Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Napo in the News

As Chris Grayling gets ready to go before the Justice Affairs Committee later this morning, Napo manages to grab the headlines on the BBC with news of an 18 page letter sent to him by Ian Lawrence. 

It seems the MoJ only have one tired and hackneyed response nowadays to anything said about TR - "Reoffending rates have been too high for too long, and we must act now to turn the tide on this unacceptable problem".

This on the BBC website:-
Changes to the way offenders are supervised in England and Wales may have contributed to two murders, says the probation officers' union. Napo said that in one case a man who killed his partner then himself had been under the supervision of an "overworked" trainee officer.
The union urged the government to halt the changes, which involve contracting out the monitoring of some offenders. The Ministry of Justice said it would "robustly" contest the allegations.
By early next year, private firms and voluntary groups will be responsible for the supervision of 200,000 low- and medium-risk offenders. As part of the changes, offender management was split between different agencies six months ago. But Napo says that move as well as staff shortages are putting public safety at risk.
In an 18-page letter to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, the union highlights a recent case of one offender "with a history of domestic violence" who went on to murder his partner before taking his own life. It claims the trainee allocated to undertake home visits to the man was "too overworked" to visit every four months as required.
Another probation officer was "unable to spend sufficient time working with an offender", the letter alleges, because of an "excessive caseload". "Left without suitable supervision, the offender committed a murder while under supervision of the CRC," it added.
Community Rehabilitation Companies - or CRCs - will supervise low- and medium-risk offenders under Mr Grayling's plans. The contracts are worth about £450m a year over seven years.
The union is concerned staff working for the CRCs do not have full access to offenders' records to assess the risk they pose. The union pointed to a case in which a probation officer was sexually assaulted on a visit, and said that "defects in the ICT system" prevented her seeing a "risk flag that the offender should not be seen alone by female officers".
In his letter, Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said the union did not believe the MoJ had enough evidence "to show that it is safe to proceed" with the transfer of shares in the CRCs to the winning bidders. 
But a Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the department had tested its changes to the system at "every stage". We will be robustly defending the allegations made by Napo and expect new providers to be in place and delivering services by early 2015," the spokeswoman added. "Reoffending rates have been too high for too long, and we must act now to turn the tide on this unacceptable problem. "It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing."

53 comments:

  1. Story above is second item on Today programme but haven't heard anything more in-depth. Might be worth listening until 9, unless I missed it.

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    1. Precis of the situation by Danny Shaw (with Naughtie asking questions) early doors on R4. It was a benign piece, but fair & balanced.

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    2. Thanks - will listen on iplayer.

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    3. It was on about 6:40am

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  2. Oh those stubbornly high rates of pay those in the corridors of power enjoy!

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  3. MoJ data released yesterday suggest approx 10,000 employed in 21 x CRCs. No separate figures within NOMS for NPS staffing. The data has the following annotations:

    "STAFFING NUMBERS UN-VALIDATED
    It should be noted that CRCs are independent bodies that are contracted to provide probation services to NOMS, and therefore have their own grading structure which is not directly translatable to the Civil Service grades. All payroll CRC staff have therefore been entered under the 'other' category.

    The CRC staffing figures provided relate to a snapshot of the number of staff employed and funded by the CRCs at the end of the last day of the reporting period."

    "Costing data for Community Rehabilitation Companies is unavailable. NOMS had previously carried out a joint review with probation trusts, with a view to streamlining our workforce data collections and ensuring that we only collect data where there is a clear business requirement either for management, accountability or statutory reporting. We expanded this review to consider the feasibility of gathering the full costing data requirement set out by the Cabinet Office but the review showed that the information is not readily available and would require significant additional resource to collect, collate and quality assure the information from 35 independent bodies each month. This is still the case with the 21 newly created CRC's.
    Estimates suggested this collection would have a minimum cost per annual of £125,000 plus initial development and start up costs; we therefore do not intend to pursue the collection of this data."

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  4. Posted on behalf of a third party:-

    Grayling's headlines - Misconduct in Public Office?

    'Charities warn against 'chilling' move to remove access to Judicial Review'
    'Grayling's prison regime goes on trial and is found guilty'
    'Chief Inspector of Probation whose wife's company has won the largest single number of Probation's contracts'
    'Cuts in Legal Aid, leading to miscarriages of justice'
    'Appeal court Judge 'horrified' at number of litigants without Lawyers'

    Wilful neglect or misconduct?

    Recklessness? Lies in Parliament, remember the toss of the coin, names out of a hat!

    Failure to disclose information, Millions spent to support this injustice.

    Just when will someone be asking the right questions and have the courage to charge this man?


    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/misconduct_in_public_office/#a07

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    1. Is it not work Ian Lawrence walking into a local Police Station and making a complaint? I can just imagine the lok on Graylings face when he was arrested. I'd piss myself laughing. Come on Ian, make our Christmas:)

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  5. Justice Committee Hearing 10.15 am today - live link and more details: -

    http://www.napo2.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=869

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    1. Thanks Andrew. Selous & Spurr @ 10:15am; Grayling & Spurr @ 11:15am.

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    2. Grayling announces to House of Commons Justice Committee will decide whether to finally order share sale tomorrow - 3rd December 2014

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    3. It went from the telly, and now the bbc democracy link aint working here, so just as it got interesting & Grayling was being asked about whistleblowing, all went dead! If I were a conspiracy theorist...

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    4. It is finished now but still accessible on the hyper link above.

      It also features on the Guardians Live Politics Blog where there are many comments: -

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2014/dec/02/chris-grayling-questioned-by-mps-about-probation-service-politics-live-blog?CMP=share_btn_tw

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  6. link here http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/21006886

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  7. well done NAPO, second headline story on BBC 1 o'clock news !!
    Hopefully the media are now waking up to the very real risks iof TR, let's all write and email all suitable TV and radio outlets NOW

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  8. Link: Grayling's Select Committee appearance
    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=16663
    from: 11:15:30

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  9. Chris Grayling, what a star! Winging it before the Justice Committee, submitting papers just hours before via email, telling them even he hasn't read the paperwork so they shouldn't complain about it to him, being argumentative, belligerent & supremely arrogant - even blaming the Committee for their poor choice of printer ink. Doncha just love him?

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    1. Anything but graylings fault, making a complete mess. Ha CRC's are f***ed. You have no idea what is in store for you lot.

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    2. I think we have an inkling Anon 18:37, but if you have some concrete detail you would like to share, then please do. Rather than wave sweeping alarmist statements in our face....
      Thanks
      Deb

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    3. Deb - I'm not 18:37 but sad to say I think we're ALL F****d. There's nowt so sure as the fact that Grayling, Spurr, McDowell (he & she), Allarse & others have absolutely no interest in probation - be that values, professionalism, good practice or public protection - NPS or CRC. I'll be resigning from CRC asap after today's debacle. How the Justice Committee can tolerate such arrogance is beyond me. Neither Grayling or Selous gave a fig - nor did Spurr. Surely the JC have oversight?

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    4. " Surely the JC have oversight? "

      Sadly that is not Parliament's legal position - as I understand it.

      Oversight is all with the Sovereign's Government, who have a duty to seek authority from the whole parliament to levy taxes on the populace.

      Traditionally the way Parliament rejects the way a policy is being administered is either to change the policy by majority vote(s) - [legislation] OR by majority vote decide to reduce the Government Minister concerned's salary to nil or a nominal amount. It happens very infrequently - I have heard it talked about - though I expect my summation is less than complete, but cannot remember it being done.

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    5. The one ray of light for me at the moment is that after share sale, Grayling won't be my boss anymore!

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  10. Here's the start of a Guardian article:

    "The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, has told MPs he will press ahead with a decision on Wednesday to privatise the probation service, despite renewed public safety concerns and before the outcome of a high court challenge next week.

    Grayling admitted that a conflict of interest row surrounding the sell-off has become more acute after the wife of the chief inspector of probation was promoted last week to run the company that is to take over the largest number of probation contracts.

    Grayling told the Commons justice select committee he accepted there was a conflict of interest involving Paul McDowell, the chief inspector of probation, and his wife, Janine, who was promoted 10 days ago to managing director of Sodexo Justice Services, which has preferred bidder status for six of the 21 probation contracts.

    The conflict of interest places a question mark over Paul McDowell’s future as chief inspector, and Grayling is to address the issue before the sell-off takes place.

    Grayling also said the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, who has proved a robust critic of prison conditions, would not automatically have his term extended next July but instead would have to re-apply for the post.

    Under the £450m-a-year probation sell-off, the supervision of more than 200,000 low- and medium-risk offenders will be taken over by the private and voluntary sectors in 21 community rehabilitation companies. It is the most radical justice privatisation undertaken by the coalition government.

    Grayling told the committee that his probation reforms were “firmly on track” and he would formally take the key decision on Wednesday to name the date for the sell-off early next year."

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  11. I have been at work so missed what happened today. Can anyone give an overview of the hearing please

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    1. Read Pat Waterman's write up on the Napo Forum: -

      http://www.napo2.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=869#p3536

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    2. Am sick of the constant lies, propaganda and misinformation pouring from ministers who care not a jot for anything other than their own greed and self interest. I have more than 15 years service and I am suffering, my colleagues are suffering, if anybody says things are going well they are lying, stupid or wilfully blind. Things are not "on track" be very sure they are firmly off the fucking rails and hurtling towards oblivion.

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    3. watch on parliament tv - grayling's on from about 1hr in http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=16663

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  12. Best thing is to go on the Internet as the Guardian etc have covered the issues re probation/Mr G. He saying no risk/SFOs happen but not as many since June/the chief inspector raised no concern/testgate 4 and 5 were safe/he'll decide before JR hearing what to do. There we all go to hell in a handcart.

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  13. The criteria for SFO's has changed.
    The Chief Inspector MAY be biased
    He already knows it's a busted flush but he's seeing his new job go out of the window if he delays TR.

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  14. A BIONIC* performance from Grayling.

    *Believe It Or Not It's Crap!

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    1. that is really good. :D

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  15. Thanks all. I just do not know how CG is getting away with all of this. It makes me so flaming angry how he is getting away with all that he is. He is like a flaming dictator .. A despot who nobody can stop.

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    1. No, he isn't a despot. He is a Minister in a democratically elected Government implementing that Government's manifesto commitments. The 2010 Tory manifesto said:

      "with a Conservative government, when
      offenders leave prison, they will be trained and
      rehabilitated by private and voluntary sector
      providers, under supervision. We will use the
      same approach that lies behind our welfare
      reform plans – payment by results – to cut
      re-offending, with organisations paid using
      savings made in the criminal justice system
      from the resulting lower levels of crime."

      Which they would claim is exactly what TR is designed to do. So you may not like what Grayling is doing. You may disagree about whether or not it will work. Bu he has a mandate to do what he is doing and, unfortunately, in a democracy sometimes governments do things we wont like....

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  16. The Guardian: 'He said there were 500 more qualified probation officers in post now than there were in June'

    >Did Chris Greyling say that?
    >Is it true?
    >Where are they all? Send some over to our office!

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2014/dec/02/chris-grayling-questioned-by-mps-about-probation-service-politics-live-blog#block-547dae49e4b032d37123d377

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    1. Oh, just seen twitter!
      #FindThe500

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    2. He must be getting confused with the 100s of agency temps the NPS had to employ to deal with all the new shit IT systems which have replaced the logical, straightforward and INNOVATIVE way we used to do things before it was fucked.

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    3. He does realise that if a temp PO moves from one office to another it doesn't count as 2 new POs... erm... doesn't he?!?

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  17. All 'new' POs in the CRCs are from the NPS and all new POs on the NPS are from CRCs. It's all smoke and mirrors.

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  18. You can't help but tip your hat to Nick Hardwick!

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/02/nick-hardwick-refuses-reapply-chief-inspector-prisons

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  19. And to the 'Mackerel Eleven'

    http://m.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/11638860.Firemen_called_to_prison_three_times_yesterday__including_to_blaze_started_in_cell/

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  20. I've just read pat waterman's account. Good grief that man is just flaming unbelievable . I am so angry

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  21. Quote:
    "Grayling is partly relying on a report by McDowell on the current state of probation services to make his final decision on Wednesday.

    Napo said it was wrong for Grayling to make the decision by relying on confidential evidence produced by the husband of the managing director of a company that stood to make hundreds of millions of pounds from the sale."


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  22. Oops. The above quote is from the Guardian.
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/02/nick-hardwick-refuses-reapply-chief-inspector-prisons

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  23. The Labour front bench should be all over this.
    Where are they?

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    1. More likely burying their heads in shame because they made this possible with their stupid bloody 2007 OMAct. And be ashamed they should be. Blair, Brown & Straw - they even sound like a parochial firm of estate agents.

      21:18 has a point. The writing WAS on the walls (or at least, in the manifesto); and from 2006 onwards there were policy documents paving the way for this shit.

      However, it is also true that whilst I and most other frontline staff were beavering away doing our jobs, others were being sly and underhand by feeding into or even driving this new paradigm. Most were, of course, those privy to the situation in hand and many have either taken the Judas coin & fucked off (Norfolk? Provence? Balearics? Devon?) or moved full steam ahead into the fray - somehow believing they can run with the wolves. Some got kicked into touch. Some made hay while their secret sun shone brightly.

      Make no mistake, colleagues, we've been well & truly had.

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    2. Sadiq Khan is the only one who has really done any work on this. Contestibility is NOT privatisation was the mantra under New Labour, lest we forget. Does anyone really believe they are going to put things to right?. JR has to be our only chance. The political parties in Westminster pose and fight phoney wars (you grunt, I'll groan) with each other. That's why Ukip are giving false hope. They may have a different name but, so far, they are just MPs who've swapped sides.

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  24. http://prisonuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/welcome-to-grayling-world.html?m=1

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  25. £15Bn on roads, but just £10Bn on this...

    " The Government today guaranteed that money will be available to build a new nuclear power plant in west Cumbria.
    The announcement, part of the National Infrastructure Plan, is a huge boost for the £10bn project and the hopes it brings of creating thousands of jobs.
    A deal has been struck with NuGen, the consortium involving Toshiba and GDF Suez that wants to build three new reactors at Moorside, near Sellafield. It guarantees that the Government will assist the financing of a new nuclear power plant in the county, the largest new nuclear project planned in Europe."

    That crept through silently sometime in the last 24 hours.

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  26. Grayling and spur said that caseloads' have gone down by 20%. Send napo your caseload numbers asap so that can be contested openly. John McDonald did a great job. So did the fella to the right of him. We need case load figures. We need number of experienced po's leaving vs number of new recruits going through 18month traing and not being able and carry high risk or full caseloads for some months as with the case of the nqo with the sfo. Let's teach him and others what they don't know about probation and give them on the ground statistics rather than noms made up ones.

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  27. Hear hear . I was 18% over in October and nov felt just as bad. Had bad week so far. Can't sleep am stressed and angry for various work related reasons

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