Friday, 14 November 2014

Omnishambles Update 76

Such is the chaos in the case allocation system between NPS and CRC, Napo issued the following yesterday:- 

Guidance Note from National Professional Committee on using the Case Allocation System Screening Tool (CAS)

1. The Case Allocation System (CAS) tool is designed by NOMS to screen for information concerning risk of serious harm and other relevant information so that cases are allocated correctly to NPS or CRC. NAPO continues to argue that the separation of case management following the ‘split’ is bureaucratic and potentially dangerous, but we would be failing in our duty to members not to give advice concerning the completion of these tasks.

2. Staff using CAS are under enormous pressure having completed PSRs to indicate whether there ‘was sufficient information (verifiable) available at the time of completing this form’ to complete all of the sections that refer to significant events, risks to children, known adults, ‘at risk’ adults, self and others.

3. When pressed for time and faced with yet another seemingly bureaucratic task the temptation may be to tick that sufficient information was available or may be inferred from what little was provided to complete all sections in full. Our advice to members is to ONLY tick ‘yes’ if you are confident you have enough relevant information to complete each section accurately. When in doubt, tick ‘no’ in all circumstances.

4. We have been trained and educated in an integrated system that has enabled us to allocate cases safely within the same local organisations. The creation of a two-tier system leaves members exposed to potential danger if they indicate that sufficient information was available to inform their decision when there may have been significant gaps. When in doubt, tick ‘no’.

When in doubt tick 'no'. We had a discussion about this as very few cases seemed to be allocated to CRC, even ones that were obviously CRC cases and ones such as IOM cases that appear in court for new minor offence only to be then allocated to NPS when we were expecting them back in CRC.

Ticking 'no' is being done because staff are busy in NPS. Perversely however this will generate more work for NPS. If one ticks 'no' the system is formatted so it will then err on the side of caution if there is missing data and therefore the case will automatically go to NPS. We have been tracking this in our area and CRC are completing own RSR/CAS and proving this very point especially with IOM cases when it has been puzzling as to how one new offence has resulted in a sudden transfer to NPS? This is concerning, in our area at least, as it is generating unmanageable workloads in NPS and low cases in CRC which will impact on jobs.

In my area over 95% of cases are going to CRC, having discussed this with colleagues in other areas they assure me that this is true for them too.

About the same in my area although some are HIGHLY questionable to the extent that, once some digging is done (which should have been done at PSR stage but wasn't), they were re-allocated from PSO to PO. Makes me wonder just WTF is going on behind the scenes at assessment stage? Or indeed if ANYTHING is going on judging by the cases coming over!

Critical few. Trivial many.

Are we all completing the same documents? By far the larger number of cases are directed to the CRC.

Then we learn this:-

Durham Tees Valley area yesterday informed that all Prison cases to be re-tiered to T1. This to be reviewed 3 months prior to release. Today informed under 12 month supervision for prisoners will commence Feb 15, but if I understand correctly will only be for those sentenced from February 15 so perhaps no instant impact - time will tell. 

Any other areas being asked to retier custody cases to T1? Any other areas been informed under 12 month supervision from Feb 15? CRC bidder contracts not yet signed, let alone ink dried, so staff unable to be told of delivery plans. Apparently due to commence some briefings re RAR and training re new N-Delius (God help us). Will it ever STOP?

How the fuck do we retier 3 months prior to release if they only get one week custody? How the fuck do we decide who gets the intervention needed whilst in custody (as some are unlikely to re-offend on release) given that they are all T1 and prisons will not allocate resources to them due to this? How the fuck do we manage with MORE Delius training?

I saw a memo yesterday clarifying the process for starting the u12m cases and what CRCs will be required to provide in prisons. F**k me! They are going to be busy! How are they going to pay for that lot? I think CG is taking the piss out of them as well.

We now have 59 different Risk Registers in N Delius. How the hell are we supposed to keep that all up to date?

More Delius training is definitely coming up for all staff in December.

All this frustration and head-scratching on our part is down to one thing. As we said from the start, the Target Operating Model is written by people who are ignorant about the nuances of the role of Probation and its relationship with courts and prisons. It will fail because it fails to take into consideration all of the variables at play.

A blog from Cheshire Greater Manchester CRC gives an idea of timescales and some fascinating IT issues:-

Dear Everyone,

As mentioned last week, I attended a Contract Signature Workshop with members of our Board of Directors last Thursday which was helpful in confirming the exact timescale of activity through to contract signature. I will therefore be meeting with Interserve Justice for a preliminary discussion on 19 November, in the company of a colleague from the contracts team. I then expect to receive Schedule 8 of the Service Agreement on (or close to) 24 November and this will contain the Service Delivery proposals put forward by Purple Futures at the bid stage. Schedule 8 will provide important background to our second meeting with Interserve Justice/Purple Futures which will take place on 28 November. This meeting will include Xxxx Xxxxxxx, Non Executive Director as well as members of the Senior Leadership Team. We will receive a presentation of the proposed new operating models ahead of a Board of Directors meeting on 1 December 2014 at which we are expected to approve and sign the end state Services Agreement. At the workshop, we were informed that the successful bidders would then be announced around 5 December followed by the 2 week standstill or ‘alcatel’ period, with final contract signature in the week before Christmas. As I have indicated previously, I expect it to be January before we are able to enter into detailed conversations with Purple Futures about the wide range of matters we are all keen to explore. As ever I will keep you posted.

In the meantime there are a number of important CGM CRC issues which require our attention. Firstly, you will be aware that we have all been asked to participate in a mandatory exercise to move CGM CRC and NPS documents into separate folders on the S: drive. I am happy to report that this work is progressing well but I need to remind you that any electronic files on offenders held in My Documents and as e-mail attachments must also be transferred to the individual offenders folders under this new folder structure on the S: drive. (If you have any documents which are needed by both the NPS and CGM CRC then please create a copy of the document in both the NPS and CGM CRC folders). In addition, if you hold any electronic offender documents which are no longer required then these should be deleted. This work must be completed by 21 November. At some point, post 21 November, documents that have not been moved will no longer be available. Please contact your Business Manager/Business Administrator if you have any difficulty in completing these document transfers.

As it was announced that Interserve look likely to win vast contracts to build new roads:-
Interserve, the international support services and construction group, has been awarded a place on the Highways Agency £5 billion Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF), the largest ever framework for the improvement of England’s motorway and trunk road infrastructure. The company is one of five contractors that will be selected to undertake schemes with values of up to £25 million, which may be extended to £50 million, within the total £450 million indicated spend allocated to Lot 2 of the CDF. The CDF will last for four years, with the option to extend for a further two years, and will enable the Highways Agency to invest in England’s major roads through four separate Lots encompassing 26 suppliers.
one wonders why they even bothered with the probation contracts that others turned down. This snippet gives a clue to why Capita didn't win a TR contract:-
A failure to win controversial government work accounted for much of the decline, including the loss of a deal to run probation services for the Ministry of Justice. Rivals Interserve, Sodexo and GEO Group picked up the £500m-a-year contracts after Capita refused to accept a clause that prices could change should the Ministry of Justice amend policies. A second contract to run work capability assessments for the disabled went to the US work programme provider Maximus after Capita withdrew as a result of “unattainable” targets and the risk of reputational damage.
I can concur with this information. Capita have been unwilling to play ball on prices and so got the heave ho - this would reflect the general belief that the competition is entirely based upon the cost of the contract and not the quality which will undoubtedly lead to tears before bedtime!

The problem with the 70% inspector rumbles on:-

That report is currently sat at the bottom of NOMs in tray and will not be published until well after the contract signing and perhaps after share sale. I suspect that it is entirely critical of the who sham that is TR, hence its slow progress through the system. The inspector surely must have given the nod to his missus about what he thinks of the system and could that lead to a more advantageous pricing approach???? But that wouldn't happen would it?

Good point. If the report was critical of TR, to the point of being a potential deal breaker, Mrs would have warned Sodexo to pull out, wouldn't she? So why wait to publish? Or is it being re-written? It's like Le Carre!

That is the point - not whether McDowell was involved in selecting the bidders (the suggestion that he had some sort of advisory role - which he did not), but whether anything he knew or learned as HMIP could have found its way into Sodexo's bid through his wife and given them an unfair advantage? That is what the conflict of interest is about.

As for not inspecting his wife's company, well that doesn't wash, because whoever does do the inspection has to report back to McDowell as he's the head honcho, and as such his signature is needed on everything. Ultimately the buck will always stop with him!

Can you imagine a deputy director for Sodexo who is involved in the preparation of a bid NOT discussing the contents of that bid with her ex-NACRO/Probation Inspector husband? Sodexo have been compromised. McDowell has been compromised. Grayling has been compromised. The MoJ has been compromised. Mrs McDowell has been compromised. Nothing but rot at the core of this. Conscious corruption? Bad. Unconscious corruption borne of incompetence? Worse.

Can you imagine a deputy director of Sodexo not sharing her performance related financial incentive (MONEY) with her husband?

Paul McDowell has brought the Probation Inspectorate into disrepute. Should he ever have the privilege of inspecting my work, I will tell him were he can shove it. Chris Grayling has said "overzealous enforcement of conflict of interest rules could risk driving 'extremely able' couples from public life." The man clearly has no idea what he is talking about.

What he really means is, "over-zealous enforcement of any rules could risk us not being able to do exactly whatever the hell we want."

Mark Leftly in the Independent highlights how much the consultants for TR have cost, together with the private worries of the CRC chiefs:-
Fury over £15m bill for consultants on probation deal 
The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has been accused of wasting more than £15m on consultants advising on the “crackpot privatisation” of the probation service. The accountant EY, management consultants PA Consulting and Collinson Grant, and outsourcer BancTec were among those to have bagged roles on the Ministry of Justice’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme over 13 months to the end of April. Nearly £4m was spent on legal services.

The shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan wants to overturn the privatisation if Labour is elected last year and his Freedom of Information request revealed the cost of the outsourcing. He said: “Everybody warned that this crackpot privatisation would create chaos but did Chris Grayling listen? No he didn't. Instead he arrogantly brushed aside concerns and pushed ahead with this botched privatisation. This is a grotesque and unnecessary waste of money."

Separately, The Independent has been shown minutes from a meeting of 15 CRC heads of operations, representing areas such as West Yorkshire, Northumbria and Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, in September. These seem to confirm many of the problems that have been reported since the service was split in June, such as staff “muddling through” because of IT problems and an over-reliance on agency staff as management struggles to fill vacancies. The minutes also reveal that 65 per cent of CRC staff are “not vetted properly”. This means that nearly two-thirds of officers are not vetted to work in prisons, where they prepare offenders coming to the end of their sentences to resettle back into the community. 
If 15 CRC heads have raised concerns, then why hasn't HMPI reported on it?

Imagine what could have been done with just a fraction of the money wasted on the probation privatisation ominshambles?

This is exactly why staff have no faith in senior managers. Why can't they simply be honest with staff instead of us reading about their concerns in the Indie? They really do add insult to injury by their duplicity. They DISGUST me.

Meanwhile Ian Dunt on the website makes the point that, despite efforts by the MoJ to hide what's going on in prison, information is coming out:- 
Despite the censorship, reports emerge of security collapse in prisons
The most effective tool the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has for covering up the prison crisis is censorship. Prisoners can't talk, former prisoners can't talk, guards can't talk. The only reliable information published is from the chief inspector of prisons and the independent monitoring boards, who Chris Grayling can't shut up. That information is a snap shot of a system in chaos, falling apart under the combined weight of funding cuts, staff shortages and Grayling's "right-wing solutions" to reoffending.

Today the report came in from an unannounced inspection of Elmley prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. It is dangerously overcrowded and understaffed. There has been one major disturbance a month for each of the last 11 consecutive months, with prisoners refusing to go back to their cells. This compares to zero disturbances the year before. The offender management unit is "overwhelmed".
Almost 200 of the men there spend 23 hours a day in their cells. Fights and assault are up 60% in the last year. Vulnerable prisoners are being abused without staff intervention. Five people have committed suicide in the last two years. Rehabilitation has completely ground to a halt. Of the cases looked at by probation inspectors, not one showed meaningful work being done to address the offending behaviour of the prisoner.
In Brixton prison, the independent monitoring board report also noted "unacceptably high" levels of drug use, citing positive test results and anecdotal evidence from prisoners. Staffing levels are so low they "wholly ignore the requirements of running a prison effectively, safely and humanely".
Over at Bristol prison, where another independent monitoring board report has just been published, it was the same. They found staffing levels were "insufficient" to ensure a safe environment. "The financial constraint has had a clear detrimental effect on many aspects of prisoners' lives", they found. The prison is at "bursting point".
Chillingly, they found some officers and staff "feel unsafe when prisoners are out of their cells". That's the point of total collapse. Once staff feel unsafe, none of the things prisons should be doing – such as training, educating, maintaining family contact or offering therapy - are possible. Security in a jail is like oil in an economy: once you remove it, everything else grinds to a halt. Classes, family visits, medical tests – they're all affected. Nurses, for instance, were advised not to unlock cells in C wing because the number of prison officers is too low and they felt unsafe. The health implications are potentially grave.
No omnishambles update would be complete without reference to Chris Grayling. According to the Huffington Post, he's had to endure the humiliation of correcting a recent Daily Mail article:-
Chris Grayling Forced To Correct His Daily Mail Human Rights Article
The Daily Mail has been forced to make a humiliating correction to a piece written for the newspaper by Chris Grayling about the European Court of Human Rights. The tabloid published the piece from the Justice Secretary last month where he claimed that judges in the European Court were not all "legally qualified" and suggested that rights to freedom from torture were subject to a caveat.
Human rights lawyer Shoaib Mahmood Khan, who is also currently in the process of taking Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), complained that the piece was deeply misleading, but told HuffPost UK that the piece took over a month to correct.
The Mail correction read: "Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wrote in a recent article about the European Court of Human Rights that not all of its judges are ‘legally qualified’. "We are happy to clarify that he meant that although they all hold legal qualifications, they are not all qualified to be senior judges in the UK.
"The article also said that, under the Convention, ‘states should not torture, nor imprison people without trial. It set out the right to free speech and to marry, and to hold religious views – but always with the caveat that the interests of society as a whole had to be respected too.’ "We are happy to make clear that the right not to be tortured is an absolute right, not subject to any caveat."
Finally, Eric Allison of the Guardian poses a question:-
How can Chris Grayling apologise to MPs while ignoring the prisons Crisis?
On Tuesday the justice minister made a solemn apology to the House of Commons. Chris Grayling’s mea culpa moment followed the disclosure that some telephone calls made by prisoners to their MPs had been monitored and, in 15 cases, listened to by prison staff. Clearly contrite at having to report this breach of parliamentary protocol – correspondence between MPs and their constituents is supposed to be confidential – the minister said he had “acted at a pace” to bring this to the attention of the house and was taking “immediate steps to ensure our confidentiality is respected”. I wonder if Grayling will apologise to the prisoners concerned in this breach of confidentiality rules? I doubt it.
Indeed, the news that Grayling knows how to say sorry will surprise many. He presides over a prison service in meltdown. One damning inspection report follows another. Only today, another report by the chief inspector of prisons reveals the scale of the problems besetting many jails. It shows a 60% rise in violence in Elmley prison, Kent, including 11 mini riots in as many months. Elmley holds 1,252 men crammed into cells designed to hold 985. There have been five suicides in the past two years. About 15% of the population, or almost 200 men, were unemployed and routinely spent 23 hours a day locked in their cells. This from a government that promised to make prisoners work for their keep.
This latest report follows a series of equally damning inspections of prisons and young offender institutions in England and Wales. Violence, bullying, self-harm and suicides are soaring; many young prisoners in particular lie idle behind their locked doors during the working day; there are reports of many elderly prisoners being unable to take a bath or shower for weeks or months on end – the litany of failures goes on and on. And yet Grayling repeatedly takes to the air waves to tell the world that all is well. Until something happens that affects the privilege bestowed on his parliamentary colleagues.
While he is in the mood to apologise, will the minister say sorry to the prisoners who repeatedly have confidential mail from their lawyers opened and read before staff hand it over to them? Staff at the estimable Prisoners’ Advice Service tell me this is one of the most common complaints received from prisoners, despite lawyers clearly writing “rule 39” on the envelope.



  2. Maybe the £15 million that Graylings wasted in consultancy fees to bring the probation service to a state of chaos and fracture, would have been better used helping to save lives in in the prison system.

  3. I heard Michael Spurr interviewed on the Today Programme this morning regarding prison suicide rates increasing and was so shocked. He was lethargic and lacklustre and frankly not on top of his brief. Of course, they had asked Chris Grayling and he had declined! He is now spinning so fast he is surely going to unravel from the web of lies and disinformation he has engineered.

    1. Grayling the PR king - won't want to be heard defending prisons where prisoners are dying - so roll out the civil servant to take the hit...of course Spurr has no choice but to defend the policy.

  4. The Case Allocation Tool is unworkable. Most areas now have a team of case allocators based in court teams (usually) who are being put under increasing pressure to complete the assessments as fully as possible without interviewing the offenders. Please remember how many cases are allocated without reports (both Crown and Magistrates) and the measurable target is for the case to be allocated within 24 hours. I have experienced 20 cases without reports to be allocated from a busy Crown Court in one day. We are now instructed to "interrogate" all sources of information when doing the CA tool, meaning OASys and electronic records ( and you all know how difficult the IT systems are across the divide) but without any capacity to interview the offenders! It is an impossible task and it is more reliable to answer "insufficient information" or "don't know" because at least that is truthful! However we are now told this will fail the QA process if we do. Some colleagues are writing lengthy essays in the tool to try to justify their decisions.
    Finally we are now being asked to QA the tools completed by the report authors - in effect to confirm their assessment as to whether the case goes to CRC or NPS. My view is that this is a manager's role not a POs. I have sought union advice about this major change to my job description - and received no answer.

  5. Sorry but you lost me at Contract Signature Workshop - Just had a vision of a load of fuckwits, practicing their signatures. Will catch up with the rest later.

  6. These assessments without seeing the offfender are classic prison service management fudging. Pretending to do something is enough. The never got it and have no will to get it. Grayling, Spurr, Allars etc are all complicit in this charade. If you cannot see the point of doing the job, why PRETEND to do it? Because you KNOW it needs to be SEEN TO BE DONE. Why does it need to be seen to be done? Because there is an expectation that the task is undertaken. We are seeing the efficient production of an increasingly useless product and it will come back and bite them. Unlike the Prison suicides, riots and violence (the 'undeserving'), however, it will be innocent citizens who are the victims. Grayling will be long gone, of course. He is just an institutionalised vandal.

  7. Excellent blog today. Thank you Jim.

    The headline I'm getting from this is equally simple, scary & disgraceful:

    In 2014, the Criminal Justice System of England & Wales is not safe, let alone effective or humane.

  8. What I have gleaned: -

    Contracts to be signed in December but serious negotiations over the structure of at least one CRC not to begin until January but the OAR 2014 to be implemented on Sunday 15th February with all under 12 month sentenced prisoners from that day on getting an extra 12 months supervision. The details of the supervision - if I understand the ORA 2014 (which I do not completely) to be decided by the CRC, or NPS, as presumably, some u12 month prisoners will be designated - high risk.

    So presumably the first of those extra cases as far as supervision will happen in that week as the 7 day type sentence folk are released within a couple of days of being in court.

    Unless the Judicial Review - directions hearing Tues 18th Nov manages to stall the whole business. If it gets past the first hurdle and the case is accepted as meriting a JR, I presume that would effectively stall the contract signings, at which point I predict Grayling will blame Napo for holding up the greatest opportunity to advance rehabilitation since Noah was a lad!

    Yesterday, you can check this out, at about 19.40 I was featured on the Iain Dale's, LBC Radio, Politics programme asking Conservative MP Crispin Blunt and last but one prisons and probation minister, about how parliament might intervene, to save the day in view of the omnishambles and danger bearing in mind the general election purdah date approaching - which I said I did not understand.

    I said the reason was to save the tax payer being trapped into ten year contracts - he dodged the question - responded with gobbledegook about change being unsettling but in the end probation workers will be pleased, because they will be able to concentrate on rehabilitation in future more than ever before!

    I said that was wrong that rehabilitation had always been probation's second priority after protecting the public - I got cut off before I had a chance to lambaste Blunt satisfactorily. Then the Labour and the Lib Dem spokespeople declined to comment. Then they went on to the 'politically safer' subject of Ched Evans playing football again for Sheffield United - or not.

    On Twitter I told Iain Dale he had protected Blunt - I have not seen a response from him!

    However, unless parliament intervenes, or Government surrenders first, it seems the best that is now likely to happen is that the JR will stall TR until after the election by which time it will be influenced by the decisions from the JR.

    I have had a seemingly serious request from Lib Dem president Tim Farron to email him - which I have done, giving some of the highlights of the horrors and political & legal complexities coming from ORA 2014 and encouraging him to converse with Simon Hughes, but as yet no response.

    1. I hope Grayling finds the change to being a member of Her Majesty's Opposition next May extremely unsettling

  9. Clegg obfuscates & spins about probation when asked direct question on radio 25 minutes in here from a London Probation Officer, who does brilliantly but Clegg is protected by Ferrari not allowing questioner a response.: -

    Don't listen unless you have a cool temper.

  10. Well done to everyone who manages to get on local radio shows like this, as this is the best way to reach the general member of the public who doesn't read the Guardian or the Independent, or watch Question Time.

  11. Really. So the general public would have been swept into action by this piece.
    I think not. The general message appears to have been " you may not like it but it's going to happen " Followed by a piece on immigration which the whole country appears to be obsessed by and then a nutter wanting a perm coaltion. Its the last one that caught my attention.

    1. Just on immigration, and off topic, but it appears that the Home Office have been taking advice on wheather or not to deport asylum seekers from a convicted drug smuggler for years!!
      Just another outsourcing flaw eh?

    2. @12:54 No-one's talking about sweeping the public into action, but any coverage is better than none - particularly now that Grayling is spectacularly losing the media battle on many fronts.

    3. And may be left more ashen faced when NAPO advise members NOT to go into prisons due to them being unsafe.

  12. So, whilst we now move into the era of an unsafe criminal justice system, lets remind ourselves of the democratic nature of where we live (from Poverty & Social Exclusion data):

    The five richest families in the UK are now wealthier than the bottom 20 per cent of the entire population, according to a briefing drawn up by Oxfam. That means just five households have more money than 12.6 million people put together – almost the same as the number of people living below the poverty line.

    Key points
    * While austerity measures continue to hit the poorest families hardest, a wealthy elite have seen their incomes spiral upwards. This is exacerbating income inequality that has grown under successive governments over the last quarter of a century.
    * Since the mid 1990s the incomes of the top 0.1 per cent have grown almost four times faster than the incomes of the bottom 90 per cent of the population. In real terms, that means the richest 0.1 per cent have seen their income grow by more than £461 a week, the equivalent of over £24,000 a year.
    * By contrast the bottom 90 per cent have experienced a real-terms increase of £2.82 a week, equivalent to just £147 a year.
    * The most affluent family in the UK (Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor and family), have more wealth than the poorest 10 per cent of the entire population, or 6.3 million people (£7.9 and £7 billion respectively).

    Ben Phillips, Oxfam's Director of Campaigns and Policy, said: 'Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, whilst millions of families are struggling to make ends meet... Increasing inequality is a sign of economic failure rather than success. It's far from inevitable – a result of political choices that can be reversed'.

  13. Jim, WoW "bumper edition" of the blog !

    Not sure what to comment on but one thing has been noted over the last few days and that is the planning that CRC's are undertaking for the arrival of the purple monster and croissant makers....

    A word of warning.
    The new providers have submitted proposals to run an area ...
    The contracts which they have "won" are as a result of these submissions...
    Therefore there will be no negotiation from the CRC about how they intend to run their areas with the new management.
    What will happen is that the new providers will TELL the CRC how they have been contractually bound to run the business!

    So any CRC chiefs who believe they are in a position to cosy up to the big cheeses with spiffing ideas on how to run the new entity will be sadly disappointed.
    When the new boys take the keys they will be contracted to deliver what is in their contract the letter and sadly that means any pretense of "innovation" will be lost.

    As we all know the contracts have been negotiated on a "race to the bottom" basis , with clear evidence that cost has been number one consideration and quality a distant dream.
    As much as we all despise the Capita way of working, comments on here suggest they were not willing to stoop too low on pricing or risk.
    The emergence of EOS presumes again, they were the only company left to undertake the contract at a low enough price!

    The shock to CRC colleagues will be that there will be new systems , processes and working arrangements to endure on top of the shambles that is in place at the moment.
    Changing from route A to route B would be difficult enough when all is clear - but with the current car crash I am afraid it will be even more stress on top of that already endured.

    There has been reference to the cost of TR and £15m is quoted for consultants, plus legal costs of £4m plus all the rest of the programme delivery costs - it is clear that Grayling will need to squeeze the contractors hardest just to recoup these costs.

    The reference to costs, bidders and actions recently noted on here Jim gave me thought to look back at those archives you frequently forget you have(!)

    It is not amazing, it is fact .....what is going on now
    That is what the politicians, media and press should be taking note of, probation staff have an excellent ability to recognise RISK and have done so effectively on this blog for a long long time....

    1. Finally someone gets it!
      CRCs are in for a rude awakening if they think they get any say at all in how things will be run. The contracts will all say quite categorically that they have to deliver to the bid they have put in. Therefore they will have to deliver that and not be bothered by any of the other nonsense (as they will see it) being thrown at them by CRC staff, who may well have ideas as to how to do it better.

    2. I agree with that - it is probably going to get EVEN more difficult - resign now - save your sanity and let probation TR crash, then if they ask come back & put something like we had before 2001 in place

    3. Having worked for a company that took on an outsourcing contract relating to the work programme, I'm afraid you don't know half of whats coming your way.
      Remember, to receive payment you just can't submit an invoice stating your achievements.
      Filing becomes a nightmare.
      Every action, appointment, every use of other agencies etc, not only has to be recorded on the companies files, but duplicated to demonstrate evidence of the outcomes you are claiming.
      The processes of presenting this information will be ascribed from above, and is highly unlikely to suit any current model being used within the primes.
      Theres not a hope in hell that the ascribed model will align itself with all agencies involved in the delivery process.
      So what occurs is that file are passed back and forth until such a time as they are deemed to be compliant, and invoices are not paid either until all is deemed compliant.
      This can mean 'and its what happened to the company that employed me', that payments are witheld for periods of several months, and many of the small subcontractors 'like the company employing me' can no longer afford to operate because all reserves have been used in running costs.
      But the filing!!! OMG!!!! What a nightmare!

    4. Andrew, I really think you make a valuable contribution and thank you for that, you have helped to keep me informed. However, please stop suggesting people resign because for many of us that would be totally irresponsible given we are supporting families and have others dependent on us.I have read about why you took the action you did but I become distressed when I realise I am trapped in this nightmare world of watching my profession be killed off before my eyes. I stay because I have to BUT I fight it because I chose to.

    5. @17:39 thank you, I was just about to say something very similar.


    " Probation Institute retweeted
    Sue Hall ‏@SueHall14 4m4 minutes ago

    Probation Institute will continue to promote the honourable #Probation profession. Membership steadily growing - now 800+ @ProbInstitute "

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    800 - they are growing and some are being drawn in - I am sorry about that - they still have not commented on; such as the danger of a way of working that reduces continuity, as is inevitable with 'the split' or more recently, the consequences of the MOJ not immediately ending the contract of the Inspector when blogger - Rob Allen reported it over 2 weeks ago.

    It seems to me that being involved with the Probation Institute is a sign some one has abandoned any integrity they had about professionalism and probation!

    1. 800 is nothing, if you consider how many senior managers there are across the country, and add in members of academic departments who would have a passing interest in the PI's work. If Sue Hall can tell us how many of those 800 are current front line practitioners, I for one would be interested to know.

  15. Shame on all who have registered for the Probation Institute, it is the Fifth Column of our time.

  16. Crisis what Crisis?
    Prisoner at HMP Altcourse has been arrested on suspicion of murder of another prisoner.

    1. Link for above.

    2. I hope his parents sue the arse off the Government/G4S.

      I think it's about time NAPO 'advised' members not to go into prisons due to them being unsafe.

      Vicarious Liability and all that!

  17. Some are probation volunteers!!!

    1. Yes, that's true. They are being signposted there to get advice on becoming a volunteer.

      They are being told yes, yes, free workers, come sell your soul for some magic beans.

  18. Those of us that cannot afford to resign should not be made to feel like we have no morals. Also do you think that they care ! There are plenty of people who are happy to take jobs for a lot less money. Remember what the average salary is in this country belive me there are those out there who would jump at the chance. I know that this comment will be greeted by shouts of qualfication etc but so what at the end of the day. What qualifiaction do you need to work in the CRC so choices are stark. Go look and see if you can find another job at an equitable salary

    1. Wash your mouth out. We've been told that CRC's will ensure they only employ suitably trained staff. Are you suggesting for one moment that this is a lie?

    2. Suitable staff will be PI registered and that will be the only necessary test? Qualifications? People with more then English and Maths GCSEs will just be toooooooo expensive!

    3. Whatever the spin maybe, CRC or NPS offenders are still going to leave prison with £46 in their pocket, a couple of standardised appointments where they're given a bit of paper and sent off to see someone else.
      Thats not being critical of staff in anyway, it's just the way it will be. Grayling couldn't have made a bigger mess if he'd thrown a bag of sawdust into the wind. The sad thing is there isn't any winners. Staff, offenders, the companies getting contracts, victims or the taxpayer, everyone loses on this one.

  19. From the FT

    Fewer staff frustrate Clarke’s work ethic

    Helen Warrell, Public Policy CorrespondentStaff shortages across prisons in England and Wales this year have been blamed for an increase in unrest, assaults and self-harm among inmates, but they have also made it harder to get prisoners into work and training.Ken Clarke, the former justice secretary, was one of the chief champions of work in jail, and said in 2011 that he wanted a business offering jobs in every prison. Mr Clarke’s intention was to engage industry in helping drive up the number of full-time prison jobs from 9,000 to 20,000 by the end of the decade.However, under the current secretary of state Chris Grayling, initial progress towards getting prisoners working a full day appear to have stalled. Figures released in Parliament last month show that the percentage of inmates working in industrial activity increased only slightly from 13 per cent in 2010/11 to 14 per cent in 2013/14. Even the most successful prisons have only managed to bring a third of their populations into such training.Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, blames staff cuts caused by lower government spending for the work agenda losing “focus”.“Because of the staff vacancies, the opportunities to get prisoners out of their cells and into activity and be supervised while they’re doing that has been very badly affected in some places,” he told the Financial Times. “The National Offender Management Service would argue that when they recruit the staff and get staffing levels up to where they should be, that will enable more work to take place. Well, we shall see. Certainly, at the moment it’s very difficult.”Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League of Penal Reform, is far more critical, arguing that the working prison agenda has “fallen apart” since Mr Clarke left his post, and that the availability of purposeful activity in prisons has deteriorated.“Cuts in the staff and the new Spartan regime has meant prisoners are idle again,” Ms Crook said. “The problem is that the devil makes work for idle hands and if you are just lying on a bunk then crime festers, mental health festers and prisoners are suffering as a result.”The Ministry of Justice has repeatedly resisted suggestions that staff shortages are to blame for higher levels of unrest in jails, but prisons minister Andrew Selous has admitted that the “transient nature” of inmate populations has made work provision more challenging in some institutions.“The physical capacity of prisons . . . is an additional limiting factor,” Mr Selous told Parliament. “Many prisons were built without large workshops”.

  20. The only thing waiting for released prisoners will be tumbleweed!

  21. I would like to commit heresy & suggest that the u.12 month work will, as with the Peterboro experience, only focus on those prepared to engage as required & therefore generate pbr. Pilots already in place are doing just that. How will CRCs work with those who are being released after several weeks inside & have no desire to engage with anyone but their mam, their dealer and that night's companion? They won't. Old Lag of the year would tell you that... Except he/she is keeping shtum & pocketing £££'s from Grayling's mad experiment. They'll also get priveleged access to areas and people otherwise 'out of bounds'. The shitstorm hasn't even begun.

    This gives credence to my (not very well received at the time) 1984 thesis about circular lives whereby the extremes of anything eventually meet on common ground so as to complete the circle, e.g. Left wing & right wing politics, wealth & poverty, insanity & eccentricity. How else would peers & mp's find solace & companionship in gaol? Power is the key to child abuse, sexual abuse & domestic abuse - power games for the powerful. In our society, being rich, famous & in a "high ranking position" is power... but being able to abuse others, to dictate if they suffer or are excused, to select who pays the price. That's the power the powerful really crave; to be able to shed their own pain by inflicting it on someone else, to exorcise their own distress by watching others suffer, to absolve themselves of their own inadequacies and to feel powerful again. They can buy whatever & whoever they want. Just take the extracts released from today's anonymous victim from Operation Midlands.

    1. And what are the chances of knowing who the real culprits are? Zero. Its JtR time again, but on an unprecedented scale.

      The vile & fatal abuse of young people and children is the deepest, darkest secret of 20th Century Britain. I spent a year trying to get my employer and the police interested in organised child abuse in the east midlands in 1994/5. Neither were interested, not even when one of the young people tried to take their own life in the multi-occupancy halfway house I worked in. I eventually wrote a letter of resignation citing my concerns which I copied to Chief Constable. Never heard a thing. Not then. Not now.

      Kids in care, expendable playthings of the rich & powerful.

    2. Why is something 300Million miles away more important than something happening 300 yards away?