Sunday, 22 November 2015

Jobs News

This from Facebook:-
News from a CRC:

  • Performance Delivery Manager. New name for an SPO. (At least it isn't PIM or POM)
  • 'The details will be confirmed as part of the consultation process'. Consultation vs Confirmed? Oxymoron?
  • Probation Practitioner. Anyone who supervises a Service User. This will replace the terms Probation Officer, Offender Manager, Case Manager and Probation Service Officer. This may also be referred to as ‘Responsible Officer’, as per the legal definition.
  • Role boundaries? In your dreams.
  • Community Support Worker: A (newly invented) paid position, CSWs are involved with the delivery of Service User rehabilitation activities and support as part of Reducing Reoffending Teams. They will have a major role in promoting engagement, undertaking assertive outreach with Service Users with the most complex needs.
  • Finally for now: Biometric technology will support automated step down reporting as Service Users approach the end of their order.

David A Raho in response:-
It has been suggested elsewhere that we continue to sign our correspondence PO PSO SPO as per employment contract and in addition start listing professional qualifications. In order to preserve our professional status including designations we need a recognised professional body that registers our qualifications courses etc as CPD. It was hoped that the Probation Institute would perform this role in the same way as the Institute for Learning does. Unfortunately the Probation Institute got a bad press (mainly due to Grayling dishonestly attempting to take credit for its establishment) and continues to be unfairly maligned and undermined and weakened by a small number of very vocal critics who have failed to recognise its potential importance to our profession. 

I would encourage anyone concerned about their professional status and probation as a profession to join the PI in addition to NAPO (who are a professional association) who recognise the Probation Institute as aspiring to be a centre of professional excellence including all those with an interest and/or involvement in probation including academics, leaders, politicians, voluntary sector etc. Some of us have been calling for a PI for years and now we have one we need to join it and support it.


BTW Jim, no blog on the NPS people survey yet? It's a shocker. Three quarters of NPS staff unhappy with pay, career progression and training and with the ability of the centre to run the service. Tiny confidence that their voice will be heard if they speak out and a fear of doing so. Shockingly, 25% of the respondents in one LDU say they want out in the next 12 months. These kind of numbers in a private sector organisation would prompt shareholder panic, changes at the top and some proper reform to ensure profitability. What will the NPS do? Probably nothing If the survey is anything to go by. Very few respondents believe action will be taken on the results. Don't get me started on bullying numbers. They're shocking too. Come on Jim and NAPO and UNISON make some hay with this.


Hi Jim,

I know several PO's who are withdrawing their applications for NPS because the salary they are being offered is back at the bottom of the pay scale. So, NPS would rather continue to pay £25-£30 per hour to a temp (not to mention recruitment agency fees) than take back PO's who were shafted in to CRC in the first place. All the way along through the recruitment process no one has been 'able' to confirm salary and then when offered job after all the slaver and costs involved in interviewing and disclosure processes, you get told the salary is at the bottom of the scale! Told to make a business case for going in at current salary, but it gets rejected. It's a farce and an insult!


Meanwhile, there are currently 60 PSO NPS jobs being advertised in the North West:-

Job description
Postholders will undertake the full range of offender management tasks for cases including assessment, sentence implementation and producing reports in accordance with National Standards, the Probation policies and key performance objectives of the National Probation Service. Postholders will report to a Senior Probation Officer or equivalent line manager.

The National Probation Service is seeking to employ a number of Probation Services Officers for positions across various delivery units in the North West (Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cheshire). Successful candidates will be deployed in Offender Management Units undertaking challenging and rewarding work facilitating the rehabilitation and risk management of offenders in order to protect victims and communities from harm.

These positions can be based at any NPS location within the North West Region. Further information will be provided at interview. Probation Services Officers may be required to undertake any combination, or all, of the duties and responsibilities set out below. 

  • To undertake the full range of offender management tasks with offenders assessed as low or medium risk of harm. 
  • To use the NPS computer based systems to produce records and other documentation within agreed timescales as required 
  • To review Oasys, assessing the risks and needs of offenders for whom the post holder is the offender manager and complete within appropriate timescales. 
  • Where the post holder is the offender manager, to work collaboratively with colleagues and providers of interventions and to implement and review sentence plans in an effective and timely manner. 
  • To monitor and review plans to ensure they remain “fit for purpose”, making amendments as necessary and referring significant changes in risk to the team manager. 
  • Ensure effective referrals to and communication with offender management staff, interventions staff, service providers and external agencies to review progress and associated risks. 
  • When working under the guidance of a Probation Officer Offender Manager, report observations relating to risk of harm and/or of reoffending or any non-compliance within agreed enforcement procedures. 
  • Undertake home and prison visits as required. 
  • To be responsible for addressing the risks and needs presented by offenders being managed, for achieving compliance with national standards and requirements in orders and licences and for prompt and effective enforcement and breach. 
  • To take breach action, case transfer and case closure using Service procedures as appropriate. 
  • To work and engage with the offender, to promote change and to ensure they understand the links between all the relevant interventions. To facilitate the offender’s understanding of the links between the different interventions; help the offender make the links between new learning and their day-to-day environment; seek to ensure offender practices new skills and behaviours and habitualises new behaviours in their own environment. 
  • To undertake work in the court setting, including the completion of appropriate bail information reports, oral reports on cases and prosecution of breaches. 
  • To provide cover within the offender management unit and to other offender management units as appropriate. 
  • Demonstrate pro-social modelling skills by consistently reinforcing pro-social behaviour and attitudes, challenge anti-social behaviour and attitudes. 
  • Participate in quality assurances processes as required and jointly take responsibility within supervision and appraisal process for own professional development. 
  • To promote diversity and anti-discriminatory practice to all service users and staff in line with National Probation Service policies. 
  • To ensure all activities are conducted in accordance with Health & Safety Policies and procedures. 
  • Maintain and ensure safe storage and usage of data, service property and equipment. 
  • To undertake any other duties with appropriate support which are commensurate with the grading of the post. 
The duties/responsibilities listed above describe the post as it is at present and is not intended to be exhaustive. The Job holder is expected to accept reasonable alterations and additional tasks of a similar level that may be necessary. Significant adjustments may require re-examination under Job Evaluation and shall be discussed in the first instance with the Job Holder.

Minimum 5 GCSE’s at Grade C or above, including English

Relevant Degree:
- Criminology or Applied Criminology
- Community Justice
- Criminal Justice or Police Studies
- A combined honours degree where at least 50% is in one of the above titles and combined with Social Science or Law will also be accepted as relevant


  • Experience of working with a diverse range of people who have experienced a range of social/personal difficulties 
  • Understanding of factors related to offending e.g. substance misuse, accommodation issues 
  • Understanding of, and commitment to the principles of case management.
  • Knowledge and understanding of risk management/risk assessment as pertaining to offenders. 
  • Experience in planning and coordinating work. 
  • Understanding of Health & Safety legislation in the workplace. 
  • An understanding of and commitment to equal opportunities and diversity good practice. 
  • Knowledge and understanding of the work of the Criminal Justice System and Probation Service 
  • Experience of working with groups or individuals in order to motivate and change behaviour 
  • Knowledge of the aims and objectives of the Probation Service 
You will be asked to supply evidence of meeting these competencies when you apply.

Making effective decisions
Changing and improving
Collaborating and partnering
Persuading and influencing 

If you are a successful candidate you will be expected to undertake Basic Checks.

Reserved status
This is a Non Reserved post and is therefore open to UK, British Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals and certain non EEA members

Working for the Civil Service
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. Applications from the UK Reserve Forces are welcome, as we aspire to be a model employer of those who serve their country. We also offer a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for disabled applicants who meet our minimum selection criteria. We will not tolerate any form of discrimination.

Commissioner's statement
The Civil Service recruits by merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

School leaving age statement
Candidates will be subject to UK school leaving age legislation.

Sift/interview dates and location to be confirmed.

Further information
Public Interest Transfer and detached duty terms do not apply. The successful candidates will be required to meet the cost of transfer at their own expense. If you are a current Civil Servant or employee of a CRC, this vacancy may be available on a Loan/Secondment basis for up to 2 years. Applications are invited from suitable qualified staff. The Loan/Secondment is subject to the approval of the selected candidate's Business Unit, which should be obtained before confirmation of appointment.


  1. On the subject of applications to NPS for CRC staff: I think someone is being highly disingenuous if they are saying that they "can't confirm the salary". It was made very clear from the start that, after an initial period, CRC staff wishing to transfer to NPS would lose all of their accrued service rights - salary, sick pay, the lot - because new civil servants cannot join halfway up a scale.

    Plenty of people on here (myself included) made the point that this was storing up recruitment problems for NPS - it might be worth taking a small drop in salary at the start of a career, but for many others it just doesn't make financial sense. For me switching to the NPS (not that I have any wish to) would mean more than a 10% loss in salary, and years of pay progression (ha!) down the toilet.

  2. A Probation Institute with licence to practice powers rather than mere 'registration' may have been welcomed as it would have protected excellence as the PI aspires to become to a 'centre of excellence'.

    Though supported by the Napo leadership it is quiet support as I don't recall any strong promotion by Napo of the PI. It never gets mentioned by the general secretary and I don't see any evidence of Napo urging members to join.

    There are trained and experienced staff seeking to transfer to the NPS and being told they will revert to the bottom of the pay scale.
    On this issue and others issues that affect conditions of service and livelihoods the PI is silent.

    The MoJ spent 90,000 on the PI because it was good PR at a time when they needed to show their commitment to maintaining professional standards in the post TR world. No wonder it critics saw it as more fig leaf than supposed centre of excellence.

    The PI enjoys more traction with academics than practitioners. Is this just because practitioners have been deterred by a small number of very vocal critics or could it be that in general it is regarded as a cosmetic: lipstick on the TR pig.

    1. The practitioners I know see very little benefit in joining the PI until all the grand words about being a centre of excellence translate into concrete action towards achieving a proper register of licensed practitioners. Until then, and particularly whilst corporate entities and those with no background in probation can simply buy themselves higher levels of membership than frontline staff, to most people it will remain little more than yet another quarterly glossy magazine.

    2. The PI should have been free to all frontline probation staff. Not everyone has to buy a registration, as does the humble NPS probation officer. CRC's had it paid for, NPS did not. The PI's 'code of ethics' didn't have a problem with this.

      The other way is to be handed it for free by your friends. Funny that, the PI was set up by probation Chiefs and now they're awarding themselves "fellowships". This list of current 'awards' is packed with probation Chiefs (I'm not counting Andrew Bridges as he's the only one that's deserving in my book). I hope they enjoy writing C.O.R.R.U.P.T after their names.

    3. Crc's staff may have been offered free membership to the PI but I don't know anyone that took up the offer in Kent. Maybe this was offered as compensation for NPS staff being given a day off for the Queen.

  3. Are there any indications that CRCs might be endeavouring to influence court process via NPS eg by attempting to prevent orders being revoked in the interests of justice?

    1. In my experience yes, as they see revocation in the interest of justice as a order that failed to complete and there are rumbling that this may come up as a CRC staff competence issue . Most likely when a further offence triggers a new order and all offences are "rolled up" into one new order Courts will do as they want to do of course.

    2. You are forgetting that SPO's may just tell Admin to put it down as revoked for good progress.

      I'm sure that this would NEVER happen of course, in very much the same way that those on multiple ORA Licence are having all bar one closed on Delius so that if there is a recall it only counts as one failure. That never happens either!

      I tell you what else never happens. Putting back the date of the first appt (or not putting it on until Oasys is completed) so those targets are not missed!

      There's a LOT not happening to make sure the targets are hit.

    3. Or ORA cases where once the RAR days are completed, bang order some areas are counting supervision appointments as RAR days but some are using them for specified activities eg ETE/alcohol appointment etc and maintaining supervision appointments throughout the order...
      so, offender in area A does his/her 15 RAR days and is finished and deemed a success whereas offender in area B does his/her 15 RAR days in addition to weekly supervision appointments throughout the order.....Sounds like differential justice to me...what's that you say about legality of this???? DISCUSS

    4. Perhaps the Probation Institute will clarify the preferred/best practice ... not!

  4. Probation Officer22 November 2015 at 10:16

    I DISAGREE with David Raho on the Probation Institute (PI).

    It's a bit unfair to blame the critics when they are many flaws in the set up and operation. It failed us, we didn't fail it!

    The PI may have worked if it'd been properly established in the first place. It's silly it was was started by absorbing those of the Probation Association and Probation Chiefs Association, those that did nothing to fight the Govt destruction of probation. The PI has still not spoken against TR, it is silent against every new/additional Govt attack on probation, and I have never seen or heard it speak publicly in defence of probation. It's committees/boards are heavily packed with persons from Community Rehabilitation Companies and private firms. The PI has had ample time to combat/correct all of the above but seems to be only interested in increasing member fees and issuing silly 'fellowships' which include those that helped sell off, and have nothing to do with, probation. Its professional register might have worked if it were not so intent on bowing to private companies by registering and giving silly post nominal letters to those without probation qualifications, and even volunteers those not working in probation. I don't see why it's partnered with Uservoice either, or why it needs to be propped up by Napo.

    I agree probation needs a professional body, a format for registering qualifications and professional development, a credible place for identifying and accessing research and training, and a probation focused authority to speak on behalf of probation practice. Sadly the PI in its current form is not it, and has tried to be to broad and therefore too vague. Rather than blaming its failure on the critics it should go back to the drawing board. There's a lot We all could say on the PI but it would already know this if it tried to listen.

    1. Probation Officer22 November 2015 at 11:57

      One more thing. It's good CRC's are asking staff to include details of professional qualifications. Always good to include this in formal emails, letters and reports. Not so positive on use of 'probation practitioner' as a title. I've never used or recommended 'offender' or 'case' manager. These are all ways to devalue and de-professionalise the qualified status of 'Probation Officer'.

      Probation Officer is only title I use and as stated on my qualification and contract. I'd be rich if I had a pound for every time I've responded to an "offender manager" directed question in email, meetings, hearings with "yes I am his/her PROBATION OFFICER"!

    2. I agree with David Raho on much, but his comment that the PI "continues to be unfairly maligned and undermined and weakened by a small number of very vocal critics" is rather odd.

      Who are these critics, except for those on this blog? Do we really have that much power? The PI has had a huge amount of establishment support, and its failure to gain traction is the result of the fundamental flaws in its design - particularly the offer of corporate memberships - as well as the PR problems that was the initial £90k seed money from NOMS and Grayling's early championship. The fact that it seemingly can't overcome the challenge of a few naysayers is a mark of its fundamental weaknesses, not the strength of the critics.

      We do need a professional body, separate from the trade unions, but not this one. As Probation Officer says, to be credible the PI needs to be seen to be standing up for probation values and actively challenging the TR wrecking ball - but the current PI is financially dependent on the CRCs and will end up being complicit in the destruction of what it professes to value.

    3. AND another thing I am concerned that maybe increasingly being forgotten - The Split itself - as I presume most probation professionals appreciate, makes the service provided by every CRC and the NPS more dangerous for the public than a well operated local unified probation service and such a service was introduced by the Parliament containing a majority of Liberal Democrat and Conservative elected members who together united to vote down amendments that could have led to probation employers remaining locally unified despite some privatisation.

    4. I also sign myself as a Probation Officer on everything I can. I object to the term 'offender' to describe a person so 'Offender Manager' is not acceptable to me either. I struggle a bit with the 'Offender Supervisor' title in prisons though when I'm writing reports. Any ideas?

    5. Probation officer is your title so use that. I have come across OS's in the prisons that seem to sign off everything as PO, including referring to themselves as PO's at oral hearings.

  5. POs/PSOs to be called 'Probation Practitioner' - aaghh! They used THAT word - 'probation'.! Has this one slipped under the bar, when the word 'probation' appears to be tumbling into obscurity. Or is it a cunning ruse to give the poor worker bees a false feeling of comfort?

  6. I intend to contact David Raho directly to explain why I am so opposed to the Probation Institute. I will express myself here anonymously because this is social media and being NPS I would be sanctioned for having the temerity to express my views. Yup in the land of Magna Carta, in 2015, I dare not speak out because I am a (second access to the better pension remember) Civil Servant.
    Not once has the PI ever spoken up about the truly shocking experiment-turned-reality of TR. Not once has the PI expressed any concern about the impact of TR upon victims, communities, clients/service users/offenders. Not once has the PI ever raised concerns from practitioners or managers.

    1. I work in the NPS and horrified by the PI which incidental was set up and funded by Chris Grayling's department, the MOJ. PI has no credibility and no teeth to uphold probation 'core' values. The only thing PI is interested in is using this organisation as a marketing tool to advise the aims of the private sector and supporting companies that are out to make a profit.

    2. The PI was introduced as a smoke screen to smooth the muddy waters that the MOJ knew would follow TR. What they didn't envisage was us mere mortal front line PROBATION staff seeing right through it. I am quite frankly shocked by David Raho's statement, I always held him in high esteem.

  7. Heard some blogger above moaning at creative ways to meet metrics. Your an idiot. It's in all our interest to meet targets as the more profit, the more resources and the more likely we will stay in jobs. Meeting targets is my only priority now whether I like it or not. The same applies to you

    1. You're right. I remember a time when we met all our targets. We got sold off to private companies and lost out jobs. Plus, being 'creative' can so easily become 'illegal' so please look after your own long term interests as I have zero confidence in CRCs or NPS looking after them for you.

  8. why are NPS recruiting for PSOs? I thought that as a high risk organisation that PSOs weren't adequately qualified to manage high risk of harm cases or, are PSOs taking over the cases when they are coming towards the end of their sentence. I really am confused at this.

    1. NPS do manage some low and medium risk cases. However, PSOs may be being employed to do all the work NPS don't want to pay CRC to do?

    2. Interesting to see they are being recruited in the North West. In our area PSOs were told they were not to be in field teams anymore and had to apply-or were directed into other jobs such as with court teams/hostels whether they were interested in this or not. Us POs left behind have had a real struggle with huge caseloads as a result. It was a loss of colleagues who were skilled at what they did. I currently supervise a tier 2 case which previously would have gone to the PSOs.

    3. 22:35 In Kent some PSO's were sifted to nps while PO's were sifted to crc.

  9. I wonder whether the PSO recruitment in NPS is to help shift those medium risk cases from PO's to PSO's. This could in principle help to free up PO's to take on more high rik cases. If that's the case then how is that likely to impact on moral and proffessionian development?

    1. And where is the Probation Institute in all this? NPS POs dealing with more and more serious cases and sex offenders but with no counselling for themselves at all.

  10. There will be a new tiering system, A to D, with two categories in C and D (I think B as well). PSOs will be able to supervise, as Offender Managers, cases in D and in the lower C categories. I think that is correct but I don't have the E3 Blueprint in front of me. This could include, in theory, a very small number of cases where individuals are convicted of sexual offences.

    1. Sex offenders are reserved for POs

    2. What a bloody shambles, seems NPS are starting the recruitment to rebuild the old NPS, they will then becomes trusts and the sell off will all begin again. Saving taxpayers money - well we did try to warn them.

    3. Re: sex offenders. At the briefing I went to we were told that there are a very small number of cases which could be supervised by PSOs.

    4. It's a bit unclear. All this E3 nonsense is actually an opportunity for the Probation Institute to find itself. The PI, if it's reading, should tell the MoJ, NOMS, the NPS and CRC's - what best practice is, what probation practice must be and the role of the Probation Officer, how professional qualifications and standards must be maintained, how justice cuts will affect standards, the problems and effects caused by TR and privatisation, the restraints and robotisation of being civil servants, etc.

      If the PI wants to be a "centre of excellence" and "voice" of probation then it needs to put in the work. Get rid of the premature partnerships, give the MoJ back its £90k, get involved in a few news interviews about crime, punishment and rehabilitation to promote and defend probation work, and then build in the right direction. Look how the police have taken the current terror threat and spoken out about justice cuts! I respect the likes of Paul Senior and Sue Hall but they're not doing enough if they want it to work. I'm an NPS PO and there is literally no point in joining, in fact I don't even know what it is except that it tried to run before it could walk. I'd love to help them make it work but clearly the PI's priority is membership fees, glossy magazines and pampering the self-believing 'elite'

  11. I think you will find it will be much more than just a few sex offender cases being managed by PSO's. My cases have already been re-tiered and lots of sex offender cases that are medium risk without SOTP end up tiered as a 1 or 2. I think it is more likely that the excersise is designed to reduce the number of more expensive PO's required. there has been approximately 20% drop in my case load since re-tie ring. If you were to roughly equate that across board how much reduction in FTE will that justify come cuts time. Hmmmmm. You read it here first!

    1. Probation Officer23 November 2015 at 00:49

      This is exactly their plan. To increase capacity by fudging tiering so we do more for less. This is why they're issuing new job descriptions to justify it all. The worst thing is that none of this E3 crap has even been signed off yet they're implementing it already. Napo, Unison, the PI, all silent as usual, while probation management lead us into the slaughterhouse.

    2. What exactly would you expect NAPO, Unison or the PI to do?! If the NPS wishes to introduce a new way of working then that is what will happen. They are our employer. It's called work! E3 doesn't have to be signed off before it's implementated - if our bosses want to implement it now then they can!

    3. And employers always have the best interests of their employees at heart, and have never done anything short-sighted, or wasteful, or inefficient, or downright dangerous; so we should just accept everything we're given without bothering our little heads about complaining about it. Complacent much?

    4. Of course employers don't have the best interests of their employees at heart - and why should they?! They're not running a charity for the benefit of staff! Their only concern is the bottom line or in the case of the NPS, excellence, effectiveness and efficiency. If the staff are happy then that's a bonus. Some people seen to live in fantasy land in their expectations of what work is about!

    5. Right, 17.28 you need to get something straight. You aka employers pay us for our time. You need us therefore you pay us. You do not own us. Every decent, forward-looking employer realises that happy staff are good workers and productivity and efficency increases. Sickness reduces also. You need to spend some time on a management course oh, and ask for your money back from charm school.

    6. 19.59 stay away from probation work. You have the wrong ethos. Also, as various people have already pointed out, you always write YOUR every time you should be writing YOU'RE ... duh!

    7. Probation Officer23 November 2015 at 20:26

      13:39. I expect unions to fight for terms and conditions. I expect the PI to promote and preserve probation practice. Being a probation officer has always been and still is a profession. I is more than 'just a job' and therefore should not be subject silly models and initiatives that strip it bare. This is not idealistic or a "fantasy", the fact is that with many 'professions' such as doctors, lawyers, police, surveyors, counsellors, social workers, etc, us professionals on the frontline should and must expect to be able and supported to do the job we are paid for and held accountable for. The reason for the superstructure of specialist unions, institutes, inspectorates, etc is to ensure this.

  12. 13.39 never said anything about 'best interests' The poster was merely giving a reality check. Probation after all are easy to push around.

  13. I work in an area that NPS are advertising for PSOs and there is NO information on our vacancy board - absolutely nothing. We only found out about these vacancies by reading this board!!! This is not on - it seems CRC are wanting to keep us and so not let us know about NPS vacancies. I cannot divulge too much information on here but our CRC office is badly understaffed and well it's a nightmare with new orders coming out of our ears we cant keep up.

    1. Anyone here know anything about the WMT. My manager says it wrong and says I've got more capacity as I leave the office early every day at 4.55pm despite being on 122 %

    2. Anon 19:34 - nps jobs are advertised on the civil service website. Likewise in Kent not advertised on the intranet or through crc. Don't forget if you apply now you will lose your terms and conditions for what they are worth.

    3. If you've hit 100% then you're at full capacity. Leaving at 4:55pm is outside core hours and only "early" if determined by the time you start.

      The official position is that the Workload Management Tool is always right when managers want to allocate more work, but always wrong when we want work taken away.

  14. Excellence, Efficiency and Effectiveness will only ever be successfully achieved by a knowledgeable, properly remunierated and dedicated workforce; so their happinessness, motivation and creativity, is something the employers should not overlook. Anyone, in people work, thinking anything different, is unlikely to remain in work.

  15. Doctors, medical & academic, are Doctors forever; as are Professors. Can I be a Probation Officer forever?

    And doncha think Dave is starting to sound like he's enjoying himself? It started by trying to hold Europe to ransom & now its generally issuing threats to all-comers and wanting to be Europe's big brother: "We'll sort them out for you, Francois." However let's be clear that the Islamist criminals are not a death cult. They are violent, destructive & extreme in belief & actions but that does NOT make them a death cult. Careless talk costs lives, Dave.

    Has anyone else heard/read about the probation "red" files found in a builders' skip in Liverpool? And an ex-colleague from a junction further north on the M6 tells me a Crown Court Judge has publicly slammed the court charges.

    1. A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We take all issues in relation to data handling extremely seriously and have launched an investigation.”

    2. A confused question if you don't separate academic and vocational 'Dr's'. Sadly, the latter have the support of the BMA and GMC, while we have the useless Napo and the PI. I believe I am and always will be a probation officer by trade/profession. Just as a vocational Dr will always consider themselves a Dr, a teacher a teacher, a ballerina a ballerina, and a builder a builder, etc. Even when our profession is stripped away there remains qualified professionals which they can't take away.

    3. Hundreds of confidential crime files containing 40 years of serious and violent crimes on Merseyside were left abandoned in a disused former probation centre - and then thrown in a skip.

      The sensitive documents, which included details of murders and rapes, were discovered when builders began renovating the former Derby Lane police station in Old Swan. But it has emerged the papers, which contained people’s addresses, dates of birth, National Insurance numbers and full descriptions of crimes, belonged to the Probation Service.

      Builders came across hundreds of files, kept in red wallets, as they ripped out the ex-record room in the old police nd probation building earlier last week.

      The papers were flung in skips in a back yard, before curious traders glanced at them and realised they were important files. They dated from the mid 1960s until 2004. They included detailed accounts of serious crimes, including one rape in which the victim gave a graphic description of the attack.

      One worker, who found the files, said: “We found them in the skip. When we phoned police they rushed down here to collect them. This wasn’t minor crimes, shoplifting or petty stuff, but murders, rapes and other serious offences. A few police cars came to the scene, and community support officers stood outside guarding the premises, loading the documents into vehicles.”

      Merseyside Police who left the old police station in 1993, made immediate enquiries about who owned the files and discovered they belonged to the Probation Service.

      It is understood civil servants will tell investigators that the record room was locked and not accessible from the outside. The Probation Service left the building around a decade ago. The old police premises is set to be converted into apartments and town houses in a £1.1m scheme which should be completed by next September.

      A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We take all issues in relation to data handling extremely seriously and have launched an investigation.

    4. A Carlisle Crown Court judge has voiced his worries over a controversial fee that convicted criminals are being ordered to pay.

      Judge Peter Hughes QC has added his voice to the growing criticism of a courts charge introduced by the Government earlier this year.

      Since April, convicted criminals in England and Wales have had to pay between £150 and £1,200 as part of their punishment.

      It was envisaged by the then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling that the levy would ensure criminals “paid their way”.

      But there is widespread concern about the charge being paid on top of fines, compensation orders and defendants’ own legal charges.

      At Carlisle Crown Court in recent months, a number of judges have expressed doubts in their sentencing remarks about the ability of low-earning criminals to pay the fee at all.

      In the most recent examples, Judge Hughes twice voiced his worries in a day.

      He told one defendant being sentenced for a crime in Whitehaven: “If I had any discretion I would not have imposed it.

      “I have taken the view that a man in your position is not in a position to pay that charge.”

      Judge Hughes had earlier said of a another criminal, being punished for an offence in Carlisle: “This man is in no position to pay it.

      “The Lord Chief Justice has expressed his concerns about the charge. The sooner that Parliament reconsiders this the better.”

      Judge Hughes’s comments came as members of a parliamentary group criticised the charge.

      MPs on the justice select committee said the fee, which is not means-tested, created serious problems and was often “grossly disproportionate”.

      In response, ministers say they are keeping the charge under review.

      Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the criminal courts charge was “unrealistic and unjust” and called on it to be immediately suspended.

  16. A mother worried that her 14-year-old son is being groomed online rang Surrey police. The call handling is incompetent – a national PNC is not done. The case log is closed. No attempt by police to call the mother back. Two months later her son is killed. Had the police checked their databases they would have realised that the murderer had a disturbing history.

    The police training was poor as was awareness of grooming and basic police procedures. But they weren't and a child pays the price.

  17. I am happy to talk to anyone regarding my current dealings with the Probation Institute. Like many I was skeptical at first but the PI will only be as effective as those involved in it and to a large extent prepared to give up their spare time to further its aims and projects. I am fully aware of how it was formed and the relatively small contribution from the MoJ. I think it has value as a means of networking and bringing together different people with an interest in probation that would not necessarily be comfortable dealing with trade unions. My experience has been that there are good people involved such as Paul Senior that those who have been around a while will recognise as good friends of the probation profession and will aim to do no harm. As a profession we need to engage with a wider audience and we need recognised infrastructure to do so. I am happy to hear from anyone directly.

    1. Probation Officer26 November 2015 at 00:10

      David Raho, total poppycock. That silly "only as good as it members" line may work in excusing the sham of the Napo exec/leadership, but the PI is not a union. It is in fact the responsibility of those running the PI to make it effective for and attractive to those that make up the profession it seeks to represent. If the PI cannot realise this then it is not ready to be an organisation/institute. There are many posts above stating the failings of the PI and what it could do to change. These points and more have been raised many times over, here and elsewhere. Let it show us how it is a voice of probation and centre of excellence, as it claims, because "networking" is not enough.

      PSO CRC, I doubt there will be 'one grade' in the NPS. Most likely PO's will retain some tasks and take on a few SPO/PDA type responsibilities. We see it in social work with the senior practitioner type position. I know exactly what you're saying though but practices do and will differ across England and Wales.

    2. 00:10 You are right to say the PI is not a union but some of those commenting do not make that distinction. It does however strive to be a democratic organisation and members therefore have a say. I do not expect it or similar institutes in their infancy to behave in the ways described or as a radical pressure group. However, I think some of the work currently being done may be influential. Nothing is ever as perfect as we want it to be and whilst it is easy to be negative about what exists it can at least be worked with rather than simply dismissed as irrelevant. If the PI fails it will be as much a casualty of TR as anything else and will be seized upon by those who's interests are served by deprofessionalising and silencing voices speaking up for the probation profession. As I said before I was initially a sceptic but I can see the sense in engaging with a wider group through the PI who would not necessarily feel comfortable engaging directly with NAPO as a professional association. I'm happy to do this. Without a professional institute there is no obvious home for specialist networks etc to find a home and those with interests in probation would rely on ad hoc professional conferences etc to communicate. So in providing the means to have a forum and network the PI fits the bill. They currently rely on members subscriptions and as far as I am aware do not get any money from the MoJ. My own hope for the PI is that it does provide professional services in the way the Institute for Learning does to te teaching profession. If it's membership increases so will its potential to have a stronger voice and a bit more clout and may well be more critical of policy makers. It is not however and should not be seen as being a trade union.

    3. Probation Officer26 November 2015 at 07:45

      If it makes you feel better to say that, congrats. The fact is it was badly set up and is doing little to nothing for our profession. If it's a "professional association" then it should be it now, and not 'when it has enough members'. You may say it's a catch 22 my friend, I say it must put in the work and the members will come. Look how the police spike and fought against cuts and are now protected until 2020. We've not heard a snippet from the PI on TR, sodexo, E3 or the looming cuts, but it claims to be the voice of probation but will not while it bows to the MoJ and romances its privateer friends. As I said, the comments are above and elsewhere, and the PI has done nothing to rectify this. You're not its spokesperson so you can't answer any of this either, so little point debating with me on an old blog post nobody else is reading. I'd love the PI to be an institute of probation, the fact is it is far from it.

    4. Writing about anything generally makes me feel better as I am sure it does for you judging from what I have read under your pseudonym. I think you make some sweeping assumptions about the PIs relationship with the MoJ that I have not witnessed in my limited experience of these. You also seem to assume that the PI has more resources than it in fact does. I do not think, again in my opinion, that the PI is wrong to try to establish working relationships with the new owners and CRCs as this is a wise move in the new landscape. As far as I know it is not within the PI's remit to negotiate improvements in pay and conditions but is interested in practice development and there is scope there for those at the frontline to tell it how it is to those with influence in different areas to Napo. As you say I am not a spokesperson for the PI and my original comment was posted out of context from the middle of a comment stream from another members only social media site so I have to an extent been brought into the debate somewhat selectively. I have though merely given the advice I would give to anyone who wants to change something (whether it is the Labour Party, Napo or anything else) i.e. try not to follow leaders in a blinkered way or put all your faith in leadership but try instead to understand the issues and make your own mind up. The other thing is that I welcome a discussion and would encourage anyone to engage in a debate about issues but there is absolutely no need for personal abuse, vilifying, hounding, or name calling (trolling) that has discouraged many persons from actively participating in discussion threads on this blog even when they could have had a potentially valuable input.

      Personally I'll use what help I can get to further the things I want to achieve and the PI certainly aren't against us.

  18. I'm currently a PSO in CRC and I welcome one grade. What about salary though ? CRC POs in my office have received the salary of NPS counterparts for a while without doing the PO work they are paid to do... Or were paid to do. POs have happily agreed to co working cases with psos and will happily down tier to pass cases to PSOs. PSOs hold DV cases so I can see no difference at all now except for a £10k pay difference. Absolutely shocking so bring on the amalgamated grade and pay

    1. I've posted this elsewhere, but it bears repeating: if you're doing work that should be done by a PO but not being paid for it, you're being exploited and you should be complaining about that - not cheerleading for others to have their terms and conditions cut. If that happens, what's to stop unpaid volunteers taking over your role and you losing your job?

    2. I absolutely agree with anonymous above. If you are asked to do work that you are not qualified to do or not paid for you should not be doing it. This attitude is partly to blame for the situation we are now in.