Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Fingers Crossed

The interim HM Chief Inspector of Probation has just published his annual report. A man of limited ability in my view, he hopes everything will be alright:-    

Following the resignation of Paul McDowell, I took up my post as interim HM Chief Inspector on 19 February 2015.

I will not miss this opportunity to pay tribute to the professionalism and resilience of my former colleagues who work in youth justice, in probation services and in parts of the National Offender Management Service. Whether they work in the public, private or third sector their conscientious work sometimes goes unrecognised and is under-valued in the modern climate of challenge and reform.

Governments since 1997 have instigated major changes to the Probation Service. Twice in my career to date I have been told that I was participating in a once in a lifetime reform of probation. Those words have not been used in relation to the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme but few would argue that the nature and pace of these changes will continue to have unprecedented impact on organisational structures and staff for some time to come.

Our early Transforming Rehabilitation reports highlight significant operational and information-sharing concerns across the boundaries of the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies, and continuing frustration with old case management systems. We have found probation areas that had struggled to deliver a quality service prior to Transforming Rehabilitation are now finding it hardest to adapt and cope with the reforms. The correlation between historical performance of former probation trusts and progress made with Transforming Rehabilitation implementation extended into the important issue of staff morale. This speaks to the urgent and continuing need to support the necessary improvement in the quality of leadership and management.

However, with time and continuing goodwill I believe these transitional problems can be resolved. The much bigger challenge for 2015 and beyond will be to turn the rhetoric of innovation and the long-advocated extension of services to short-term prisoners into hard evidence of effectiveness and reduced rates of reoffending. This will be the true test of Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.


In HM Inspectorate of Probation we welcome the new policy and operational focus on rehabilitation and reduction in reoffending rates, and we believe this must be reflected throughout our future inspection programmes. We have been allocated a small increase in budget to resource development of a new inspection model which will be piloted in the first half of 2015/2016 and assume functional value later in the year. I believe this will provide fit for purpose independent and impartial scrutiny, which is more important than ever before. 

I am proud to present this Annual Report. When working as Chief Probation Officer in West Yorkshire and London I learned the value of good inspection and how this could be a driving force for change and for improved staff morale, which is so often a feature of high performing organisations. I trust the work of the Inspectorate in 2014/15 may serve such a useful purpose and inspire behaviour and action to improve policy and practice in the future.

Paul Wilson CBE
HM Chief Inspector of Probation

45 comments:

  1. Wishful magic thinking. Wonderful tr and inspection not fit for purpose

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  2. I have little confidence in the inspection process. They find what they are asked to find and polish any turds they cannot ignore without looking stupid. It is being destroyed and is becoming a shadow of it's former self.

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  3. Thanks for publishing this extract Jim, it looks like Grayling has chosen another YES man.

    I wonder whether that will suit Gove when the disasters need explaining & someone other than the policies or manner of implementation need to be blamed & sacked?

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  4. I'll have a pint of whatever he's on!
    Another master class in how to say absolutely nothing using lots of words.....

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  5. ..no mention of the scale of redundancies, the loss of office space, the moving away from local teams, the robots, hubs, and ticky boxes, useless systems which the new overlords have introduced, and then have the gall to say that those who are struggling to adapt, are the ones who struggled with the previous system. What a bloody cheek!

    I worked in Northumbria, which had the highest rating of excellence before Trusts were abandoned, and I can see my ex-colleagues and friends still there, depressed, angry, ill, frightened and f....ing sick of the whole caboodle. Yet still committed to give their all, because that is what they do, to help enable offenders/service users/clients to turn their lives around, and thereby reduce the risk of reoffending. And if this happens, it will be IN SPITE OF TR, NOT BECAUSE OF...

    Keep your heads up my friends - PO's, PSOs and the trodden on admin. And be proud that you were all the "last 'men' standing" as you nursed a valuable Service thro' its death throes. And good luc kto you all for the future.

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  6. we need a Frances Crook equivalent because as far as i'm concerned this bloke is not independent.

    I actually find it staggering that nationally we supervise tens of thousands of people and yet there is no national website where offenders can share concerns and experiences. I realise sites such as this can be used by those to vent grievances but if some of my offenders logged on and reported the chaos they're currently experiencing the office/service would be put on special measure. It's just a shame that we cant give specifics on here as it would blow our cover but I know we can email jim with particular concerns.

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    1. A helpful central website for use by offenders 'on probation', and their families, could be a good idea! For sharing experiences, support, and advice. Message boards and forums would need moderating to avoid 'abuse' (probably most likely by 'outsiders'/trolls!). However, these things cost money, and would either need a charitable status; a sponsor or benefactor; or some sort of income stream (?) to pay the costs of running it - properly!
      But I don't just envisage it being somewhere 'to go and moan about the CJS' - something much more positive, supporting desistance - some networking, and an encouraging positive (dare I say, 'human') inclusive culture, to assist and increase integration with a view to continuing and maintaining rehabilitation.

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    2. Prisoners Families Voices partly served this purpose for a while, but clearly ceased operation towards the end of last year.

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  7. What a brilliant idea.........:/

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    1. I don't know whether you're being sarcastic because this is an anonymous blog that offenders could contribute to but they need a proper website with information about what probation is and the services we offer, a part of the website should be a discussion board where they can give working examples of issues important to them particularly issues of good and poor practice.

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    2. Funny that special measures has been mentioned. I heard a rumour recently that one CRC is already in special measures.....

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    3. oh London !

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    4. no change there then.

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    5. London isn't in special measures. I'm sure it's nowhere near top of the pile but it's doing ok.

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    6. I'm not sure any CRC can be in special measures just yet, as the service credit system (financial penalties) only kicked in at the beginning of August.

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  8. I am still waiting to hear of the new innovative ways of working nothing changed yet in our neck of the woods. Asking staff for their ideas! Lots of focus on targets these will soon start to be manipulated if not being done already. they will all be in special measures soon . rushing through assessments in 10 days with threadbare reports. Crazy I tells ya

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  9. I know it's off topic but can someone tell me why the 600 staff redundancies in Sodexo areas are not protected by the 7 year 'protection' put in place at time of transfer?

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    1. Terms and conditions were for 7 years if you move between crcs or if you move from nps to crc. If you move from crc to nps you are not protected. Not sure that we really have any protection anyway.

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    2. Redundancies the protection was only for 7 months

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  10. Probation services (or lack of them?) is only part of the issue for the offender in this new Tory world of criminal justice.
    Accommodation is becoming a huge problem where there seems whole areas reserved now for immigrants and offenders. The job centre are making people apply for inappropriate jobs (even where there could be legal consequences- but targets and all that you know). There's no 'favours' or you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours between voluntary organisations any more or at least very little.
    The poorest and most deprived such as those on the streets are being saddled with mounting debts from court appearances. How many court appearances would a homeless addict accumulate in a year?
    shouldn't charge at all now as you can't get represented any more anyway.
    The 'system' is totally f***** in any direction you care to look.
    Far from encouraging engagement with agencies, the present direction of the CJS just encourages two fingers from offenders, and is rapidly creating an us and them mentality.
    Offenders have become commodities plain and simple, and I fear it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

    'Getafix'

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    1. £100 for admitting a breach. WTF. No wonder no one is attending. 'Notice of 'Attendance' replaces formal summons. Nice big NOMS logo at the top.

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    2. Can only think this will (initially at least, until people realise this will cost even more when the lose) encourage a flurry of time-consuming 'not guiltys'. ...And will also really test the system for making absences acceptable/unacceptable - and being carefully and consistently monitored and recorded. ... I presume no lawyers freely available to offenders, to represent at such hearings! #StichedUp all round.

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  11. After 25 years in the CJS, I have to say that the system we are operating in at present is corrupt. It serves the needs of the administration and not the public, offenders and victim alike. I can no longer be party to the charade and will not be an agent of the state and collude in this maladministration of justice.

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    1. Then resign you joker

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    2. How rude 20:12, I think you are the real joker and have no clue. If you are a member of the CJS, you shouldn't be as anon 09:02 speaks the truth

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    3. I already did, genius.

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  12. Paul Wilson - not the most reliable, intelligent or independent member of the probation family so his observations and musings regarding inspection are, exactly what you could expect: uninspiring and of limited value!

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    1. Having read again P W's report, I notice that really, only one paragraph is sort of dedicated to his analysis of the new Service(s), and even that suggests that those that weren't much good before are the ones who aren't much good now. . The whole short report starts and ends with himself, and generally comes across as somewhat smug, grandiose and patronising.

      Where is the analysis of specific problem areas? And what are his suggestions for improvement? It would appear that he is putting it all into the hands of those 'wonderful eager' ( long-suffering) staff who will sort it all out with their goodwill (working 70 hrs a week, for tuppence, those reducing numbers who are still in a job!) And of course,TIME is also a great healer!!!! Er, exactly how, Paul?

      That report looks more like a young, inexperienced, tabloid reporter's version of a good story.

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  13. Anyone who makes it to the top of the tree gets hammered on this forum. Maybe it's because most on here never made it past middle management? Paul Wilson is the right person for the Inspectorate and anyone who feels otherwise had lost the plot.

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    1. Thank you 21:35 for such an insightful comment. So refreshing I must say. It's the ones like you who contributed to the mess we are in today.

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    2. Guys like Grayling surround themselves with yes men. It is generally very easy to see through the charade. When probation officers are involved, the audience is TRAINED to see through the charade. Yes men can look stupid very easily.

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    3. 21:35 You clearly have had no experience of the man.

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    4. Reckon 21.35 might be a Mrs. Wilson, Jim :)

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    5. Being married to a man-no matter how much of a prat he might be-does not make a woman a brainless sycophant

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  14. 21:35. Are you a monkey then? Watch out you might fall outta that tree right onto your monkey ass !!

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  15. Sad to say the days of bring able to have admiration for managers/leaders seem to have passed, as the majority seem to be variously puppets of others (who remain out of sight), self-aggrandising buffoons, lickspittles or simply deluded. The Labour leadership epitomises this for me; Blair's Bitch, Burnham, Cooper... I remain uncertain about Corbyn. He's either genuine or or simply deluded. In the 21st C its hard to tell. Who holds respect? Chilcott did initially, until he turned an important & essential inquiry into a cashcow; Clegg did, for about 30 seconds until he forgot what he'd promised; Obama seems to be hanging onto respect by a thread; can't think of anyone else at the moment. And there's the problem, there are NO obvious role models of how to be an incisive, inspirational & positive leader/manager. To succeed everyone seems to think they have to be Alan Sugar - greedy, abusive, bullying, insincere, surrounded by fawning acolytes.

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  16. Let's be clear. How many of you have worked for someone who COULD organise a piss up in a brewery?. Quick show of hands. Give me a moment tot them up.... Thought so, all of you. Let me guess, it was someone, taught you all you know. You're still friends to this day. Apart from the ones who became directors and forgot their roots and are now, because they blanked you in the street 2 years ago, officially, a cunt. Which reminds me Cilla's funeral isn't live on TV. What a shame. Be nice to people on the way up. If you see them stranded in a lay by, does no harm to help a lost soul.

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  17. I had a post emailed twice that does not seem to have appeared yet is so important -read the detail - it is worth posting twice.

    Yesterday via Twitter there was a Labour MP squealing about how Labour as a whole opposed TR - I pointed out that we are not talking about the past and they are not opposing the current nonsenses -No publicity from Labour nationally about the ridiculous - hope and pray - annual report from the chief inspector - when some of us were saying definitively that due to the Split - if nothing else - TR was bad for rehabilitation from early 2013.

    Anyway those emails (excuse me if it is now appearing for a third time - but I cannot see it once)

    " Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "Fingers Crossed":

    This maybe a duplicate post - apologies if so (IT issues).

    I'm redundant, according to Sodexo, my CRC & the TR project. Here's an advert:

    "Probation Officers from New Zealand & Australia required
    South West England, England
    £24.00 - £26.00 per hour
    Job type: Temporary, full-time
    Date: 3 days ago
    Reference: 27731803
    Posted by Servoca Resourcing Solutions
    Are you looking to continue your career in probation whilst in the UK?

    Servoca resourcing is a recruitment organisation that specialises in placing people in to temporary and permanent roles within the criminal justice system.

    Currently in the probation market there is a lack of candidates with background in probation. We are currently looking for candidates who are experienced Probation Officers, looking to break in to the UK Probation Service.

    Our Clients are interested in employing probation officers from Australia and New Zealand on interim contracts.

    Main requirements for a Temporary Probation Officer Role are:

    2 years minimum experience in a Probation Officer role
    Available to work immediately, and have proof of eligibility to work in the UK
    Experience in caseload management of offenders
    Degree in related fields
    Your duties will include:

    Completing quality risk assessments
    Managing caseload of predominantly medium risk offenders
    Liaising with outside agencies
    Updating records on the database
    Enforcing community based orders

    You will be able to communicate effectively with others including Court staff and Offenders and have the ability to develop productive working relationships with other agencies and your team.

    Servoca Resourcing Solutions is acting as an Employment Business in relation to this vacancy. We are an equal opportunity employer with a diverse workforce. We provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and specialise in criminal justice skills related roles."

    Post a comment.

    Unsubscribe to comments on this post.

    Posted by Anonymous to On Probation Blog at 14 August 2015 at 07:53 "

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    1. I the related and earlier email of the original post the writer had included (differently) this script: -


      " Gove - As with around 600 other highly experienced & qualified individuals I'm being made unemployed by Sodexo thanks to the dumb TR project. This is a current job advert: "

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    2. Thank you, Andrew. Its all gone bonkers!

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    3. No - thank you Anon 16:22 for finding it - the text is clearly an absolute lie - as we know qualified and experienced folk have been leaving and others are on the point of being severed or made redundant - yet this employment agency advertises 12,000 miles away and says

      " Currently in the probation market there is a lack of candidates with background in probation."

      Whereas there are plenty of them but just who want decent jobs with decent employers.

      I have directed the remarks at one MP who reckons Labour put up a good fight to save probation and a journalist who made a basic error when writing about Janner yesterday and had the courtesy to acknowledge my correction

      https://twitter.com/Andrew_S_Hatton/status/632127399816220673

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