Thursday, 4 December 2014

End Game

It would seem that we are rapidly approaching the end game, as indicated by the latest statement from Napo today:-
Probation Union Anger as Secretary of State Ignores Dangers
Today Chris Grayling the Secretary of State for Justice has announced that he will proceed to the award of contracts for the Probation Service despite evidence that it is unsafe to do so. Napo, the trade union and professional association for probation staff has repeatedly provided evidence to the Secretary of State that his newly tested reforms are placing the public at risk and believes he is ignoring the unions concerns to pursue an ideological plan that is running to an election timetable rather than in the public interest.
Napo has issued Judicial Review proceedings against Mr Grayling which are due to be heard in the High Court on 10th December. The union’s argument is that the reforms are unsafe and the Secretary of State should not proceed to the next stage (awarding then signing contracts to preferred bidders) until it is safe to do so and the huge flaws in the system such as staff shortages (through increasing sickness since reforms were introduced in June - up over 60 % in space of 4 months), inadequate IT systems and the loss of offender records have been resolved.
Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary, said: "we cannot believe that in the face of the evidence, Grayling is still planning to proceed. His own testing processes have highlighted that there are still significant areas that need to be improved to make these plans anywhere near safe. To award contracts now is irresponsible and clear evidence that this is purely about ideology and not about public safety. He continues to ignore the expertise of our members who are absolutely clear that the service is currently in chaos and that handing over the management of offenders to the private sector at this time represents a danger to the public."
Napo understands that the contracts are due to be signed off later this month with new providers taking control in February 2015. ‘Poison pill’ compensation clauses in the contracts mean that they cannot be cancelled by incoming governments without the tax payer having to fork out 10 years’ worth of profit in compensation.
In addition, the following Press Release was issued by Napo on Tuesday:-
Secretary of State tells parliament he will proceed to a decision on selling the probation service despite being unaware of serious safety concerns
The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, was questioned by the Justice Select Committee (JSC) this morning about the safety of his proposal to sell off parts of the probation service to private companies – a decision he is due to make tomorrow.
Having spent £15million on private consultants, Mr Grayling insisted that he would proceed to make the decision tomorrow, before the High Court considers the safety of the proposal (at a hearing on 10-12 December 2014) and despite serious risks to public safety raised by Napo (including two recent murders committed whilst offenders were inadequately supervised).
Napo, the Union for Probation Officers, has four important concerns about Mr Grayling’s evidence to the JSC. 
First, Mr Grayling told MPs on the JSC that he had only just heard of the two murder cases, even though Napo sent him the details on 20 October 2014, again on 22 October 2014, and again on 6 November 2014.
Second, in making his decision tomorrow, Mr Grayling plans to rely on the
unpublished report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation, Paul McDowell. Mr Grayling plans to do this even though he recognised before the JSC that Mr McDowell is married to the managing director of Sodexo Justice Services, which stands to be awarded 6 of the 21 probation contracts. Napo considers that it is wrong for Mr Grayling to rely on confidential evidence produced by the husband of the Managing Director of a company which stands to make hundreds of millions of pounds from the sale. 
Third, Mr Grayling has sought to keep secret the evidence collected by the Ministry of Justice. He has obtained a confidentiality order which prevents the test results from being published. Napo has applied to the High Court to lift the confidentiality order.
Fourth, the Government’s tests – insofar as they are in the public domain - clearly show that the new system is unsafe. For example, the Government’s evidence shows that:
  • There is a serious shortfall in the number of qualified Probation Officers, with significant vacancies across every region of the UK. This means that the supervision of dangerous offenders is being allocated to under-qualified staff with unmanageable workloads.  
  • The Government¹s new probation computer system is not working. Because of data protection concerns, probation officers working for the new companies will not routinely receive risk assessments for high risk offenders and sex offenders. This puts probation officers and the public in serious danger. For example, Napo has notified Mr Grayling of a female Probation Officer who was recently seriously sexually assaulted when she met alone with an offender. Computer records identified that offender as someone who should not be left alone with women, but she was prevented from accessing that record and did not receive the warning. She has suffered serious ongoing psychological harm.


  1. And nowwww, the end is near....
    Or is it?
    The outcome, in my mind, rest on NAPO convincing the Judge that the sale is unsafe. Aha, but Grayling said that it is safe, how can we convince them otherwise?
    Seeemples, gather EVERY single bit of evidence that shows how mendacious Grayling has been. Right from the 70% Inspector to asking for extra time to deliver evidence then shitting on NAPO, the 'murders' and every other little bot of evidence that I'm hoping other readers of this blog may provide. We only have to get the weight of the evidence to place the seed of doubt into the Judges mind that Grayling has been a lying sack of shit and natural bias MAY set in, and from the off weighing the JR in our favour.

    So, knowing that NAPO (and by extension their legal team) read this blog, lets all come together a give as many examples as we can. It might not work and we have lost nothing.....but if it does!!!!!!

    1. Looks like nobody gives a fuck for your request!

    2. We have already submitted the evidence to NAPO. The only disappointment is that the tales of woe are growing and will continue to grow well past the date of the. JR.


    1. The problem with this IT wet dream of the tory's and future labour governments is that they FUCKING SUCK at managing IT projects.


      And there will be many more.

    2. Britain’s public services are facing the biggest upheaval in a generation under plans set out by the Government to find up £20bn of efficiency-saving by the end of the decade.

      In order to meet eye-wateringly tight cuts to spending over the next five years, ministers are intending to outsource swathes of services currently provided by the public sector.

      Some of these services will be contracted out to companies such as Serco and G4S, while others will become new mutual companies run by their employees.

      As a result, Government departments will dramatically shrink in size with many backroom functions, such as IT, HR and legal support being merged and potentially outsourced.

      Up to £10bn of the £40bn that the Government spends every year on goods and services will also be centralised with the intention to capitalise on savings on bulk purchases. Government department will have to “comply or explain” if they want to keep specific spending in-house.

      The plan is outlined in a document released alongside the Autumn Statement by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office.

      It also reveals how the Government intends to use technological advances to save money for the Government.

      It suggests, for example, that all police evidence collection and witness statement should be digitised – removing the need for police officers to return to the station to write up notes and reports.

      The information would then transferred into the court system – and much greater use made of video links for witnesses, suspects, lawyers and police officers to give evidence without turning up in person.

      At the heart of the plan is a view by ministers that reductions in spending can only be made if government spending is viewed as a whole rather than through the prism of individual departments.

      The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the aim was to deliver on the £10bn savings target by 2017-18, rising to a potential £15bn to £20bn by 2019-20.

      The appointment in September of former BP executive John Manzoni as Whitehall’s first CEO, with a brief spanning the whole of the Civil Service, is an important part of the new approach.

      The head of the Government’s commercial, digital, HR, communications, property and major projects all report into Mr Manzoni and the next spending review is likely to identify cross-departmental cuts to meet savings targets.

      Mr Maude said the Cabinet Office and Treasury would “work together as a strong corporate centre of government to control spend and drive out waste, just as in any well-run complex business”.

      He highlighted plans for a big expansion in the number of government services that could be accessed online. The aim was to ensure that “nine out of 10 of the online public” used digital public services by 2020.

      Other savings would come through opening up delivery and “back-office” services to other providers.

      “As budgetary pressures continue to bear down on departments, the Government will need to look objectively at whether it is best placed to deliver public services in house,” the report suggests.

      Such a move will be highly controversial with unions, but Mr Maude believes that some of the criticism could be offset by spinning out public services into new mutual companies controlled and run by their employees.

    3. Mutuals again!! What's that smell?

  3. Can you sign the petition asking David Cameron to tell Stephen Dorrell he can't take a job in health privatisation whilst he's still an MP?

  4. As said in previous comments today, 19th December is a key target and so likely to be the date contracts are signed. However, data protection act stuff isn't done yet. If it's not done and the CEOs go ahead with share sale regardless what are the legal issues and who do we whistleblow to?

    1. There were 'official observers' in court viewing the use of IT. The Judge's view was made loud & clear to them as he let rip in his frustratration with it - its design does not take into account the way courts work. It is a hindrence to the prosecutor. It is cumbersome, unhelpful and does not convey all the necessary information. It causes constant delays (therefore wastes time and money).

  5. Did you see on last night's news, and on BBC News online, that at HMP Northumberland - Sudexo again - there was a violent incident, with 6 cells being set on fire, with 6 inmates evacuated to another prison.

    By, Chris, you are doing a fine job! ,But I think it's about time Paul had a word with his wife.