Tuesday, 17 March 2015


I thought readers might be interested in some snippets from the latest (12th March) MoJ/Noms Senior Leaders Bulletin:- 

HMCTS provision of Court Orders to NPS

There are currently a variety of practices in place nationally for HMCTS to provide Court orders or Notifications of sentences at Magistrates court to probation, depending upon locally agreed practice.

A National process has now been agreed to enable prompt, electronic notification of the details of sentence to NPS. An electronic copy of the Court order or Notification of the order of the Court will be automatically sent direct from Libra to functional mailboxes set up within NPS. This electronic process will replace all existing local procedures.

• Libra will generate a court order/ notification of order of the court to be sent to 7 NPS Divisional mail boxes.
• These will then automatically forward to the appropriate NPS court functional mail box by using the OU code (code of the sentencing court).
• NPS Court SPOs will have a process in place to monitor the local and Divisional mailboxes on a daily basis
• On receipt of the court order/notification, NPS administration staff will check NDelius to confirm where the case was allocated to. NPS administration staff will then send the court order/notification on to the NPS or CRC office holding the case in line with PI 05/2014 Case allocations.

Functuality is due to be available from 23rd March 2015.

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman publishes thematic report on prison suicides in 2013/14

Learning from PPO Investigations: self-inflicted deaths of prisoners – 2013/14

'There is no simple answer to why the number of prisoners committing suicide rose so sharply last year, but the rise was unacceptable', said Nigel Newcomen, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) when he published a thematic study on 10th March on the lessons to be learned from investigations into self-inflicted deaths of prisoners in 2013/14.

The lessons that need to be learned are:

• staff working in prison receptions should actively identify known risk factors for suicide and self-harm and not simply act on a prisoner’s presentation;
• relationship breakdown and violent offences against family members are known risk factors for suicide and being subject to a restraining order can be a sign of increased vulnerability;
• all new arrivals should promptly receive an induction to provide information to help them meet their basic needs in prison;
• mental health referrals need to be made and acted on promptly and there should be continuity of care from the community;
• prisoners are most at risk in the first month of custody; 
• the cumulative impact on potential suicide of restrictions, punishments, IEP levels and access to work needs to be considered; 
• prisoners on open ACCT documents should only be segregated in exceptional circumstances; • suicide prevention procedures should focus on the prisoner as an individual and the processes must be correctly implemented;
• increased risk of suicide and self-harm should be considered when a prisoner is a suspected victim of bullying; and
• effective and confident emergency response saves lives. 
This document is available on the PPO website at www.ppo.gov.uk. Please cascade to all relevant staff.

Offenders Sentenced to Less than 12 Months Custody

Following the implementation of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, all offenders sentenced to less than 12 months custody will, for the first time, be subject to a period of post-release licence from the point of release. Furthermore, this post-release licence will be supplemented by a further consecutive period of Post-Sentence Supervision that will take the overall period of supervision in the community up to 12 months. As such, all offenders sentenced to less than 12 months custody who are assessed as High RoSH and/or having an RSR score greater than 6.89% must have a full OASys assessment and Initial Sentence Plan within 4 weeks of the date of sentence.

PQF Learner in NPS or CRC (Cohort 3)

Applicants to become a PQF learner in the NPS or CRC as part of Cohort 3 (starting in May 2015) will hear their results this week. The overall standard of applications was high.

The new qualification pathway for probation needs to be ready to be launched in April 2016.

To develop the pathway a board and project group have been established: the Probation Qualification Review Project is now underway and the Board meets regularly. Both have a combination of NOMS, NPS and CRC representation and anyone who would like to join the virtual Reference Group to review drafts and ideas is welcome to contact...

New E-learning - The Basics of Custodial Screening & Resettlement Plans

From the 8th December 2014, the OASys application was changed to incorporate the new Basic Custody Screening (BCS) form that is part of the new Through the Gate (TTG) Delivery Model.

From May 2015, Community Rehabilitation Company staff will begin to complete the BCS part 2 on prisoners for all receptions into custody who will have received a BCS part 1, which will have been completed by prison staff.

It is likely that CRC staff working in prisons completing BCST Part 2 will have had no previous experience of OASys and access will be limited by role based access (RBACS) to the BCST function on OASys.

As it is a contractual requirement of CRCs to complete BCST Part 2, learning has been developed for CRC staff who will not be OASys Assessor or OASys Case Administrator trained, but who will be required to complete the Basic Custody Screening (BCS) Tool Part 2 or administer the BCS Part 2 process.

The course will be available to learners on the Justice Partnership Academy and Justice Academy from April 7th 2015.

Pre-course reading of all of the BCS Guidance documents is required prior to completing the e-learning.

By the end of this course learners will be able to:
  • Gather username and password required to log into the OASys application from both Quantum and OMNI infrastructure 
  • Describe the support process for practice queries, functionality queries and when the application does not work as expected 
  • Navigate around the OASys system correctly 
  • Navigate to the ‘Pending BCS (Part 2) View’ and correctly use the view to administer the BCS process. 
  • State the difference between an OASys assessment and a BCS. 
  • State the timings for BCS Part 1 and BCS Part 2 
  • Complete BCS Part 2 resettlement plan 
  • Complete BCS Part 2 Pre-release activity 
  • Understand how to enter in resettlement activity at any point during the custodial sentence 
  • Print BCS 
  • Describe the context of the BCS as a part of the Through the Gate delivery model
  • Describe the offender management process 
  • Administer the functions that will enable the BCS process.
Completion of this learning will provide good assurance that CRC staff have the requisite skills and knowledge to be granted access to the OASys platform.

NPS Bail Information Officer Training

Following the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation, local training on bail information was no longer available. As a result, there was a need for us to provide national training in this area for NPS Court staff.

From March 27th a newly developed e-learning course – Bail Information Officer Training will be available on the NPS Faculty page on the Justice Academy:

Before undertaking the course, there is a pre course requirement for staff to have undertaken one shadow visit to Court with a Bail Information Officer (BIO) or to have previous experience of working as a BIO.

This new course is mandatory for all new NPS court staff and it will provide learners with the core knowledge and skills to enable identification of appropriate bail cases, completion of bail enquiries and creation of bail reports to a sufficient standard.

By the end of this course learners will be able to:

• Reference legislation relating to bail
• Explain key tasks of your role and how to prioritize
• List potential grounds for refusal of bail
• Understand the issues involved in gathering and verifying bail information
• Complete a bail report to a satisfactory standard
• Make a well-considered proposal to court including bail conditions where required. 

There is a pass/fail test at end of learning package but staff are able to repeat the learning until a pass is achieved.

The new learning is intended to help to reduce remands in custody for defendants suitable for bail, increase referrals to bail accommodation services and improve the quality of information provided to the Court. 


  1. Off topic, but interesting.


    1. The last prison inspector felt he was pressured out of the job because he was too critical of government. Now it seems plans are afoot to prevent his replacement being of a similar disposition.

      Details have been released of the selection panel for the new inspector and one name stands out: Lord Oliver Henley, former Tory minister at the Home Office and Defra under the coalition, as well as serving in numerous government roles under Margaret Thatcher and John Major. The idea that Lord Oliver would make an impartial assessor of candidates is not credible.

      He is one of two 'independent' panel members, alongside Amanda Sater, a member of the youth justice board. The rest of the panel is filled out by Antonia Romeo, former director of criminal justice at the Ministry of Justice, who oversaw justice secretary Chris Grayling's chaotic privatisation of the probation service, and Dame Anne Pringle, a public appointment assessor nominated by the commissioner for public appointments.

      With one former Tory minister teamed up with a Grayling loyalist, the odds are stacked against anyone with critical faculties securing the position.

      This is not a coincidence. Former inspector Nick Hardwick's reports into the decline of the prison estate were one of the only ways to get information about what was going on in the nation's prisons, given the draconian restrictions on journalists or campaigners speaking to inmates. Hardwick was incensed by the 69% rise of suicides in prison – a rise which coincided with the twin disaster of slashed prison budgets and ever-more inmates being crammed into the system.

      His last annual report, released in October, described a "significant decline in safety", a steep rise in assaults and the "loss of more experienced staff" due to cuts.

      The report also went about as far as Hardwick could safely go in blaming Grayling directly. He wrote:

      "Increases in self-inflicted deaths, self-harm and violence cannot be attributed to a single cause. They reflect some deep-seated trends and affect prisons in both the public and private sectors. Nevertheless, in my view, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the conjunction of resource, population and policy pressures, particularly in the second half of 2013-14 and particularly in adult male prisons, was a very significant factor for the rapid deterioration in safety and other outcomes we found as the year progressed." [italics added]

      In response, Grayling announced publicly that he would not renew Hardwick's contract, which runs out in July, and instead demanded that he re-apply for the job.

      This was not unexpected. Prison inspectors often have a difficult relationship with the government, although not all ministers are so disreputable in how they deal with them. Dame Anne Owers still had her contract extended and served two five-year terms, despite being very critical of the government. Lord Ramsbotham did not – a fact which probably owed something to his strained relationship with a succession of home secretaries (this is in the days before the creation of the Ministry of Justice).

      Hardwick opted not to reapply for the job, saying:

      "Told MoJ ministers & officials I won't be reapplying for my post. Can't be independent of people you are asking for a job."

      Grayling insisted the re-advertising process was par for the course, but no-one doubts he wanted Hardwick gone. This selection panel is likely to deliver someone more to his liking.

    2. "Biography

      Antonia has been Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat (EDS) at the Cabinet Office since February 2015. Prior to this, Antonia was Director General Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice, with responsibility for criminal justice policy and major programmes including rehabilitation, sentencing, youth justice and digitising the criminal justice system.

      Antonia started her career as a strategy consultant for financial services firm Oliver Wyman. She joined the civil service in 2000 as an economist."

    3. From 'civil service world' 2014:

      "Romeo is sure that the new system will improve results. “At the moment, we have a very serious and professional group of probation staff working incredibly hard with local partners to reduce reoffending,” she says. “We’re seeking to allow those that move out to the CRCs the freedom and innovation to bring in new and better ways of doing things.” And in that process, she adds, “my job is to make sure that we don’t take any unnecessary risks as we move; that we look very carefully and seek assurance that what we’re doing won’t lead to any reduction in ‘business as usual’ or to any risks.”

      Over an intense 50 minutes, Antonia Romeo has answered every question about this wholesale transformation of our probation services – but the risks involved in the reforms remain substantial. Convicted criminals are an unpredictable set of people, and the stakes are high: if contractors take their eyes of the ball and their clientele break the law, people will get hurt. Given the MoJ’s past mistakes in outsourcing schemes, the programme’s success is far from guaranteed.

      Yet Romeo is clearly aware of the dangers, and determined both to manage the process as carefully as possible, and to watch carefully for emerging problems. “We need to progress this in a really disciplined and controlled way. We don’t take any risks in moving from one phase to the next,” she says. “My job as senior responsible officer is to make sure we deliver the benefits of the programme. We need to really understand what’s going on – and there are no prizes for not listening.”"

      So that's okay then.

    4. Here's a flavour of civil service mutual backslapping from 2014:

      by Antonia Romeo

      Dear Transformers

      Under MoJ’s new structure (http://intranet.justice.gsi.gov.uk/news-features/corporate-updates/2013-05-13a.htm), EMCB will take on responsibility for scrutinising and assuring the TJ portfolio of programmes, a change we’re making to reflect our increased focus on major programmes as a way to deliver reform (including the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, for which I’m SRO).

      This is great news for TJ, which under the new MoJ structure will remain the vision and strategy for the department. In my new role as DG Criminal Justice, I will continue as DG lead for MoJ’s strategy function, and will continue to ensure we are harnessing the ideas and innovative thinking from everyone across the MoJ to deliver the TJ vision. So I Iook forward to working with you all in the next phase of our reform journey!

      In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has made TJ such a success so far. Not only has TJ enabled huge savings and reforms to be delivered across MoJ but it is also recognised across Whitehall as best practice change delivery in the public sector. And that wouldn’t have been possible without your ideas, commitment and hard work. Before I sign off my last ‘Transformers’ blog as DG Transforming Justice, then, here are some of the highlights of what we’ve achieved:

      – We have built a strategic change portfolio that has delivered huge financial savings, and improved the ways we work right across the department. The change programmes have contributed to us living within our means in a really difficult financial context, delivering £266million of savings in the last year.

      – The portfolio is on track to make £1.25billion of savings by 2014/15, and a clear majority of those savings have an amber-green or higher delivery rating.

      – We participated in the Department-led Review of Projects, announced in the Autumn Statement in 2012, and identified £140m of savings by 15/16. Our contribution was seen as amongst the best in Whitehall, with the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury noting “the achievements of the Ministry of Justice both in terms of their constructive and positive approach to this review and the scale of ambition in identifying efficiency savings”.

      – We have received commendations from inside and outside Government for our work and our achievements – including the Institute for Government, and Parliament. Here’s what the Justice Committee said in their report on the budget and structure of the MoJ: “We welcome the achievements of the Transforming Justice programme in uniting the Ministry behind this brand. This work has helped the Department to coalesce around a common purpose. We further welcome the efforts that have been made to involve front-line staff in these changes at an early stage, and found evidence of the understanding of and commitment to the programme among staff at every level when we toured the Ministry’s and NOMS headquarters on an ‘open access’ basis”.

      So thank you to all Transformers for your support, ideas and enthusiasm over the last year. I look forward to continuing to transform justice with you."

    5. All together now.............................
      ........."Transformahs - robots IN disguiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiise..............."

    6. Last time I 'coalesced' I was prescribed Canesten Duo.

  2. http://m.gazette-news.co.uk/news/11859229.UKIP_MP_s_probation_comments_branded__ignorant__by_election_rival_after_attacker_was_freed_to_carry_out_meat_cleaver_attack/

  3. User voice and probation institute announce partnership.

    1. "Our role is to improve rehabilitation...
      ...through collaboration.

      At User Voice we know that the criminal justice system needs to be improved. We are optimistic that change is possible and we know that we have the experience and insight to contribute to making it better.

      Rehabilitation is possible, and people with convictions can turn their lives into an active force for good in society. Rehabilitation is the goal of all our work, a process which goes deeper than reducing offending, although that is an outcome.

      At User Voice we build the structures that enable productive collaboration between service users and service providers. We are able to do this because our work is led and delivered by ex-offenders. This gives us the special ability to gain the trust of, access to, and insight from people within the criminal justice system."

    2. so do a lot of POs and PSOs who are ex-offenders.....and some who have been victims.....many of us bring "special abilities" already
      A PO

  4. Slightly at a tangent - In these times of austerity, with zero % payrises, dire poverty, foodbanks, unemployment, benefit sanctions and massive cuts to essential public services, I've had an idea... reduce the tax burden on the most wealthy?

    ...How about letting the wealthy keep most, if not all, of their wealth by passing it on to their children without paying any inheritance tax on most, if not all, of their ill-gotten gains?

  5. Oh God, have just read this blog and my brain hurts.......Under 12 months custody and High ROSH = 4 weeks to do full OASys and ISP?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha tee hee

    1. As an outsider isn't that putting the cart befire the horse?
      Surely a full OASys assessment (the governments fantastic risk assessment tool) should be done 'before' the level of ROSH can be determined? And indeed before the allocation to CRC or NPS can be decided upon?
      Am I reading todays post correctly? It appears to me that allocation of service, and ROSH is to be determind prior to OASys assessment?

    2. Is it Monday? Must be right then. But don't worry, there'll be another revision out tomorrow where ROSH is determined before the offence has been committed. A new kind of bespoke criminal justice system to suit the needs of CRC profiteers.

    3. I've heard that ROSH will now be determined pre birth and Steria are developing ultrasound technology as we speak....

    4. Geezer in the boozer told me that ROSH is one of the genome markers, can be genetically modified, & that Fifty Shades of Purple Brocolli have applied for the patent...

    5. So I heard that ROSH was created with the Big Bang. So if you use the appropriate apparatus on Friday you can see the Rings of Rosh on the fringes of the solar flange during the eclipse. So that's why OASys was created during the 1999 eclipse, and why TR is being implemented during the 2015 eclipse. The power of the universe is a-m-a-z-i-n-g... Just ask Prof Brian Cocks.

    6. im in the CRC so how come OASYS all have to be done within 10 days for low/med but if you are RoSH you get 4 weeks - it doesn't make sense you would think it would be the other way around. Also don't forget we only have to see people once per fortnight for the first eight weeks and then once every 2 months. Why then the rush for the ISP?

  6. I'd always assumed the JFDI culture was homegrown in the Trusts. This blog from the now-departed & well-promoted Ms Romeo suggests Grayling is clearly very familiar with its application:

    "... Obviously in some (most) areas data is critical to allow you to understand what the impact of a particular policy will be (and as an economist I would always drive for evidence-based policy-making) but sometimes as policy-makers executing our Ministers’ agenda we need to recognise and take account of a range of other factors including wider social, fiscal or political context, which can mean implementing before a full set of impact data has been gathered/assessed. As our SoS has said: ‘Sometimes you need just to get on with it’.

  7. If the EVR end date is 31/3/15, and if the new 'owners' haven't completed "due diligence" to ascertain resources before that date, does the EVR end-date extend? No-one in local napo or our CRC seems able or wiling to answer.

    1. EVR carries on throughout the TRcontract and doesn't end on 31/3. The issue will be application not definition.

    2. Interesting... Not the view our CRC masters have.

    3. we were informed immediately after share sale that there was not sufficient money left for any EVR for CRC staff - all went on corporate staff - mainly high end highly paid exec staff. Total disgrace - I know many practitioners would have opted to walk if they could have got the EVR package.

  8. Information... About JSI Following question by Sadiq Khan:

    "Just Solutions International (JSi) is a brand within the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) that the Agency adopted in early 2013.
    The Ministry of Justice contracted with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the provision of support for the development by NOMS of a business model to generate commercial income through the provision of advice and support to other governments on prison and probation issues.
    The contract was awarded to PwC in September 2012 and was for a period of 8 months from January to August 2013. The amount paid for the provision of services was £101,179 excluding VAT. A redacted version of the contract was published under the transparency agenda and can be found on the Contract Finder website at the following link:


    In addition to this contract, NOMS, through JSi, worked with PwC in Pakistan supporting reform of Punjab prisons. The amount paid to PwC for their services was £7,308.40 excluding VAT by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office."

    I'm assuming PwC are that well known provider of justice & accountancy, Price Waterhouse Cooper

  9. http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31935534

    1. Funding cuts and reforms in England and Wales have contributed to a drop in prison safety over the past two years, a parliamentary report says.

      The House of Commons Justice Committee expressed "grave concern" over increases in assaults on prison staff and inmates between 2012 and 2014.

      It also raised concern about suicides, self-harm and indiscipline in prisons. Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said modernisation of the system had created "an estate fit for purpose".

      The cross-party committee has published its findings after a year-long inquiry. Its report drew on official figures showing that the number of suicides in English and Welsh jails rose from 61 in 2012 to 84 in the first nine months of 2014.

      Assaults on staff and other inmates rose by 7.1% and self-harm by 9%, while recorded incidents of "concerted indiscipline" rose from 94 to 153, when comparing the first nine months of 2014 with the same period of 2012.

      This government's policies have seen jails turn into dens of violence where inmates are idling away their time in their cells instead of being on courses or working”

      The increases also came during a period when the Ministry of Justice implemented a modernisation programme to replace old prisons with new facilities.

      It also made efficiency savings and altered the prisoner incentive and earned privileges schemes.

      The report said that evidence gathered from HM Inspectorate of Prisons, the government's performance data, independent monitoring boards, and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman "all indicate a deterioration in standards of safety and performance across the prison estate over the last two years".

      It added: "The decrease in safety is particularly troubling, with an increase in assaults and self-inflicted deaths.

      "We considered it improbable that there is no link between estate reconfiguration, benchmarking, and changes in operational policy, including the incentives and earned privileges scheme, and the shift in safety across the prison estate.

      "In particular, we conclude that the fall in staffing levels stemming from redundancies and increased turnover, which at their most acute have resulted in severely restricted regimes, are bound to have reduced the consistency of relationships between officers and prisoners, and in turn affected safety."

    2. What is it about Altcourse - even the visitors are fighting....

      A school trip to a Liverpool jail that was meant to teach children how to avoid a life of crime ended with one of them in court on an assault charge.

      Pupils started fighting outside Altcourse prison in Fazakerley and a boy of 14 was punched in the face.

      The well-intentioned trip went quickly wrong when youngsters started to scrap in the car park outside.

      A sudden prison ‘lockdown’ last October led to the youths having to remain in the chapel for 90 minutes while the premises was put on high alert.

      But it sent the children into ‘meltdown’, a youth court in Llandudno, north Wales, heard, with one boy, 15, punching another, 14, leaving him concussed, bleeding, and with an ‘egg-sized’ lump on his head.

      Some teens started verbally abusing staff in the chapel before the fracas erupted in the prison car park.

      Prosecutor Julie Hughes said pupils with behavioural problems were taken to the jail after a constable from north Wales suggested the idea.

      Prosecutor Julie Hughes said: “The 15-year-old appeared from a minibus and shouted to the boy that he deserved a punch.

      “A support worker tried to protect the victim but a blow connected very forcefully with the boy’s face.”

      A boy of 15 admitted the assault and got nine months youth rehabilitation.

      Defence solicitor Andrew Hutchinson said: “Some staff were sickened by what they saw happening to the victim.”

      Miss Hughes added: “They will think twice before volunteering to take the defendant on any form of school trip in the future

  10. On the increasing prison suicide rates, the Justice Select Committee said, “We considered it improbable that there is no link between estate reconfiguration, benchmarking and changes in operational policy, including the incentives and earned privileges scheme, and the shift in safety across the prison estate.”

    But the ministry of justice (quote below) says there is no evidential link, but reducing suicides is a top priority. If it's a top priority to reduce suicides, then you presumably have some idea of what factors need addressing in order to bring about a reduction. As the MoJ dismisses the 'probable' factors identified by the JSC, then they should be identifying the factors which they believe may be causative. What they are doing is denying the obvious evidence and showing a callous disregard for human life. The MoJ is reaching new moral lows.

    “The ministry of justice said that reducing prison suicides was top priority but insisted there was no evidence to link staffing levels, type of prison or crowding levels to the number of self-inflicted deaths across the estate.”

  11. HMIP is looking for short term secondments.....2 young offender inspections and one ( to be confirmed on foreign nationals).....seems to me they are going to avoid the elephant in the room with its massive TRunk....

  12. Information from jan 2012 Justice Committee. Its another world...

    "Q156 Yasmin Qureshi: Can I ask you for an example of which areas of your business you have streamlined, and how were the staff and the stakeholders involved in that particular process? Can you give us an idea of some of the areas where you have done your streamlining and how you achieved it?

    Antonia Romeo: We took the decision to focus on protecting, where possible, the front line and to take the cost out of management and back office where possible. We have so far taken out 22% from the senior civil service and 8% from the nonsenior civil service, which demonstrates that we have driven to focus on taking out from the top, including a 50% reduction in our directors general. We did not want to make arbitrary cuts, so we designed and put in place an operating model blueprint, which looked at reorganising how we did the Department restructuring. We brought our back offices together into a shared services model. Ann may want to say more about that in a moment. We focused on allowing the front line the space to get on, do its job and focus on delivery and having a smaller, more strategic centre, including the policy group. We have focused on trying, as I say, to reduce efficiencies that have to be made in the front-line and more on taking the costs out of headquarters.

    Q157 Yasmin Qureshi: You probably all know what you are talking about, but can you explain to us how you define front-line services?

    Antonia Romeo: For example, the NOMS headquarters has been asked to reduce its costs by 37%, whereas the prisons are being asked to find 10% efficiency savings over the SR period. Does that answer your question? By front-line services, I mean courts, tribunals and prisons and so on.

    Yasmin Qureshi: I just wanted clarification on that.

    Q158 Jeremy Corbyn: Do those figures of 8% and 22% relate to cash or people?

    Antonia Romeo: People.

    Q159 Jeremy Corbyn: How many senior civil service jobs have been lost compared to the rest?

    Antonia Romeo: Currently-I am doing a bit of quick mental maths here-56 have been taken out of the senior civil service since March 2010 and something that looks to be about 6,000, or a bit under, out of the nonsenior civil service."

    1. Yet only a few questions earlier we heard...

      "Q139 Elizabeth Truss: I want to follow up on the point about the hiring of the additional accounting resource. What has been the cost of hiring that additional resource? Also, what has happened to the staff that were proved to be incapable of putting together the asset register? Has the impact of not having an asset register properly done affected the business of those probation trusts if they do not understand their own cost base?

      Ann Beasley: Picking those up, as I remember them, obviously we do have an asset register, but it was not as up to date as it needed to be. Most of the assets on the asset register relate to prisons and therefore do not have a huge impact on probation because most of the property that probation have is leasehold rather than owned by the Ministry. The individuals concerned left the organisation on a voluntary exit scheme as part of the exit. We have now recruited some really good quality people to take that on going forward.

      Q140 Elizabeth Truss: What about the additional costs to the organisation of the external people that you have hired?

      Ann Beasley: We have recruited-or we have brought in-23 contractors. Most of those we would need. Accounts production is quite a challenging area in central Government. It is not something that many civil servants want to do. We struggle to get the right people to do it, and it is difficult to get permanent civil servants.

      Q141 Elizabeth Truss: That may say something about civil service recruitment, if you don’t mind my saying.

      Ann Beasley: It is possibly about the amount of money we pay for professionals. We would normally have a complement of about 18 people. We have brought in an additional five or six to give us the extra resource to deal with some of the problems.

      Q142 Elizabeth Truss: But you do not have a figure for the additional pot?

      Ann Beasley: £4 million."

  13. Has anyone else heard that Oxfordshire custody cases are being managed by Cornwall up until point of release?

    1. Not just Cornwall but the rest of NPS South West South Central

    2. Yes Plymouth have some

  14. that sounds appalling how on earth can that be justified?

  15. Probation Officer18 March 2015 at 22:07

    Huge comment by Anon 16:39.

    Probation Institute partnership with UserVoice!? What's this you say?! I thought it was a 'centre of excellence' to 'develop probation workers, probation practice and skills'.

    Didn't Grayling introduce TR so probation work could be delivered on the cheap by privateers, charities, mentors and 'old lags'?

    Doesn't it seems a bit fishy that the Probation Institute and so called 'voice of probation' has partnered with the 'voice' of offenders?

    Will the future research and 'best practice' of the Probation Institute tell us that Grayling/TR was right? That 'old lags' can do our job better than we can?

    Is this why Grayling/MoJ invested £90,000 to set up the Probation Institute?

    It's not a red herring, it's a Trojan horse!!! What is Napo's view?

    1. We approached NAPO for a comment and after ten minutes tapping on the window, the sawdust moved & a NAPO spokesgerbil said: "Erm? What? Errrr... I was just having a powernap. Has something happened? A horse? A herring? Grayling? What sort of menu is that? I'll have the avocado."

    2. What's the problem with including UserVoice? Seems like a decent move to me. Unless you are right and the service user always wrong. In which case maybe you are in the wrong job.

  16. http://www.cri.org.uk/content/government-backs-shaw-trust-and-cri%E2%80%99s-plans-help-offenders-change-their-lives-better

    1. The Ministry of Justice has announced the outcome of the latest National Offender Management Service (NOMS) tender opportunities to work with offenders. Potential providers were given the opportunity to compete for contracts across the country to help offenders. The contract will target offenders who would benefit from additional support by addressing the reasons why they have committed a crime in the first place and then offer offenders a pathway to a better future. To do this, providers will facilitate access to services appropriate to their individual circumstance and assessed need. Shaw Trust competed for a number of contracts on its own and formed an alliance with Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) for a number of the tender opportunities.

      The government has confirmed that Shaw Trust and CRI are the preferred bidders in the East of England and London. Shaw Trust has also been awarded preferred bidder status in the South West. Once all contractual agreements are finalised, providers will be expected to commence service delivery on 1 July 2015. Shaw Trust will work hard to help offenders engage more with their local communities and access support to help them change their lives for the better. Providers will also help offenders access further advice on accommodation, family counselling, the transition from young offenders’ institutions, health, education and training.
      Since January 2010, the NOMS European Social Fund (ESF) Co-financing programme has been working with offenders across England. NOMS is an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Justice, which brings together the Probation and Prison Service to enable more efficient and effective delivery of services. A key objective for NOMS is the reduction of re-offending.

      Richard Barnes, Director of Justice for Shaw Trust, said: “Shaw Trust and Crime Reduction Initiatives will have a key role in helping offenders across the East of England and London to find work after release. The Ministry of Justice has also awarded Shaw Trust preferred bidder status in the South West. “The focus of NOMS CFO is to support offenders’ move towards mainstream provision or into employment, addressing their barriers to work by facilitating access to comprehensive support mechanisms appropriate to their individual circumstance and assessed need. “I am confident that we can go a long way to helping these individuals re-engage and contribute positively in their communities.”

      Mike Pattinson, Executive Director – Criminal Justice for CRI, said: “CRI are delighted to have the opportunity to work in a formal alliance with Shaw Trust. Bringing our distinct and complementary resources and expertise together in an innovative partnership, we will help some of the most disadvantaged, challenging and disengaged individuals access mainstream services and employment; reducing the risks of reoffending and helping to make communities safer.”

  17. Wherever there's Grayling you're sure to find lies & bullshit in the same neighbourhood. This story about him allegedly arranging to shadow a lawyer after she offered the opportunity:

    "Here is a brief summary of the exchange between Grayling and 2 Pump Court barrister Emma Nash, as reported on the Criminal Bar Association Blog. Nash’s emails are considerably longer than Grayling’s, so we have summarised their gist, while publishing the justice secretary’s reported responses in full where we have them:

    On 26 June Nash emailed Grayling to outline the details of a day of work shadowing she had offered him after bumping into him at the Houses of Parliament during a mass lobby of MPs against the government’s legal aid reform proposals.

    On 4 July Grayling replied:

    "Thanks for your message. You haven’t told me where you are…. Some of your group had come from Cornwall... You have probably seen that I have signalled a couple of changes since we spoke. My diary is mad at the moment, but I am not ruling it out…."

    Nash then immediately responded with more details.

    On 18 July Grayling replied:

    "Sorry – I try to do my own emails, but am always a bit behind. I’m afraid you have been beaten to it. I will be in court with one of your colleagues in the next few days. I had the same offer twice on the same evening... Thanks for the offer anyway. I can only say again that I have been listening carefully to what everyone has said in the last few weeks.
    Best wishes
    Chris Grayling"

    Nash then asked which barristers Grayling would be in court with. She also queried why Grayling had said on 4 July that he was not ruling out her offer if he had received another offer on the same night she had met him that he was planning to take up.

    Grayling‘s response, as summarised by Nash, is as follows:

    “His final reply dated 22 July was that he would not tell me the information I’d asked for, save that it was a member of the junior bar indeed “2 in fact”. Despite further prompting, there has been no response.”

    No-one has ever owned up to being those un-named, mystery lawyers. Despite requests the MoJ have not replied. Smells like b/s ?

  18. Is the internet broken? Or has someone released magick faeries with erazers to edit the world wide web?

  19. This story from the 'newsnow' website raises two questions - (1) are probation in Carlusle fitting tags? (2) can curfews now apply for longer than 12 hours in a day?

    "A drugs criminal has had his curfew extended after he stood up Probation Service officials just hours after he was spared jail by a judge.

    Christopher Banerjee, 30, was given a suspended prison sentence at Carlisle Crown Court on January 15. He had been convicted of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

    At that time, Banerjee, of Stonegarth, Morton, said he used cannabis – spending around £600 a month on the drug – to ease pain caused by a degenerative muscle disorder.

    Though he was spared jail as part of his punishment, Banerjee was ordered to observe a 7pm to 7am daily curfew.

    But just hours after the sentence was passed, Carlisle Crown Court heard, Banerjee failed to comply with the terms of the order.

    Judge Barbara Forrester heard how he failed to make himself available, on January 15 and 16, for the installation of his curfew ankle tag.

    Defence barrister Keith Thomas said the defendant admitted not being present on those two occasions.

    The curfew was due to run until mid-May, but could not be extended because Banerjee was due to undergo a major medical procedure immediately after that.

    Instead, Judge Forrester ruled that the curfew should run for an extra 30 minutes every day until then, from 7pm-7-30am."

    1. (1) No, it's just inaccurate reporting by yet another journalist who doesn't understand Probation.

      (2) Yes, I think the limit is now 16 hours per day.

  20. Can I share this from our local rag as I think it might lighten someone's day (apologies if its previously been on the blog):

    "A fraudster escaped from prison after fooling officers he had been released on bail, a court heard.

    Neil Moore, 28, was on remand in Wandsworth Prison, south west London, when he posted a letter to wardens pretending it was from the court service.

    Southwark Crown Court heard the letter claimed he had been granted bail, ensuring he was able to walk out of prison.

    But according to Chloe Gardner defending, Moore had "a change of heart" around three or four days later.

    "He spoke to his instructed solicitor and surrendered himself," she added.

    Judge John Price said: "He does it and then regrets it - realises it is a silly thing to do."

    Moore had been on remand accused of five counts of fraud, before he made his escape.

    He posed as bank staff from Barclays, Lloyds and the Bank of America to dupe major organisation's such as Cambia Autos and Thomas Global Exchange into handing over between £1.5 million and £2 million between February 2012 and November 2013.

    Moore was remanded in custody in relation to these offences on January 21 2014, but by March 10 had set up a website and corresponding email account purporting to be the prison service.

    Ian Paton, prosecuting, told London's Southwark Crown Court: "He acquired bail forms that he adapted for his purposes."

    But within a week of his escape he was back before a judge remanded in custody and sent to a high security wing at Belmarsh Prison.

    Detectives initially believed the frauds had been committed by Moore's transgender partner, Kristen Moore, and she was also charged with fraud, but the charges against her were later dropped.

    The court heard that as a result of her being transgender, Ms Moore, who is in a civil partnership with Moore, was not allowed to visit him in prison.

    Speaking after the hearing, Detective Inspector Chris Soole said: "This is a very intelligent fraudster. He was very apt at committing a number of different frauds across the globe.

    "This investigation shows the Metropolitan Police's commitment to investigating fraud and ensuring justice for victims."

    Moore from Ilford in Essex, admitted five counts of fraud, and one count of escape from lawful custody.

    He will be sentenced on March 27."

    1. "he posted a letter to wardens pretending it was from the court service.

      Southwark Crown Court heard the letter claimed he had been granted bail, ensuring he was able to walk out of prison."

      That easy eh lol?

    2. Being transgender, Ms Moore who is in a civil partnership with Moore, was not permitted to visit him in prison. HMP Wandsworth short of a Diversity Champion then?

  21. http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2015/03/18/report-card-mps-lay-out-grayling-s-failures-ahead-of-electio

    1. The full scale of the crisis in prisons was laid bare by MPs today, when the justice committee published a devastating appraisal of the performance of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) under Chris Grayling.

      MPs found prison safety was significantly reduced and that government policy had put "decency, security and programmes of rehabilitation" at risk.

      "Prison has been treated for too long as a 'free good'. Failing to evaluate its cost effectiveness is fiscally irresponsible, particularly in the context of reduced public funding," committee chair Alan Beith said.

      "We need to get away from arguments about which party is hard or soft on crime, and have a political and media debate which focuses on the three things which people care about: evidence of what works, public safety, and the effective use of taxpayers' money."

      The damning report will likely be the last major assessment of the prison estate before the election and serves as a final blow to the justice secretary in what is widely considered a disastrous stint in charge of prisons.

      The committee reiterated the criticisms of several other experts, including the chief inspector of prisons and independent penal reform groups, and found that the prison estate had been put at risk by the decision to increase the number of inmates while cutting the number of staff.

      They found staffing levels had led to "severely restricted regimes" which "reduced the consistency of relationships between officers and prisoners" and in turn affected safety.

      MPs concluded the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had failed to plan adequately for the risks inherent in staffing shortages and responded sluggishly when the problems they caused became apparent.

      "The committee has repeatedly emphasised the dangers of allowing the prison population to escalate and consume huge resources which could be better spent on preventing crime," Beith added.

      "The public look to the criminal justice system to demonstrate that crime is taken seriously, but that means tackling and preventing crime effectively, not merely locking up more and more offenders at massive cost to the taxpayer."

      The committee also found that Grayling's Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme, a get-tough-on-prisoners regime which was celebrated by the Conservative press at the time, had made a "significant contribution to the deterioration in safety".

  22. Totally off topic, but I thought this little song about Esther McVey and her committment to the benefits system may raise a smile or two!


  23. To hell with "magickfaeries", I trust all is okay with the Browns in Blog Central, Brownville.

  24. Some history, perhaps?

    The creation of the Ministry of Justice

    4. In March 2007 a major machinery of government change was announced with the objective of allowing the Home Office to concentrate on its responsibilities in relation to counter-terrorism, policing, and asylum and immigration. Furthermore, a new Ministry of Justice (MoJ) was created to take on the responsibilities of the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) and the criminal justice functions of the Home Office and its
    agencies — of which the largest was NOMS. The new MoJ would have responsibility for constitutional matters, civil and administrative justice, the courts and legal aid, and also become the lead department for criminal justice policy and as such would 'house' the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. It would be led by the Lord Chancellor as Secretary of State
    for Justice. The MoJ was formed on 9 May 2007.

    5. Whereas the previous Home Office/DCA boundary ran between all ‘law and order’ activities on the one hand and the courts on the other, the new boundary line lay between activities leading up to arrest (on the Home Office side) and the subsequent courts and sentence-related activities (run by the MoJ). Deciding charges and prosecuting defendants continued to be the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service, overseen by the
    Attorney General’s Office. A Cabinet Office document that accompanied the Prime Minister’s announcement stated the MoJ’s key objectives would be to:
    • Protect the public from dangerous offenders
    • Reduce re-offending through common sense custodial and non-custodial penalties
    • Provide access to justice for all, especially the most vulnerable
    • Uphold people’s rights
    • Deliver democracy and constitutional reform

    7. The Ministry is one of the largest Government departments, employing around 76,000 people, with a budget of approximately £9 billion, and is administered from a small central core. In 2010–11, nearly half the MoJ’s expenditure and 74% of its work force was accounted for by NOMS, with 43,000 posts held by the Prison Service. It is currently organised into four main business groups: Justice Policy, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the National Offender Management Service and Corporate Performance (which provides professional services and administrative support).

    8. The MoJ devolves the delivery of most of its aims to a number of smaller bodies. The Committee of Public Accounts reported in January 2011 that the MoJ sponsored 53 Arm’s Length Bodies, or some 350 organisations when accounting for sub-bodies. The Department is reliant upon its Non-Departmental Public Bodies and Executive Agencies to deliver its functions, but these bodies are subject to differing levels of control from central MoJ.

    9. The Department’s largest spending Arm’s Length Bodies in 2010–11 were:
    • Executive Agencies (EAs):
    • National Offender Management Service (NOMS) – £4,180m
    • HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) – £1,186m
    • Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs):
    • Legal Services Commission (LSC) – £2,210m
    • Youth Justice Board (YJB) – £425m
    • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – £327m

    Additionally, there were 6 NDPBs that performed important functions, but spent far less in a year, typically between £5–10 million: These were: The Parole Board; The Office for Legal Complaints; The Information Commissioner’s Office; The Criminal Cases Review Commission; The Judicial Appointments Commission; and the Legal Services Board.

  25. What's happened to this formerly great site? Cutting and pasting in largely irrelevant commentary about irrelevant activity does a disservice to a previously thoughtful and relevant blog which reflects honest concern. Let's hear the voices that count not rehashed rubbish.