Thursday, 15 October 2015

Napo 15 Conference Special

As Napo members begin arriving in Eastbourne for their AGM, lets kick things off with some seaside reading. First this on the Socialist Party website by Chas Berry:-  

Napo at a crossroads

Probation and family courts workers gathering in Eastbourne for their union, Napo's, AGM, 15-17 October, face an uncertain future as the full scale of government cuts and privatisation comes into view. Chas Berry, Napo national vice chair (personal capacity)

Former justice secretary Chris Grayling's act of vandalism in splitting up and privatising over half of the probation service has predictably led to swingeing job cuts and attacks on terms and conditions in the newly outsourced Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs).

Meanwhile, staff transferred to the National Probation Service (NPS) are struggling to manage high caseloads within a dangerously under resourced and unresponsive management structure. As Napo has warned for some time, the public is at increased risk.

Michael Gove
Anyone hoping for respite after Grayling's brutal regime can be under no illusions that newly appointed justice secretary Michael Gove will provide any relief. He pledged to Tory conference that he would bring "reforming zeal into the dark corners of our prison system" with an "unremitting emphasis" on "reform, rehabilitation and redemption."

But he fails to mention how he will achieve this with budget cuts of £249 million at the Ministry of Justice. There is also no mention of where probation services fit into his plans. It seems clear we are in for more of the same, with the added bonus of a full frontal attack on our ability to organise as a union. It is no coincidence that Napo was singled out as one of the first to have the system of union deductions from pay (known as check-off) forcibly removed.

Inspire
Our stand in frustrating Grayling's Transforming Rehabilitation agenda (the government's reform programme for rehabilitating offenders) reminded the Tory establishment of what workplace organisation can achieve. So they are out to destroy us along with every other trade union. This is why it is vital for Napo to join with others in opposing the trade union bill.

Some members are worried about threats facing the union from privatisation and breakup of the service. But Napo can both survive and prosper independently with a fighting strategy. That starts with improving union density in the CRCs and encouraging NPS members to switch to direct debit. Beyond that, we can inspire a new generation of activists, untainted by the defeats of the past, to revitalise the branches and refresh the union at all levels.

Jeremy Corbyn's victory as Labour leader has shown that, when offered an alternative, young people in particular are not prepared to just sit back and accept more austerity. We have to replicate what Jeremy was able to achieve by offering dynamism and hope to our members, many who witness first hand what cuts to local services really mean to our offender clients and to victims of crime.

Prisons 'reform'
With almost breath-taking hypocrisy coming from a Tory minister, Gove tells us he wants prisons to become places where inmates can undertake meaningful work and education to prepare them for life on the outside. This is rich, when his predecessor closed 15 prisons, cut staff by 41% and watched prisoner numbers soar to dangerous levels.

Violence
Outgoing chief inspector Nick Hardwick reported earlier this year that staff shortages, overcrowding and a rising level of violence had brought the system to the edge of collapse. Significantly, he said that training, education and other activity outcomes were 'dismal' - one in five prisoners spent less than two hours a day out of their cells.

Big business
What does Gove's announcement really mean for prison reform? His record as education secretary in forcing schools to become academies gives us a clue. In a similar vein he plans to remove central regulation from prisons, allow governors 'freedom' to run their own establishments and pay them based on 'outcomes'. He wants to see more businesses going into prisons and running them on business lines. This sounds more like a recipe for exploitation of a captive workforce than a progressive plan for rehabilitation.

What price justice in our courts?
Leicester magistrate Nigel Allcoat hit the headlines last month when he was suspended for paying £40 towards the court charge of a destitute asylum seeker. He later resigned his position.

Anyone who pleads guilty at a magistrates court has to pay costs of around £150; if they are found guilty after trial it goes up to £520; if it goes to crown court and they are found guilty it can go up to £1,200 on top of any fine, compensation or other charge. With an estimated 85% of all offenders on benefits or limited means, this is an unjust imposition on the poor, and scores of magistrates are resigning in protest.

Guilty
The criminal court charge, introduced in April, and cuts to legal aid represent further attacks on the poorest in our society. Funding is no longer available for a wide variety of civil cases including family law, and flat rate fees for criminal cases are driving many local law firms to the wall.

Napo members struggling to provide a fair and decent service for criminal and family courts often witness first-hand the impact of Tory enforced austerity. It's one of the reasons why we continue to dedicate ourselves to protecting victims and helping people change their lives.

It's also why many of us are enthused by the new mood of optimism pushing back against austerity and fighting for a fairer society.

Building a mass movement against austerity

Socialist Party fringe meeting

Chas Berry, Napo national vice chair (personal capacity)
Rob Williams, chair of National Shop Stewards Network

6pm to 7pm Thursday 15 October Pier Suite 2 (first floor) The View Hotel, Grand Parade, Eastbourne.

--oo00oo--

Then we have a message from one of probation's best friends, Professor Paul Senior, writing as the new chair of the Probation Institute:-

You never know what will happen when you miss a routine committee meeting. In September when I was away working in Hong Kong the Board of the Probation Institute, of which I am an elected member, decided that I should become its first elected chair. Teach me to miss the meeting! This will not be the easiest of tasks I have ever taken on, in about 40 years of working in and alongside Probation but it is one which I am certainly proud to do. I intend to take up the challenge because I believe the PI has a potentially important and certainly unique role as probation is reshaped and refashioned in the course of the next few years. We are in the midst of a difficult time (and I recognise for many that is an understatement) concerning the future of Probation but the essence of what rehabilitation of offenders is all about is built into the DNA of successive generations of probation workers. We must continue to draw on that legacy and continue to strive for high quality, innovative practices. The Institute is committed to supporting and enhancing high quality probation practice by promoting the professional development of all workers who are engaged in this rehabilitative endeavour, wherever they work.

Whatever outcome individuals may have wanted from Transforming Rehabilitation we are left with a plurality of delivery arrangements with a range of agencies and organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector shaping the delivery of community sentences, probation, resettlement and rehabilitation. What they all need is a workforce which is fit for purpose, which can be enabled to engage in continuing professional development and can share their skills and knowledge in professional networks outwith their employing agency. This is the business of the Probation Institute, indeed, its core mission. 

Now I know there are many obstacles to overcome not least has been the bleeding of probation expertise as disillusioned people have chosen to retire or just leave. I understand that but I also know that service users remain and need support and engagement. Workers who have stayed or arrived anew are facing difficult adjustments, a fight for survival and massive career uncertainty and insecurity. I know that these challenges are huge and that achieving a positive environment is far from easy. But surely we have to continue to try.

What I do recall, having been around for so long in this unique probation world, that I have lived through many previous near fatal attacks on probation as an institution. But there is something at the heart of practice which transcends even the worst of crises because workers care about the people they help and will always be service user focused whatever the practical arrangements of agencies and employers. Indeed the code of ethics prepared 
by the Institute speaks to those values and puts them up front.

Let me explode one myth now. The PI is not in the pocket of the Minister or NOMS. Indeed maintaining a conversation with them remains an uncertain endeavour. We are and will always be in the pocket of our members. I believe that our independence is our strength and if I doubted that I would not have taken up this role! I hope my past record points to an independent spirit striving for probation in all its diversity. Yesterday we had our second Representative Council meeting, a body created as a result of member elections. In a spirited and at times defiant discussion our Council showed a determination to take the PI forward, to use it as a vehicle for maintaining and enhancing professional standards and to seek to get this message out to all working in probation. The PI is not, per se, a campaigning organisation it is there to support good practice through its register, its approach to training and education through its Professional Development Framework, shortly to be launched in November and seeks to ensure its services are relevant to the changing dynamic of probation, in all its plurality.

Creating a new organisation at such a time has been a very difficult exercise and it is not there yet. I feel such an organisation has been a long time in gestation, long before the recent changes. It is difficult to protect a profession which has few reference points as to what counts as good practice, a situation which most professions from dental nursing to security services would look at with amazement. There was a time when being a probation officer and working for the probation service were synonymous and there was an unambiguous qualification structure. We have moved so far from that vision now and have not always been able to protect the professional aspirations of all of the workers who have contributed to these changes. I believe that the Probation Institute fills that gap and can do so the more its membership grows and through participation and exchange can ensure its focus and its future is driven by member intentions. I would want everyone who is reading this and shares our values to join or re-join now and make your voice heard. 

At the same time share your reservations to anything I have said by responding to this blog and keeping the conversation going. In future blogs I will focus on particular elements of the work of the Institute and explore and I hope expose other myths which have grown up around it.

Paul Senior

--oo00oo--

Finally, despite the sudden outbreak of unsubstantiated support for TR evident on this blog over the last couple of days, here's Paul Wilson, interim HMI Probation saying on the Civil Service website that we appear to have all the elements for another Sonnex in place:-

Probation watchdog warns over Ministry of Justice rehabilitation shake-up

Interim chief inspector of probation Paul Wilson tells CSW he is optimistic about the 'Transforming Rehabilitation' scheme – but warns over “more for less” culture.

The probation watchdog has expressed concern over the possible effect of the Ministry of Justice’s reform programme on staff workloads. Speaking exclusively to CSW, interim chief inspector of probation Paul Wilson said he was worried that a focus on “more for less” and “costs and profits” could lead to serious problems for probation staff handling cases in the future.

Introduced in April 2015, the MoJ's Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) has seen the privatisation of almost 70% of probation services, splitting offender management between privately-owned Community Rehabilitation Centres (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS).

The chief inspector’s annual report – published in August – found “significant operational and information sharing concerns across the boundaries of the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies”, but went on to conclude that “transitional” problems could be resolved with “time and continuing goodwill”.

Speaking to CS Wilson said he was optimistic about the future success of the programme, but warned about the possible impact of inexperienced staff and management of resources. Drawing a comparison between Transforming Rehabilitation and the 2009 Sonnex case – in which Daniel Sonnex murdered two French students while on probation – Wilson said there was a risk that the consequences of high workloads and insufficient managerial oversight could be repeated.

He said: “Sonnex was a serious offender and at the time the murders happened, he was supervised by a young inexperienced probation officer with a ridiculous workload of about 120 cases, and she was line managed by an inexperienced temporary senior probation officer, and the senior manager in London at that time was very remote from the fieldwork. “If I can make a link between the Sonnex case and Transforming Rehabilitation – it’s right that from a neutral position I remain optimistic about what may be achieved under TR, but I do have a worry.”

He added: “We are in times of austerity and this government wants more for less, and the new CRCs have a bottom line in relation to costs and profit. In that context, I am worried about the prospects for staff and the future staffing levels and I fear the Sonnex scenario being recreated with inexperienced staff, possibly less trained and qualified than they were before, with larger caseloads, managed and supervised by more remote managers.”
While Wilson plans to step down in February 2016 – by which time a permanent chief inspector is expected to be in post – the interim probation watchdog told CSW that he had already started a process of raising his concerns with ministers.

89 comments:

  1. Why are we giving exposure or thought to something which has less than 5% attendance? Surely that in itself demonstrates the lack of interest in this subject?

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  2. See Paul Wilson is still hedging his bets!

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  3. It obviously needs saying yet again.

    Splitting probation at the local level in EVERY part of England and Wales means more transfers of casework with more opportunity for information not to be passed appropriately to those who need it and for supervisees to find it harder to build continuous professional relationships with those charged with the duty of overseeing their supervision on behalf of the State.

    This needs to be made clear to the public and not left unsaid by those who seek to be influential with regards to probation.

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    1. It's worse than that - there have been concerns raised in relation to trainees! In our district, there are 3 cohorts coming to the end of their training. The message is, everyone, ie in the first lot, 27 trainers apply for the estimated 30 vacancies which will be open to all on 1/2/2016. Obviously not all will get their first choice,but they are advised to take an offer, irrespective of travelling time etc, because they can then apply again, alongside next cohort on 1/8/2016 in which they could secure a vacancy closer to home! Effectively, having staff moving around every six months seems to be acceptable to the NPS! Also the area covered starts or ends in south Lincolnshire, all the way to Berwick on Tweed! the North East district! Nightmare!

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  4. Help! Does anyone know if I can be made to carry out drug testing on service users? I have been told I have to under ORA but I do not want to be compelled to do this.My manager says I must.
    I can't ask my reps they are all at AGM.

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    1. I truly hope not but do not know the law - hopefully someone with experience will be along meanwhile I shall try to give the query more exposure.

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    2. Anyone carrying out these type of test MUST have Hepatitis immunisation!!! MUST! However, you are not in any way legally obliged to have this 'treatment' and this is your legal get out clause!

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    3. If any of your colleagues are taking oral drug swabs from offenders and have not been immunised tell them to immediately cease! I need not tell you of the dangers and your H&S rep should be informed!

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    4. To 17.29 you should tell your manager you are awaiting Union advice if you are being hassled this week and that Union policy on the new drug testing conditions and implications is likely to be being debated at this AGM . You should not be undertaking a new activity before the task (s)have been risk-assessed & (b)until a risk assesment form completed to confirm if more work is required. This is as true for us as it would be for a nurse/crane driver/ lab technician etc if they were told they were to be allocated new tasks.


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  5. Anon 17.29 I suggest you go to the following link regarding an AGM motion on this very subject:

    https://www.facebook.com/SaveProbation?fref=nf

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  6. Re drug testing- in NPS-NE says only if drug use directly associated with risk, or if parole board or court order it to be done! A lot of local services that provided this, are no longer available to NPS, all those lovely partnerships only available to CRC's now! We did some training but, due to the cost of the tests, could only do it in groups, rather than individually! It has been emphisesed that it is very expensive!

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    1. Can I say that local services that provided this previously - CRC-NE have the same access as NPS but this is poor compared to previous service, especially in the cases where the court have imposed Drug Rehabilitation Requirements. If a disclosure of drug use is made, treatment services no longer test. At best the test is once per week when collecting script compared to twice weekly testing for DRRs previously.

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  7. I am NPS NE, there are 2 tests ( individual only) the first is to be done by all case managers with and gives instant results ...the second gets sent off for formal testing and is expensive so we are advised to use rarely. It is the second test that is evidential and so can be used for recalls, the first cannot. No manager has asked if staff have had necessary vaccinations and we have been told all staff must do the tests.

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  8. Any more info on the NPS custody cases that were going to be passed to other areas to manage?

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    1. It happened, it's a shambles

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    2. Which areas ?

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  9. It didn't happen the transfer of cases.
    As for drug testing. It's in your job description?

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    1. Transfer of cases did happen.

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    2. To Anon 23:33 Drug testing - it is absolutely NOT in MY job description ! That is simply not true.

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  10. Has there been any account holding at AGM or has it all been plain sailing? What's the word?

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  11. 06:50. Sorry to have to tell you that we all have the do as you're fucking told clause in our contracts and JD's. It says something like. Carry out whatever duties from time to time that the employer deems necessary. My old HR ACO used to swear by it. Probably be easy to dodge the bullet by citing H&S but that just means some other poor fucker in your office will have to do it. My advice is to make sure that the H&S is proper and find a way to make testing useful for protecting the public and helping people come off their gear. That's what we're meant to do. Adapt and survive. Its like working in an episode of the walking dead. We're the survivors trying to hold the line under constant attack. Adapt, survive, innovate from your desk and supervision. And show the bastards what your made of.

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    1. Very pro social 8.08. Shocking including the us and them mentality!! These so called "bastards" are the ones who employ you!!!

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    2. @Anon 09:11 Are you a newcomer to this blog? There have been hundreds of stories over the last 18-24 months about how those who employ us have taken plenty of opportunities to shaft us royally at every turn. An 'us and them' mentality is the sort of thing that results - and it ain't the doing of those of us at the bottom of the probation shit heap.

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    3. That do as your told clause is not enforceable. A job description has to concise and job specific. If its not what you contracted in to do don't do it.

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    4. They can easily draw up a new contract and terminate the current one. One contract ends as the new one starts.This has been done to Partner agencies to reduce their holidays, salary and working conditions etc. Staff had to remove 'signed under duress' from the contract. If you don't sign then they presume you have resigned. Dreadful way to treat people.

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  12. Forgot to remind you that we mustn't shoot anyone in the head. It's not exactly like the walking dead.

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  13. For some reason Merseyside have decided to boycott the AGM. Can anyone shed any light on why this might be?

    Apparently the General Secretary has collected his bus pass recently and was presented with a 'magic' wand by the co-chairs due to his complaining at the lack of such a facility in supervision. Not at all sure how appropriate that charade was.

    It was good to hear from Elfyn Llwyd, a firm and loyal supporter of probation, but otherwise the opening speech from the top table was at best pedestrian.

    The conference was not quorate yesterday, but I'm told there is a hope it might be today with a few more turning up. Personally I think this unlikely so it will be interesting to see what plan B is. No business conducted and after the break for tea people were invited to attend 'professional' meetings. Many didn't and instead adjourned to the Buccaneer pub which subsequently enjoyed an unexpected bumper and lively afternoon instead.

    So, day one over and nothing to frighten any horses.

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    1. JB can you please prompt an authoritative response from someone who understands employment & H&S law about the very real & seemingly urgent anxiety of a blog commentator about being directed to undertake drug testing of supervisees

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    2. That's Jim keep us updated :)

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    3. Still not quorate but very close we are told. It seems there is a good chance of hitting the magic number when conference resumes at 2pm, not least because a sporting number of retirees have selflessly decided to convert their membership to that of Professional Associates. So lets hope full members show their appreciation by turning up this afternoon.

      A very interesting contribution from Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association stressing the need for unity and the damage that can be caused by union members turning in on themselves during hard times. The blog was referenced in this regard, so I guess that should be taken as a bit of a rebuke, even though he stressed broad shoulders should go with the territory as a General Secretary of any union. I'd hate to think he was suggesting that informed and sensible discussion and debate should be stifled.

      With a further contribution by a last minute stand-in of the Chair of the POA and making some very apposite points about the way we've been treated and the need for training, professionalism and greater unity, some might begin to feel the rumoured merger might not be so fanciful after all......

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  14. An article in the Daily Telegraph a couple of days ago begins: -

    " Michael Gove needs to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime

    Violent assaults may have fallen but now is not the time to get complacent about crime "

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11931979/Cybercrime-is-now-a-major-threat-to-the-UK-Michael-Gove-must-get-tough-on-it.html?utm_content=buffercff8e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    I have posted a comment and urge others who can find the time to also do so.

    My comment is also available here: -

    https://www.facebook.com/AndrewSHattonPublicMiscellany/posts/785790278210154

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  15. Ref drug testing, as I Rep I would advise the member first to check their contract and job description - it may be that drug testing would be introduced under the 'catch all' condition as previous mentioned. Many areas have gone away from specific job descriptions to generic ones - which are an employers dream. However, we are not able to legally drug test anyone and everyone, only those to whom the relevant legislation applies and within certain perimeters. (incidentally, as far as I am aware there is no legal remit to ever alcohol breath test a person,altho you wouldnt think so looking at some PSR proposals). If you are required to drug test people then the employer has a legal duty of care to ensure that you are a) properly trained (usually by the drug testing kit providers), that PPE is provided (ie gloves and appropriate disposal bins) and that an appropriate area is available for the analysis and storage of samples (should it be required for testing later ie a designated fridge for the purpose). Also your employer should pay for the Hep C immunisation course, which I recollect is 3 jabs spaced out, which last I heard was costing £60 here. I personally would never accept being told 'X will show you what to do' in lieu of training.
    Hope that helps.
    Deb

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    1. Thanks Deb - maybe the person directly concerned will respond.

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    2. Deb - as always a relevant, informed, intelligent and insightful post - thank you - it will help with a situation that I have to deal with next week. Have a great weekend :-)

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    3. I had my first Hep C vaccination back in 1989 whilst on a prison secondment, on the advice of the prison healthcare. Think it was two jabs and then a blood test to check that antibodies had formed. My sympathetic GP waived the cost on the basis of my employment. Worrying that, 26 years later, it seems that probation folk aren't routinely being advised to have this done as a matter of course and regardless of role. Or are they?

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    4. I've not heard of it before and facilitated regular drug tests for a time. Won't be doing any more until I know more about his and will now have to get tested for Hep C myself??? Not sure about any of this but it is worrying.

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    5. 21.19 here again. I meant Hep B vaccination. Not C. Soz.

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    6. I am utterly amazed that the employer does not exercise its legal duty of care better than this. What disregard there is for the health and well being of the employees - not to mention liability! It beggars belief.These are known risks that other employees take action about.

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    7. Oops! Sorry, concur with 21:19/41 - should have typed Hep B not Hep C.
      Deb

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    8. SWA1 Wales have been doing drug testing on PPOs for several years.

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  16. Jim I bet your out tonight hob nobbing with top Napo brass and not holding them to account as you do behind this blog. After all the huffing and puffing that occurred on this blog about holding the top table to account, nothing happened. Such a weak union :'""(

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    1. Who cares. It's all gone to shit. Look at TTG.

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    2. Looks like a victory for the top table.

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    3. The General Secretary gave his usual theatrical performance, long on hyperbole and short on content. The blog got an oblique reference and he chose to address the criticisms by recounting his long history of having to endure threats and assaults as someone of BME origin.

      The union's dysfunctionality was on full display variously as quoracy was dealt with by sleight of hand and the top table rebuked by conference voting to remit a portion of the annual report that would have rubber-stamped an NEC decision that had previously been rejected twice by conference. It will probably be rejected for a third time tomorrow.

      Meaningful accountability is as elusive as ever, but the charade continues into it's final day tomorrow. So, situation normal as numerous elephants in the room look highly likely to go unnoticed and unidentified for another year.

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    4. Thanks Jim

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    5. Is this referring back linked to the NEC motion on Palestine Jim!

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    6. FROM FACEBOOK: -

      " Keep Probation Public, not Private 54 mins

      Update.....unfortunately steering committee got the vote wrong...it happens....conference rejected the referral back...hence conference ratifies the NEC decision to affiliate.

      https://www.facebook.com/SaveProbation/posts/923048931076602?comment_id=923065467741615&reply_comment_id=923314137716748&total_comments=2&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R2%22%7D "

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  17. Looking at NPS PO jobs on i-grasp and it says you can apply with a BA honours in criminal justice. Is this the new qualification? What about the vocational qualification that used to go with it? Not required anymore?

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  18. Who cares. It's all gone to shit.

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  19. Harry Fletcher active via Twitter: -

    " Harry Fletcher ‏@hfletcher10 Oct 14

    #Probationselloff Private Owners seem desperate to renegotiate contracts and lay off staff as cases lower than expected.Labour MPs need info


    4h4 hours ago

    #Probationselloff Redundancy meetings with Private contractors occurring regularly.Staff replaced by Tags.All sadly predicted 2 years ago.


    4h4 hours ago

    #Probationselloff Strong hints that there have been significant number of Serious Further Offenses since selloff. Unions should ask FOIs?

    4h4 hours ago

    #Probationselloff Is it in the interests of Ministry to highlight failures in post selloff world if it impacts on their own job security ?

    https://twitter.com/hfletcher10

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    1. I think we can assume that Harry is as well informed as usual, his timing is not accidental and is probably making a comment on Napo's level of media coverage and parliamentary briefing as anything else. Just one of the many elephants going unnoticed for another year, despite all the warm words and reassuring noises from the top table.

      Regarding SFO's, I can confirm from my own anecdotal sources that there's definitely something funny going on and it would not suit certain interests should attention focus on such matters. Journalists please take note.

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    2. Just been through SFO investigation myself and Transforming Rehabilitation was highlighted as a contributing factor.

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    3. Yes few SFOS in our area, complete mess and its probably not even heard of in the wider public.

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    4. Where is the evidence base there have been more SFOs post TR. There is none or the numbers are skewed as the categories for offences considered to be SFOs vhas widened. Get it right before looking daft on here with non factual pub like answers

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  20. re SFOs, my SPO is doing two investigations and has just finished another which is unheard of, so your instincts are correct.

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  21. There enough people yet at AGM yet? Seems like a jolly up to me down on the seaside with no business or account holding taking place. Well spent union money it seems. As for elephants in a room; why aren't people raising these at the AGM or people waiting to come back on here and moan and not stand up where it counts - at AGM!!!

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  22. Take it you at 07:52 are at conference, so are you speaking from knowledge, or are you just dim?

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  23. 8.21 I'm in London. It was too far to travel to conference so I'm not at AGM.

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  24. So hopefully some MPs who are not Government Ministers like mine is, will even now being contacted by constituents to raise concerns about Serious Further Offences (Let us avoid acronyms if we hope media, politicians and campaigners will note and act) that may have occurred since the date the probation reforms became operational the 1st June 2014, when the former Probation Trusts were replaced by the new (second coming of a) National Probation Service (NPS) and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) and all probation staff & supervisees were after reassessment, assigned to one specific organisation for continued employment or supervision.

    Some journalistic investigations and parliamentary questioning in the Houses of the Lords and Commons may serve to alert the nation so that the certain increased danger (in my opinion) can be identified and curtailed by an urgent reunification.

    This also affects partner agencies especially prisons, the police and local authority social service departments and those voluntary bodies who work with the supervisees of the probation employing organisations.

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  25. Feedback I've had from conference is disappointing - seems that little in the way of domestic concerns were raised with too much time taken over the affiliation issue which in the end was ratified by conference. What on earth is going on.

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  26. Not quorate today but members voted to discuss motions and give indicative votes as to whether the next NEC should ratify motions.

    Perhaps the most important motion, on the future of the union, was not supported.

    London branch proposed the motion above regarding drug testing but the proposers left and did not talk to it or withdraw it. Poor form.

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    1. The conference had descended into farce and there was not one point when the conference was actually quorate (despite what was declared). When quoracy was declared it should have been challenged as any fool could see there was less than 300 bodies in the room and at least 40 members had been double counted due to a lunchtime meeting being held beforehand. Counters may well be making their own complaints more publicly in due course.

      Many people quite rightly left Eastbourne today in disgust and there were certainly raised voices and angry comments being made in several carriages as trains headed back to the capital from disgruntled Napo members with new grievances against everyone from the sleepy sound guy to the borderline sexist General Secretary and the permanently smiley but ineffective Assistant General Secretary.

      I heard someone even dare to suggest that some branches might break away from napo and form their own union and will apparently look to London for a lead. Personally I hope they do but the look on Pat Waterman's face today as she led her team out of the conference hall was a stinging indictment on the whole shambles and I wouldn't be surprised if London will write to napo bosses to make ttheir feelings known.

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    2. There is much talk about how to rebuild and reunify but WHO at conference held our leaders to account! From rumblings I've heard NO ONE. All I've heard is what a shambles it was. Why spend so much time debating the affiliation fiasco - NAPO need to get the domestic business in order first and foremost. Much was tweeted about the Sodexo estate proposals, It is not just Sodexo - have other area chairs even informed the GS or NAPO HQ what is going on.

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    3. This is a joke. London attended but will write to the GS there concerns. They were at AGM for goodness sake. Why didn't they pipe up then? Shameful and poor tactics. Fact is Lawrence played it right and came out on topic. Having achieved this I say you all atop sniping him on here and get behind this General of the depleted NAPO army. Lawrence I salute you !!! Now let's beat Sodexo

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  27. From The Morning Star

    "Saturday 17th

    by Conrad Landin in Eastbourne

    Napo conference: ‘Hypocrite’ boss faces anger over facility time ban

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A “HYPOCRITE” boss who denied his workers time off for a union conference dodged questions yesterday over whether he had booked holiday to attend the same event.

    Probation officers working under the National Offender Management Service (Noms) had previously been given facility time to attend the conference of their union Napo — but the Civil Service has scrapped this allowance as part of vicious attacks on public-sector unions.

    Staff asked for professional development leave but were told that they could only attend Napo’s AGM if they booked holiday.

    At a panel discussion at the conference yesterday, angry workers said the episode proved that Noms’s purported commitment to good relations with unions was just “lip-service.”

    It was then pointed out that Noms industrial relations chief Francis Stuart was sitting in the audience, prompting heckles from union activists who asked if he was subject to the same requirement to classify the conference as a holiday.

    When the Star asked Mr Stuart if he himself had taken a day’s leave to attend, he mumbled: “It depends what context you’re asking in, as if it’s going in the paper…” Asked if it was not in the public interest given Noms’s restrictions on union reps, the rattled Mr Stuart changed his tune and said: “I’m taking a day’s leave.”

    He then refused to disclose when he had decided to book holiday.

    But the Ministry of Justice stoked the confusion further.

    When asked if Mr Stuart was officially working yesterday, a departmental spokeswoman said: “He’s there in his official capacity. He was asked to attend by Napo.”

    Napo east Anglia branch secretary John Cummins, who was himself forced to take leave, said: “It would seem hypocritical that someone from the same organisation as us was allowed [leave to attend the conference] as an observer, and he’s not even a member of the association.” The union’s assistant general secretary Dean Rodgers added: “Staff in the NHS are given [professional development] leave to attend events [organised by] the royal colleges.

    “There’s a whole plethora of issues on which the employers are asking for our professional advice.

    “They’re desperate for our input, but they won’t give people one day off to attend a conference.


    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e604-Napo-conference-Hypocrite-boss-faces-anger-over-facility-time-ban ”

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  28. A leaked MOJ memo has conformed the rumours that ACPO have been asked to respond to how they would manage if tasked with supervising all MAPPA eligible offenders. Can anyone confirm this? If true it looks like some of the MOJ's probation budget is on its way to the Home Office

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    1. That does not fit with Gove's idea that prisons need social work - presumably only for some prisoners and not after release but maybe there is a lack of understanding about what differentiates social work from supervising, monitoring and perhaps befriending.

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    2. Hatto your bossing it with the comments. There more focused and relevant. I like. I like. Keep up the good work :)

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    3. Gosh, that could be the end then. The CRCs manage low and medium risk and the Police manage MAPPA cases. No more Probation Service :-(

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    4. Police already manage Category 1 MAPPA offenders and they have Probation Officers too so I'm not sure what difference it would make to probation if police did start managing Categories 2 and 3 also apart from offering extra support like they do with sex offenders. All good isn't it or am I missing something?

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    5. 23.56 your on the money. The more that can be passed on the better. Means less accountability and smaller workload

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    6. 23.56, the memo refers to the Police taking the Offender Manager role for MAPPA eligible offenders away from Probation, e.g. Probation Officers would cease to exist and upon release, licences would be managed by the Police, who would become the supervising officers.

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    7. There is nothing to stop police services employing probation officers as part of multi disciplinary teams managed by themselves- this would fit in with their civilianisation agenda.This has possibly been on the cards since the introduction of the probation diploma- a stand alone probation qualification needs a specific supporting orgnanisation no more than a doctor needs a hospital- we can work anywhere now (though as a cqsw bod confirmed by a probation committee I prefer teh old ways).

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  29. Maybe its the CRC's are freaking out over mappa cases and the constant recalls hitting there targets. If its moved to the Police and home office then they can disappear off the books.

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    1. CRC does not manage MAPPA cases - least not in my area

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    2. Not yet you mean !

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    3. Where is the evidence base being a MAPPA case increases the chance of recall. It doesn't!!! Bone heads

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    4. no one said that read it properly stupid

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  30. in our CRC officers not allowed to breach without seeking permission from SPO and we have to show him evidence our attempts to engage people. We're all upset at having to do this - none of us instigate breach for the fun of it or to score points, we do so because an Order of the Court has been breached. Apparently our office is breaching too much and it does not look good on the spreadsheet. We're fast approaching losing the will to live.

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  31. Why do you need to get SPO permission? Being breached does not result in financial penalty. Going to prison does so breach and don't recommend prison!! Anyone who does get prison following a breach then has to answer to the SPO? Simples

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    1. I forgot to add. your need to recommend prison when needed but on most cases it can be avoided with the right interventions imposed for the breach. I dunno.

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  32. The comments above reflect the idiocy of what CRC are currently being instructed to do. The systematic deskilling of staff where virtually every decision has to be rubber stamped by a Manager, the placing of financial considerations above the implementation of the law or risk concerns (appropriate breaches and/or recalls) - no wonder morale is rock bottom.
    Deb

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    1. less breaches could be spun as 'happy punters' and CRC being 'so good that people all want to attend'. Pile of steaming nonsense!!

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    2. I do not think it is a deskilling of staff. All too often breach has been used as a first resort rather than last.Often staff under pressure seek quick solutions to problems- recall is now much more difficult than 20 years ago - the introduction of an SPO can slow down a fast track process to breach or recall. Given the cost to individuals of court appearances any slowing down or diversion from beach hearings is a useful way of avoiding court charges for those we prosecute.

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  33. It used to be 3 no shows and back in court for breach. Now there is a list of 20 suggestions to be worked through, ie phone the offender, text, call their family...etc then ask a manager before the breach. Now a phone call to or from an offender will suffice instead of a face to face appt.

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  34. The Probation Institute 'is not, per se, a campaigning organisation', writes Paul Senior. It is not a campaigning organisation – full stop. It cannot be because it also represents the private companies, who are increasingly rebranding and doing away with the word 'probation'. The PI will be more heritage centre or ivory tower - not an influencer of contemporary practice. The private companies will not look over their shoulders to see if the PI approves of their delivery models.

    The PI can do nothing about the increasing fragmentation of service delivery. How long before we have hubs outsourced overseas? It can do nothing about proposed open plan offices which will compromise privacy and confidentiality and raise stress levels all round. These are changes driven by cost cutting, not professional considerations. In the absence of a licence to practice it can do nothing to regulate professional standards. It cannot be a watchdog because the various vested interests will veto any barking.

    The PI wants to keep the probation flame alive and it probably will in the same way that historical societies re-enact old battles, or Morris dancers remind us of a bygone age.

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  35. my CRC has told us that the word 'probation' belongs to the past and that is why moving forward we are Senior Case Managers or Case Managers. This is the second rebranding of our grade in 12mths as we've not long been told to refer to ourselves as Responsible Officers.

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  36. 15.54 what area you from?

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