Friday, 2 October 2015

TR Latest News 6

Given the Omnishambles that TR has become, it's somewhat surprising that the MoJ team responsible have been put forward for an award. This by Napo's David Raho on Facebook:-

Somewhat surprisingly the MOJ has been shortlisted under the commercial and the project management category for Transforming Rehabilitation. History teaches us that the victors often get to rewrite history and claim that might was right. TR is a prime example of how focused ideological power and treachery and skillful use of misinformation can be used to overcome reason, good governance, and professional legitimacy.

That the civil service could even consider giving recognition to such a fundamentally flawed project that ignored evidence and expert advice, created an artificial market for purely ideological rather than practical and effective reasons, deliberately and systematically failed to engage with those with concerns involved in it beggars belief.

However it might be considered by the MOJ to be a commercial success by virtue of the fact that in the past they have been accused of letting multinational beneficiaries pull the wool over their eyes and make them look incompetent and inept. However with TR they have thus far managed to get away with the scandalous swindle that has meant that the bidders for CRC's had little idea what they were actually bidding for (hence the delays and setbacks in rolling out their respective operating models). They now realise that along with the family silver the MOJ also sold them a job lot of old rope and potentially expensive problems that could impact on their ability to do what they may have planned to do.

Some might say that on the evidence the MOJ should certainly get an award but this should be the Arthur Daley Award for being economical with the truth and being able to claim commercial sensitivity in increasingly more creative ways when challenged..


Explore the role of the state and criminal justice interventions in producing safe and just societies

Crime and criminal justice are vast and fascinating issues that highlight the complexity of defining and solving social problems.

What traditional and innovative responses to crime and victimisation work? Why do people stop offending? Which interventions are seen by the community as being fair, lawful and effective?

The age of austerity in which we currently find ourselves has made these issues all the more significant and politically sensitive. Join us as we explore the criminal justice system, from crime to desistance

Through this free online course you’ll develop an understanding of, and critical perspective on, the role of the state in the regulation of criminal behaviour and the key parts played by those involved in the criminal justice system.

Together, we’ll explore key themes of classic criminological research, contemporary debates on criminal justice institutions and processes, and international developments in policy and practice, focusing in particular on:

  • crime and criminal justice;
  • policing;
  • victims and victim support;
  • restorative justice;
  • prisons and places of confinement;
  • community sanctions and measures;
  • desistance.
​Learn with criminal justice academics and professionals. Over seven weeks, you’ll learn with a team of specialists from the Centre for Criminological Research in the School of Law at the University of Sheffield.

​As well as academics, we’ll talk to those with firsthand experience of the criminal justice system, including probation officers, former prisoners and criminal lawyers. We’ll visit the police service in situ, witness a victim mediation session and even travel to Italy to learn about Cesare Lombroso, the father of modern criminology.

You’ll be invited to share your experiences and debate the key issues with other learners. What should the role of the police be? What are victims’ experiences of criminal justice and how can we support victims? Are there alternative responses to crime instead of 
prosecution and conviction?

FREE online course
Duration: 7 weeks
3 hours pw
Certificates available


This is an introductory course and anyone can enjoy it without prior knowledge or experience of the subject. A basic knowledge of criminal justice will be helpful but is not essential. The course will focus on criminal justice in England and Wales, but is designed so that learners from any country can participate.

The course will be useful for those considering an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the fields of criminology or criminal justice.


Is Probation practice at risk from Electronic Monitoring?

Alarm bells are being rung at the Probation Institute this week following the meeting of the Institute’s Electronic Monitoring Working Group which includes, practitioner, academic, sentencer and industry input.

The group, in their third meeting since being established, is calling for probation leaders and practitioners to take a far more pro-active stance on electronic monitoring (EM) or risk having the technology forced upon them without proper consideration of how it should fit into ethical and best probation practice.

“The technology is moving forward rapidly,” said Savas Hadjipavlou, the Institute’s Chief Executive. “There is the potential for it to enhance the work of probation and our relationships with service users but only if we play our part now in shaping how the technology is used rather than letting the technology drive our practice.”

The group listened to presentations by technology providers this week so that they could understand latest developments and then discussed a range of key issues in terms of ethics, the evidence-base for EM’s effectiveness, how it’s currently being use by police and sentencers and its potential impact on community rehabilitation companies and their contracts.

The EM group is currently working on a report covering all these issues and is holding a stakeholder consultation event in November to lay down the challenge to probation leaders on how they are going to address current and future challenges. Other stakeholders at the event are expected to include representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Police, PCCs and EM technology providers.

“Community rehabilitation companies are currently focusing most of their attention on designing their delivery models to meet the demands of their contracts. This is understandable but if we miss the boat on shaping electronic monitoring now the consequences could hit probation a couple of years down the road, when it will be much harder to change the direction of travel,” said Savas Hadjipavlou.

Practitioners can keep up-to-date with developments in electronic monitoring, including relevant documents and research, by joining the Probation Institute and signing up for the EM professional network. Find out more here:

Members of the Institute Electronic Monitoring Practitioner network include:

David Bebb – Head of Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan, Wales CRC
Trevor Beckford – Solicitor & Legal Enforcement Advisor, Electronic Monitoring Services (EMS)
Jo Easton – Head of Policy & Research, Magistrates Association
Savas Hadjipavlou – Chief Executive, Probation Institute
David Hearn – Darzi Fellow, Oxleas NHS Trust
Andy Homer – Operations Support Manager, Electronic Monitoring Services (EMS)
Anthea Hucklesby – Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Leeds
Mike Nellis – Emeritus Professor of Criminal and Community Justice, University of Strathclyde
Neil Moloney – Chief Executive, BENCH CRC
David Raho – Probation Officer, London CRC (Seconded to NAPO)
Tessa Webb – Independent Criminal Justice Consultant


10am - 4:30pm, 20th October 2015

Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) became live from 1 February 2015 when the ownership of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) was transferred to the successful bidders. In effect, TR had been running in shadow form from mid 2014. The scale of changes to the offender resettlement and supervision landscape brought about by TR was significant and its implementation has of necessity required ongoing learning.

This conference will give attendees the opportunity to take stock of progress made and to share lessons learned as TR develops to meet the key objectives of reduced reoffending to include a wider cohort of offenders, better public protection and reduced costs. The new arrangements have created two fundamental organisations; the National Probation Service (NPS) and CRCs, with the CRCs now owned by a number of new players. Clearly relationship building and communication between and within the NPS and CRCs (and their subcontractors) is of the utmost importance to ensure that the new system can operate effectively. Add to this communications with the National Offender Management Service (NOMs), Staff, the Police, Victims, Courts, the Parole Board, Local Authorities (crime reduction responsibilities and child protection arrangements), MAPPA, Third Sector Partners, Police and Crime Commissioners, Offenders, coupled with changing operational, IT and other arrangements and we can see that major challenges probably remain.

Those most likely to benefit from this event are senior leaders from NOMs, the NPS and CRCs, the Third Sector, the Magistrates Association, the Parole Board and the wider criminal justice sector. The day will include key inputs allowing those from the various key organisations to describe what is working, and how, and what needs to improve with suggestions as to how such required developments might be achieved. We anticipate that key themes will be raised through inputs and the very important discussion opportunities for attendees, this will include:

  • operational achievements and learning points; 
  • relationship building within and between relevant organisations, building on what is working and what more needs to be done; 
  • communications within and between relevant organisations, showcasing effective work and how gaps can be filled; 
  • building confidence in the new arrangements.
There will be other themes that contributors and attendees will want to bring to the table. Our role is to do no more than to facilitate an open and honest exchange of information and ideas with a focus on enabling plans for improvements to be formulated and shared. We will record and make available descriptions of successes as well as areas for development and any emerging plans and ideas as to how remaining challenges can be tackled.


Community sentences since 2000: How they work – and why they have not cut prisoner numbers

Over the past decade, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has been charting developments in community sanctions and calling for a more ambitious approach to criminal justice policy, informed by principles of social justice. Our research has shown that the UK’s increased use of community sentences has not led to any overall reduction in the number of people in prison. At best, it may have controlled the growth of short-term prison sentences. At worst, it has simply expanded the net of criminalisation and punishment, exacerbating rather than resolving social harms. 

This report offers a unique review of the range of alternatives to custody in the UK, from bail, through community sanctions and probation, to early release from prison. It gives an overview of how governments have attempted to control the staggering rise in prisoner numbers since 2000 by the use of so-called ‘alternatives’ – and largely failed to do so. The key measures are explained in Appendix 1, with supporting statistical and financial data for the separate jurisdictions of England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in Appendix 3. Probation practices under the three systems are described in Appendix 2.


First of all, thanks for the blog, it has been a great source of information for so long.

As a long time reader, I wonder if you could help me? I'm being kicked out of my CRC at the end of November and need to get some online survey responses collected before I go. I'm half way through my part time PhD which has a focus on the use of intelligence in probation. The plan was to do this kind of fieldwork in the new year but the severance axe has fallen on us so I've had to speed things up. The survey takes two minutes - it's a micro-survey with only ten "tick box" questions.

Is there any chance that the weblink below could appear as a post in your blog?

Thanks again.


Far be it for me to suggest there's alarm at Chivalry Road concerning the numbers for the AGM in Eastbourne, but I see the early bird discount rate of £45 is now extended until October 12th due to "ongoing postal delivery problems". 

Seriously guys, the future of this union is in our hands and I would urge members to get their arses into gear and pack for the seaside - besides, good friend of probation Lord Falconer has said he's coming and is always worth a listen.     


  1. Hansard source
    (Citation: HC Deb, 14 September 2015, cW)

    Jamie Reed:

    To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on morale amongst staff of recent reforms to the Probation Service.

    Andrew Selous:

    We recognise that this has been a time of great change for probation staff and we have worked hard to ensure the probation workforce is effectively engaged and morale maintained. Staff in the National Probation Service (NPS) and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) were provided with significant support both during and after the transition to the new probation structures. CRCs are now responsible for the welfare of the staff they employ, and we are monitoring the system closely through a robust contract management process, to ensure that performance levels are maintained.

    1. They have worked hard to ensure the workforce is effecvtively engaged and morale maintained. Well they may think they have worked hard but they certainly have not succeeded. Morale is at an all time low in our part of the NPS it has never been lower, trainees are leaving in droves; engaged, with what !!!! incompetence, enormous policies just chucked out at everyone; no one has time to read or digest any of them; useless systems, so called leaders leading their way elsewhere, never to be seen unless at a performance meeting..absolute emperors new clothes the lot of it. They have treated us like the dirt on their shoes and now they give themselves prizes

  2. Is lord falconer definately going to agm ?

    1. Explain. Napo mailing Friday 2nd October:-

      "The Shadow Lord Chancellor has now confirmed his attendance at Napo’s AGM this year. He will be addressing conference on Thursday afternoon at 2.30pm."

  3. The Electronic Monitoring Working Group looks as if they are on the ball with intellectual heavyweights like Professor Mike Nellis, Napo brainbox David Raho and ace researcher Professor Anthea Hucklesby et al on board. I am very glad they are taking the bull by the horns as this stuff needs to be dragged into the spotlight for closer scrutiny.

    Probation actually missed out on steering the course and development of tagging and arguably gave private companies a foot in the door over a decade ago for understandable reasons but times have changed. It is time to take tagging back in house and use it in a similar way to the way it is used successfully by probation services in other EU countries (who haven't had the same problems) where it is used sparingly as part of probation supervision packages.

    I read with interest a previous article on this blog about a conference in Leicester where David Raho was talking about biometric reporting and I would like to know more about this so I hope this will be included in the forthcoming report.

    I did a search and found Mike Nellis has recently written something for the Council of Europe called 'Standards and Ethics in Electronic Monitoring' which makes interesting reading for probation practitioners.