Thursday, 15 January 2015

Minibus Special

Another page filler folks as it's a slow news day. 

It strikes me that the following question put to the French caterers the other day just might have the capacity to open up quite a can of worms for all the new CRC owners. Maybe some due diligence might be in order so as to flush out other potential problems the former Trusts had quietly left in the 'too difficult to handle' box?   
Can you please clarify driving licence requirements for provision of community payback travel? 
We are looking at this issue urgently with CRC colleagues.
From a Community Payback perspective it appears the majority of the Supervisors are currently driving the CRC's minibuses without the necessary training. 'NEW' regulations were introduced in 2008 regarding driving at work and the drivers all should have completed the CPC training. Will our new employers sort this out?

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Interesting, I wonder what the Community payback insurers will say about this? If this is accurate, you should contact your union Health and Safety rep urgently. If not a union member you have a duty to raise your concerns with your employer. Sorry but this is one of those issues that cannot be left.

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Oh yes, the mini bus qualification/certificate - if supervisors are driving with it, and carrying clients, then they are breaking the law and the occupants of any such vehicle are, therefore, uninsured. Please refer this issue to the Police, if Management are ignoring this.

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My CRC know about this but don't seem overly concerned we are breaking the law.

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The law seems clear - if you were professionally carrying passengers before 10th Sept 2008, you can continue as long as by 9th Sept 2013, you have upgraded by doing 35 hours 'periodic' training, alternatively if you start after 10Sept 2008 you must qualify to hold a four part initial certificate of professional competence.

Anyone driving professionally a vehicle that can carry nine or more passengers without such a licence is committing an offence and obviously liable to prosecution whatever the situation is for the employer. The maximum fine is £1,000.

https://www.gov.uk/driving-a-minibus


There is a list of exemptions shown in the Act but I cannot see anything to cover the Unpaid Work supervisors. Perhaps they should have done this a while back?

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One of my colleagues had this from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency:-
Thank you for your email dated 05 January regarding Driver CPC.
As minibus categories D1 (101) and D1E (101) now fall within the scope of Driver CPC (as of August 2013) then from the information provided it seems that you would NOT be exempt from Driver CPC.
In terms of hire and reward please see the following document at 3.1 for definitions: www.gov.uk/government/publications/section-19-and-22-permits-not-for-profit-passenger-transport 
If you need to refer to the exemptions then please see the following link: www.gov.uk/driver-cpc-exemptions-examples 
As it states on the gov.uk website the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can only tell you if they think you’d be exempt from Driver CPC. However, this doesn’t carry any legal weight. Only a court can make a decision on how the rules about Driver CPC are interpreted. You should seek legal advice if you want to rely on one of these exemptions.
Regards,  

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Seems as though we are not setting a very good example!!

80 comments:

  1. Oh well done - as my late Mum would say - "great minds think alike" - but you are faster than me - by 16 minutes!

    Thanks again - you really are doing a great job - even though some commenters must drive you almost crazy!

    http://probationmatters.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/caterers-publish-recipe.html?showComment=1421322263666#c2417182985509315191

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  2. Perhaps it's not just a slow news day, Jim? Maybe we're all just so chilled out and relaxed that no-one's got anything to complain about any more?

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/14/meditation-help-stressed-public-servants-mps-inquiry

    I should say that I'm a fan of mindfulness techniques myself, but I'd be very concerned if these MPs think it's a replacement for properly-resourced public services!

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    1. Stressed out teachers, prison officers and nurses should be trained in ancient techniques of mindfulness meditation, a cross-party group of MPs and peers said on Wednesday.

      An eight-month inquiry by the all party group on mindfulness found frontline public servants could be less likely to fall ill with stress, or quit altogether, if they engage in the increasingly popular meditation practice which involves increasing awareness of the present moment to help control anxiety and depression.

      A rash of small pilot studies about mindfulness meditation’s potential impact in the public sector is already underway. One hundred frontline health workers in Surrey were given mindfulness training last year and showed a fall in sickness absence, according to the Department of Health. Several prisons are running pilots to see how the practice can help convicted criminals avoid reoffending while 300 teachers in a network of academy schools in the north west have also been trained.

      “It could be rolled out to prison staff, GPs and in key professions where there is big burn out,” said Chris Ruane MP, co-chair of the group at the launch of its interim report on Wednesday. “If we prove conclusively that mindfulness can stabilise those individuals it would be a great benefit to society.”

      “Absenteeism costs the public sector a lot and giving people mindfulness training could save money in the short and long term,” added Tracey Crouch MP, also co-chair. She added that interest in the practice is growing in Westminster and that she knew of two cabinet ministers who use mindfulness techniques. Sixty MPs and 55 peers have also had training. Lord O’Donnell, the former cabinet secretary, attended the launch and said mindfulness can “play a huge role” in prevention of poor mental health. However, he called for more data to back up the claims.

      The report represents the most significant political pressure yet to bring mindfulness into the mainstream and comes amid a boom in public interest in the practice, rooted in a 2,400-year-old Buddhist tradition.

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    2. Mindful of that Jim, all would be solved with decent management with soft skills!

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  3. Yes I do a mindfulness course too. Talking to a solicitor today who has been made redundant because of Grayling's cuts to legal aid. He has destroyed the system of justice in just over 3 years, the law is only for those that can pay for it, our society is not a democracy.

    Papa

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  4. Back to the mini bus issue....I am very concerned about this issue both for staff and service users. Firstly if that is the required standard, no organisation/business should fall sort, it appears worse in this case because probation may actually be breaking the law.
    What if there is an accident? Surely the UPW insurance will be invalid? I do not hold this information but would ask anyone who does to immediately raise this with the employer. Vicarious liability. perhaps, but surely this is a case where we have a public duty to anyone using those vehicles? Service users have no choice remember.

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    1. It's hardly that big of a deal. Just carry less than 9 passengers until the appropriate tests have been undertaken...it's what we're doing in our CPA and it took us all of 5 minutes to work that one out.

      If I were a new CRC owner I'd be more concerned about the want of initiative, independent thought and unbiased analysis shown by most of the posters around here. They're going to be spoiled for choice when it comes to identifying dead-weights for the redundancy pile.

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    2. Depends on interpretation. The above post said a vehicle that 'can' take nine or more passengers, not a vehicle that 'is' carrying nine or more. I do not know what the legislation says but I guess it depends on the nuances of the relevant laws.

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    3. To Anon 15:57, it IS that big of a deal if the law is being broken as colleagues have indicated that + 9 ARE being carried. Love your offensive comments about "most of the posters around here" and "dead-weights for the redundancy pile". You do amuse me!

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    4. "The above post said a vehicle that 'can' take nine or more passengers, not a vehicle that 'is' carrying nine or more."

      I think you'll find the key bit is capacity ie whether the vehicle 'can' carry 9 or more passengers - not how many are in it at any given time.

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    5. Under a new European Union Directive, professional bus, coach and lorry drivers need to hold a Driver CPC in addition to a vocational driving licence. Any drivers of lorries over 3.5 tonnes and minibuses with 9 seats or more must usually obtain a Driver CPC. Seeexceptions below.New drivers obtain their Driver CPC by passing a series of initial qualification tests - theory and practical. This must then be followed by 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years if they want to keep their Driver CPC after that period.Bus and coach (PCV) drivers who hold a relevant vocational licence (D, D1, D+E and D1+E) gained before 10 September 2008, (including restricted vocational licence D(101) issued after 1991 and D1(101) issued before 1997) and lorry (LGV) drivers who obtained their licence (C, C1, C+E and C1+E) before 10 September 2009, do not need to take the initial qualification. This is because they are deemed to hold 'acquired rights'. However, they will still have to complete periodic training to keep their Driver CPC.New drivers who have qualified via the initial qualification route will receive a Driver Qualification Card (DQC), which they can show as proof that they hold Driver CPC.Existing drivers with acquired rights will receive their DQC when they have completed their first 35 hours of periodic training; their DQC will be valid until 9 September 2018 for PCV drivers and until 9 September 2019 for LGV drivers. Drivers with licences for both PCV and LGV will be covered by one DQC which will be valid until 9 September 2019.

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    6. Anon 15:57 we've been carrying dead wood for years. Its à shame they weren't got rid of with the split.

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  5. More to the point, where do we stand when an offender refuses to get into a vehicle unless he can see evidence of the required training for the driver in question? Would love to see THAT breach hearing!!

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  6. In London they don't drive vehicles that take more than 8 offenders therefore are under the 9 passenger limit and this ruling does not apply. Only relevant if over 9 passengers.

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    1. no, it applies to the vehicle capacity!

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    2. Yes and the minibuses being driven don't seat more than 9 therefore no issue.

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    3. My minibus is bigger than your minibus

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  7. LATEST NAPO BRIEFING TO MPs - via Napo Forum - where comments can be read and yours added.

    http://tinyurl.com/nlmqnxj

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  8. My nephew did community service (years ago) and the group, who were painting, were all told to 'get back on the bus' so that they could fetch some chairs from her mums that she needed moving. Following week, they knocked off early again so that she could do some shopping. So that they couldn't get up to mischief, they all had to troop round Asda with her!.

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    1. By the supervisor, I forgot to add.

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  9. To Anon 15:54 I do not work in Community Payback but have honestly found the supervisors to be really committed and honourable people. Many in my area have worked outside probation prior to these roles and show a real commitment to those they supervise.
    There is just an unpleasant tone to some of the posts today. Just sayin'

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    1. I posted at 15;54 and I worked for probation at the time - it happens to be true - how is it unpleasant?. It's just adding to the general discourse about the groups/drivers using vans. Jim isn't running a blog for the Moj. Perhaps reading about the frightening lack of insurance is a bit too much for some people.

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    2. perhaps it is... simply too much

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  10. Our CRC / UPW has been aware of this " glitch " since just before Christmas. Plans are being drawn up to start ripping seats out of vans as the Caterers and Parking Attendants figure what they've bought into !!!! .. Slight problem with this bastardisation of vans means non standard vehicle = increase in insurance. Bon Appetite !

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  11. So public sector has been breaking the law yet privately run London has not and the new private owners of the CRCS won't be either. Sort of speaks volumes really. Public sector law breaking must be ok in the world of you who extoll the virtues of your trusts

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    1. Complying with the law is an expectation whether a service is in the public or private sector my friend.

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    2. Somewhere, a village is being deprived of a twat.

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    3. Sorry Jim, not aimed at you :)

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  12. Noticed some CRC staff twitter activity lately. Are people being encouraged to tweet about how great everything is in CRC even if not true? #dontbelieveeverythingyouread

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  13. FROM TWITTER: -

    Loud Hayley ‏@LoudHayley 21h21 hours ago

    Glad I was sifted to CRC! #Probation Feeling positive after recent updates.

    https://twitter.com/LoudHayley/status/555485188663545857

    AND

    PozInProbation ‏@pozinprobation 51m51 minutes ago

    @LoudHayley @Andrew_S_Hatton Me too. Just delivered 5 sessions about TTG and ORA 14. Mood is #upbeat

    https://twitter.com/pozinprobation/status/555782126269136896

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  14. Everything I have heard from my CRC points to a hill of beans. Nothing concrete either way. They want to discuss, share, embrace, learn etc etc but all amounts to nothing in terms of best practice or job security. Not fearful per se but still waiting for substance.

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  15. Re mindfulness. the bit that worries me '.“It could be rolled out to prison staff, GPs and in key professions where there is big burn out,” said Chris Ruane MP, co-chair of the group at the launch of its interim report on Wednesday. “If we prove conclusively that mindfulness can stabilise those individuals it would be a great benefit to society.” ...anything that helps people deal with stress..great..but to me this seems to suggest individuals in 'big burnout' situtations aren't coping due to their own...oooh that buzzword.. 'deficits' . nowt to do with high caseloads, crap working conditions,uncertainty re the future...etc etc etc. Something else for management to discharge their duty of care without addressing the real problems.

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  16. Well I'm really looking forward to working for Sodexo now.
    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/mp-calls-northumberland-prison-contract-8454226

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    1. Hold tight until the independent report comes out. Things will get interesting then!

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    2. Calls have been made for the government to review the contract to run HMP Northumberland after staff told an MP they fear for their lives.

      Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, said staff have revealed deep-seated concerns about working at the jail and has called for a government review of Sodexo’s 15 year deal to run the prison.

      The French-owned company started out as a catering firm and runs the catering for Newcastle United.

      After Sodexo took on the jail HMP Northumberland has been hit by a number of high profile incidents including a riot in March with more than 50 inmates involved and in October it was discovered mattresses that are recycled at the jail had been used to smuggle drugs into the site when staff discovered a stash of a suspected class a substance.

      In the first nine days of this year an incident log revealed 10 prisoners were assaulted, one prison officer was bitten, seven drug hauls were discovered, and on January 3 there was a rooftop protest.

      On January 6 four inmates barricaded themselves into a cell and more than six mobile phones were seized and on January 2 an inmate was left with ‘serious’ head wound following an assault.

      Mr Lavery said: “The people I’ve spoken to believe that their lives are at risk due to the way in which Sodexo is operating the prison.

      I call urgently on the government to review the contract at HMP Northumberland based on what I have said.

      “The last thing we want in any prison is for anyone, whether an officer, prisoner or anyone that’s on the estate, to suffer as a consequence of poor management.

      “My big fear for HMP Northumberland is someone is going to get badly hurt.

      “If it does happen, nobody is in a position to say that the were not warned.

      “There are assaults on a daily basis, prisoners are barricading themselves in their cells.

      “Something will happen here unless we get to the bottom of it.”

      Since 2010 the number of prison officers working at the site has fallen from 441 in 2010 to 270 in 2013 - and workers’ unions have described the jail as a ‘tinderbox’.

      After a recruitment drive at the jail 30 new members of staff were taken on and it has emerged two were then laid off due to CRB checks revealing they had criminal convictions.

      One of the new recruits was suspended after he was allegedly found drunk while on duty on Christmas Day.

      Mr Lavery said staff at the jail told him people stuff banned items, including drugs and mobile phones, into objects such as tennis balls and dead birds in a bid to beat prison patrols - and it is understood some of the items discovered in the log were the result of proactive staff campaigns.

      Staff at the jail patrol fences but it is understood due to the large area covered by the security fence staff can’t always detect items destined for inmates.

      A Sodexo Justice Services spokesman said: “These incidents reflect the challenging task of managing a prison of the size and profile of HMP Northumberland but do not reflect the excellent work that our staff do to address these difficult issues.

      “We constantly review staffing levels to ensure we run a safe and secure prison, which remains our absolute priority. As such, we have recruited additional staff who in line with policy are cleared with a CRB check before taking on prisoner-facing duties.

      “We are very proactive in finding and removing contraband items as demonstrated by the number of seizures.”

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    3. 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 the fact.

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  17. Aye, I think you're probably right.

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  18. I have heard from colleagues who have attended the Purple Futures workshop.

    Main thing is that from March things will start being implemented but it wont be until November that we will really see the changes. Each OM is going to have a budget per offender to spend as they so wish on programmes - £2k for lower risk ones. It also seems clear that there is going to be a new offender database that will replace Delius and there will be a much bigger emphasis on remote working with encrypted tablets. Minimum requirements per 12 month Order is 6. Very much focussed on £ following risk and our current working practices changing almost beyond recognition.

    Also mentioned that NPS are in for a really bumpy ride.

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    1. Can you attend a CP conference on this case? No, sorry. His budget ran out last Tuesday.

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    2. re NPS bumpy ride - any further information please?

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    3. 30% cuts and as it looking to be privatised in the future. This will be an almost nap if CRC is a success because NPS are already buying services off them so it almost seems inevitable. Ironically, it will mean we will be rejoined but will just be altogether in the public sector.

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    4. whoops 'we'll be together in the private sector'.

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    5. no lets stay in the private sector and be rid of delius once and for all !!! at least they might come up with user friendly computer systems, camper vans for UPW and fish and chip lunches at every training event !!!

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  19. I can recall a time when probation used to defend human rights and speak up on behalf of people who had little or no voice. The case of Shaker Ahmed would have been talked about, discussed and actively campaigned for. When we work in an organisation that can not defend and stand up for the voices who are oppressed then what does this say about us, what does this say about our values? Very sad

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    1. Psst....Who got Guantanamo Bay?, rumour is same contractor has the waterboarding and rectal rehydration - win, win, or what?.

      (Attempt at satire).

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    2. Sorry, Anon 21:13, not very funny. I seem to remember reading somewhere about one of those motivational team building experiences where colleagues would have the opportunity to waterboard each other as a way of building trust! Team building events per se have never been my idea of a fun day away from the office, let alone those involving torture dressed up as a bit of a larf. Mind you I'm not a great fan of other pastimes either where violent behaviour masquerades as 'fun' - such as paint balling - but that's possibly because I was once held up at gun point in my own home....
      Deb

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    3. Apologies Deb. Satire is not always meant to be funny though. Tony.

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    4. No problem, my friend, its just that I think some subjects are too serious/important even for satire. But now I'm straying into the Charlie Hebdo debate....
      Deb

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  20. Question Time was a crease tonight. David Starkey in fine shithead form referring to Muslims as medieaval & finding teenage girls guilty of seducing (he thought it was a more accurate term than grooming) married men. A Probation Officer in the audience got half a word in about sexual offending behaviour, but it wasn't of interest to the Dimble. Some guy (Mehdi) from Huffington Post (Whats that?!?) was very eloquent in the first instance, but then slipped into making snide asides, which (whilst Starkey deserved them) rather spoiled the first impression. Tory minister in denial about the state of the nation & irritated with LibDem panellist, whilst Labour Minister was forgettable. Is this what we have to look forward to with TV debates?

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  21. Just found this ray of hope in a Cumbrian news story (News&Star I think) about speech by Bishop of Carlisle:

    "Concerning benefit fraud, Bishop James told the meeting: “Much of the rhetoric around benefit fraud is largely exaggerated.”

    He explained that only 90p in every £100 went to those claiming benefits fraudulently and, when people were encouraged to report their neighbours, 74 out of 75 people who thought their neighbours were committing benefit fraud turned out to be wrong.

    Sanctions, the CWRC discovered, made vulnerable people more vulnerable and have “become pretty punitive”.

    Mr Moran told the News & Star afterwards: “Overwhelmingly the people we see have very poor mental health and often very poor physical health and many wouldn’t know how to cheat the benefits system.

    “I don’t think things have been helped in recent years by some TV programmes focusing on the claimants and attempting to accentuate things.”

    He said the Law Centre helps an estimated 600 people with benefits claims each year and that the amount it perceives to be false is “negligible”.

    At the meeting, Bishop James also revealed the group most affected by the recent welfare reforms was adults with disabilities.

    A copy of the CWRC findings have been sent to all the Cumbrian MPs and Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions."

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    1. How many Bishops can you fit into a mini(bus)?

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    2. each and every Bishop who supported this government's TR agenda when the bill went before the House of Lords...reckon that would be Justice.....

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  22. Depends what licence the driver has.

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  23. I think you should get a guest blog from someone in Serco CP because they only have two weeks left working for them.

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  24. "If I were a new CRC owner I'd be more concerned about the want of initiative, independent thought and unbiased analysis shown by most of the posters around here. They're going to be spoiled for choice when it comes to identifying dead-weights for the redundancy pile."

    Sounds like someone's wanting to liven up their CV coz they're after a vacant CEO post.

    Got the MBA paid for by the now defunct Trust you worked for presumably? Been to Manager School? Bought the Tom Peters' books? Well hell, why shouldn't you get a £100k bonus?

    Its time, my friend...

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    1. Blogger Beware - from Guardian, but other reports are available.

      "A Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam was brought after Friday prayers to a public square in the port city of Jeddah and flogged 50 times before hundreds of spectators, a witness to the lashing said.

      The witness said Raif Badawi’s feet and hands were shackled during the flogging but his face was visible. He remained silent and did not cry out, said the witness, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity fearing government reprisal.

      Badawi was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He had criticized Saudi Arabia’s powerful clerics on a liberal blog he founded. The blog has since been shut down. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 1m riyals or about $266,600.

      Rights activists say Saudi authorities are using Badawi’s case as a warning to others who think to criticise the kingdom’s powerful religious establishment from which the ruling family partly derives its authority.

      London-based Amnesty International said he would receive 50 lashes once a week for 20 weeks."

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    2. A4E employees found guilty of fraud and forgery.

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    3. Ines Cano-Uribe, Matthew Hannigan-Train and Hayley Wilson have today been found guilty of conspiring to make false instruments on the Inspire to Aspire contract to cover up fraudulent claims. Ines Cano-Uribe, a contract manager, was also found guilty with administrator Zabar Khalil of a separate count of forgery. In addition, six defendants pleaded guilty before the trial to 48 counts of forgery and related conspiracy offences.

      They will be sentenced on 30 March 2015 at Reading Crown Court.

      Lisa Rose, specialist fraud prosecutor at the CPS said: "This scheme involved blatant deception on behalf of the defendants. Instead of helping people back into work, the defendants created false clients and false paper trails for future audits. This criminal abuse of their position and responsibility was simply to boost the company's performance and increase the amount of money it received.

      "The defendants claimed A4e had helped find jobs for people who were in fact already employed, people who had never come to A4e for help, and even for some A4e colleagues who had not even used the scheme to join the company.

      "For an organisation with such aspirational aims and goals, it is very disappointing that the defendants behaved so dishonestly. Instead of spending time helping those who genuinely needed to find work these defendants were tirelessly covering their tracks, not to mention causing considerable losses to the public purse."

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    4. marvellous ... they can evaluate our 'Through the Gate' services after sentence then. Thats one way of planting 'secret shoppers' in the new world!!!!

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  25. A4E case is a potential look into the future of probation when under pressure staff are encouraged to juke the stats.

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    1. http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/18861/second_fraud_arrest_as_homeless_charity_declares_itself_insolvent#.VLjs37sRe2I

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    2. Swansea charity Cyrenians Cymru announced yesterday that it will enter administration, after a second employee was arrested on suspicion of a “systematic and extensive” £800,000 fraud.

      South Wales Police confirmed that a 40-year-old woman was arrested on Monday and released on bail. It follows the arrest of the charity’s 47-year-old finance director, Mark Davies, in December.

      In a statement released yesterday, Mark Sheridan, chair of Cyrenians Cymru, said: “It is with profound sadness that the Cyrenians Cymru board of trustees has taken a decision to declare the charity insolvent and enter administration.

      “The independent financial investigation, which was initiated by the board and senior management towards the end of last year, uncovered a systematic and extensive suspected fraud. This was reported to the police in December and is now the subject of a police investigation. Two employees from the charity’s finance department have been dismissed and arrested.”

      Cyrenians Cymru specialised in tackling homelessness and poverty in Swansea and the surrounding area. It was registered with the Commission in 1974 and employed 75 staff. It had ten active projects with an estimated 2,500 service users in Wales.
      Staff were informed of the charity’s position on Tuesday.

      Its accounts for the financial year ending March 2013, the latest that are available, show that the charity had £747,394 in unrestricted reserves and £711,229 in restricted funds. Its income was £2,157,180 with a spend of £2,350,377.
      Sheridan said yesterday that the charity was “taking legal action for the recovery of all losses”.

      “The consequences have been devastating for the charity,” he said. “Monies due to keep services running have been frozen, in accordance with the policies of funders, and therefore the charity is unable to meet its financial obligations.

      “We will continue to make every effort, with partners and funders, to ensure that these essential services have a future.”
      A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission told Civil Society News that: “Cyrenians Cymru has submitted a serious incident report to us and has assured us it is taking all the correct measures to protect beneficiaries.

      “We are actively engaged with the charity who have provided us with regular updates, and we understand that unfortunately, the charity has been forced to close.”

      A spokeswoman for the South Wales Police confirmed that “an investigation into the matter is being conducted by the South Wales Police economic crime unit”.

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    3. What a tragedy - what a fabulous organisation the Cyrenians have been - I presume the Swansea folk have some connection with the 'Bury me in my Boots' lot started by Anton ... someone or other - a probation officer. He and his wife started The Cyrenians.

      I maybe be muddling several organisations but I remember being inspired the book 'Bury me.." back in the 1970s when I was a volunteer with a Kent organisation who strived to serve "the suicidal and despairing" in that county.

      I later had links with a sister organisation Petrus who operated in Liverpool and Lancashire -

      My first representative job as a young PO was as the Merseyside Service's rep on their management committee (a requirement of their constitution that they had a PO member - similar to the CABs) of their 'dry hostel' on the 'patch' of the team where I worked.

      Later I recall dealing with a double amputee woman who most days sat begging outside Camden Town Underground Railway Station, when she was sober enough and was lovingly cared for by staff at a Petrus 'wet hostel'. My SER was a struggle and impossible to complete, she was not coherent, but the kindly "Stipe" at Clerkenwell Mags Ct - constructed a sentence that let her continue at that hostel under their care and did not involve actually staying in prison or being "on probation". I guess it was a 'sit at the back of the court' jobbie - about 1989.

      About 8 years later another "Stipe" - ranted at the police on a Saturday Morning for wasting everyone's time by arresting a drunk and producing them at the new shiny Thames Mags Court!

      When I started in 1975 in Liverpool the court dealt with a dozen or more drunks and other overnight arrests off the nearby streets every day - 6 days a week. Usually the result was a fines - until the outstanding amount was too large to ignore and then they were sent to Walton Gaol for a week or two, for a dry out - emergency health check and a feed up.

      What happens to those poor folk nowadays I wonder?

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    4. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3669627-bury-me-in-my-boots

      It was his wife Sally Trench - who wrote the book -

      Anton Wallach-Clifford was his name - he also worked in Bow - and left a greater legacy than me!

      http://www.cutoutculture.com/the-simon-community-anniversary-exhibition-held-at-the-royal-festival-hall-12-dec-2013-7jan-2014/

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    5. Sally TRench was not Anton's wife! ENOUGH

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    6. I would be very interested to know the back story to the A4E fraud case. Were these greedy members of staff seeking to up their bonuses, or merely staff unable to meet undoable targets within unreasonable time frames? If it is the latter, then where are the statements from A4E Management accepting a measure of the blame for their employees actions, and pledging a commitment to review their staffs working conditions and targets? In a way we're back to the 'mindfulness' discussion of recent posts in that workers (for this read units of production), who may have a legitimate complaint about the volume of work they are expected to do, may find themselves merely pointed to the Employee Helpline, or put on Stress Management training.
      Of course this resonates with those of us in the CRC's. I cant even properly do the job I'm currently paid to do, owing to an excessive caseload, so how I will meet the Working Links (cash linked) targets when they are imposed on top of everything else is completely beyond me at present. Now where is that Employee Helpline number.............
      Deb
      Deb

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  26. Anyone out there yearning to write a play about modern Britain, could I suggest some characters- the invisible client on the A4E work programme and his best mate, the invisible tagged crook?

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  27. Interesting points made by David Starkey on Question time re 16 year old girls/women. He was in fact the only person to try and answer the actual question 'Is it possible for a 16 year old girl to groom a 44 year old man?' All the other panelists stuck to piously commenting on the recent court case rather than the actual question - Starkey opined that it was perfectly possible for a 16 year old to seduce (his word) an older man. I'd have to agree: it's unlikely, but given human nature it's surely possible.

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  28. Anon 00:42

    No not a putative CEO but someone who makes decisions and cannot belive that all these great minds that cast appersions, criciticise what they do not know. Consistently hark back to days of old, pour scorn on anything new and appear to have complete contempt for anyone that is not Probation qualified. Cannot work out that all you need to do is to get a SMALLER VAN. The comment re breach proceedings made me laugh out loud. Incredible !!!!!

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    1. I think we'll draw a line under this particular thread, not least because it seems to be generating more heat than shedding light on the subject. Thanks for commenting, but clearly in view of:-

      "Consistently hark back to days of old, pour scorn on anything new and appear to have complete contempt for anyone that is not Probation qualified."

      - I suspect this blog is not for you.

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  29. Oh but I think that it is!. My point is rather than find a solution to a problem is appears to me that some ( not all ) are more interested in compounding issues and makinig sure that they are escalted to a point that will in the long run not serve anyone well.

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    1. Well i can assure you, that in CRC im here to fuck it up as much as i can. And you know what i'm actually enjoying it; watching the bastard sold out managers pulling their hair out. I can not wait for the 1st Feb - come on ye Purple Futures in Manchester.

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  30. Beyond ironic that those supervising ex offenders are breaking the law every day in some form or another. Anyone working in any capacity for probation should be 100% above reproach at all times given the hugely judgemental attitude OM's have towards offenders

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  31. 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.

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    1. Noms and MoJ must pass this on to all CRCs ASAP!!

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  32. 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 seatbelt 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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  33. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/section-19-and-22-permits-not-for-profit-passenger-transport/section-19-and-22-permits-not-for-profit-passenger-transport#drivers-of-permit-vehicles

    8.1 ) "Small buses (adapted to carry 9 to 16 passengers)
    Different conditions apply, depending on when the driver obtained a full licence to drive vehicles in category B (cars).

    i) Drivers granted a full licence to drive vehicles in category B (car, not automatic) before 1st January 1997.

    These drivers were automatically granted additional entitlement D1, to drive a small bus not used for hire or reward. For as long as they hold D1 entitlement, these drivers may drive a small bus of any weight used under the permit. There is no restriction on them receiving payment."

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  36. Excellent and very informative post.thank you so much for sharing your thought with us

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