This utterly useless and tedious development ensured all probation staff would be effectively chained to their computers for the best part of every day, whilst undertaking the input of data that invariably would be of little or no use to man nor beast. Our productivity dropped like a stone overnight and drove many a good officer to despair.
I'm clear that it was OASys that 'did' for us and it's no surprise at all that the new owners of the CRC's will ditch it as soon as possible as completely inefficient, ineffective and not at all conducive to making money. And now we have the final insult with the prison service quietly beginning the process of ditching it too. Why? Because it takes too bloody long to fill in; is crap and invariably tells you at the end what you damned well knew before you started.
It seems incredible I know, but before OASys, PO's were pretty good at weighing up who the risky clients were and for what reasons - we didn't need a shite computer system to tell us what we'd already worked out. Well it looks like the penny has at last dropped down at NOMS HQ that, try as they might to feed the OASys monster, it's just a waste of time and effort, so here's the prison service instructing all staff not to bother too much with the ones that aren't that risky!
There's to be a 'review' obviously, but who'd like to place any money on OASys still being around in a year or two's time?
Gordon Davison, Dep Dir, OMPPG
Ian Mulholland, Dep Dir, Public Sector Prisons
Brian Pollett, Dep Dir, Custodial Services Contract Management
Date: 21 January 2015
To: Governing Governors
cc: NPS DDs
Heads of OMUs
Re: INTERIM OASYS PRIORITISATION POLICY
You are all aware of the current pressure on resources. This means that prisons are struggling to fulfil their responsibilities with regard to OASys assessments, with a substantial backlog of offenders in the system that lack a current assessment.
It is essential that high priority offenders have full risk assessments in order to inform sentence plans and reduce risk to the public. It is also important that all offenders get at least minimum levels of risk assessment so that the riskiest offenders are identified. In spite of significant efforts made at establishment level, including through staff working overtime to complete outstanding OASys, the backlog continues to grow. In the interests of prioritising the resources we have, we are issuing an interim OASys prioritisation policy for custodial cases. (NB: This does not affect the Basic Custody Screening.)
The interim policy does not represent an amnesty - that is, NOMS is not ‘writing off’ any outstanding assessments. However, the interim policy places offenders into three priority categories for completion of OASys and means that any offender falling into the lowest priority category (Priority C) may be assessed using only a Risk Review within OASys, comprising offence details (in order to calculate OGRS) and risk of serious harm screening (with full RoSH analysis where triggered). This will be sufficient to ‘count’ as an assessment and therefore should help to address the backlog, and enable more of the higher priority cases to be fully assessed (Priorities A and B). Changes have been made within the prisons’ OASys system to enable the Risk Review to be carried out in the ‘Layer 1’ short format (or in ‘Layer 3’ where a previous assessment exists).
This prioritisation policy is directed only at prisons, because all OASys that currently fall to NPS to complete (IPPs, start OASys for lifers and high RoSH cases) are considered high priority. It therefore remains critical that NPS colleagues play their part in helping to ensure assessments for which they are responsible are completed in a timely way. Information exchange will also be crucial; wherever OGRS and risk of serious harm are identified at court, this should be made available to the receiving prison as soon as possible.
Good quality assessment of risk and need remains a critical component of effective offender management. As many of you are aware, we are in the process of carrying out an Offender Management (OM) Review. This will include consideration of how we can streamline, improve and better target offender assessment, using the resources which are available to us. As you will see from the way we have had to set out the interim prioritisation policy, the current policy for OASys completion is far from straightforward, which provides further impetus for the OM Review to consider how to streamline this vital area of work.
The Review will report in June 2015 with recommendations for implementation, at which time the interim policy will also be reviewed. The interim policy will be replaced once recommendations from the OM Review are agreed and implemented. Further advice will be issued in due course with regard to the recording of completed and outstanding assessments.