Saturday, 11 April 2015

Bits and Pieces 4

Firstly, can I thank people for keeping the blog ticking over during my recent absence and inability to access the internet. I'm hoping normal service will resume this weekend. Whilst away, I notice the trade unions are about to open discussions with Sodexo and here is their starter for 10:- 

HR Director
Sodexo Justice Services & Central Functions
One Southampton Row
London WC1B 5HA

(By e-mail, hard copy to follow)

9 April 2015

Dear Harbhajan,

Proposals for Staff Redundancies in Sodexo owned CRCs
In anticipation of our scheduled meeting on the morning of Monday 20 April to discuss the proposed redundancies announced in the Sodexo-owned CRC’s, we would be grateful if you could provide the following information or answers to a number of key questions:

  • The number of proposed redundancies in each CRC, broken down by job title/function
  • Details of any equality impact assessment which Sodexo expects its CRC’s to carry out during consultation on the redundancies
  • Whether Sodexo is required to obtain the permission of the Secretary of State to the redundancies, as special shareholder, given the fact that these redundancies could not have been identified at bid stag
  • Details of the consultation which Sodexo plans to carry out with your CRCs’ statutory partners in relation to the proposed redundancies and your proposed operating model
  • Details of any Health and Safety risk assessments which have been (or are to be) carried out on the proposed operational model.
  • Will a delay to the IT and Estates strategy impact on the capacity to deliver the proposed operational model with the reduced staffing numbers?
  • Has any work been carried out to assess the workloads of those staff who will remain? Has Sodexo developed a workload measurement tool to evidence that CRCs have sufficient capacity to function safely?
  • We understand SODEXO has awarded itself the role of providing corporate back office support services to the CRCs you own. What procedures have the CRCs undertaken to determine the outsourcing of these sub-contracted services?
  • We understand SODEXO has an operating model designed to create the "Rehabilitation Revolution". How does the composition and timing of these proposed staffing reductions contribute to, and synchronise with, the roll out of your plans for improved outcomes and realisation of PbR bonuses?
Members anger
You will not be surprised to hear that the announcements made by your CRC Chief Executives’ prior to the Easter break, have been received with considerable anger and resentment by our constituent members who are working in the newly formed Community Rehabilitation Companies under your ownership.

This unwelcome news has compounded the demoralisation that is being experienced by them after seeing the service they have given loyal service to broken up in an ill-conceived social experiment. That loyalty and commitment now sees hundreds of them at risk of losing their livelihoods without the guarantee of the protections for Early Voluntary Redundancy as enshrined in the National Staff Transfer agreement that we are maintaining should be available for the life of the CRC contracts.

We are urging the company to think long and hard before embarking on a job reduction programme of this magnitude which, we believe, represents a serious risk to operational efficiency and the management of your clients and as a consequence also creates serious doubts about your capacity to maintain the requisite standards of public safety.

This letter which I am copying to Colin Allars and Ian Poree of NOMS following my recent discussions with them, has been sent as an interim response at national level by the three unions representing staff within the CRC’s owned by Sodexo. I can confirm that Ranjit Singh will be the lead contact for Napo for the operational issues that are emerging at local level. Ben Priestley and David Walton will I understand be acting similarly for Unison and Scoop GMB respectively.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,
Ian Lawrence

General Secretary
Napo - on behalf of Napo, UNISON, GMB/SCOOP

Meanwhile, The Guardian have been busy sampling the waters and it should come as no surprise to readers of this blog as to what they've found:-

 Probation service split: ‘staff are staring into the abyss’

“I’ve been in this job for 25 years and I’ve never known morale so bad and so low … You just don’t want to go to work on Monday mornings. We’ve just had enough.”

John, a National Probation Service (NPS) probation officer in the south of England, has seen many of his colleagues resign since the service was split in June 2014. Some 70% of probation work has been outsourced to private companies and charities, while the rest – supervision of the most dangerous offenders – remains within the public sector, under the remit of a new NPS.

The 35 probation trusts in England and Wales have been replaced by 21 community rehabilitation companies (CRCs), run by private companies with payment-by-results contracts that kicked in from February 2015. Existing staff have been split between CRCs and the NPS, with many teams now operating alongside each other.

There have been serious consequences. Employees on both sides, many of whom went on strike in April 2014 to protest against the changes, complain of tension, division and a hierarchical work structure. There are more processes, more paperwork, a more intense workload – and absurdities. “It’s getting stupider by the minute,” says John. “I sat in an office yesterday with four managers … and discussion was around whose coffee and tea was put into whose cupboards.”

Divided teams
More seriously, physical and virtual divisions have been created, with screens put up in some offices. “There is this idea that because we’re separate organisations now we can’t allow the other organisation to see our work because it’s confidential, which is absolute nonsense because six months ago we were all working together,” says John. “There’s no flow of information, no knowledge sharing. It’s this huge demarcation that’s being created.”

John is also worried about proposals to turn workspaces – which in many places CRC and NPS staff share – into open-plan offices. “When you’re talking about some of the people we work with in the NPS, people who commit murder and rape and armed robbery ... it’s going to be a recipe for disaster.”

Napo, the probation officers’ trade union, opposes privatisation, arguing that the probation service had been doing a very good job. It won an excellence award in 2011, a first for a public sector organisation. In 2013, the Ministry of Justice rated all 35 probation trusts in England and Wales as good or excellent.

According to Napo, at least 500 probation officers have left since the start of the reform programme. Su McConnell is one. A manager in what was then Devon and Cornwall probation trust, McConnell officially resigned in December 2014, but had been off work with stress since April.

“I had worked for the probation service since 1986, and I’m incandescent about what’s being done to the institution,” she says. “I was trying to manage a team and that team was just being split up, and I could see it; careers were being wrecked. Some staff who had invested a decade of training to do the thing they wanted to do were suddenly staring into the abyss.”

McConnell’s team was divided just before Christmas 2013. Most applied for roles in the NPS, seeking better terms and conditions as well as clearer career progression and job security. A long period of uncertainty had left the staff anxious, with many too afraid to take time off sick in case it counted against them in the selection process, says McConnell.

Splitting up specialist services
One of the consequences of the split is that the bulk of the supervision of domestic violence offenders has been outsourced while sex offenders, deemed higher risk, are managed by the NPS. Prior to the division, McConnell managed a specialist team trained to deliver programmes for both types of offenders. “The modus operandi of these offenders is not dissimilar – they’re manipulative and complicated to work with,” she says. “A lot of the theory and the practice of how you treat them is not dissimilar.”

Having always had a professional interest in domestic violence probation work, she was horrified by the changes, perceiving that corners were already starting to be cut in terms of budgets and staffing levels, not least because the majority of specialists would end up in the NPS. McConnell escalated her concerns as far as justice secretary Chris Grayling, to no avail.

CRCs supervise 200,000 low- to medium-risk offenders, while the NPS supervises the remaining 31,000 high-risk offenders. Under the Offender Rehabilitation Act, which came into force in February 2015, an extra 45,000 offenders a year who are released from prison sentences of less than 12 months will be supervised for the first time. This group has the highest rate of reoffending, with almost 60% reoffending within a year.

Overloaded IT
Clare, who works for a CRC in the Midlands, does not feel equipped to deal with the extra work that will be coming her way. “The IT is just not fit for purpose. It’s no good: you lose your work, things don’t work properly, it crashes, reports just disappear,” she says.

Many probation staff complain of an increase in bureaucracy, monitoring and tick-box exercises since the split. New risk assessments have been bolted on to existing systems, duplicating the workload and placing greater strain on already ancient IT.

The private companies that have taken on CRC contracts are not allowed to access NPS records, due to security and privacy concerns. Not only does this make Clare’s job more difficult, but she feels it has been deprofessionalised. “You can feel like the role has been dumbed down,” she says. “I don’t see myself staying in it anymore, and this is a job I thought I would spend the rest of my life in.”

Andrew, whose probation career began in 1983, now works in a CRC in the north of England. He believes the government has created a two-tier workforce. Contracts require CRCs to have appropriately trained staff, but there is no definition for this and no requirement for qualifications.

Workloads have also increased. Probation officers are assigned less time to deal with lower-risk offenders, meaning that newly transferred CRC staff, with no high-risk offenders on their caseload, must supervise a greater number of people than they are used to. But most of all, Andrew is fed up with the uncertainty of reform. “We’re a long way away from knowing what the system will look like,” he says.

The workload is set to increase with the supervision of offenders serving less than 12 months in prison – those that breach the rules will end up back in the courts system, putting more pressure on officers like Michael.

Inadequate training
Michael says court reports are wanted at increasingly short notice, there is inadequate training to prepare staff for new processes and systems and he is being asked to deal with matters above his pay grade, without sufficient information about offenders’ backgrounds, history or previous convictions.

“More and more we are being asked to help with the sentencing of people without really doing any background checks,” he says. “Either we’re going to collapse under the weight of it all, or there’s going to be a big mistake made somewhere in the court when someone is sentenced – like a domestic violence case where someone gets out instead of being in prison and they manage to murder their partner. Someone’s going to get hurt. That’s the big fear.”

Sodexo, which runs six CRCs in England and Wales, recently announced plans to replace staff with machines – ATM-style electronic kiosks to which offenders will report in, and which Ian Lawrence, Napo general secretary, has said are “downright dangerous and will put the public at risk”. Sodexo’s probation staff have been told to expect job cuts of more than 30% in the next year.

It is changes like these, alongside a less generous pension scheme and fewer career advancement opportunities in CRCs, that make Andrew – and many others working in probation – fearful for the future. “It is simply a massive and dangerous social experiment that will not, and cannot, work,” he says. “It will be future victims that pay the price and future governments that will have to do something about it.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “It is vital that offenders are managed safely and securely in the communities in which they live.

“The National Probation Service is tasked with protecting the public from high-risk offenders and the 21 community rehabilitation companies are working to turn around the lives of medium and low risk offenders.

“The vast majority of staff are working at the same desks, in the same teams and using the same IT systems as they were previously. Crucially, they are able to call on their experience and knowledge of working with offenders to continue protecting the public.”

Finally, I see Harry Fletcher has felt moved to produce not one, but two blog posts today:-


The enquiry into Serco and G4S and their tagging contracts will be completed very soon. The private companies believe that their previous actions and activities may well have fell within the conditions of the contract. They were contracted to tag someone if instructed to do so by a court and to remove it when the court stated that the tag period ended. The orders normally lasted for 90 or 120 days and the companies received a fixed fee for each order. If an offender died was jailed or ran away during the duration of an order the company was paid unless the court cancelled the order. There would seem therefore if this is the case to be a problem with the conditions of the contract. A number of officials appear to have either left or changed posts.

When the new contracts were let last year no one company had sole responsibility of all aspects of the work. One supplied the kit, another the software, a third the phones and another did the fitting and monitoring. Enforcement however was taken away and given to the state run National Probation Service (NPS). Hitherto anyone absent for 2 hours or more, found tampering with the tag or removing it was automatically breached and sent back to court. Now however the process is determined by the NPS.

Around 28,000 orders were in place at any one time during 2013/14 with 25 to 30% breaching that is 7,000 to 8,000 per year. Up to a third receive short custodial sentences. Under the old rules all went back to court but under the current procedures about half seem to reach court the rest get warnings. It is expected that tagging will sharply increase now that Probation has been privatised perhaps to as many as 75,000 at any one time by 2020. However the new rules on enforcement will result in less pressures on prison numbers as fewer defaulters will end up inside.


Predictions made at least 15 months ago about the likely impact of the privatisation of the Probation service in England and Wales is becoming a reality. In February 2015 the supervision of low and medium risk offenders, around 100,000 individuals were sold off in lots to the private sector. This included work with domestic violence perpetrators.

In Private Eye and elsewhere Harry Fletcher now Director of the Digital Trust forecast the end of positive interventions for offenders and there replacement by a huge increase in electronic tagging, staff reductions and the introduction of reporting centres and check in biometric machines instead of 1 to1 supervision.

Many new providers have already said that they will be shedding staff from September 2015, maybe by as much as 25 to 30%.The main tagging companies are preparing for a significant expansion of the market and report centres where offenders will sign in are very much on the agenda.

The state retains responsibility for supervising high risk offenders but the number of new court orders deemed high risk and therefore suitable for the National Probation Service is often less than 15% of the total.

Although in the short term the NPS did take on a 100 or so extra staff to deal with writing court reports, the impact of further cuts across the public sector post-election and fewer cases seem inevitably to lead to less supervisors.

A service that won Excellence awards just 3 years ago is now demoralised and in deep trouble. But more tags and reporting machines mean that the New owners can both cut costs and keep the Government happy and make competitive profit margins for shareholders.


  1. All the above evidences that the problems being experienced by 'Probation' are entirely the consequence of poor procurement by the MoJ and a complete lack of knowledge and commitment on their part to the concepts around rehabilitation. They DO think Probation is a community prison and DO believe that everywhere is London.

  2. True. Rehabilitation never really took of within the Prison Service because it was always very low on their list of priorities. We are now seeing Prison Probation staff replaced by Prison Officers once more. This means that anyone aloocated to Probation type work can now be called upon to do general Prison duties. Because they can, they inevitably will so almost NO rehabilitative work will take place IN prisons and, with Sodexo et al's approach, NO rehabilitative work will take place in the community. All because Carter couldn't see that zoo keepers were not the same as Vets.

    1. Loved the line about zoo keepers and vets and reminded me of a saying about courts being circuses that led to zoos.

  3. Pre NOMS : Prisons fail Probation Works
    NOMS in charge: Prisons fail and become dangerous Probation made to fail

  4. Good to have you back at the helm, JB. Steady as she goes, Capn.

    1. Thanks, but decided to have today off and post next tomorrow.

  5. I don't think there is anything in the union's letter to Sodexo that is likely to lead to a turnaround. Important as they are, equality impact assessments, workload weighting tools and H&S may bark but they won't bite Sodexo and there are tiptoe routines for procrastinating on all these issues anyway. As for 'members' anger', this opinion piece
    will achieve only crocodile tears from Sodexo and business necessity mantras. In releasing this letter, I hope it's not just public relations, but that the unions will keep the membership fully informed of all developments, stay on the offensive, and not go quietly.

    1. my understanding is there will be national meetings between Napo and Sodexo there will also be local JNC rep meetings with CRC and Sodexo with liaison between national and local Napo reps so Branch meetings ought to be means of getting updates

    2. I suppose I am making a slightly different point to being updated through the usual channels. The Napo leadership have chosen to release a letter in advance of a meeting, which I think is good. However, this letter could have been disseminated through the branch structure for branches to update members.

      The letter is stridently angry and suggests Napo and the other unions will not be supine in the face of these proposed compulsory redundancies. It's not commonplace for Unions to release these shopping list letters in advance of a meeting and I read it as a kind of throwing down the gauntlet.

      Maybe it's an opportunity for the union leaderships to stay loud on this issue, show there will be no appeasement with regard to these proposals and that more of this type of communication across the membership may have a mobilising effect and reach those who fail to engage at the branch level.

  6. From the letter:

    "That loyalty and commitment now sees hundreds of them at risk of losing their livelihoods without the guarantee of the protections for Early Voluntary Redundancy as enshrined in the National Staff Transfer agreement that we are maintaining should be available for the life of the CRC contracts."

    I'm afraid that I don't hold out much hope for EVR being upheld when the unions' strongest gambit is that its a scenario "which we are maintaining should be available".

    No sign of: "a position which is legally binding"; or, "which you signed up for"; or, "which you are responsible for upholding"...

    Maybe I'm TR-war-weary, maybe I'm suffering from compassion-fatigue, but it does feel like the unions are waving dead flowers in the air, like there's no conviction in the argument. Akin to the JR scenario it feels we'll just get trampled on and made to pay the price, whilst the bullies get away with it yet again.

    1. Yes, the position is weak and that's reflected in the beseeching language. The only power is collective action to oppose compulsory redundancies, and maybe anger will be translated into industrial action. But it's a big maybe. More likely, it will be death by a thousand cuts. It will be interesting to see what line the unions champion.

  7. At the risk of exposing my ignorance, what is« the JR scenario»? I agree with these posts re the likely non outcome of the Union facing up to Sodexo meeting. I have been on the www.sourcewatch link posted a couple of days ago......they dont strike me as being open to any reason and will pursue profit at any price. CLCRC have operational staff briefings tomorrow- several venues across the area briefing simultaneously- many of us just want definitive info re how the senior management are going to proceed- however unpalatable it may be.

    1. apologies for jargonising everything - 'jr' = judicial review

  8. Ian Lawrence. The right man to lead NAPO? Discuss?

    1. hahahahhhahahahah well napo members chose him what are you complaining about ? Election give you a shopfront voters bought into the lack of substance.

      In another example of out of depth players Ranjit Singh we read is leading on the sodexo redundancies with Unison.
      Get your desks cleared then !

    2. Had Kenneth Clarke remained at the MoJ would TR have happened? Was TR Grayling's idea or was he simply the figurehead to outsource probation services. He also had previous experience of having outsourced when employment minister? Does this accomplishment make Grayling a great leader? Does the failure to stop a Tory government, with consensual idealogical support for outsourcing public services across the political spectrum, make IL a bad leader? Napo held several ballots regarding industrial action and each time the turnout was disappointing. Was this a failure of leadership or a failure of an inward-looking, politically naive membership to see the writing on the wall? There has been a decline in activism in the probation workplace; and there are probably lots of reasons for this, some of which are shared across the union movement that has generally seen its bargaining powers reduce, as well as membership numbers. The consequences of reduced bargaining power are lower wages, fewer social protections, job insecurity – fear and fatalism. At branch level Napo representatives have tried for years to rekindle mere interest amongst members, never mind activism, and so often the response has been apathy as reflected in poor attendance at branch meetings. Too many probation staff saw their interests best served by showing loyalty to management, believing this best served their individual interests. This individualism led to collective weakness. The business-focused Trusts and now the CRC's will do all they can to encourage by seeking to ignore the unions.

      There are no rewards for individualism in the workplace and it is seen by the employer as weakness in bargaining terms, a workforce easy to manipulate and walk over and, for some hapless individuals, an easy opportunity for the employer to restructure them out of a job. Can you imagine the industrial muscle that IL would have wielded on behalf of Napo, had ballots achieved 80% plus turnouts with unanimous support for fighting TR? That would have resonated through the political establishment and may have engendered second thoughts. But what they got was a picture of a divided workforce, unsure of itself and therefore a cakewalk. The question should be: how do we build collective strength for future fights?

    3. NAPO are achieving more to fight the cuts than ALL the 'ex Probation' staff that now work for Sodexo, Seetec, Purple Futures, Interserve et al put together. Naked ambition has always been the enemy of collective representation. A lot of Probation staff still think that 'behaving themselves' will save them. I am afraid the are about to be disabused of the notion.

    4. 1. TR was being brewed in the dark corridors of whitehall for many years; Eithne Wallis' "choreography" was the first public airing of the idea, which opened the door for noms - which is where things started to gain momentum.

      2. Grayling was the right appointment at the right time in terms of TR - a numb ideologue and shameless bully with no understanding of, let alone allegiance to, the judicial system

      3. The BlairWeasel set the post-Thatcher tone, i.e. being wealthy beyond need is okay, shafting others is okay - as long as you believe and have unbending faith that you're right. So yes, individualist ambition at the expense of others is okay; collectivism is for sheep. Be Strong or Be Eaten Alive.

      4. I think IL has shown himself to be the wrong man for NAPO at this time, but he arrived after NAPO been publicly and politically embarrassed by the previous incumbent and perhaps IL's appointment (as a professional union man) was in an effort to re-introduce a level of professionalism to NAPO and regain some credibility. However, whilst JL had been busy doing his Benny Hill impression, MoJ and NOMS had run rings around the union leaving NAPO months (if not years) behind the game. That was the premiss on which I objected to JL being paid off, i.e. he was being rewarded for the reputational and operational damage done to NAPO as a union & professional association; notwithstanding the bleedin' obvious outrage at rewarding his other disgraceful behaviours.

      5. I really hope that the EVR issue is found to be favourable for the hundreds of (maybe more than a thousand?) probation staff facing the axe this year. I hold on to the vain hope that the Sodexo figures being released so early, so callously and at such high levels, might have shaken some staff in NOMS/MoJ and that the EVR arrangements will be upheld. Even though the jobs will still go - which I believe to be utterly wrong and risky to the point of dangerous - it is perhaps fitting that those being thrown out will at least receive something by way of compensation. And even more so if Sodexo (and friends) had planned to re-distribute the EVR monies as rewards for shareholders, or to enjoy spending it at vineyards, car dealerships, or Michelin-starred restaurants.

    5. I could not agree more , We are drifting into mass redundancies and the dumbing down of a profession and many people post on here complaining about the union not helping them as if union membership was a washing machine they bought four years ago that is not working. We are the union and if we don't vote in ballots and take action (and take action in the name of solidarity even if we don't' personally support for example a one day strike) then big multinationals will take what they can off us including our jobs. . NAPO are only as strong as we make them by being prepared to take action.

  9. I'd bet my mortgage NAPO leadership will deliver on beating redundancies!

    1. Yes of course like the TR and JR don't you think members are a bit frayed at the edges in beliving anything NAPO have been able to achieve. Did the costs of the JR fall to NAPO too another loss. The money out to the ex GS noted above awarded by who exactly ? It was their failure and the catalogue continues until we change into being a union. I would hope there will be solidarity for a future fight but who will be left that can make that a reality. Look on we are divided split no legal avenue left. What remains is what was predicted and it is coming sure as day follows night. If you were not out in strike did not help activists when you had chance you cant complain. The rest of us who did can.

    2. 14:45 Clearly you have a talent for comedy perhaps a new role there. Good luck with that then.

    3. The only solace I have, is that I fought with my union, I took the strike action, I provided and continue to provide the evidence and I feel angry with those friends and colleagues that didn't. But I remain firm that had Unison took the action Napo did with striking it could have been a different landscape now

  10. I totally agree with anon 2157 on Thursday's 'Sodexo Special 2' with the comment on Sodexo Sourcewatch - IT IS INDEED HORRIFYING! AND MUST BE READ. There are several Sodexo sourcewatch websites, criticising the company , but start with the first one, simply 'SODEXO SOURCEWATCH'. It is set out like Wikipedia, with a timeline listing the company's scandals and unethical attitude, policies and actions on just about everything - poverty wages, overcharges clients, opposing unions, contaminated food scandals, and violation of health and human rights policies.

    Thousands of German children poisoned in horsemeat scandal in 2012, nationwide investigation for overcharging clients, audit investigation, huge stock investment in CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) noted for insufficient and inexperienced staff in prisons, with poor care and management, leading to raised violence in the prisons, and issues with contracts. There have also been issues over racist behaviour.

    And that is just for starters. Michael Landel, the last CEO, left the organisation with a year's salary of well over a million dollars, and several more million in compen.

    it is a nasty dirty company, which is wallowing in its own s...t. It is so corrupt and yet keeps going from strength to strength. Now it is taking a lead role in Britain's justice system. What the f.. does that say about our government??!!

  11. It says simply this
    Our Government wanted rid of probation at any cost....they have started with 70% of us then the other 30% WILL go

    1. Not sure the privateers will want the scary stuff.

    2. Give it time, once people dont care, it spreads.

    3. why not? high risk scary stuff is lucrative, e.g. nuclear waste. What's needed is containment - occupy a remote location then transport the scary stuff there. Underground repository for the nuclear shite, transportation for the criminal class.

      It mirrors the mood of the 18th Century, as do the policies of Cameron & Osborne: "In 1778, Joseph Banks, Cook's botanist on the voyage, presented evidence to the government on the suitability of Botany Bay for the establishment of a penal settlement, and in 1787 the first shipment of convicts set sail, arriving in 1788. Britain continued to transport convicts to New South Wales until 1840."

      And I'm more serious than you might think. Here's an excerpt from an academic piece about English social history in the 18th Century:

      "A typical income was 50 pounds, which might serve as the standard for a basic decent living. Colley describes how one wealthy merchant, Thomas Coram, hoped to gain social recognition by charity work. Here is one way to translate wealth into social status if one is not of the gentry.... It is wise to bear in mind that the professions of law and medicine did not have the social status then that it enjoys today. Lawyers (like today) were often derided as predators, while doctors (probably with good reason) were often denounced as quacks. One of the greatest writers of the 18th century, Henry Fielding penned this poetic attack:

      Religion, law, and physic were designed
      By heaven the greatest blessing of mankind;
      But priests, and lawyers, and physicians made
      These general goods to each a private trade,
      With each they rob, with each they fill their purses,
      And turn our benefits into curses."


      "... the wealthy gentry gathered in London during the sessions of Parliament, socializing in the clubs, parks and townhouses around Westminster. The rest of the year was spent at their country estates or at the fashionable resort at Bath, where the mineral waters were considered restorative. The sons of the gentry typically attended Oxford or Cambridge after being educated at home, and the younger sons were expected to become clergy, military or public officers. Daughters were to be matched with eligible men from the gentry, and many families hoped to raise their financial fortunes through strategic alliances."

      As for benefits and food banks?

      "In larger towns, the magistrates increasingly resorted to building workhouses. There the poor would be housed in dormitory conditions, divided by sex, with 2 or more to each bed. Rules were strict, food minimal and work difficult. These workhouses had the desired effect of lowering expenditures, largely because it deterred the poor from requesting relief."

      Welcome to the next five years of Tory rule.

    4. Tory PCC has already (Nov 2013) spoken out about using disused army bases for offenders (and their families). Tory MP (Edward Garnier I think) said the same thing in commons debate last year.

    5. There are always nutters on the periphery. Trouble is that, because of the debacle that surrounded the PCC elections, some of them got jobs. Nevertheless, they remain nutters.

    6. I hear this particular 'nutter' is on close terms with Cameron. Edward Garnier a serving MP at that time (likely to be reelected). So make of that what you will...

    7. The Tory party are ALL butters. That's the trouble.


    seen these ads

    1. Posted oct 2014 - not current

    2. Responding to Anons at 21:29 and 21:19

      Maybe those vacancies were posted in October 2014, but the fact that they are STILL advertised suggests that there are still similar vacancies just as much as it suggests that that particular advertisement is "not current"

      Meanwhile elsewhere amongst that recruitment agency's vacancies I noted this: -

      " Probation Officer - National Probation Service - Oxfordshire Posted on 09/04/2015 "

      The advert includes the following " you must be a fully qualified Probation Officer or Social Worker to be accepted for this position." So about 20 years after the Government prohibited trainee probation officers to train alongside trainee social workers - the social workers qualification is as acceptable for a newly recruited probation officer as a unique probation officer qualification - it seems to me completely wrong that a qualified social worker can work as a probation officer but not vice versa and suggests the probation officer training is believed to leave a person less competent than a person trained to be a social worker.

      I guess amidst the current recurring crises this is a minor issue but it is nonetheless one that STILL rankles with me.

  13. These 'vacancies' are just traps to get people onto the agents books. They mostly do not exist.

  14. Cannot hold vacancies and make redundancies. They have to redeploy at risk staff. Basic stuff this.

  15. A lot of the comments and issues raised are valid. However readings insults and criticism like "In another example of out of depth players Ranjit Singh we read is leading on the sodexo redundancies with Unison. Get your desks cleared then !", reminds me of wild west films when the red Indians analysis of the the trouble causes was "white man speak with fork tongue". It's so easy for you bloggers to hide behind the screen! If you're all so clever why aren't you leading Napo - go on then answer that! And you Mr Brown!!!!!

  16. Working Links have Deloitte looking at their business model. Watch this space. NPS no longer able to access basic skills courses being run in Wales Probation even though funding is from Welsh Gov.