition for Independent Action have condemned the privatisation of a previously public service. Others wondered if the MoJ had learnt any lessons from the travails of charities in the Work Programme.

Mike Pattinson, executive director of Crime Reduction Initiatives, a charity involved in two of the CRCs through a joint venture called the Reducing Reoffending Partnership, says CRI wanted to bid in its own right. He says scale would not have been a problem - "some of the health sector contracts we've run are bigger", he says - but felt a sole bid would have been unlikely to find favour with the ministry. The partnership CRI is involved in is led by the private firm Ingeus UK and includes the St Giles Trust. Pattinson will not reveal CRI's stake in the partnership, beyond saying it is small.
"There are some safeguards built in to the programme, which they have learnt from the Work Programme, such as the use of an industry standard partnerships agreement," he says. This includes a pledge by private firms not to pass on excessive risk to charities, but Pattinson says a full assessment of how charities stand cannot be made until final negotiations are complete.
A spokesman for Clinks, an umbrella for offenders' charities, says these negotiations are key. "It will be vital for organisations to have good legal advice when negotiating contractual terms, and to be sure they understand the contract they are signing," the spokesman says. "We cannot ignore the widespread disappointment that we haven't got a voluntary-sector preferred bidder. We will explore why this happened."
Finally, here is a piece in the Guardian that should serve to remind the preferred probation bidders what a risky business it is they are entering and why Capita decided to give it all a miss:-
Risky business: no wonder Capita wants to avoid public service contracts
Among the outsourcing firms, Capita has always been one to watch. The growth of the £3.8bn company, founded in the 1980s when the Thatcher government forced councils to contract services, has exemplified the modern public services industry. So when Capita’s chief executive, Andy Parker, says it is now turning its back on government work you know something is up. The markets were shocked and share prices fell.
It’s not the end of outsourcing for difficult customers – Capita has landed a big customer services contract for the struggling Co-op Bank. Better that, it seems, than taking on probation contracts being let by the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, or doing work capability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. Those are examples, the company said, of excessive risk. Either a government changes its mind, upsetting price and cost assumptions and jeopardising profit, or – as Atos and G4S have found – companies run a big risk with their wider reputation when there is political protest or the media start running headlines about service failure.


  1. Emily Thornberry resigned or lost her job on an ill advised tweet, #Grayling's catch of mackerel and dumplings shows disregard for humanity along with his complete disregard for the Courts brings Secretary of State's performance and MOJ into disrepute. #Grayling Just go!

  2. I believe mackerel are much tastier, with or without dumplings, than grayling - which I'm led to believe are unappetizing and thrown back by most who are unfortunate enough to catch them.

    1. I think Graylings the bloody dumpling in all this.

  3. If Capita did walk away that means in effect there was no competition in London and TV with MCT AMEY left as the last bidder in it. Surely this needs some publicity


    1. Grayling refuses to comment??
      And the lack of media coverage of the outcome of the trial has been widely discussed on social media.

  5. I think Graylings silence over the past few weeks is very telling. Indeed, the only reference to him I can find in todays press is about the decline in the use of cautions.
    In the last 3 months, he's lost several JRs, probation bidders have pulled out, theres been 2 murders in the prison system, (god knows how many suicides), he's been brought to account several times by the PAC, least of all for the hugh amount spent on consultation fees fo TR, had constant critisism for his unnecessary and dark ages prison reforms and book ban, had to say sorry for recording confidential phone calls between prisoners and their MPs, he's been turned on by his own party very publically in the commons (called a tyrant!) amid never before seen uproar in the commons over his dodgy underhand approach to the EAW, and been asked to account for the number of empty prisons and court houses littered arount the country costing tens of thousands a month. One court house in Stoke is occupied now for several days by protesters complaining about its closure, and insult to injury, an empty court house in Harengay is now occupied by squatters with a number of large dogs that keep neighbours awake at night.
    His own local newspaper in Epsom is one of his worst critics, and the prison governor of High Down prison has announced to the world from the wittness box that the MoJ have admitted getting things wrong, despite telling the public the total opposite, and calling concerned charities 'left wing aggitators for questioning his policies.
    Theres much, much more too!
    I have a feeling that someone, a bit more inportant then Grayling in the Party, and who can't be bullied by him has had a few words, and thats why Graylings had to "wind his neck in" of late. Hes an embarressment to his party, and a liabillity to the CJS and the nation.

  6. I have no doubt that, despite his festering presence, most of us will remain in the Criminal Justice system long after he has gone.

  7. Apart from the nice photo that Jim may like to have as a screen saver, I find this article very interesting.
    Demanding from the government independence and freedom to speak out against policy, whilst at the same time bidding for government contracts for workfare and TR, appears to me that the third sector want their cake aswell as eating it.
    It also makes it quite clear just how nieve they are in trying to profit from public sector work if you actively seek involvement in something that you may also want to stand against!!
    Strange world.

    1. If you don't like my principles, fear not. I have others.

    2. Concerned about impact measurement now?
      Wait until you try to get paid from the prime for TR involvement!!
      The relationship is just a bad idea from the start.

    3. Subscription required! Anyone got a copy of the article? Cheers.

    4. It is hypocritical to tell charities they should measure their impact when the government does not take impact into account when making policy decisions, Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, was told yesterday.

      A member of the audience at the Community Action Southwark Making an Impact conference in London told the minister, who was speaking at the event, that it was unfair to instruct charities to measure their impact when the government had failed to do the same with legal aid before cutting funding for it.

      "You’re preaching to us to measure our impact and to tell funders, but we’ve been telling funders and we’ve been telling you and it’s not being taken into account properly," said the delegate, who was applauded by other members of the audience.

      "That’s been such a huge disappointment. The impact of legal aid funding – how it improves people’s lives and the savings it makes – was completely ignored in the whole assessment of those social welfare laws."

      Wilson’s response was to highlight the millions of pounds that legal aid had been costing the Ministry of Justice every year, the relative generosity of the UK’s legal aid system, the 7 per cent fall in GDP the country had experienced and its almost £200bn annual deficit – comments which appeared to provoke scorn from several members of the audience.

      "Cuts have taken place; nobody can deny that," said Wilson. "But you’ve got to ask yourself: can a country like this continue to sustain such a huge budget deficit year in, year out before the financial markets just run? Unfortunately, we can’t.

      "We don’t want to go around cutting this, that and the other – that’s not what politicians go into politics for. But we had to take the hard decisions that perhaps others won’t take. It’s not pleasant, but we have to do it."

      Wilson had given a speech on the importance of impact measurement for the voluntary sector, before inviting questions from the audience.

      He said that although understanding of impact measurement had grown significantly in recent years, voluntary sector organisations sometimes found it difficult to come to grips with it.

      "We now want to move towards a world in which high-quality impact measurement is the norm in social society," he said, urging charities to put measuring impact at the core of their businesses.

      He said one way of doing this was to access the Impact Readiness Fund, a new £1.5m pilot fund that will offer grants and support to social ventures to improve their social impact performance planning.

      The scheme opens for applications at the end of November and will be managed on behalf of the Cabinet Office by the Social Investment Business. Grants of between £15,000 and £150,000 will be available until late January.

      Wilson also spoke about the difficulties charities faced in winning government contracts and said he was doing a lot to ensure the contracts were more open to social enterprises and charities.

      When told that it was a burden for smaller voluntary organisations to demonstrate their impact in exchange for short-term funding from the government – such as the Autism Innovation Fund – Wilson said that the government was trying to reduce bureaucracy across all sectors, including charities, and that this was an area that would improve over time.

  8. Again, I ask when is a charity not a charity?
    Those charities involved in TR contracts are complicit in the destruction of public sector probation and their hypocrisy stuns me for when have they fully understood what probation staff do? Altruism is such a fundamental quality to our work - we are all motivated by this and yet here come the charities thinking they are going to introduce the very concept, WE GOT THERE FIRST AND DELIVERED.

  9. So many charities are dependent on funding by central government that they are more quango than charity. Victim Support reckon their volunteers on a notional wage of about £15 per hour, amounts to about £10 million in notional wages. Of course, the CEOs and others get amply rewarded. You can see why supporting charities is popular with government. You don't even have to get involved in the messy business of driving down wages - as they don't exist.

  10. Everyone who works for the Probation service is complicit in it being split and sold off.

    1. or they actually care about the people they are working with and can't simply walk away!!

    2. if we all left then you wouldn't have anything to sell off, fool....

  11. anon 18.03...that is a particularly stupid comment.......Bobbyjoe

  12. anon 18:03 you are wrong, resistance is legion!

    1. I agree - we've just gone a long with it. I blame CEOs and ACOs initially as that's where it could've been stalled in its tracks. Anyway I suppose at least its something good to put on their CV.

  13. Rochester & Strood - what a hoot. I'm not a ukip fan by any stretch but they are exposing the mainstream parties for the false fools they truly are. Gove got roasted by Eddie Mair (R4), Lucy Powell led a merry dance by Krishnan (C4)... Tories & Labour desperate as to who can offer the warmest embrace to Rochester's now famous Sun reader with his van & St George flags. Politics is in total disarray, directionless, lost in the wilderness. He's just a bloke who lives in a house who drives a van - presumably to earn a living. Comment was made when his mate showed up earlier (when BBC news were doing a piece) in his Chelsea Tractor. So what? They're just people. Now it seems those who were killed in Cadogan Sq were "Polish workers". So fuckin what? They were people; sons, maybe fathers, maybe brothers.

    Politics is eating itself alive.The Media is providing the garnish.

  14. I haven't gone along with TR. Lost pay striking twice etc.

  15. If you had the chance to speak directly to the inspector of probation what would you say?

    1. To the tune if 'the farmer wants a wife':

      Your position's compromised by your wife
      Independant? Not on your life
      E i you've got to go
      Your position's compromised by your wife

      By Chris Grayling you were styled
      When promoted you probably smiled
      E i you've got to go
      By us you are reviled

    2. "Resign & release yourself from the delusion that you're in post for any reason other than it suited Grayling and his diabolical Grand Design."

    3. 22.50, don't think I haven't considered this on many an occasion but am still of the belief that we can all make a difference to the outcome, no matter how small....

    4. 23:09, 22:50's post was in response to 21:55 about the inspector of probation, they are not suggesting anyone else resigns :-)

    5. Perhaps 23:09 was HMIP himself?

  16. Today I had to pass a case over to the NPS due to an escalation in risk, I completed the necessary form yesterday, waited until today for a response, when I was told it had been accepted by the NPS I was also told I could no longer make an entry on Delius or complete an OASys review!!!! Seems stupid to me that prior to the split I would have had a consultation with my SPO, raised risk to high, reviewed OASys and maintained management of the case as I am the person with the knowledge and experience. Now it is out of my hands and I have information that can't be passed on to the new OM... how is this managing risk, or providing end to end management ??

    1. I have made this point many times by posting on this blog
      a case allocator

    2. Information considered crucial to understanding risk can be passed on in a letter.

    3. No, that is not correct any information should be contained within the risk escalation tool, that is the assessment in it's entirety. To start writing letters to pass on risk information merely supports the point I am making, it is not fit for purpose. It is cumbersome, time consuming, rolled out without training and DANGEROUS.

    4. I have a female case with PD who has committed a further offence and pre split would have, as others have pointed out, managed her increase in risk myself. If I go through the risk escalation process she will be sent to another office and of course be seen by a new officer. In this case I know it will increase her risk even further and therefore in a dilema!

  17. Your ideas about holistism and social work are stuck in the cheap running of the NPS where the standard of care for clients could be improved by Private companies because the state employs numpties who have zero ability to care for people without referencing to some crap, go-to cycle of change bullshit. Maybe if you actually spoke to people in a real friendily manner they would respond likewise, without producing some one size fits all shitty handout then you wouldn't be having 70% of the work privatised and done by workers for a fraction of the cost that you do it for.

    Any Chimp can say "you are in this phase of the cycle of change... how about doing this, this and this, then you will be in this phase of the cycle of change".

    So many who come here fail to understand that what they do in their day to day jobs is shite, a waste of taxpayers money, you don't offer any real support and haven't done so for a long time now.

    You are easily privatised because your working standards are those that can be easily met by the private sector for a good deal cheaper than you do it now.

    I'm interested in reverting Probation back to pre-NOMS and scrapping accreditied (by nobody) programmes in a one size fits all approach. You seem to be interested in maintaining the working that you have been doing under NOMS because it is much easier for you to do, takes zero effort on your part and you get paid for doing a piss easy job.

    Well time to get off the gravy-train and stop fooling yourselves into thinking that because you are Public Sector you can automatically do things so much better, because you show no willing in trying to change things for the better for Offenders, only in keeping yourselves in a cushy job.

    "We do it because we care for those we work with" You are very naive.

    If Offenders reoffend it's up to them, if they don't it's up to them.

    Any Probation Service sticking it's ore in has just as much chance of causing re-offending as stopping it.

    You'd might as well be closed down completely. Housing and employment agencies would still be there without Probation, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, REAL Social Workers will still be there to assist if they require any assistance.

    If you cannot work to a standard above what Privates can do, and in my experience you cannot then you deserve to be privatised.

    All of your problems I am happy about as are many of the other offenders whom you all have fucked over in your working lives. The Probation Service does not provide any worthwhile help.

    1. 'how about doing this, this and this, then you will be in this phase of the cycle of change'

      No probation officer is going to tell someone how to move through the cycle of change. Individuals can figure that out for themselves. We're there to support people if they want to change.

      I wonder if you are sill on probation at the moment, what support you would like and how you can go about getting this?

      I hope things get better for you.

    2. The best sort of support I can receive from Probation is if they fuck off completely, useless twats. I am no more or less likely to go out and offend as the day I was arrested for the offence.

      The Probation service only have succeeded in making me feel worse and diminishing my mental health with their shite SOTP, of course I want to talk to a gang of assorted sex offenders about my offending, I can think of no better more holistic and caring atmosphere in which to talk about my problems.



    3. I think you'll find many posters/visitors to this site would also prefer to revert to pre-NOMS probation. The 1991 CJAct which enabled the creation of NOMS, and the managerialism that came with it, have been significant problems for probation practitioners. Sadly the bully culture prevailed once probation was politicised and the true nature of probation got de-railed, deformed - and is now finally being destroyed.

    4. And plenty of self realised, self actualised, professional types who are more than happy to work for anyone provided that they are paid will continue to convince themselves that what they do is for the greater good of everybody.

      I cannot begin to explain how utterly shit SOTP actually is.

      I have never felt so much resentment towards those Facilitators as I have anyone. They deserve every problem they receive. Pieces of shit the lot of them.

  18. Does anyone involved in SOTP care to defend their livelihoods? You are the shit of the service.

    1. It's probably better if we ignore those posting from Petty France, under the guise of a service user.

      Please please please don't feed this troll. Everyone who comments or even responds to his, and it is a he, posting will only mean they keep on coming back.

      PS: Tell Grayling to fuck off as he's a onanist.

    2. ^^^ Prime example of the caring social work nature of the Service there. The reason for this barbed response is because they are well aware of the large proportion of truth that my claims carry...

    3. Perhaps you are not a troll, my view is that you are a service user who used to work in either probation or the criminal justice sector, perhaps prisons?. Talk to someone about your feelings you need to deal with your anger.

    4. Twats, trolls, pieces of shit - it's getting all a bit redneck, isn't it? Whether you are critical or supportive of probation, it is possible to frame arguments without being abusive and dogmatic.

    5. I am a service user but no I have not worked for Probation or anything else in the CJS. I committed some offences and I was put onto SOTP where initially I thought was a place to talk about any problem and to be open and honest about my offending and what led towards it. Unfortunately the
      Probation service would appear to lack the ability to respond in a worthwhile, non abusive manner. SOTP is the biggest pile of shite with zero valid evidence to suggest that it has any real effect on stopping reoffending, even those who know this are more than happy to work as group facilitators, they are voyeuristic pigs who have no ability to help bar present you with the shite in the manual.

      Does anyone here in Probation know who exactly accredits SOTP's? Seems to be a mystery even in the walls of probation...

    6. Annon 06:59 I may not agree with how you put your points across but I think it is a good to get the view of someone currently using the service. To a point I agree with some of the improvements that can be made to the service. However, what I disagree with is the notion that the current bidders will improve the individually tailored service you feel probation should be. As someone who works for the service I can tell you now that the current privateers who are preferred bidder's are already lining the service up for a streamlined "get em in and get em out" service. With the implementation "resource centres". Which let's face it, is a glorified mass reporting centre. Maybe if this whole debacle had been done with your (the service users) needs at the heart of it then you may have seen some of the changes made within the service. Unfortunately that is not the case. It is the large corporations that are bidding and you my friend are nothing more than a invoice number to them. You appear to be under the impression that those within the service think there is no room for improvement. This is false and most of us know the flaws in the system and have plenty of ideas of how it could be improved but it will not happen under the new changes.

    7. He's not and never has been a service user! He's just seen an avenue where he can continue his diatribe under a guise. Please please please don't keep feeding him.

      He is NOT what he is trying to make out he is!!!!!!

  19. 07:56 - how can you know he has never been a service user? I don't know if it was his own Foi request, but I sympathise with whoever is stonewalled. I agree with 07:55's sensible assessment.

  20. The thing is, I think that mass reporting centres with get them in and then out attitudes is vastly superior to NPS anyway. If you can't do something properly then don't interfere. NPS cannot do things properly, Probation have been far away from providing anything more than punitive intervention for a very long time now. I'm sure there are plenty of you who feel things could be done better but nobody seems to listen to you, you are spending a career creating enemies.

  21. I vote for a return to radical non-intervention because:

    If you can't do it properly, don't do anything at all.
    "Good enough" is never good enough.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  22. Well this comment thread has not been overly edifying, but as always there are elements of truth in what our disgruntled SOTP recipient says - indeed I have written on the theme before and taken to task the 'one-size-fits-all SOTP approach as not being very helpful.

    My practice involved a home-grown individually-tailored SOTP but got the chop when accredited programmes came in. I have a degree of sympathy with the views expressed, but I can I please urge that whoever you are, please put forward your thoughts in a measured way and lets have a reasoned debate? Thanks.