Thursday, 3 March 2016

Power to the People

It's just possible that regular readers might have noticed a slowing down in posting on this blog of late, a product I'm afraid of my periodic mood swings brought about by having been so thoroughly immersed in the TR nightmare this last few years. If you care about the job, profession and people, it gets to you and most particularly if you allow yourself to believe that there's nothing you can do about it. This still resonates with me:-
I took action - I took legal advice (expensive), I took union advice (pisspoor), I spoke with my MP (buffoon), I wrote to the press (ineffective), I challenged senior managers (unpleasant), I challenged the CEO (deeply unpleasant), I wrote to the Chair of the new owners (unanswered). The inevitable happened & I walked - I could still feel cold steel in my back for some considerable time. At least I tried. Others kept their counsel, kept their heads down, smiled & are still there as far as I know.
To this I could add that for all the seemingly endless blogging, it's all been to no avail. But then night turns to day; the sun comes out; the mood lifts and maybe the glass isn't half empty after all....

It's becoming increasingly clear to me though that the traditional ways of trying to influence things in our supposedly democratic society just don't work any more. Of course the rather more politically-aware might say they never did - "if voting ever changed anything, it would be banned". But we really do seem to be sleep-walking into an increasingly corrupt and totalitarian state with the Tories up to all kinds of sneaky, underhand tricks. Why, David Cameron even intends to abolish the vast majority of Conservative Associations because they've got too much democratic power! This from the Telegraph:-

David Cameron needs to crush his party members – or risk Labour's fate

The election of Jeremy Corbyn shows you can't trust your grassroots. Reforming Conservative associations is long overdue. 
Party members – who’d have them? Not the Labour Party, for sure. Jeremy Corbyn is the living, breathing emblem of why you can actually have too much democratic involvement in a political party.

Indeed, party members are the wrong people to make most political decisions. It doesn’t matter that in a world of mass higher education and social media everyone has a view and a channel for publishing it. The fetishisation of participation has masked two fundamental facts about modern political parties: their membership, despite blips, is too small to be in any real sense representative of voters, and at the same time too large to be a proper, modern, professional organisation. This is the tearing tension in modern parties – the desire to "involve people", which risks getting big decisions wrong, and the need to centralise, which risks accusations of control-freakery. It is in that context that Cameron is about to embark on the messy and dangerous process of party reform. His stated aim: professionalization. The purpose: power. The problem: it’s all a bit too late.

Now I've got no time for Nick Clegg after what he did to help bring about TR, but he's right about this, writing in the Independent:-

Nick Clegg accuses Conservatives of 'rigging the rules' in attempt to create 'one-party state'

Nick Clegg has accused the Conservatives of “Americanising” British politics by “rigging the rules” against their opponents in the hope of creating a “one-party state.” In his first newspaper interview since last May’s general election, the former Deputy Prime Minister condemned David Cameron for using “One Nation rhetoric” to mask his Government’s decision to abandon the Coalition’s progressive policies.

Mr Clegg told The Independent that the Tories had departed dramatically from the tradition that the “rules of the game” in British politics were agreed on a cross-party basis. He cited their “petty, spiteful” moves to cripple Labour’s funding by changing the way trade unionists pay the political levy and cutting state funding for opposition parties.

He said: “If you look at the way the Conservatives seek to hobble and neuter Westminster, the bullying swagger with which they treat the BBC, the general air of hubris, there is a feeling that politics is being reduced to the whims and mood swings of one political party. That is not healthy. “A combination of US-style game playing by the Conservatives and Labour’s self-indulgence is conspiring to leave millions of British voters completely voiceless.”

There are worrying signs everywhere of the Tories trying to close down avenues of dissent with well-publicised plans to stop charities being able to lobby government, and now this from the Conversation website:-

Academics' ability to lobby government under threat from new funding clause

There are growing worries in universities that restrictions on the use of public money to lobby the government, initially focused on charities, may have a chilling effect on the independence of publicly funded research. Whether this is ministers’ intention is an open question.

In mid-February, the government announced that a new clause will be inserted into new and renewed grant agreements from May 1, forbidding recipients from “using taxpayer funds to lobby government and parliament”. As well as covering grants to charities to carry out services, this also covers those “funding research and development”.

Pessimists, and conspiracy theorists, discern a pattern of the government displaying alarming authoritarian instincts. Ministers do not seem to recognise the need for pluralism in an open and democratic society. So “short” money, to help fund political parties (and a “loyal” opposition that is duty-bound to attack the government), has been cut. Meanwhile, local councils have been instructed not to use procurement procedures to enforce boycotts of dubious suppliers. It is not just campaigning charities that are in the government’s sights.

I'm probably old enough to remember there used to be such a concept as 'consensus' in our society; a general cross-party belief in certain things, like social housing when post-war governments, Tory or Socialist, would vie with each other on the number constructed each year. Seems incredible now doesn't it?

There used to be consensus on such matters as criminal justice, but we're only too well aware of how that became a party political football to be used in the shameless pursuit of votes through scare stories in the popular press. The same has been true with so many other areas of social policy, such as drug addiction and treatment, to name but one more. The results have been unmitigated disasters, but still the policies roll on, seemingly impervious to public opinion and now even expert opinion. This astonishing news from Mark Easton on the BBC website:-

Home Office drug strategy: Time to refresh or rethink?

With deaths from illegal drugs in England and Wales at the highest rate ever recorded one might imagine the Home Office would be desperate to ensure it had a robust and effective strategy for dealing with this current crisis. So it comes as a surprise to discover that Ministers have quietly abandoned the idea of a formal consultation process in advance of a new drugs strategy later this month.

Traditionally, these five-year plans are put together after weeks of discussions and submissions from experts and the general public. In 2010 there were 1,850 responses to the drug strategy consultation, including from health professionals, charities, lobby groups, local authorities, government advisors, police and service providers. Individuals with a close interest in drug policy, often because of the death of a close relative, were also encouraged to participate.

But not this time. The new five-year strategy has been written with hardly any public discussion at all. You won't find any details on the Home Office website. Nothing.
It is almost as though the department doesn't want to consider alternative options - which is odd because next month UK ministers will be attending the most important United Nations meeting on global drug strategy for decades.

The UN General Assembly will gather in New York to try and agree a new global drug policy. It will decide whether the "war on drugs" should be consigned to history and a new people-centred approach adopted. In short, it is reviewing the international treaty obligations that will frame everything this country does on drugs. So one might have thought ministers would be keen to get the views of everyone touched by drugs policy in Britain as they prepare for this historic United Nations meeting.

I understand that just two meetings specifically about the new UK drugs strategy have been held by the Home Office. They were behind closed doors and there were no votes, no reports and no minutes published.


--oo00oo--

Our existing political structures seem to be increasingly unable and unwilling to be trusted to fairly represent the views of the people. As far as I'm aware, public opinion is massively in favour of a publicly-run NHS, and yet privatisation continues inexorably under governments of all shades. They euphemistically call it 'reform of public services', but we know what that's code for. Despite the public having no appetite for it, privatisation marches on with social work set to be next in line following the supposed runaway success of farming probation out under TR. This from the Guardian:-

Plans to privatise child protection are moving at pace

During 2014, the government continued to move forward with the marketisation and privatisation of children’s social services, including child protection investigations and assessments.

Following considerable public opposition in May to initial proposals, the government issued a revised regulation. It does not stop private sector companies from getting contracts to provide child protection and other children’s social services. What they will now have to do is set up a not-for-profit subsidiary to provide the services. Money can then be made for the parent company by charging its subsidiary for management, administration and estates services at a cost determined by the parent company. This is how the big companies such as G4S and Serco, which thrive on government contracts, will be able to generate their profit. Some have argued this will not happen. How strong are their arguments?
 

--oo00oo--

If existing political structures are proving so much of a problem, what chance have any of us got of influencing things for the better? The answer must surely lie in the wonderful gift to humanity of the internet, the incredible ability to publish and share information freely and easily so as to better understand and hence influence political decision-making. It strikes me that we're the first generation able to benefit from the democratisation of knowledge and the ability to use the same technology to organise independently of existing organisations, and to create new groupings for specific purposes.

It should come as no great surprise that existing organisations feel considerably threatened by this democatisation, for example the recent attempts by the MoJ to stop the families of serving prisoners posting anything relating to the relative on social media sites such as Facebook. The issue is discussed here by Alex Cavendish on his excellent Prison UK:An Insider's View website, incidentally another brilliant example of how the internet is able to provide the means for closer examination of a subject area the government is only too keen was kept firmly under wraps.  

When the history comes to be written, I think it's clear that our fight against TR was not assisted by Napo's failure to embrace the opportunities that opened up with the advent of new media and indeed are still struggling to find appropriate ways of responding. Sadly, King Canute-style they have persued a policy of denial, famously censoring the members online forum, actively assisting in it's withering and recently taking it down completely.

Thank goodness we have Facebook though and several groups are really beginning to gain momentum, such as Keep Probation Public, not Private who recently triggered a lively debate on the trials and tribulations of TTG.  

Another Facebook posting was responsible for breaking the news about Sodexo 'McDonalds-style' interview booths with the story being picked up in the national press. This has got to be good news in what is otherwise a sea of TR doom and gloom, so I want to give this initiative a boost on here by being cheeky once more and re-publishing some recent threads in the hope that further interest can be generated. However, please bear in mind this health warning on the Facebook page:-  
Just a friendly reminder that this is a Public page (in more than just name). Anyone, anywhere can see your comments. We are more than happy to post anonymously - just use the private message function if needed.  
Keep Probation Public, not Private

We are almost at 4,000 'likes' (thanks everyone!) and our posts reach over 30,000 people. Please help us to reach more by clicking on "invite friends to like this page" and selecting the ones you think would be interested; colleagues, family members, friends. Thank you all for your posts, messages and contributions.

Message received:-

"Hi. Regarding the now tragic state of Through The Gate. I was, until October, a specialist resettlement worker, but now working in Sodexo's TTG as a community worker (feeling very de-skilled currently). We very recently recieved a message that a service user would be released to a local night shelter. On further examination, I found that the prison TTG staff had called around a week before and been told to call back on the day of release. Needless to say, no further work had been done and there was no bed for the individual who will now be street homeless! We would never have let this happen a year ago!"

There's a resettlement team in prisons? Really??? Strange how most of the releases I meet up with have been told 'speak to probation'.

This is happening frequently now. We keep getting people reporting on licence who tell me that the TTG people informed them that Probation will find them accommodation. This is not the case. All we can do is tell them to report to the Council as being homeless. Currently, our referral and support system is shambolic.

Message received:-

I appreciate that the page is primarily focused on CRC issues at the moment and quite right however, in my NPS area, we have been directed to use rental cars and to car share; after being instructed to firstly provide costings and comparisons of train journey VS car and car parking etc. However, please be aware that should you be involved in an accident, it appears that only the driver is insured for any personal injury; passengers are not insured by the NPS insurance company and will have to seek their own legal advice!

Surely if we are told to car share, use hire cars, etc then someone needs to confirm that insurance is in place for everyone in the vehicle?

It is so disappointing to see everyone struggling day to day and not being able to get on with our job.

Message received:-

"I work for ***** CRC and we received an email this week informing us that unpaid work will no longer be delivered on an intensive basis and offenders can only attend one session a week - this alone appears to be a breach of contract. This information was shared with NOMS inspectors who were in the area this week who shared the same view!"


--oo00oo--

I'll end with this because it will be of interest to many no doubt:-

Dear Jim, 
We've just received notice that all VLOs will be graded at band 3 following the E3 JE process. I have been involved in collective action with all of my VLO colleagues, providing a job description contributed by all and attending NOMS to provide them with a copy and discuss with the JE team. All to no avail I'm afraid. There is roughly a 45/55 % split over the UK with 45% on grade 4. We intend to appeal of course and have asked Ian Lawrence for assistance. 

The MoJ promote a pro victim stance but in reality, the service costs money and they are not prepared to fund it with experienced staff. Those VLOs on band 4 terms will now either have to move to another post or take a substantial pay cut. The JE process should not produce anomalies but by Mr Barton's admission, the AP grade 6 posts cannot be agreed for this reason. The process is flawed and NAPO are standing by with the door open as usual. Please keep my identity confidential Jim. Thank you for your platform to expose this whole sham.

45 comments:

  1. The job evaluation process is a loaded dice and always has been. It was inevitable that band 3 would be 'objectively' ascribed. As these panels are jointly administered by management and the unions, one can only assume that the unions endorsed the band 3.

    What is the point of the unions being on these panels? I can see how management would favour their inclusion as they give legitimacy to unpopular measures, but I can't see what's really in it for the unions – unless it's to cast these contentious issues as bureaucratic/technocratic/pragmatic matters and not something that the unions be expected to agitate around.

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  2. Non sequitur: just looking for a place to put this out. I have a NPS client with a CRC delivered programme requirement. He is highly compliant, so a reuliable turner upper. He is probably not suitable for the programme. Hey, he might be: I would welcome a review and assessment. But the CRC is under fire for not hitting completions targets, and I am highly cynical about any advice I might get. This really stinks

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    1. The assessment that got him put on the programme in the first place was done by an NPS officer, presumably - whether in a PSR or as a licence condition - so from my perspective the CRC is just fulfilling what's been asked of it. They might well be more inclined to keep your chap on the books because he'll get the work done, but actually I think there were similar problems pre-TR.

      I don't say this in blind support of CRC business practices, by the way, but as a CRC PO who regularly gets handed cases with wholly unsuitable programme requirements, taking me hours of work to try to get the case back to court for variation.

      For me the issue lies in the original assessment, not the delivery.

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    2. I'm not banging a drum for the NPS, its an unholy mess, I'm just noting that in the ongoing business of trying to get it right, for the client, for the community, getting it profitable is not a helpful addition to the mix of motivators at all.

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    3. Thanks for clarifying. My gut feeling is that the situation would have been the same in the 'good old days' because of the distorting effects of targets in general, but you may be right that the profit principle has twisted this even further.

      The separation of assessment and delivery caused by TR is a major problem. There used to be lots of informal discussions between court and programmes staff about suitability at PSR stage, but that seems to have almost disappeared entirely. I'd like to think that was an issue of limited time rather than anything else, but it does concern me that, as time moves on and new people come into both organisations without the personal relationships from pre-TR days, the information gap is just going to get worse.

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    4. Very little time for any discussion these days in the reports we can complete but an even bigger problem in our area is what appears to be a breakdown of all the processes in Court nil reports are through the roof

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  3. The JE process is delivering what we all suspected AP key workers coming out at Band2 is appalling my pso colleagues must feel completely undervalued for the difficult work they do! We are now expecting POs to come out at Band 3 Rhe unions need to explain their part in this immediately !

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    1. When did you get told this? I work in an AP and haven't heard anything about this.

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    2. Saw a copy of a letter from Jim Barton forwarded from management

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  4. JE has delivered a further blow to staff morale and comments in the office today has been around the need to get out asap

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    1. I do not understand why the 55-45% split that has victim liason staff on either band 3 or 4 was tolerated or whether anything was ever done to challenge this discrepency. It would not have been tolerated if PSOs or POs had been similarly divided.

      This is what Napo said in their response to E3:

      '5.2 States that the VLO role is a band 3 role but that this is subject to a review of the job description and job evaluation. It is strange that this pronouncement is made in advance of the job evaluation process and this suggests that the job evaluation will be manipulated to come to the answer required by NOMS as opposed to being a fair and transparent process. In those areas where VLOs are paid at band 4 this is as a result of a previous job evaluation process. It is vital that NOMS commits to a fair and transparent job evaluation process and also to positively supporting any staff who may be affected by re-banding following such activities.'

      Presumably the unions will have a view on whether the procees was fair or whether their suspicion of manipulation has been borne out. If they believe in their manipulation theory then what's the point in supporting JE?

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    2. Because, as with shafting, CRC job losses, theft of public monies intended for staff (i.e. 60% of VR), etc etc, the unions are either (1) utterly incompetent or (2) utterly disinterested - or maybe they're just happy to be complicit with this government's approach, offering token gestures of "defiance" as a means of justifying members' subs? Over the last three years there has been not a single campaign success, except for delaying the introduction of subs by direct debits by a few months. "We've negotiated a national VR package." Except it was only available to a chosen few and otherwise disregarded by the new owners, who pocketed the reputed £80M of public money handed to them as a sweetener to pay staff off. Never saw that in the press.

      So please don't expect JE to be anything other than a farce, whereby staff will be revalorised by NOMS to a lower scale - or better still, probation payscales will be replaced by prison service payscales, and POs/PSOs/VLOs will be paid next to nowt.

      And then they came for me.

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    3. It's Friday so we can expect a blog from Ian Lawrence - maybe it will have something to say about all this?

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    4. This was in last week's blog by IL, so book a seat at an event in your area and prepare your questions:

      "My diary is filling up fast with dates where I will have an opportunity to meet directly with members and prospective members in South Yorkshire, Cumbria & Lancashire, Northumbria and Essex.

      I have committed to do a workplace meeting in every Branch where I will be more than willing to try and address your concerns and answer questions about what Napo are trying to do on your behalf."

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    5. According to Napo the Probation Institute has produced a 'position paper' against interview booths, but no link from the Napo site and I could not find it on the PI site.

      IL in latest blog says there is anger over JE.

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    6. This what Ian Lawrence has to say on the subject in his latest blog:-

      Cake and eat it?

      If ever there was a clearer demonstration of the disrepair of the probation pay system when considering the recent Job Evaluation outcomes, then I have yet to see it.

      The news that the VLO grade evaluation turned out at Band 3 has caused apoplexy among many of our members and as you would expect we will be issuing urgent advice to them early next week, once we have had a chance to digest the rationale.

      Likewise we struggle to see how AP administrative staff can score at Band 2 and not 3 but the news that the AP manager and AP Area Manager roles both emerged from the exercise at Band 6, has caused some ruffles in NOMS high command for sure.

      That’s not to say I am blaming them for the above outcomes as none of the senior people we see are actually on the panels, but the fact is that they are presiding over a pay and grading system that is no longer fit for purpose and which fails to properly capture and accurately reflect the inherent complexities of your work and, just as importantly, the direct impact that Transforming Rehabilitation has caused in so many areas of NPS operations.

      Whilst we await the formal minute of what was discussed and work on our advice to members, I will have to leave it there for now; but suffice to say that we made our views very clear as to how we might emerge from the mess that is the pay banding system, and I hope that we will see an early move towards presenting the unions with a Change Agreement for the implementation of the E3 programme.

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    7. IL seems to have a fixed formula for his missives to the people:

      1. State the bleedin' obvious: "The news that the VLO grade evaluation turned out at Band 3 has caused apoplexy among many of our members..." - why not be clear its not acceptable to ALL of your members?
      2. Never directly criticise NOMS: "That’s not to say I am blaming them [NOMS high command] for the above outcomes as none of the senior people we see are actually on the panels..."
      3. Prepare everyone for yet another long delay: "Whilst we await the formal minute of what was discussed and work on our advice to members..."
      4. Emphasise the power of your position: "suffice to say that we made our views very clear as to how we might emerge from the mess that is the pay banding system..."
      5. Cross fingers and "hope that we will see an early move towards presenting the unions with a Change Agreement for the implementation of the E3 programme."

      If you can imagine an Alan Bennett voice (sorry Mr Bennett, its not very good but it hopefully makes a point):

      Today we had some bad news about the tea ladies at the WI. They've been regraded to a lower band and there was such a fuss at the WI. Mind you, those lovely people on the committee can't really be to blame, it must be very tiring being in charge of everything. We'd ordered tea and scones quite a while ago but we thought we'd just sit and wait a while longer. They still haven't arrived. We did have something to say, mind, we made it very clear we'd really like some tea and scones. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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    8. Yes I agree completely - utter drivel. If one was cynical one would venture to suggest he's just 'going through the motions'; treading water and biding his time until the inevitable happens and Napo either merges with another union or folds completely. The wrong man in the wrong job and it's been painfully obvious to many from day one.

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    9. Nothing to disagree with in 16:22. And the Bennetesque piece was very amusing. Napo's hopes for a revised pay banding structure kind of distract attention from the JE charade and I think IL engages in sophistry when he excuses senior Noms management simply because they were not on the JE panels. You may as well argue that the puppet has a mind of its own and no strings are ever manipulated.

      Napo is backtracking here as it has already commented upon its concerns in relation to the E3 blueprint: '5.2 States that the VLO role is a band 3 role but that this is subject to a review of the job description and job evaluation. It is strange that this pronouncement is made in advance of the job evaluation process and this suggests that the job evaluation will be manipulated to come to the answer required by NOMS as opposed to being a fair and transparent process.'

      It is bizarre for Napo to now claim that senior managers had nothing to do with paragraph 5.2 in the blueprint. JE is a fix and Napo should not be supporting and providing representation on the panels.

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    10. I said about a month ago to a branch chair I know in another area that this JE and the work done in the work streams seemed to be just a paper exercise. And Nps / noms could just do what they liked anyway. I've been told you have to be JE trained to do JE but that does not necessarily mean you know and understand the job you are evaluating. I would have thought it would be best done as a live exercise by a person who does the actual job .. For example a VLO

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    11. All good comments and very reasonable. The general secretary is criticising a JE system that in fact is excellent. If used correctly and the opening rules are properly followed. I read this week in correspondences that in fact outcomes on score and pay are not to be panel considerations at all. The JE is fit for purpose if properly deployed with appropriately experienced and skilled assessors. More importantly in such a role for VLO because of the particular and damaging cases of victims to who they work and serve to protect in the complexities of the CJ system. The General secretary might have better taken some advice befor rubbishing a system that he clearly shows he knows nothing about in any proper detail. The whole charade around NAPO involvement in the evaluation process has been a darkened secret from members and this latest episode is another indication that it has to a call of time for the general secretary to please go or come clean and then go.

      "disrepair of the probation pay system when considering the recent Job Evaluation outcomes," This disrepair has nothing to do with the JE process but what skills NAPO field in providing an appropriate team to engage effectively the managm,ent who also sit on panels. That combined group are tasked to deliver a full accountable record as laid in the JE scheme. I wager we will not see much of that so how do our members appeal not muddle around in a NAPO led after glo of let us engage in more dialogue. Get the right skills in the right place at the right time and stop busking as a union act like one. In the round of events it means that 45% of VLO are set to be devalued on pay when actually had NAPO been properly active and the job we pay them for the remaining band 3 VLOs on their behalf NAPO should have submitted equal pay claims for equal work and all the grade recognised for their valued and capable contribution to what has become a clear and specialised developing role within the long development of what was probation. The general secretaries lack of real knowledge of his job and ours is striking and obvious and Jims comment is so true.

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    12. Who or what is this man? constant references to ' I have never seen the like before' makes me think that rather than spending napo money on wastage and irrelvant rail travel the union would better invest in some job experience for IL in the trade union movement.

      He complains about what government/employers are doing. Doesn't he get it that this is the nature of government and employers? Blog is sadly lacking in what he intends to do about anything. Maybe because he doesn't intend to do something.
      Reference to David Lammy letter - pathetic! It's a standard letter, probably gone out to everyone. Of absolutely no use to the union or its members. But there again, GS letter to him was hardly inspiring!

      Sorry, but I do wonder what NAPO gets for its money

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  5. Interesting post from the G.S. We have asked him on more than one occasion who was on the J.E panels and still waiting for those answers, assumed he didn't know but clearly he does know. Do something for ur money, answer direct questions, carry out investigations where needed otherwise your as bad as the arses that runs NOMS. Or maybe u r on a promise of something better if u sit quietly and do nothing, exactly as u are doing. NAPO could have done so much better with people willing to take the challenges on. We reap what we sew

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    1. I know what he is on its an incredible amount of money for a union that has lost so many members. The NEC need to take note and the chairs . Whatever is left of the union need to cut this pay deal and the rest of the pay bill ASAP. Come join those unemployed in what appears to most to feel let down. Promised a lot delivered ???

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    2. The Chairs - wonder who they are then? Must be as unproductive as the so called Press Officer

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  6. Slightly off subject, I did want to say to Jim, ( Ian Gould) far from your blog ‘being of no avail, for many it’s a sanctuary of thoughts/feelings and concerns, a forum where the voiceless truly matter and a strong source of a light that continues to shine into the dark recesses of Transforming Rehabilitation.

    Your introductory comments WILL resonate with so many of your ‘Probationmatters’ readers involved in the’ Long haul ‘ as it continues to have irreparable consequences/changes to there lives/careers, hopes, aspirations and working practices. Its good to read of your steadfast hope that its as ‘night turns into day’ that you find renewed strength/vigour . Your blog provides to others to help make sense and where appropriate make a contribution however small that might.

    Simple words I know but I want to thank you and all those who remain steadfastness and for remaining ‘thoroughly immersed’ you are in MY thoughts and prayers. Thank you for enabling so many albeit anonymously for empowering others to have a sense of confidence that it is OK to defend/Value a much loved, celebrated and good performing Public Service all for the sake of a political ideology small p that has been so destructive.

    Shortly, with Publishers permission, I will begin to tweet (iangould5) 107 quotes from Privatising Probation in the hope that others who understand a little about what I value will themselves be creative and innovative in using each and every opportunity alongside, all other social media twitterers and NAPO, Keep Probation Private Not Public to help keep the focus/momentum going.

    Please note I have not used this blog before preferring Twitter. Although, I read it daily and I doubt that it will be my only contribution. I’m not computer savvy and have already successfully deleted one version of this comment. So I will use the anonymous button and hope it works

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    1. Thanks Ian - your continuing support is much appreciated and I look forward to reading the 107 quotes.

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    2. Been in probation nearly 20 years in various roles / areas. It is heart breaking to witness such a swift, mindless destruction of a public service that wasn't broken. Now each day a continual slurry of emails: missing information, complaints, a sheer waste. We are bombarded with demands / threats on a daily basis for explanations re targets. Good staff treated appallingly, have already left or fighting on. Everyone in this team, what's left of it, looking for another job. A miserable, oppressive state of affairs - no doubt precisely the view of these so called politicians as to how our experience of labour should be. Where is this leading?

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  7. Any news on the kss ceo replacement last week? Rumours are circulating? I also hear south Yorkshire is out of special measures. What's happening in working links getting rid of all temp staff. Was that right?

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    1. Kss crc website shows suki binning as ceo, with nigel bennet moved into a seetec post as "group justice director". Wonder if that's to distance him from Mrs Bennett's role with NOMS contract police? Brace yourself, it makes me winder what's heading your way... Maybe you can kss your jobs goodbye?

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    2. He was removed following special measures

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  8. Watching a programme about junior doctors. Over 3200 days lost in 2015 due to junior doctors being on sick leave for stress, anxiety and depression. This was due to high workloads and up 150% from 2014. Many citing doing the jobs of two people, working extra hours every day, no time for breaks and lunch, no support and being made to feel a failure for being unable to complete tasks.

    What are the figures for working in probation because this sounds very similar to the problems of being a probation officer???

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    1. Doctor 10 years training PO 2 years on a cannot fail support course . NO COMPARISON. No sympathy with that comment.

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    2. It would be pointless to respond to your comment.

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    3. @anon 20:59 you do know that being a PO doesn't even begin to compare with being a doctor, don't you? Just checking. Anymore false equivalences you'd care to list?

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  9. Never mind the current evaluations and negotiations, where's the incremental point from last April? About time NAPO got it sorted out. What a bloody shambles



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  10. Napo forum back up on website. That's is encouraging. Some reflection as they have left on old posts. Perhaps it is this site prompted a return or the need to appear inclusive. Either its worth looking across and reading all the errors made in fighting or fanning TR.

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    1. If anything it might have been Andrew S Hatton kicking up a fuss on Twitter.

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  11. In on a Saturday doing ISPs. My manager gave us all keys so we can work whatever days we like to meet targets. We're loving this flexible way of working :)

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    1. Why top brass got you at the coal face on the weekend?

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    2. Which is not your problem unless yore being paid overtime to work over your contracted hours.

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    3. So long as it is flexible working and you are choosing to go in. If you have to go in because you cannot get everything done during your usual hours in the week, then (assuming competence is not an issue for you) this is not working flexibly... it's having an unreasonable workload.

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  12. Anon 07:33, I hope that if you're working on a Saturday this means you spend less time with clients during the rest of the week. Because if you're working on your weekend by choice you're a fool, and if that comment was a lie, you're an idiot. Either way, your clients are going to be better off the less time they spend with you.

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  13. Most colleagues used to work all hours have keys to buildings and work during some decent quiet time on qualitative PSRs. At one point handwritten documents handed in for typing. Nowadays a few evening programmes and most out by 5 before it was a craft today just a process.

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  14. 09.08 Anon. We should be open at weekends in my view. More opportunity to to engage with those people who work themselves instead of short interviews mid- week evenings. Very patronising to call staff working at weekends fools and crass to make comments about 'clients' having less time with them when you don't know them! Sweeping generalisations don't help anyone.

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