Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Omnishambles Update 81

Pat Waterman, chair of Napo Greater London Branch, writes with news from Utah:-



In his blog yesterday, Nick Smart (CEO London CRC) reported that last week he had had his first meeting with London’s “preferred bidder” MTCnovo. The meeting was also attended by MoJ staff whose role was to ensure that the issues discussed did not stray into areas that were "competition sensitive" which meant that any detailed discussion of MTCnovo's plans, including their operating model and any plans they have with respect to corporate services, were out of bounds. M
TC were represented by Rich Gansheimer who will head the MTCnovo Operating Board to which Nick, as CRC CEO, will report.

We are advised that:

“MTCnovo were very keen to stress their corporate values, particularly around respect for individuals, and how they will apply this to staff and service users. MTC encapsulate this in the acronym BIONIC (Believe It Or Not I Care).” It was also explicitly stated, in response to comments on social media, that while the founder of MTC was philanthropically motivated and did hail from Utah, they have absolutely no formal or informal connection to the Mormon Church.

Rich Gansheimer qualified as a social worker in 1986 and began his correctional career in the same year at the Ohio State Reformatory. With over twenty six years experience correctional experience in the State of Ohio, Rich Gansheimer was appointed MTC’s regional vice president in Texas in 2012. In this position, Mr.Gansheimer oversaw eight correctional facilities MTC operates for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Capital punishment is legal in Ohio. A total of 139 people (one woman and 138 men) are currently under a sentence of death in the state as of January 16, 2014. Since the death penalty was re-instituted in the United States in 1976, Texas has executed more inmates than any other state.

Nick says that on balance he felt that the meeting was a positive one. I wish that I could be so confident. I just cannot help but wonder about someone whose experience is all within the American “correctional service”. While we wait for more news about the future of the CRC, the Deputy Director of the London NPS, Sara Robinson, advised staff in her blog last week that:

As a result of the recent implementation of the RSR/CAS improvement plan I am delighted to report that we have significantly uplifted our RSR/CAS performance. I was always confident that London would achieve this improvement quickly and these figures demonstrate how well we have done in a short space of time. I would like to thank all staff involved for their continued hard work to ensure that we get RSR/CAS completion right.

I am not sure what constitutes a significant uplift and would be interested to know if this accords with members’ reality.

Sara also tells us that there are 32 Newly Qualified Officers joining the NPS, taking up posts across London in November. Fifty six new PQF learners joined the NPS last month. A new cohort of eighty two is expected on 2nd February 2015. Fifty of these new learners will be placed in the CRC. A further cohort of possibly sixty learners in total is expected to start sometime in April.

I am only too well aware of the staff shortages in all grades particularly the qualified Probation Officer grade. But I do have concerns about where all these learners are going to be placed.

I would also like to remind members of the Branch Meeting this Friday (28th November) at BPR. Lunch is available from 1p.m. The meeting will start at 2 p.m. with a panel discussion entitled “Crisis, What Crisis”. Our guest speakers will be Sara Khan (Director of Inspire), Janet Crowe (Deputy Director of Prison Reform Trust) and Will McMahon (Deputy Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies).

Formal Business starts at 3p.m.

I hope to see many of you there. If you do intend to come to the meeting do not forget to email Mail London NAPO so that we can arrange a Visitor’s Pass for you.

Pat Waterman
Branch Chair

Meanwhile, some contributions from the frontline:-

Leics lost a universally respected IT trainer last week. The new CRC simply tripled her tasks and chucked in a few more for good measure, having lost Derbyshire staff to NPS and pruned over 50% of the remainder from Leics and Notts. I think she saw what they expected her to do with the broom and that was the last straw. I've never seen so many leaving gifts and cards for one person. Apparently, at no stage, did anyone from the CRC consult her about what she could take on in addition to her already burgeoning workload. Luckily, she was in a position to walk away. OMs with mortgages and families, experiencing the same wholesale changes in their Jobs, face a horrendous prospect and not everyone can just tell them where to stick it.

I am certain many more would be walking away right now if they were financially in a position to do so - me included.

I certainly would. The current situation on so many levels is untenable and getting worse by the day. The systems actually prevent the work getting done and it would seem the impending updates are no improvement. Even those of us who are fortunate to enjoy reasonable health and decided to insist on staying to see if there would be any semblance of sense or ability to continue without the selling of souls, are now falling and collapsing under the stress and abject incompetence of those supposedly 'implementing change'. It is one huge disorganised nightmare and getting worse by the day. This is not from a perspective of not wanting to change, not having the ability to adapt quickly and easily or being unable to use and access the IT. It is from an informed, experienced and objective analysis. Enough is enough and this is more than enough. 

Prisons are key sites for recruiting to "terrorist" organisations and the Spookes know this. Benchmarking and 'Fair and Sustainable' has taken thousands of officers off the landings of our Prisons and we are in a situation, in many prison, where the prisoners are in control. All prisons are full of drugs and gangs organising the sale and collection of debt. This environment is perfect for the identification of the vulnerable and suggestible and the radicalization of the alienated. Clearly the best way to stop this is to have many more staff who have time to build relationships and change minds. TR is dangerous at so many levels, they just have not thought it through.

As the TR revolution beds in in my area, the more frustrating each day becomes. There are constant instructions regarding the whereabouts of data and who has or does not have access rights. After thirty plus years as a PO with a similar profile to Jim's, I am deeply saddened at the events that are befalling the probation service, both locally and nationally. I can't believe that TR was ever conceived in the first place.

A valued manager of 8 in one location of the NPS told she has now to manage 30 over 7 locations. The inevitable resignation followed and she is leaving imminently. The MoJ are simply incompetent and arrogant beyond belief. The damage they have perpetrated on this service is, ironically, nothing short of criminal.

Here's a real life true vignette for all you Bidders. Think hard about what you are entering into. This happened today in the CRC. (Slightly abridged).

Vulnerable, heroin using woman with a 20 week concealed pregnancy is beaten black and blue by her partner. Social Worker I've worked with for years phones to ask if I can help get her into a refuge and needs info on the man and how soon he will be released into the community:- 

Me: Really sorry, I can't access his records.
SW: Is he still on licence?
Me: I don't know, I can't access his records. 
SW: He's being charged with GBH, can't you recall him?
Me: I have no idea, I can't access his records.
SW: Did you know he's not long out of prison for severely assaulting a previous partner who was heavily pregnant?
Me: No, I didn't. I'm sorry to sound like a parrot but I have no access to his records.
SW: The refuge need a risk assessment on your client, I know you can't send me the OASys but can you summarise it for me?
Me: Unfortunately she is due in Court for another matter and NPS have taken the OASys to do the PSR. I no longer have access to my own records and because I've got 40 odd other cases, I can't remember it all off the top of my head.
SW: This is just ridiculous.
Me: I know! And dangerous and fucking stupid.

That sounds scarily like conversations I've had with social workers. They call me as they have serious concerns about people I supervised whose supervision ended pre June this year and ask for risk details, order/licence details. My response? Sorry, I can no longer see records on the individual that I supervised and I can't remember. Please call NPS duty, that is if they have time to answer the phone as they're so overworked. Dangerous doesn't begin to describe it.

I did ring NPS and their Duty Officer rang me back. Without a word of a lie, it was lovely young woman who worked in the CRC for 8 weeks before getting a place on the qualifying framework on the basis of her degree in Criminology. I mentored her briefly during her 8 weeks with us, she's now 6 weeks into her new role.

I understand that we don't want to assist with TR and being in the NPS I am not in your position. However, I continue to communicate with CRC colleagues and would have asked them to deal with the matter. I will not allow the split to take away the reason I joined probation to protect the public and enable others to make positive lifestyle changes. We must remain strong and care for each other.


  1. I understand the operating model may be commercially sensitive, but they are also crucial for staff worrying about their careers. Sorry, if this post focuses on Band 4s, as I know all in CRC may be impacted, but if their model does not include the same, or similar number Band 4 OMs, then why are MoJ recruiting new TPOs. The expense is doing this is not justified when there is likely to be a good number of current POs being made redundant (or managed out without redundancy) and out or work in a few months. Put the next cohort of TPO recruitment on hold until after April 2015 and allow CRC POs to transfer into the NPS without the loss of service and on the same pay scales. After all, we did the same job up until June 2014, we have years of experience in risk assessments/public protection and reducing re-offending and are proven in the role.

    1. Well said, but this makes too much sense for them. Remember they are saving money bullshit. In addition all that rhetoric about the most experienced officers goes out of the window when they are now willing to take on TPO's without any experience. It all stinks and we have been truly SHAFTED.

  2. Does anyone know what the starting salaries are for TPO's once qualified? If they are lower than present, then those in NPS and CRC need to be concerned, especially those at the higher end of the pay band!

    1. They are not lower?? A p o gets paid as per band 4. We are still all subject to n n c negotiated terms


    It would bring a smile to your face if it were not true :(

  4. Off topic, but I can't help but post an article that highlights how bad Christophers failings are.

    1. And as the comments say, very little press interest. If the BBC (Biased Broadcasting Company) fail to run with #Cameronmustgo, despite it trending for 3 days, something like this is not go to cause them concern. We have to face up to the facts that the Government effectively gagged this country and the 'sheeple' do nothing as long as they have X Factor etc. And now they are trying to control even more of our lives, via the medium of the internet, by making a big song and dance over some conversations (one of millions and millions) on Facebook which would probably have not saved anyone's life but gives them an excuse the further impose draconian powers. I had this conversation with my partner, who normally say's "if you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear (tell that to Charles De Menez) until I asked her if she would be happy with someone from the Government coming round to our house and reading our mail!

      I can see trouble brewing...maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

      If not, then I may get arrested for the above sentence if the Tories have their way.


    So French catering company Sodexo has HMP Northumberland and Northumbria in the bag with all profits destined for France and now this government looks set to sell off the East Coast Mainline to the French National Train Operator.
    C'est Grim up Nord mes amis....

    1. It's always been grim up here, the Tories closing pits, shipyards and fishing has not helped. Not entirely surprising given that the Tory vote in this area has traditionally been very low.

      They're trying their hardest to keep it that way. Bastards!


    1. Blah blah Probation are evil...blah blah...everyone's wrong but me... blah blah... i'm so in denial i deny i'm in denial but i'll deny it if you ask.... blah blah ....i've pretended i'm sorry what more do you want.....zzzzzzzzzzzz

    2. Haha. OK, yes I'm in denial. I agree.

  7. Napo on TV - BBC 1 10.35 PM Wales area available later via Internet.

    The closure of the Peterborough post release pilot scheme also featured on BBC 1 East region news this evening.

    Some information and links to all those broadcasts mentioned are here: -

  8. can anyone explain why there are 100's of PO and PSO vacancies being advertised around the country, for both CRC's and NPS, and 100's of graduate trainees taken on- but only 2 jobs advertised in Nbria - at Sunderland mags court. And that is the first I have seen since TR came in -(both by Indeed, -PO -Band 3- one Min of Justice and one NORTHUMBRIA PROBATION TRUST, (NPS) - I kid you not! One was £22039K a year, one £22039K an HOUR - honestly! And both jobs discussed having case loads, doing home and prison visits, in fact a bit of everything which field teams do- what a shambles.

    And there were no adverts in the press for Nbria for several years before I retired in 2011. When people left/retired, staff were just shuffled about - like Musical Chairs. Are they so well organised they don't need more staff? Or is no one leaving??(I know that is not true). Or are staff paddling under the surface faster than anyone elsewhere??!!!!!! Or are they just stepped over, when they die on the job??

    1. Give me my EVR and there'll be a vacancy at Northumbria :)

    2. but will you be replaced?!(21 38)

      Even a tweet from Nbria ,on the government's Twitter site advertising for graduates to train, said they had not recruited in Oct, will not be in Jan , and MAY BE in April. How do they manage without recruiting??


  10. A pregnant Wales CRC officer was attacked and hit in the stomach today by a female offender. No cameras in interview rooms, no way of alerting anyone that you are in danger. This is NOT acceptable. Who is risk assessing the buildings where CRC staff are/will be working.