Sunday, 1 February 2015

Bleak Futures Week 5

There is a gloomy feel in probation offices at the moment. 1st Feb can't come soon enough. At least then it's over and we're put out of our misery and can just get on with it. We should expect immediate changes by the new owners in terms of staffing, procedures, objectives and office relocations. Organisational restructuring can take place anytime from 1 minute after takeover and I'm sure it will, making existing terms and conditions null and void. I dread the outcome-based supervision which will be time limited and thereafter require multiple forms and spreadsheets to be completed for each offender to evidence hard and soft outcomes.

Probation, "real" probation that is, will be the NPS and there will emerge very clear divisions to the 'other' probation companies. We will increasingly dance to the tune of the MoJ and quickly fall into step with the new requirements, report formats and other supervisory processes. Data protection will mean that the current informal info sharing about offenders between CRC and NPS ends on 1st Feb and our separation will be very clear to all.

Yes the future is bleak whether NPS or CRC. What's hit me lately is that the time for fighting and moaning is over and now we just have to get on with it. I suspect this blog will risk becoming a place for moaning about that which we cannot change, and these posts and opinions will not matter to probation leaders that will either be uninterested or unable/unwilling to do anything depending on whether they're CRC or NPS. The Probation Institute will become nothing more than a MoJ rubber-stamp, and the jury is out on whether Napo will sink or swim.


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I was going to write a bit about some of the bits of OASys I found positive when it first came out - because surprisingly I thought there were some at the time (pre OASys PSRS were not always brilliant you know - as a court officer I remember several I refused to put before the court due to their abysmal quality). But then I realised I just don't have the energy to defend something that is purely a pretence at standardising risk assessment within arbitrary timescales. 

All I know right now is that, while my caseload is actually at a reasonable level for once in my many year career, the extra work - that doesn't show up on any workload management tools - is horrendous. Lots of delegating what used to be middle management tasks because our manager is too busy doing business-focused tasks and we have to be seen to be the 'best' team on the performance lists. 

As a generic team I get to do regular court duties - but one day in court doing oral reports generates enough paperwork for 3, we are expected to train for and run sex offender programmes, pick a subject to be team 'champion' for which involves getting involved with setting up new initiatives to improve multi-agency working, ensure our CAS, RSR, OASsys and delius entries are completed instantly, write all high risk PSR's in OASys (then get it into Court late because you can't find a manager to sign it off and if you don't it says draft all over it) and actually do what we can to manage risk and build relationships with our clients by increasing home visits and structured interventions during supervision. 

Some of this is stuff I'd be interested in doing by the way, but altogether is totally overwhelming. I have no idea what my job is anymore. I work in a pretty small team and there has been several times recently where there has been NO staff in the office to deal with emergencies because we are all out doing prison/home visits, in court, at oral hearings or child protection conferences or MARAC or bloody ORA training or whatever else fun the people who have no clue about what it's like on the ground have dreamt up today after giving us 2 days notice. 

I refuse to leave because I love this job, but I am constantly infuriated by the incomprehensible incompetence being 'cascaded' from above. Probation as a vocation won't die until there's no one left who cares, but I feel the powers-that-be are like a DV perpetrator repeatedly strangling their victim until they just don't answer back anymore. 

Apologies for the rant. I'm actually in an excellent team with a very good manager so I'm aware I'm in a much better place than lots of my colleagues. Where ever you may be, I hope you know that your colleagues around the country wish you well and that we all have the strength to get through this mess.


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I also love my job but there will be a massive conflict of values come the 1st Feb when it will be all about profit. I just cannot see me sticking it out much longer :(

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I'm only here for the redundancy. Doesn't have to be EVR. Any redundancy will do me fine.

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I agree this blog could be the go to place to moan, but I also hope it will be a place for colleagues to be supportive. I've generally been referred to by d'management as a loose cannon, but it's done me no harm, as they can't complain about my work. I have never courted the greasy pole of popularity or seniority, so they can kiss my arse! I will continue to champion best practice as I know it, not the shite coming from NOMS and continue to prioritise our first and most important stakeholder (see, the language has not passed me by) but I mean those creative, funny, risky and sometimes dangerous clients! 

On the subject of fear - I frighten my clients and my managers in equal measure! We must continue to give each other courage and support in staying true to our professional values! Don't let the fuckwits get you down!


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Here's the thing...NONE of us know what we are doing any more. Managers, POs, PSOs or Admin, no-one knows systems or processes. Yes we all have job descriptions and have transferred to our new employer (NPS or Probation-For-Profit sector) on our existing T and Cs, but really does anyone know what their job entails at this time?

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Oh God, just accept there are many motivated people in this job who genuinely want to help service users lead positive lives with all the support a professional relationship affords. Quit the blame game please, we already have our managers, NOMS, MOJ and Turd man doing that.

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So having (by the end of this week) sold off the probation service, we need to be focusing the resources left in the public sector on excelling in report writing and risk assessment. Instead what are we doing? We're preparing oral reports with no background checks with little or no risk assessments. I have no problem at all with oral reports but we need to make sure that we complete a thorough assessment with it. This isn't happening. If we allow this to continue there will eventually be no need for us at all because what will the point of us be? It's time to stand up for our profession. Am I on my own in thinking this?

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The prison staff who run NOMS and the MoJ are satisfied with PRETENDING to rehabilitate, as they always have been in the prisons. The Probation Service I joined has been watered down to become an insipid pretence. Pretend to report pre-sentence, pretend to supervise post-sentence. All so very sad.

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I'm in the CRC and I sat thru 5 1/2 hours of 'briefing' (I use the word advisedly) on ORA last week. The resounding message coming through is that nothing is in place at any level in our area to implement this legislation. It seems to me there are enough grounds for a legal challenge on proportionality, let alone if some areas start implementing it before others. Postcode justice indeed.

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So it will start with all the weekend overnight arrests for drunk and disorderly, drink related criminal damage and minor Public Order offences after a night on the town. These offences (especially for repeat offenders) are often dealt with (as far as I can see) by a week, two, or poss a month's custody. Locally therefore, we have anticipated the first probationers sentenced under ORA coming through to us in less than a month. And it doesn't matter if it's one or two or a whole raft of newly sentenced individuals - if the structure isn't there to deliver under ORA, then it isn't there....

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It's all going so well with Graylings reforms, that a spokesman for Liverpool has just said on the news regarding staff safety (3 staff with serious injury's last week and another stabbed in the chest today), that the only way to keep staff safe is to unlock far fewer numbers of prisoners at any one time. Nobody was available at the MoJ for comment, but it does put it on Graylings toes a little. As for being met at the gate? Well it won't work if there's not enough prison officers to bring those being discharged to the gate in the first place!!

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I'm pretty anti-establishment, decades of drug addiction low level offending, and I've had life saving help from the probation service, but also some shite money wasting and useless interventions that have been foisted on me for no other reason then they were available at the time, or someone needed bums on seats. Still, I try to remain objective, and rather than look at individual experiences, look at the service as a whole. It ain't half changed since my first probation order in the 70s.

For me it is a service that has been destroyed by politics. Although there's always been a need to help clients comply with court orders, the service itself was not one primarily focused on 'law enforcement'. But in my view that's what it's become today. Indeed, I think the free hand given to CRCs to develop their own methods and approach to dealing with clients should be seen as a recognition by NOMS of the things that are now missing from the service. However, I doubt if they'll accept that they're missing because they're responsible for bleeding them out of the service in the first place.


I cannot blame the service itself for its demise, nor can I blame the staff that work in it. The job is after all the job that you joined. If you joined in the days of advise assist and befriend, then obviously your experience, training and even your perception of the job is much different than someone who joined with focus on OASys risk and public protection. It's a service that's been pulling itself apart for years. Its sad, but it wasn't its own choice. Bring back the old days and holistic approaches. Probation today is prescription based, and the same pill doesn't work for everyone.


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The probation service pre TR was moving more and more towards bullying and aggression - it's nothing new - put up, shut up and do what you are told - meeting targets have been the only importance for a number of years - client needs have been secondary to meeting targets since the 2003 Rehabilitation Act which was imposed by Government. For far too long sitting behind a PC to meet the ever-increasing demands has destroyed Probation long ago through bureaucratic, time-consuming processes, poor IT and ticky boxes.

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Personal opinion of a disillusioned officer: The same staff we may be, however we no longer have any scope to work with offenders on a professional judgement basis. CRC's have been rushing in to a one size fits all approach whereby we are instructed to deliver one piecemeal short intervention with everyone based on no evidence base. Yep and the cleaners and caterers have not even begun their dissection of our service and values. CRC management teams sold us down the river long before the chefs stepped in.

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What I find disingenuous about the official line on this is the reference to 'legal highs' being responsible for the upsurge in violent incidents. Correct me if I'm wrong, but just because you can buy them in the high street, in the same way as you can buy a bottle of beer, how and why would they add any more volatility to the mix when other substances are freely available in most institutions?. My nephew says it was an open secret in the prison he was in that 'Listeners' opened their conversations with 'what is it you need?, I can get it for you'.

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Yes I can confirm that my prison is in the hands of drug dealers and bullies. With so few staff and the ones there so demoralised, gangs sell the drugs and collect the debt with extreme menace. Many young men in the prison I work stay behind their doors too frightened to associate. They are being treated worse than animals, staff and inmates that is.

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Newsflash folks the vast majority of the contraband in prisons comes in via corrupt staff as anyone who has ever been a "Resident" of HMPS knows. Until the MoJ properly tackles the situation it will only deteriorate because it is not going to be dealt with by rhetoric and bluster (Grayling's Modus Operandi). The corrupt staff and officers can earn hundreds each week for bringing in drugs, mobile phones, SIM cards, booze etc and as virtually none of them EVER get searched there is literally little risk to these staff members. If the MoJ actually admitted the scale of corruption amongst its staff and put in place some very simple and cost effective things, you would find the amount of contraband getting into prisons decimated overnight. At every prison I've been in, every con knew which officers were able to get you what and for how much. It's basically part of the induction process!

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We are not getting 'trained' until mid February, but it's only a 2 hour briefing. I saw the 'spec' today, and it is full of holes seemingly written by people who have never set foot in a Probation office. The thing that is strangest is that when it goes wrong it will be Sodexo (in our area) who the finger will be pointing at - not the Probation Service. The NPS in Court aren't ready, and the CRC are going to have all sorts of shit to contend with.

What is strange is the atmosphere in our office. Because no-one has been briefed or trained, the heads are rather in the sand. We really have absolutely no idea of what will happen, but as yet not much to get stressed about either. In February it could really hit the fan!! But my guess is that very few of the under 12 months cases will turn up anyway. They'll just stick two fingers up. Those that do turn up will be the time-consuming ones who tie up resources. My other guess is that despite the chaos that will ensue, it won't really get much better. One huge expensive fuck up at Sodexo's expense.


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Interesting that during the last bout of bad weather one of our LDU managers 'worked from home'. This doesn't seem to be offered as an option for the grunts. I've worked hundreds of hours in the past with no pay, but no more. My 'goodwill' was used up by last June. What good did it do? We got sold off anyway.

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Given what has happened I suggest you work your contracted hours only. Goodwill under this new system in my opinion is a non starter. In my CRC we use time sheets. They are very helpful and I use them to ensure I have the right work life balance. The changes have had a significant effect by taking away the concept of public service and replacing it with profit. 

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Probation staff forced to try and get to work in bad weather or not getting paid/forced to take leave, like most other workers? Being forced to clock in and out, like most other workers? Expected to be accountable in their jobs, like most other workers? I've worked in Probation for almost ten years, and am sorry to say a good proportion of the staff (at all grades) seem to have developed a strange mentality of chest-puffing 'I'm a Defender of the Public' (as though they were feckin Batman or something) along with a whiny sense of entitlement, for doing basically what amounted to bean-counting for a computer system. 

Face facts - look around your office and ask yourself, how many people here are resenting the coming changes merely as it throws their shortcomings into sharp focus? If Probation worked that well, it wouldn't have been touched in the first place. Feel free to disagree, but you are self-evidently wrong, as the current situation shows!

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You make some reasonable points, but the probation service was changed already by the time you joined 9 years ago. The service you joined is not the service I joined, and because it had changed it attracted a different type of person. That's evident from just reading this blog, and I doubt very much that anyone about when I joined would have considered themselves defenders of the public, although I do agree with you that there does seem to be more and more of that way of thinking around nowadays. 

Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know - its just different to the service when I joined. I was a social worker that worked with offenders, not like now where I'm an offender manager, supervising and managing public protection and licence conditions. The reality is that the 'probation service' died years ago, and the current model bears no resemblance to its original design or purpose.

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You couldn't make this stuff up could you? What is happening in the MoJ and NOMS is a complete farce and gets worse with every news report.

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It's happening in individual offices as managers try and negotiate a total split with one hand, whilst Senior Managers exhort the importance of working closely with NPS/CRC. Meanwhile CEOs travel around telling us all that everything in the garden is lovely. As the ORA comes in this weekend can we decide who is responsible for the lack of a coherent training package prior to this event other than the SOS who is the Chief architect of the whole thing?

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Team briefing today stating that 100% of PSR's to be done in court. Given that courts are committed to the electronic revolution, how do we now get info from CPS, Pre-cons or do other checks with other agencies? When this was asked the answer was 'we're not sure'.....not sure!! ORA is now, not in a weeks time.My view from the ground floor is that managers are fast retreating to their ivory towers and just 'expecting' things to happen. Memo to staff - make sure you protect yourself by getting diktats in writing. I've never seen things so chaotic and according to the C4 news last night, prisons are now increasingly dangerous places to visit. Perhaps NAPO should enter this debate.....

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Look, in reality now is the time to try to get out of court teams, everything is instant with insufficient information and when the SFOs happen this is where the mistakes will be made. Also CRCs will start to fight back about NPS Imperialism and case allocation will be court officers fault....

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It is absolutely necessary to state here that clients seeking clarity from their OMs will be disappointed. NPS DIRECTORS don't know what is going on. The simple fact is that they have pressed the red button and are hoping for the best. The Courts do not know what is happening. The infrastructure is not established and the left hand, at this point, doesn't even KNOW that there IS a right hand. The meddlers who have disrespected Probation and thought they could do better are days away from realising their folly. It will take a little while to filter through, but this train wreck is about to make the Work Programme mess look like a spelling error. Grayling will be gone by then of course, but his CV of failure will become a political liability.

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I for one have tried to pass on as much information as possible to my clients about how they will be affected by all the various changes over the last 12 months. I see it as only right and proper that people should be kept informed about how structural changes may affect their supervision, because it's about their lives. Some have been more interested than others, I have to say - and on a couple of occasions I've even said "look, if you need any more incentive not to commit a further offence, make sure you don't after 1st Feb 2015 because it'll be an even bigger shambles."

The reason that we haven't been able to give any more information is quite simply that we haven't been given it ourselves. No-one knows what's going on.


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Existing clients will be managed using existing arrangements. This has been the case whenever there has been a significant change in sentencing practice. The big unknown will be what effect this will have on sentencing and sentencer's views on RARs and ORA post sentence supervision. It also depends on other developments such as the effectiveness of TTG providers, many of whom are untested. One big fly in the ointment that I can see relates to the fact the TTG services don't kick in until there are 12 weeks until release. Most sentences are MUCH shorter than that and assessments and plans will need to be done in DAYS not weeks. Can they deliver? My experience to date raises doubts in my mind.

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I'm an OM in a busy metropolitan area - huge caseload etc etc. I've not heard my manager mention a dickiebird about TTG; ORA or anything. This is going to be a disaster as potentially, am I right in thinking, someone sentenced on 4th Feb for shoptheft on 3rd Feb could, for example, get 6 weeks custody and so this will mean 3 inside; 3 on licence and then 46 weeks on supervision?

Am I also right in thinking there is no way around this because it is law and Courts have to mark court orders as such? I'm literally scratching my head wondering how we are going to accommodate these cases.


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In our area we had a 1.5 hour briefing last week. (No training). The presenters were not in a position to answer our many questions and concerns - as they did not know. All our questions were written on the issues board for onward transmission. The service is in chaos and their immediate response is panic. There is no planning just knee jerk reaction to the next scenario that is thrown at them from whoever and whenever. We were given three possible implementation dates for ORA 1st Feb, 1st April, 1st June. Take your pick - it seems we can now implement legislation when we choose. Unbelievable.

I think what you describe re being sentenced on the 4th for an offence committed on 3rd is probably right - but to be absolutely truthful I am still not certain. I am in a Court team - and this is going to be damned interesting to watch. We do not know what we are doing; the Court and Solicitors in our area are completely unaware of ORA and TTG. In the past when we have had major changes (2003 comes to mind) the Court used to adjourn and ask me to assist the court! Well I know I am definitely NOT in a position to assist anyone at the present time, let alone the court.

What have we all said on the blog over the last year?? Well the entire train crash is unfolding in front of our eyes. I wonder how Grayling will exit - exit he will of that I have no doubt - election year - becoming an increasing embarrassment for the Headmaster (readers of Private Eye will know this is how they refer to Cameron). I suspect Grayling is chuckling to himself while he is signing his many contracts to sit on the boards of several very grateful companies who have "won" contracts.


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Targets are indeed very concerning. Earlier in the week I saw a list of the cases where the sentence plan target had been failed. The numbers ran into the high three figures for my county - and we're not a big area. CRC targets for things like sentence plans and enforcement are in the vicinity of 97% - fall below that and the CRC gets docked money; fall below 92% in any month and a CRC improvement plan gets implemented by NOMS; fall below 92% for a second month and the contract can be terminated.

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As someone mentioned earlier, there will be a focus of hitting these targets most probably to the detriment of actually doing any real work. Still, nice to see where the priorities lie!

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I'm turning up at work on Monday with exactly the same level of knowledge of ORA as I left with on Friday; none! I have a feeling that, no matter how many RARs get given it will make little difference to how the case is managed and if you complete none of the RARs then as long at the cash linked targets are met, little will be said by managers. 

The problem is going to be further exacerbated by the ever-increasing number of OM's going on the sick due to stress. Even by a conservative estimate, I anticipate a doubling of my caseload and have not ruled out it trebling. Simply put, we will not have the time to do anything and come July/August when this has bedded in and custody releases start being added, I cannot see OM's doing anything other than turning people round in reception as they will be stuck at their desks completing OASys. 


The potential for SFO's is also likely to increase and if anyone thinks that re-offending will decrease then they are sadly mistaken! Still, as pointed out on here, Grayling will be gone and someone else will have to clear up the mess. I just hope that my clients don't ALL decide to email him on chris.grayling.mp@parliament.uk.

36 comments:

  1. I don't believe it1 February 2015 at 09:39

    Mr Grayling on the BBC news this morning whilst on a prison visit......"I believe the new reforms will work"...so there it is, dont worry about What Works or Evidence based practice, all you have to do is to 'believe'....is this the big secret that the private companies have been party to......believe it and it shall be so.......

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    1. This from the only man in the UK who doesn't believe that there is a crisis in the prisons. The CJS, in all it's forms, has no confidence in this man.

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  2. this blog post could've gone on and on as loads of material not used - some of the recent tweets I've been reading and yesterdays comments on here are breathtaking.

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  3. If the staff are panicking about what is going to happen to them imagine what it must be like for those who are under probation on licence or a community sentence. We have absolutely no idea what is going to happen to us and how the changes will or may affect us. We have been given no information whatsoever on the situation and do not know, for example, if when we next see our OM/RO if some sort of bombshell is going to be flung at us that will wreak havoc in our lives. We are more scared than the staff are because of the impact these changes will have, on us, the service users which could be far more disproportionate than it could ever be for a PO because we can be stuffed back in jail at the drop of a hat, forced to move, forced to give up jobs, forced to take unsuitable jobs, made to do courses that have no rhyme or rationale behind them etc. I don't see much in any of the posts on this blog that even takes into consideration what the service users experience under probation by any of those who work in the service. This to me sums up precisely what the problems are. We are almost an afterthought when people are considering probation instead of the priority (after all none of you would have jobs if all of us had led law abiding lives). The only comment I really identified with is the one above that talks about how the service has degenerated into bullying and harrassment of those on licence and community sentences because that is exactly my experience of probation. And that is an extremely worrying indictment of probation

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    1. I disagree on one point. I would have a job if you led an law abiding life, just not as a Probation Officer.

      I think a sacrifice many would make for the World to be a better place

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  4. I would say that I'm pretty clued up about what ORA means however, that does not mean that I'm ready for the onslaught on new cases that will be landing on my desk. If I'm being honest the whole thing fills me with dread, the main reason being the workload that I will expected to cope with. I was out of the office for 1.5 days last week for meetings etc, saw 20 people in between, completed a ISP, termination and breach report. I also done two HV's to drop off food parcels (which I also collected) and a further HV to drop of a Methadone script for someone who had flu. Most nights I worked until 6pm and for the benefit of my clients rather than anything else. This is with a caseload of 45. Should this double, which is expected, then what little help I now give to my client is going to be significantly comprised! Writing this has left me feeling more than a little sick and upset at the thought of what the future holds :(

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    1. Around 50k under 12 months, split between 21 CPA's (some having a higher % than others, average of 8 offices per CPA and 10 OM's each office. Back of fag packet figures but not by much.

      My reckoning is over 25 additional cases per OM BUT we have the legion of old lags to take into account.

      So that makes 25 additional cases per OM!!

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    2. But remember that a proportion of those will go to the NPS due to the assessed risk. Something that the powers that be forgot. They of course will be on PSS without any, I repeat ANY restrictive conditions. This is because the law dictates that conditions have to be rehabilitative. No Curfews certainly, but what about exclusions, no contact conditions and the like. My reading is these could be challenged. Gonna be fun.

      Also somebody up there talked about a vocation. I don't have a vocation I have a job. The only people I have ever heard talk about my "Vocation" are people who want to put their hand in my pocket and restrict my pay and benefits even more than they are at the moment. Vocations are for monks.

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  5. http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31076155

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  6. My concern is that magistrates will be imposing custodial sentences where a community order may have been given. More people will experience incarceration. On release they will likely have limited support. Less opportunity to find work. They will be treated like cattle and follow the conveyor belt. Supervision will be short and may be ineffective resulting in further offending in the distant future. It may be a short sharp shock for some and act as a deterrent. Prison will be punishment rather than protecting the public and managing risk. Then again I could be totally wrong.... Be strong colleagues and let us continue to care for each other and the clients we manage....

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    1. You're likely right. And what may have originally been a 6 month CO will now be a 12 month RAR/PSS/TGI Friday. Thus adding more strain on the service.

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    2. I had lunch with friends yesterday 3 of whom are Magistrates (2 different courts) and they described real dissatisfaction with their roles for the first time. One described arriving for his duty sitting and 3 benches being sent home as the District Judges had insisted business was moved to their courts. Now, he pointed out DJs earn £115k pa whereas Magistrates get expenses so he suggested they are trying to protect their position in light of the cuts. Another friend described the Clerks being really dissatisfied and talking about cuts to their numbers. Gossip around both courts seems to be no-one sees the point of probation any more. She said that oral reports told the Magistrates little other than proposed sentence and appeared pointless to her, she said their introduction had really damaged probation standing with Benches and the Clerks. Everyone described confusion about ORA and training not being delivered yet because "there's no-one available to do it", pretty much like probation experience really.
      Talk also turned to defence solicitors and firms amalgamating, with people saying they feared being able to pay their mortgages for the first time. Overall a real sense that the Magistrates Courts are in disarray and a once pretty cohesive system falling apart. Really sad....

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  7. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2934763/Anti-stalking-expert-68-accused-stalking-blonde-colleague-39-using-key-weapons-stalker-s-armoury-smear-innuendo-according-friends.html

    A woman hailed as a leading architect of anti-stalking legislation has reported her former campaign partner to the police – for alleged stalking.
    Laura Richards, 39, the civilian former head of Scotland Yard's controversial Homicide Prevention Unit, has made the astonishing allegations against Harry Fletcher, 68.

    The pair worked together advising MPs and senior police officers on the 2012 Protection of Freedoms Act, which specifically outlawed stalking.

    Ms Richards was involved in the charity Protection Against Stalking (PAS) and they both became fellow directors of a not-for-profit company called Paladin, which advises victims. Police have already interviewed Mr Fletcher, a former official of probation officers' union Napo, who is married with children. He strongly denies the allegations.

    Friends of his claim that Ms Richards – who calls herself a 'criminal behavioural analyst' – is deploying some of the key weapons in the stalker's armoury of smear, innuendo and character assassination.

    Ms Richards told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Fletcher was 'obsessed' with her and stalked her when she spurned his advances. She said: 'He has rummaged through every part of my life, my friends, my relationships, my work colleagues. I feel really violated.

    'He made out that we were in an intimate relationship and told people he was worried about my mental health. 'He would call me all the time, sometimes 50 times a day, and would never leave a message, always keep ringing until I picked up. 'It's ironic we have both achieved domestic violence law reform on coercive control, the very thing that he's been doing to me through his stalking behaviour, and that's been the problem. I've had sleepless nights. It's changed me. I shall never be the person I was.'

    Mr Fletcher, who voluntarily attended Brixton Police Station in South London with his solicitor in November to be interviewed about the complaint, said last night: 'I completely and utterly deny these allegations and have fully co-operated with the police. I look forward to their inquiry reaching its conclusion.'

    His supporters say Ms Richards's allegations are groundless and stem from professional jealousy over his standing in the field of stalking and domestic violence legislation.

    Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd, who was the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on stalking and worked with Ms Richards on legislation, said: 'I found her difficult to work with. She was making some rather strange allegations against Harry. I found her accusations to be utterly incredible.'

    Senior forensic psychiatrist Dr David James, who was on the board of PAS, described Ms Richards as 'reacting extravagantly when crossed'.
    He added: 'I resigned from the board of PAS because I feared that any form of association with her would be harmful to my professional reputation. 'I was aware she has made complaints of harassment against others in the past.'

    Mr Fletcher is now a director of Digital-Trust, which advises on cyber stalking. Fellow director Jennifer Perry said: 'Harry has been given advice and emotional support as a stalking victim himself. Spreading malicious allegations about someone is one of the stalker's weapons.'

    Ms Richards led the Homicide Prevention Unit, which aimed to draw up a list of the most high-profile 'future offenders' based on past records and psychological profiling. In 2006 she said: 'It is trying to pick up Ian Huntley before he goes out and commits that murder.'

    A Scotland Yard spokesman said: 'An allegation of harassment has been made by a 38-year-old woman. [Ms Richards was 38 at the time of her complaint]. A man has been interviewed under caution and the police investigation continues.'

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    1. It says police questioned Harry in November. Why are the Daily Mail reporting on this now?

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    2. Why has everyone ignored the Harry Fletcher story. This is a serious allegation against a high profile figure associated with napo and our Service. After the removal of our previous G.S Ledger napo cannot afford further scandals. Do people go into our union for the politics or the privileged position and kudos on the top table, before taking full advantage. We all know it goes on

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    3. I really don't think it would be wise to say anything at the moment but rather take note and await the outcome of the investigation.

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    4. Wise stance Jim (though I bet JL sports a wry smile).

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    5. Laura Richards supported and promoted mine and my partners convicted criminal psychopathic serial Domestic Violence abuser and Cyber stalker, see the story 3/4 way down this page https://dorsetpoliceignoredomesticviolenceorderbreaches.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/convicted-criminal-ronnie-hobby-threats-to-christopher-causing-him-to-fear-violence-against-him/

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  8. Quick question, is there any additional money for the travel tickets for 50,000 new clients?

    £5-£7 a time
    x 50,000
    x 12 if seen monthly

    £3m at the least and this is only for £5 tickets, could easily add another million on.

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    1. Travel expenses for clients is already a thing of the past in some areas.
      Clearly, they'll go accross the board very soon, causing many more problems.
      The thing that gets me in all of this though, is, what would a judge say if some bright client brought a case arguing that its unfair and disporportionate, that having recieved 7 days imprisonment for shoplifting they now have 12 months supervision, yet the violent offender that attracts a 15month sentence has only 7 1/2months supervision?
      Indeed, a 7 month sentence will see you receive a greater amount of engagement with the CJS then someone that does actually receive 15month.
      Surely it wont be long before thats brought before the courts?

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    2. Do we know what areas have stopped bus fares? Or plan to?

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    3. All of them. Transport will now be provided by the 'old lags' :)

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    4. At present bus fare is paid for Unpaid Work, Programmes, drug treatment and education but i can see this being cut. Then attendance will drop like a stone.

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    5. And all to report to a kiosk? Yes, I hear that those are on the agenda. The media backlash will be entertaining, if nothing else.

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    6. slight correction to the above.......the violent offender who gets 15 mths will also get 12 mths supervision....7.5 mths on licence topped up with 4.5 mths post sentence supervision......everyone sentenced to over 1 day & under 2 yrs gets 12mths supervision in some form (those getting a 2 yr sentence already get 1 yr on licence)..........there are definitely questions about fairness & proportionality though........Bobbyjoe

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    7. What happens to someone serving 2 years whos released on sentence expiry date?

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    8. I assume this will be someone who was initially released on a 12 mth licence. They should (if eligible) get an initial fixed term recall of 28 days. If they are then released and recalled again the parole board decides whether or not to release on licence again. If they are not released until their SED then I believe that is the end of it.
      Compare this to someone who gets a 12 mth sentence ie 6mths in prison, 6mths on licence followed by 6 mths post sentence supervision PSS). The fixed term recall for under 12 monthers is just 14 days. If they are then released & recalled again they can only stay in until the length of the original sentence ie 12 mths. They would then be released on the 6 mths PSS.
      If they breach during this period the court has various sanctions the worse being 14 days in prison - but the clock keeps running for the whole 6 mths so they come out back out on the same PSS & could potentially breach again & get another 14 days (or other sanction).........perhaps I have learned things from our area's briefings (DLNR CRC)........Bobbyjoe

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  9. I can envisage offenders being seen by the RO driving around all day to HVs - as long as they are seen it counts and it may be the only way to ensure completions so income is earned in the Probation for Profit businesses. Cheaper to provide a lease car and a tablet so records updated immediately than to support all those offices. One hub centre for each area and the ROs given a patch to work...

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  10. Of course there can't be any training with regard to ORA.
    All the private companies are going to do things differently from each other, and that means that Sodoxos 'interpretation' of the ORA will probably be very different to Interserves 'interpretation'.
    Therefore training cannot be generic, but specific and relative to region and company approach.

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  11. The violent Offender Anon 13.51 will now have a total of 12 months on supervision, same period of licence as before and a further periiod of supervision.

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  12. http://reformingprisons.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/probations-february-revolution-enter.html?spref=tw

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  13. http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/feb/01/presumed-guilty-ministry-justice-axes-criminal-trial-advice?CMP=share_btn_tw

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  14. http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/02/01/prisoner-book-ban-comes-to-an-end

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  15. and in all of this has there been any consideration of equitable punishment ?

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  16. Although its a serious concern, I can't help being a little amused by this report.
    If Sodoxo can't even provide reasonable food for prisoners, given that they are after all a catering firm, what hope is there in getting TR right?

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/cold-food-protest-almost-caused-8557651

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  17. This is worth reading (off topic), as this could be the new UKs partners in all things criminal justice.

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/saudi-beheads-murderer-5th-execution-under-king-184623186.html

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