Friday, 17 April 2015

Lull Before the Storm

"There are no new topics for discussion because there are no new topics for discussion: CRCs have gone to ground and no new info forthcoming. The service that was is broken. Give us all a break. We'll be back on form soon enough."

"There's been mention today of 'no new news' and CRCs having 'gone to ground'. Information through from BeNCH CRC last week gives revised end state staffing of 276 rather than the 254 initially announced. This includes a 5% increase in the number of PSOs.

Unions were formally advised by BeNCH last week that it has commenced 'the redundancy process' and a 45 day consultation period declared. Those first to be considered are 'back office' staff; the 'grapevine' indicates that some staff have received letters indicating their post is at risk. The decision making process for compulsory redundancy is likely to be appraisal based.

Here's hoping the blog will get back on track sharing valuable information in respect of how all of those affected by this travesty are being affected."

"Catch 22 advertising for caseworkers and senior caseworkers for South West prisons but no mention of salary scales at all. Closing date 21st April, we've been told that the CRC is expected to start on May 1st! Good luck getting anyone in post by then. Does anyone remember Prison Service Plus by the way? Came in all guns blazing several years ago, offering through the gate support for accommodation, jobs and training, benefits, drug and alcohol referrals - they targeted those easiest to help and disappeared after a couple of years having pocketed as much as possible from the European funding on offer."

"Some areas have recruited internally for TTG which takes preference, leaving other areas very short staffed with no immediate solution in place. One community team halved."

"Anyhow, man down the pub is on fine form again, he says Addaction can't play nicely with Purple Futures anymore and have gone home to sulk ....falling out over the money....NOMS not too happy and putting a brave face on things but when Sec State made a BIG deal over "partnerships" I bet he was thinking longer term than months. 

This forum is still open for wiley correspondents to keep the home front informed - just get out there and scout about for the info and let Jim know."


  1. From Facebook:-

    "G4S Scotland contracted to Scottish Prison Service have today dismissed 56 full time officers and re engaged them on a reduced hours contract and a lower salary. These post are now being filled with part time staff with no experience and are required to sit with prisoners at hospital while they are detained for treatment. This situation Will leave the public open to a safety risk as the part time officers are young inexperienced. Is this the way forward? G4S have refused to go to ACAS, the Scottish government should be ashamed allowing this to happen all in the name of profit. Trying to recoup all the fines for the Olympics fiasco and for over charging for tagging in England and Wales. Oh and the managing director who is responsible for this is leaving to head up a new company to take over the tagging that Serco and G4S have lost."

    1. Link to a 2014 story I don't recall seeing before:


    2. Whistleblowers have alleged that convicted offenders wearing faulty G4S-supplied electronic tags were being hauled back into custody because the equipment would wrongly show they were in breach of their curfew.

      That is just one of several claims made by the two whistleblowers who used to work as electronic monitoring officers for G4S on its now-defunct tagging contract with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

      The contract was cancelled by Whitehall after allegations surfaced that G4S had been overcharging the MoJ. The company had been accused of charging taxpayers for tagging criminals who had already been incarcerated or were dead.

      A criminal investigation has been launched by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and is ongoing. G4S has agreed to repay £108.9m to the MoJ for overcharging.

      Sarah Bamford and Paul Wakeman, who both worked for G4S in the southwest of England, alleged to IBTimes UK that:

      Faulty and flimsy equipment led to those with tags wrongfully taken into custody for breaching curfews.

      G4S sent new tagging orders for every offence, even if the person had already been tagged, so the firm could charge the MoJ.

      When G4S identified a faulty batch of tags it ordered its officers to change them – but not to tell those tagged why.

      G4S issued tasks to single officers that required two people, or sent them out to offenders' homes at times they were not allowed to enter.

      G4S would continue to visit homes of offenders it unofficially knew were in prison or had been released from their tagging orders, but would still charge taxpayers until it received official confirmation from the courts.

      It would write off 100 tags a month because they were faulty or broken – at a cost of £350 each.

      Much of the officers' equipment, such as SatNavs and personal digital assistants (PDAs), was out of date and not fit for purpose.

      Staff morale was very low.

      Each of these allegations was put to G4S and the company responded in detail. Neither Wakeman nor Bamford, both ex-military, still work for G4S. The company confirmed that Bamford and Wakeman were ex-employees.

  2. Early bird catches the worm - I would guess there's quite a few juicy wrigglers out there today, JB.

    Cumbria & Lancs, like Bench, have notified office managers and other corporate service staff of their imminent demise. Some grumbles have drifted down from up in Cumbria, saying that the Sodexo plan is to focus all admin in & around Salford (where they have an expensive fancy-pants IT centre in Media City) & Lancs, leaving Cumbrian staff high & dry. Who fancies commuting from Carlisle to Salford or Preston?

    Still no news about how much redundancy payments will be. Rumours in our local boozer are that Sodexo (no other names mentioned as yet) are "Raging" & putting pressure on MoJ staff over the their claim that enhanced payments were NOT on the table for anyone post-1st Feb 2015, i.e. their modern 'clearances' program.

    1. The robber barons have fallen out over the spoils. It's the oldest story in the book.

  3. 'Buyer beware' must apply here, they should have read he small print! Particularly as they were buying from a bunch of shisters, who can't be trusted with one of the countrys jewels in the crown, that was The Probation Service!

  4. Interesting article in the Telegraph about Serco rights issue:

    1. Shareholders in troubled outsourcing giant Serco have backed its attempt to plug the hole in its balance sheet with a £555m rights issue. The company announced it had shareholder approval for the move which will see 549m new shares issued.

      The scheme is on a 1:1 basis and is priced at 101p, a deeply discounted 51.1pc compared with the previous closing price, and a 34pc discount on theoretical ex-rights price.

      Chief executive Rupert Soames said last month the rights issue was the start of the "path of recovery” for the company which saw pre-tax losses of £1.35bn in 2014. A series of huge disasters have wiped almost £3.5bn off the value of the company, and seen the shares tumble by more than 70pc during the past 18 months.
      The fundraising is fully underwritten and the proceeds will be used to cut Serco’s debt by £450m. At the end of the year Serco’s net debt stood at £682m.

      Serco’s troubles first came to attention in 2013 when it was found to have overcharged the Government on contracts to monitor “tagged” criminals and deliver them to court. The scandal claimed the scalp of chief executive Christopher Hymans, and saw Serco banned from bidding for government contracts for six months, as well as having to pay a £68.5m settlement.

      Mr Soames took over in June last year and began a comprehensive review of the business, starting with the rights move.


    1. TRADE unionists will join forces today as they stand in solidarity with a worker who was dismissed by food giant Sodexo for daring to organise. Petrit Mihaj had worked for the catering group in London Underground’s canteens for over a decade when he was suddenly dismissed last year.

      Members of transport workers’ union RMT will be holding a loud demonstration outside Sodexo’s head offices in central London this morning, together with a solidarity contingent from the TUC Black Workers’ Conference. RMT Transport for London branch No 1 chairman Paul Rutland said the union had been organising these demonstrations for over a year because “Sodexo won’t budge or give him his job back.

      “We just want to keep the pressure up on the bosses because it does annoy them. “So we want to annoy them and show that we are not going away.”

      An employment tribunal found Mr Mihaj was unfairly dismissed by Sodexo due to his role as an RMT representative. And Mr Mihaj was not the only trade union organiser victimised by the French corporation — three of the RMT’s five reps were sacked by Sodexo, the other two handed disciplinary actions.

      According to RMT figures, 10 per cent of its members have brought claims against Sodexo to employment tribunals and another 20 per cent have unresolved grievances. Mr Mihaj said: “We are still going on with the campaign and we are still upsetting management. “We haven’t given up — we’ve got nothing to lose.
      “They try to ignore us but we keep embarrassing them and we keep turning up. “As long as we can get a good group of people outside we are okay, we are pleased.”

      The campaign for his reinstatement has gained some momentum this year as other trade unions logged grievances against the French corporation.

      Probation workers’ union Napo will be joining the RMT at a May Day demonstration outside Sodexo’s offices after the company’s new contract in the probation services resulted in plans to scrap thousands of posts.

      Last month, Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence labelled the cuts to services “downright dangerous,” arguing they would “put the public at risk.”

  6. Front line PSOs in Wales CRC being seconded to prison for TTG ready for 1st May. Who will take on their caseload?

    1. we've another new temp in our office so maybe that's the plan - we've already had her husband working for us in the past!!

  7. I thought CRC Staff wouldn't be working with high risk offenders?

    'Dear Colleagues,

    Delivery of Resettlement Services.
    Earlier this week we wrote to you to explain how Wales Community Rehabilitation are preparing for the delivery of resettlement services for offenders from May 1st 2015.
    Under the new service, which forms part of our Through The Gate (TTG) plan, all offenders, including those with a prison sentence of 12 months or under, will be provided with support to address their resettlement needs prior to release from custody.
    To avoid any potential confusion, we would like to point out that Wales CRC will be responsible for providing these resettlement services for all prisoners, not just those at low to medium risk of causing harm.

    Yours sincerely,
    Liz Rijnenberg
    Chief Executive'

  8. " To avoid any potential confusion, we would like to point out that Wales CRC will be responsible for providing these resettlement services for all prisoners, not just those at low to medium risk of causing harm."

    Surely that contradicts what Messrs Grayling, Wright, Selous and McNally told Parliament at various times over the last twqo and a half years, hopefully some Welsh Staff will be able to advise Members of Parliament - Lords and Commons, so that appropriate questions can be put to Ministers in future and Motions for debate submitted.

    Is this ONLY in Wales?

    1. It was always the case that CRCs would provide TTG services to all prisoners in the prisons in their areas. This has been in the documents from the start.

      It doesn't mean that the CRCs will be doing offender supervision tasks for all prisoners, probably just delivering basic workshops on accommodation, employment etc.

    2. BUT potentially that means UNTRAINED probation workers will be taking lead responsibility for the so called, "High risk" offenders - whereas Mr Grayling and other Ministers repeatedly said such work would be done by the National Probation Service - implying they were some how the CRC staff were less capable to handle such duties -so was he being economical with the truth from the outset or did he not understand the scheme he was promoting?

      The relevance of this is that with a General Election underway the candidates can be closely questioned about such detail and asked to give commitments about their personal actions if they are elected.

    3. Not only in Wales. BeNCH CRC staff was advised that the Sodexo partnership contracted for TTG may not be able to recruit sufficient staff by 1st May to deliver. CRC staff was asked if they had current clearance and/or if they were interested in a temporary secondment for this purpose. A further notice indicated the enquiry was aimed at PSOs; tasks would include completion of the Basic Custody Screening. My understanding is that this would constitute an offender supervisor type role. No further news since.

    4. BCS was initially meant to be conducted by Band 4 officers in the prison but a couple of months in some prisons are missing targets because of staff shortages so guess what? The PSO s they decided they didn't want any more have now been told that they can do the interviews as well!

    5. TTG will consist of referrals to benefits, housing and job centre, nothing more or less. It will, However, be enough for CRC's to eventually claim they are as able of managing high risk as the NPS despite the fact the most experienced and qualifies staff could well be lost to them by then.

  9. Some Wales CRC Staff also have a secondment to TTG. 1 wk training next week then start in the prison on May 1st. Pretty intensive training! I think they may be filling in while the new St Giles staff await prison clearance,

  10. Addaction, a UK charity leading in the provision of specialist services which help people and communities overcome the effects of drug and alcohol misuse, today announces its decision to withdraw from its membership of Purple Futures LLP.

    The Purple Futures Partnership, led by Interserve plc, was set up to deliver five community rehabilitation contracts under the Ministry of Justice's ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ initiative. Addaction has reluctantly decided to withdraw from the Partnership due to a failure to agree the detail of subcontracting arrangements.

    Addaction wishes the Partnership every success for the future.