Thursday, 9 April 2015

Sodexo Special 2

First here's more from Nick Hall, CEO of Northumbria CRC:-

"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 - - 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 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.


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:-

Does anyone know what a "probation officer" does? Make friends with criminals because they are desperate to get a grip on reality? If they all disappeared no-one would notice or care. Over promoted social workers.


  1. Guernsey Probation Service

    Thinking of a lifestyle change, ready to give up the commute? Guernsey is a small Island of 25 square miles, known for its natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle.

    Guernsey Probation Service has a vacancy for a full time PO to work as part of a generic probation team working with offenders through every stage of sentence. This is a 4 to 5 year contract.

    We are looking for a Probation Officer to work with a caseload of high risk offenders. Experience in the assessment and treatment of sex offenders and other high risk individuals is essential to this post.

    To find out more about this opportunity to work as part of our team please call 01481 724337 and ask for Anna Guilbert CPO, or Kate Clark / Stuart Crisp SPO.

    A relocation package is available. Please see the ‘Business Guernsey’ link below for more information about living and working here.

    Closing date: 27th April 2015. Interviews are expected to take place on 8th or 11th May in Guernsey.

    Salary: EGIV or EGV (£42,148 - £44,526 or £45,762 - £48,346)

  2. I think Guernsey may be spoilt for choice!

  3. Safeco' s responses are entirely plausible. It all looks ok on paper but so much of it will not work in the community (i.e. without enforced sobriety and locks), with chaotic offenders and with the expected increases in caseload. The devil i$ very much in the detail.

  4. Bloody spellchecker.

    1. Try "Sodoffxo", that may get through the spellchecker more easily...

  5. This closeness to change assessment sticks in my throat, not least of all because probation was sold off on the premise that the under 12 months cohort would now have access to the same levels of support as all those longer serving prisoners leaving custody.
    Clearly this is not going to be the case. Services provided are not going to be generic, or is the same level of service going to be extended to all.
    Does this raise issues of diversity and equality? I don't know, but I do know that it will be those that are in the greatest need will get the least support.
    Indeed, it's not really a closeness to change assessment at all is it? It's really a calculation of profit margins, and those that need less resources like housing, out of house interventions will automatically be selected for the closest to change group. Those with greater needs will form the furthest from change groups, and although more needy, will get no assistance.
    It's a proccess of selection based on the amount of sheckles that can be realised from each individuals damaged and miserable life. It's dirty money they'll make, and not far detatched from the 'pimp' that exploits other vulnerably people for his own repugnant financial gain.
    It's a disgrace that any goverment would allow this to happen, and it's venal that it's our government thats actively sought to bring it about.


    1. Very interesting and explains the slight of hand of the new CRCs

    2. "those that need less resources like housing, out of house interventions will automatically be selected for the closest to change group. Those with greater needs will form the furthest from change groups, and although more needy, will get no assistance."

      Spot on. "Closeness to change" is just a new buzzword way of avoiding allegations of "creaming" and "parking".

      Which is not to say that we haven't always worked in different ways, depending on how motivated someone was, but at least there was an attempt to deliver to the minimum standard of the order as required by the court. These new ideas - particularly with the RARs - will remove all of that.

  6. That's a long to-do list. I am assuming Sodexo didn't also have a hand in the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.

    1. I'm sure they still put a bid in, even if they didn't get a contract!

      Useless information, but did you know that Sodexo have a contract in Alaska to chase bears away from pipelines carrying oil?
      Where there's money there's muck eh?

  7. Great article here in the Guardian published an hour ago, good to see individual voices being aired.

  8. It sounds like they have no idea at all what IOM is and how it works. Idiots.

  9. It seems Chief Executive Officer at BeNCH CRC (Neil Moloney) is NOT facing redundancy. Figures now out showing which jobs are.

  10. CEOs don't 'face' redundancy in these kinds of situations. They just don't come in one day!

    1. Nick Hall talks about meeting staff, giving details, managing the change. It's all framed in the emotion-free language of mangerialism. There can be no acknowledgement, that after all the upheavals and anxieties of the split and the struggles to maintain business as usual, he will now take a chainsaw to his loyal, hardworking workforce. He may try and communicate, some empathy off the record, but he can't go 'on message' with this miserable betrayal. But he is only following orders – and that's how they do it – through being conscientious puppets for unscrupulous puppeteers.

    2. Nick Hall should hang his head in shame. I can't wait to be made redundant so when I meet him in the street, I can let him know how it feels when someone "feels my pain!"

    3. I am not sure that CEOs experience «pain» when made redundant.

  11. A solicitor has just successfully argued for a custodial sentence because due to his client currently being on remand, if he were to get a CO/SSO then he would not be eligible to the £46. Magistrates decided to sentence to 28 days custody saying the case was 'very interesting'. This is ridiculous - had he been given the CO/SSO he'd have still got exactly the same support as he will upon release - only thing missing would've been the £46 - oh and we would not have had to pay for his incarceration.

    1. They work in the best interests of the client. They will run rings around TR, ORAs and RARs

    2. It would be helpful to have the case details so that the media reports - if they appear can be directed to every former LibDem and Conservative Member of Parliament whose refusal to subject the ORA2014 & Probation split to full parliamentary scrutiny allowed that sort of nonsense and much more!

    3. He might well get less support being an ORA/PSS case than if he were given a CO or SSO, because the requirements are very different. There's not even a pretence in my area that we can offer the same levels of contact. Hope that £46 is worth it.

      Oh and Andrew, I admire your belief in democratic accountability, but all those MPs who weren't interested at the time certainly won't be now...

  12. Off-message: Maybe we should all wear cameras. They improve behaviour. It's been said that your morality is determined by how you behave when no one is looking.

    During the 12-month Rialto experiment, use-of-force by police officers wearing cameras fell by 59% and reports against officers dropped by 87% against the previous year’s figures.

  13. NAPO and UNISON need to start a clear campaign to re-nationalise the Probation Service. The need is clear to those in the know and the evidence will build week on week. Advise Assist and Befriend the whole caboodle, even bringing back the good old Fighting Fund. Back in the day the universities acted as the gatekeeper to the profession. Bring that system back or using technology we could Skype interviews and let the whole team make the appointment. The Unions second campaign should be to end managerialism and kill off the parasites.



  15. sorry if I sound ignorant, but what does 'OMS' stand for, as in 'post OMS' , in redundancy stats? 'Operational'? 'Organisation'? 'October'? 'Offending'?

    1. I think its offender management system - crc's answer to oasys.

      Or maybe orlmighty mega screwup?

    2. Offender Management System aka OMS it's the new IT system that the remaining 'lucky' staff who don't get culled will help implement before the next wave of redundancies!

    3. thanks, 'Orl' of you!

      So once that is introduced, it is DBR (death by redundancy) for another chunk of staff...

  16. We have been told that SODexo were meeting with the MoJ last week to discuss the issue of EVR.....specifically in relation to onward redundancies. SOD exo say they cant afford this and were surprised to be told that our CRC terms and conditions, which they inherited, provided for EVR. They wanted MoJ view, I gather. Has anyone heard anything as to the outcome of these discussions.

    1. Recent Managers briefing gave the impression that successful bidders in our area (soexo) "misread" the evr aspect, & are (as suggested above) whingeing to moj & trying to wriggle out. If true, Sodexo legal team are due a kicking. Wonder if they'll take high risk strategy of JR?

      Sad, if true. So keen to trouser vast sums of taxpayer money that they miss a key element of the contract, and rather than act honourably they try to weasel out of the responsibility they bought into.

      Also it was thought they were trying to strongarm NOMS over the delays/impossibility/delay in IT compatability, presumably trying to extort more cash from the UK public purse.

      Didn't they make a 'pledge' about their public duty?

      Hard to know what the truth is anymore.

    2. I looked up the website for Sodexo jobs, which Nick Hall so kindly supplied - it takes you right to agencies which are advertising for fab jobs with SOD exo - cleaners, chefs, security, waiters, etc etc.


    3. Shelter advertising for four person TR team in Lancs & Cumbria. Team Mgr @ £30k, senior worker (with staff supervision role) @ £25k, rehab worker & peer mentor @ £20k.

    4. Thanks to Guest Blog 34 - Sodexo:

      "We pledge through our Business Integrity Code that we will not tolerate any practice that is not born of honesty, integrity and fairness, anywhere in the world where we do business."

      Except your own?

    5. anon 6.13 those salaries are awful and personally i'd rather stack shelves.

  17. reading posts here reminds me that the transfer agreement was sooooo rubbished here but lo! Sodexo are meeting MOJ trying to get out of it ---doesn't seem so bad when you read that does it ??

    1. beware - they're only rumours! and none of those posting here are corporate employment lawyers with sight of the contracts & agreements that were signed off on. Some comments are expressions of frustration, some are mischievous, some are written out of fear and anxiety. Sadly the lack of info coming from any quarter (npo/unison, crc, sodexo et al) has left people fearing the worst.

    2. I think the 'lack of information', whilst frustrating, is linked to the fact that a lot of this is being made up as they go along. Much of the problem is a manifestation of the indecent haste we have talked about before on here. Mistakes were and are being made, mostly at the expense of staff. It is important to note that the Sodexo team at the heart of this is no more than a tiny handful of fallible human beings who are, themselves, being kettled down paths they barely comprehend. It is the blind leading the blind and, unsurprisingly, the 'expertise' is a lot more limited than they would like to admit.

  18. Bleak (Purple) Futures in Hampshire rewording policies on the database without any consultation. Introduced inferior pension arrangements without any consultation, refusing to say whether they are going to Sodexo their workforce. They have a conference next week but refused the union a stall. Low morale amid disorganised working practices.

    1. a No Smoking Policy introduced in our PF area - service users and staff have to go beyond the perimeter of CRC premises for a whiff and this even goes for vapours!! Apparently it looks unprofessional. So the job's bloody stressful enough and we cant even use what helps take the edge off it.

      Also, we're not against chatting to service users but if we're having a quick smoke we don't really want to be getting into conversations with them if you know what I mean.

    2. Even those in the "close to change" group?

    3. I love the 'it looks unprofessional' line. So, Bleak Futures are the new guardians/custodians of what constitutes professional. A two-tier pension system looks unprofessional, keeping staff in a state of anxiety is unprofessional, marginalising trade unions is unprofessional.

    4. anon 08:59 you're so right.

  19. Mr Nick has used a lot ofwords an tried to suggest he has offered answers, seems to me it's just more of the same. We'll do all we can to look good, but in reality, we cannot provide any answer, because we don't actually understand the questions!

    We dreaded 1.6.2014, we dreaded 1.2.2015 and now 1.5.2015, and 1.10.2015 not too far off and it's a shambles! The good news, the privateers have underestimated our clients and their legal representatives, but then I guess, trying to understand the service you're currently trying to shaft, means you take your eye off the ball! Fuckwits!

    Oh papa - this killing of parasites, where is that job advertised?

    1. I think you're very right 30 years in- they have massively underestimated the impact and consequences that clients may have on them.
      I pay pretty close attention to all things criminal justice, and I get the impression that the private companies are still under the impression that because clients have been catagorised medium and low risk they will be much easier to manage then those catagorised high risk. Thats why high risk was left to the NPS-right?
      Might need to rethink that one pretty soon!
      I've noted also of late, that many regions, mainly through the PCC, much funding has been given in the name of victim support, and small groups and organisations seem to be springing up everywhere.
      Although its my opinion that victims are often given unrealistic promises by polititions, the sheer number of groups being formed at the moment will,I think have consequences for the privateers any time anything goes wrong.
      "Why have you allowed this to happen"?
      "Why didn't you stop so-and- so from doing this"?
      I know that already happens, but there will be no quarter given by government now- it's not their responsibility anymore.
      So I think the privateers will be piggy in the middle soon, clients demanding services they're promised and not getting, and victim groups demanding a much reduced reoffending rate that they've been promised and not getting.
      Greed will always get it's comupance.


    2. You are right Getafix. In fact the most demanding clients usually come in the lower risk groups. I think introducing private companies is not a bad thing in principle, but the problem here was that none of the companies had any understanding of the client group. They were bidding in the dark, which is high risk for them.

      For me the key will be the effectiveness of the auditors and compliance staff who hold the CRCs to account. If they are allowed to do a good job, then the prospect of private profit for companies who don't understand the sector disappears pretty fast.

  20. Annon@ 07:15

    Wise words. Sodexo's only focus is money so I doubt if they've any 'small print' thats going to cost them pennies.
    My feeling is that if they are talking to the MOJ about EVR, it's because they are now in a possition of considerable power and as a consequence of that possition they're trying to 're-negotiate' terms to access a few bob more.
    Any disagrement regarding contract terms should also have union involvement.
    They're looking for MOJ backing for the action they want to take.

  21. First the Mr McD appointment falls through, now the Mrs McD organisation seems to be gnawing away at Grayling's dept. over contractual details. Payback for the loss of Mr McD's job as The 70% Inspector? (Singalong)... "Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours, etc, etc".

  22. "Chief's Blog - April 2015

    Annette Hennessy - Learning pathways leading people away from crime"

    Don't get excited it is a public pronouncement about the wonders of Community Payback!

  23. Any news from the discredited charities? Shelter, NACRO? I wonder how one of my clients being sanctioned for 6 months sits with Shelter who are now co-responsible for managing him.


  25. Shelter are big hitters now

  26. Sheister have sold out. They are losing all credibility as a charity.

  27. Finally I am out!! Got a new job as a housing engagement officer today, 3k better money than my current 24k probation service officer post, and it seems a great job for a reputable not for profit company that is in growth. No caseload and lots of opportunities to progress.. Im told that I was up against 6 really strong candidates and that my personality and skills learnt whilst working for Probation secured me the role... Have a look into housing roles people, our skills to this role are very transferable and the money is decent. Probation Officers could go for senior housing officer posts which have a similar wage structure.....

  28. Do have a look at this link:

    Sodexo have a lot of form and this makes for interesting reading. No, not interesting, HORRIFYING.

    1. From sourcewatch: "Essentially, Sodexo's profits are dependent on limiting protection of workers' rights and environmental and health safety, crop and other subsidies, the success of the oil and gas industry, and loose regulation of laws relating to outsourcing."

  29. What's the beef with NACRO ?

    1. It's not a beef. It's horsemeat.

    2. Horsemeat masquerading as ros bif, perhaps?

  30. In our SoDexo owned area so many have expressed interest in leaving they could essily achieve 60% cuts to staff numbers. And most of those who say they'll stay seem flat and low in mood, citing mortgages, children or other financial commitments rather than any desire to do the job anymore.

    Its so very sad.

    To Grayling, Spurr, and all those who were involved in TR and privatisation;

    I hope you're ashamed of the damage you've done to the probation service as an organisation, and to the professional lives of thousands of staff. In almost 40 years of my working life I have never before witnessed such blinkered, destructive, divisive behaviour towards a dedicated and successful workforce. It is a scandal.

  31. Correspondence to Sodexo from Napo

    1. it only opens in Microsoft Word and I don't have it. Cant understand why Iphones opens these things as I've not got Word on there either!!

    2. The text of the letter to Sodexo from the Unions is in the forum post that one Must have opened to read the sentence about Microsoft Word.

      I merely added that hyperlink and comment for reference purposes to explain how I accessed it, so if required it could be check for completeness._ sorry for my clumsy terminology.

      I originally accessed the letter from Napo's webpages - specifically Ian Lawrence's latest blog - from where the letter is linked under reference: - "JTU 08-15 correspondence to Sodoxo"

      Here - I hope - is a link to that blogpost: -

    3. 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?

    4. 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.

      Yours etc

    5. In the letter to Sodexo, Napo mentions that the bad news was broken just before Easter. This releasing of bad news on Fridays or before bank holidays, is a common tactic. They don't release it on Mondays because they don't want everyone talking about it in the workplace and potentially influencing each other. Better to let individuals stew in their own juices at home where they may be a little more vulnerable without the support of colleagues. They are cynical. I hope all union members will see this as an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity, as in these situations the only strength is that acquired through unity.