Saturday, 20 December 2014

The End of a Sad Week

This has been a very sad week for the Probation Service with the contracts having been signed on Thursday. Lets start this roundup with the usual stubborn dissembling from the MoJ spin doctors:- 

Charities in front seat of new reoffending drive

The government fired the starting gun today on making key reforms to the way ex-offenders are looked after in the community, in an effort to tackle stubbornly high reoffending rates in England and Wales.

Today, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will sign new contracts with a host of charities, private companies and public organisations who will be brought in to manage offenders post-prison.

The successful organisations make up a diverse mix of providers that bring a wealth of experience including supporting people off drugs and alcohol, finding them secure homes and helping them into work.

These new providers will support around 45,000 offenders released from sentences of less than 12 months each year. This group currently get no statutory post-prison support and almost 60% of them go back to crime within a year.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:

We finally have in these reforms the opportunity to break the depressing cycle of crime, prison and re-offence that so many individuals are stuck in.

Every year tens of thousands of offenders are released from prison with £46 in their pocket, get no support and are left to walk the streets. The majority reoffend quickly – and they commit thousands of crimes. That will now change, with proper support and mentoring for every offender who leaves prison, with a real focus on helping them turn their lives around.

We will pay the organisations that deliver this support by what works – and between them they have the skills and experience to deliver what does. Some of our most successful rehabilitation charities will now have the chance to use their skills to rehabilitate thousands of offenders who up to now have just been left to fall through the cracks.

The successful bidders are made up of a diverse range of public, private and voluntary organisations. Nineteen of the 21 contract areas will be led by new partnerships and joint ventures between private sector firms and some of Britain’s biggest and most successful rehabilitation charities, and six will be run with the involvement of a probation staff “mutual”. In addition, around 75% of the 300 subcontractors named in the successful bids are voluntary sector or mutual organisations, putting them at the frontline of offender rehabilitation.

There was strong competition for each of the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), with bids showing real innovation. This includes proposals for far greater use of new technologies, both to enable frontline staff to work more efficiently and to enhance offender supervision. A wide range of models for mentoring prisoners on release were also put forward, along with extensive new rehabilitation activities, and more targeted services for specific offender groups such as women or those with mental health problems. Contracts have been split across 20 regions for England and one for Wales, and the successful bidders will be responsible for supervising and rehabilitating an estimated 200,000 low and medium risk offenders.

Almost 1,000 organisations, including 700 listed as VCSE (voluntary, community or social enterprise) have put themselves forward to work with the chosen providers to develop new ways of reducing reoffending and protecting the public.

Providers will only be paid in full if they are successful at reducing reoffending, helping drive innovation and getting best value for taxpayers.

Along with extending community supervision to all offenders, a nationwide network of resettlement prisons is also being created that will see offenders managed by the same provider from custody into the community, ensuring a proper through-the-gate approach to rehabilitation.

Under this system, the new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) will be required to draw up a plan for an offender’s rehabilitation within the first few days of them entering prison. The same organisation will then continue to support that individual throughout their time in prison, and this will continue as they are released into the community. The focus of the CRCs will be as much on helping ex-offenders sort their lives out as on traditional supervision.

They will also work hand in hand with the public sector National Probation Service, which is tasked with protecting the public from high risk offenders.


This was the Purple Futures welcome e-mail:-

Dear Colleague

I am writing to you all as we will be working together as part of Purple Future and I welcome colleagues from Cheshire & Greater Manchester; Hampshire and Isle of Wight Merseyside North Yorkshire Humberside & Lincs and West Yorks CRCs. Yesterday marked an important milestone in Transforming Rehabilitation as Purple Future is now contractually confirmed as the provider of probation and rehabilitation services across our CRCs.

The Partnership


Purple Future is a legal partnership between Interserve, 3SC, Addaction, P3 and Shelter.

COMMUNICATION:

During the competition period, we have been restricted in what could be communicated with the CRCs most particularly during the time period between the announcement of preferred bidder and contract signature, which took effect yesterday, 18th December.

It is usual for there to be a period of some weeks between contract signature and legal transfer of ownership while various technical, legal and financial matters are audited. We are in this period now and ownership of 5 CRCs will transfer to us on 1st February. Communication will become easier and more wide-ranging after this date.

You may be aware that a team from Interserve on behalf of PF, has already met with your CEO and SMT in recent weeks. These have been positive meetings on which to build future working relationships. We provided as much information as was possible given the on-going commercial constraints, which we hope to be able to share with you in the near future.

I know that you have already been through some massive changes over the last few months and want to reassure you that we will work collaboratively with the SMT on implementing the new operating model, building on and incorporating existing best practice within the CRCs.

The Interserve operational team has a wealth of probation and rehabilitation experience and understands the challenges that you have faced recently and those yet to come. It is clear that great progress has been made since June and due to the hard-work and strong ethos of those working in probation, the service remains stable and many innovations have been implemented in recent months. This provides a fantastic basis for building a new integrated approach to rehabilitation provision. The addition of the under 12 months cohort and a resettlement service that focuses on reintegration into the community are exciting new opportunities for us to support offenders in their journey towards their stable lives.

REFORM FOR ALL

PF has developed an operating model that recognises that offenders are individuals with the potential to change. Together we will help them realise this, while delivering their sentences. We will manage any changes with sensitivity and fairness, providing opportunities to reform for all but always with the safety of both the public and our staff as our priority.

TO DO THIS WE WILL:

Invest in new training, systems and processes - to ensure that public protection remains the top priority. This includes a commitment to continue to train probation specialists, ensuring that all staff are appropriately trained in public protection, and keeping everyone safe. Rehabilitation services will be expanded and refreshed.

Provide a 'through the gate' service to offenders - for all prisoners including those with sentences of under a year. This allows us to work with people who previously fell outside the remit of the probation service. This is an important change and our integrated, locally focused approach is well placed to make the most of this change,

Deliver the sentence of the court - in particular the new rehabilitation activity requirement (as required under the new ORA) using this opportunity to work with offenders to address the causes of offending while delivering the sentence.

Whilst we have developed these ideas about our approach, we expect to work together to continue the detailed delivery design work in the local context, and we are looking forward to this collaborative working from the earliest opportunity.

During January we will be working with your SMT to prepare for start of contract delivery from 1st Feb and thereafter with colleagues at ALL levels as we progress the new detailed design of the operating model and subsequent implementation. We will provide you with regular updates and communications during this period.

NEXT STEPS:

I appreciate that you will want to have more details about future arrangements and how they will affect you. However we do not yet have sufficient understanding of the details of the CRCs existing arrangements to be able to give you any more information at this time.

Please rest assured that we will be working together to develop an exciting new service delivery solution, and we are committed to being open and honest about any potential changes and how they may affect the way in which you carry out your work.

This seems to be the worrying bit, especially for a new operating model to start on 1st February:-
"I appreciate that you will want to have more details about future arrangements and how they will affect you. However we do not yet have sufficient understanding of the details of the CRCs existing arrangements to be able to give you any more information at this time."
There is more information on the P3 website:-

"The Purple Futures partnership, a new partnership of private sector, charities and social enterprise, will be providing probation and rehabilitation services in five areas of the UK from February 2015, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed today.

Purple Futures, led by Interserve, the UK-based FTSE-listed support services and public services company, together with the charities P3, Addaction, Shelter and the social enterprise 3SC, will manage services in Greater Manchester & Cheshire; Merseyside; West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire, Humberside & Lincolnshire and Hampshire, which together account for over 40,000 offenders each year.

From 1 February, the partnership will assume legal ownership of five Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), and the management of around 2,000 probation service personnel. It will deliver probation and rehabilitation services for the majority of offenders, however, high-risk cases will remain under the jurisdiction of the National Probation Service.

The services form part of the MoJ’s Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) programme, and will for the first time see business working with local specialist and voluntary groups to provide support to offenders, to improve their life chances on release and reduce reoffending rates.


Yvonne Thomas, Managing Director of Justice at Interserve, lead partner of Purple Futures, said:

“We recognise that offenders have the potential to change – and we will work together to help them realise this, while delivering their sentences. We will provide opportunities to reform for all - but always with the safety of both the public and our staff as our priority.
“We are confident in our plans and keen to start by working with our new colleagues. We understand that the past months have been a period of anxiety for many. However, we will be acquiring a very stable operation from the probation service and we have a unique opportunity to build an integrated approach to the rehabilitation of offenders. The inclusion in scope of offenders serving under 12 months and a resettlement service that focuses on reintegration into the community are exciting new opportunities for us to work together to support offenders in their journey towards stable lives.”

From 1 February, a number of new initiatives will be implemented by the partnership

"Investment in new training, systems and processes to ensure that public protection remains the top priority, with probation specialists trained in public protection. Rehabilitation services will be expanded and refreshed. 

A ‘through-the-gate’ service to prisoners. Purple Futures will also manage offenders on licence and post sentence supervision. This will include those on sentences under 12 months, who previously fell outside the remit of the probation service. 

Purple Futures will deliver the sentence of the court, and in particular the new rehabilitation activity requirement sentence (as required under the new Offender Rehabilitation Act), using this opportunity to work with offenders to address the causes of offending. 

A 48-hour ‘intensive service’ will be provided for the most vulnerable prisoners to support them on release, including a person to meet them on release, accommodation and specialist support for those mental health issues or with drug or alcohol addiction.

The creation of job opportunities for ex-offenders, including by working with them to set up social enterprises."


Mark Leftly of the Independent feels Interserve don't really know what they've bought:-
Interserve’s managing director of justice services, Yvonne Thomas, has tried to ease the concerns of the 2,000 probation personnel being take on by the outsourcing group as part of the Purple Futures partnership.

Yesterday, Interserve confirmed it had been awarded contracts worth £600m to take over five probation services.
The run-up to the privatisation has been fraught with all sorts of problems, including IT failures, that have compromised public safety. Ms Thomas at least admitted that “the past months have been a period of anxiety” for many officers, but she was wrong to say that Purple Futures is “acquiring a very stable operation from the Probation Service”.
Morale is at an extraordinary low among officers across the service; they are furious that they are about to become part of the private sector and believe that the Coalition’s reforms are dangerous.
Napo was clearly angry and issued this press release:-
Probation union anger as Justice Secretary ignores safety concerns and signs Probation outsourcing contracts
Napo is angry at the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling as he presses ahead with his Probation Service outsourcing despite evidence that it is unsafe to do so. The Union, which has been campaigning against the Government's reforms since 2013, has documented evidence provided by the Ministry of Justice that there are still significant failures with the new system that they believe seriously undermine service delivery and public safety. But despite this contracts for the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies have been signed by the new providers and Grayling, tying the government and future governments to 10 years.
See the Secretary of States Written Statement made today (18-12-14)
Ian Lawrence General Secretary said: “the service is still in utter chaos with IT systems failing again this week, significant staff shortages and excessive workloads. All of these issues are a risk to public safety. To sign off 10 year contracts when the system is not running effectively is highly irresponsible.”
Last week Napo discontinued its legal challenge against the Secretary of State as he had made assurances that all the problems will be fixed by the time the contracts are mobilised in February 2015 but Napo believe that he should have fixed the problems before signing contracts. Despite these assurances the MoJ still refuse to publish all the evidence that the system is safe and have maintained a confidentiality Court order against the union effectively gagging them.
Ian Lawrence said: “If they believe it is safe to sign contracts then they should publish the evidence that supports that. The only reason we are still bound by a confidentiality order is because the MOJ doesn’t want us to publish the evidence. Their own documents highlight acknowledges serious failings in the new probation system that echoes our concerns.”
Napo’s concerns were further supported this week when the Chief Inspector for Probation published his report that contained 68 recommendations and said that “issues raised by staff about IT require serious attention”. He also said “There is no doubt at all that there remains much more to do.”
The contracts themselves contain “poison pill clauses” that mean future governments will be liable to pay 10 years’ worth of profits to the providers should they terminate them. Some of the providers already have a chequered history with public sector contracts. The highly criticised Sodexo, have won bids for the majority of the North of England, and have recently been accused of institutional racism, also run HMP Northumberland. The Justice Select Committee raised the issue of a conflict of interest as they will receive larger payments for people going to prison than those that stay out. Seetec have previously been investigated for fraud on the DW programme. Only eight bidders were successful for the 21 contracts creating what critics have a called a “monopoly of corporate giants” taking over the justice system. 
Grayling used the Conservativehome website to gloat and record his political epitaph:-

So today we are completing the contracts that will change all of that. When the work starts in the New Year, no new offender will be left stranded with no help when they leave prison. Virtually every offender leaving prison will receive 12 months of guidance and support, as well as the statutory supervision required by the Courts. There will be an increased focus on mentoring and guidance, and the creation of a proper through the prison gate service, with most prisoners spending the last few months of their sentence in the areas they will be released into so that there are better preparations for that release.

Most of the work will be done by new partnerships between private sector companies with expertise in social change and voluntary sector organisations with skills in working with offenders. Like Ingeus, Interserve and Working Links who are all an integral part of working with the long term unemployed in the Work Programme, Sodexo who have helped shape the trial project in Peterborough, St Giles Trust and Nacro, who have leading edge skills in offender mentoring, and specialist charities like Shelter. Backed by hundreds of smaller local charities that will be able to do more great work with offenders.

They will work alongside a smaller, specialist National Probations Service, which will be tasked with managing risk to the public and particularly to working with the most dangerous offenders on a multi-agency basis.

And crucially, the new rehabilitation providers won’t be paid in full unless they deliver real reductions in reoffending. It’s a classic case of what this Government is about, delivering more for less for the taxpayer.

And Labour? In 2007, the Labour Government passed an Act of Parliament which opened out the rehabilitation of offenders to a new generation of providers. They understood then the difference we could make.

But they did nothing to complete the job. That has been left to us, to deliver a reform that I believe can make a real difference to our society. And the current Labour Party has opposed us every inch of the way. It’s a sign of the groundhog day ideology that lies at the heart of today’s Labour Party. A hatred for private sector and profit and wealth creation. A belief that the private and voluntary sectors in partnership cannot deliver positive social change, even though they are already doing so. A belief that the state should do everything, even when it hasn’t worked in the way it should. A view that the unions are always right. And a bizarre opposition to payment by results, even though most of us would think it common sense.

I reject their approach totally. I want real social change in a way that delivers real value for taxpayers as well. The Work Programme is already doing that. I believe our Transforming Rehabilitation reforms will do the same.

Chris Grayling

Finally, the heated discussion regarding Napo and the failed Judicial Review continues. The key issue seems to be summed up by this comment left yesterday:- 

On Monday December 8th Ian Lawrence, General Secretary of NAPO, and the NAPO Officers group issued an email to members outlining the basis of their decision to discontinue the Judicial Review proceedings. The email was headed

'NAPO SECURES CRUCIAL CONCESSIONS ON SAFETY FROM GRAYLING'

and I'm sure you're all now familiar with the content.

On Friday December 12th NOMS issued an email to CRCS, the NPS and to TR bidders stating:

'NAPO claimed in a communication sent to their members and the national media that as a result of the JR specific undertakings have been given... Contrary to the claims by NAPO no new commitments or undertakings were given and no changes have been made or promised in respect of the reforms'

A week has now passed, and no NAPO officer has responded to this very clear assertion that their stated basis for halting the Judicial Review is untrue. I can only presume that NAPOs officers are not disputing NOMS's assertion because it *IS* true, and NAPO's officers have mislead the union's members. If NOMS's assertion is untrue, let NAPO's officers say it is untrue.

43 comments:

  1. From Reducing reoffending partnership

    Dear Colleague

    On behalf of the reducing reoffending partnership (RRP) we would like to say how pleased we are to begin working with you, out new colleagues in the CRC, and over the coming weeks we will get a chance to introduce ourselves to you in person, something we are very much looking forward to.

    Our vision is to create safer communities by giving offenders the opportunity to change and the skills to rebuild their lives. We aim to achieve this by delivering innovative solutions that are focused on the needs of the individual supported by the professional engagement of our colleagues.

    Partnership is important word for us and we are very excited as the partnership expands to four members with the addition of the CRC, enabling us to build upon what you've already achieved.

    We have a high regard for our new colleagues in the CRC. We understand and value the contribution your professionalism and hard work is making in reducing re-offending and protecting the public. We want to work together to build strong foundations you have created to be part of an organisation that is all about people. People who are committed, talented, and passionate. And who want to make a positive impact on their communities.
    From now until the end of January is a Discovery Phrase that will allow us to understand more about your organisation, operations and processes. This period will allow us to gain insight into the real constraints and issues that you face in your day-to-day work and what we might be able to do to assist in dealing with these issues. We have not be able to ask a lot of the detailed questions until now and the RRP project team will be out and about throughout January assisting in this discovery and meeting many of you in the process. We'll provide more details about this team, how they can be contacted, and how you can get answers to your questions, in early January.

    We also imagine that you must have many questions for us and we will endevour to answer as many of your questions as we can over the coming weeks. From early February, we will commence a much more detailed process of engagement with all colleagues and this will allow you to see more detail of the RRP vision and where you can work with us to shape the future.
    We look forward to working with you to create this new chapter in our shared future.

    With kind regards.

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    1. RRP confirming the same as Purple Futures ie they do not know the staffing/working practices of the CRCs they have bought?

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  2. I am incredulous after reading the NOMs email to CRCs, NPS and TR bidders, reported above. What kind of playground antic is this, issuing a challenge - 'if NOM's assertion is untrue, let NAPO's officers say it is untrue', and to send that to the BIDDERS? Childish or what? This whole shebang is rapidly descending into a complete farce.
    Deb

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    1. Deb,

      'if NOM's assertion is untrue, let NAPO's officers say it is untrue',

      I should have made it more clear - the challenge was posted as a comment and indeed everything in italics is from a comment yesterday. Sorry about the confusion.

      Jim

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    2. It's not entirely true but it's not entirely untrue. 'Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.' JRR TOLKIEN (1892-1973)

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    3. Thanks, Jim for clarifying. I'll also share some blame for my crappy eyesight that cant distinguish italic script when read on a tiny kindle!!
      Deb

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    4. No confusion here jim

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  3. CRC in our area advertising internally for PSOs to go on PO training - again only open to those with a degree. More discrimination against long-serving capable PSOs. Financially motivated as training will only take half the time ie 15mths.

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    1. They are completely desperate to recruit and all sorts of people are coming out of retirement. I met someone the other day who had been dismissed for gross misconduct and another who was involved and some say responsible for one of probations biggest scandals. Meanwhile there seem to be ever more SPOs being appointed that is surely a case of too many bosses and not enough mugs at the coal face? A lot of teams are being managed by inexperienced staff who are in turn being asked to help train the hundreds of trainees currently starting. Nobody feels happy and access to traning is an atrocious mess.

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    2. The national contract with HE providers ends in 2016 and nothing is in its place beyond then, meaning there is only time for the graduate training route. The trust's and NAPO have known this for ages so it's hardly news. Its not good enough but I'm not sure it's discrimination or just about doing it on the cheap.

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    3. sorry, HE providers?

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    4. H for Higher E for Education

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  4. This is the 'worrying bit' from Bleak Futures. They know all the details of the existing arrangements – unlike other things, they are out in the open. The subtext here is: we are in control,and in the meantime you can wait.



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  5. There should be absolutely no cooperation with Grayling's plans whatsoever. There are still probation staff who think that entering data into computer systems is doing the job - it is not. Doing the job is seeing clients and helping them to turn their lives around. Don't cooperate with anything else. If the computers are broken then report it and go do something more useful. Don't stay late trying to catch up. Just say no to more work. It's not your fault that others have f****d up and why should you care. It is the commitment and dedication to making things work that is helping Grayling and his cronies. They treat you with contempt and regard you nothing more than a political pawn in their game. He relies on your sheepish consent to do his bidding. Discover your backbone and stand up proud and say 'no more'. Work your proper hours and stop giving your time away to either a hateful government or cobbled together private companies seeking to make a profit out of the misery of others. Make this your New Years resolution - don't give the b******s another inch.

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    1. Well said Annon 10:36. I sat with a client and his partner for over 2 hours listening to them yesterday. To hear the client articulate that "light bulb" moment and then go on to talk about it was part of what we do. Against the dire situation we all find ourselves in, little old me cam away from work yesterday with a glimmer of enthusiasm and hope - actually doing the job I was trained to do. I say to myself "am I a PO or a feeder of information to the centre that eventually will use it against us all?" Client or Machine????

      I recall a less than generous comment to Joanna Hughes recently "Keep it Up" - Joanna's response was super generous "Oh I will keep it up!" Joanna in a positive sense I too will "keep it up". Client first - machine can feed itself. Here's to 2015 - we can fight back in many different ways - but fight and challenge we must.

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  6. CRC bosses quoted so far seem to be approaching staff in a collegiate way as they set out to establish good relationships. Hopefully practitioners will be encouraged to comment publicly and there will be no gags to what is communicated.


    Also. it seems timely to establish how they will handle the introduction of statutory supervision for short sententence prisoners for a whole 12 months as confirmed in Parliament a few days ago by the Secretary of State for Justice. The first such supervisees will begin to be released from about Thursday 5th February. Previously the SOS said they would all have a pre release visit by the mentor who will be at the prison gate to meet them and if necessary escort them to their newly aranged accommodation. How will existing CRC staff be involved?

    Additionally they will need to have a strategy to deal with any dissatisfied very short sentenced supervisees who may object to having what some will consider extra interference in their lives for a whole 12 months, exactly the same length of time as those who the courts think should spend up to 11 months and 3 weeks in custody.

    It seems there will much to do to have all this in place in about 6 weeks time. There will also be the issue of funding the volunteer mentors to be at the prison gate at the release time, which presumably at least for some will necessitate an overnight accommodation arrangement when public transport does not start early enough to get the mentor to the prison by the time of the release.

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    1. If you would like a job back in probation Andrew now is the time to apply. With your skills and experience you should get an ACO post.

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    2. "There will also be the issue of funding the volunteer mentors to be at the prison gate at the release time, which presumably at least for some will necessitate an overnight accommodation arrangement when public transport does not start early enough to get the mentor to the prison by the time of the release."

      Sorry Andrew - choked on my coffee and hurt my sides laughing!

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    3. My experience of St Giles mentors has been very poor indeed. One poor lad was indeed met at the gates by an enthusiastic mentor who took him to accommodation that could best be described as unfit for human habitation. When he had the gall to protest the mentor told him that everyone e had taken there had said the same thing ie three people in as many weeks and that he had to take it and pay up or he'd be in trouble. Another time a mentor told one of my clients how best to defraud the benefit system something he had a previous conviction for himself. There simply are not enough trained and vetted mentors available and as Andrew rightly says the practicalities have not even begun to be considered. It would have been far better to ask a public probation service to do this work as the private and voluntary sectors are not geared up to provide these kinds of services safely.

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    4. I too had a chuckle at this. I've a good mind to pass Graylings phone number onto my future release clients and get them to ask him where their mentor is and the address of the new accommodation. And how they can give a £300-£500 bond from their £46.

      One of our local prisons has a 7.30 - 9.30 discharge window so I hope the mentors don't mind waiting round.
      In the cold.
      And rain.
      And snow!

      We simply do not have enough staff and whilst our area has put a email out asking for staff to train in TTG this only means that there will be less staff in the offices. This has not been thought through in the slightest and the whole of the Probations Service (NPS and CRC) will soon be a laughing stock, both with clients and other professionals.

      I'm actually enjoying the chaos.

      *grabs popcorn*

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  7. I loved it when they realised about a month ago that about 40% of the short term prisoners with £46 lonely quid in their pockets (BTW when was that last increased?) will be NPS cases cos of previous high risk behaviour. lawks how we laughed.

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    1. Yes, I had planned to mention need for NPS to have similar 'at the gate' schemes established - to start in about 6 weeks from now as obviously even some just sentenced to 2 or 3 day sentences will not be technically eligible to be supervised by CRC mentors due to the way the computerised assesments are likely to work.

      That I overlooked getting it in to my earlier comment is due at least in part to the lifelong conditions of dyslexia & dyspraxia which I first suspected after I had been a po for 24 years & had confirmed by a clinical psychologist 3 years later & contributed to my medical retirement 18 months after that. I would not return under any circumstances now I find I can live on my occupational pension, now enhanced these past 12 months by the state retirement pension.

      I originally trained to be a po/social worker as the qualification offered a more agreeable way of earning a living than being a bank clerk which I did after leaving school at 16 for 8 years.

      Such TTG schemes should by now be well advanced in preparation. The Secretary of State made it clear that this was the main reason for the outsourcing and split, from when he first announced it almost 2 years ago. The 30 or so resettlement prisons were long ago announced and all linked to specific CRC & NPS areas many months ago. If anything they have had an extended preparation time as it was all due to begin in the autumn just gone.

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    2. Shhh, no-one at NOMS had realised about the under 12 monthers coming straight to NPS and the need to provide a service for them...we all knew but they haven't even thought of it.....shhh!

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    3. NPS prisoners need if not more help to find accom because often they are excluded by the Council and need specialist help - and that elusive bond and 1st months rent in advance

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  8. It will not be near 40 per cent. If you look at how many are being allocated across the board to NPS who are not automatically assigned due to their sentence and offence t is very little, there will be very few going to NPS from under 12 months.

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    1. Even 10% to the NPS will make my caseload unmanaged, especially as most of my morning will be spent at the Prison gates, first filling in risk assessment forms to see if I can carry them in my car then taking them to houses that don't exist and then dealing with the intransigent DWP. I'll be lucky if I get back in time to start all over again in the morning.

      The Probation Titanic has well and truly hot the iceberg and whilst we may have the time and money to raise it I'm not convinced that it would be any harder (or less expensive) to just drain the Atlantic!! If Labour (or whoever gets in next year) wish to reverse these changes then I hope they are happy to bankrupt the country. As another commentator said, lets not work ourselves into an early grave just to prove Grayling right.

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    2. Don't forget we'll also need a little team of people hanging around the Courts in case some on who has been on remand gets a short sentence and walks out because of time served. That's going to be a fun job.

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    3. Yes, good point. However, I've done some back of fag packet calculations and worked out that all the Government need to do is introduce a 9 day week, each day being 35 hours long, and all will be well.

      Thank you, my work here is done :)

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  9. I thought the CRCs would be doing the mentoring TTG for NPS cases? In much the same way as the CRCs provide community payback and some programme provision for NPS cases.

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    1. Can't see the CRC's being happy about mentoring a sex offender who gets a short sentence for breach of SOPO.

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    2. If the NPS are paying why not? Oh, it's because all the highly trained Po's are in the NPS. Some of them even have had a half day training to work with Sex Offenders! Still, I'm sure it will not be long before the shit starts hitting the fan.

      Jim, Is there any chance we can run a sweepstake as to whom the first company to walk away from the contracts will be? The winner can get to take a half day off. Without pay of course, CRC's are not fucking charities!!!

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    3. Bleak Futures CEO20 December 2014 at 13:29

      My money is on Bleak Futures.

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    4. I've been on the Bleak Futures website and clicked on the 'Our Employees' page/link which has pictures of some lovely smiling people.
      I got a 404 Page does not exist!!

      I wonder if this is some form of subliminal message or just an epic fucking own goal?

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  10. So between 0 and 40%. All I know is that it was not figured in by the brain trust at noms. As to MTCNovo providing through the gate support for those considered so dangerous as to need Elite Little Me (Irony alert), I cannot see that flying for a moment. Mentor at the gate for pissed off and disinterested violent offender who has just been told that his six week sentence comes with a nice 46 week period of supervision. Some poor sod is going to get hurt pretty soon.

    It is going to hit the fan at the end of the month when the final split happens and then the whole thing is going to get very very messy. Purple Futures are going to take one look, if the north is anything like London, and turn a very nice violet colour.

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  11. I have a habitual DV perp who reguklary receives short sentences, mainly for D&D/BoTP outside his ex-partner or her parents home. This is due to him refusing to work with Probation. If anyone planned to collect him from the Prison gate and advise him of his new obligations then I would have SERIOUS concerns for their safety! During yet another PSR with me he threatened to spit in my face (he actually drew phlegm in his throat) and I had to terminate the interview! I completely agree, someone is going to be badly hurt.

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  12. Friday brought the area tele phone-in. "We are pleased to be working with etc".If it took the CEO 20 minutes that would be stretching it to deliver a string of banalities badly. Perhaps one could expect a little more preparation and skill in delivering the death notice of a fine service. Will the new owner's search for excellence even approach that which we have achieved? Can't see the CEO surviving that poor performance.

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    1. As one of my colleagues so succinctly put it....'it's like watching a clown run across a fucking minefield'.

      Not sure if I could have encapsulated it better :)

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  13. No doubt some due for release will prefer to spend their first hours at liberty not in the company of a mentor.

    Will the licenses specify the details of the first meeting and/or will the prisons detain those being released until the mentor arrives? I think it is legally permissible for a prisoner to be detained until 23.59 on the date the court warrant to commit expires? No doubt all this will be explained in the Probation Instructions issued when the ORA 2014 is implemented,

    Have any probation practitioners been involved in the pre implementation consultations?

    Will not cooperating in a meeting with a mentor at the prison gate and then travelling to the home address together if required by the supervising officer be a breachable matter? Maybe I am anticipating possible problems when all these issues have been already resolved. I hope they are clarified and explicit or there could be some rather fraught meetings if the arrangements are not explicit and/or not accepted by the supervisees.

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  14. I really fear for the safety of these mentors with some of our service users and hope a risk assessment is done eg double manning when driving them from the prison gate etc. All of this of course takes time and asking for the information from the appropriate agency, so much easier prior to TR dontcha think???

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  15. An enterprising young solicitor from Bow
    Says Thanks Chris, this is the way to go..
    When your mentors dont show
    My clients will go.....
    .......straight to my office to explore the possibilities of taking out a breach of contrac action....so traffic delays, weather, all of the other stuff that clients have traditionally used in breach hearings will now be used on your CRC's....thanks again for saving the legal profession

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  16. I hope the mentors are insured to work with the released prisoners, not to mention car insurance.
    I thought CRC weren't to work with tier 4 sex offenders? Sex offender, tier 4, previously a MAPPA case and with PPU now supervised by newly qualified PO. I have previously seen the offender in prison when we ran TTG. He was banned from entering the Probation office. Worrying. I told the PO to be on her guard and go with her instinct that 'he is odd'.

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    1. NPS will have to manage NPS through the gate cases.

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