"Good morning everyone
Further to my last email I provided you with what I can only describe as headline figures regarding future staffing requirements. These were based on a set of more detailed figures which I shared with managers who in turn will have shared these with you. These more detailed figures are:
Managers: current 26, proposed 13.5 initially & 11 post OMS
Band 4: current 59, proposed 31 initially & 26 post OMS
Band 3: current 92, proposed 81 initially & 71 post OMS
Admin: current 50, proposed 32 initially & 24 post OMS
Back office: current 47, proposed 24 initially & 21 post OMS
I had hope by now that I might be in a position to confirm where we had got to with staffing but as of today I have still not agreed these figures and discussions are still ongoing with Sodexo. I will of course keep you posted on any conclusions reached regarding staffing numbers as soon as possible, but in any event you may already be aware that Dave Gardiner and I will be visiting teams after the Easter break. I'm pleased that we have managed to get these in the diary quickly as they will give us an opportunity to talk in more detail. Hopefully by then I will be able to confirm a lot more of the details that you so rightly need to have.
I have included my previous email below as it emphasises the context in which I am sharing this further detail so it’s important that you can read both together."
Then all your questions answered:-
The following Q&A covers a summary of the most frequent questions asked at the staff briefings that took place across the CRCs in January and February, and those which can be answered generically across the CRCs.
It is worth highlighting that some of the questions asked at the staff briefings have already been answered in previous weekly MTT Q&As, so we do encourage staff to read back through the previous answers to find responses to your questions.
If there was questions asked at the staff briefings that you feel have not been answered in the generic responses contained below, please feed these questions through your management team or continue to use the mailbox - AskCRC@sodexojusticeservices.com - where we will publish responses through the MTT Q&A or individually where appropriate.
Can you explain how the Responsible Officer workloads will change?
Workloads will depend on complexity and priority for resource allocation. We expect the Responsible Officers based in the Hub to manage a larger workload than those based in the community.
What are Sodexo’s plans for Unpaid Work?
There will be no change to how Unpaid Work currently operates within the CRCs. In the future, we will look to compare best practice within each of the CRCs that are owned by Sodexo.
Will we still need to use Oasys?
Yes. The risk of harm assessment will come from OASys, though we plan to incorporate it in the new Offender Management System.
What are the plans for women’s services (Essex)?
We will be working alongside your senior management team to develop women’s services provision. The list provided at the staff briefings for Essex was not an exhaustive list. It’s important we now review existing partnerships and the work of staff within the CRC to ensure good practice is not lost.
We currently have a domestic violence multi-agency group running within our CRC, will this continue?
It’s vitally important that key local relationships continue and your CRCs are looking at what this is to make local decisions going forward.
What are your plans for staff safety?
Health and Safety will remain, as now, the responsibility of CRC local management. Sodexo has a strong health and safety culture and will work with CRCs to integrate systems and share best practice.
Have you considered Computer Assisted Therapy as part of your operational plans?
This did not form part of our operational solution. However, we welcome your ideas and would ask that you share these with your local managers for them to feed up and discuss between the CRCs when given the opportunity to do so.
Does the “Closeness to Change” assessment contradict Nacro’s “hard to reach” policy?
No. We believe the “Closeness to Change” assessment tool is an innovative way to help assist practitioners to know when an offender is likely to be ready to change and when more help is likely to have the most impact. We are committed to tackling reoffending, so that must include accessing the most entrenched offenders. But we can’t meet every need for everyone all the time, so setting intelligent priorities is crucial.
There was little about the assessment of and how we manage risk during the presentation. Can you clarify why?
The presentation focused on the new changes to ways of working. The assessment of risk and role of protecting the public remains an integral part the CRC.
Labelling those we supervise as ‘offenders’ which is a contradiction with ‘desistance’ – we have worked towards ‘service user’. What are your views on this?
We have used the term offender within our presentation as this was the term used in the bid specification. We understand that each CRC uses different terminology and we are happy for CRCs to continue using whatever they are familiar with.
Will IOM teams be kept?
Within the model there is an override which will ensure local IOM priorities are recognised so that resource allocation is right. As now, CEOs will take part in annual reviews of IOM locally, but the principles it has put into practice – joint working, setting clear priorities and responding to local need for example – are all central to the approach we have tried to describe.
We have very specific women’s provision at the moment, what plans do you have with regard to women’s services?
The bid contained clear principles for how we deal with the issues women offenders face. We now need to check out how this maps across to what is currently in place locally. Delivery varies widely between CRCs and we will go carefully to make sure there is no break in provision.
Will the term “mobile working” mean more home visits?
We think home visits have an important role in some cases and we want mobile working to make that easier to achieve but it will not be the sole focus.
Will we be expected to move offenders around in our own cars?
We have no plans to change existing local policies.
What is the future of the Women's Safety Officer role?
We will look at individual roles as part of due diligence and workforce planning, alongside your senior management team.
Could you please provide more detail about the 8 RAR elements?
The following outlines a menu of eight interventions in relation to the RAR:
1. New Directions: initial meeting, assessment, achievement plan, induction (delivered by CRC & Supply Chain)
2. Motivation Engagement Module: focused on those not assessed as not close to change (delivered by CRC)
3. One-to-one supervision: and 4) Offending Behaviour group work modules: portfolio to be developed in CRC, taking account current SAR delivery, new options, information sharing across CRCs. Can include accredited programmes (delivered by CRC)
5) Community Integration Service: CIS provider will deliver, coordinate and broker services across a range of community support pathways (delivered by supply chain)
6) Mentoring & Family Support: can include both high and low intensity mentoring services (delivered by supply chain)
7) Restorative Justice: an essential element of our RAR offer. Recognition that CRCs have models in place and liaison with PCC required to develop further
8) Kiosks: allows offender to report in, to give and receive information, for those who reach a point where face-to-face time is less frequently required and/or good pattern of compliance achieved. To be developed in 2016.
CRCs are reviewing their RAR offer to map against the above and progress suitable RAR elements for each CRC in the future. This work is currently being carried our by members of your senior management team.
What roles will service users play in helping to shape future operating models and services?
We think this is crucial, and many CRCs have already made great strides in this area. We have an agreement with User Voice to establish democratically elected User Councils, where they do not already exist in a CRC, and to help in generating improved rates of return for the User surveys which are contractually required. But the potential scope for local innovation in this field is great, and we expect user involvement to grow throughout the life of the contract.
Can you explain the plans to introduce kiosks in 2016?
Sodexo uses kiosk technology in all of our prisons. Prisoners access a touch screen kiosk using a fingerprint reader and pin code. It is a great way of increasing prisoners’ ability to complete tasks for themselves, for example book visits, order canteen, view notifications, top-up pin phone accounts, order their menu etc. This not only allows prisoners to be responsible for managing more of their own life, but also gives Prisoner Custody Officers more time to focus on the quality aspects of their role, rather than a number of desk based administrative tasks.
The same principle applies in the community. We want to use kiosk technology to allow for a number of tasks especially by offenders who have successfully completed a proportion of their order or licence. Kiosks can also provide a good means to communicate simple messages and receive requests or information back. They are a good means of preventing impersonation, for example in CP, and can be a portal to access a wide variety of useful information for offenders.
The technology is not new, and has been used for many years in New York, where we observed it. The feedback is that it has freed more time for staff to spend with more complex offenders, with a reduction in reoffending rates. But there was also positive feedback on the impact for less complex cases – in particular, the prospect of moving to kiosk reporting was used as an incentive to compliance.
How do you make money on the contract?
There are two elements to how we will make the CRC contracts successful.
The first element of payment is Fee for Service income from delivering court orders, licence requirements and the resettlement service in custody. Delivering to the right standard, and so avoiding “service credits” (fines) under the contract, is the first task.
The second element is our ability to be successful in reducing reoffending and this is where the Payment by Results part of the contract comes into play. We need to increase both the number of people who stop reoffending altogether and also reduce the rate at which those who reoffend decide to do so.
In addition, we think CRCs have a wealth of talent and knowledge which should allow them to expand the scope of what they do during the life of the contract by bidding for other work. Sodexo’s corporate expertise in business development should help CRCs to make the most of such opportunities when they arise.
Finally, Sodexo has a very high client retention rate based on our reputation of delivering quality services. As we develop the CRC contracts over the next seven years, we will be aiming to achieve successful contract delivery in all CRCs so that when the CRCs are tendered in the future, we have a strong case to retain these contracts.
What is the definition/formula for reducing re-offending?
Reoffending will be measured against a baseline of outcomes in 2011. Each year of the contract reoffending rates (as measured by reconviction) will be compared to that baseline, adjusted for the characteristics of the caseload, to assess whether we qualify for a “PBR” payment. To receive any payment, the “binary” rate – that is the number of people who don’t reoffend at all – must be lower than a certain threshold. If it is, then individual reductions in reoffending short of complete desistance, also qualify for a payment.
What is the innovation fund and when will it be available?
We have set aside some money for each CRCs CEO to use as an innovation fund. We will be liaising with your CEO about when this money is available and it’s worth noting that it will be at their discretion, about where and how it’s best used.
How will we know we are meeting our performance targets?
A company called Optimity Matrix will be able to provide more frequent and real-time data about how CRCs are performing in relation to meeting the requirements of the contract. This will assist in ensuring CRCs are putting the right resources to the right people and at the right time. Matrix are also visiting the CRCs to understand how they currently gather data in terms of meeting their performance targets and have picked up on some really good practice already.
What is VCS?
Voluntary and Community Sector.
How will the relationship with the Voluntary and Community Sector partners work?
As part of the bid specification, providers were required to increase the CRC budget into the supply chain (or Voluntary and Community Sector).
CRCs will contract manage the relationships with the VCS partners to ensure we are both meeting the needs of the business. Additionally, we believe the increased relationships are useful for co-attendance at meetings, feedback, information sharing and working group ventures.
In practical terms, there will be close liaison between supply chain providers, managers and the Responsible Officer with the latter being regularly updated with offender’s progress and information.
Will the supply chain have similar ethics that match those of Sodexo?
We have carefully selected our supply chain and believe that they provide ethically-based services for offenders which match the values of Sodexo and the CRCs.
There seems to be a significant shift of work into the supply chain. What impact will this have on staff currently working in the CRC?
The majority of the supply chain’s work will be focused on the Through the Gate and community integration services. They will focus on the delivery of bespoke specialist services which will complement the roles of the CRC staff, rather than replace it.
Will job titles change?
Due to the change in requirements of the CRC and the service delivery model, there are likely to be some changes to the nature of roles.
How do Sodexo work with unions and what is the process for registering disputes?
We have strong relationships with Trade Unions across our business. In particular, within Justice Services, we have partnership agreements in place with the several unions that operate within our prisons. We will be aiming to develop good communication with the recognised unions in the CRCs. However, it is worth emphasising that the CRCs are the employers and the main ongoing union relationships remains with them, including any dispute registration and resolution.
What does the shared services centre provide and what will remain within the CRC?
The shared services centre provides transactional work in HR, Finance and IS&T that is required for many of our sites across the UK & Ireland. This includes: grievance & policy support, employee details monitoring, recruitment processes, payroll transactions, procurement services, credit management, accounts payable, management accounts and IT service desk. (Please see MTT Q&A - Issue 9 for more detail about the HR shared services function)
During our current due diligence process, we are considering which of this work can be transferred to shared services and which of this work remains within the CRC. These findings will be shared with you soon and you will be fully consulted on any implications this may have to roles within the CRC.
What is Sodexo’s approach to part-time working?
Sodexo has a flexible approach to employees who wish to work part-time hours, providing the request to do so meet the needs of the business. CRC senior management will continue to be responsible for requests for part-time working within their CRC as per existing procedures.
What are the plans for recruiting into roles that are required during this transitional stage?
We are very aware that each CRC needs to run business as usual. However, we are requiring that any vacancies in the CRCs over the coming weeks and months are advertised on a temporary or fixed-term basis , given due consideration to the upcoming workforce restructure. Decisions on whether to recruit or not are to be taken by each CRC senior management team.
Do Sodexo adopt a performance related pay scheme, linked to their appraisal system?
The national agreement is that the terms and conditions of your current employment, as detailed in the NNC handbook, remain unchanged. As CRCs are unable to vary these terms, there are no plans at this stage to implement a scheme which financially incentives performance.
Will there be the opportunity for one-to-one conversations with members of the MTT team?
The MTT team do not have plans to routinely meet with staff on a one-to-one basis. All concerns should be raised with managers in your CRC with whom we are working closely.
Will annual leave and weekly hours be the same?
Yes, these are part of your terms and conditions. Annual leave is protected under the national agreement and we have no plans to change the level of annual leave entitlement you receive. It may be necessary to change some annual leave year start and end dates, for administrative purposes, but in this case you will be informed of the need to change and we will ensure that the number of holiday days you receive are unaffected.
If there are any requirements to change weekly working hours due to the requirements of the new operating model, in the future, staff will be consulted with on this in line with normal CRC processes.
Can the shared service centre cope with the additional CRC caseload?
This is why we are undertaking a phase of due diligence. This will allow us to understand what roles are being carried out within the CRCs and by whom, then decide which of this work can transfer over to the shared service centre.
We will be mindful of implications of TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings, Protection of Employment) legislation when we look at changing service provision. It may be that some staff transfer with the work into the Sodexo shared service centres, and should this be the case, we will communicate and consult with those staff affected. If required after TUPE considerations we may need to put additional resource into shared service centres, any new roles created would be advertised and CRC staff would be welcome to apply for these roles if they wish.
Will local IT support remain within the CRCs or will this transfer to shared services?
It is likely that IT roles will be required within each CRC. We are currently understanding local requirements as part of our due diligence and workforce planning phase of the change programme.
Our CRC has a staff council. Does Sodexo approve of these types of group?
We understand every CRC has different operations, working groups and engagement activities that staff feel a part of and would like to see continue. If a group, such as a staff council, is well received by staff and meets a purpose, then there is no intention to change this. It will be for the CEO and senior management team to decide what methods of consultation and communication work well for your CRC, alongside the trade union representation method of consultation.
What pension scheme will new employees of the CRC be given the opportunity of joining?
New employees will be offered the opportunity to join Sodexo’s pension scheme. Those who were employed in the CRCs prior to share sale (1 February 2015) will remain eligible for the Local Government Pension Scheme (subject to the terms of the LGPS Admissions Agreement).
Will CRC staff be given the opportunity to move to work within Sodexo’s prisons?
We openly advertise all Justice Services vacancies on our website www.sodexojobs.co.uk. Should this be something CRC staff are interested in applying for, we would encourage staff to do so. As a company, Sodexo does look to develop, retrain and retain staff, and provide the opportunity for colleagues to move into different roles across our business.
A move out of your existing CRC to direct employment with Sodexo would constitute a change of employer and the associated terms and conditions for the new post would be offered.
Are you considering staff on temporary/fixed term contracts when you are undertaking due diligence?
Yes. The undertaking of due diligence will allow us to compare the more generic data that we received in the data room last year, compared to what the actual staffing numbers are in each CRC at the current state. This will include staff who are employed on temporary or fixed term contracts.
What is retention rate of staff (in Sodexo)?
74.1% across the Sodexo business.
Car leasing is important for those having to move locations. Does Sodexo run a car leasing scheme we can access?
Any change of location will be dealt with in accordance with your terms and conditions of employment and in accordance with CRC processes for handling any such change in base location. We are not aware of car leasing schemes being operated in CRCs and would not intend to introduce such a scheme.
Will CRC staff be able to TUPE into roles that are being advertised by the partner agencies we will be working with?
Where a change in service provider occurs, we will be working with our partners organisations to consider whether TUPE applies to any staff undertaking that work. If TUPE does apply then your CRC will be communicating and consulting with your at the earliest opportunity.
If partner organisations are advertising roles and you are not identified as being covered by TUPE, then you are free to apply but this would be a personal decision to leave the employment of the CRC.
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
What are your plans for a PQF replacement qualification and how will Laurus be involved with this?
The Probation Qualification Framework is due to change in 2016. In the bid specification, the opportunity arose to introduce a PQF replacement which better meets the needs of the CRCs. In light of this, we have worked with a company called Laurus to develop a PQF replacement and the awarding body, Skills for Justice Awards, have now accredited a new level 4 certificate in community rehabilitation as a direct replacement for the PQF level 3 award. It is our intention going forward that CRCs will enrol team members requiring qualification onto this new award. However, it may be necessary in the short-term to offer some PQF3 awards to maintain compliance.
Will there still be roles for local delivery of Learning & Development?
As part of due diligence we are working to understand more about the Learning & Development model and roles that currently exist within each CRC. Once this process is complete, we will work alongside your senior management team to propose the best way to deliver Learning & Development to the CRCs in the future. Once we know this your CRC will be able to discuss the proposal with any staff who may be impacted by any changes.
What core training will be provided to staff?
We are currently undertaking a needs analysis of the training that is available within the CRCs. We realise that there will be new training elements that staff will be required to complete as we move to the new operating model. However, in addition to this, we will also explore the opportunities available from Sodexo’s existing in-house catalogue of learning and development solutions. As part of this, CRC staff will be given the opportunity to access Sodexo’s learning management system, Ingenium, later in the year.
Can you clarify the office relocation plan? For example, have you considered employees travelling times?
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working alongside your management team to understand the workforce and geography of each CRC we have won, before decisions on office locations are made. However, we do plan to move to new office locations between October 2015 and the end of the year.
Will there still be a head office within each CRC?
We are working alongside your senior management team to plan a new estate model, which includes where staff across the CRC will be based and the requirement for a head office. It is likely to be in the same location as the Hub.
In the new estates model, who will provide facilities management of buildings?
It is proposed that Sodexo will “self supply” (an FM role within the CRC) the FM Services required for each property.
Can you explain the difference between the Hub, local management offices and neighbourhood centres? Who will be working from each and what are the functions?
Hub – A new head office and administration support centre. Staff are likely to include members of the senior management team, middle managers relating to the new Hub model, administrative staff and some practitioner staff.
Local Management Centres (based on LDUs) – Designed to be offender facing, with group meeting rooms, open plan flexible working areas and one-to-one meeting rooms. Staffing is likely to include: middle managers, practitioner staff (PO/PSO), programmes facilitators and some locally based CP staff.
Neighbourhood Centres – Designed for face-to-face meetings with offenders and includes a smaller open plan working area for staff to drop-in to.
When moving to the new estate, will programmes delivery be considered?
How will Sodexo achieve the new ICT systems at such short timescales and how is their solution not something that could have been developed previously by NOMS?
Sodexo has an existing relationship with IT company, Unilink, who developed the technology we use in all of our prisons and who we’re working alongside to develop the new OMS system we plan to introduce into the CRCs. We commenced work on developing the new OMS system with Unilink around five months ago to help us reach our target delivery date of October. As explained at many of the staff briefings, we do expect the IT solution to be better than what you currently use and it will enable a more flexible and mobile workforce. We will aim to develop and improve the OMS system throughout the duration of the contract. We’ll be looking for suggestions and ideas from staff within the CRCs to help us develop the system in the future.
Will you be consulting with staff over the development of the new IT systems?
Yes. It is our intention to get the views of CRC staff so that we can develop our IT system based on the needs of the users. It is important to stress that our initial “front end” system is being worked on to very tight timescales, so while we expect to have something that is workable and an improvement on current IT systems, we do stress that it’s a 7 year contract and we’ll look for staff’s input throughout the duration to develop the system and make improvements.
What do you mean by mobile working?
The OMS system we are working towards implementing will be web-based, meaning staff will only require a wifi connection, which allows greater flexibility in where they wish to work. This fits well with our new estates model, in particular our ‘neighbourhood centres’, some of which we’ll look to co-locate with partners.
The new system reduces the need to be connected to a cable, giving staff more freedom to work in the community.
Will supervisors overseeing community payback be provided with hand held technology?
No handsets are currently being developed for CP supervision. However, we believe that the solution we are developing will allow future access to this sort of technology to support the supervisors. At this stage we are working with the NOMS Accreditor to approve the system currently under development and will look to other technologies after we have deployed the new system.
Can the new case management system avoid the term ‘offender’ (labelling etc)?
During the tendering process, we referred to our system as an Offender Management System to differentiate from our existing Custodial Management System that is used across our prison estate.
There is a lot of information coming through regarding hot desking – how will this affect people with disabilities who have Access to Work equipment – e.g. desks, monitors, keyboards, mice, seats, etc.?
CRCs will continue to consider the needs of individuals and support them as appropriate where adjustments may be required to their working environment or equipment. Your senior management team will work alongside members of the mobilisation team to understand any impact of the new operating model, in particular the new technology and estates strategy, and make reasonable adjustments for staff who require Assistive Technology to carry out their roles.
If staff are expected to work in their communities more, how will things like expenses be considered, especially in the more rural locations?
Expenses for working within the communities will be reimbursed in line with local policies. We may consider harmonising the expense policy in the future to provide a consistent and standard process across all of the CRCs. If we chose to do this, it will be in consultation with your trade union representatives.
How will we promote who we are and what we do?
Over the duration of the contract, we will work together to ensure we promote the work of the CRCs in the community and build on stakeholders understanding of what the CRCs do. This will partly be done locally, but will also be a benefit of having six CRCs, so we can share how we promote the achievements of the CRCs.
Some of our communication tools are no longer fit for purpose – how soon will we be able to have a replacement for the intranet?
We are currently working with your communications team to identify what communications methods are used within the CRCs and find out what contracts are in place for intranets and websites. We will work together (members of the MTT team and your local communication team) to propose solutions that fit-best across the CRCs to ensure we maintain effective communication methods.
Can you explain about conflict of interest between getting paid to keep people out of prison and also owning several prisons and getting paid to accommodate prisoners?
We don’t see a conflict. We have no influence over sentencing policy and the Government decides what prison capacity it needs and how to procure it. Our approach to imprisonment is the same as it is to the work of CRCs – we want to reduce reoffending.
Can you clarify the leadership structure, both within the CRC and above that?
At a CRC level, the CEO and senior management team will have responsibility for the contractual and operational delivery of the CRC.
As highlighted at the staff briefings, Sodexo does not operate under large headquarters operations, so above the CEO of the CRCs, is Trevor Shortt, Director of Operations for Community, who is part of a small Executive Team for Sodexo Justice Services.
The Mobilisation, Transition and Transformation (MTT) team structure is temporary. It’s been put in place to help deliver the transition to the operational solution and support the CRCs with the change plan over the next 12 months.
Will the communication between the CRCs and prison service improve?
Our experience is that relationships are generally positive and remind you that the key contact with Governors/Directors of prisons remains your CEO. We understand the challenges currently faced within the prisons, but your CEO and management team will keep them informed about our service model, in particular the Through the Gate services, coming on stream from 1 May 2015.
Some of us live close to HMP Northumberland and have friends and family who work there now or have worked there previously. We have heard a lot of negative reports about recent changes. What assurances/confidence can you give us that Probation won’t change in the same negative ways?
In the short time HMP Northumberland has been managed by Sodexo, we are proud of the progress the prison has made and how it is being operated.
With any public to private sector contract, the new owner is likely to face increased media scrutiny, which has been the case with HMP Northumberland. However, we are approximately 15months into a 15 year contract at HMP Northumberland. It is a prison we see with great potential to grow into a fully operational ‘working prison’ that provides opportunities to for offenders to challenge their offending behaviour and to reduce reoffending.
Who is responsible for public liability insurance?
CRCs are responsible for public liability insurance cover.
And finally, here's a graphic example as to why we are where we are provided by a reader of the Northampton Chronicle and Echo:-