Friday, 15 May 2015

OASys Special

Purple Futures have issued new guidance for OASys:

1) All standalone UPW to have basic layer within 10 days.

2) All ISPs to be completed within 10 days on the info to hand.

3) When ROSH & RoR are both low then no need to fill in text boxes - just score sections 3-13.

4) If criminogenic ROSH fill in appropriate text box.

5) If after 10 days info from FCIU etc still missing the ISP must be locked and a review must be done within 8 weeks.

6) OMs to make assessments concise, no need to write numerous paragraphs.

7) Section 2 needs completing fully.

8) A risk of harm screening is to be done in all cases.

9) All ISPs must demonstrate client involvement ie include ENAM/SAQ items in the sentence plan.

10) All sentence requirements to be included in the plan.

11) Always put delius entry that OASsys has been completed - this can be done prior to OASys countersignature as we are being marked on timeliness and not quality!!

Definition of ROSH: many offences of assault where an injury's been caused which isn't life threatening or traumatic and where recovery will not be difficult or impossible are not viewed as 'serious' therefore no ROSH needs completing because although the offender poses a risk it is not a serious risk. We're to avoid using 'risk of harm' and focus upon risk of SERIOUS harm.

Despite the rights and wrongs of the above it is going to save me some serious time.

*****
Yes until your interviewed for an SFO and you will be asked "serious" questions about your assessment and your ability to risk assess.

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I don't think so as the assessment is based on the information to hand ie even if it's an assault, so long as no harm done then we're clear. We are no longer expected to have crystal balls and that will always be my defence. Very interesting the timeliness is prioritised over quality. Oh my word!

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SFO's will not be about crystal balls. It will be about information that is already available but the worker 'failed in their duty to investigate further'.

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But we're being encouraged not to enter text in boxes and only to score. Therefore keep Delius brief and they will have to prove we were aware of information and didn't investigate. Don't forget if it's not written down it didn't happen.

*****
I agree with your comments, although I would have to question what kind of culture are we being made to develop and what is our responsibility in that? Yes you have to look after yourself, but we also have a responsibility to challenge the oppressive nature of our working environment in which we are required to practice. We can't let our professional integrity become undermined.

Important to raise the issues of good and safe practice at every team meeting and at every supervision meeting. Self refer to occupational health and leave a paper trail of evidence of concerns. Have it recorded and have it documented, so when something does happen you can say..."see, I told you so, but I was ignored in favour of profits for shareholders".

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Sounds dreadful. How can they demand that?! They don't know anything about OASys and ROSH.

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Thank goodness, some sense at last. Hopefully this will provoke a long overdue review of exactly what is risk of serious harm, and what is meant by high, medium and low is actually meant to be about.

It wouldn't hurt to get people to actually read OASys before filling it in either, ie; it says insert language if other than English and what is consistently in the box? Provide the exact detail of the offence it says and what is in the box?, not the exact detail, the why and how.

Risk of Serious Harm, insert detail of the most recent offence/behaviour that raises the risk of serious harm and what is in the box? The current offence is not indicative of serious harm or the pulled through detail of the current shop theft. Over the page in previous behaviour is the sentence along the lines of convicted of, lets say, Indecent Assault, no detail available.(detail there in full in the assessments completed when that was current), but hey who has time/cares enough or even thinks of reading the previous sentences assessments?

Oh and score the sections according to the analysis in the guidance, rather than 0-2 as least to worst. (It's guaranteed that there is at least one person happily completing assessments, hitting the targets, doing it without even speaking to the person concerned, oblivious to the impact of what they write on the person concerned,(bet they would love to be told in supervision that they have a number of 'deficits') and is totally oblivious to the existence of help and scoring guidance. Oh and don't forget that if it's written down it certainly doesn't mean it DID happen.

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OASys at birth was a somewhat agricultural tool which was originally a useful concept, i.e. Bring all assessments together in one place. OASys now? Try to imagine a transatlantic aircraft intended to carry 500 passengers with all modern luxuries, but built upon the original Wright Brothers' flying machine. It's utter bollox, well intentioned but nevertheless bollox. And worse still, NOMS got their grubby mitts on it & decided to build in a spy network. Result - uberbollox.

Good points raised above, but it's difficult to make those points because of the complexity of the bolloxing stoopid tool and the lack of clarity of definitions. How many different systems now refer to "risk" as high, medium or low? How many different forms of "risk" are there - serious harm? Serious sexual harm? Serious psychological harm? Red, amber or green? Reoffending - same type of offence? Any offence?

For me, the tool should be an ever-expanding chronologically aligned single record. No locking off, guillotines or multifarious versions where data is abandoned or deleted - simply one continuous rolling assessment with key milestones/markers, e.g. new offence, start of order, new offence, hospital admission, transfer to prison, release, etc. Then, at any point, assessors can review without having to close & open multiple documents hoping to find if/where/when certain data was entered/deleted.

Recent example - new case, name was familiar, looked at last OASys, nothing to link with what seemed familiar. Out of curiosity I looked back at random assessments as far as records went and found one with mental health report attached. All reference to that had been deleted on the subsequent OASsys and thus any "pull thru" after that contained none of that vital information. I have now resurrected that historical information because it informs the why & how of risk to female staff. Last known officer told me "it all makes sense now. We couldn't work out why he kept on about being a risk to women when his offences were shoptheft."

66 comments:

  1. FROM CLINKS WEBSITE: -

    " NOMS funding with 8th June deadline

    Posted by Joe Gardham on May 13th, 2015

    I've just received an email from NOMS outlining some criminal justice funding with very tight deadlines.

    There are five opportunities, detailed below with links to the information and application process on the NOMS website.

    http://www.clinks.org/community/blog-posts/noms-funding-8th-june-deadline "

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    1. Wow. Over half a million pounds for pilot projects when the system is such a mess. What are they thinking?!? We're in a time of austerity and this is money that does not need to be spent. Now I'm definitely fighting for a payrise.

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  2. I've never considered OASys as an effective tool to assess or predict an offenders risk. Infact I'd go as far as saying it's actually pretty rubish in terms of assessing risk.
    The only real value in OASys (IMHO), is to provide the supervising officer with a document that provides evidence that they've followed due process and protocol in their duties whilst supervising an offender.
    To that effect it offers some form of protection to the supervising officer when something goes wrong or have to account for their actions when a client commits a SFO.
    Once the detail contained in the document becomes dilluted, any value it may have had as a method of risk assessment is gone, and as a document to evidence due process and practice it no longer provides the officer any protection at all. Infact it becomes a document that can be used against the supervising officer in the event of an SFO.
    The less detail that goes in, the greater the risk to the supervising PO.
    I think it's time to get rid of OASys altogether now as it provides no value to client, PO, or public protection, and the unions need to keep copies of any instructions given to dumb down the detail in the assessment.

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    1. Agree completely. And point 9 - the return of the CLIENT. Wow.

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    2. I hope they're willing to consider alternative ways of demonstrating client involvement other than items from the SAQ being included in the sentence plan (what's ENAM, by the way?) The SAQ is a useless document - what's the use of conducting a full assessment with a proper dialogue with someone and then asking them to fill out a questionnaire that includes precisely the same information?

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  3. The above Purple People Eaters model of OASys reinforces my view that the new CRC providers are weekly only to maintain the illusion of risk management. As long as it LOOKS like they are doing it, the Quality Assurance structures will be satisfied.

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    1. Seeking not weekly.

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  4. FROM TWITTER: -

    " Will McNess ‏@WillMcNess 14m14 minutes ago

    Anyone involved with #probation fancy having a chat about their experiences with #sodexo?

    Will McNess ‏@WillMcNess 15m15 minutes ago

    https://twitter.com/WillMcNess/status/599215339952537601 "

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  5. OASys in my experience seem to have virtually no input from the offender at all in their compilation which is ridiculous because the only person who actually knows what the risk of offending is is the actual offender! They are also often riddled with factual inaccuracies because staff have made no effort to verify any of the information before recording it as unassailable fact. It is therefore completely useless as a risk assessment tool. You might as well resort to drawing straws or throwing darts at a dart board whilst blindfolded as methods of risk assessment.

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    1. "the only person who actually knows what the risk of offending is is the actual offender!" I don't buy that one, why it's a bit like whole wings in prison where virtually everbody says they're innocent.

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    2. Maybe the subjects of OASys are not the only ones able to evaluate risks of reoffending, but surely it's fair to say they are the key players who know best their intentions, hopes and aspirations – as to which side of the law they envisage for themselves. So, I think it's a fair point to make. There is little science in the prediction of risk and so ultimately outcomes are mainly dependent on what the individual wills.

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    3. Yes it's a fair point Netnipper - think it was the 'only' that needed challenging - none of us is that good at assessing ourselves objectively.

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  6. well I thought we were only targeting resources at the things that contributed of offending - I regularly have people tick a lot of things as problems that are linked to their offending when it's actually not.

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  7. If combined with a thorough PSR, and genuinely reviewed following significant change of circumstance, the above guidance might actually make OASys useful. The trouble is, it's a long time since I saw a thorough PSR - at least in the sense of one that had all relevant current and historical information in it.

    This isn't meant as a criticism of PSR writers, by the way - it's the fault of the report factory system that we've ended up with.

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  8. Lack of accom and a job are 2 very significant factors in reoffending
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-32748245
    How about giving landlords and employers an incentive to take offenders

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    1. Concerns have been raised that changes to housing legislation could see more former prisoners becoming homeless in Wales. Ex-prisoners will no longer automatically qualify for emergency accommodation on release, under the new Housing Wales Act.
      Shelter Cymru said it was "very concerned" more would now end up on the street. The Welsh government said it was working on a "package of support".

      Rebecca Taylor, of Shelter Cymru, said the housing charity was "very, very concerned".

      "We will see a lot more vulnerable tenants, perhaps, having to put them up and perhaps risking their tenancy," she added.

      According to the new act, introduced in April, ex-offenders will still be eligible for support to prevent them becoming homeless. A Welsh government spokesperson said: "Our new legislation is focused on preventing homelessness and the change in priority status for prison-leavers reflects this.

      "Under the Housing Act 2014, help to find suitable accommodation is now provided for people before they leave prison, rather than only taking action upon their release, which was often the case under the previous legislation."

      The government said it was working with local authorities and other organisations to "provide a co-ordinated package of support for prison-leavers".

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    2. Case of Patrick Kanu heard at supreme court this week ruling about vulnerability and homelessness.

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  9. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the systems involved, isn't it a worrying develment that things are reverting to the bad old days of quantity over quality? All those lessons we were to earn from SFO's etc, all worthless.The general public are not stupid and will ask that very same question, just as they have in respect of all the serious case reviews for children killed under our noses from Marie Caldwell to Baby Peter! Shame on this frightful, heartless and witless government!

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    1. To aid research it was spelt "Maria Colwell"

      Possibly it is not taught nowadays either - when I was at social work school we learnt about the O'Brien case and the 1958 Boarding Out Regulations - or something similar!

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/maria-colwell-death-led-to-legislation-over-two-decades-1431158.html

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    2. Just to put the record straight, I am DipPs qualified and Maria Colwell and Victoria Climbie featured heavily in my training and since training have done specific training about outcomes from Lord Laming's reports 1 and 2 ( Victoria Climbie and Peter Connelly). Can we stop the social work rules debate starting up again please....sometimes we work within the training provided...

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    3. "sometimes we work within the training provided..." - The current level of training provided does not provide the kind of training required to work with complex needs and issues which many offenders have.

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    4. Interestingly - some might consider, I firstly wrote 'probation training' but realised that what I did was pbn & sw training and as I consider pbn a branch of sw, though to be a po (including in my era a family court officer) on proof reading I edited myself, but for brevities sake, just wrote the inclusive sw.

      I know little about PGD but think it is a travesty of justice, that if a PGD effectively (as I presume it does) prepares a person to be a po, then they should also be awarded a qualification to allow them to practice as a LA social worker, dealing with child care, youth offending, all age mental illness, & social care of disabled & elderly people.

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    5. Andrew, the current training arrangement isn't even vaguely sufficient to prepare someone to work as a.social worker.

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    6. Response to Anon at 19:25 on 16 May.

      In which case the PGD is also (in)"sufficient to prepare someone to work as a" probation officer because a basic understanding and ability to work for the betterment, from a social work perspective, is needed of all the same folk who may become social work clients, in order to do the job of po as I understood the job of probation officer.

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    7. Sorry Andrew but probation has moved a very long way from social work. I wouldn't know where to start with assessing the needs of a child with ebd or an elderly alzheimers patient. you don't consult a chiropodist when you have migraine symptoms

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    8. In response to 10.05: -

      No, but as a probation officer one is required to assess for The Courts and Parole Board people who have been a child assessed with ebd (whatever that maybe) or any other human condition.

      No training that, in my case, lasted a mere two years will enable anybody to understand any particular circumstance or condition comprehensively, but does enable one to develop appropriate questions and when the answers are not understood, advise those commissioning enquiries to obtain the specialist information needed. With experience knowledge is gained and so folk may tend to specialize in some area or other whilst always being able to deal with general matters by referring back to first principles.

      As I came to discover, I am what some describe as neuro diverse - dyspraxia and dyslexia.

      Another form of neuro-diversity is Asperger's Syndrome, a condition I had not knowingly professionally encountered in 1993, when I was ordered to produce a Home Circumstance report on a man convicted of manslaughter who had a muddled psychiatric history, but at the time of conviction had been declared by a psychiatrist at Rampton Special Hospital, where, before I knew him, he had been detained on remand.

      In my interviews of him, I detected characteristics, that I could not understand and asked the Parole Board to commission a forensic psychiatric report - ideally from a Home Office regional forensic psychiatrist (I am unsure of the precise title, but there were such appointed people who undertook particularly complex enquiries under the Mental Health legislation.) That enquiry did not happen and the Board was presented with a medical report from the Prison Medical Officer. The Board approached me as they were minded to grant parole with appropriate conditions and wanted my advice about such conditions.

      I said I did not wish to supervise him without ongoing psychiatric oversight after first having had the advice of an experienced forensic psychiatrist, such as the Home Office then appointed regionally. In my area it was then Jeremy Coid (probably by then Professor) who then ran the Regional Secure Unit at Hackney Hospital. After two reports from the Prison Medical Officer that I considered inadequate, the Parole Board then commissioned the report I had suggested. One of Dr Coid's Registrars, whose name escapes me - David ?? - undertook the enquiry, suspected Asperger's consulted with his colleague team and diagnosed it, thereafter parole was granted and we managed the case together, including doing some joint home visits.

      My PROBATION training and y then 15+ years experience prepared me to stand up for what I believed even when I did not understand exactly what the issue was. On the day Clare Morris interviewed me for training in 1972, she answered one of my questions by saying something like, at the end of our training you will be able to begin to ask the right questions to do the job of a probation officer. I thought that was a strange thing to say back then, but being able to insist on following through with the consequences of asking what seemed the right questions, stood me in good stead until an SPO refused permission for me to do a pre parole assessment prison visit to another homicide case in 2002, because she instructed all my enquiries should be concluded in one PV, whereas my training & experience told me, I would not understand the man properly unless I first met him - he had been inside about 30 years - 10 years on recall - had a general conversation - came away - reflected - read the records and then interviewed him for the Parole Enquiry.

      I adapted my practice and did two visits on one day and attempted to do the introductory meeting in the morning - read the files over lunch and then the assessment interview after. That enquiry was not completed before I burnt-out and went off sick, prior to reluctant early retirement.

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    9. Correction - instead of: -

      "declared by a psychiatrist at Rampton Special Hospital, where,"

      insert: -

      "declared, mentally fit to plead and be sentenced without regard to mental health legislation by a psychiatrist at Rampton Special Hospital, where,"

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  10. I'm starting a new blog. Will let people know of the website details as all this blog does is copy and paste write ups from elsewhere, has topics of discussion based on previous comments made on this blog or moan about some work related issue. We're aiming to go live on the 1.6.15

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    1. Here hear. Good on u. Keep us updated

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    2. "...all this blog does is copy and paste write ups from elsewhere, has topics of discussion based on previous comments made on this blog or moan about some work related issue."

      this blog shares important and relevant information and news, prompts discussion from a range of practitioners and other vested interests and presents the reality of the front line work.
      There are already plenty of sources of corporate propaganda elsewhere, if you don't like this blog perhaps that's where you'd be better suited.

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    3. New blog how interesting, why are you post anonymously? Surely this is an opportunity to blow you own trumpet.

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    4. This blog stands as the place of testimony for all probation staff and as a place of catharsis for me any way...

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    5. And who the fuck are "we" going to have another blog. Where were u wen the shit was hitting the fan. This blog has helped to restore our faith and unify ppl towards a common cause.

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    6. we are aiming to go live....who are 'we' please?

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    7. Let me know when you get 2 million visitors and I might read your blog, ya tool!

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    8. I can't wait

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    9. @16:25 what unity and common cause? The TR steam train is in full motion and I am loving it. As for the unions, there too busy propping up the next labourer leader :)

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    10. 20:05- touched abit of a raw nerve have I. Im sure u loving ur TR, after all fly's are always attracted to shit aint they.

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    11. Why the sarcasm about the unions and Labour?. The Labour movement and unions went hand in hand. Then Blairism reared its ugly head and the Labour Party sank to the depths of calling in the police when a woman supported by Unite tried to circumvent the 'safe seats for posh kids' policy that 'Labour' and all the mainstream parties, practice. If Labour and the unions and you lot who think unions have had their day, hadn't already surrendered, we wouldn't be on here bitching about TR. Called the fucking police. Unbelievable.

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    12. @20.31 I am in a union. I just didn't see a lot of legal action when it mattered. And sorry, I do think the unions have had there days with the current GS in post. Just my opinion so no need to get personal. I'm loving TR being in full motion as it means I can actually do my job and not being in limbo though granted, there are difficult circumstances for some CRC and NPS colleagues

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    13. @Anonymous16 May 2015 at 21:04: "...though granted, there are difficult circumstances for some CRC and NPS colleagues"

      Are taking the piss? Our career and vocation have been drained of experience and talent, decimated, devalued and deprofessionalised, colleagues nationwide threatened with redundancy or loss of t's and c's, our clients and public put at risk and you call this "difficult circumstances? - unreal.

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    14. Yes difficult. Difficult for US all! Stop twisting my words!

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  11. sounds like purple futures are starting to lay their stall out as all of our Area's CRC staff have now been put on standby and told that the current buildings are unsustainable due to cost and plans are afoot to move us out. This is being hindered due to the Gateway problem with the IT system sounds like there is a workaround that they are currently testing and then we'll be gone. The big question is where to. Does anyone know about the buildings - will CRC have to give landlords notice or do MOJ own them?

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    1. CRC offices in Newton Aycliffe (County Durham) and Bishop Auckland apparently closing and staff moving to Darlington. There is talk up there about their CPA having one or two hubs then staff doing home visits to clients who do not live near the hubs. Appears the ball has started rolling.

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    2. i've just looked up the owners and never heard of them ARCC. If our office closed the other CRC offices are so far away that the OMs from the closed staff would constantly be doing homevisits as no offenders could get to the new office it would literally mean a day trip out. Unless we did home visits and rang a hub and the duty officer updated delius from our phone-in.

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    3. no..... ARCC exists, it is the Durham Tees Valley CRC and sounds to be the best by far - think it is the only staff mutual? I think they are closing all offices and will have two hubs, staff working from home using tablets, staff seem pleased from what I've heard. Also a colleague there said the best of the managers went to ARCC.

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    4. I work for ARCC as a OM. They are some teething troubles which are most likely due to TR and the working model but things are fairly positive but very busy. I think if something serious goes wrong then most, if not all OM's could claim to have high workloads. Probably the only thing that is spoiling what could be a prosperous venture.

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    5. As an addendum to the above, we did get the best of managers.

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    6. Anon 15.06 purple futures cant have us working from home yet because of the Gateway that's due to NOMS messing up in some way - I zoned out when they were explaining. So i'm wondering how ARC have managed to do it but Purple Futures haven't - unless we go into another email on Monday. I cant wait to be out of the office.

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    7. Day trips to reporting centres, that will conflict with the requirement to be available and looking for work 5 days a week!

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    8. Same for most CRC's GATE IT is a massive hold up.
      RAR groups not in place in some areas.

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    9. 16:29 - "... some teething troubles most likely due to TR." Thank you for one of the most amusing & innocent understatements of 2015. Good luck. x.

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    10. with ORA cases, how are people enforcing induction & info gathering apts for sentence planning? those appointments don't fall under the RAR as far as i'm aware or do they and essentially count as 2 days? #confused.com

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    11. Wales Working Links CRC offices were measured up last week. The guy even measured the ladies loo. Thought maybe we were having new carpets until then.

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    12. Inside leg? New uniforms?

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  12. I've heard that some offices in the DTV area crc are on their knees due to a large percentage of staff being directed to prisons for TTG

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    1. Yep, we lost 4 OM's and 2 admin in our office. We are pretty much fire-fighting now. I agree 100% with what my colleague wrote about staffing levels. If my manager addressed this then arc has potential. If not then........We are now starting to get a lot of post ORA custody cases and this is only going to go one way......

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    2. the stripped back oasys should be a godsend to you lot then.

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    3. It is. As long as they have NEVER had one or more of the following concerns:
      DV
      Violence
      Child Protection
      Witness Intimidation
      Lots of D&D
      Sex offences
      Abuse
      Childhood abuse
      Adult abuse
      Victim of DV

      The list goes on. Looking at my caseload and it's safe to say that I can do a big fat raspberry to the thought of completing a T1 Oasys. So yes, it's a veritable boon.

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  13. Cumbria calling, Cumbria calling - looks like the insurgents have made a move. Office splits are imminent. Rumours are filtering through from the Western Front, seems the Sods are planning to disguise the CRC brigade as cheery shopkeepers and will be 'open all hours'. Fork handles? More like four coughs!!

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    1. Can you just abandon the attempt at humour. What is it you are trying to say?

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    2. its not a complicated message, 08:40 - simply that "We're fucked."

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    3. Hi anon 16 May @16:48. What exactly are you saying is happening? I am in CLCRC and know nothing of this. Yes they have apparently sourced a central hub but no developments re any other delivery sites. I was thinking that any development is welcome given the current stalemate situation and that maybe this may herald some moves re clarifying staff requirements and redundancy deals (although looking at numbers of staff leaving (to NPS, other jobs, etc) I am not sure how many posts will need to be cut...at least in operations.

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    4. I'm clcrc too. From what I hear the only hub will be in lancs, cumbria bases will be effectively crc satellite stations aka "north division" and are likely to be small hotdesk units, most work to be done in various community locations or 'from home' via remote access devices. Theme seems to be consistent, i.e. reduce overheads, get rid of expensive assets, reduce costs. So issue over redundancy packages likely to go to the wire; Expensive PO grades to be vastly reduced because a "Responsible Officer" doesn't need a qualification; expensive buildings to go; cheapest bulk-buy tablets; etc. Doubt the CEOs bonuses will be reduced though because, unlike frontline monkeys, you can't get quality CEOs without paying astronomical salaries. (How do I indicate bitter sarcasm?)

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  14. What if the talk of getting rid of the Human Rights Act is so the public take their eye off the Child Abuse Enquiry? New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard (chosen as new head of enquiry) apparently has an ex-husband who is a member of the house of Lords, a father who went to Eton and there is some talk that she may have previously covered up for a fellow judge (don't know details or if it is true).

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  15. FAO napo, unite, unison, etc, Please do not allow the ghost of the blairweasel to walk the ramparts of Labour2015 & beyond. So, please avoid supporting those who were nurtured by the weasel, most especially La Kendall, Twistwam (co-created by Uncle Mandy) or even "Mark Steele lookalike" Andy Burnham.

    Thatcher-Major-Blair should not necessarily equate to Cameron-Johnson-Blair. Learn from history, don't repeat it.

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