Saturday, 13 December 2014

TR - Two Views

Today's offering consists of two views of the TR omnishambles from very differing positions and geographic locations. Thanks go to the respective readers who sent me the content. If you've got something to say about it all, why not consider writing a guest blog piece and give me more time for helping the economy by purchasing Christmas shit?

Dear Everyone

Chris Noah has asked me to write the blog this week, and as this is my first one I wanted to say something very briefly about my experience of being ‘back’ in the operational world after spending just over a year out on secondment to the mutual bid.

The world has certainly changed! Cheshire and Manchester are together, NPS and CRC are separate – or at least very nearly! Work on aligning practice and procedures across the two former Trusts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester has helped to take the best from both and make a more comprehensive structure across the whole, where this has been possible, providing a more solid foundation for the arrival of the Purple Future’s new operating model. 

The ‘decoupling’ of the NPS and CRC has often proved painful, but is now nearing completion, preserving strong links around a joint responsibility to protect the public, but allowing the CRC to emerge as a new organisation with a specifically rehabilitative brief and a licence for innovation. That is not to say by any means that we have a perfect world, and are getting all of this ‘right’. Mobilising the new operating models of the future is a huge challenge facing us. One thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication and commitment of staff and I can see that everywhere I look.

The move towards share sale continues at a pace, with Chris Noah having attended a meeting in London for contract signature on Monday 8 December, which will be followed by Purple Futures signature early next week, and final signature by the Secretary of State, anticipated for the 18 December, which will conclude the process. The discontinuation of the Judicial Review that was originally scheduled for this week does now mean that there are unlikely to be any delays to the share sale. As Chris has mentioned in her previous blog, we will work alongside Purple Futures from January 2015 to mobilise new models, with Purple Futures assuming responsibility for services from 1 February 2015.

As you will be aware, the 1 February is also the date that the Offender Rehabilitation Act goes live, with significant implications for our operations. Briefings on the Act will be rolled out to staff in the early New Year, which will ensure that you are fully appraised of the changes and the practice implications. The two major changes within the Act relate to the introduction of new supervision arrangements for post custody offenders, which effectively means that all offenders sentenced to more than one days custody will be supervised in the community for at least 12 months; and the creation of a new Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR), which abolishes the supervision and activity requirements that are used currently. We have already started to think about and plan for these changes and we will work closely with Purple Futures to put in place these services in line with the required timescales.

I am conscious that as my background is Cheshire, there are still some Greater Manchester staff that I have not yet met. I am anticipating that there will be a great deal of contact with staff across CGM CRC in the New Year and I am hopeful that I will have more opportunity to be out and about to have face to face contact with those of you that I have not yet met. I look forward to that.

Best wishes

Kim Thornden-Edwards


Wishing and Hoping

In his blog this week Iain Anderson, London CRC’s Head of Operations, told us that there had been a meeting between representatives from MTCnovo and senior managers. He told us that:

“The general consensus following this meeting was that it was a positive event, providing a good opportunity to meet a range of people with whom we will be working in the forthcoming weeks and months. As this meeting was taking place prior to both Contract Award and Signature there were limits to what MTCnovo could share, however they did restate their commitment to providing a service that has engagement with and respect for people (service users, victims and staff) as the core value base.”

Although Iain reports that MTCnovo’s approach to service delivery will in the first instance be based on maintaining “continuity of services as currently delivered by the CRC” he does note that:

“it was clear that they have developed a comprehensive plan covering three phases of Mobilisation, Transition and Transformation.”

MTCnovo appear to be eager to meet with staff across the CRC as soon as possible and meetings are being scheduled for early in the New Year when it is anticipated that the proposed Operating Model and plan for mobilisation will be available. I hope that MTCnovo are equally eager to meet with the trade unions and I trust that the CRC management will do all they can to facilitate such meetings.

Staying with the CRC for a moment, I am aware that Mid-Year Appraisals are due for completion today. We have been concerned, given the scale of changes and upheaval that has taken place over the past six months, that in the race to achieve performance targets none of our members should be assessed or penalised unfairly. We have negotiated that managers will all be given the following advice:

"In undertaking the mid year review Managers are asked to recognise that this year has been unusual given the significant amount of change that has taken place and the challenges that this has brought with delays in case transfers and issues with IT. Also at the same time many offices have experienced gaps in the permanent establishment.

In undertaking the mid year appraisals, Managers should be mindful of the above and the impact it may have had upon individual performance and if this has been impacted upon by issues beyond the control of the individual these should be taken into consideration when determining the outcome of the mid year review. Managers may want to ensure that this position is reflected in any mid year appraisals already completed."

I hope that members find this useful.

Due to the upgrading of Delius this month, in what is described as the next phase of the Transforming Rehabilitation Project, access over the next few days will be limited. Advice has been given about how to access support but, there is no doubt, that you will experience some inconvenience.

NPS staff have their own IT Support service and, according to the posters that have been displayed around offices, calls would be answered within thirty seconds.

Like many of you I was concerned to read yesterday the following message:

“.......our ICT support teams are currently experiencing very high volumes of calls from staff. The teams are working hard to fix problems as fast as possible, and we would like to apologise to anyone who has experienced delays on resolving your issues.”

Computers were, I once thought, supposed to set us free (to do the jobs we were trained to do) rather than enslave us and make us little more than data input technicians.

How foolish that all sounds now.

NAPO’s National Co-Chair and General Secretary are today at the High Court applying for a costs order against the Secretary of State and asking the Court to rule on the scope of information that can be released about what the Secretary of State says he will do to address the safety concerns around TR, which we consider you have a right to know.

We must keep on Wishing and Hoping

Pat Waterman
Branch Chair


  1. Seasons greetings Pat. I continue to wish and hope, but I find myself thinking who has the power here in this horrendous cat and mouse game. For now, it is not us on the coal face, or indeed for the majority of us linked into the idiot boxes that sit on our desks. I am with PAPA the only message Grayling and his crew understand is direct action. We need to "Mobilise and Transform". Whilst we are all scrabbling around on the coal face Grayling and his crew push on.

  2. Replies
    1. CEO for Cheshire and Greater Manchester CRC, I believe.

  3. Appraisals. In some organisations, they can get you promoted, demoted or even sacked. In the probation service, they are absolutely pointless. Please put me right if anyone out there has ever had one of their appraisal documents see the light of day once it has been signed off. They are a make work invention by someone at MOJ with not enough work to do. I used to have 9 of them to do and they went to personnel for filing never to be mentioned again. What a farce.

    1. Indeed - I once had a manager who gave me my hand written appraisal, fully completed and said "read it, sign it, return it".I had another manager who said "Write your own." BOX TICKED - JOB DONE and I agree 09:59 never to see the light of day by anyone ever again.

    2. Until you are in a redundancy situation. Then they count a lot. The number of points you get directly relates to your appraisal.

    3. many years ago, after years of valued service, a fabricated formal complalnt was made about me by another officer. Their working history was full of issues and unacceptable behaviour, but they always seemed to wriggle out of it as they had been around so long. But as the officer had made a complaint before I could, I was advised by NAPO that I should wait until the end of the investigation on me, before formalising my own complaint.

      This never happened, but I refused to comply with the Service's request for me to move to another office, until the CEO forced me to move. But the officer kept on lying, the CEO kept on lying, in writing, as did other senior staff,(which I was able to prove were all lies) because I was an inconvenience who wouldn't stop defending herself and take the wrap for what I hadn't done.

      When I had my appraisal and was asked to comment and sign it, I challenged, on the form, all the devious actions by senior management, passed it back to the team manager, who promptly filed it, still handwritten, not typed up, and never commented on it ever again.

      Useless time consuming bits of paper, making the team managers look good.

      But ( for those still interested!) I won my case in the end, which was dropped after 12 months of un-ending torture and humiliation, with the other person leaving the Service after conditions were imposed on that PO, while I was told not to discuss it.)

      Still bitter - yes, and I feel for those at work now, who may be shafted for telling the truth. Sometimes in such circs, it's easier to get rid of the victim.

    4. this is mainly regarding supervision but there's an SPO I know who will have a conversation with you by the photocopier or wherever and then next thing you get an email saying 'your supervision notes are ready to sign' wtf.?? I never signed any of them. I might have a look at some of them for old times sake - I need a good laugh!!

  4. My favourite appraisal story is the one where my manager praised me to the hilt, "extremely thorough, a safe pair of hands" " exceeds" etc then weeks later gave a statement for an investigation hearing saying "X is always at my door, insecure" and described a totally different person because then it suited his agenda!
    I was cleared of all allegations ( ably supported by NAPO I might add) but will never ever forget how easily praise turned to disparagement within weeks when it suits! I always thought it said more about him than me!

  5. man down the pub tells me it's mass capability time at your local crc.

    1. I wish I could say I cared but at this stage I don't. I'm of an age where retirement is a viable option and even without EVR I still have one eye on the door. As a pso I have nearly 90 cases and one we get the under 12 months this will likely increase by at least 50%, something completely unmanageable! New Year and new start. My children need an unpaid childminder so I think this will be my new job next year.

    2. Hello Annon 00:17 - I understand what you say and get it - I too am in very similar circumstances as you - and I love your expression with "one eye on the door" - this sums me up. If they push me any more I am off - take care my friend

  6. If anything frightens me as much as Grayling it is seeing Iain Anderson as part of the CRC management. A man totally lacking in any ability and spine.