More CRC's join the Job Cuts stampede
As we predicted even before the ink was dry on the CRC share sale contracts our members are now seeing the full extent of the real agenda behind the TR Programme.
As we receive report after report about the operational shambles that is being experienced in many areas, Napo is trying its best to manage multiple challenges across a number of CRC's who have announced job cuts that suggest they are already struggling to come to terms with the expectations of the less than transparent contracts they were duped into signing whilst satisfying the financial demands of their shareholders or stakeholders.
This week we have seen Interserve (Purple Futures) reveal their anticipated staffing needs across their CRC estate which, whilst not as savage as those we have seen from the likes of Sodexo (around 410) and the 40% reduction that Working Links say they need to make, are nevertheless serious enough to warrant questions if only because of their disproportionate nature, where West Yorkshire and HNYL staff are bearing the brunt of over 100 expected losses.
In Staffordshire and West Midlands I have just been involved in a meeting with Catherine Holland where Mike McClelland and local Napo and Unison Reps received details of the 10/12% staff reduction plans for these two CRC's.
As I indicated last week, the job cuts agenda itself is stretching us thin but nevertheless we are in touch with our local representatives and doing all we can to support them while we engage with the employers.
Risk on the increase
Hard on the heels of recent stories involving some CRC providers such as a dreadful self-harm case in Bristol, untold numbers of clients not actually attending unpaid work (Wales) or choosing to spend their time in the local boozer (HNYL) comes this example from an NPS member:
"I was allocated a CRC case last week that had been risk escalated due to mental health (MH) and DV issues and concerns over extremism. The client had only attended 2 appointments with them and missed 4 but was not breached but risk escalated. I actioned the breach as soon as I received it, however this caused problems as the CRC had not issued a breach letter so we are now having to go through the motions of sending a breach letter. In the meantime serious child protection (CP) concerns have emerged and the children were placed on the register today. At the Child Protection Conference today I had to explain why the CRC had not taken sufficient action.
After the meeting I had offered to arrange for the police to attend at the family home to remove the offender on a S136 due to risk concerns toward the family. I deemed the risk imminent and unacceptable. Throughout this process I have been quizzed by police and MH services as to why nothing had been done sooner, and had to tell numerous persons that it was the CRC who failed to act. I just hope that we have managed to mitigate a serious incident especially as this offender had previously threatened violence towards Police Officers but did not turn up for the conference. I have yet to meet this man but it is a very worrying situation that risk was able to escalate so highly without any breach sanctions. The case was identified as having MH problems Pre-Sentence and a psych report, and a PSR recommended a MHTR that was never imposed."
Somehow I do not think that this is a one off occurrence.
Opposition day debate on Prisons and Probation
As you would expect we have lost no time getting in touch with Jo Stevens MP on her elevation to the Labour Front Bench Justice Team. I am sure you join me in sending Napo's congratulations to Jo who has shown herself to be a true friend to this union.
Napo has prepared a comprehensive briefing following the 4th post TR report by the Probation Inspectorate which we will be releasing to the media in the hope that they will run with it in advance of Wednesday afternoons scheduled debate. Of course we face the usual competing difficulties in securing coverage which range from the almost daily terrorist atrocities from across the globe to the pressing imperatives such as what colour underpants Justin Bieber is wearing and the latest from East Enders.
The discussion at this weeks meeting of the Justice Unions Parliamentary Group laid bare the disgusting conditions within the Prison system and how so many politicians stand idly by doing nothing tangible to address the situation. Our report focuses on the threats to public safety and raises a series of questions that can easily be asked by those who fell able to turn up for the debate.
Future of Social Work
Along with Jay Barlow I spent a fascinating day at Church House yesterday at a conference organised by BASW Which attracted a large gathering of Social Workers, Managers, Service Users, Academics, Journalists, the Chief Social Worker for England (adults), and the Chief Social Worker for England (children), an MP and many others.
We will do a fuller report in due course but the key themes covered included:
The threat of privatisation by Government, the need to stand together and lobby with a strong collective voice, the need to improve public trust in Social Workers, the maintenance of high standards in Social Work education, and the challenges to good practice.
A series of round table discussions and two lively plenaries concluded that:
- Privatisation is further along than people realise.
- We need to value what we have before we dismantle it.
- The need for organisations, trade unions and professional associations to put aside our differences and form a strong voice and digital platform for us all and to include service users in that.
- To develop a standing conference across the UK to formally bring together the various groups.
- Such alliances need to better reflect the diversity of the Social Work profession.
- The public need to be better informed about what social workers do.
- We must continue to value open and ethical and positive social work.
- Adult and Children’s services to work more closely.