Thursday, 19 February 2015

Napo On the Case

It seems Napo has somewhat belatedly decided it was time to say something about the ongoing chaos in the CRC's. The issues have been widely discussed here and on social media sites over several days and this press release was issued yesterday:-

Unions claim plans for prisoner rehabilitation are heading for chaos

Unions representing probation staff say that Government plans to offer rehabilitation
support to the estimated 45,000 prisoners released every year from short term
sentences are in danger of failing to be delivered on time. The claim follows the
receipt of information that a number of the providers of ‘Through the Gate’ (TTG)
support services are short of key staff just weeks away from the contractually
required 1st May launch date.

In a letter to senior managers covering the Bedfordshire, Northampton, Cambridge
and Hertfordshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), one of 21 newly
outsourced providers created under Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s Transforming
Rehabilitation (TR) agenda, local Napo and Unison representatives have expressed
their anger that, despite being under severe workload pressures and unfilled
vacancies due to a recruitment moratorium imposed by the Ministry of Justice, their
CRC has been asked by the private sector owner to release probation practitioners
to undertake TTG work. It is understood that St Giles Trust, the charity contracted by
Sodexo to provide the service, has so far failed to recruit sufficient staff.

The unions claim that it is ‘untenable that the CRC has been asked to release
approximately one seventh of its probation service officer (PSO) capacity, which they
say would mean the temporary reallocation of approximately 600 probation service
users for a six month period.

Napo General Secretary, Ian Lawrence said: 'We have now received reports from a
number of newly outsourced CRCs in various parts of the probation network that
hard pressed probation practitioners are being asked to fill the gaps. Our members
are seriously concerned that this will leave existing clients, who are traditionally more
likely to reoffend, without the requisite levels of supervision, which will expose the
public to the risk of harm’.

He added: ‘This raises serious questions as to how contracts were awarded to some
private suppliers who have apparently failed to put the necessary plans and
resources in place to deliver this important service.’

Napo has said that it intends to urgently raise its concerns about the situation with
the Ministry of Justice and cross party politicians.


  1. Disappointing that the press release made no mention that this is also on the cards in Northumbria CRC!

    1. Loath as I am to defend Napo, the press release does mention "a number of the providers of ‘Through the Gate’ (TTG) support services" - perhaps the best available evidence was from BeNCH?

  2. They should all go read the findings from Sonnex SFO; read and weep, read and learn! That's what practitioners are always told!

  3. And West Yorkshire too.

  4. In their desperation, the primes will subcontract out to existing agencies working within the CJS who have not provided value for money or been effective in the past.

  5. Who needs salaried staff when these guys (all applying for government monies linked to accommodation &/or employment) will be helping the providers meet their targets / fulfill their contractual obligations / make their profits?

    Alliance Homes.
    Blue Sky.
    Babington Buisness College.
    Bounce Back.
    Core Systems.
    Carers Federation
    Creativity for change.
    3SC _ NCSE.
    Change to progress CIC.
    Spark Inside.
    Tomorrows People Trust Ltd.
    The Manchester College.
    MTC Amey.
    Ormiston Families.
    Society of St James.
    Prison Advice & Care Trust.
    The Cascade Foundation.
    The Reach Project.
    Reed in Partnerhsip.
    Richmond fellowship.
    Ryse CIC.
    Exemplas Ltd _Inspire2Enterprise.
    Economic Solutions.
    Safe Ground.
    Serco Ltd.
    NXG Group.
    Release Linc Community Chaplaincy.
    Reach Project (DLNR).
    Lancashire Women's Centres.
    G4S Welfare to Work.
    Just Ask Consultancy Ltd.
    MK College.

    1. They all want a slice of the pie and in the race to get it, will not work together in the best interests of the clients, consequently Joe Bloggs get offered the same thing by multiply agencies, meets lots of different people with false promises and no idea of the complex needs he has, and fails to deliver anything effective, scuttling off into the background because of a failure of understanding the individual and then blaming them for a lack of motivation, leaving them with a feeling that yet again there is lots of talk but no action. Whilst there are some good individual members within these partner agencies, their company ethos, a total lack of understanding and lack of co-ordination of services means that there is an awful lot of money wasted which could have been better spent if they weren't in competition with one another.

  6. Working Links have not got their supply chain organised yet. No info on TTG apart from giving PSOs a 'wonderful opportunity' to work in the prisons for a few months to set this up. How can WL be given a contract to run something as important as this when they have no plan or staff to run the service, nor do they know how Probation CRCs are run at the moment. This was all said at the briefing in Wales yesterday. It beggars belief. They will set up working parties to look at what is good practice and how things can be improved over the coming months. Current contracts with Partners will be ending soon so getting rid of experienced specialists who have worked with offenders over many years.

    1. The lack of supply chain is a consequence NOT on the concept of outsourcing but of Grayling and the MoJ's approach to it. It is because the timescales were reckless and ludicrous that the work necessary to prepare was unable to be completed on the time available. This is not a failing of the bidders, although they are complicit, it is a failure of the SoS and his ministry.

    2. It is exactly a failing of the bidders as they err, bid to meet the contractual obligation by the specified date err 01 May.....caveat emptor

    3. Since end of Oct the primes have been asking for interested 2nd/3rd tier parties to put in an application via their websites, like the one on St Giles

      Surely if you apply for a tender you know what you are applying for and what mechanisms you need, and costs?

    4. Working links is Devon Dorset and Cornwall too. As I'm
      Nps I don't hear anything but I know the crc staff have got a roadshow to go to soon . Hopefully I will hear more after that

    5. This is just great from a save public probation stance and we really should get ready to crow as it truly is starting to fall apart BUT I feel so sad for our service users and colleagues. Morale destroyed, lost opportunity for change in our communities SAD and SHAMEFUL

  7. staff being disciplined for sickness; capability and discipline all on the increase in our CRC - are they deliberately trying to over-work people so that they slip up and fall foul of these policies? It certainly looks that way from where i'm standing.

    1. I've recently read a number of articles that take great pains to spell out that OUTSOURCING is not PRIVATISATION. Outsourcing goes the arguement, is infact more of a 'lease' where a service is entrusted to the private sector on a specified temporary time period. In probations case that would be a 10 year period- but ultimately, the service is still 'owned' by the state.
      It must therefore follow that if probation has been 'outsourced' and not 'privatised', the state must take some responsibility for how the contract is managed, and for the staff that they've 'leased' to the private sector?
      This contract by Capita demonstrates why this should be.

      I think it's important to remember that although 70% of the service is now being 'managed' by private enterprise, it ultamately is still a state 'owned' service, and the state are responsible for the well being of that service and those that work in it.

    2. And there in a nutshell is the con at the heart of the stooge politicos promises over the TTIP stitch- up. "It won't threaten the NHS, they're exempt from the privatisation provisions". Indeedy. They'll just be "outsourced".

  8. Completely off topic but an interesting article in the Guardian which makes some very interesting observations of the difference between anger and aggression as I've noticed a lot of people in the profession equate a client expressing anger about a situation in an appropriate way with aggression (when they aren't being aggressive) and labelling them as having anger management issues or stating incorrectly that they are aggressive when they are not. Anger is a legitimate emotion and when expressed correctly and appropriately should not be penalised for being expressed.

    1. Absolutely. An increasing occurrence, running alongside many other examples of abuse of power

  9. Changing Lives contract is ending end of March in Wales.

  10. Off topic but perhaps NAPO could publish examples of where offenders who commit serious offences on licence are being recalled for just 28 days against professional recommendations to keep the prison population down again. Offenders will catch on and the public are at risk. The public should know.

    1. Don't forget with through the gate recalls are for a 14 day, full board holiday at local prison.

  11. They are going to have to be swift - I'm still waiting for my prison vetting which was submitted before Xmas

  12. Any news on Londons MTC Novo?

    1. Every thing is fine, everything is going according to plan... not really.

  13. Prison vetting can take months to clear new employees but that won't be too much of a problem at my establishment as there isn't anywhere for the new CRC workers to be based yet anyway. And as community PSOs are directed in, prison PSOs are waiting to find where we will be directed to in the community. .......!

    1. Man in pub tells me that MOJ are making sure that vetting is being given priority. The cynical part of me would suggest that it will only reduce the time taken from six months to five. Man in pub also claims that there will be a tacit agreement that bank accounts may be monitored for 'suspicious activity', likely due to the amount of drugs allegedly being brought into prison by staff.

    2. And personal safety?

    3. Feck, this is quite serious and somebody could have benn killed!!!

      As for monitoring bank accounts, this is one of the many reasons why I would never volunteer for TTG.

    4. The Ministry of Justice have refused to comment on claims surrounding the cause of a large fire at HMP Isle of Wight last night (Wednesday), which engulfed two floors of a prison wing.

      As first reported by Island Echo, emergency services were called to Albany prison at around 19:30 after receiving reports from prison staff that a fire had broke out in a corridor at House Unit 15, Alpha Wing.

      Firefighters from the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service spent around 90 minutes tackling the blaze, which took hold of two floors and left several prisoners needing treatment for smoke inhalation. A major incident was declared by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, who sent 8 ambulances and other resources to the scene.

      Island Echo can reveal that an inmate on Alpha Wing is believed to have started the blaze and is said to have had some kind of weapon. Whilst the MoJ have not commented on the claims put forward to them by Island Echo today, they have confirmed that the situation was not a riot and have said in a brief statement:

      “There was a fire in one of the house blocks at HMP Albany yesterday evening.

      “The fire was extinguished by 9pm and the incident caused no serious injuries. The matter is now being investigated.”

      A level of lock-down is understood to be in place at the Albany site of HMP Isle of Wight tonight and has been throughout the day as the incident investigation continues, with details of what happened being kept quiet.

  14. In my area there are expression of interest for TTG. I was thinking of applying for one of the places. Aside from the vetting, what drawbacks when juxtaposed with case management can I expect?

    1. If they pull the plug on TTG, and thats a real possibility because its going to be so difficult to get going, I'd be concerned about my future employment.
      I'm not sure if those working on the TTG on the inside would just be laid off instead of being returned to the field.
      On the working links website theres a job advertisement for a 'project manager' for TTG for Scrubs. It pays £23k a year, and your job discription means you'll earn every cent of it.
      I wouldn't touch it with a barge poll!!

  15. I do not see how TTG staff can routinely have their back accounts monitored merely as a blanket response to concerns that drugs may be taken into prison. It is not just cause legally and impossible to undertake on such a scale. Can this be verified as accurate information?

  16. oops BANK accounts, not back accounts,sorry...

  17. I'm not sure how to explain this thought clearly but... There seems to be a general malaise that's swept the nation whereby those with significant roles & respknsibility display crass stupidity, myopic decision-making & a total lack of wanting to face reality. Its as widespread as the Triffids & affects all aspects of our lives including politics, NHS, police, probation, child protection, cricket, football... Anything!

    ... Not a single person, or group of people, want to accept any responsibility for fucking up. They all want eye-watering sums of cash, they all want to be seen to be shiny & kool & "made", but none seem to understand what it is they're supposed to actually doing. And when it all goes tits up? They try to cover their arses by blaming anyone & everyone else or they invent yet another farcical game of "pass the parcel", where some poor schmuck ends up carrying the can.

    TTG? Volunteer & be subjected to rigorous checks, have NOMS rummaging in your bank accounts, your private life & peering up your back passage looking for a reason to hang you out to dry?

    Child abuse in Parliamentary circles? They're long gone. They packed their bags, burned the house down & left the planet.

    MPs expenses? The new rules cover their arses so completely we'll never have chance to complain ever again. Note that they haven't amended their grasping, greedy behaviour - they've just closed the curtains so we can't see who's ripping us off.

    Tax? Probation? NHS? Education? Etc etc etc. Shocking, shameful & shit.

    And the cricket didn't go too well either.