Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Happy Birthday?


Date Published : 29 May 2015

This week marks the one year anniversary of the creation of the National Probation Service.

I think it is important to mark this milestone by acknowledging the hard work of everybody over the past year. I know that it doesn’t always feel like it, but whilst also appreciating that much remains to be done significant progress has been made.

As an entirely new service, there is much to be proud of, in particular:
  • collectively we have maintained core operational performance through a period of significant change
  • we have achieved a significant, sustained improvement in the timeliness of case allocation.
  • we committed to and have recruited over 600 new learners to the Probation Qualification Framework, the biggest investment in the service in a generation and a clear commitment to the future
  • we have established and are embedding our own corporate processes, and are on track to be wholly self-sufficient from the Community Rehabilitation Companies in the next few weeks
  • collectively we have maintained core operational performance through a period of significant change, with a continued focus on providing a good service to victims and offenders. The NPS offender and victims surveys completed in our first year were positive and we should be proud of this outcome.
During the past year I have met many of you on visits to Divisions and at various operational events. What has always been obvious to me is the pride you all have in your work and the commitment you share to reducing reoffending and preventing further victims.

I, and all of the Deputy Directors, have been very proud of the way that all of you have responded to the challenges and frustrations. I know that there is still a lot to be done to improve the way that we work and the systems that we operate. Throughout, you have continued to perform your crucial roles within the context of such large organisational change and together you are contributing towards changing lives for the better. This dedication, professionalism and resilience gives me great cause for optimism as we enter our second year.

Over the coming months our three priorities remain: maintaining performance, completing the NPS Stabilisation activity, and delivering the E3 Programme. This work will involve many of you directly and will help ensure NPS continues to build resilience and to ensure that we have the best possible systems in place to support us. We have work in hand to improve ICT, to improve support arrangements, to strengthen training and increasingly to share the benefits of being a national service and integrated part of the MoJ. None of this will deliver miracles overnight but we are building resilience and capability steadily across all aspects of our work and we need sometimes to remind ourselves of what has been done.

I’m also looking forward to the Probation Awards later this month where we will get the opportunity to showcase and celebrate some of the achievements of NPS staff. Although it has been a challenging year for everyone in NPS, these awards help to demonstrate there is so much excellent work going on across the whole organisation.

Colin Allars
Director of Probation


  1. Mr. Allers forgot to say that as a consequence of essential cut backs the MoJ wont be able to provide jelly and triffle for this years party!

    I'm very curious about the probation awards too. Not only who receives them, but what people receive them for. No doubt some will be well deserved and should be acknowledged, but maybe some may raise an eyebrow or two?
    Perhaps Jims tireless and daily contabution in trying to keep everyone informed about whats happening in reality will be recognised? Maybe eh? Just maybe?

    It's a shame about the jelly and triffle though!

    1. ANON 9:15 writes

      I'm very curious about the probation awards too. Not only who receives them, but what people receive them for.

      I think Allars is awarding the first prize to Ian Lawrence NAPO for his full support of the transfer arrangements and accompanying documents for all staff making the whole thing possible. By doing so rendered any opposition impossible, which is why we are here.
      There may as well be a few other Napo names in the re too Those that support the PI and the rest of the officials for being so complacent about the destruction of its wage payers. Whos making the then ?

    2. The so called performance of the so called directors relies entirely on the performance of the people actually doing the job, but do the people actually doing the job get any bonus or even any genuine appreciation. It will be interesting to see who and for what ,the awards are bandied about. Patronising and condescending is anticipated.

    3. Just a few stabs at the forthcoming at bread and circuses probation awards

      Paul McDowell: for conflict resolution.
      Chris Grayling: for making crime pay.
      Colin Allars: for turning millstones into milestones.

    4. And the biometric kiosk for successful management of highest caseload.

  2. As the BBC reports today, of the 70,000 managers who receive bonuses annually, a third are under-performing. One conclusion of the report is that there is no link between performance and bonus and that the majority of those who receive bonuses for poor performance are to be found in the public sector. Colin Allars does not reveal what the bonus pot is for himself and his dynamic directors. How much did you get Colin? What's your divvi from the dividend?

    What an unselfish chap. He prefers to praise in bucketfuls, at times repetitiously. A word count of all the positive adjectives takes one to dizzying heights. Yes, this man is a pusher of legal highs. What's your profit margin Colin?

    1. " no link between performance and bonus"?

      I watched with interest an article on Newsnight this week about the governments Troubled Families project.
      Local councils were given considerable funding on a PbR basis for successful outcomes in turning troubled families around.
      There was apparently 120,000 families requiring intervention, although no one could identify how this figure was reached.
      The councils were left to determine what interventions were necessary, and also left to their own determination of what a successful outcome would constitute, (marking their own homework was the phrase used).
      Amazingly, all 120,000 families had their lives successfully turned around! Not one failed which was 'lucky' for the councils as they could claim the maximum amount available under their PbR contract for their success.
      No doubt some got pretty good bonuses, and no doubt CRC owners have learned a lot about how to make a PbR model really pay dividends- and achieve a 100% success rate!

    2. Yes I watched that and noticed that the not normally camera-shy Louise Casey was conspicuous by her absence.

    3. I hate the description 'Troubled families' when it's the people whose lives 'Troubled families' make a misery of, that are troubled. They should remove the 'd' or call them something that doesn't bestow victim status on victimisers.

    4. 13:16: I take your semantic point, as being on the receiving end of the behaviour of some 'troubled families isn't fun. I know this because I was involved in a long-running dispute with some families who met the criteria. It was a neighbours from hell scenario and through the involvment of the police, social services, housing, the M.P. and the criminal and civil courts, there was eventual resolution. But not all troubled families are villains, some may be more victim and some a bit of both. I would not be inclined to generalise either way. And within such families there will be villains and victims, for example, 29% of families were known to be experiencing domestic violence or abuse on entry to the [troubled families] programme. National estimates suggest that 7% of individuals experience domestic violence.

  3. What utter bluster & bollox. Who writes this shit? Who believes it? Public money funds this man and the NPS so, as Netnipper rightly enquires, how much are WE, the taxpayers, paying the NPS "directors" (civil servants) ? In times of austerity, where are the bonuses coming from? We know Napo simply asset-strip the membership to line their staff pockets, and that the CRCs pare everything back to the bone to maximise profits & bonuses for the fat-cats. Same old stink from the same sty.

    1. CRC buffet for WL staff in Wales. Better spending the money on useful courses for the offenders so they can access work.

  4. Reminds me of Jeremy Hunt yesterday whining about the NHS staffing market not being the market they wanted. But Jeremy, dear heart, its a "free" market you & your right wing idealists always hankered after. Like banking you'll attract sharks & thieves & opportunists - thats what a free market economy is, a free-for-all driven by demand & characterised by 'cash is king'. And so it has been with ETE & tagging & private gaols, then so it will be with probation. "Its not fair, someone will pay!!" - the new Tory cry.

    1. He wont be crying about his 10% pay rise though I'll bet!
      Austerity? It's just a con to control the great unwashed and keep people from realising whats really going on.
      10% pay rise for mps! Cheeky b*****ds

    2. Well, the poor lambs do struggle to make ends meet as the Torygraph showed in Feb this year:

      "MPs declared earnings of more than £7.4 million from outside work and second jobs in the past year, with some making more than £1,600 per hour, analysis by The Telegraph has disclosed.
      As an investigation by this newspaper laid bare the issue of politicians and their jobs outside parliament, official data confirmed that 30 members earned at least the equivalent of an MP’s £67,000 salary in extra work.
      And of those, a dozen were paid more than David Cameron, who earns £142,000 for being prime minister."

  5. Totally off topic, but I feel compelled to highlight this article (please delete if you wish) partly for obvious personal reasons, but whats the saying?
    "There for the grace of God go...".


    1. A very sad story indeed:-

      A former university lecturer and probation officer died from a heroin and alcohol overdose, an inquest heard. Alan Ismail was a First Class Honours graduate who then became a Cleveland probation officer.

      But Teesside Coroner’s Court heard today that due to mental health issues, he turned to drink and drugs and as a result, the “highly educated” man lost his job and home.

      The 40-year-old subsequently found himself in trouble with the law on several occasions over the years. In 2008 he was given an anti-social behaviour order after making nuisance calls to the emergency services and appeared in court on several occasions after breaching the terms of the order.

      The court heard that Mr Ismail died on August 20 last year after emergency services were called to Park Road North in Middlesbrough. He was found outside a flat, having been carried out of a flat and “propped” up against a wall.

  6. RIP Alan, life took some nasty turns for you and you were just overwhelmed. You did not get the understanding you deserved from the CJS.
    a Teesside PO

    1. A real tragedy.

    2. I am glad there is someone out there who seems to have cared. I wish I had done more. 6 days after what would have been Alan's 43rd Birthday. I still miss him.

  7. Does this man and his cohorts understand the term cognitive dissonance because all this gobshit in the face of overwhelming evidence of the destruction of what was a gold standard public service certainly demonstrates it.

  8. So sad but indeed there but before the grace of god go us all.

  9. When I click on the Twitter link to this blog I get a warning

    Warning: this link may be unsafe

    The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. This link could lead to a site that:.............

    1. I get this too but only when I try to access it from my iPhone.