Monday, 7 March 2016

The Nightmare Called OASys

Seen on Facebook:-

So how do people hit 10 day Eoasys quality and quantity targets with high caseloads?! Do I go back to a time I bullet pointed everything-how do we hit these targets whilst ensuring we care for our clients prior to losing our own marbles....?

As a trainee I lose two of those ten days due to study leave.....

Full interview of all sections at first visit after sentence. Start EOASys. If you can't finish it in your contractual 37hrs in the week, you just have to take it home and do it in your own time. QA's are back. Lol

I can do that in 20 mins, inexperienced staff an hour! We are tiered hours per case! Not employment hours.

The MoJ have basically ensured that you consider using closed questions within an assessment to ensure you hit your timings. If you don't use closed questions you open yourself out to failure despite hitting quality....the fools with the tools make the rules

We have been told we can do layer 1 assessments if they are low risk .

CRCS hold the most fluid risk cases. SFO'S will come from low to medium risk cases. In that scenario your assessment will be torn apart. Sorry but that's the horrible truth.

Maybe but if the directive has come from them and there were no obvious risk factors then you can defend a layer 1. The reality is that a full oasys on every case is not viable anymore. Sad but true. Plus aren't CRCs supposed to be getting rid of oasys?

Yep, we thought we were getting rid of Eoasys!!! But someone couldn't read a contract and its here to stay....all cases within 10 days. I refer to my previous answer=agile idiots.

But OASYS won't allow a layer 1 for prison releases.

Doesn't allow a layer 1 for previous ROSH either!

In the NPS we only have ten days too

But what happened to these pro judgement standards we were promised!!!! These are contract measures based on monetary value not risk!

Ten days is crap. Like u say money driven

You forget - for high risk we used to have 5 days from sentence. A 10 day target (remembering this is from the first time we see them, not disposal) gives much more time to complete ISP and RMP. And I wouldn't want a high risk service user running around in the community for any longer without a robust risk management plan in place.


I am still looking for a definitive definition of 'Agile Working'. For 12 months I have asked managers this but to no avail. I ask this because since the split we CRCs were told that new IT would allow us to outreach more within the community! However, as a result of Grayling's promises of unshackling creativity I am stuck at my desk more so than I have ever been in 20 years! Processing and churning out assessments whilst being told I've limited hours to work with DV and IOM clients. Time that includes the processing of Eoasys assessments! Therefore I now consider the definition of 'Agile Working' to mean I will be directed to cover other Offices that have staff shortages, as well as the impact on my back as I crouch over a small laptop screen! I will also be stating that I am not a qualified health and safety at work assessor and an online course does not cater to my learning style. I would go even further and state that such a course discriminates against AT users as they are excluded, due to the majority of CRC IT being inaccessible for them to use, one such user is handwriting her notes so admin can then scan them onto the system!

I had no system for 4 weeks!!!! This is a mess

And now as of 1630hrs yesterday we are presented with the eoasy 10 day ISP target! People will be sacked due to having no personal development support. People will be placed into capability despite having 100+ cases.

Same as us, oasys as of last month has to be done in 10 days despite no laptops working

Sack us all for failure to meet targets then employ new staff on a lower wage..... That's what I'm foreseeing.

SFO'S await. But the targets and contracts are set by MOJ. That says it all-they want us to fail, they want an SFO....

Complete madness

Not really if you equate making money out of people's misery. That's capitalism.

It all sounds chaotic, I don't know how you stand it!

I ask that same question, most say they can't afford to lose their job.

And when you have a commitment to this work it's difficult to imagine how what you could replace it with, even if you had the choice!

I agree but in time this vocation is being diluted. In this environment you need to realise what skills you have. I don't like what I say but I say it to survive.

That's the worst aspect of the decimation of public services - the way that it compromises the workers' integrity. The skills should be transferable to other types of social work but there is plenty of malarkey going on there as well. Meanwhile the clients need you. I am lucky to be retired; was 'restructured' 4 times; total nightmare.

Should have said that I am in New Zealand, but I started out in London (child protection) and Probation (1979) which I remember with great respect and affection.

I agree, I speak to highly trained People who have no idea what skills they possess. They just say 'what else can I do', a bit like me!

Any New Zealand jobs going? lol. There maybe an influx if you say yes, it's that bad!!!!!!

It is just as bad here, we have had a neo-liberal govt. for two terms, though not as brutal as UK. As far as I can see both child protection and probation spend most of their time on the computer. I think any kind of social work is anathema to Tories; it does not fit the ideology. We have had years of enquiries, investigations, new policies and procedures, evidence based, ecological, systemic etc. Sound familiar? "Child, Youth and Family" if you want to have a look. I have been following a UK site called 'Social Work Tutor', if you haven't seen it. It might be worth a look to see what is going on in other areas of your profession cos there might be some choices in the future. 

In my 3 decades I've been asked a question I can't actually answer: How have you survived? I don't know, all I say to Trainees is what I was told all those years ago: manage your cases, but ask yourself what would a coroner ask you!!!! For the first time ever my answer to that question is at risk due to TR..

NAPO should be collating info on all the barriers to good practice (of which there have been heaps on this page) and putting them in a submission to Gove; he is responsible for the contracts and providers' overall performance.. I don't know how you stand it.

NAPO is dieing....and that's from a member.

I was very near to going for a New Zealand job a decade ago. Believe me, if the role is generic you will have many interested parties. Me included.


  1. I've just had a quick look to see what other jobs are out there (we have a lot of skills) and noted that G4S are recruiting for children's homes. They say:

    'These are exciting times ahead as we are in the process of acquiring new children's homes in a variety of areas; which cater for young people who are aged between 10 to 18 years.'

    Terrifying really isn't it after what happened at the Secure Training Centre?!

  2. These comments are so familiar it's horrible to feel so negative but the only conversation in my office is how to get out we feel so de skilled under valued and defeated hoping redundancy will come to enable us to get out (NPS PO)

  3. One of the saving graces of nightmares is that you wake up from them, but OASys goes on and on. We know what's bad about OASys, but is there anything good about it? From its beginnings I never thought, wow! now we have the keys to risk assessment and management, a 'revolutionary' tool that will render all the others amateurish and obsolete. Ten to fifteen years down the road it has failed to live up to its billing. It's ironical that it still sits there in the middle of the ruins of the probation service - a curious remnant which the archaeologists assume must have been one of the gods of a lost civilisation. What primitive and gullible folks they must have been.

    And wasn't OASys supposed to put probation centre stage; make it a world leader in the assessment and management of risk; the beating heart of the new choreography? Those heady, hysterical days...

    From the outset I always looked upon OASys not as an assessment tool but as a surveillance system – a gatherer of data. I never once told it who the ringleaders were!

    1. Yup. As has been discussed, in 1999 it seemed a sensible idea to eradicate the multifarious risk assessment formats scattered across England & Wales and consolidate them in one single 'tool'. But prison service civil servants drove the project. They didn't understand probation and consultation quickly turned into imposition. As the NOMS empire blossomed so OASys was employed to drive a stake through the heart of probation and tether the professional creativity the role once encouraged. The control & command ethos was rolled out, Trusts were created, MoJ became a discrete department & OASys was central to monitoring the target-driven policies. NOMIS was to be the next stage in this Orwellian nightmare but NOMS proved they couldn't manage a fart when the PAC chastised them in 2009 for pisspoor management & massive losses of taxpayer monies. But OASys is here to stay and, as with VR, the promises in the CRC contracts weren't worth a handjob.

  4. The Public Accounts Committee of The House of Commons, as Richard Johnson reminded us in 2014 were not enthusiastic about outsourcing either. Sadly Parliament disregarded them by not taking closer control of the process.

    1. PAC warns on ‘pace and complexity’ of probation privatisation. 20 May 14

      The Ministry of Justice’s plan to outsource probation services carries ‘significant risks’ because it attempts to do too much at once, the Public Accounts Committee has warned.

      In an examination of the privatisation of probation provision for all but the most high-risk offenders, MPs said the plans to create 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies from next month also created value-for-money risks due to the department’s poor track record of procuring services.

      Under the scheme, 35 probation trusts in England and Wales – which supervised 225,000 offenders in 2012/13 – will be replaced by new private and voluntary providers operating under payment-by-results contracts. This is intended to increase the efficiency of the service and introduce new ways to cut reoffending.

      However, PAC chair Margaret Hodge warned the plan to bring in new providers, create a new National Probation Service for around 31,000 high-risk offenders and extend the service to around 50,000 short-term prisoners were happening simultaneously.

      ‘We recognise that the reform programme is still developing, but the scale, complexity and pace of the changes are very challenging, and the MoJ’s extremely poor track record of contracting out – such as the recent high-profile failures on its electronic tagging contracts – gives rise to particular concern.’

      The new arrangements have not been fully piloted and the MoJ expects the new National Probation Service and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies to begin operating from June, with very little testing, Hodge said. ‘We therefore welcome the ministry’s commitment to only proceed at each stage of the programme if it is satisfied it is safe to do so and that value for money will not be jeopardised.’

      As the supervision and management of offenders was an essential public service, it was vital this was maintained in the event of a supplier failing or withdrawing from the contract, the Probation: landscape review report added.

      ‘The ministry pointed to the existence of the National Probation Service as a provider of last resort, but could not provide details of its contingency plans as commercial negotiations are still in progress,’ Hodge stated.

      The committee is also concerned that the proposed mechanism for paying Community Rehabilitation Companies by results is complex and untested, an called on the MoJ to include open-book accounting provisions in the contracts to help ensure value for money.

    2. But of course the civil servants won an award for the introduction of TR - a resounding success apparently.

  5. OASys will become an admin function same as alot of current Administration that Officers do. Things are still being tried and tested at the expense of some officers sanity. But there will be banks of Admin under the guidance of qualified officers ticking the boxes via notes taken at initial interview stage. Webchat, Call Centres will become the norm. Service Users will see Officers for their one to one and by appointment only. With ever dwindling office space and Service users adapting to these changes they will gather momentum and then ???????

  6. Sorry very off topic, but dont know where to put it if not here. I would be interested to know what other CRC areas are doing to complete RAR days - is it still 20 mins with OM like my area, or do other areas have new interventions?

    1. In Northumbria there are sessions called Positive Pathways - 6 sessions that everyone has to do at start of order (strengths based) or Positive Pathways Plus (DV) then most recently we've got exercises tailored for alcohol, cannabis, legal highs, aggression & masculinity. Not sure if I've missed any off?

  7. Again off topic (Ian Gould)I've today made mention of both Jim's Blog and 'Keep Probation Public not Private' as part of my humble but prayerfully led attempts to keep another light however small on OUR TR Journey. Believing that anything is worth a try. I'm in the process of publishing 107 tweets from Privatising Probation. Hopefully, Jim might see some value and also RT. Some will know of various other attempts to keep alongside other social media/Napo efforts Probations profile in the public domain. However difficult that might be. Please feel able to follow and comment even if only on the photo tweets themselves at @iangould5. Take great care everyone.