Sunday, 18 January 2015

Bleak Futures Week 3

The CRC primes will, if they can, push the accommodation issue down the line to their voluntary and CIC 'partners'. It's going to be a huge headache for them, though it may prove advantageous to some dodgy letting agent that has a number of 'hard to let' properties to rent on their books. I really do think accommodation is a massive issue that probation's new 'private landlords' have paid little attention to. They are are soon to discover it's going to cost them a lot more then they catered for when submitting their original bid.

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A factor not mentioned much is that most will not be eligible for full housing benefit and will have to pay top up rent from their £46. And the fine that the Courts now have to impose even on custodial cases. Purple Futures et al have one massive shock for them come the latter part of this year and I just hope they have deep pockets because if anyone thinks there is money to be made they are in for a huge shock.

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That's a very good point, many wont get full housing benefit. Universal Credit is also becoming a big barrier, with many private landlords refusing to let because benefits are being paid to the tenant and not straight to the landlord. I have much sympathy for all the 'victims' that TR has made and is going to make in the future. But I really can't wait for the day the penny drops for the privateers that are prepared to trade with human beings as commodities, when they realise just exactly what they've bought.

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Re accommodation expectations/targets, I was wondering if BASS Stonham would be stepping up for this target. They already have 200 properties and I would imagine the certainty of income for newly released offenders (remember they do not take high riskers so fit the CRC probation for profit model) and government need would persuade them to buy more. Look, if the target for Through The Gate is to accommodate upon release, perhaps all they would have to do is provide that first night and the target is met.

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200 properties would be enough for my area. However, there are 22 other CPA's and unless Wonga reduce their interest rates I cannot see the banks funding what would be a completely unknown and probably a high risk strategy. You might have something with your second point as Shelter have form for this. Sorry, that should read 'a business plan'. TBH I think the whole 'met at the gates' thing will go West. In my area we cannot even recruit people for TTG so from the very off this part of the 'Rehabilitation Revolution' is fucked into a cocked hat.

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We were notified last week of a new Complaints Procedure for CRC. All now have to be logged at HQ. I only scanned the document but it sounded like even small complaints dealt with inhouse by TM need to be referred. Must be another spreadsheet at HQ somewhere? As an OM I am very worried about this - I do not want my name associated with complaints and whilst we always use the spin 'complaining is positive because it's how things/processes change' I can't help thinking the information could be used against staff.

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There is an argument that CRCs are likely to become the A&E of the Criminal justice system. If there is poor practice pre-sentence and nothing to signpost anyone to, the CRC will be left holding the baby. It is going to be fascinating to watch the creeping chaos.

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I did some training on the Offender Rehabilitation Act last week. I think many of our offenders are going to run rings around this piece of legislation. Rushed legislation often has unforeseen consequences and I think the requirements relating to post sentence supervision are fairly flakey e.g. if the offender disappears, the licence keeps running. Police are never going to prioritise these warrants. It's going to leak like a sieve!

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It does not appear too dissimilar to what we have already and we know how quickly the Police respond to Licence recalls! There's going to be umpteen more and less Police! It might be worth noting signing-on times as many of mine make sure they attend and it makes it a bit easier for the Police to get them. That may sound a little harsh, but they are being recalled for a reason!

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At a recent CRC Roadshow in DTV I was told that 80% of the budget is staff wages and this needs to be reviewed. My table took the view that this meant job losses rather than wage restructuring, something alluded to by a Director who tends to be blunt in their views. Now even with the staff we have, I'm finding it difficult to accept that the anticipated caseloads can be safely managed, so I'm quite concerned as to how we can manage them with fewer staff? One option is possibly volunteers, but this raises concerns about the ability and professionalism of those brought in, especially when the focus will be on quantity rather than quality. 

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Anybody had any details re TTG yet? Are mentors being set on & are they employed or volunteers? If meeting someone at the gate, are their early morning travel & waiting times (it can be a several hour wait on occasions due to prison systems/roll re-counts) being allowed for/paid for? Are the mentors expected to provide their own transport? If so, has appropriate insurance been discussed? A proper risk assessment done? What about lone working - surely clients should be met by 2 staff members? What if the client is being met by (possibly unfriendly) family or friends? Does the client still have to go with the mentor? & probably lots more issues...

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Group work intervention coming to everyone. Someone will be making a killing at this. Wonder who the consultants are and how much they are being paid?

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E-mail to Sodexo/Nacro CRC staff 6th January 2015: 
Timeliness Of Recalls. Sending the paperwork to the PPCS is usually undertaken by an administrator. As part of this task, please check the timeliness as above. If it is beyond the 24 hours, please discuss with a manager to consider amending this. 


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OMG, they have actually said they do not understand the requirements of each CRC!!! This is dangerous beyond belief...

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They haven't got a fucking clue. An example of their complete mis-management will be demonstrated later this month when the inspection on HMP Northumberland is released. If this is how they manage people under lock and key, then we are completely screwed in Northumbria where this bunch of onanists have a contract.

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Relocation between August and November across the estate, it's madness on a grand scale!

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Watch out for them 'managing' people out by HR processes. After all they've been given an amount of cash for redundancies and modernisation and they will want to hang on to that. There is likely to be a dramatic increase in capability, sickness and disciplinary procedures.

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My concern is that if all new owners develop and implement their own casenotes and assessment tools, what happens if the offender moves areas and goes to another area owned by a different company with a different set of assessment tools? How is that going to work (or not). Also, what happens if there is a risk escalation and the case goes to NPS then how will NPS access documents?! Etc. It fills me with sheer panic.

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Don't ask! As yet there is no 'formal' process of transfer between CPA's and if the original CPA gets to keep the cash for the person being transferred, then I very much doubt those accepting a 'loss' are going to be accommodating. The question that needs to be asked is which area gets the PbR once the Order/Licence is completed? If the offender transfers for the last few months and the hard work has been done by the original CPA, can you see them being happy about spending money on rehabilitation and getting nothing back?

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Is this why offenders on community sentences will not be able to move accommodation if it impacts on their rehabilitation (Offender Rehabilitation Act) so that CRCs can refuse their move and keep their payments? These are people's lives we're talking about.

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A colleague friend - excellent PO in CRC - told me today that their client is moving to another area, and the officer has written to that area, transferring the case, giving required background info. The transfer details have been returned, unacceptable, as the officer has given too much info! They have to write a LESS detailed request for transfer! Can you believe it???

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Yes. I had a breach rejected by NPS for giving too much detail.

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Hey, talk about introducing a new 'case management system' (meaning from NDelius?) but elsewhere talk about changing assessment tools (from OASys?). Very ambitious if they are thinking of changing IT infrastructure around the same time.

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Wondering if all of the new IT systems are/will be designed to have compatibility to transfer the records back, in some cases to and fro to the NPS and the wonderful NDelius? Could it be that having spent millions on designing a National record base...actually quite a good idea...that it won't be long before it reverts back to where it used to be?

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Lots of alarm bells ringing regarding priorities. Loss of 107+ years of corporate experience allows new organisation to revisit past operating models without understanding why they were left behind e.g. over-reliance on vol. sector providers who are not there and not properly funded when they are, ex-offender/mentor rhetoric, over-reliance on group work when core provision inadequate etc etc.

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It beggars belief that these companies have risked their reputations and shareholders money on bidding for something they do not understand. Probation is far removed from prison. Clients have a choice in the community, they are intelligent and will see through this government charade. Please believe us Purple Futures, Working Links et al we are skilled in working in this industry (for that is what it is now) the Managers who are telling you all is rosy are either misinformed or deluded and too far from the reality. It really is a shambles everywhere, communication is a total joke. It will go wrong very quickly and there will be massive reputational damage and losses to incur. Any bets on first CRC to throw in the towel and hand back to the government and how long? Good Luck

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I doubt it will be a Prime but I can see many sub primes cutting their losses especially when they get the crap to deal with, but not the money to do it.

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They have been guaranteed the contracts for 10 years, they cannot be thrown out without being paid the expected profit for that period. Cut the service to the bone (and beyond) maximise gain for the next two years, when it all comes on top and the gov of the day is forced to intervene, take your windfall "Expected lifetime profit". Shareholder value maximised, job done KER-CHING. Any scandal will soon be lost in the media cycle, the only people you have to keep on board are the idiot politicians who signed the contract. A cheap 150k non executive directorship should do that. All makes perfect sense when you look at it from the money side. Screw any public service, it's about the cash.

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At my CRC Head Office we are now expected to ALL take turns to lock the building every night - this means a lone women (or man) going round a sprawling building checking windows etc, turning off lights (just don't forget the torch) and then setting the alarm and securing the building, which is down a lonely cul-de-sac!!! I don't remember that being part of my job description (I work in Corporate Services) but apparently I could be breaching my contract if I refuse to do it. I am totally disgusted with the lack of concern being shown regarding the safety and personal commitments of staff. It doesn't matter what your hours of work are, you have to take your turn even if you never work afternoons! Does this happen anywhere else?

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It's not worth betting on how many of these companies will put "desistance" in the sales patter to staff. It will be all of them. Very much the vogue word used by idiots who pretend to know what they are doing.

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Its clear, any CRC staff member dropping the ball more than once in the near future will be out on their ear. One way to bring in cheaper staff

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I believe - and I may be wrong - that Sodexo are going to use a tool put together by Dr Sam King of Leicester University to assess their readiness for change and then sort the 'offenders' accordingly. Trouble is, if their readiness to change changes or their risk/need changes, will they have to move from one tier/strand/set to another, replicating the most dangerous part of the split so far? Genius!

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There are all sorts of scenarios but I don't think anyone has any idea what is going to happen when these new operators come on line properly, when the RARs replace existing arrangements, when CRCs relocate away from NPS and when the TTG hordes descend!! Despite my decades of experience, the massive change in variables means that I have no idea whatsoever and nor does anyone else and there's the rub. It will be interesting to see the providers' reactions if things get ugly. Will they front it out or run a mile?

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Rumours today that most CRC's will be expected to lose their temp agency staff soon.

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Speaking of relocations, word has reached me that the NPS staffing situation in one office, in what used to be the Thames Valley, is so bad that custody cases are being transferred out wholesale - not just to other local offices, but to staff hundreds of miles away across the South West & South Central area!

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That sounds bonkers! Can you imagine the disruption for the service users having been reallocated at the TR split and now being reallocated again away from their home probation area?

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I've got 66 cases on a 4 day week, which includes about 6 custodial. My Manager has taken away a couple of other custody cases 'to help me out'. A predominantly community caseload definitely isn't do-able in its present format, however this is a shadow of things to come, compared with when all the TTG clients join our caseloads.....

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I've only got 42 community cases but they're all DV and child protection spread across a massive rural county. I did just under 400 miles (not including commuting) to see them all last month.

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Anyone who even begins to think that you can run a prison with 45% less staff than were previously on site is a fantasist. We all know the prison estate is on the verge of collapse and all the Sodexo and MoJ platitudes won't change that fact.

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An Update: If any Community Payback minibus driver has not completed the CPC training they are not driving legally! Possibly no insurance as well. NSCRC have now suspended all driving with minibuses.

Sorry, forgot to add, the CPC applies to minibuses MADE or adapted to carry 8 or more passengers. If you take seats out it makes no difference. In fact by taking seats out it changes the seat belt requirements. They would all have to meet the standard for motor cars, that is not seat mounted seat belts but floor and pillar fixings.

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Interesting the need for partnerships in the Thames Valley as MTC have terminated a number of current charity partnership in Thames Valley as of 31 March 2015. Left several small charities high and dry but as long as MTC make a profit, what does it matter.

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CRC staff are going to hardly be in the office - they seem to want us out circulating in the community - estates are going to be drastically cut back. There is going to be DOS (Directory of Services). I think this will contain a raft of voluntary or charity type agencies so with our £2k we can buy services off them.

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Lone working procedures? As a female I'm not at all happy about doing daily HV's with no one having much idea where I'm at or if I'm safe!!!

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Loads of responsibility being placed on individuals such as they're you're clients so you're responsible for your assessment, however you and I know that real life is not like that.

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Anyone else heard that the CRC workload management tool is now operational but only TMs have access to it and information will only be shared in supervision - absolutely outrageous. The fact that it was transparent has allowed members of teams on many occasions to use it as a gauge against their colleagues. I know in my office there's a clique and whilst I'd like to think the TM would not give anyone preferential treatment, I 100% believe it should be available for all to see. What do you all think?

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We haven't got a WMT yet; are still evaluating what everyone else is starting to use. The question remains tho', (and it is one I have asked) how can any CRC draw up a realistic WMT before Feb 1st when they don't actually know yet what the workload is going to be? - as the new employers havent told us in detail yet what they've agreed to provide under PbR and what we will need to do to achieve this? I would query your WMT on this ground alone for starters.

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I hear that Grayling is finally going to make a decision (or rather announce) the future of the HMI Probation CI ( aka the 70% inspector) next Tuesday! I'm not holding my breath!!! He normally only backs down when forced to by the courts!!

41 comments:

  1. Dr Sam King

    Sam obtained a first class honours degree in Social Policy from the University of Birmingham in 2005, before going on to complete an ESRC-accredited Masters in Research, and a PhD. His doctoral research examined the impact of probation on the early transitions towards desistance.

    Sam was appointed as a University Lecturer at Leicester in 2013, and before that he taught at the University of Derby and the University of Birmingham. He has also conducted research for Unison and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.

    Research Interests

    Desistance; probation; offender management; narrative and identity construction; masculinity; sports criminology; violence in sport; qualitative research methods.

    Current Research

    Evaluation of Hertfordshire C2 and Bedfordshire IOM PI schemes – funded by The Dawes Trust £29,864 (subject to contract). The outcomes of this project will have impact for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Criminal Justice Boards and also for other Criminal Justice Boards and public, private and third sector organisations who consider implementing similar schemes in other areas.

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  2. About the transfer of cases! I previously commented on here about a young man transferred into our omu from another county, we accepted him and his JSA (jobsekers alllowance) was also transfered! But, we could not get the work programme in the other ara to transfer their responsibility to a local work programme, two different organisations, two contracts and one not willing to lose him from their number/contract-even though they were no longer offering/delivering the client a service! It's all about the money, money, money (Jesse J)!

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  3. Have NSCRC have suspended all minibus driving? Is it because of the CPC, if so what about the other 20 CRCs?

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    1. Not an issue in London. The minibuses are smaller so they don't meet the threshold for these requirements.

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  4. Off topic, but interesting article if only because it's another court case against Grayling.
    Personally however, I find it a bit disturbing.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wrongly-convicted-men-launch-new-case-against-the-justice-secretary-9985773.html

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    1. Victims of two of Britain’s most worrying miscarriages of justice of modern times are to take the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, to court over changes to the law stopping them from receiving compensation for the 24 years they wrongly spent behind bars.

      Victor Nealon, who spent 17 years in prison for attempted rape before his conviction was quashed, has begun legal action after being left penniless, suffering from post-traumatic stress and unable to work as a result of his wrongful imprisonment. He has been joined by one of Britain’s youngest miscarriage of justice victims, Sam Hallam, who, aged 17, was convicted of murder after a trainee chef was stabbed during a fight in London.

      Mr Hallam’s conviction was thrown out by the Court of Appeal in 2012 after he spent seven years in jail. Judges heard that crucial evidence supporting his alibi had been left undiscovered on his mobile phone for years.

      The legal challenge is seen as a test case for a new stricter regime to compensate the victims of miscarriages introduced last year. Crucially, it changed eligibility for compensation which means it paid only when the new facts resulting in the quashing of a conviction shows “beyond reasonable doubt” they did not commit the offence.

      Barrister Baroness Helena Kennedy called the change “an affront to our system of law” when the Bill was debated. “When people have wasted long periods of their life in jail for crimes they didn’t commit, the least society can do is provide some compensation,” said Sadiq Khan, the shadow Justice Secretary. “This government was warned the changes would place too great a burden on the victim to prove their innocence, even after they’d been freed from jail. It’s a mark of a civilised country that when mistakes of such a serious nature like this are made, the Government should pay compensation to make up for the error. The rules require review urgently.”

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  5. This blog is obsessed with minibuses. No clue why. Community Payback never has been a proper part of probation. It's unskilled, undemanding and just menial work. I'd quite happily get rid of it to the private sector if it meant the rest of us could stay in the public sector. Most of the oiks employed to deliver it never would cut it in a proper probation job.

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    1. Like anyone who doesn't work for community payback actually thinks community payback is a proper part of probation.

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    2. "Community Payback never has been a proper part of probation"

      One word - nonsense.

      The poorly named CP is a descendant of CSO arising from The Wootton Report, initially piloted in 6 areas of England and Wales. and for many years thereafter VERY much a part of probation with initially careful matching of CS worker to CS project with a back up of group schemes doing such as gardening and decorating for needy individuals and organisations, for those workers who for one reason or another could not fit into an individualised placement. It started in 1973 and up to 1990 or after in Inner London, no one was normally accepted without a pre court individual, one on one assessment by a Community Service Officer. It was very definitely a sentence with a purpose!

      http://www.londoncrc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/London-Probation-Trust-Community-Payback-Annual-Report-2012.pdf

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    3. I worked for lpt in 2012 when that report was written. What a work of fiction.

      Andrew perhaps you need to accept that you know nothing about these things anymore.

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    4. I do accept that but I still know the meaning of the word - never!

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    5. How rude and shortsighted of you! Andrew frequently posts from his own experience well aware that sadly, things have changed!

      I recall when we could sell community service to the court as a purposefully tailored sentence; when those attending experienced it as such - things changed when it became a punishment, and a restriction of freedom (like curfews- prison in the community). Community service, before they tendered for contracts, thereby under cutting small business's and councils, was a positive experience for many, and a rewarding experience for staff too! Now with the remnents of National Standards it's all about a minimum of 6 hours a week, long journeys and expensive bus/train fares to group inductions, which used to be credited as a full attendance, with Health and Safety videos and time taken to ensure participants knew what was expected of them. clients no longer get financial assistance to get there and inductions are done on a sixpence and straight onto a same day placement! No longer tailored to the needs of the community or the client!

      I also suggested your comments directed at Andrew are shortshighted, because as he is retired and has retained a keen interest in all things probation, he does a lot of research and is willing to share his findings with the rest of us, who just can't spare the time.

      Let's not get into rubbishing each other, if you saw Chris Grayling on the Sunday Politics this morning, no need to remind you of who the enemy is!

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    6. Anon 10:52. With respect you are talking a load of rubbish. Unless UPW (as now is) has change drastically since I commenced my probation career with them in 1997, the supervisors continue to be highly skilled at a practical level and provide worksite instruction and training towards NVQ certs to probationers who often didnt have a clue what they were doing. In terms of being 'proper probation' the 'Community Service' was often 'last chance saloon' for someone otherwise facing a custodial sentence. It was a perfect vehicle for pro social modelling, particularly (say) at lunch clubs, where often young men who had little dealings with a community beyond their own peer group would transform from initially refusing to have anything to do with those attending (leave me in the kitchen to wash up, just dont make me talk to old biddies) to sitting and having lunch with them. I firmly believe this reduced their future risk of crimes against the elderly, having learned to see them as people. Oh, and I'm one of the oiks who went on to train as a Probation Officer.
      Deb

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    7. It is clear to see why the person rubbishing Payback has remained anonymous given their comment. I have worked through CS,CP,ECP and am after 15 yrs supervising Payback. Some PO's have always seen us as the poor relation and a lesser sevice but let me ask anonymous a question. When have you had in excess of 200 contact hours with your clients? Who better to figure out how someone ticks, those with 20 mins contact at worst once a month or an equally dedicated staff member with them for 7 hours a day once a week. We all do important with often chaotic people but DO NOT discredit CP!!!! Oh and I'll happily put my name to my post, courage of conviction and all that. Rich Ward, Bristol

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  6. Anonymous 10:52
    I find it difficult to understan how any one with your attitudes could cut it in a "proper probation job"

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    1. I agree 11.12 .shocking way to talk about fellow staff. Upw supervisors spend
      More time than the rest of with a lot of people and as such have the opportunity to demonstrate pro social behaviour whilst teaching new skills and problem solving amongst others. They are also the part of probation that is also the most visible to the the public within local communities.

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  7. I am a PSO in a CRC, I hold over 50 cases and last week my workload was at 99%, we had to re tier our cases to new guidelines and my workload is now 60%.. Nothing has changed, but I now have loads of capacity!!!!

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    1. it's all a big fiddle. we don't even have access to our workload management is so I could be working 'over' and i'd never know. I don't trust managers to look after my best interests so will never have a clue if i'm being overworked. As for tiering we've not used that for a long time, I thought workload management was using the amount of requirements per Order as a formula for the workload - ie the greater the amount of requirements the higher the weighting per case. I know our admin staff are like vulchers always asking if we have any requirements to terminate so we can be passed more stuff and for a completion to be recorded. Hope i'm made redundant or got rid of as soon as.

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    2. All custody cases retiered to T1. Statistical manipulation. No incentive to communicate with sentence planning until ready for release.

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    3. Just re-tier them once you discover you have been allocated them. Make them a T3 due to the complexity of multi-agency, ie you, the prisons, the old lags who meet them at the gate, housing and DWP.
      Primes are not the only ones who can manipulate stats!!!

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  8. Just out of curiosity, I looked for probation jobs on Google. Of interest is that probation officer posts are advertised any thing from £8.50 - £30.00 an hour!not sure what is more alarming, the number of vacancies or the discrepancy in financial remuneration!

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    1. Due to the recent changes in Probation, it seems that anyone can now be called a Probation Officer, whatever they do, whatever they are paid and whoever they work for.

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    2. A lot of those jobs will be through agencies looking to capitalise (read exploit) the recent changes both pre and post TR. Once the new Financial year commences 1st April (ironically the birthday OF a fool) I very much doubt there will be any similar vacancies, more so given the view held by many that staff will be made redundant. I know in DTV that temporary workers are being told that their services are no longer wanted from the 31st March.

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    3. The primes are target driven with an element of PbR (or performance bonus in real terms).
      If primes are dependent on this model for success, then how long before that model is extended to their workforce?
      Basic (povertyline) salary with bonuses for good target performance?

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    4. to Anon 13:52 you highlight what I consider to be a significant issue what is a Probation Officer?
      One of my main reasons for vehemently opposing the Probation Institute is that it has failed to clarify and recognise the role boundary.
      In saying this I do not seek to in any way have issues raised about PSO colleagues or seek to impose a lessor status, it is simply that the qualification should be recognised as with other professions.
      The roles are different and by not asserting this we have been complicit in the devaluing of our profession and the merging of roles. POs get paid for having their qualification in terms of job evaluation and should work to that responsibility. PSOs should not have to undertake work that others get paid more to do - it is fundamentally unjust yet that is what is happening.

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    5. As a PSO, I could not agree more. Boundaries are blurring more and more and PSOs being expected to managed cases previously held by POs.

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  9. to deviate from current topic, a headline in today's People caught my eye - 'Ist Class Injustice'. - In spite of Osborne calling time in 2010 on first class travel - 100's of civil servants have simply ignored the Chancellor. There's a surprise.

    Among the numerous senior civil servants who were salivating with greed, blowing £5 mill on rail and air travel, the Ministry of Justice officials spent £25 million on taxis alone between 2010 and 2014. (can't risk wear and tear on the Merc).

    The MoJ also spent £3.6mill on first class rail, plus £165k on business flights in 2013/14. (does that include the short jollies to' 'far away places with strange sounding names, far away over the sea' -to all you younger ones, that is an old song- to kindly provide them with solutions for their crime problems, as NOMs of course, have all the answers, as their research is indicating the potential for big round things with holes in the middle)

    Bloody shameful, while people are freezing to death, and that's just for starters.

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  10. Hmm lots of griping about how the changes will affect those working in probation at the moment but barely a word about how the changes are going to affect those under probation i.e. the clients. These changes aren't just going to affect one part of the equation but anyone and everyone on both sides of the probation table. It might be an idea to present a more balanced view of things and to also provide information about how the changes will affect the service users because we are not being told ANYTHING at all by anyone

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    1. The biggest fear we all have is that the job we have enjoyed becomes a pretence, like Rehabilitation' in prisons. The rhetoric about the additional 55,000 offenders having their needs met in addition to the existing 300,000 with less money and poorer training does not bear close examination. We are not worried about being unemployed but about being unconstructively employed.

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    2. Probation services for many years now has focused very little on the needs of its service users. It has become a vechicle to justify poor government policy and retheroic.
      The reality is that the experience of most 'service users' today is one not to detached from being on 'bail'. It would be no real difference for a probationer to report to the duty sargent on the desk of the local police station once a week.
      It saddens me to say that, because with a long history of addiction based offending, I have, in the past had much support and assistance from the service.
      I also feel that many who are under the 'supervision' (that word is part of whats wrong with the service at the moment), of probation don't really get the most as they can from the relationship as many feel having problems may equal some form of sanction or warning that 'could' move you closer to recall.
      This comment is not a critisism of staff involved in the service today, rather an observation of how far away from its roots the service has gone.
      It's the government thats changed it. Not probation staff.

      Getafix

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    3. re 17 57. I have just today written to a campaigning group 38 Degrees requesting that the destruction of Probation and resulting dangers to the public be highlighted in the run up to the Election . I have pointed out the risks to the public, to staff, to the families of clients and to clients themselves, as I have done in every article I have written - on this blog and to MP's and newspapers, as I have seen many other comments on this blog also doing the same.

      I have also mentioned the risks to certain categories of offenders who are remaining in the public sector, as being at particular risk, now that they are all reporting to one office, as opposed to be reporting to the office nearest their place of residence.

      A good Probation officer should be protecting their client as well as protecting the public. And most of the ones I have worked with have done that, sometimes to the detriment of their own safety. But I think the changes coming are so unspoken as yet, that we can only speculate the mess that awaits the workers and those worked with. And if you are a service user, I am assuming you have not been told much because nobody knows!!

      Good luck, whether you are a user or a 'used'!

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    4. PS - I meant to say, although retired, I keep in touch with colleagues, and if you are a user, be assured, that the welfare of their clients and families is something which they very much do have concerns for.
      ML again

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    5. Getafix.

      I believe that your experience is common to most people 'on probation' these days. And I agree that it isn't the fault of the staff in the probation offices. For me a shift came in the 1990s, and further promoted by the incoming Labour government, that you could fix societiy's problems from the centre. That is when they invented NOMS, and ever since Probation staff have been tied to their desks counting beans on NOMS behalf.

      Many on here will say that the govt motivation is ideological - to give profit to the private sector, Yes, that will happen, no doubt, but there will be a freeing up of the system to allow better front-line services if the providers wish to do that. If they don't they won't get their Payment by Results components. There will be many efficiencies made, and maybe a very poor service from some providers, but I believe those providers with a longer term view will probably do alright for themselves, and alright for their service users. If it isn't too late on a Sunday night, I expect to get shot down on here for saying it, but it will take three or four years to see how this pans out.

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    6. We have from the outset of this madness raised the concerns of impact on public, victims, service users and staff. I can assure you, service users are indeed as much affected as anyone else. Not staff choice I can assure you. You should be at the pinnacle in all this, its why most of us joined the service, but sadly Gov has eroded the importance of this, not enhanced it, unless you are ready to change in which case you are valuable.

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  11. Do I, in my 50s, really want to spend four years wading through s*** to discover whether something I find suspect is of any use? That's a big ask.

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    1. But NOMS have tried to turn Probation work into a desk job? Do you want an other four years of that?

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  12. 20:31 - everything that any government does is designed to benefit that particular government & its sponsors, be they individuals, big business, etc. The electorate and the little people don't count for shit. There's no "freeing up" of anything other than the rush of profits into their bank accounts. Do "we" own any banks? Despite assurances that they're in public ownership, they're simply propping up this ConDem pact. Have "we" seen anything from the sale of the banks? No. Have we seen any benefit from the injection of £billions into the economy (quantitative easing)? No, but most of those £billions have been squirrelled away into the accounts of the super rich.

    Control & Restraint - control the economy, control the media, control the population - restrain the resistance. Fear is the key - global business, global terror, global control.

    The posh boys & girls are in the driving seat & no-one's going to stop them.

    Or so they think - "sassenfassenrassendickdastardly"

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  13. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2015/01/18/magistrates-warn-chris-grayling-legal-aid-new-survey/

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    1. Magistrates and senior lawyers are increasingly concerned that cuts to legal aid and an increase in defendants representing themselves in criminal trials are a “serious” threat to the justice system, according to new research from the Bureau.

      In the first survey of magistrates since the cuts to criminal legal fees took hold last March, and using a detailed analysis of new government data, the Bureau found:

      more than 70% of magistrates questioned now have serious concerns about the impact on their courts of defendants representing themselves
      the number of legal aid funded criminal trials at magistrates’ courts has fallen by 6% between 2013 and 2014
      one in five of the defendants seen by the magistrates in the survey had been representing themselves
      one magistrate so concerned about the cuts they warned: “Justice is something that is increasingly only available to the wealthy.”
      The survey comes as Justice Secretary Chris Grayling faces the last day of another judicial review tomorrow (Monday, January 19), brought by solicitors who are questioning government proposals for further cuts in legal aid in criminal cases.

      The Bureau’s snapshot survey was conducted in conjunction with the Magistrates’ Association during a number of days last November. Some 258 magistrates recorded what type of hearings they had seen on a particular day and made notes about their observations.

      The results were then compared with a previous survey from last February, a month before the cuts to fees in criminal cases.

      In February 47% of magistrates who had seen defendants representing themselves against criminal charges said there was a negative impact on proceedings all or most of the time.

      That figure has now risen to 71%. The latest research also found that 21% of all defendants seen by magistrates on the day of their survey had been representing themselves against criminal charges.

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  14. I've recently attended a ORA/TTG briefing and am shocked at the level of chaos that surrounds this new legislation. We couldn't even get an exact answer to when this is due to start. Some say February 1st, others say April 1st, others May??? I didn't realise we could pick and choose when legislation comes in? This is going to cause confusion among NPS and CRC staff. At Court we are (yet again) going to look like total fools as not even management can provide us with detail of how this is going to work. We are supposed to be the experts aren't we? I think thats how Grayling referred to us as?? This confusion will continue to allocation, at the prison, upon release and even at the gate. The turn around for the screening tools is ridiculously quick and unrealistic in my view. What made me laugh is that the resettlement plan isn't even going to be risk led! Ah ok, good luck with that.

    I'm a probation officer...get me the hell out of here......!!!!

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