"My CRC have shown us paperwork to say so far they have 217 successes and 280 failures, so we've been given instructions not to breach on any cases by end of year to twist figures and 'up' the success rate. Also, we are not revoking orders in the interests of justice to keep more orders."
Now, I know which CRC this refers to, but lets see if anyone can name them independently first? Maybe readers know of other instances where figures are being 'adjusted'? Remember, this is all about the money now.
There is the small matter of relocation. We co-locate a site in a small northern town, have done for the 31 years I've been in probation, and now we have all been told we'll be out by December, with no hint as to where that might be! Purple Futures etc just waiting for the sodu-all serverence shit to be resolved, then the'll have a clue as to the size of the buildings they require! I feel for all my colleagues, but at this awful juncture the CRC's are in a horrible place! However, I know my turn is just around the corner! Let's be extra nice to each other!
SYCRC have been informed that they will relocate end of Sept and have 1 box to pack their stuff up, no personal items on show, one small locker each and very little other info! No idea of what roles they will perform or where clients will report to in October! We think they will just keep turning up to current office but in the absence of CRC receptionists, will have to throw stones up at window to get our attention! What a farce, but at least it keeps us amused when we are not crying!
And still the EVR is being given in other CRCs - I've heard BGSW and DDC have allocated the latest tranche to some - how can this be fair when all we are offered is voluntary severance at best or compulsory redundancy at worst?
NPS in a northern area facing same relocation issues. We do not know where we will be when CRC move out (they are progressively doing so and will be gone by Xmas). All we have been told is that we will all be moved "somewhere".
One NPS office has 2 POs for all cases and getting annual leave was a nightmare - had to threaten grievance before the manager would agree leave, then had to get different POs from other locations covering on a day by day basis, no-one knew the cases and the manager then took leave too. Now have managers covering several NPS offices but because some have flexi working agreements they are rarely around on Fridays.
I do not know where I will end up working after the "relocation" but there are mutterings because my former trust agreed lots of flexi working for staff: Mon-Fri full timers are a minority and now becoming disgruntled because they cannot cover for everyone at the expense of their own workload...
While in another Northern area some CRC teams have been moved out of local offices 3 days/week with no access to mobile IT.
As an National Probation Service (NPS) Probation Officer (PO) I today received my first Through The Gate (TTG) resettlement plan for a prisoner on my caseload. To be honest, I'm not really sure what the point of it is. It just gives a brief overview of what the prisoner would like to happen on release, but with no reference to the risk of serious harm posed or how realistic that plan is. Yes, you may wish to live with a friend who doesn't know about your sexual offending but that's not going to happen and I told you that when I did a pre-release interview with you last month! Can anyone tell me what these resettlement plans are meant to achieve? And who is paying for them?
On my patch not only has the mileage allowance crashed but we've now been instructed expenses can only be submitted monthly - no more saving 3mths up etc. Bit by bit the thumbscrews are being tightened on the NPS.
Yes and we're being told follow policy on this, follow policy on that: no late night lone working, no home visits unless first agreed by a manager, no taking work home which is all well and good but if we can't take work home and we can't stay late and there is too much work to do during office hours then I'm not quite sure how they expect it to be done?
Following the revelation on here that Jo Mead had quit as CEO of DLNR CRC, I notice from their website that she is now their 'Transformation Director'. To me, that looks like she wasn't happy giving people the tin tack in the role of CEO, so they've borrowed the CEO from Staffs and W.MIDs to give a cosmetic appearance that it's the nasty Transformation Director wot dun it.
Meanwhile, this reported on the Napo website:-
Community Justice Learning to be reviewed
The project for the replacement of the PQF with a new training scheme called Community Justice Learning is to be reviewed.
"The Secretary of State (SoS) for Justice has commissioned a review of probation qualifications and training. The SoS is very interested in this work and has commissioned Sir Martin Narey to undertake the review. He has requested that the procurement exercise for Community Justice Learning contracts is paused while Sir Martin Narey conducts the review. We do not know the timetable for the review at this time but will let you know when further information is provided ,,,,"
So read a statement issued by NOMS at the end of last week. The following is a brief expansion on the statement above, based on information gleaned by Napo, coupled to some initial analysis.
Michael Gove visited London Probation recently and amongst others, spoke to some PQF learners. By all accounts he was favourably impressed by what he saw and heard. However, for some reason, this prompted him to have a closer look at Probation training and the review of the PQF. He asked Martin Narey, who is one of the new non-executive directors at the MoJ, to conduct the review. Martin Narey undertook a review of social work training in 2013/14.
This was only reported within NOMS around a fortnight ago but in time to stop the Learning & Development team issuing their Invitation to Tender (ITT) to HEIs (universities) for the new contracts in respect of the academic elements of the training which had been due to be let with an effective start date of April 2016.
Martin Narey confirmed that he would take up the Secretary of State's invitation around about a week ago and this then became 'official' news at the end of last week.
Nobody yet knows the terms of reference, the extent or the time frame of this review. It could be a short quality assurance exercise or it could be long and fundamental - and of course we also have no idea what Martin Narey might recommend.
At the very least this is a hiccough in the progress of the PQF Review and it seems likely that the new contract for training will not be in place by next April.
Napo is represented on the PQF Review Group. Work has continued against a very tight timetable. There is a complex series of workstreams, but as previously reported, the plans are generally well-made providing a good new basis for future training with greater flexibility and access. Some workstreams will continue (such as the review of Occupational Standards) notwithstanding this new review.
So the project, now known as Community Justice Learning, is paused. How long that pause lasts will be critical, as will the emerging recommendations. The decision of a new SoS to undertake a review of training might normally be seen as perfectly logical, and indeed welcome. What is unfortunate is the timing coming, as it does, right at the point when pre-existing review plans are already so well advanced. One significant risk is that it could result in another training gap just when qualified Probation Officers are in such short supply.
It is too early to know the implications of this review but Napo will continue to engage with planning to ensure comprehensive and sufficient training arrangements for staff across the community justice sector.
A fringe meeting regarding new training arrangements is already planned for Napo AGM and it is anticipated that the situation will be far clearer by then (mid-October).
This is a quote from a guest blog by Helen Schofield on the Probation Institute website:-
Through the new Probation Register and Professional Development Framework the Probation Institute is making a bold offer to engage all practitioners working across probation and rehabilitation services to register as professional practitioners and managers. The door is open wide to embrace staff in CRCs, National Probation, voluntary organisations, the private sector, and both prisons and policing roles. All practitioners and managers providing probation and rehabilitation services should register. The Professional Development Framework supports and informs the Register; it will enable both practitioners and managers to identify and share professional activities, occupational standards, job descriptions, learning, qualifications and endorsed learning providers. Community Justice Learning, the NOMS framework restructuring probation officer training will be integrated in to the wider framework. The Probation Institute Professional Development Framework will be accessible on line from November.
The Probation Institute is working closely with practitioners, employers, higher education, NOMS, NAPO, YJB and the Sector Skills Council, to develop the Framework. The Institute has a window of opportunity to ensure a professional home for the new probation and rehabilitation environment, but needs the active support of the sector now.
There's more - Gove announces another review:-
Announcement of a review of education in adult prisons
We have more than 80,000 adults in our custody. One of the most important things we can do once they are inside the prison walls is to make sure that they get the literacy and numeracy skills they need to make them employable and positive contributors to society once released. For those serving longer sentences, education and training is a key part of their rehabilitation.
We must have the right incentives for prisoners to learn and for prison staff to make sure that education is properly prioritised. I want to see prisoners motivated to engage in their own learning and Governors with the right tools to be more demanding and creative about the education provided in the prisons they run.
I have seen some excellent examples of innovation and visionary organisations providing prisoners with education opportunities and qualifications they actually need to help secure a job on release. But I want to see more.
That is why I have asked Dame Sally Coates to lead a review of the provision of education in prisons.
Dame Sally has a wealth of experience in working with pupils in inner-city schools and in taking decisive action to improve schools’ performance. She took charge of Burlington Danes Academy when it became an ARK school, leading it from special measures to outstanding in all areas. In her current role as Director of Academies South for United Learning she oversees the provision of education in 16 academies and 7 independent schools. She recently carried out a review of teaching standards for the Department for Education and I know she will inject fresh thinking into the neglected area of prison education so that many more offenders’ lives can be turned around.
Dame Sally will be supported by a panel of people who have delivered outstanding secondary education, experts in further and higher education, employers, representatives from Ofsted, senior officials from the Ministry of Justice, the National Offender Management Service and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills as well as experienced frontline prison staff. Together they will work with Dame Sally to explore how we can significantly improve education for all prisoners.
They will also investigate how the quality and methods of prison teaching can be improved including in classrooms and workshops, how prisoners can be encouraged to positively engage with learning and the potential for employers to advise on the curriculum to ensure that prisons offer the right courses and qualifications to enable prisoners to secure jobs on release.
I want this review to happen at pace so I have asked Dame Sally to make recommendations by spring next year.
A copy of the terms of reference for the review is available in the Libraries of both Houses.