Wednesday, 6 May 2015

More Bad News for CRC Owners!

We have today's blog by Russell Webster to thank for highlighting the latest dismal results from the 'trail-blazing' prison PbR pilots. You will recall that Chris Grayling hailed these to be massivly successful, even before the results were in, and used this dodgy 'evidence' to sell the whole TR omnishambles. Lets hope his political epitaph will be written in just over 24 hours time. 

Disappointing outcomes for Doncaster and Peterbrough prison PbR pilots  

Failure to meet payment by results targets
The latest MoJ reoffending stats (published on 30 April 2015) found that overall reoffending rates are pretty constant with the overall one year reoffending rate for all adult and juvenile offenders who were cautioned, convicted or released from custody between July 2012 and June 2013 identical to the previous year at 26.2%.

[Reoffending results always lag at least 21 months behind the period they cover to allow one year for any reoffending, an additional six months for the system to process any re-offences and then about 3-4 months for the data to be analysed and the report produced.]

However, the real interest in the set of figures can be found in Annex A of the report which presents the latest reconviction figures for the reoffending payment by results pilots from Peterborough and Doncaster prisons. These pilots have been high profile since their inception mainly because the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling talked them up constantly as an example of the changes he wanted to achieve through his radical overhaul/privatisation of the probation service, known as Transforming Rehabilitation.

The last set of results, published on 7 August 2014, found mixed results with both prisons exceeding their targets, but Doncaster only doing so by a small margin. This current set of results are much more disappointing.


These are very disappointing results for the MoJ. Normally, there would be an expectation of a high level of performance from pilots with such public exposure where the partners had chosen to participate and, indeed, had championed and driven the initiative from the outset.

It is my experience from being involved in evaluating dozens of criminal justice pilot schemes that the main challenge is typically how to replicate this initial success in any national rollout.

Therefore, it is an extremely worrying sign for the new private providers of probation whose revenue will be, to an increasing extent, dependent on reducing reoffending rates, that these high-profile pilots are performing so poorly.

Some early comments on this blog:-

What a surprise - PbR projects at Peterborough and Doncaster are failing. In fact Doncaster re-offending rates are higher than the national rate. RW comments how this is terrible news for the new TR providers as things usually slip further when such pilots are rolled out nationally. Oh dear. So when CHris Grayling asks what we should do with stubbornly high re-offending rates, his answer is to increase them.

For Purple Features and alike this is very bad news, cos their ratios of payment through results goes up as the contracts goes on. They have taken on something they didn't understand the complexity of and to make things worse, the breaking up of the Service has led to extra layers of complexity and fragmentation. In short, they are going to lose money hand over fist, and the public will be less protected.

I think it may even be worse then what meets the eye at first glance. The offenders involved would have been carefully selected to give the best chance of achieving the statistical data required to call the pilots a success. The privateers who won the contracts for TR won't have a carefully selected cohort to work with.


  1. An excert from the Stand Up For Justice website article from August last year.

    The Peterborough pilot involved volunteers who expressed a wish to participate and who were on short sentences and prison-based, as opposed to being on an enforced sentence, which will be the case under Transforming Rehabilitation. As such, it is worrying that the results were not more encouraging from this pilot. Napo has consistently pointed out that any comparisons between the pilots and national probation services are completely wrong to make, and have challenged the government on the rationale to the pilots. Under Transforming Rehabilitation, which will involve the abolition of Probation Trusts and their replacement with Community Rehabiliation Companies (CRCs), the latter will have much reduced budgets than their predecessors, but with a much increased workload.

  2. this is ironic but since the privatisation I've never had so many re-offend on my caseload. I've had a CO offend and get 6mths custody, I've just done my first recall in 12 months and I've 3 re-offended. Absolutely nothing I could've done about any of it.

  3. PbR pilots .....disappointing results...not sure why anyone who works with our client group finds this a surprise.....we told them time and time again yet Mr Grayling, Messrs Spur, Allars et Al all knew better......please keep your fingers crossed that Mr Grayling is out of a job on Friday.......

  4. Whatever happens tomorrow grayling won't be Lord chancellor anymore and will fade ignominious into the history books of criminal justice. The rest of us however will be left to pick up the pieces when the privates hand back their crc contracts just as servo did with upw in London. In other countries a minister would be held to criminal account for such a failing but I expect he'll resurface as a right wing supporter of Boris when he bids to replace iggle puggle (imagine him painted blue and you'll see what I mean). Graying will probably end up as foreign Secretary or chancellor. God help us then. Eek!

  5. From a letter to 'The Scottish Farmer':

    "The other day I listened to a debate where the presenter put forward a scenario to a defence expert... What would happen if, when a submarine is ready to depart loaded with armed missiles (Trident), if one was avtivated & exploded in an airburst over Central Scotland?

    The line went quiet, "are you still there?". Answer? "Oh, there would be survivors, but the blast would kill al mammals in a 200 mile radius."

    Some brainwashed person wrote to your paper that Trident was going to protect his weans (Children) - rest assured others on this planet have them as well and as things transpire our biggest enemy today is the corrupt money-loving politicians that are vying to grt into the cesspool called the Houses of Parliament."

    1. Okay, maybe not directly linked to crc's, but still a privatised concern. Farage (no, not my party of choice) highligted today that nearly 300 councillors and/ or MPs in England & Wales, i.e. Elected members of constitutional bodies, had been placed before a variety of courts for numerous alegations of wrongdoing to various degrees of seriousness.

      We live in a cesspool!

    2. We live in a cesspool? (off topic).

    3. The number of MPs earning cash from Britain’s rental market increased by almost 33 percent since 2010, new analysis reveals.
      Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and housing minister Brandon Lewis are among a gilded group of 153 MPs who declared property-related income this year. This figure marks a dramatic increase of 36 percent since the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition came to power five years ago.
      The analysis, published by the Guardian on Wednesday, reveals almost 25 percent of MPs pocket income as a landlord or landlady from at least one property. It also shows a majority of these MPs are Conservative, and nine are Tory ministers serving in the cabinet.
      Following the release of the Guardian’s research, campaigners said the figures offer a damning reflection on a tired status quo that prioritizes the interests of Britain’s political elite over the fundamental rights of tenants.
      Alex Hilton, director of British campaign group Generation Rent, said the government is failing to tackle the exploitative aspects of Britain’s rental market. “There has been a quiet cross-party consensus in parliament in favor of landlords for decades,” he told the paper. Hilton called for absolute transparency and absolute disclosure of all political representatives’ property and land assets and a firm pledge to ban MPs from casting votes on issues they stand to make financial or personal gains from.
      The nation’s private rental sector has increased rapidly in recent years, and now boasts 4.8 million renters. Analysts suggest the sector’s growth has largely been down to dwindling levels of social housing and soaring property prices.
      Against a backdrop of social cleansing, rising rental prices and an ever-expanding army of people renting from private landlords, the housing crisis continues to trouble campaigners and policymakers alike. As a result, it has been a hot general election topic, with Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats pledging to cap further rent rises.
      Scrutiny of Britain’s register of members’ interests reveals growing numbers of MPs have embraced the rental market as a source of revenue since 2010. According to the Guardian’s analysis, 25 members of parliament who did not rent out property in 2010 began to do so in the years that followed.
      Many of these political representatives rented out houses and apartments in southeast England, where the property market remains vibrant. However, critics warn some are renting out property that has been partially bankrolled by a generous expenses program that enabled them to clamber further up the property ladder.
      Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is among the MPs profiting from the UK’s rental market. According to the register of members’ interests, Grayling has declared two terraced houses he lets out in London.
      At the height of Britain’s 2009 MP expenses scandal, Grayling was decried for purchasing a flat in Pimlico, south west London, the mortgage of which critics say was funded by taxpayers’ cash.
      But Grayling defended his purchases at the time, stressing they would not have saved taxpayers a penny.
      Other ministers who collect rental income from tenants across Britain include Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Culture Minister Sajid Javid, Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers.
      While the last Labour government’s track record on affordable housing is a source of regret for its current leaders, the party pledged last week to reform Britain’s social housing system to make it more affordable and transparent.
      Under this policy shift, affordable homes – currently defined as anything up to 80 percent of market rent – would be linked to wages or house prices.
      The party’s last-minute pledge also vows to make secret deals between councils and private developers transparent to avoid developers using “smoke and mirrors” to circumvent building affordable homes.

      £46 in your pocket?

    4. So, Chris Grayling. You say your property purchases didn't cost the taxpayer a penny? How about you give the rent you are pocketing back to the taxpayer, you thieving bastard? Whatever happens you and your family will benefit from the increase in value PLUS the fact you never had to pay for the property in the first place. Jail clothing would suit you.

  6. Glad I'm not running the Sodexo CRC Contracts! I'd be very concerned and worried if I was in that particular hot-seat at this moment. ... It doesn't even look as if they did good thorough due diligence. Oh, yes, nearly forgot, they've also pissed off most, if not all, of their CRC workforce.
    Happy Election Day voters

  7. I always found it extremely odd that through my entire prison sentence absolutely no one - either prison or probation staff - asked why I had offended, what would have stopped me offending in the first place and what would stop me reoffending in the future. No one else in any prison I was in got asked these questions either. Surely these very basic questions are essential for anyone involved with offenders to be asking and once you have established the causes you can then tailor something that will meet the needs of said offender and the likelihood of reoffending will reduce dramatically. It's not rocket science! But without these central questions being asked and answered and what the individual actually needs put in place you can hire all the experts in the world to advise you and devise all the spiffy offending behaviour programmes you want and dream up all sorts of fabulous interventions and it will simply be a waste of time and money. Still not clear why the basics are being ignored and why offenders are not consulted as they need to be in devising a payment by results/TTG/probation service etc. Surely it would be much better and much more cost effective to ask, listen, learn and provide what is actually needed?

    1. I tend to agree. Problem is that through meta analysis of offending data the cognitive behavioural brigade decided that accredited programmes could be devised that would benefit everyone, regardless of their actual needs. In days before these programmes everyone was based around relationships and these conversations were par for the course.

      I think an approach that helps the 'service user' to do things for themselves is the best approach as long as this is done for good reasons rather than just fobbing off. Sometimes Probation staff need to make referrals etc, but often we end up doing them when the service user just can't be bothered doing it for themselves or feels under confident. The essential element of 'the relationship' is that it is empowering rather than deferring responsibility to the worker..

  8. Tories have blood on their hands, CRCs will too, incl staff, I can't take anymore and no one Cates or listens