Sunday, 14 December 2014

TR Week Twenty Eight

Branch meeting and JNCC last week. Staff and management agree it is unsafe to proceed and yet MoJ see it differently. Well they would, wouldn't they? Their inspector has been compromised and he was SUPPOSED to be the independent arbiter, along with Brennan who has a record of colluding with incompetence and non-evidenced based risk taking. The MoJ under Grayling are a disgrace and an insult to democracy.

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I have never hated phrases so much as 'innovative' and 'stubbonly high reoffending rates' as I do now. I feel positively sick about all of it. 

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I can't sleep and am aware I am failing: I operate now in a curious hinterland between knowing nearly everything has changed and being unable to remember and process precisely what the changes are. Sounds ridiculous I know but the constant IT changes and frustration at the poor systems we now have together with the sheer volume of Probation Instructions issued, mean I operate in a constant state of confusion. 

Previously change was always coupled with adequate training. That is all gone now, we have our trainers themselves inadequately trained and the constant mantra is "I don't know, I will refer that query back to the centre". The work with my offenders continues as it always has, to what my managers previously assessed as being a high standard. It is just the recording, with systems going down then changing again and finally having IT support removed locally to work through NPS centralisation. 

This last issue is not economy of scale but truly a disaster. Even after all this time it can be a nightmare to use My Services. MoJ forgets that moving from systems that work to systems that do not, brings an inherent resistance to the change because we know it is poor quality and has improved nothing. I wish all my colleagues a good week ahead and the hope of JR is all that keeps me going.

This is not resistance to change - it is the utter failure of MoJ to win the hearts and minds of practitioners. It is the utter failure to deliver the safe service we used to deliver to the communities we serve. It is genuine concern for public safety and service user welfare. It is the utter lack of employer duty of care to staff. It is despair.


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Hello my friend. I truly understand what you say and I suspect many of us across the country do. I have been racking my brains and saying to myself "What are we going to do about this?" I have been on strike, I have lobbied Parliament, written to my MP, other MP's, written to the press etc etc. We have JR - and what after that is all a bit nebulous - it seems to me if Grayling is going to steam roller ahead irrespective of any Judicial Review. 

As far as he is concerned there is too much hanging on all of this for his mates and multi nationals. Managers might care but have to tow the MoJ dictate and have become complicit. I too am struggling as the situation as it stands is untenable. I do not want to go into work. For now (and I hope I am wrong) I see no immediate end to it. Take care my friend and all of my colleagues out there. In adversity we have each other and this blog which is my central point of reference in all of this utter chaos.

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If the signing of contracts goes ahead before the new year that's not good. Grayling has been found to lie to Parliament, the public, Napo and most probably charities and bidders - the wise charities and bidders have got out. Grayling is an unchecked mad man who will lie, promise anything and appear to give people what they want to get his way with TR.

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In DTV today an email asking for EOI for vetting to work with Through the Gate. The general response in my office was to tell them to f*** off, be as stubborn as possible and wait until we are actually directed to do something. It will be interesting to see who in DTV embraces the changes and is willing to be the first to try to climb the new CRC ladder. I bet that makes them very popular with anyone anti-TR in their office, which will be most of their colleagues.

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I think someone once described Probation as the grease that ran the wheels of justice. You may not notice us, but without us things will grind to a halt. Lets have a strike, ALL OF US. This is our Rosa Parks moment. We can stand firm or forever be resigned to domination by those who think they are better than us.

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The human staff cost of all this debacle is heartbreaking. The long-serving staff who've been in the fortunate position to leave have done so and this final twist in the tale will push a few more over the edge. They just do not have to hang around to deal with this shit. Maybe, just maybe this latest turn of events will anger enough people to call a strike - it would be better represented now the reality is tangible - unlike last time.

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Having given it some thought, whilst it's going to hurt my bank balance, I'd be up for a prolonged period of strike action. God knows I could do with a break from the incessant amount of PSRs that I've been writing lately. I think a prolonged, and by that I mean weeks, is going to be necessary to demonstrate the depth of our feelings and the impact of what things will look like without a NPS or CRCs. Lets hit the fuckers hard :)

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Not a chance in hell of a full out strike. When will people realise we are dealing here with Thatchers bastard offspring. She broke the back of the working man and woman years ago. The Tories are doing what the Tories have always done, privatise everything and fuck em all! If I go on strike for 2 weeks I lose my home probably. If I lose my job I lose my home. I will take my chances alone and clearly shows why I stopped paying subs years ago. The unions are a joke and I am sad to say this. 

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The most dangerous part of TR is moving an offender when they are at their riskiest. I did a witness statement for JR and the legal team commented on my evidence in this area saying it was strong, and important point to make. How are MoJ going to make this safe? They can't unless they bring the two sides back together. We should have continued to fight on this point alone.

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Just heard that if no increase in Probation Institute sign up it could fold - there's another reason not to join graylings PI.

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The torture never stops... from the published testgates 4/5:

"ICT Delivery Confidence 
• Overall Delivery confidence remains at Amber, reflecting various challenges across workstreams. Additional governance boards have been established and plans are in place to manage Go-Live risks 
• n-Delius: Activity remains on track for Go-Live on 16 December with planned milestones met. Testboards have been put in place to manage this critical activity. 
• OASys: Remains on track for Go-Live on 8 December. User Acceptance Testing [UAT] has completed with no outstanding defects.
• Data Archiving: Work is currently underway to plan and coordinate activity and resources. Risk of delivery due to resource availability and volume of work for CRCs. 
• RSR/RoSH: RSR tool is live and RoSH has successfully passed UAT with a two week pilot now in train."


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I think the HR advice is sound and will rapidly bring MOJ round in a way that all previous action has been unable to. If your job is making you ill see your GP, take guidance and take sick leave if you are too ill for work. Protect your health.

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The HR advice seems sound. If you are unwell don't be a hero. Perhaps retired PO temps should withdraw their labour to help a just cause.

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I think we should lobby the Green Party to put returning the Probation Service to the public sector in to their manifesto; I wish the SNP were south of the border they might do it too. Labour would be the ideal party to reverse TR but they are too far to the right at the moment. This is going to be a long war we must get more probation staff to fight it. Could NAPO book a series of events in big cities and invite all probation staff to attend? Lets radicalise them. I would take part.

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TR will fail, and is already failing, as anyone who continues to work in the field can attest. By the end of this week we lose dual access in the majority of cases, so all those mistakes in allocation, and oh my there are SO many mistakes in allocation, cases, people, being shunted to and fro...all those mistakes can't be rectified. We won't even know what we are missing half the time. And I'm sorry, but unless you actually have to do the day job, as a PO or possibly SPO, you haven't got a clue just how much of a mess all this is. And any idea that this can all be massaged away with spin, CRC managers attempting to blame NPS for all the things that go wrong...ha ha ha. You ain't seen nothing yet. My concern is that this will end up with people being hurt. Spartacus.

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Make no mistake, dual access will be removed. It's been delayed but it will go in January.

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That fact has now been confirmed, no dual access going forward from January 2015. God help us all, especially the public as they will not have been served well in terms of public protection.

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A message to my colleagues: it is time to realise that our years of hard work, dedicated loyalty and personal sacrifice have meant nothing, time to see the role as a PO as just a job with little in the way of future prospects, job satisfaction or acceptable financial remuneration. On that basis don't put your selves out any longer, just go through the motions as we as individuals are not responsible for trying to keep up our previous excellent work. The failures that will without doubt follow, lie firmly at the door of the MoJ.

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The cutting of salaries is becoming a trend in the voluntary sector as are zero hours contracts. The bosses on £100k and rising, while the front-line is urged to examine their consciences and choose between pay cuts, reductions in services and redundancies. The only thing that can ever stop this daylight robbery is industrial action and I note that it was effective in getting St Mungo's to climbdown (to prevent a 10-day strike) after they, too, tried to impose £5,000 pay cuts. 

£5000 seems to be the norm and it won't, I guess, be long before we hear about them in CRCs. If such slashing cuts rain down on probation staff I hope it comes as a surprise to no-one. Napo needs deep roots at branch level so members are prepared when the bells tolls for thee. And whilst I do believe the fight against the imposition of TR is over, the fight to protect conditions of service is about to begin. I do not think 'continuity of service' will be a trusty shield, as goalposts get moved in 'management restructures'. Nor do we want to see two-tier workforces becoming established. 

Had the staff at St Mungo's rolled over, they would have been robbed, but they stood together. Amazing what a bit of solidarity can achieve. And they did it without a Probation Institute – sorry it just sticks in my craw!

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Agreed. I work in a prison and the Shelter staff are really helpful but their management are awful. They are all frightened of 'the big boss' who has publicly chastised them in front of others. I also question their ethics. Their campaigns and ethos behind those are not matched with the same ethics in terms of how they treat their staff. They are target driven and how they meet those targets is questionable. I'm not in a Purple Futures area but when I heard about the contracts I was more worried about Shelter's involvement than that of Interserve.

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There always seems to be one member of staff who seems to be paid the same as you but who float around with little to do? Well today I looked at their OASys and now know why. Suffice to say seeing as their OASys are getting signed off and are half as detailed as mine has made me decide to start making cutbacks of my own. It's made me feel so much less stressed - may even have a lunch break tomorrow.

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Currently, we are being asked to strip back files of general correspondence that was normally kept and to scan reports etc to be stored electronically. This is obviously very time consuming and arguably destroying general correspondence that is not held electronically (ie originally produced via Delius or the previous databases) Could fall foul of the requirement to store data for the prescribed time.

As mentioned in the main post, this is a rushed job and the potential for mistakes to occur is considerable. As for the potential to sue the SoS, whilst your legal rep would be the best person to advise you, I would think the CRC as a separate company would be responsible if they haven't carried it out correctly, or if NPS, then potentially the MoJ.

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It is becoming clearer, but not better. This latest data clearing seems to have just come out of the blue. If it is unlawful to keep NPS stuff in the private sector, why didn't CG inform people months ago? Even if they didn't have to do it before the sell-off, staff would at least have been prepared. I think it is an issue which either CG did not know about and has just been advised, or else it's another clever ruse/punishment to pile on the stress.

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It gets worse. If a CRC case completes, the file is immediately released to the NPS and sent for storage at their central records archive. If the CRC get an enquiry about that offender, they cannot respond as they no longer have access to hard copies or computer records. The operating model has every possible flaw built in. It's genius.

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The way a case terminates eg on 12th Dec and is then erased from view on 13th Dec is awful. I regularly need to look back at case records for addresses to send custody educational certificates to, or to let people know if their SSO has expired or been spent.

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I am concerned about the implications for staff where cases are subject to complaint to the Probation Ombudsman - it can take a considerable time for complaints to be made, investigated, outcome report, appeal then escalation to the ombudsman. Not having original sources has serious implications for staff - for many years information has been consolidated into OASys, with finite number of characters, so what happens when a practitioner is asked where the information came from without the source files to refer to?

To be fair, what happens when a service user wants to challenge information? I can think of a Child Protection case when information contained in the OASys was challenged and Family Court became involved. Fortunately files were retrieved from archives with the original source able to be produced and verified. This is fraught with risks and I wonder what the Information Commissioner would say? There will be breaches, staff do not understand this.


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What about DO NOT DESTROY/RETAIN forms that have to be signed off by SPOs and placed on the front of the case file? If they've got rid of that practice, then it's truly game over. There are some deeply troubling clients and for those in particular, files need to be retained indefinitely... Psych Reports etc.

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Surely all records should be passed to NPS, as all closed case files pass to NPS? And what happens when someone is sentenced and managed by CRC...do NPS pass all records to CRC only for them to be destroyed by CRC at completion or breach of the order? It's bad enough transferring between colleagues in same office let alone Areas, now we will be passing stuff in to BIONIC abyss.

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Thank god for Chris Grayling; practically every practitioner who works with dangerous and difficult individuals every single working day was wrong, yet our Secretary of state just 'knew' that these reforms would help bring down those stubborn re-offending rates and he didnt allow anything as trivial as common sense to stop him...dont worry, we're clearly in good hands.....

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The bitching has already started in my office. CRC staff have refused to see any duty appointments that come in from Court and are not on their Delius. I know allocation is supposed to be within 24 hours, but the reality is that this is not taking place. They've spoke to their SPO about it and it's down to him to resolve, however, until then we have to see them. I really cannot say I blame them and their claims that 'not a CRC case as it's not allocated to CRC' are completely factual. Unfortunately it means that we have to see them which is a pain if their manager is out of the office or off and the case cannot be allocated. Our NPS manager just shrugs. Tensions are running high and I very much doubt that the recent Court NAPO Court case is going to help.

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I said very early on that the best way to prove the plan is ludicrous is to let it happen. Two years from now, Probation will be on the front pages of the papers because of serial cock-ups of the kind that we have seen in other areas of Government policy.

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I think MoJ are running scared. Their press release tells me bidders have been rattled and need assurance.

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What an absolute mess we now find ourselves in. No plan, no direction, no right of appeal, no information, no "significant concessions". Share sale is now right on top of us and Grayling et al state NAPO have backed down. Haven't they wiped the floor enough with us? I think not. They have plenty left in them yet. What next? Cuts, cuts and more cuts including services and jobs. It all looks bleak. When will we turn around and say enough is enough???

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Many have. We are losing good staff almost by the hour. Remember - the new operating models are untested and mistakes are already being made by the truckload. NAPO has not failed, it has been beaten. They are different things.

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What I find offensive is the way that the MoJ /NOMS are rubbishing NAPO. NAPO is the union of the staff, so this is a personal attack on the same staff they want to encourage to make this work! There is no conciliatory language just rubbing all our noses in the piss on the floor.

I feel utter contempt for the shit heads who are pushing this sale forward and especially the lying b***ard Grayling who has blatantly lied to the JSC when he said he had no involvement in the bidding and when he said there was 500 additional PO's and he turned to Spurr who corrected him on operational staff and then he said they are all qualified the same! He is an idiot, but worse he is a dangerous idiot.

I hear senior mandarins are touring the country to see the new shit working - stop telling them its all ok, 'cos that's what they are hearing and start telling them more about the shit that won't work. We should be the most belligerent workforce because of this crap and we should be telling Allars to stick it up his arse if he is leading the contempt. Tonight I am thoroughly fed up with our so called leaders - they read all this stuff or should I say there are people who read this and try to track down the authors for them - sneaky snivelling shits.


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Welcome to the jungle. Now CRCs are owned by the big boys & girls, it gets serious. Pay cuts, loss of terms & conditions, payback for the blog & the inconvenience of delaying, irritating & embarrassing MoJ, NOMS, etc. No amount of academic angst or ideological twittering or whining will change what's coming. You haven't even begun to see what pissed-off CEOs & their flunkies are capable of. Grayling's a pussycat by comparison. Lets hope Santa has enough kevlar flak jackets to go around. A very sad & distressed PO.

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CRC model includes examining individual accountability and performance in reducing recidivism in own caseload! No detail on this yet! However, will measures take account of diversity, complexity, tiering, previous convictions of each case? Possibly not when we consider that the race to the bottom includes taking less into account at the point of conviction with less PSRs and more FDRs and the not fit for purpose RSR tool! 

We are about to see staff hounded for systemic failures which TR has introduced. Some practitioners will be taking a weather eye on case allocations in an effort to protect themselves from potential performance sanctions, with infighting developing between colleagues and middle managers! Grading will become meaningless under such a model! Time to stop papering over the cracks people!


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Man down the pub tells me mass capability on the way for CRC.

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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.

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

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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 when 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.

47 comments:

  1. What area are they doing mass capability on CRC staff ?Forwarned is forarmed...... so please do tell.

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  2. Someone recently observed that Napo did not lose, it was beaten. This seems a fairer take on the situation. No area of the public services has been able to resist privatisation over the past twenty years. Napo could not win on the streets, in parliament or in the courts.

    There was no victory on the streets because there was too much member apathy. Had resistance been demonstrated in huge numbers, it would have shaken the confidence of the MoJ and made it laughable for 'probation leaders' to glibly claim support for the changes amongst the workforce at large. If you are not actively dissenting, silence is consent.

    As for the leadership in Napo, it was the worse possible start, with the expensive demise of the former general secretary, followed by an assistant general secretary who had all the parliamentary and media experience. Then we had the former chair seeking a position with a CRC. It was a series of own goals and it harmed Napo's reputation.

    Apathy plus key changes to personnel at a critical time was not likely to lead to a happy outcome. It was all rhetoric and weak resistance. The last throw of the dice was placing hopes in the judiciary. But when did the courts ever come to the rescue of the trade unions? I can only recall examples of sequestered assets and onerous bail conditions to inhibit picketing. The power of unions always resides in their capacity for collective action to force real, not rhetorical, concessions out of employers and governments.

    I also wonder whether there was real fire in the belly of Napo's leadership to fight TR. I am not suggesting they approved of it, but perhaps there was a belief that they could not win and therefore 'resistance' was a charade as you have to do something when grassroots activists are calling for action. If a Napo officer had believed the CRCs were beatable, would he have applied for a job in one? I also think the signing of the framework agreement signalled an acceptance of the inevitable as did Napo's special AGM to make the appropriate constitutional changes. To sign a document to legitimise a split and then for Napo to say that they were tooth and nail opposed to the spilt was a distinction without a difference for many and of course it enabled the MoJ to say the unions have signed an agreement.

    There was disunity between the unions. I have no idea why Unison saw the signing of the agreement as job done, but Napo could never go it alone and, again, advocates of TR could only interpret this as one union down, a smaller one to go. Similarly, the MoJ was able to reassure critics that the probation institute, which they financed, would underpin professional standards.

    It may have helped the cause if more than one Trust had spoken publicly about the risks of TR. Trusts had, however, shown their willingness to be mean and lean and cut terms and conditions, never missing an opportunity to remind their staff that this was necessary in the 'real world'. They sweated their assets, but when it came to defending those assets they buried their heads as senior managers calculated their generous payoffs and, for some, futures in the private sector.



































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  3. The focus on the risks of TR vis a vis public safety was the main thrust of the campaign and very much under the radar was the risks to workers' terms and conditions. The high-minded professional concerns regarding safety trumped the bread and butter issues. But just as companies first duties are to their shareholders, to the unions it should be to the livelihoods of their members. Maybe protecting pay and conditions would have resonated more with the actual membership as they learned about the risks of TR, not as a model of operation, but as a means of reducing their pay and job security. The problem with focusing on risks of IT and the split is that it invited technocratic solutions through the various testgates - and lo and behold, the solutions were found – but they are a secret! No number of testgates could have protected salaries and careers. But the framework agreement did create a false sense of security with its continuity of service and other promises. In the next few years these will count for nothing. Any company can 'restructure' - jobs will go and pay will fall. The Trusts, after all, often seemed to be in a state of permanent restructuring, with some staff forever applying for their jobs following restructures. I know of one person who was obliged to reapply for her job several times.

    I know there are some who are still 'wishing and hoping' but TR is here in theory and will soon follow in practice proper when contracts are exchanged. As we have seen in the third sector charities are ruthless in seeking to cut wages to win contracts at any costs. If you are a CEO or Gordon Gekko, you want an empire and the bigger the better. What about the workers? As Gordon said, 'If you need a friend, get a dog.'

    There will be industrial action in the future. Strengthening local branches should, in my view, be the focus of Napo's rehabilitation. It should scale back on being a parliamentary pressure group and seek to radicalise its membership by preparing them for the worst and not just pay – but capability and discipline policies. These CRCs will do their utmost to destroy internal dissent and trade union organisation.

    As for that old chestnut, Is Napo a professional association or a trade union? In a fight I would rather have a strong and committed trade union behind me than a probation institute. I am wishing and hoping that Napo will withdraw from the Institute as a vote of no confidence in TR.































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    1. You're probably right that 'protecting pay and conditions would have resonated more with the actual membership as they learned about the risks of TR' but i suspect that's precisely the reason why that wasn't selected as a focus by NAPOs leaders. The General Secretary in particular appears to have been determined from the outset to avoid any meaningful action against TR, preferring instead to posture and puff and blow but otherwise stopping well short of anything that might have changed matters, least of all any degree of industrial action that could have proved effective. It's a matter of record that he was determined to avoid JR action, and he's now lead the 'officers' in making sure the action forced upon him was stopped before the first genuine risk of disrupting TR could unfold in court. If that sounds fanciful, well as we've seen NOMS are clear that NAPOs claim of 'concessions' having been won is totally bogus, and that everything is proceeding just as it was before the JR was junked. I've said it before, but I can't see how anyone making their way in the higher echelons of union bureaucracy, least of all a professional bureaucrat like Lawrence could be either naive enough or incompetent enough to land us in so woeful a position. It has to be deliberate.

      Simon Garden

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    2. As I understood it safety was chosen as a focus as the TR changes do provoke risk about which all practioners have real concerns. Further it was felt that a focus on safety rather than t&c would resonate more with the public. It is always easier speaking from hindsight as to better possible actions. Decisions are not made by one person alone-every Napo member (even SG if he/she is one)can bring issues to their branch and has a vote. Branches/NEC and AGMs all too play their part. I seem to recall Tom Rendon saying part of his rationale for standing down was not enough emphasis on professional issues. I suspect the decision to not pursue JR will have been steered by legal opinion. This obsession of SG's that Ian Lawrence would deliberately try to steer Napo on the rocks is ludicrous and takes no account of the role of Officers, Officials and NEC reps.

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    3. Ludicrous? Well...you're probably right. I was more interested in generating some discussion of the bizarre course of events than anything else, but I might have let the present ridiculousness of our current situation overwhelm me when trying to work out just what the hell happened. NAPO pulling out of the Judicial Review - described by the GS just a few weeks ago as 'the final leg of our quest to seek legal redress to try and prevent the share sale of the 21 CRC' - and better still, pulling out on the basis of 'undertakings' that were apparently never undertaken might just about have tipped me over the edge. That said, I don't take much comfort in looking to the more reasonable explanations. Take just the last few days: Originally we were told that the JR had been halted as we had won 'crucial concessions', the SoS having 'recognised the risks and set out publicly what he says he is going to do to solve these problems'. Shortly thereafter we then learnt that we would in fact need the consent of the court to disclose these 'public' undertakings. Then of course no such consent was forthcoming, the MoJ was awarded costs, and we subsequently learnt that 'Contrary to the claims by Napo, no new commitments or undertakings were given and no changes have been made' in the final roll out of TR. So what, then, is the realistic explanation? Did we mishear something in court? Did we confuse the words public and confidential? Did we get our legal advice from a man in a pub? Ludicrous is probably the most accurate description of this whole situation

      Yours in dismay

      Simon Garden

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    4. Thank you Netnipper for a thoughtful analysis. It feels we have lost the plot on t&c locally if not nationally. I suspect locally managers' anxieties are cascading down and they seek to resolve this by imposing on the work force.

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  4. NAPO must immediately withdraw support from the PI

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  5. With regard to the issue of capability; I attended a briefing given by a CEO who confirmed as best that he could that the Sodexo model is likely to pit worker against worker in terms of reoffending rates of their individual caseload-of course it wasnt sold as this but as a 'recognition system' for good work..... well any analyst worth their salt realises that this is a covert way of pitting worker against worker and wrapped up in a fluffy awards scheme....

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    1. DLNR CRC are already talking about a same system of individual re-offending rates and star ratings.

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    2. At Sodexo run Northumberland Prison it is really funny to see the wall chart with star employee on the notice board as you go inside.

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    3. In a previous Mc Job I was awarded stars for good performance.
      Oh, how I miss that job :(

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  6. A friend in Interserve i.e. Purple Futures, said performance related pay will be introduced linked with re-offending for each case worker.

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    1. Then they are bigger idiots than I thought.

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    2. I work in the Court team for the NPS so am unaffected. My very close friend works in the IOM. Should she be worried as a lot of her cases are in Court on a regular basis?

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    3. IF (my emphasis) this comes in then I would recommend that she looks for another job, probably before the capability and associated chew on commences.

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    4. Purple futures has never had any plans to introduce performance related pay or to monitor reoffending rates by individual case manager. Hope this clears the point up.

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    5. 'Hope this clears the point up.'

      Well of course it does - anonymous, uncorroborated statements on fundamental issues always set everyone's minds at rest.

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    6. This is always a by product of the staff recognition scheme and therefore will come in by default

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    7. "has never had any plans" - doesn't mean those plans can't be brought in swiftly in the future. After all, we all know that the last government didn't plan for its legislation to be used for wholesale privatisation, but here we all are.

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  7. I feel the CRCs are going to fall apart, I already feel a pang of sadness when one of mine re-offends but at least am aware I will not be put on a management chart somewhere. Now it seems my name will be bandied about in meetings as tho i'm a poor officer if one of mine re-offends. This is an extremely stressful situation to be under particularly if someone re-offends and I have to then justify to the senior what I've done with the person to reduce recidivism. What do they expect us to do - honestly?? It's like they're setting us up to fail. I've 20+ years experience and now feel like I don't know anything anymore I've lost my confidence I've lost my mojo. I want to leave so bad, I've not had any sickleave yet because as tough as it's been I knew there would be tougher times ahead and for me they are fast approaching as is my 6mths off with work-related stress.

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    1. I find the whole thing laughable, that I will be 'named and shamed' if one of my probationers commits a further offence, as if somehow personal accountability for ones actions alongside 70 odd years of academic theory about the causes of crime, sociology and (developmental) psychology now count for nothing! You might just as well set me a target that the sun must shine for at least 10 days over the next month in my town, and 'name and shame' me if I cant deliver on that! I dont actually blame the private companies for using this model; it's used elsewhere and they have clearly swallowed the MBA dogma that managers dont need to know anything about the company they are running, transferable skills and all that. I am more dismayed that our CEO's and ACO's (many of them social work trained) can so totally abandon their first principles and endorse this drivel. Shame on them all.
      Deb

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  8. Annon above 15:42 I too work in the NPS Court team. My workload has changed out of all recognition with the horrendous duplication of form filling, pushing out FDR's or being told to do as many oral reports as possible. My job has changed fundamentally being sent to different courts to cover for staff shortages as a direct result of the split. I firmly b believe we will be affected further - we have absolutely no idea what the future holds now for any of us and I think it is a case of watch this space. Do you trust the MOJ? Just look at how they have responded to recent events. I dread to think what is coming for all of us CRC and NPS alike.

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  9. I will accept payment by results for my caseload as long as I get to screen them in advance and select those I consider to present an acceptable risk.

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    1. If you are simply turning people round and not having the time to help them through their problems (a call to the DWP normally takes 30 minutes due to the time you are on hold) then there is absolutely no hope for either party. However, in my area Sodexo also run the prison so it's a win/win for them. I'm actively applying for jobs and hope that I'm out of the madness soon. I pity those left behind, in either CRC or NPS.

      Delete
  10. Under yday's blog 'sick Service of Europe. there was a comment at 1433 linking to ' the Spectator - last days of the Cameron administration pt 2 - failing grayling' 'of all the reasons to wish this govt gone, C G is the worst'.

    It opened up a most interesting and pertinent article by Nick Cohen, highlighting, in no uncertain tones, the impact of Grayling on the medium to lower strata of the community re issues of job security, housing and freedom from DV, without legal aid.

    This is followed by 42 comments, some offensive or uber right wing, but some full of common sense. The last one, of yday was at 1433 on 12/12, by Jamie Matthew Dearden shows up every incompetency in this govt's systems, causing huge suffering for this man and his family.

    PLEASE READ, IT IS LONG, BUT IT DEMONSTRATES HOW INCOMPETENT AND UNCARING BRITAIN HAS BECOME. THE MAN ASKS FOR COMMENTS AND A VOTE YES OR NO AT THE END AS TO WHICH DECISION HE SHOULD MAKE NEXT MONTH. SO FAR, 2 DAYS LATER, THERE HAS NOT BEEN ONE COMMENT.

    I AM STILL MULLING OVER WHAT I CAN SAY WHICH WOULD BE OF ANY USE, BUT I ASK YOU - PLEASE READ NICK'S ARTICLE, READ THE COMMENT AT 1433 BY JAMIE DEARDEN AND RESPOND TO HIS REQUEST FOR A RESPONSE, THAT MAN MUST FEEL THAT NO ONE IN THE WORLD CARES FOR HIM HIS CHILDREN AND HIS GRAN.

    AND IF YOU CAN OFFER ADVICE, ALL THE BETTER. THANK YOU.

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    1. ps re above - the subject to access the site stopped after the words 'failing grayllng'.

      It does not go into the next sentence 'of all the reasons'..etc - that was Nick Cohen's own quote.

      Delete
    2. oops! to avoid further confusion (I will wake up in a min) the original comment under the 'sick service of Europe' was NOT written at 1433, it was put on at 22 52. It was the Spectator comment under the Nick C article which was put on at 1433, which I have already said.

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  11. For all affected by performance related pay, you need to be savvy and record what you need to record to maintain your income. For example, if stats are collated quarterly you will quickly learn to record what you need by the cut off dates and if needed, hold back some figures for the next quarter. So, if you are targeted to get 10 accommodation referrals and you get 12 hold 2 back to give yourself a head start next quarter. It is not right but that is how staff on performance related pay work - to the figures as they are needed. Learn quickly to play them at their own games.
    Yes, I hear your cries of despair at the sheer stupidity of such games when we deal with peoples lives and trauma so, pay lip service to the figures - not to the impact of service users.

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    1. Apparently there's a complete and utter gimp at the MoJ who best knows how to reduce stubbornly high re-offending rates. I think we should all drop him a email.

      chris.grayling.mp@parliament.uk

      It would be a shame if this email was given to our clients. Some of mine can be very.....creative....when voicing their opinions.

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    2. It would be a bigger shame if this email was given to those websites that ask if you want a bigger penis!!!

      Delete
    3. There's a joke there which involves Colin Allars but I'm too polite to repeat it :)

      Delete
  12. What area are they doing mass capability on CRC staff ?Forwarned is forarmed...... so please do tell.


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  13. I spoke with someone who works at Working Links, he said how he has become disillusioned with the company as they're becoming more focused on targets rather than the people they work with. They are also closing offices down and introducing a orange bus in order to reach clients (I kid you not). He also told me that Working Links only went for the contract as MOJ have guaranteed a certain amount of profit, they wouldn't have touched it other wise. So on the orange bus I go!! I think they call that innovation.

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    1. The MoJ has not guaranteed profit to Working Links or anyone else

      Delete
    2. What exactly are the 'poison pill' clauses if not profit guarantees?

      Delete
  14. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/14/police-cuts-public-safety-bernard-hogan-howe

    Dont worry re-offending rates will go down as there will be no police to actually catch those who do.

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  15. I predicted that much of this would happen, but it was even before this blog was up and running. Now much of what I predicted has come to pass, and sadly the changes are irreversible. Creativity is the way forward, playing the MOJ at their own game by being smart when it comes to 'fudging the numbers' so to speak... Anon at 16:56 is spot on...

    Let the changes bed in, but in the meantime, look after your health by not taking work too seriously, just do what you can, concentrate on risk and sling shot the rest.

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    1. Saying " sadly the changes are irreversible. " is plain wrong in a country supposedly legislatively controlled by a democratic parliament that changes all sorts of policies again and again all down the centuries.

      The contracts are not signed yet - we still have to have the expected whitewash of the risks by the Inspector tomorrow, but what say if amazingly he has found his mojo and tells it how it is.

      Put simply - never mind whether privatisation is good or bad - splitting the delivery of probation work at the local level inevitably creates extra danger for the public and staff. I have read not one justification for splitting probation on the basis of it being safer for anyone!

      http://tinyurl.com/kgbeb3r

      Delete
    2. You are correct Andrew, so what is coming next?
      Grayling split off high risk offenders to NPS merely in order to get this through Parliament and to avoid public opposition, that was Phase 1. Now, we know massive public sector cuts have to be made in the future, so Phase 1 will be deemed to have been a massive success and guess what? Phase 2 will be the sell off of NPS. Perhaps it will be packaged up as "specialist offender management" but the public will be told that the government have allowed expertise to be innovatively developed by the primes and now they have a "proven track record" with low/medium risk cases (for that is how it will be spun), they need to reunify probation services - all of it in the private sector.
      Hey Presto, all for shareholder profit...

      Delete
  16. I feel the pain of those who have concerns about stress-related illness (welcome to the club) but it does give me a cunning plan - can't we get CG sectioned for reasons of community safety?.

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  17. On targets for CRCs – an old Soviet joke

    Interview: question: what is 2+2?

    1st candidate: 5. Well done comrade, but your enthusiasm could be a problem.

    2nd: 3. Arrest that counter revolutionary.

    3rd: 4. Your honesty would be a problem.

    The fourth candidate got the job, as s/he answered: Whatever you want it to be.

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  18. http://prisonconsultants.co.uk/general/please-explain/

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    1. This week, 11 December to be exact, Lord Faulks answered a written question from Lord Browne of Belmont.

      Lord Browne wanted to know how much it cost the Government, on average, to incarcerate a prisoner between 2011 and 2014.

      Back came the answer: there has been a reduction of 17% in the overall average cost per prisoner between 2011 and 2014. The average cost at the moment is in the region of £26,000 per prisoner.

      That’s good news for the French company Sodexo. It runs five UK prisons at a cost to the taxpayer of £35,000 per prisoner. A tidy profit, to be sure.

      But here’s the rub. Sodexo is also in charge of probation for low/medium risk prisoners in 6 of the 21 probation areas. Sodexo is in charge of those probation services in South Yorkshire, Essex, Northumbria, Cumbria/Lancashire, Norfolk/Suffolk and Cambridgeshire/Northamptonshire. And the amount Sodexo are paid per probationer is much less- as low as £1500 per person in some cases.

      The probation service trade union (NAPO) makes the sensible point that it is idiocy to pay the same company a comparative pittance for keeping someone out of prison, when they can earn over 20 times as much if the same person fouls up their probation and is recalled to prison.

      Are we being unfair to Sodexo? Consider this: last March a riot broke out at HMP Northumberland. Inmates took over a whole wing. Chris Grayling claimed the cause of the riot was because prisoners were forced to work longer days. There were three problems with this explanation: one there were no similar riots at other prisons. Two, there are not actually enough jobs at the prison for the 1300 prisoners. Three, it wasn’t true. The riots were caused by staff shortages. The prison is run by Sodexo.

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  19. http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2014/12/12/pick-of-the-week-grayling-accidentally-brings-down-his-own-b

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  20. One thing that has not had a mention in all of this is the loss of 'corporate memory'. This means the bidders are free to repeat every mistake the Probation Service has ever made, all in the name of 'innovation'. Performance Related Pay empowers the offender and compromises the therapeutic relationship; 'breach me and I will re-offend and you won't get your PRP' kind of thing. More unsophisticated thinking. The offenders are going to run rings around all of this.

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