Thursday, 26 May 2016

TTG Not Working - Shock!

It's interesting to see that the BBC have picked up on at least one aspect of the latest report from HM Inspectorate of Probation as to how TR is going:-

Staff 'told not to take action against probation breaches'

Probation officers are being told not to take action against offenders who breach sentence terms, because their companies risk being fined, a watchdog in England and Wales has said. Since 2015, private probation groups have received payments linked to offenders meeting sentence conditions. But this may have deterred staff from taking action against people breaching community orders, inspectors found. The government said it was addressing issues raised in the report.

Government changes have seen the probation service split in two, with community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) supervising low and medium-risk offenders and a new National Probation Service (NPS) taking over the supervision of high-risk offenders. CRCs were transferred from public to private ownership on 1 February 2015.

'Discourage' community orders

Under the system, payments to CRCs are linked to offenders complying with the terms of their sentence and not committing further crimes. But the Inspectorate of Probation found a number of probation officers at CRCs said they had been told by bosses not to recommend to the courts that an offender's community sentence be revoked because their company would incur a financial penalty.

One officer said their organisation's approach was to "discourage" enforcing community orders or the conditions of a prisoner released on licence. Community orders are sentences imposed by courts in place of jail terms. They can include rehabilitation activities, unpaid work and drug or alcohol treatment. Offenders who fail to comply with community orders can have the terms of their orders amended to be more onerous and can even face prison sentences for repeated breaches.

The report also found that more than two-thirds of offenders released from prison had not received enough help from the CRC before release in relation to accommodation, employment or finances. In some areas a shortage of probation officers meant that CRC agency staff were allocated medium-risk-of-harm cases, for which they felt insufficiently trained.

The report, which related to inspections undertaken from October 2015 to February 2016, found the NPS and CRCs were now working better together but that "significant problems remain". Advice given to courts was less reliable in some cases, but the report also said the work the NPS did with many high-risk offenders was good and included effective joint working with specialists.

Dame Glenys Stacey, chief inspector of probation, said CRCs needed to do more work to prepare prisoners for release. She added: "Without sufficient preparation, those released are more likely to offend again and so find themselves back inside."

--oo00oo--

From the report:-

Foreword 

This is the final report in a series looking at the implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme. We report on the position as it is now, some 15 months after the transfer (from the state) of the ownership of Community Rehabilitation Companies. 

The National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies are now working and communicating better together than they were in the months following implementation. We are happy to acknowledge improvements made to date and pleased also to recognise the good work undertaken in parts of the National Probation Service and in some of the Community Rehabilitation Companies. Some court work and staff training and morale remain sticking points, however, and we found as well that not enough is being done for people in prison as they prepare for release. 

The new arrangements put an increased emphasis and dependency on the quality of court reporting, but it is still proving problematic, in part due to the demands of speedy justice. Oral reports are increasingly common, but a good system record and domestic abuse and child safeguarding checks are needed in all cases, so as to inform sentencing and enable Community Rehabilitation Companies to focus promptly and knowledgeably on the work needed to reduce reoffending. In addition, court staff need to be sufficiently aware of what Community Rehabilitation Companies can offer so as to advise the court appropriately in relation to rehabilitation activity requirements, a common feature of community sentences. 

The poor or patchy morale we reported on previously is still evident, mainly in some of the Community Rehabilitation Companies. Some staff expressed concern about their competence to undertake their roles, and training had not always been delivered in a timely way to equip them with the skills required to enable them to undertake new or changed roles. 

With the aim of reducing reoffending, Transforming Rehabilitation introduced supervision to all prisoners released into the community. We were particularly disappointed to note that in a substantial proportion of cases, not enough had been done before release to help the individuals with their accommodation, employment or finances. 

Community Rehabilitation Company leaders have been understandably focused on implementing substantial change. For some this has been at a cost to quality assurance and effective management oversight of the day-to-day. With the new arrangements increasingly embedded, we hope to see increased emphasis on the quality of work over the course of the year. 

By the time of publication of this report, our new adult inspection programme and methodology will have commenced. We will be reporting on the quality of probation work, and whether or not it is reducing reoffending, protecting the public and ensuring individuals abide by their sentence. In addition, we will take into account the findings from this and our earlier focus on Transforming Rehabilitation as we determine topics for thematic inspections this year. 

Finally, we hope that the detail we provide in this report will assist the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies as they review and develop their working practices.

Dame Glenys Stacey 
HM Chief Inspector of Probation

Executive summary 

Assisting sentencing and allocation of cases 

Court staff from the National Probation Service prepare court reports to assist sentencing and then determine, on the basis of specified criteria, whether the case is to be allocated to the National Probation Service or to the Community Rehabilitation Company. Good court work is essential to assist sentencing, to allocate the offender to the right organisation and for effective work to start promptly. 

We found that reports varied in quality, with written reports generally much better than reports presented orally. Unsurprisingly, assessments were generally better for cases allocated to the National Probation Service than to the Community Rehabilitation Companies; these are the higher risk and Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement cases and were more likely to have been adjourned for a written report, allowing the author more time to gather information. In some cases the risk of serious harm presented by the offender was not fully assessed, sometimes because checks had not been made to find out whether there were concerns about child safeguarding or domestic abuse, or the results of such checks had not been received. Where information was missing at the point of sentence, this should have been recorded on the allocation documentation, but was often missing or not always read by the responsible officer to whom the case was subsequently assigned. In addition, in some cases there was no written record of the oral report which had been presented to the court. 

Some court staff had not received sufficient training, and lacked confidence in completing the necessary assessments. Some report writers did not know enough about the work offered by the local Community Rehabilitation Company, which made it difficult for them to propose interventions most likely to address the offender’s problems. Sometimes they proposed a rehabilitation activity requirement ‘to address offending behaviour’, rather than a more targeted proposal which would help the responsible officer assigned to the case quickly to plan the appropriate work. 

Inadequate assessment or recording at the court stage may result in the offender being allocated to the wrong organisation, or supervision proceeding on the basis of incomplete or inaccurate information. The National Offender Management Service had recently issued a new Probation Instruction to improve the quality of reports and information exchange. 

Early Work in the Community Rehabilitation Companies 

Work should start promptly after sentence or release on licence so that individuals can be actively engaged in addressing their offending behaviour and other related needs. We found that offenders were generally allocated quickly to a responsible officer, but some did not meet them for over ten days. Arrangements were more efficient in one area where there was particularly good liaison between the court team and the office based case administrators. 

In most cases appropriate sentence plans had been put in place to address an individual’s offending related problems. They had not, however, always been involved in any meaningful way, reportedly because of the pressure to meet performance targets for completion. Most plans recorded how often there would be contact with the individual, but in over half it was not clear how the rehabilitation activity requirement days would be filled, a consequence of the lack of clarity in why this requirement was proposed to the court. 

It was disappointing to find that over two-thirds of offenders released from prison had not received enough help pre-release in relation to accommodation, employment or finances; in one-third the necessary work had not started within four weeks of sentence or release. Notwithstanding the slow start to supervision, we saw many cases where responsible officers were working imaginatively with individuals to help them change their behaviour. Two-fifths had made progress on problem areas, although, with the exception of one area, where performance was much better less than one-third had improved their accommodation or their education, training and employment prospects.

The individual’s attendance at appointments was usually monitored well, and formal warnings generally given where there were absences or unacceptable behaviour. We were told that responsible officers were discouraged from enforcing an order through the court because of financial penalties applied to the organisation; the positive consequence of this was that they worked hard to secure the individual’s compliance. 

The Community Rehabilitation Companies and the National Probation Service have to work closely together when it is necessary to return an offender to court because they are in breach of their sentence, or when the individual’s risk of harm appears to be increasing and it is decided to transfer their supervision to the National Probation Service. In the early days of Transforming Rehabilitation, these ‘interface’ areas caused some concern, but on the whole the arrangements appeared to have improved. 

Community Rehabilitation Companies are not responsible for managing offenders assessed as presenting a high risk of harm to other people, which means that the accuracy of risk analysis at the start of sentence is critical. We were impressed by Community Rehabilitation Company managers who told us that where a full analysis had not been undertaken by the National Probation Service, they expected their own staff to complete it. A number of Community Rehabilitation Company cases do, however, present a medium risk of harm, often because of domestic abuse or child safeguarding issues. In such cases we would expect to see a plan outlining how the risk will be managed, but these had not always been completed well enough. In some areas, a shortage of probation officers meant that probation service officers and agency staff were allocated medium risk of harm cases for which they felt insufficiently trained. Some senior probation officers were able to provide good quality, regular supervision, but others were stretched, covering several offices, and the quality of supervision they were able to provide was not good enough. 

Early Work in the National Probation Service 

Most offenders allocated to the National Probation Service saw their responsible officer soon after sentence or release, although a few waited over ten days for their first appointment, which was too long. Most received an induction to make sure that they understood what was required of them. Overall, more people subject to supervision were involved in planning the work that would be done with them during their sentence than in our previous inspections, but this disguised marked differences between areas. 

As in the Community Rehabilitation Company cases, resettlement needs had not always been addressed before release from prison, and constructive work did not always start promptly after sentence or release, although again some areas did better than others. In many cases we saw good, focused work to reduce reoffending and the risk of harm to others. Some individuals had, however, missed a number of appointments, some of which were recorded as acceptable without a rationale for this judgement. In threefifths of National Probation Service cases, progress had been made on problems linked with offending, a better outcome than in the Community Rehabilitation Companies, particularly in relation to improvements in accommodation. In common with Community Rehabilitation Company cases, improvements in education, training and employment prospects were more disappointing. 

Given the nature of National Probation Service cases, we would expect to see risk of harm to others assessed and managed well in all cases. Where a full risk analysis was completed, a quarter were not good enough, often because they had not been updated and did not draw on all available sources of information. Furthermore, one-third of risk management plans were not sufficiently thorough. Despite these deficits, we saw good work with many high risk offenders, with examples of effective joint work with specialist workers, good use of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements and an active contribution to multi-agency Child Protection procedures. Approved premises were used well to provide appropriate restrictions and manage the risk of harm to others. We were pleased to note that the use of purposeful home visits had improved since our previous inspections. In summary, while some aspects of work in the National Probation Service still needed to improve, in a number of important areas, work in the National Probation Service was better than in the Community Rehabilitation Companies.

As in the Community Rehabilitation Companies, some middle managers felt stretched and were now covering teams across a large area, with reduced administrative support. They reported that they felt the pressure to meet performance targets at the expense of quality. While probation officers felt competent to manage their cases, some probation service officers were less confident having not yet received relevant training, for example in managing people who had committed sexual offences. Some felt very well supported by middle and senior managers, but others reported that they received little supervision. 

Summary 

This is the fifth and final report in our series of inspections on Transforming Rehabilitation. In previous reports we have made a number of recommendations to the National Offender Management Service, the National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Companies. Some progress has been made on a number of these recommendations but, given the scale of changes, it is perhaps not surprising to note that more progress is still required. We have not made any new recommendations at this stage but will be following up our findings during the course of our Quality & Impact inspection programme.

57 comments:

  1. "It was disappointing to find that over two-thirds of offenders released from prison had not received enough help pre-release in relation to accommodation, employment or finances" - that's nigh on 70% failure.

    "In threefifths of National Probation Service cases, progress had been made on problems linked with offending, a better outcome than in the Community Rehabilitation Companies" - so a lack of progress in 40% of NPS cases, and even more lack of progress in CRCs.

    "In some cases the risk of serious harm presented by the offender was not fully assessed, sometimes because checks had not been made to find out whether there were concerns about child safeguarding or domestic abuse, or the results of such checks had not been received. Where information was missing at the point of sentence, this should have been recorded on the allocation documentation, but was often missing or not always read by the responsible officer to whom the case was subsequently assigned. In addition, in some cases there was no written record of the oral report which had been presented to the court." In essence, the job's fucked!!

    "This is the fifth and final report in our series of inspections on Transforming Rehabilitation... We have not made any new recommendations at this stage" - Perhaps because its a waste of HMI Probation's time as all previous recommendations have either been ignored or simply not implemented and HMI Probation have no teeth, as illustrated by the equivocal gumming afforded by this Report.

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  2. 60% staff gone in CRC Training Team through EVR or resignations since split. Several recommendations regarding insufficient training. Am one of 40% still in post and really concerned about future staff training and development. Focus however on impact of TR on operational staff.

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  3. Fuck me! Probation in the headlines. What will we do to capitalise on some public awareness of the TR scandal that we already know all about? Not much if past form is anything to go by. On another note, maybe some bright journalist reading this blog might pick up on this story too. Its a good one. Here's your free headline. "Grayling's Reforms Cause Prison Drug Crisis". I am reliably informed that HMPS have identified a worrying new trend where people on PSS are deliberately breaching in order to get a two week lie down in their Cat B local. Back in with a couple of ounces of gear in a condom up your arse equals a highly lucrative payout. Perhaps Grayling would approve of this example of the entrepreneurial spirit or maybe the CRC's will use it as an excuse for not breaching? Great to see someone else is making money out of TR though, isn't it.

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    1. So true - I nearly fell off my stool when I heard the BBC Radio 4 announcer actually use the words 'probation officer' more than once!!!!

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    2. @07.34 I've had several cases tell me this - apparently the going rate is up to £3000 for a two week stint with kinder egg containers as the preferred means of transport.

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  4. Yes, it is all true and as acrc po i am told to do all i can to avoid breach and go to huge efforts to get offenders through the door. I have no problem with that but being asked to alter a decision on a record from unacceptable abscence to acceptable is somethingi will not do. Remember that as crc staff we carry some of the riskiest and unpredictable cases, namely domestic violence, accountable for majority of murders in uk. Ok, if they do it they go to nps but we are holding the risk before it happens. I refuse to massage the figures like g4s and will breach if i feel i need to as a matter of public protection. Do not forget fellow officers that if the shit hits the fan it is your name thst will go up in lights and when you look back there is no one there to support you. You will be on your own in the spotlight! So stick to your guns and breach if you have resl concerns.

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    1. Always worth remembering when put in a compromising position: the day could come when under oath I have to describe my actions and rationale. If you have to admit reversing a decision which you believe was unsound, then you alone live with the consequences. As the responsible officer you have to be professionally responsible. In such situation put the onus on the manager to 'instruct' you.

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    2. Absolutely agree with above point. Get your Manager to instruct you and get it in writing.

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  5. Let's not forget that this report is based on pre-arranged inspections, NOT random unannounced visits. It therefore beggars belief that despite being in a position to polish their turds neither CRC nor NPS could produce anything like acceptable results. How can 25% or 33% failure to meet standards be even vaguely acceptable, let alone "more than two-thirds"?

    This is the impact of TR on what was previously a gold-standard public service.

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  6. CRC's are failing organisations and TTG is a sham, the evidence is now in publication. Maybe now the NPS will stop following the ways of CRC's. Maybe now Therea May's plan to absorb the NPS into CRC's will be kicked into the long grass.

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  7. "Advice given to courts was less reliable in some cases"

    Isn't lying to Courts a criminal offence? Sounds to me like fraud and perjury is rife in the CRC's.

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  8. Heard 2 more experienced former colleagues have walked from SYCRC due to the turmoil you would think alarm bells would be ringing

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    1. It's going to start happening in the Working Links area soon as well . They haven't got a clue

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    2. it took decades to build our workforce up and 12 mths for privateers to destroy it. Slash & burn with staff there will be no option but to re-merge soon purely to pool resources - one simply cannot survive without the other. Diversity of staff personalities is what cannot be quantified on a spreadsheet so when privateers were rubbing their grubby little hands at the prospect of shedloads of money they totally under-estimated that ultimately they could only control some of the staff some of the time and this has been their undoing.

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  9. Napo Press Release:-

    Probation union warns of continuing public safety concerns

    Napo, the largest trade union in the England and Wales probation service, today warned of its continuing concerns around offender management and public safety following the release of the fifth report by HM Inspector of Probation following the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation.

    Whilst recognising that some progress has been made in the interface between the National Probation Service (NPS) and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) Napo believes that the report highlights some continuing deficiencies in the areas of risk management, court reports and the provision of “Through the Gate” rehabilitation services by a number of the 21 CRCs.

    Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Ever since the imposition of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, our members have been highlighting the fact that many pre-sentence reports provided to the courts contain insufficient information and are often written by under-qualified staff who are under pressure to meet unrealistic targets. This means that the fears we have consistently raised with Ministers about public safety and the confidence of the judiciary in setting appropriate sentences are still a major issue.”

    The union is also highly critical of the performance of some CRC contractors who, HMIP have found, have failed to provide sufficient support for probation clients prior to their release from custody, and the fact that some medium risk of harm cases have been allocated to agency staff due to a shortage of trained probation practitioners.

    Ian Lawrence commented: “Napo is pleased that once again the Inspectorate has vindicated the issues that we continue to bring to the attention of politicians and various stakeholders within the criminal justice system. I fully intend to raise these aspects with the Secretary of State at our next meeting, and the union will be calling for the severest penalties to be imposed on under- performing CRCs whose activities are funded by the taxpayer. This must also include the possibility of the removal of their contract with the Ministry of Justice.”

    Napo is the trade union and professional association representing staff in the probation and family court services across England and Wales.

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    1. Yes but who was it "released" to?, because nobody reads the Napo website!

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    2. That is a shit news release that fails to focus on the story, provides two unusable over long quotes and unbelievably gives the TR shambles some credit by saying that comms between NPS and CRC are getting better. Its the work of an amateur that would shame a first year media studies student. Shape up NAPO, you clearly don't know how to do your job even when presented with an open door.

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    3. Napo have been short of anyone media-savvy for quite some time now....

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    4. Does anything make Napo bare its teeth?

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    5. Napo is a disgrace and its remaining members foolish Can't believe the appraisal instructions we've been issued with today in NPS I don't know why Napi are all over this when did we sign up to civil service performance competencies? It seem to me we are civil servants when it suits Noms and just Probatiin second class servants most of the time It's a disgrace why do professionally qualified staff stand by and take this !! We might as well forget all our specialist skills and retrain to be robots

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  10. A recent multi-agency post was advertised which contained the following interesting morsel:

    "To provide detailed and accurate information from Police records to the Probation Services, namely the Community Rehabilitation Company (may evolve to National Probation)..."

    CRC "may evolve to" NPS? What do they know?

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    1. More details would assist - could be a typo?

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    2. I rang the employer & asked what they meant. They said they "weren't 100% sure" but thought it meant that the information provision role would "evolve" from just working with CRCs to also working with NPS.

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  11. HMIP were 'told' , but no evidence obtained. Who were they told by and how many told them? Is there systematic evidence here of the CRCs out to fiddle the figures?

    And then they bend over backwards to find the positives: workers work harder to secure compliance; does this then imply that when breaches do occur it's also because the worker has not been working hard enough?


    'We were told that responsible officers were discouraged from enforcing an order through the court because of financial penalties applied to the organisation; the positive consequence of this was that they worked hard to secure the individual’s compliance'.

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  12. South Yorkshire had one of the best Unpaid Work set ups in Probation, with an excellent compliance rate. However, under Sodexo the compliance rate has spiralled down and down to 35%. Meanwhile, staff were told that they were breaching too much, and that the system could not cope, so every breach should be run past a manager. Client are voting with their feet in regards to unpaid work, as are senior managers, and PSO staff.

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    1. Yes, I hear that two PSO colleagues have just resigned because of stress, following the departure of their senior managers.

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    2. SYCRC are making it up on the back of a fag packet it's an absolute shambles can't believe that Sodexo are still in charge it seems they can't get kicked out but I'm surprised they've not got out before it gets worse their shareholders should be concerned !

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  13. This is all lies and propoganda. TTG is brilliant and offers unprecedented support to a cohort of offenders who never received such support before. Chfis strongly believes this as do I. I am happy to hold a Q and A on here to showcase the wonders of TTG

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    1. I welcome this but the blog author is biased to anything positive about TR or Napo. He also does not like it when the attention is not on him!

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    2. FFS. Probation ALWAYS had worked with short term prisoners albeit on a voluntary basis before CG decided this group of people would make a good 'market' for profit. Those who didn't want the intervention weren't forced, whereas now they are forced and the non compliant running rings around their officers and playing the system wasting everyone's time.

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    3. Ok 12:26 which area are you from and what brilliant and unprecedented support packages are you offering?

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    4. OK TTG , now can you provide specific details of exactly what this 'unprecedented support' consists of? I want to join your team and tell all my colleagues how wrong they have been, but I can't do it without the evidence.

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  14. Jim is not biased. Its just that nobody has ever been able to provide any evidence of anything positive about TR or NAPO's response. Publish your evidence based opinions; we'll read them and supply constructive criticism where required. That's the probation way.

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  15. im purple futures and I've never been told not to breach. we're more lenient with absences than we were with National Standards but that's about it. we've been told magistrates want to know we've tried to re-engage people before rushing to breach so it seems we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Also, I didn't know we were fined for breaches - reoffending yes but not for breaching, why should we be fined for another persons decision, we cant control if someone does or doesn't attend?

    BTW maybe we wouldn't breach as much if courts didn't pass such unsuitable sentences - that's what needs looking at not our CRC breaches.

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    1. Absolutely right, some of the sentences coming out of the courts these days are absurd, the legacy of under-trained NPS staff not having enough time or enough information to do a proper job.

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    2. I've just breached a class A user who agreed to UPW as he was looking at custody. It got him out of the mess in court but now he's hit a problem as he cant attend UPW - I think he's capable of doing it but his lifestyle is such that there's no chance. Anyway, he dna court, picked up on warrant and not only have they not deleted the hours (as per my application) but they've also given him an 8wk curfew for breach. Fecking joke and bet ur bottom dollar he'll breach again, get custody and lose his flat etc etc. I wonder if people are deliberately set up to fail?

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  16. Off topic sorry, but could someone clarify what is happening to agency staff please? What I understand is that from 4 July, NPS can only use staff from Red Snapper or Servoca who aren't publishing an hourly rate but have been rumoured as offering up to £4 an hour less. Agency workers are being bullied into worse terms and conditions. We're not allowed to join napo, what can we do?

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    1. I understand that the new companies have been chosen because they undercut the existing providers. I presume they achieved this by reducing the hourly rate afforded agency staff. Although I suspect this won't affect their profit margins.

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    2. Anon 18:44 what a shame.

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    3. Yeah gutted for you 18:44 getting paid more per hour than permanent staff together with lunch and parking paid. What a tragedy!

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    4. Diddums, so you're having to reduce from £30+ per hour + travel & subsistence. Cashing in on the TR fuck-up is fair dinkum, but whining about it is just crass stupidity. Either take the £25/hour agency work or get a full-time contract at £17/hour.

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    5. Not sure why some of you feel the need to be so vicious towards your agency colleagues. We all have our reasons for choosing the route we do, for work.

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    6. You're misinformed. I don't know any agency staff getting £30+ an hour, you're right though most agencies now are paying around £25. Salaried staff get 10 bank holidays + 30+ days paid holiday. Agency staff now have to become private limited companies. They don't get travel or subsistence, there are no expenses from the employer everything is offset against tax which you pay yourself as well as National Insurance and Professional Liability and Public Indemnity Insurance premiums oh and the fee to the accountancy company every month. There's no pension contributions or a day off sick or a trip to the doctor paid for in work time. Yes the rate of pay looks good on the surface, but when you take off everything else, it's not a great deal more with a lot more uncertainty. It's not the jolly you think it is and if anyone is thinking of doing it go in with your eyes open.

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    7. Stop this please. It was a fair point. We'll all end up being agency type contract at this rate, rolling contract, deliver to contract or you are out! We are all working people and working bloody hard for the most part, stressed to high hell with all the nonsense. Agency, admin, PO, SPO, PSO, RO, SRO, the title don't matter, we are getting rammed up the Jacksie!! United we stand, divided we fall (sorry ... we have fallen).

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    8. 20:30 your right you don't get those benefits but you are self employed and earning a good income per hour more than the hourly rate of perm staff. We have agency staff in our area bragging about earning £6,000 per month choosing to write their reports in the evenings and weekends when they are not disturbed by phones ringing and queries. Don't whinge you left and are now earning more than you were and having a bit fat cigar! Do me a favour!

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    9. I'm agency. I'd jump at being permanent if there was a chance. I'd lose about £500 a month. I might be able to apply for a mortgage though and I wouldn't have that sick feeling when the SPO asked to see me. 3 placements already this year. 5 days notice each time when they finished me.

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    10. I was paid off by CRC last year on a non-EVR rate. I found myself between a rock & a hard place so chose to jump with a basic parachute rather than being thrown out without one. Within 24 hours I was cold contacted by two agencies offering me generous rates & "guaranteed" 6 month contracts, the higher offer being £34/hour as a private limited company (with all of the commitments outlined by 20:30 above) or £25/hour as a PAYE staffer. They also offered to link me in with "a consortium" of independents who share the legal & accountancy costs... I gained the impression it was a tightly organised arrangement where everyone was in clover.

      I refused & am quite happy pottering around doing gardens, painting sheds, occasional labouring to keep the mortgage company happy. The stress-free lifestyle is blissful. Its painful reading about the pernicious, divisive & abusive murky depths into which the probation landscape has been plunged.

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    11. 20:28 The reason I have little sympathy with agencies workers is because NPS are short staffed and they are employing agency workers rather than filling those vacancies with CRC staff who lost their jobs. Those staff were experienced Probation Workers. Some agency staff have never done an oasys so they need a great deal of training before they can even start the role.

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    12. The problems of NPS is not the fault of the agency staff. Some NPS staff have been collusive in not standing firmer when the role boundaries between qualified and non qualified staff began to collapse.

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    13. Agency staff are probably no more expensive to employ than permanent staff given the employers commitment to annual leave, sickness absence, training. There is also greater job security and a more secure pension. I am commencing a "resting period" as the actors would say with no job and no pay. Ah! such is agency life.
      Since this April there are no lunch claims or travel and accommodation expenses for those in jobs which could be done under the "Supervise, Direct and control" regulations introduced by the revenue.
      Sadly the mismanaging of training means that there may be many newly qualified POs required to continue working as PSOs on PSO pay unless they get a PO job> Someone is miscalculating how many staff are needed. Now this is a scandal for NAPO to deal with.
      There is a risk that agency work may be come a valid and desirable option for many newly qualified staff as it has been for social workers.

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  17. fixed term contracts in Merseyside extended till end of July. It's like they don't know what they're doing or having doubts about moving forwards. Several people have lost their posts and moving to Interserve HQ that will be in Liverpool.

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  18. sad and disillusioned26 May 2016 at 21:10

    Could morale be any lower in CRCs? Every evening I get home (late of course) and contemplate resignation but at my age (50 ish) I would struggle to get another job and still have a mortgage to pay. I work in a resettlement team where stress related illness is rife and we are struggling just to do the basic custody screening (target of 95%) let alone any meaningful work arising from this. We try and focus on the most pressing need of soon to be released prisoners -housing, but have very few meaningful resources to achieve the target of 90% of 'sustained accommodation' (clients remaining in that accommodation for at least 3 months following release). We are struggling to put it mildly but face the wrath of managers and prison governors when we fail to deliver. Indeed, we are regularly held to account for the shockingly poor results of the pathways we are supposed to be addressing and we are constantly reminded that prison did resettlement so much better when it was in house. Colleagues in the field also apply the pressure with 'well it's your job to find him somewhere to live.' Impossible with many of our medium risk revolving door clients who have fouled up with every housing provider in a 60 mile radius. Not sure where CRCs can go with TTG apart from to admit failure and push it back to governors.

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    1. I'm sorry. I'm one of the people on the receiving end of the awfulness of Basic Custody Screening It achieves nothing. I usually know the person being screened and have yet to see one that is true. It is a total waste of time and effort and you guys must be knocking yourselves silly trying to achieve the target. For the first time ever I have heard two people in one week talk about trying to get back inside so they can make a bit of money. It's totally and utterly fucked up.

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    2. 'Packing for a two week holiday' has a whole new meaning since TTG

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    3. I have to agree with 21:26. Basic Custody screenings are not worth the time or screen space. The company are getting money for nothing.

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  19. I thought Grayling said something about CRCs becoming their own housing provider or was it about getting contracts with housing providers?

    It all sounded so convincing when he said it would be no more £46.00 discharge grant and nothing else - how are the mentors getting on, do they always get to do a pre discharge visit and get to be at theprison gate on day of discharge - I have not read of any experiences of this working, surely it must be working sometimes in some places?

    I tried to read the Inspection report but could not for raging - this is what I ended up writing - though there is no reason anyone should be interested.

    I hear the Labour Party have issued a Press release but it does not seem to have got on their website yet. I am promised a copy tomorrow, I aim to post it via my Facebook page

    https://www.facebook.com/AndrewSHattonPublicMiscellany/photos/a.769725166483332.1073741828.766570006798848/902899519832562/?type=3&theater

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  20. The BBC news item was welcome. I am a PO in a CRC and I am certain that with increasing regularity that breaches and recalls are not being made because of the contract. I know that when this happens people go on to re - offend when they otherwise might not have, a very few will re - offend in a way that grabs the headlines although some who are not breached and recalled when they previously would have been will do neither, but this is not the real story with TR. Rehabilitation for many of the people we work with, those revolving in and out of the Courts cannot be done on the cheap and quick, certainly not the quick and I would say not on the cheap. The models the profiteers are working to want everything ticked off in the first 3 months of a community sentence or licenced supervision period with tokenistic interventions. For some cases this may be appear to work but for the remainder, the people caught in the system more regularly, these are people who are usually faced with multiple problems, substance misuse, unemployment, homelessness, mental - health, emotional affects from an abusive childhood or adult relationships, problematic peer associations, anti – social attitudes and much more. In these cases, all cases, a good starting point for effective and efficient work is a good initial professional assessment and then professionals who can develop a good working relationship to support people to bring about self – directed or guided changes in their lives. This can take quite some time, perseverance and effort and is aided by well trained, experienced and skilled professionals. Sodexo et al did not sign up to this vision and when they figure out that a profit cannot not be squeezed in the way that they had anticipated they will be gone, either that or Probation work will be?

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