Sunday, 14 August 2016

London News

From the latest London Partnership Newsletter:-

Message from our Director of Probation Welcome to the latest edition of London Community Rehabilitation Company’s (CRC) partnership newsletter, designed to keep you up-to-date on our latest news and to provide insights into our approach to offender rehabilitation.

Message from our Director of Probation

Welcome to the latest edition of London Community Rehabilitation Company’s (CRC) partnership newsletter, designed to keep you up-to-date on our latest news and to provide insights into our approach to offender rehabilitation.

London CRC launched its Cohort Model and stakeholder partnership structure over six months ago and, during this time, we have had an opportunity to review the effectiveness of this organisational model. We remain committed to helping partner organisations meet their statutory local crime reduction priorities and we also need to prioritise the work we do with offenders to fulfil our own commitment to reducing reoffending. We have therefore decided to move two of our Heads of Stakeholders and Partnerships (HOSPs) senior managers into our Operations Directorate to support our offender managers. We are retaining two senior managers in stakeholder roles, and they will continue to provide an effective link between local authorities, partnership organisations and London CRC’s operational teams. More detail about the impact of these changes and relevant contact details can be found in the letter we’ve recently sent to affected partner organisations. 

We remain committed to meeting our local obligations, including: 

• Chairing IOM panels within boroughs 
• Responding to MASH and MARAC information requests 
• Carrying out Safeguarding Children Section 11 audits 
• Committing to Domestic Homicide Reviews and Serious Case Reviews, as appropriate. 

In this issue 

In this issue, we cover an update on our Through the Gate service, an overview of our commitment to safeguarding children and an insight into our work with the Lambeth Integrated Offender Management Hub. 

You can also read about our involvement in a couple of new, multi-agency initiatives: a scheme to ensure all offenders are registered with a GP, and the first Londonwide service designed to help young people who are gang involved or affected to move away from gangs. We also give an insight into a pilot we are running to improve offenders’ chances of getting work when they leave prison, and our trauma-informed approach to working with women offenders. 

I hope this newsletter gives you a good picture of London CRC’s work and current priorities. If you’d like to know more, or have any questions, please email

Helga Swidenbank Director of Probation

Helping offenders prepare for their release from custody 
An update on our Through the Gate service

In line with the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, all offenders who will be supervised by London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) when released from prison now receive comprehensive resettlement support while still in custody. The aim of this Through the Gate (TtG) service is to improve offender engagement and break the cycle of reoffending. 

Our TtG service is delivered in partnership with a number of specialist organisations that provide an end-to-end service (from initial offender screening using the Basic Custody Screening Tool 2 through to resettlement planning 12 weeks prior to an offender’s release) across a number of prisons:  

Catch 22 – a social business that helps people turn their lives around. • Feltham • ISIS • Thameside

Novus – a not-for-profit large scale social enterprise dedicated to delivering education, training and employability programmes in more than 100 sites within prisons, Approved Premises and the community. • Highdown • High Point • Onley • Wormwood Scrubs

Penrose – a charity that provides help and support for ex-offenders and people with mental illness. • Belmarsh • Brixton • Pentonville • Wandsworth

Resettlement Workers from our partner organisations work closely with London CRC’s offender managers to give them the necessary information to support offenders once they are released from custody. This includes sharing Resettlement Plans and information on potential reoffending risks. 

Comprehensive support 

To ensure individuals receive the support they need to prepare for their release, Resettlement Workers also link with other organisations within the prisons that work with offenders. This includes organisations that provide accommodation advice and support and those that can help to sort out personal debts, for example. 

We remain committed to reviewing and improving the services we provide to offenders in custody to ensure they are referred to the most appropriate services at the right time, to aid their rehabilitation and to reduce their risks of reoffending.

London GP registration scheme 

A fresh approach to tackling the problems associated with offenders who are not registered with a GP

Offenders often have complex health problems. Many have mental health issues and problems associated with substance misuse. Those with long-term physical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure often also suffer from mental ill health such as anxiety and depression. 

Regular physical health checks can identify potential problems before they develop into serious conditions. However, offenders may not be registered with a GP. There are a number of reasons for this, including lack of stable accommodation, poor communication skills, difficulties accessing services and sometimes, a lack of sympathy from health professionals. As a result, offenders’ long-term health conditions are likely to be poorly managed. This in turn poses a significant public health risk due to lack of diagnosis and care of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. 

A fresh approach 

The London GP registration scheme is a new, multi-agency initiative to tackle these issues. Funded by NHS England’s Justice Division, in partnership with Dr Niki Lang, Director of Public Health in Sutton, it aims to increase offender GP registrations to improve offender health. Key to the success of the scheme is improved communication and information sharing between prison health professionals and Probation. Fiona Bauermeister, London CRC’s Head of Resettlement, is tasked with taking on this work. 

How it will work 

Currently, it isn’t possible to identify if an offender is registered with, or being treated by, a GP. Under the GP registration scheme, prison healthcare professionals will be required to identify prisoners who are not registered. Subject to the offender’s consent, they will notify London CRC staff who, in turn, will refer the individuals to a GP near their home. A Probation office may be used as a proxy address for homeless offenders. 

Ultimately, the aim is to ensure that all offenders are registered with, and engage with,GP services. 

Next steps: 

Work is currently underway to: 

• develop robust links with other London-wide initiatives including ‘Gripping the Offender’ (a multi-agency pilot aimed at reducing reoffending rates among repeat offenders) and Probation Through the Gate services 
• work with local champions from public health Clinical Commissioning Groups and Community Safety Partnerships to co-ordinate and promote the scheme in their boroughs 
• train staff in participating organisations on their role in making the scheme work 
• brief GPs and their Practice Managers on the value of the scheme and what is required of them 
• ensure IT connectivity between prison healthcare teams and GP practices to allow effective sharing of information about diagnostics and prescribing. 

Getting offenders ‘job ready’ 
How a new pilot in London prisons is helping prepare offenders in custody for employment when released

As part of our Through the Gate service, we provide employment and skills advice and guidance to offenders in their last twelve weeks of custody. Our aim is to encourage them to start looking at opportunities so they have a head start when they return to their communities. 

Working in partnership 

Since April this year, London prisons and London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) have shared details of the employers they work with. As a result, we can now explore potential job and training opportunities in these organisations with a view to offenders building on the work experience they’ve gained in prison. To help offenders think about job opportunities as they approach their release dates, our vacancies are now advertised in prisons. 

Like anyone else who is looking for a job, offenders obviously need to prepare for the job application process. With this in mind, we are launching a new tool – initially in Onley and Wormwood Scrubs resettlement prisons – to assess and build on an offender’s job readiness within their last four weeks of custody. 

A tailored approach 

Using our Job Readiness Banding Tool (JRBT), we can identify how much additional work offenders need to do before they are ready to make applications: do they have an up-to-date CV, a positive letter of disclosure, a bank account etc. This allows our prison Resettlement Workers to quickly classify individual offenders as gold, silver or bronze job ready against key criteria such as those above. Our aim is to work with offenders to get them job ready as quickly as possible and this approach enables us to tailor the level of support needed by each individual. London prisons have shown a lot of interest in the JRBT and are starting to use it within the first few weeks of an offender’s custody. 

Resettlement Workers pass on an offender’s JRBT classification and details to London CRC’s offender managers so that they can provide the necessary support once the offender leaves prison. ‘Gold’ offenders will typically be motivated to find a role and have done a good amount of preparatory work while in custody. In such cases, staff will work with their offenders to complete any outstanding tasks such as giving advice on how to conduct a job search, or providing interview practice. They will also liaise with our Employment and Skills Team to identify any relevant job and training opportunities currently on offer through our network of organisations that employ ex-offenders. Silver and bronze job readiness classifications can be used to motivate and encourage offenders to work on their job readiness prior to leaving custody and once they are assigned a Probation offender manager upon release. 

Easier access to employment opportunities 

To further support offenders who are fully job ready, we are running a series of sector specific recruitment events that give individuals an opportunity to meet potential employers faceto-face once they have left prison. This allows both parties to discuss specific vacancies, the skills needed and the recruitment processes. On occasion, this approach may even lead to an on-the-spot job offer. Interested in joining us? 

If you think your organisation’s work could complement the approach we are taking to supporting offenders’ training and employment needs, please get in touch by emailing

Lambeth Integrated Offender Management Hub 
A multi-agency approach to working with prolific offenders
London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) works in partnership with a number of offender focused organisations to run a twice weekly hub for prolific offenders in Lambeth. The hub is based at Stockwell Park community centre which is run by Lambeth Community Trust. 

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and Lambeth local authority fund a number of posts for this Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Hub, including: 

• a Service Manager 
• a Coordinator 
• a Mental Health Worker from mental health charity Together 
• an accommodation worker 
• and staff from Air Sports Network, an organisation that offers a range of services to help disadvantaged people play a positive part in their communities. 

Offenders referred to the hub also have access to a variety of other providers to support their rehabilitation. For example, they can get: 

• education, training and employment advice and support 
• finance and debt advice 
• substance misuse advice and treatment 
• access to voluntary work opportunities 
• and support to make better decisions to help them turn their lives around. 

Hub attendees can also use the on-site IT suite for basic IT training and to access the internet for job searches etc. 

The Lambeth IOM Hub therefore gives offenders an opportunity to access a range of services, to meet their specific needs, without the need to travel to different locations. This holistic approach to working with offenders who have struggled with traditional Probation approaches has proven to be very effective, so much so that a number have continued to attend the Hub once their statutory supervision period has ended. It has also contributed to a positive reduction in reoffending rates in this group. 

In the words of one of our offenders who has attended the hub: “It’s brilliant. If I’d been able to access somewhere like this before, I think I’d have had a better chance of staying out of prison.”


  1. In the words of one of our offenders who has attended the hub: “It’s brilliant. If I’d been able to access somewhere like this before, I think I’d have had a better chance of staying out of prison.”

    I find it quite sickening to read carp like this, and I'm not entirely sure who it's trying to convince. Staff? Offenders? Or just those that provide the funding streams?
    It's the same type of language that a newsletter from the DWP would use.
    All's great. If only you'd brought in the private sector long ago we could have had a zero percent offending rate by now!
    The truth is though, it's all very superficial and interlinked to extract maximum profit.
    The rhetoric is great but the reality sucks!


    1. "I find it quite sickening to read carp like this, and I'm not entirely sure who it's trying to convince. Staff? Offenders? Or just those that provide the funding streams?"

      A very good question. One of the principal groups it's aimed at is Sentencers.

    2. I also get the feeling it's trying to attract Offenders, A bit like an employment agency.
      Why bother to commit offences in Lincolnshire or Merseyside, our CRC provides far better opportunities. So why not think about where you're going to commit your offences and get the best rehabilitation services there is to offer.
      WHAT a load of ....


  2. They do love their acronyms. If only CRC`s delivered as well as they make up acronyms everything would be fine!

  3. It's about time I left the duvet hub, travel to the ablutions hub on my way to the residential catering service hub to make a coffee and breakfast to take to the integrated social and entertainment hub where I can catch up on the Olympics. Assuming I can locate the entertainmemt device management SPOC.

    1. It took some mental gymnastics but I got there. Good post if people read behind the meaning.

  4. Probation Officer14 August 2016 at 17:25

    What a bag of shite. In reality London probation community rehabilitation company is struggling to stay afloat. Look past the glossy brochures and 'bionic' badges and you'll find one of the most stripped down probation set ups in the country. It's packed with agency staff as so many people have left, and it's disproportionate and ever-changing set of managers don't know if they're coming or going. Risk assessments without any data, offenders never seen, breaches and risk increases ignored, and every offender is assessed as low risk and Tier 1. Through the gate, Penrose, Catch 22, these are all stocking fillers that are worse than doing nothing. If the probation inspectorate sprung an unannounced inspection they'd have to close it down.

  5. Is that why you feel that crc's should not be associoated with probation. I agree with your comments above but think how your former colleagues feel being left with this pile of shite. It could have been you maybe it still could.

    1. This is how my colleagues feel in both CRC and NPS.

  6. I heard some worrying news on the grapevine. Something this newsletter would not be keen to advertise is that the long term facility time agreement in London that allowed elected Napo officers to support staff facing possible dismissal as a result of sickness management proceedings, discrimination, disciplinary proceedings, health and safety issues etc etc has now been terminated without consultation. The ability of London CRC employees to be effectively represented by Napo representatives in the CRC has been ended. Apparently MTCnovo think this is a deathblow to the trade unions but have not considered the backlash from staff that will now have nobody at all available locally to represent them. Staff are starting to get very angry indeed as the reality of working for a really really awful employer begins to sink in. This coincides with a steady increase in proceedings against staff that is likely to result in dismissals. MTCnovo think they have hobbled the union as much as they can and when they come for their employees there will be considerably less support available (they were so crap that they were ignoring their own policies to dismiss people)and what support there is will now be severely restricted.

    What hope have this lot got of transforming rehabilitation when they treat their own staff as if they are worthless.

  7. This is what happens when the workforce doesn't support a trade union. Before I left Probation, and I did because what is happening was always the only way that this was going to go, we saw minimal support for industrial action. Those who did not stand up for themselves are in the only position they were ever going to be in; the victims of oppressive employment practices.

    1. If the workforce in London do not rejoin Napo and start supporting their recognised trade unions then when Helga wields her axe they will have no one to turn to. It's simply a financial operation and nothing to do with delivering services. Information leaking from the accounts department estimates that in order to balance the books MTCnovo will have to lose 50% of current staffing starting with those who cost most, the sick, the disabled, trade unionists etc. If they fail do cut staff then they will have no money to pay the wages of those who remain. If the cuts happen as planned then an effective probation service in London will cease to exist. The architects of this transformation will simply move on to other lucrative projects leaving the train crash behind for others to deal with.