I have nothing prepared for today, so it's probably worth taking stock of where I think we are in terms of the TR omnishambles and the very slow train crash that's been in progress for quite some time now.
First there was the extremely admirable and competent debate on the whole matter yesterday in Westminster Hall and initiated by Kate Green MP. All extremely worthy, but utterly pointless because it's all done and dusted legislatively, politically and administratively and only elicited the usual bollocks from the hapless minister Andrew Selous:-
All the existing expertise of our fantastic public sector probation staff is still there in the system. Most people are working at the same desk, doing the same job as before. That is highly valuable. I should point out that the report of Her Majesty’s inspectorate of probation goes up to September last year, and there have been significant improvements since then on a lot of the issues that Members have quite properly raised. To give just one example, the rate for completion of the risk of serious recidivism report within two days is now at 80%, which is a significant increase. We have every confidence that that figure will carry on increasing, and I hope that that reassures Members.
We were accused of bringing in the reforms on the basis of ideology, not evidence, but given that we have all agreed that reoffending rates are too high—it is a serious problem, as every Member who has spoken has said—I gently say to the Opposition that it would be wrong not to take the best expertise within our brilliant public probation service, the fantastic expertise in the voluntary and community sectors, of which no mention has been made by Opposition Members this afternoon, and the expertise that exists in some private companies. We want to have the best of all three working to tackle these issues.Then we had sight of Sodexo's cunning new recipe for probation and the slightly worrying news that, having bought the outfit, they're only now on a mission to try and understand what's involved:-
Alongside meeting with your Chief Executives, Senior Management Teams and key stakeholders, we are currently assembling our full Mobilisation, Transition and Transformation team so that we can adequately understand the requirements of each CRC, meet with you at an appropriate time and feedback key messages to you at the same time.
The first priority is to get to know you and understand your issues. That has started with your Chief Executive and Senior Management Teams and will continue with events at which you can meet us and ask questions. We are putting small local teams together to support the work of transition over the next 12 months. But it is crucial to understand that the CRC continues to be led by your Chief Executive and management team.
There are some significant pieces of work in the short term associated with the change of ownership on 1 February. These include a good deal of “due diligence” inquiry, where we need to understand the CRC in detail, its people, its finance, its IT, estates and its operations. The creation of a larger network of partners to deliver some aspects of services – the “supply chain” – is also an early priority.It's interesting that they mention that the Chief is still running things, unlike in at least one other area:-
Cumbria and Lancashire Chief has gone from 1st Feb. Who else is intending to go? Kevin Robinson - VR nice one. While the rest are left shovelling shit.
KR taking the poison pill (appropriately sweeter with VER) before he gets the shove from the french caterers....sadly there will be more such "early departures" as the feet slide under the table more and more.And all that MoJ guff about the advantages of co-location between CRC's and NPS was, as usual, just hot air. The taxpayer is going to be left with a shed load of crap empty property to dispose of:-
We plan to relocate from present property and use newly acquired property from August to November 2015. This will be one of the key changes on which we will involve CEOs and their senior teams closely from now. We want to create an estate that is fit for purpose and in the right places.Meanwhile Pat Waterman reports on what's going on in London:-
Last week was my first week back at work and, as promised in my last e-mail before Christmas, I met with Rebecca Grattan, Chief Operating Officer of MTCnovo. Patricia Johnson (Branch Vice Chair) and I were treated to our own private Road Show. I subsequently attended the first staff road show in the library of Southwark Cathedral. I urge all CRC members to attend and see what you make of their presentation!
It seems to me that, after taking ownership on 1st February, MTCnovo is going to have its hands full sorting out TTG (Through the Gate) services and for the immediate future there is unlikely to be any significant changes. But they do have plans for the future that will have implications for everybody working in the CRC. I have been concerned to impress on them from the outset the necessity to consult and work with NAPO and Branch Officers will be attending as many of these scheduled Road Shows as we can.
Being based in BPR has many advantages; not the least of which is being able to witness the current intense activity that is going on to convert every available space into extra office areas for corporate staff. I hear that there will be separate zones for London CRC, London NPS, South Eastern NPS and of course MTCnovo. There also appear to be various secondments and appointments being made to NOMS.
Considering the staffing situations in both the NPS and the CRC I cannot help but wonder who will be left to implement the strategies, operational plans and policies that are being worked on and devised by these people.Purple Futures have been producing some fancy-looking infographics, but sadly the sneaky photos kindly supplied don't do them justice and we could do with some kind person supplying a copy of their cunning plan as soon as possible please.
News reaches me that some charities that used to be happy working with probation are refusing to work with the new owners. Here's the British Heart Foundation making it clear they're not happy:-
Changes have been announced about the way that the Probation Service (often referred to as Community Payback) will be operating from 2015. The main change is that their definition of "low risk" will be incompatible with our policies. As a result, we will not be taking any placements from these services with effect from 1 February 2015. Those placements that are already with us will be allowed to complete their placement, but no new placements will be accepted. More details of these changes will follow in the January bulletin.Finally, this from yesterday seems to say it all:-
Many problems anticipated over months on this blog are coming to pass. Clearly there will be redundancies, offenders will be differentially supported/managed (parking and selection of who to work with to achieve targets/income) and utter confusion with systems not fully developed. Omnishambles doesn't come close!