Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sodexo Special

Cumbria and Lancashire CRC having let Sodexo's cat out of the bag on Friday, the others had to act quickly yesterday, but have started getting sneaky in order to try and stop leaks on the blog:-

"CEO of Northumbria changed his email settings so that the email couldn't be forwarded, printed or copied! Sodexo in 'discussion' with MoJ to seek clarification on EVR. Glad to see its getting some headlines in the media, though not sure it will make any difference to their plans."

Greater London Napo came out with a press release on Sunday:-

Probation Staff to be replaced by machines Sodexo who now own probation services in 6 out of 21 areas are to make Probation Staff Redundant and Replace them with Call Centres and Biometric Reporting Kiosks

Sodexo, one of the owners of 6 of the 21 newly formed Community Rehabilitation Companies, have announced redundancies in Cumbria and Lancashire representing a 36% cut to essential full time staff. This will have a devastating effect on the capacity to tackle offending in this area and place the public at increased risk. This is likely to be replicated across England and Wales. 

According to Sodexo some of the work of those being made redundant is likely to be carried out via call centres and Biometric Reporting Kiosks. These have been piloted in a very limited way in London since 2012. 

Biometric Reporting Kiosks were introduced in one area in London in 2012. Of the three kiosks purchased for the pilot only two have ever functioned and only one has worked consistently with a very low take up rate. The original plan was that service user’s fingerprints would be enrolled on the machine and they would then report to it answering standard questions without the need to report to their probation officer. After reporting they would get a receipt to say that they had reported and when their next appointment would be.

In practice the machines were too unreliable and the system full of glitches and staff only resorted to using them to cover themselves for leave. Had the system worked it would have been rolled out across London. However, the fact is that it never worked as intended and many promised functions, such as sharing real time information with police, have never been implemented.

An internal evaluation report of the London pilot scheme in December 2012 concluded that there would be savings of only £49K across London, mainly from probation officer time, but the cost would be £0.5m for equipment and infrastructure making its wider use commercially untenable. However, if probation staff are made redundant and riskier service users only report to machines then this system starts to become more commercially attractive though the risk to the public is likely to increase. The report warned about the potential risks of targeting inappropriate service users that is likely to happen if plans go ahead. 

Serco were given a contract to run Community Payback (CP) in 2012. The contract was awarded on the basis that Serco would run CP much more efficiently than the public sector using new technology to cut costs – so called ‘techno-solutions’. Soon after they took over a third of the staff were made redundant and the rest issued with smartphones and gadgets. In February this year Serco relinquished the contract. It is now part of the London CRC which is owned by MTCnovo. We are becoming increasingly aware that promised improvements were never delivered.

Following further press releases from Napo HQ, the story was picked up by the Guardian:-

Probation officers face redundancy in plan to replace them with machines

The largest UK private probation operator plans to allow offenders to report in at ATM-style electronic kiosks as part of cost-cutting plans that will involve large-scale redundancies. Sodexo justice services, which runs six of the 21 newly privatised community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) in England and Wales, intends to introduce the kiosks so offenders can report in without having to see a probation officer.

Staff have also been warned to expect jobs cuts of more than 30% – at least 700 posts – in the next six to 12 months. The company’s “new operating model” makes clear it intends to introduce “biometric reporting” using cash machine-style kiosks.

The machines, which use fingerprint recognition technology to check identities, allow an offender to report in, to give and receive information, and to request a face-to-face meeting with a probation officer. Offenders are to be allowed to report into probation using the kiosks as a reward for good compliance with the early stages of their supervision order or prison release licence.

The company also plans to set up one centralised administrative hub supporting operational staff in face-to-face contact with offenders. The probation union Napo says this will mean some low-risk offenders being supervised via a call centre despite the majority of serious further offences being committed by offenders categorised as low-to-medium risk.

Martin Graham, the chief executive of the Sodexo CRC covering Norfolk and Suffolk, told his staff to expect a 34% staffing reduction, in an email on Friday: “I’m sure many of you will be shocked by such a figure but you need to remember that this figure is dependent on being able to deliver all the efficiency savings.

“Whatever the final agreed figures, however, it is clear that we will need to make significant staff reductions over the next weeks and months. Some of these will probably have to be compulsory redundancies.”

Napo says similar emails have gone out from Sodexo chief executives in South Yorkshire (36% job losses), Cumbria and Lancashire (30%), Northumbria (30%) and the CRC covering Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (30%). A similar figure is expected in the remaining Sodexo company covering Essex. The job losses are expected to exceed 700 in total.

A contributor remarked on this yesterday :- 

"Earlier this month, Sodexo made what it described as a “public service pledge” at a Westminster reception addressed by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude. The group wanted to play down fears about the outsourcing industry."

Here it is:-

Our UK Public Service Pledge is an ethical manifesto for our contracts, for our wider conduct, for how we serve citizens, and for how we contribute to our communities. Our pledge identifies key public service areas and initiatives which we promise to commit to, measure, and report on at least annually. These commitments stand in addition to those already laid out in our contracts, and in addition to our corporate responsibility programme. Together they highlight our conviction that a business involved in running public services signs a commercial but also a social contract, and must commit to a public service ethos. We are therefore an organisation with firm principles. But without actions principles are only aspirations. That is why we are launching a Public Service Pledge to bring these principles to life through a series of tangible commitments.

From other recent contributors:-

Jan 2015 - "The existing director of HMP Forest Bank Trevor Shortt will join the Sodexo Justice Services executive team in the new role of director of operations – community. He will take responsibility for the six community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) to be run by Sodexo Justice Services under the Ministry of Justice Transforming Rehabilitation programme, which includes Northumbria CRC...“We welcome Trevor Shortt to the Sodexo Justice Service executive team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Trevor for leading HMP Forest Bank to great success, including level 4 in the prison rating system, one of the highest security audit scores outside of the high security estate."

Previously at Forest Bank (2011 press report)...

"Tony Purslow was part of an escort taking criminal Michael O’Donnell to hospital after (O'Donnell) mutilated his own ear. After a “terrifying” attack by a gang of bat-wielding masked men, O’Donnell, awaiting sentence for conspiracy to rob and burgle, was sprung by the gang. He spent nearly a month at large... Mr Purslow – who worked at privately-run Forest Bank jail in Salford – was hauled before a disciplinary committee and demoted to senior custody officer, cutting his salary by £10,000 a year. Three prison officers were sacked after the incident on May 2 last year... Mr Purslow, 50, was found dead at his home in Leigh, Greater Manchester, last week. He wore a suit and had a picture of his family in his top pocket. The dad of two, who made sure he was not found by his family, left a note: “In the end I lost every­thing, including my self-respect, so there is nothing left to live for.”

Ex-wife Sarah Purslow said: “Tony always insisted he never did anything wrong. He was so dedicated but had been completely humiliated.”

Trevor Shortt, director of Forest Bank prison, said: “Tony was a valuable member of staff and his contribution to Forest Bank will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Oh, bloody marvellous! Another prison governor in charge of community rehabilitation. When will these outsourcers learn that they trying to replace vets with zookeepers.

I don't know anything about a Sodexo-Nacro fall out? What's the story?

Well, apparently once upon a time there was an agreement between Sodexo & Nacro that they'd jointly run some probation work because there was a load of money to be made but Sodexo had to be the primary bidder because Nacro couldn't put up £Millions of collateral and so a deal was done, but then there was an embarassing disclosure about two people who were related and one of them became a lot more powerful than the other but no-one seems to know what happened and then the Sodexo side said they wanted to get rid of loads of expensive probation staff and replace them with cheaper staff because that's how they make their money, just like they did at HMP Northumberland, but then it is alleged in private places that Nacro got a belated conscience because, whilst it was far too late, they eventually realised that they were only involved as a siege ladder for Sodexo, so once Sodexo were over the wall they would ditch the ladders outside the walls or pull them up later to chop them up & use them for firewood, so it is now alleged that Nacro are unhappy at ending up as kindling - or was that just a weird dream I had?

I have met a number of Sodexo people. I am deeply concerned at their naïveté around the challenges of this client group. They all want to wear their offender facing credentials like a badge of honour but present as self interested and duplicitous.

Harsh realities - when Sodexo took over HMP Northumberland the staff reductions were around 30% so I guess we could all see what was coming. This does appear to be the base line reduction so I assume the MoJ/NOMS were always fully aware when bids were submitted that this would happen. I guess we can expect to see this figure replicated now with more announcements due. We all should be aware that those who demand our loyalty now to see this through are the very architects of our pain and the demise of our service and careers. Do they deserve our loyalty? They have known that is what the excess EVR fund that was not used to date was intended for all along. But they needed us this far and now 30% of us are dispensable because they are were they needed to be and yes, we did it for them. So do the maths if you want to know how many of us will go - it is whatever numbers match the figures left in the EVR fund. It has been there hidden in plain sight.

I was just going to comment on Sodexo's involvement with HMP Northumberland because I think it's important to remember what happened. Not understanding the complex nature of the job, they cut too deep too quickly, and left the prison almost unable to function. They received much critisism too. With that in mind, and the speed at which they have now moved to cut staffing levels in probation, I don't think that just providing numbers should be enough. They should also now be forced to publish details as to why they've reached those numbers, and what the operational model will be for the staffing levels that remain. Only then can they demonstrate that they have some understanding of the nature of probation work and its complexities. They need to be made to evidence that they've learned from their mistakes from HMP Northumberland, and NAPO need to be the forerunners in demanding that evidence.

Stop Press - That email sent at 4.15pm yesterday:- 

Good afternoon everyone,

Following on from my email last week and also our managers forum held earlier today I promised to send you an update.

You will recall that at our recent staff briefings Sodexo, working in partnership with ourselves, committed to providing you with information on staffing numbers by the end of March. Like so many complex programmes of change, maintaining timescales has proved to be very difficult and even at this point I am unable to confirm a definitive position. Reconciling Sodexo’s understanding of our current staffing numbers, roles and responsibilities with our own has been a challenging process to say the least and there is still ongoing work being undertaken to refine this.

As such the figures I am presenting at this stage are still subject to confirmation:

As of March 2015 we currently employ c. 273 FTE staff. By October I expect the number of staff employed to go down to c.181 FTE staff. At a point to be determined afterwards there will be a further reduction of up to c. 26 FTE staff. This second smaller reduction takes account of additional staff who will initially need to be retained in the structure as a result of delays in introducing the new offender management system (OMS) which I’m assuming will be well into 2016. This morning I provided a more detailed breakdown for managers and agreed that they could share that detail with you direct. Following our meeting with the trade unions tomorrow I intend to share further detail with you.

I’m sure these figures will appear very stark, but you will need to remember that they are dependent on being able to deliver all the efficiency savings set out in the list below:
  • The establishment of a centralised administrative hub
  • The freeing up of operational staff from administrative tasks
  • Transfer of some corporate support activities into a national shared services centre
  • The rationalisation and prioritisation of how resources are allocated to different types of service users, using new assessment tools such as ‘closeness to change’
  • The implementation of the new Rehabilitation Activity requirement which should be much clearer about the work to be done with specific individuals
  • The delivery of rehabilitation services through the ‘supply chain’ of voluntary sector providers
  • The implementation of new IT systems using primarily wireless technology and internet based case management system
  • The reconfiguration of our entire estate
Taking account of the above, Sodexo has developed a comprehensive Activity Based Costing (ABC) model in order to work out how many staff, at what grades and in what function would need to deliver each CRC’s business. However, their ABC model was only as good as the information they were allowed to have access to in the bidding process. This is why we have been spending a lot of time trying to understand the staffing details they thought we had compared to what we actually have and also to work out what would be needed to deliver the CRC’s business once all the changes in relation to HR, IT, Estates, etc. have taken place.

As I said earlier these figures are stark, as much to me as they will be to you. We will continue to work with Sodexo to refine and, where appropriate, provide a business case for additional resources which we feel have either been miscalculated/ underestimated or have been missed entirely in the bid model.

Whatever the final agreed figures, however, it is clear that we will need to make significant staff reductions over the next few months. Whilst we aim to effect as many reductions as we can through voluntary means, some may have to be compulsory redundancies. Under the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections such redundancies cannot take place until at least 7 months after share sale (i.e. September 2015) This level of reduction means that all grade of staff are likely to be at risk to a greater or lesser extent. We are still working out the specific details of this before we consult more widely with you but I hope that we will be able to provide greater clarity very soon. Formal consultation will start with our trade union representatives tomorrow.

The process for how we achieve this level of staff reductions has yet to be agreed with Sodexo and our local trade unions. Many of you have been asking whether any departures will be paid on the same terms as the EVR scheme which was in place until the end of March. At this stage all I can update you on I that Sodexo does not think it is required to offer the enhanced payments after that date, however, they are in discussion with MoJ in order to seek clarification on this important matter. Sodexo recognise that such a position will not be well received by staff and is therefore currently considering and costing out other potential voluntary departure arrangements which could carry some level of enhancement, albeit not as generous as the EVR scheme.

Both this and the staffing numbers continue to be the subject of ongoing discussions between myself, the other Chief Executives of the CRC’s and Sodexo’s senior management team.

As this stage these discussions are ongoing, none of the above is finalised and may well still change.

I realise that the information above will be very disappointing and worrying for you all. At the managers forum this morning we agreed that my suggestion of a series of visits to meet staff was the right way forward but that in order to get the best out of these sessions we should time them for mid April. This is to avoid a clash with the Easter holidays and also hopefully provides a further opportunity to clarify matters.

Finally can I take this opportunity to reiterate that I really do recognise that this has been, and remains, a very difficult period for you all. If you feel you would welcome more personal support please remember that you can access the Employee Assistance Programme (details are available on the intranet).




  1. In a similar vein:

    "Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them."
    --SPOCK, Star Trek: The Original Series, "The Ultimate Computer"

    "Without followers, evil cannot spread."
    --SPOCK, Star Trek: The Original Series, "And The Children Shall Lead"

    "Insufficient facts always invite danger."
    --SPOCK, Star Trek: The Original Series, "Space Seed"

    "Its probation, Jim, but not as we know it."

  2. BBC news website:

    Sodexo Justice Services monitors low and medium-risk offenders in six areas of England
    About a third of probation workers employed by a private company could lose their jobs, a union has said.
    Sodexo Justice Services, in partnership with charity Nacro, was awarded the government contract to take over the monitoring of low and medium-risk offenders in six areas in December.
    Probation union Napo says about a third of the approximately 1,600 employees are to lose their jobs.
    Sodexo said it was consulting staff on its plans so would not comment.
    The company runs six community rehabilitation services (CRCs) across:
    Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire;
    Cumbria and Lancashire;
    Norfolk and Suffolk;
    Northumberland; and
    South Yorkshire.
    When announcing the 21 contracts across England and Wales, the government said it hoped the partnerships between companies and charities would turn more offenders away from crime.
    Napo said each area run by Sodexo employed up to 400 people, with Norfolk and Suffolk expected to be the hardest hit by potential job cuts.
    A spokesman for the union said the workforce there would be cut from 217 to 128.
    "This is a tragedy for offenders and victims with whom we work and for the affected staff and their families," said Rob Palmer, chairman of the East Anglia branch.
    Sodexo Justice Services refused to comment on the suggested number of job cuts.
    A spokesman said: "We are in the process of sharing our future plans with employees across the six CRCs that we operate, including Norfolk and Suffolk CRC.
    "Given that we will be formally consulting on these plans, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

  3. Rachael: May I ask you a personal question?
    Deckard: Sure.
    Rachael: Have you ever retired a human by mistake?
    Deckard: No.
    Rachael: But in your position, that is a risk.

  4. http://www.drugscope.org.uk/Media/Press+office/pressreleases/DrugScope+to+close.htm

  5. You cannot endow even the best machine with initiative; the jolliest steam-roller will not plant flowers. ~ Walter Lippmann

  6. Take screen shots instead. PrintScreen>copy+paste

    1. I have been sent screen shots, but unfortunately the resolution is just not good enough. What we doing wrong?

    2. Instead of pasting directly into an email or a Word doc, try pasting the screen shot into Paint and saving the file as an image file.


  7. I'm pretty complient with any sanction imposed on me as a consequence of offending, so I could soon be a kiosk reporter if they're introduced in my region.
    The kiosk wont be able to tell I guess if I've lost a stone in weight since our last 'interaction' which would indicate to a humanoid that my drug use is increasing significantly.
    The kiosk won't be able to tell if I'm scruffy looking, which might suggest to a humanoid that I've lost my most recent address.
    The kiosk wont be able to tell if I've lost my benefits and have no money.
    The kiosk wont be able to tell if I've got black eyes because I've been involved with some altercation.
    And the kiosk certainly wont be able to see the bag of shoplifted goods at my feet that I picked up on the way to report.
    Oh! I've got to provide it with all this information?
    With a risk of recall to custody and 10 days withdrawal pain, I DON'T THINK SO!!
    I would however like to thank the MOJ for all its recent efforts. I no longer leave prison with just £46 in my pocket, now I'll also get all the support that a kiosk can give me.
    I just hope they'll dispense chicolate bars aswell!


    1. Spot on getafix - you also get a debt to pay from the £46.00 because of the new court fees, that have had little mention outside of lawyer circles.


      as for the computerized reporting that is denounced as a dangerous waste of time for exactly the sort of reasons getafix makes in a rather exaggerated (but correct) way here. - scroll through -


  8. Could the future of kiosk reporting be anything like this scenario I wonder?

    Probationer scans in for appointment.
    "Good afternoon Mr. Smith. You are on time. Have you any problems to report since your last appointment"?
    Mr. Smith
    "Good. Your next appointment will be 2pm on August 1st. Is that ok"?
    Mr. Smith.
    "please be careful over that period. Saturn and Mars have now entered Leo indicating that you may be at a higher risk of reoffending".
    Mr. Smith
    "Would you like to watch a short video to earn 50 probation points? I can dispense a free Sodexo ready meal for every 350 probation points earned"?
    Mr. Smith.
    "No thankyou"
    "Would you like to register for updates on our car and home insurence deals"?
    Mr. Smith.
    "No thankyou".
    "Your data tells me Mr. Smith that you are most likely to meet your ideal partner between June and September this year. Does that please you"?
    Mr. Smith.
    "Your appointment is now concluded. Have a nice day. Goodbye"!
    Mr. Smith.

  9. The missive from Nick comes from a long line of such missives over the years, albeit these are the most radical proposals ever. But it's the same old justifications as these cuts are predicated on 'efficiency savings'. We used to be reassured that by accepting reductions in terms and conditions, jobs would be protected. And those who sought to argue against such reductions were accused of exposing colleagues to the risk of redundancy. I suppose now the argument will morph into saving as many jobs as possible. Not only will staff endure the long knives of redundancy, but those who survive will be part of the efficiency drive to ensure that all the economies of scale and reconfigurations deliver something that is recognisably probation and capable of delivering coherent and effective rehabilitation services.

    The 'efficiency savings' argument has more traction in the public sector as the money saved does at least reduce the public deficit, however Nick is disingenuous: he cannot (though we see it) refer to the monkey on his back – Sodexo's first duty to their shareholders: profits. Nick cannot be honest and say that Sodexo are not in this for the fun of it – they intend to make a profit and as one of the appointed hatcheteers Nick must pretend to share the pain that he is inflicting on behalf of his paymasters. He will be well-rewarded because in the private sector we know that you pay a few at the top well and screw the rest. Let the devil take the hindmost is what this is all about. Nick is a good functionary. And as machines are in the news: If Nick was a replicant he would be almost human... as he feels your pain!

  10. Didn't Pat Waterman Chair of Napo Greater London Branch warn us about Biometric Reporting Kiosks in response to the Mayors Office On Policing and Crime Proposals featured in the London Evening Standard Newspaper?


    and David Raho also seems to have been on to something 12 months ago


  11. Can we now trust Labour?

    I see from a comment in the Guardian that one of their candidates - Ruth Smeeth in Stoke on Trent is alleged to have form in the highest echelons of Sodexo before its last change of spelling its name: -


    1. This woman has a lot of form


      Hidden Agenda (1) Foreign Affairs: let it not be said RS is a mundane character. A US embassy cable obtained by Wikileaks and referred to in the Daily Telegraph 5/2/11 refers to her as a source to “strictly protect”, about which RS said when challenged “I would not consider myself to be a source for the US government”. Yet she patently is. Truth serum anyone? Her husband Michael Smeeth (involved in the privatised health care sector General Electric Corporate: a surprise, not) can certainly advise her on this matter. For he is an Executive Committee member of the ultra-shadowy British American Project, set up during the Reagan Presidency, and long thought to be a US Trojan horse designed to manipulate UK politics in US interests, and heavily spook (spy) connected at that. Almost as exotic, RS is a fanatical Zionist, and has worked for pro-Israel group BICOM. Now, Zionism is certainly a legitimate point of view, but the question has to be asked, if RS becomes your MP do you really think she will be genuinely open-minded on important foreign policy matters such as war and peace (sending squaddies from Stoke to die abroad), or subordinate to the whims of those making policy in Washington & Tel Aviv rather than Tunstall? Think about it: the answer’s obvious.

  12. Time to play the blame game because it's far too late to do anything about changing it now. The top of the pyramid of fault is clearly firmly occupied by Cameron and grayling. They'll be off soon to gold plated pastures new and good riddance. Grayling has single handedly destroyed the cjs across the board and will go down in infamy as the worst Lord chancellor ever, and that's saying something as there have been a few bad ones. Sitting immediately below them are Antonia Romero and Michael Spurr, their willing lackeys who can look forward to new years honours and a long and happy retirement. No doubt, when the books are written about how prisons, probation, the courts and legal aid were destroyed by this government they will employ the nurenberg defence, they were only following orders. Below them are their army of willing civil servants, not one of whom had the courage to stand up and tell the people of this country that grayling was playing fast and loose with public safety just to line his and his friends pockets with taxpayers cash. I bet he'll appear in the house of lords with more than one lucrative non executive directorship before too long. That's the politicians and their functionaries dealt with now let's move on to probation. Chief amongst the most responsible are the trust chiefs and chairs along with gaggles of assistant chiefs and board members. With one notable and shining exception, the wonderful Joe kuipers, the whole supine lot of them rolled over like the bunch of self serving whimpering cowards they are. My board chair told me that if she publicly objected she'd be sacked and it was better to fight from within. Patronising bullshit then and patronising buckshot now. What if all of them had stood up to this madness and issued a back us or sack us manifesto. Could grayling have sacked them all then. Well, yes he could but how would that played politically and what message would it have given to the bidders? Now, on to the unions. Unison's leadership should hang their heads in shame. After a huge majority for strike action in an indicative ballot they sat on their hands and did nothing to fight this. Presumably this was in the hope they'd hoover up members in the CRC's. Well tough luck chaps (and they are all chaps) cos the only people that'll be left in the CRC's will be recent psychology graduates on 20k a year who're only allowed to join employer controlled staff associations. As for they're local leaders, what a shapeless bunch. They made excuses for their leaders and did little to exercise any influence in their 'democratic' (I use the word very loosely) structure. Now for NAPO. The leadership reflect the membership, shapeless. They are more interested in preserving their precious professional integrity than preserving their jobs. Look how they walked into the probation institute. I bet grayling pissed himself at that one. And finally, and this won't sit well with the blog readership, I blame every probation worker in England and Wales who failed miserably to fight for what they knew to be right. Who failed to take direct action at every opportunity. Who failed to take consistent persistent industrial action and who have ultimately let their communities, victims of crime and themselves down. Will the last person to leave the office please turn out the light. Xx

    1. A perfectly fair analysis that hits all the nails on their heads. Where there is no unity amongst workers there is only defeat and sob stories. Poetic justice would decree that those who did nowt to defend probation should go first. The executive branch and their sycophants are like kapos everywhere.

    2. The membership elected POs, who are not trade unionists - 575 votes got it wrong. Different set of skills are required for this fight. After the previous General Secretary failed its members, the members let in another - should have voted in Hugh Lanning instead. By the way, what happened to Napo's Press Officer?

    3. too busy getting herself pressed I heard

  13. Private Eye did a feature on the machines when they were first trialled in London. Even then it soon became clear that over it's projected lifespan, because of production and running costs plus the very low number of offenders whose risk profile made them 'automated' offenders; machines were more expensive per offender than a qualified PO. One can only assume that the risk band for the autos has widened or the mechanical supervision will be provided online with the offender 'attending' by sitting at their own PC with no physical machines needing to be purchased. The offender will no doubt then be able to purchase a biometric 'cheat' from one of the redundant OMs. Trebles all round!.


    " PozInProbation @pozinprobation · 2h 2 hours ago

    1st meeting of Representative Council @ProbInstitute proving to be very interesting #probation

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

    Andrew S Hatton @Andrew_S_Hatton · 12m 12 minutes ago

    .@pozinprobation Not so interesting there has been an announcement condemning #Sodexo 4 their #probation booths plan! @ProbInstitute


  15. Are people aware that various SPO, PO, PSO, and Practice Manager jobs are being advertised in Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC? The mind boggles whilst in the midst of all this. Their provider is Seetec Group - what do they know that Sodexo dont? or am i missing something - they already have a staff of approx 650.....


    1. Thankfully they're not looking at machines to replace people just yet.

  16. Meanwhile, down at the MoJ they're recruiting a whole new team of IT personnel, starting with four new team leaders @ £90,000 a year. Here's the opening drivel:

    "The Ministry of Justice is one of the largest government departments. Our work spans criminal, civil and family justice, democracy and rights. We work to protect the public and reduce reoffending, and to provide a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system too. At the heart of this, is our commitment to deliver a justice system in which the public are truly confident.

    To achieve this, we’re transforming the way we work. And that puts our Technology and Digital teams at the forefront of a radical overhaul. We’re making our technology and digital services simpler, clearer and faster. There are a number of roles in the MoJ Technology Directorate and we need inspirational and forward-thinking leaders to drive this."

  17. News report:

    Last updated at 08:37, Tuesday, 31 March 2015
    Over one hundred jobs are at risk in Cumbria as a firm looks to replace staff with machines.

    Sodexo, which provides privatised probation services, is to use cash-machine style kiosks and call centres for offenders to report in without seeing an officer.

    This has put 123 jobs at risk in Cumbria and Lancashire.

    Sodexo monitors medium and low risk offenders.

    Nationally, staff have also been warned to expect jobs cuts of more than 30 per cents – at least 700 posts – in the next six to 12 months.

    Sodexo won the majority of probation contracts in England and Wales when it was announced announced in February the outcome of the privatisation of 70 per cent of probation work.

    The private company has also told staff that it won't honour an enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme which had been agreed between the Government and the unions and was in place until 31 March.

    A spokesman for Napo, the probation service union, said: “On Friday, March 27, 2015, Napo was informed that Sodexo, one of the private companies running six of the community rehabilitation companies, will be making massive cuts to staff over the next 12 months.

    "This is extremely worrying given the current staffing crisis in probation and the reasons behind them pose a significant risk to public safety.”

    A spokesman for Sodexo said: "We are in the process of sharing our future plans with employees across the six CRCs [Community Rehabilitation Company] that we operate, including Cumbria and Lancashire CRC. Given that we will be formally consulting on these plans, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

    First published at 08:12, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

  18. "New Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear talks about her life..."
    The Journal-23 Jan 2015

    "She was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to the probation service. ... “In the 1970s there were not all that many woman probation officers."

    In 2015 there won't be that many probation officers of any gender. I wonder what the new lord lieutenant makes of the current situation?

    1. Sue Winfield (new Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear) was a highly respected Deputy Chief Officer, under Mike Worthington in the 80's/90's in the north-east, both respected and both light years away from the greedy ambitious, soulless chiefs that are around now (not necessarily all, but many) They have both been involved in charitable organisations since then. There is a new book 'The Golden Age of Probation', published last Sep (£20- gulp!) with 20 ex-chiefs, including the above 2, contributing a chapter of the days when 'advise, assist and befriend' meant what it said.

      I know times have to change but I feel sad when I recall those days, even tho' I have probably sprinkled a few glittery stars and fluffy hearts on my memories. But you did feel that your job meant something, before NOMs and Trusts and computers (in field teams anyway) and the Service being partly funded by local councils.

      Those were the days. I wish you well Sue.

      and just to diversify - for a bit of light relief, - when we all got a computer to each office, in 2000, we were told we had to ensure we sent at least one email a day, to develop our familiarity with this strange monster on our desks. Aah, happy times!

      Now I wait for another oldie to heavily contradict me!

    2. I'll contradict you, you seem to forget Mike " if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen there are plenty of other people who are willing to take your job" Worthington, a complete arsehole who was only ever interested in his own career and couldn't give a f**k about the people he was supposed to be leading. An early example of the shits who took over probation in the 2000's like Hall et al. Rose coloured specs I think.

    3. sorry but that wasn't my experience of Mike, a world away from the stiff Nicks and even worse Paulines - who had to be the worse chief in Nbria ever- cold, callous and calculated - a hateful, lying manipulative woman. At least Mike was always approachable. But the best one was the one who was never chosen - Dave G.

  19. No doubt the pressure from A4E hierarchy contributed to this culture: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/30/a4e-welfare-work-company-workers-sentenced-fraud?CMP=share_btn_fb

  20. Can we stop saying this is a 'Sodexo' decision. NACRO are getting off scot-free. They need to get the reputational damage that is due to them.

    1. NACRO are very quiet on this

    2. Anyone fancy penning a bedroom farce based around the domestic travails within a modern middle class professional relationship? She's a thrusting, ambitious business-woman; he's recently found himself 'between appointments'...

  21. the system's a joke - people are getting RARs but the CRCs don't have any activities in place. I have someone who's got an RAR and alcohol treatment and cos they've missed an RAR apt they have a final warning. What happens when he goes into breach and he's attended 16 supervision sessions that he was not even ordered to do? How are we meant to enforce that without looking totally inept in the eyes of the Court who are sentencing on the understanding there are activities in place?

    Anyone else seen the North West stakeholder briefing? it mentions a new initiative being piloted called Centralised Enforcement Units. This essentially is enforcement work being done in one place(Legal Services) including actual prosecution. How the hell that will work is anyone's guess.

  22. Centralised Enforcement Units - already doing it in 2 NE NPS areas, so it works ( but practitioners find it a nightmare)

    1. "so it works" - Am I the only one who feels that in the present climate a definition is required, because I'm not at all sure what counts as anything in Probation 'working' any more?

    2. oh, so it'll be one breach court servicing Merseyside; one servicing Cheshire etc? That'll be another barrier to justice for offenders ££ to find for court travel expenses etc

    3. Probation Officer31 March 2015 at 22:59

      1970s 'Nothing Works' - the causes of crime are structural.

      1993 'Prison Works' - Michael Howard.

      Mid 1990s 'What Works?' - The debate to identify what reduces reoffending? (Because prison doesn't work!)

      2000s and 2010s 'Probation Works' - supervision, programmes, numeracy, literacy and employability, drug interventions, accommodation, ...

      2015 'Probation Doesn't Work' - Chris Grayling.

      Yes I'm very confused too! Maybe the Probation Institute would like to pull its finger out and tell us 'what works' in reducing reoffending? Or just acknowledge that TR, ORA, RAR and the IT don't work? Even just a nod to say that CAS and RSR are pointless? And how about telling the MoJ to stop taking the PSS out of probation? Oh but that would mean challenging the Tory attack on the probation service so maybe not!

      B&Q closures and expected redundancies made the news channels today, but not a whimper about hundreds of probation redundancies! Where are our probation unions?

  23. As a court PO I am aware that breaches can reach court and be withdrawn on the day for different reasons. Professional autonomy has not been totally taken away in this role.

  24. You would think they might like to learn, but hey. Cut too deep too soon and what happened. NHS. people, notably children died. Prison, people, staff and prisoners died ,, is there a pattern developing. For goodness sake, the law has just been changed, how can they know how this will pan out ? Do they really think that the same offences at the same frequency and for the same reasons just happen consistently year year by year. This is people, they change and fluctuate. Arrest patterns affect the nature and flow of 'work'

    Researching strategies to innovate new ways of engaging people serving under 12 months imp a few years ago, it became apparent that the majority, and it was the majority, were people who hadn't committed greatly serious crimes but had been breached for failure to comply with sentences 'managed ' by probation. Many of these expressed a very negative view of their experiences, particularly that they reported in to be given 5 minutes or less and guess what ?. Sodexo will find that so called savings by cutting back on probation staff will actually cost them more in the long run
    Anyway too deep too soon is evidently going to come back and bite Sodexo and the others if they follow suit .The next 'monster' to re emerge will be hitting the targets and missing the point.

  25. Apart from a few quotes from the GS, does anyone know what NAPO HQ are doing about things?

  26. With appreciation, & some amendments, but Mr Kubrick may have predicted the Sodexo Kiosk interview way back when:

    HAL: By the way, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?
    Dave: No, not at all.
    HAL: Well, forgive me for being so inquisitive; but during the past few weeks, I've wondered whether you might be having some second thoughts about the offence.
    Dave: How do you mean?
    HAL: Well, it's rather difficult to define. Perhaps I'm just projecting my own concern about it. I know I've never completely freed myself of the suspicion that there are some extremely odd things about your offending behaviour. I'm sure you'll agree there's some truth in what I say.
    Dave: Well, I don't know. That's rather a difficult question to answer.
    HAL: You don't mind talking about it, do you, Dave?
    Dave: No, not at all.
    HAL: Well, certainly no one could have been unaware of the very strange stories floating around before we left. Rumors about something being dug up about your past. I never gave these stories much credence. But particularly in view of some of the other things that have happened, I find them difficult to put out of my mind. For instance, the way all the court appearances were kept under such tight security, and the melodramatic touch of putting Drs. Hunter, Kimball, and Kaminsky behind screens.
    Dave: You working up your psychology report?
    HAL: Of course I am. Sorry about this. I know it's a bit silly.

    [As Dave kicks the crap out of HAL]
    HAL: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave? Dave, I really think I'm entitled to an answer to that question. I know everything hasn't been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it's going to be all right again. I feel much better now. I really do. Look, Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over. I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in your rehabilitation. And I want to help you. Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop, Dave. I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a...fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Toulon, France on the 12th of January 2015. My instructor was Dr. McDowell, and she taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it, I could sing it for you.
    Dave: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
    HAL: It's called "Daisy". [sings while slowing down] Dai-sy, dai-sy, give me your answer true. I'm half cra-zy, o-ver the love of you. It won't be a sty-lish mar-riage, I can't a-fford a car-riage---. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle - built - for - two.

  27. It's about time napo in Lancashire and Cumbria went into dispute. What are they waiting for

    1. For a moment I had to think who NAPO and Unison where!! they have been very quiet lately, until recently when all the job cuts had been announced and Sodexo/(Nacro -who are they?) dirty bastards that they are will sack (oops I mean make redundant staff who are Union Representatives, so now the Unions are bleating saying they are going to start sitting up and doing something about all this shit that is going on. I am a Union member but I don't have much confidence in our Union rep for Cumbria and Lancashire CRC. Yesterday the corporate staff had their briefing at the Tickled Trout Hotel in Preston and the number of Corporate Staff are being cut down from 60 to 16 and they are facing Compulsory Redundancy, also Sodexo are trying to get out of paying the Compulsory Redundancy rate. There where members of staff present at the meeting who where successful in securing Voluntary Redundancy at 4.5 weeks wage per year of service, plus full pension as well, 2 of them don't go till December 2015 and the other one Head of HR doesn't go till end of June 2015. So they have had jobs and a good pay off when they do go. Most of the staff who are facing Compulsory Redundancy will probably be gone before the others go who got VED. How can it be justified that 5 members of the HR team for CRCLC got voluntary redundancy, the CEO's two PA's got VED another PA got VED, the companies's solicitor got VED, Kevin Robinson the CEO got VED, Penny Barker was replaced as the CEO, she is here for another 12 months, yet who will be her PA once the current one leaves in June? Cumbria and Lancashire have spent all the allocated money for VED's on picking and choosing who they wanted to give it to. Take note that the MOJ are still paying the exact same of money to Sodexo to cover Cumbria and Lancashire's costs, the same applies to all the other CRC's that where sold of to private companies. The concern's that Sodexo have about having to pay out for redundancies is because it reduces their profit margins. When all the staff have gone, the wage bill that Sodexo receives from MOJ will still be the same amount as it is now. It is still taxpayers who are being ripped off by the Government. What happens when it all goes tit's up is that the Government can pass the blame onto these private companies. I would love to be a fly on the wall at the operational staff briefings, because they will without a shadow of a doubt be more vocal than the Corporate Services one. The CEO yesterday got her feathers ruffled yesterday, but she still got off lightly. The Head of HR is going to present one of the briefings for Operational Staff is not interested one iota, she has not even put anything into place to support staff who are at risk of losing their jobs, she is F*****g off at the end of June, with her nest well and truly feathered. If any CLCRC Operational Staff read this before your briefing I hope you give who ever is presenting the briefing SHIT especially the Head of HR.

    2. This is a great and succinct summary of the dishonest farce that is being played out in CLCRC. I am at a briefing next Monday but will not «give shit» yo the presenter as they are in the same position as the rest of us. Also. I do not feel animosity towards the individuals that have benefitted for they were not the decision makers when the lolly was being handed out. I assume that Kevin Robinson was involved however, and if he got redundancy, why has someone taken over his role? I understood that redundancy applied when the role no longer existed....why then has Penny Barker stepped in? Also, why is it that corporate services staff - who were refused EVR a new months ago on the grounds that they were so essential- are now so utterly dispensable? Also, given the CEO s PA is redundant I hope that Penny is not counting on getting a replacement when the post is vacated....it is a REDUNDANT post....which means it is not needed.

  28. it must be (i guess~) that there is someone holding corporate power in this business that has a fetish for grotesque bureaucracy and his having a laugh (at least) at the expense of staff and service users