Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Bits and Pieces 5

While we continue to contemplate and record the demise of probation, it's probably high time for another selection of stuff that's caught my eye recently. It was going to be a weekend selection box, but I just got overwhelmed with negativity following the PI announcement on Friday. First off then, this from the Guardian:-

A day in the life of a prison governor: 'I never feel that I'm off duty'

I arrive at prison at 7.15am. As a duty governor, I know I’m in for a long day. We are contracted to work 37 hours a week, but we almost all work significantly longer hours, without overtime, just to meet the minimum demands of the job.

Today it is 10:15 when the first alarm sounds. When I arrive at the scene, I see a group of uniformed staff and I am told one of our officers has been assaulted by a prisoner. A prisoner is on the floor, being restrained by staff. A staff member gives me a brief account of what has happened, and the prisoner is then escorted, unrestrained, to our segregation unit.

The assault on the officer is serious. Her white shirt has blood on it, her face has scratches around the eye and she also has a nasty bite mark on her upper arm. We have to make sure that the officer is being cared for and evidence is preserved. She must be photographed, her clothing must be bagged and she will have to attend A&E within the hour for a vaccination. We have to take statements from witnesses, and the staff who intervened must complete the paperwork.

Having to manage an incident such as this is stressful, but it’s a controlled stress. The biggest pressure when you’re a governor is never being off duty and coping with a constantly overflowing volume of work.

Governors are leaving the profession and prison officer numbers have been cut. At the same time, the number of incidents we have to deal with, including attacks, suicide attempts and instances of self-harm, has increased. In the year to September 2014, there were 1,958 serious assaults in prison – an increase of 33% on the previous year. That figure includes 431 attacks on prison staff. It all makes for an increasingly demanding job.

At 5pm, there is another alarm. This time I arrive at the cell in question to find staff visibly shaken and the prisoner surrounded by nurses. It turns out that a prisoner has swallowed a J-cloth and paper towels. Despite the officers’ best efforts, they were unable to dislodge the blockage and the prisoner could not breathe.

We are lucky enough to have on duty a doctor whose previous role was in a hospital A&E department. He uses abdominal thrusts and manages to partially dislodge the blockage, enabling an officer to pull it out of the prisoner’s mouth to the sound of air rushing in. The prisoner is alive but needs to go to hospital. It is near the end of the main shift and we have to provide officers as an escort. This will mean that there won’t be enough staff to unlock prisoners for their association periods (time out of their cells), which will lead to discontent.

It is now 9pm and I am still in the prison. I wait for the assaulted officer to return to provide support and to get a first-hand account of what happened. The officer is grateful for me waiting to speak with her.

There is a plethora of paperwork to complete and it is only at the end of the day that I have time to reflect. In between these two incidents I am responsible for the smooth running of the prison – from handling people management issues to tasting the prisoners’ food (a mandatory requirement). As governors, we are expected to possess a wide range of skills, from incident command to contract management. It also helps to have some knowledge of medical law and to have the people skills to deal with everyone from a violent prisoner to a judge.

Some stress is healthy, but the frequency of incidents and the increase in the volume of work means that we find ourselves being stressed beyond those sensible doses, which results in governors leaving to become train drivers or vicars. Some prisons are more stressful than others but all are subject to the same degree of public scrutiny, particularly if something goes wrong.

Today, I eventually leave prison at 9.45pm. But the day doesn’t end there – I am now on call until 07:30 the following day. The author has worked in the prison service for 28 years.


It's no use MP's or anyone asking questions about CRC's because this is the response you'll get:-
On 1 February 2015, ownership of the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) transitioned to new providers. CRCs are now separate, private entities, contracted by the Department to provide specific services and as such are responsible for determining their budgets, staffing levels and staff salaries. As they are autonomous organisations, the MoJ no longer holds details of their budgeted annual expenditure.
In terms of staffing, while CRCs are contractually required to have sufficient suitably qualified and competent staff, they are responsible for determining their own staffing levels and recruitment. No Chief Executives and only a small number of staff at Paybands A-D left their CRC posts during January 2015 while CRCs were still under public ownership. Since 1 February 2015, staffing has been a matter for CRC owners. The Department has not issued guidance to CRCs on recruitment.
Here's former HM Chief Inspector of Probation Andrew Bridges with some typically weasel words and reflecting on TR last October:-

In fairness, it’s not easy for people working in the Probation world to be optimistic when you’re trying to get your day to day Probation job done at a time of constant upheaval and rebranding, capped by the most recklessly gung-ho reorganisation that Probation has ever faced. The Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) programme is indeed fraught with potential risks, plunged into boldly when the current Justice Secretary decided to forgo the pilot projects planned by his predecessor, so in this context it’s not exactly easy to feel optimistic.

Indeed, if I’d been asked at the planning stage whether I thought that the TR programme was a good idea I’d have had to say No, as it clearly sets out to change much too much, much too quickly. In particular, it was a bad idea to divide off so-called “High Risk” cases, and have them supervised separately by a rump National Probation Service. But once it became the policy of our constitutionally elected Government, I – and everyone else involved – had a choice to make. 

One option is to snipe from the sidelines, as many commentators do, saying loudly “I wouldn’t start from here”, and then walk away, while another option is to try to help make it work – or at least offer to do so – hence my offered prescription. For I have little patience with the ideological position-taking approach to discussing public services, when many people decide that being state run is unequivocally a good thing, and privately-run a bad thing, or vice-versa. 

It’s effectiveness that I’m interested in, and in my experience none of the different forms of ownership have a monopoly on either success or failure. You can do a good job whether you are a public or a private organisation, and I’ve been happy to assist either type of organisation to try to do a quality job, and I still am.

Under the TR Programme it will be harder to do this than it should be, which is why I say we have to be sober in our plans. But I think it can be done, which is why I also say that our approach should be optimistic. So why my sober optimism? 

First, I have a belief in Improvement, and also that with rare exceptions it does not require a budget increase to achieve this. 

Second, although I have a strong emotional attachment to public service, and its virtues when it is at its best, I know that it can have its drawbacks, particularly when it has no competition. Meanwhile, although private companies can sometimes behave pretty badly, they are also capable of performing very well. 

And third, new organisations can sometimes have the creativity and flexibility to devise new ways to do the work better. (To this end, will ‘staff mutuals’ - organisations co-owned by their staff - as well as other types of organisation, get the opportunity to prove themselves successful in the new Probation world?)

Contrast the mealy-mouthed stuff from the likes of the former HMI, Probation Institute and even Napo, with this from Lord Rasmsbotham, the indomitable former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. He has some sound advice to offer the new Justice Minister Michael Gove on the OurKingdom website. I'll end on some highlights from this absolute masterpiece that really does warrant reading in full from a true friend of probation:-

Want to improve our prisons, Mr Gove? Stop. Look. Listen.

There is no doubt that too many of today’s politicians are ill-equipped to judge the practicality of ideas, or to know, from experience, just how essential is proper leadership of any people who are involved in the delivery of any programme or activity. This makes it even more important that they should seek out, and listen to, those who know what they are talking about.

I fear that politicians have inherited a most unattractive blame-culture, which amounts to trying to ensure that they can never be held responsible for any decision or action, for which they might be blamed. While I can sympathise with them for their lack of experience, I am always sad when I see them falling back on the traditional tool of the inexperienced — the presumption that the measurement of the quantity of process, based on prescriptive targets and performance indicators, is an appropriate substitute for professional judgement of the quality of outcomes. This cult of managerialism is the curse of our age, not least because it is so widely practised by inexperienced Ministers and officials.

Nothing encapsulates the danger of this more than the recent introduction of Payment by Results for services commissioned by NOMS, and/or the Ministry of Justice, for the rehabilitation of offenders. I have lost count of the number of times I have said in the House of Lords that ‘People Are Not Things’. Every person, offender or otherwise, is an individual, who will act differently, think differently and behave differently, in different situations, from other people. Therefore you cannot generalise about offenders in the same way that you can about things such as different types of baked bean for example, or assume that any measurement of quantity, other than their overall number, has any meaning.

On Day 1 as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons twenty years ago, I asked the Home Office statisticians how they measured the re-offending rate, on which the success, or failure, of the offender management system seemed to be based. They told me that it was impossible to measure and what they actually measured was the reconviction rate, which they did by counting up court appearances. I have come across no evidence to suggest that that situation has changed, yet Ministers continue to refer to the un-measurable as if it were a Holy Grail.

To say that you will only pay organisations, for achieving — or deny them payment for failing to achieve — something that cannot be measured, suggests that you are out of touch with the real world.

Such action risks alienating the voluntary sector, which does more than 50 per cent of the rehabilitation work with offenders. No organisation, or its funders, can afford to wait for the three years that it takes to measure the so-called re-offending rate, to be paid for services rendered. If such organisations walk out, or are forced to close through lack of funds, Mr Gove’s ability to rehabilitate offenders will be seriously diminished.

When Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, introduced what is euphemistically called the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), which is not a service at all but a system with its own bureaucracy, it was dubbed by some of its concerned opponents the ‘Nonsense On Marsham Street’.

It seemed to them, as it did and still does to me, that the last thing the Criminal Justice System needed or needs, is yet more bureaucracy, not least because both offenders, and those who have to manage them, are people, and ‘People Are Not Things’. Notwithstanding the dedicated hard work of many admirable individuals within it, the organisation and structure of the management of offenders has been dysfunctional for years, with operational staff crying out to be led rather than subjected to the cult of managerialism.

Since the introduction of NOMS, two of the three Secretaries of State for Justice have interfered with the management of offenders in a way that would not be tolerated in countries such as Sweden, the worst offender being the first non-lawyer ever to have been Lord Chancellor throughout the long history of that appointment. I hope that Mr Gove will not be tempted to do the same, because managing offenders is a time-consuming task, requiring considerable skill and training that neither he, nor the vast majority of the bureaucrats who surround him, possess. There is no reason why they should, because they have other parts to play in the whole process, for which they need different skills and experience.

Mr Gove might like to reflect on the fact that, unless things are right for staff, nothing will be right for prisoners. That is the way things are now.

Staff numbers have been cut below a sensible safety and operational minimum – witness the increased number of assaults, the number of times the emergency response teams have had to be called out, and the number of activities for prisoners, such as education and training courses, that have had to be cancelled because there simply are not enough staff to escort prisoners to them.

Far too many prisoners are left locked up in their cells all day, doing nothing, which is the very antithesis of rehabilitation, and hardly the best way to help them to live useful and law-abiding lives in the future.

Conclusion

Austerity is, or ought to be, a very powerful driver of all that I have mentioned. Mr Gove has an awesome responsibility, to exercise which he has been given a suspect bag of tools. Rather than rush in, with yet more theories, with which the Criminal Justice System, and particularly the Prison and Probation Services, have been bombarded for far too long, I beg him to ‘Stop’, before doing anything, ‘Look’ at what is required of him, and ask himself whether his present organisation is capable of doing what is required of it, and ‘Listen’ to those who know what they are talking about, and can tell him what will or will not work.

Armed with the knowledge of how much it costs to run an agreed offender management system, a regional structure, in which each region has someone responsible and accountable for supporting the management of its offenders, and an operational structure in which someone is responsible and accountable for consistent treatment of and conditions for each type of prison and prisoner, he will be in a position to run an offender management system that has at least a sporting chance of being able to protect the public. If he can go further, and persuade the Prime Minister that, it would make sense for one Minister to be responsible for co-ordinating the contribution of others, he will be in a position to determine whether and what remedial action needs to be taken to mitigate the ‘revolution’ rushed in predecessor. On his decision rests the protection of the electorate.

68 comments:

  1. "No Chief Executives left their CRC posts during Jan 2015..." - thats simply not true. More lies from the MoJ.

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  2. David Ramsbotham like Nick Hardwicke are two of the most sensible men who have been involved with the prison system. They know what they are talking about. Ministers could do far worse than listen to their eminently sensible ways to address the issues within the system

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  3. I found this a bit muddled. The writer wants 'to make it work' as s\he believes that the private sector can do a good job if given the chance, whilst at the same time admitting that staff work many excess hours without overtime. Better to work at it than snipe, it goes on. Tell you what mate, come and work for me for fuck all and help me with my project to get something for nothing - but don't get disloyal and sniping, when you realise you're being had. Only fools and horses work for nothing.

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    1. He's a hireling and it's basically his flyer for consultancy work without any cumbersome moral limits.

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    2. Probation Officer16 June 2015 at 14:50

      ... He probably writes FPInst after his name !!

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    3. As you can see, he stood in the PI 'elections'. He has no ideology. But I don’t think he is Renaissance man, more Machiavellian man.

      He and Ramsbottom are different species.

      This from OPB 27/2/15: ANDREW BRIDGES “Please don’t vote for me if you want a representative who is driven by a particular sectional ideology....I offer something different from that: well-informed fair-mindedness. My aim is to help probation be successful, whoever is doing it, and if this approach appeals to you, please vote for me."

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    4. Probation Institute 'elections' were a farce! Why are Napo/Unison still backing this Trojan Horse?

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    5. There were only 2 candidates in Wales and they both got in!

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  4. who was the electorate ? Napo are in it up their necks no integrity there nowadays sorry to say.

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  5. "no integrity there nowadays" - was there ever any integrity?

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  6. Probation is dead, all is left is for the corpse to be picked over.

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  7. 20:34 Fair point I think over the time we have seen some brilliant and well committed people in the key roles. Some of the more self serving have made that fairly obvious always hanging around for some role or the other. Your probably right though I read half the Napo top are in the PI. Does anyone know what the official position is supposed to be ?

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  8. Stop, look and listen. Oh how great it would be if they did and we could.

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  9. Very disturbing reading about the prisons

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  10. At the start of the year I transferred over from CRC to NPS. I am not being paid correctly... my pension has not been paid... I have not had many payslips... Shared Services seem unable to rectify the situation as it's been going on for months. I'm wondering how many others out there are in the same position?

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    1. Time to instruct a solicitor? That'll get things moving.

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    2. 07:16 On refection, are you glad you made the move?

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    3. To anon 7.16 if you are in Napo, pass on yr details to Napo HQ as they are seeking compensation for mess and potential financial loss for members. Haven't got email address to hand but you coild get it off yr Branch Chair or just ring Napo HQ

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  11. I hadn't actually heard anything about this latest serious disturbance, but this short article is pretty damning for the MoJ.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/uk-prisons-crisis-privatization-cuts-overcrowding-recipe-anarchy-1506658

    'Getafix'

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    1. Britain's prison workers have blamed the latest inmate riot in the Midlands on government cuts, as MPs debate the "crisis" in British jails.

      "I wake up every day waiting for one of my members to be murdered in their place of work," said PJ McParlin, the national chairman of the union for Prison, Correctional & Secure Psychiatric workers.

      On Sunday an inmate cut the face of a guard at HMP Stocken prison near Peterborough, sparking a riot of 60 prisoners who began lighting fires and causing "substantial damage to the wing". A special "tornado" riot squad was called in as well as the fire brigade and other police.

      "The spike in violence and the cuts are inextricably linked," said McParlin. "Staff are just running around and chasing their tails."

      More than 7,000 jobs and £900m have been cut from the correctional operating budget since 2010 as a privation push sweeps the UK.

      "That's a huge amount on a budget of £7bn to £6bn," McParlin said of the cuts, noting that in 2013 alone 2,500 prison staff lost their jobs.

      In March it was reported that 700 probation officers would lose their jobs this year. Sodexo, the UK's largest private probation services company, intends to cut these jobs and replace them with machines where former prisoners can check in.

      The operations of entire prisons has been turned over to companies such as Sodexo, Serco, and G4S. Some 18 prisons have been closed since 2010, while 14% of the UK's correctional services have been privatised.

      But the cuts have led to overcrowding, rising rates of violence, and reoffending, according to MPs as they debated a March bi-partisan report on the state of UK prisons on Wednesday (17 June).

      The lawmakers said overcrowding and changes to the parole system are having a direct impact on reoffending rates, the safety of prison guards, and the general public as they debated what's to be done.

      The system is in "total and utter chaos," said Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck, Northumberland, calling Sodexo's operation of the troubled HMP Northumberland prison "a merrygoround of finance" where "this company can make a fortune from failure."

      Since 2012, the HM Inspectorate of Prisons has tracked "a 38% rise in self-inflicted deaths, a 9% rise in self-harm, a 7% rise in assaults, and 100% rise in incidents of concerted indiscipline," the report said.

      "On leaving prison, 50,000 prisoners released didn't get support in post-release supervision," said Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central. She pointed to the story of a woman who ended up on the streets as soon as she left jail.

      The public is also threatened by increasing cases of recidivism, Maskell said, citing that 45.2% of adults and 32% of young offenders are now re-offending.

      Fewer staff means that prisoners can't go to the gym, can't take showers, and definitely can't get through rehabilitation programs, said McParlin, who added: "They're having two to three in a cell designed for one. They're eating and defecating in that cell. That would cause frustration."

      Every day there are up to 9 assaults on prison staff, McParlin said, noting a 40% increase in serious assaults.

      Overcrowding is costing the government too. Some 200 prison staff are travelling every day from the north to the south east to cover shifts due to the lack of staff, McParlin said — adding up to £60m in bonus schemes and hotel stays.

      "It's ludicrous. They need to decide whether they want to warehouse people," he said. "If they want to play at rehabilitation and skill people, they need to realise it's an investment and that they need to protect the public."

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  12. "Every day there are up to 9 assaults on prison staff, McParlin said, noting a 40% increase in serious assaults."

    "Some 200 prison staff are travelling every day from the north to the south east to cover shifts due to the lack of staff, McParlin said — adding up to £60m in bonus schemes and hotel stays."

    Highly disturbing statistics that ought to be more widely known, clearly showing how effective and efficient Grayling's TR legacy is across the CJ system.

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  13. Amongst the many written questions submitted for answer on 15 June 2015 were the following:

    "386N - Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2015 to Question 900, if he will specify the contract management arrangements in place to ensure that funds put aside for enhanced redundancy schemes following the privatisation of probation services are used for the purposes for which they are provided and how they have operated in practice. (1761)
    387N - Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2015 to Question 898, what total amount of money was (a) spent by the Government on enhanced redundancy schemes immediately prior to the letting of probation contracts to Community Rehabilitation Companies and (b) awarded by the Government to Community Rehabilitation Companies for enhanced redundancy schemes following the letting of such contracts. (1762)
    388N - Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2015 to Question 902, what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with Community Rehabilitation Companies on the possible voluntary return of unused funds put aside for enhanced redundancy schemes following the privatisation of probation services. (1763)
    389N - Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2015 to Question 901, what specific pro rata formula was used to determine the amount of money given to each Community Rehabilitation Company for enhanced redundancy schemes following the privatisation of probation services; and what cash amount was awarded to each such company. (1764)"

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  14. Answers from Selous:

    "1761 - Under the enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme opened in advance of the transition of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to new providers, probation staff were able to apply for voluntary redundancy on the basis that they would leave the service by 31 March 2016. The total cost of these redundancies was £16.4m. All remaining Modernisation Fund monies were awarded to CRCs. Redundancy funding was allocated pro-rata to CRCs based on their size and estimated future staffing requirements.
    As stated in my answer to questions 900, 898, 902 and 901, we have no plans to reclaim any monies allocated to CRCs from the Modernisation Fund; and consequently there have been no discussions with CRCs about this. Contract Management Teams are embedded in each CRC, closely monitoring how all monies are used and robust processes are in place to ensure all expenditure is correctly spent."

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    1. ... and the same answer was submitted for Q.s 1762, 1763 & 1764.

      So if £16.4M was already accounted for by the KNOWN voluntary redundacy packages due to be paid out, how much of the pro-rata "Redundancy funding" was allocated? Given the large scale numbers issued by Sodexo in their estimated staffing requirements (i.e. 33% of staff to go) then the pro-rata allocations must have been generous, based as they were on the EVR formula.

      This suggests to me that the sleight of hand is already well under way & £Millions are already being moved from Fund to Fund as corporate beancounters get to work fleecing the taxpayer, stealing the promised EVR funds & generally asset-stripping the UK.

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    2. I think this would be a good time to establish the number that have actually applied for EVR before March 31st this year. Only by knowing this figure can anyone establish if the privateers are dealing from a straight deck.
      Can that figure be found? Or would it be subject to corporate confidentiality?

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    3. But not everyone was allowed to apply... I asked and got told I couldn't..

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    4. I read Selous' words as meaning the £16.4M was the allocation for those who had elected to take redundancy "in advance of the transition of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to new providers", i.e. the known and calculated figure. That figure included those who were sent packing for an early bath never to be seen again plus, as it was explained to me, those who could effectively apply for their own jobs with a new employer, e.g. the Trust senior management teams were made redundant when the Trusts came to an end, but some applied for the new CRC senior management posts and found new employment & a handy salary for a couple more years, before cashing in their redundancy pots; others were "found" jobs within the new CRC structures to ensure smooth transitions hence the Mar 2016 period of grace. It was all very selective, a bit like 'sifting' only in a positive form as opposed to the shafting the rest of us took.

      BUT... pre-transition to new ownership there would have been CRC bidder plans which very clearly defined the staffing structures to MoJ so they could have a rough guesstimate of funding - aka Modernisation Fund - to sweeten the redundancy hit which the new owners would be taking.

      Now, of course, MoJ have stated "we have no plans to reclaim any monies allocated to CRCs from the Modernisation Fund" - so the CRCs want to pocket the EVR monies for themselves and eject redundant staff on the statutory minimum. Perhaps the CRCs believed that the EVR was an arrangement with MoJ? Perhaps they hadn't anticipated individual CRCs incorporating those terms & conditions locally? This must have made it very awkward as they no doubt have the MoJ in their pocket and could have thrown out EVR like a used tissue... but its become a bit more tricky, so it sounds like they're trying to strong-arm local CRC management teams into "negotiating away" the EVR terms & conditions, hence the delays & the protracted meetings. God only knows what threats are being used as leverage against the unions, but it sounds to me like there will be a capitulation by CRC management teams AND the unions, and our EVR t&C's will be gone before this month's out.

      I hope I'm completely & utterly wrong!

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    5. This was Selous' previous answer i.e. "As stated in my answer to questions 900, 898, 902 and 901"...

      "As part of the arrangements for the transfer of services from probation trusts to Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC’s), an enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme was put in place, in line with the terms of the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections agreed with the probation Trade Unions, and funded by monies from the Modernisation Fund to support a sustainable reduction in resource requirements. An initial wave of redundancies was made in advance of the letting of the contracts for the CRCs, and the remaining monies were transferred to the CRCs on a pro rata basis to be used for the same purpose. While we have no plans to reclaim any monies allocated to CRCs from the Modernisation Fund, we have robust contract management arrangements in place to ensure that they are used for the purposes for which they were provided. Contract management teams are in place in each Contract Package Area to oversee each CRC operation."

      So, Mr Selous and/or Mr Gove, if as you claim, you have "robust contract management arrangements in place to ensure that they are used for the purposes for which they were provided", then why can't you bring the costs, uncertainty and distress of this sham negotiation period to an end and tell the new CRC owners to shut the fuck up, play ball and pay out the EVR as agreed???

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    6. To anyone who was praying for EVR, like me( I got it, thankfully, guest blog 17 refers) and lapping up every piece of info. The figure set aside for the EVR tranches was £80m. So, like the Glazers buying Man Utd or Al Fayed buying the Ritz, Harrods and Fulham, there has been the potential for very rich entities to get free money by paying the mortgage with someone else's. It's like asset stripping but you can still keep the assets and the money... Tony

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    7. Thanks Tony. Maybe we can now quantify the balance of the "modernisation fund" @ £(80 - 16.4) Million = £63.6M. This was then divvied up "pro-rata" between 21 CRCs. Thats a lot of free money.

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    8. The EVR figure was £62 million, so you can see how much CRCs are holding - I think we should be watching their accounts very closely. First years figures are due - that's where our focus should be now.Who ever you are there is legislation that governs your accounts....let's start digging when they come out!

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    9. So was the original EVR figure £80m or £62 million?

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    10. Politicians lie ? never

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    11. I'm obviously no longer with probation but I'm certain about the £80m figure being referenced on several occasions. What astounds me is that only circa £16m was paid out and, as I wrote above, that's free money courtesy of the taxpayer, straight into the PRP of a select few CEOs. Trebles all round!. Tony.

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    12. unless it was increased later it was £62 million

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  15. Or is someone lying - again?

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    1. "Contract Management Teams are embedded in each CRC, closely monitoring how all monies are used and robust processes are in place to ensure all expenditure is correctly spent."

      "... we have robust contract management arrangements in place to ensure that they are used for the purposes for which they were provided."

      Mr Selous has said this twice in written answers.

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    2. On 8 June 2015 Selous also wrote, in answer to Q's by David Amess:

      "On 1 February 2015, ownership of the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) transitioned to new providers. CRCs are now separate, private entities, contracted by the Department to provide specific services and as such are responsible for determining their budgets, staffing levels and staff salaries. As they are autonomous organisations, the MoJ no longer holds details of their budgeted annual expenditure.
      In terms of staffing, while CRCs are contractually required to have sufficient suitably qualified and competent staff, they are responsible for determining their own staffing levels and recruitment. No Chief Executives and only a small number of staff at Paybands A-D left their CRC posts during January 2015 while CRCs were still under public ownership. Since 1 February 2015, staffing has been a matter for CRC owners. The Department has not issued guidance to CRCs on recruitment.
      Following the transfer of ownership in February 2015, staff remuneration is now a matter for CRC providers. The salary of the Chief Executive of Essex CRC during the period 1 June 2014 to 31 January 2015 was in the range £90,000-£95,000. The governance structure of the Community Rehabilitation Companies did not include a position of Chairman during that period.
      The National Probation Service (NPS) may use agency staff to fill business-critical posts and essential frontline services where they can provide a fast, flexible and efficient way to obtain necessary skills that are not currently available in-house. The Department has issued a range of guidance (for example Probation Instructions) on the use of agency staff by the National Probation Service.
      Since January 2015, official discussions continue with CRCs as part of the contract management process.
      Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly."

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    3. Why should the nps waste money on agency staff when it got rid of staff that could have done the work.

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    4. Because, contrary to the 11 November lie, they got rid of staff they didn't want in NPS when they 'shafted' everyone. Senior management were selected (directed) first, then they hand-picked who they wanted. CRC has always been regarded as second best to NPS by NOMS & MoJ. Names out of a hat might have been true where no clear preferences were identified, but the lie of sifting on criteria must be exposed. Think about it... MoJ have known about 30% redundancies for long enough because they specified the contract parameters, so NOMS knew the CRCs would be shedding 30% of staff - think they'd let a random Workload-based snapshot on 11/11 rob them of their friends & favoured staff? Think they'd pass up the opportunity to fuck over old enemies & those who have caused them discomfort & grief? Why do you think most posts are by Anonymous? Warm & fuzzy employer or vicious, unforgiving bullies?

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    5. I have to say, in my area some of the best POs and undoubtedly THE best PSOs went to CRC
      An NPS PO

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  16. 'Following the transfer of ownership in February 2015, staff remuneration is a matter for the CRC providers'

    Sorry but that is wrong. It is a matter for the national negotiation structures agreed as part of the framework agreement. Delius doesn't understand his own agreements.

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  17. Spellchecker doesn't like SELOUS.

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  18. I am curious as to why we are not being told what the sodexo offer is; why have the unions not informed their members?? We are being dictated to by sodexo as they want to undermine the unions and control this situation. Meanwhile we are kept in the dark, wondering, speculating and getting more fed up by the day! If the unions want their members full support and backing then it is time they started letting us in on what is going on. It seems to me that it suits sodexo perfectly well to keep things quiet...time to tell us just how much of our tax they are siphoning off and not using for the purpose it was given. Beggars belief this whole thing.!!

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  19. It is not that complicated. The six areas owned by Sodexo all have their own negotiating schedules. During the last week or so, the offer has been made known to the local negotiating reps but they have been asked to sit on the information. This is simply because if it comes out in one area, the information will spread to the other areas by rumour and conjecture. The information is too important to allow it to be circulated in this way.

    The positive side of this is that it allows the unions to formulate their response in advance of the disclosure rather than having to react to it. I despise Sodexo but, as someone who knows what the offer is, I agree that their approach to the management of the disclosure of the offer is legitimate. I wouldn't want to find this information out via whispered conversations in corridors.

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    1. No disrespect ment, but I'm sick and tired of hearing that there's lots going on but we can't tell you what it is.
      Can't the union trust it's membership with anything?
      I actually understand and also agree with your comment above, but it dosen't stop me feeling sick to the back teeth of hearing "alls in hand but we can't tell you anything".
      As for being concerned about rumours, well what bloody else is there with the lack of information so chronic.
      Maybe the membership DESERVE a little more trust and respect from HQ!

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    2. "Its not that complicated" - 12:41, you're a patronising arse. Knowledge is power, power is control. So whilst frontline staff bust their bits trying to challenge & effect change with those who abuse others using power & control, the staff are being abused by management & their unions. "Don't you worry, its all in hand, we'll give you your house-keeping"... Meanwhile union officials, the GS & CRC management are lining their pockets with bonuses galore.

      I've drawn this parallel for some years now, we are trapped in an abusive relationship. We have been victimised by bullies since 2005 at least, and we now seem to have normalised that relationship. Whats more, napo, supposedly our best friend, is actively colluding with the bullies and telling us they'll sort it out for us.

      Well, you lost us 3 days leave, you negotiated 5 years without a pay rise, you gave away our Essential Car User Allowance... How much of a best friend is that? Now it looks highly likely you'll give away our EVR whilst playing Divide-&-Rule by Sodexo's rules.

      Thanks, my new BFF.

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    3. Someone please knock on room 101 and tell our exec that the Berlin wall has been pulled down, the USSR no longer exists, and that theres actually a phone line now between the Whitehouse and the Kremlin.

      'I know what the offer is, but can't disclose it at the moment', just rubs salt in the wounds of an already weary and wounded workforce.
      If everyone knows that negotions will vary over different areas whats the problem in knowing in real time whats happening?
      Rather then suppressing rumour 12:41, you've just fed the information starved minds of the entire membership with a tasty bit of bait that can't achieve anything else other then get the rumour mill spinning faster then the national speed limit!

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    4. well said 13.33! and 12.41 there are los of whispers in the corridor anyway which are unsettling everyone, we should be talking about the facts rather than be treated like mushrooms by CRC's with NAPO agreement. I fear sodexo will take the impetus away from the unions whether they like it or not. Whilst the numbers and breakdown of staff losses may differ by CRC, I have not heard anything to suggest the EVR offer will differ by CRC??? So unless its too complicated for lowly probation staff to understand I see no reason to withhold this information. There are too many agendas at play here!

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    5. The grandmasters of chess at Chivalry Road are at it again. They need to formulate their response and that's why there can be no disclosures. I am not in the inner circle but my conjecture is that the offer is lower than the EVR terms as set out in the framework agreement. Now, the unions need an embargo because the offer has only been released in one Sodexo's area, but to imagine that the offer will be different in the other five areas is daft, as Sodexo would tie itself up in silly knots. As to formulating their response to the offer, how can the unions say different to what they have already asserted: EVR should be calculated in accord with the framework agreement and it is morally wrong to reduce the payout.

      We have Sodexo abrogating a formal agreement. They are breaking the rules. Yet the unions insist on etiquette that is humbling to a fault.

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    6. The no -disclosure is to ensure the offer is reported accurately. If the information is circulated informally, it will be misrepresented. It is not fair to staff to put information out that way. It just isn't.

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    7. If that's the reason then why don't they formally release the information? Its less fair to put staff through yet more uncertainty and speculation.

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    8. Be fair. They have to pretend that they are negotiating first.

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    9. Offer? There's no need or reason for an offer to be considered. The EVR package is there in our terms & conditions, in the national agreement. What's to negotiate? I'm not keen on foul language, but what a pack of dumb fuckers!!

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    10. 13.33 by far the best post of the week, in a nutshell - just look at what Mr Lawrence has done for us. One of his favourite saying springs to mind ..."not on my watch" well he must be watching someone else's back whilst he stabs his own members.

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    11. I think you'll find that your preferred position on EVR is also NAPO's.

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    12. Im with 1333 and yes well said 2248 what do you know then 2305 ????? Napo said nothing as usual so why are they renegotiating a year old agreement. Because they are to skint to fight ?

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    13. The letter on IL's blog brings things up to date. All the six CRC's are in the loop. And the position remains as before: opposition to inferior redundancy terms for voluntary redundancies. Will Sodexo find a way of getting some individuals to accept lower terms? And if they cannot get enough, will they then move to compulsory redundancies where they won't be hamstrung by the framework agreement?

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  20. I have just discovered that I have been made a 'Legacy Member' by the Probation Institute. I've contacted them asking for a refund. How do you think they will answer?

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    1. If you've been made a member of any organisation without your knowledge or more importantly your consent being sought you should be thinking more about comphensation then a refund!

      Delete
    2. It would appear that individuals were not consulted as to whether they wished their names and possibly other personal information, to be added to the PI database. This processing of 'personal data' by the CRCs, without the consent of individuals, may be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

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    3. Good point. Not a lost flash drive or laptop. They actually GAVE it away. Has to be a six figure fine easily!!

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    4. Membership of any organisation comes with terms and conditions, obligations and an acceptance of certain practices.
      Beware your employment rights are not affected, let alone your civil ones.

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    5. If your personal information is being held by the PI without your consent then take the issue up with NAPO your union.
      It will be interesting to see their response given that they are part of the PI!!!
      You couldn't have a clearer conflict of interest could you?

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  21. The Probation Institute disgusts me. When were Napo members asked if they wanted Napo to be part of it?

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    1. Can the Probation Institute succeed where the College of Social Work failed – through lack of funding and insufficient membership.

      http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/jun/19/profession-in-shock-as-the-college-of-social-work-forced-to-close

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  22. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/17/social-workers-under-scrutiny-parents-camera?CMP=twt_gu&CMP=twt_gu

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    1. So how do social workers react when a parent pulls out a smartphone and says that they’re now on candid camera?

      “There’s a great deal of suspicion,” says Pack. “A social worker will tend to get straight on the phone to their [council] lawyer saying a parent wants to [record], or a parent has done it, and I don’t want it.”

      Although there is nothing in law to say a parent can’t record their social worker or needs official permission, up until a couple of years ago a council solicitor would write to the parents’ lawyers and say “this is unreasonable, we are not able to go ahead with the assessment on this basis, and we are now regarding you the parents as being uncooperative,” says Pack. With the stakes so high, the parents’ lawyers would usually advise them to stop. But attitudes are changing. In a number of police forces in the UK, bodycams are now worn as a matter of routine following smartphone footage taken of law enforcers assaulting citizens. Pack’s advice to his council social work teams today is phlegmatic: they need to understand that recording daily life is now normal in society, and get on with their job.

      It can be instructive for professionals to consider matters from the point of view of a parent, he suggests. “You don’t know at the start of the relationship whether you have a good social worker or a bad one, and you won’t know until you see the report they write.”

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