Thursday, 24 November 2016

Another Opportunity Knocks

Call for evidence

Thematic inspection of probation work in the courts

HM Inspectorate of Probation is collecting evidence for its thematic inspection of probation work in the courts. We are keen to hear about the delivery of, and any gaps in, all aspects of probation court work, so we can better understand the current landscape.

In particular we are interested in responses to the following questions:

What is your experience of the delivery and quality of various forms of pre-sentence reports? (Oral, Short and Full)
How, if at all, has Transforming Rehabilitation changed probation court work?
What, if any, are the barriers to providing sentencers with the right information?
How, if at all, has Transforming Summary Justice and Better Case Management changed probation court work?

Please provide any examples of good/promising practice in probation court work.

It is not necessary to respond to any or all of these questions. Please feel free to focus upon the issues you think are the most important, or upon which you have the most to say.

As part of your response, please make sure that:

you state clearly who the submission is from, i.e. whether from yourself in a personal capacity or sent on behalf of an organisation
you include a brief description of yourself/your organisation. It would be helpful to know something about your role, if any, with probation work in the courts
you state clearly if you wish your submission to be confidential and/or you do not want to be contacted with follow-up enquiries.

Submissions in Word or PDF formats are very welcome. Other formats, such as videos, blog posts will also be accepted.

Please do circulate this email to any of your contacts who might be able to help us.

Reply to: (E-mail address)

Deadline: Friday 16 December 2016
Thank you in advance


  1. Comment moderation is currently in place due to an increasing amount of moronic and gratuitously offensive contributions - sad, but it happens every now and then and I'm too busy today to monitor and delete stuff. Hopefully things can return to normal soon and I'll endeavour to publish thoughtful and considered material as and when I can. Thanks for your continued support at what remains a very difficult and stressful time for those that remain within what's left of the probation service.

  2. The thing about "risk assessment ": these are now very sketchy when done in courts, the basic layers, the minimum amount of info. Fair enough, that is all the staff have time for. But NPS were supposed to be the risk experts in TR landscape. They work with the risky clients. They alone can determine who is risky enough to be worked with by the NPS. Yet heavy risk assesment work now resides in the CRC, we the non experts must do full layer assessments on cases coming to us, after decision has been taken on sentencing based on very skimpy assessment. Not the court staffs fault. Systemic.

    1. Whether it's NPS or CRCs, should probation services be taking responsibility for risk assessments on those that are clearly mentally unwell?


    2. A prison officer's ear was 'bitten off' by a 'mentally unstable' inmate in a brutal attack at the crisis-hit Wormword Scrubs jail.
      The officer was rushed to hospital after the assault at 10am yesterday morning.
      A source told the Mail the prisoner was moved to the west London penitentiary after a number of attacks on guards at Pentonville prison.
      They added: 'The prisoner is clearly mentally unstable and should not be held in a prison.

      'He was moved here because he was attacking officers in Pentonville. This is happening far too often.'
      The 31-year-old inmate allegedly refused to take his medication before assaulting the officer.
      The guard was taken to hospital and his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
      The attack comes just days after the Prison Officers Association, led by National Chairman Mike Rolfe, held resumed talks with the Prison Service about health and safety in British jails.

      Mr Rolfe said: 'Once again we have an officer assaulted by an inmate who is clearly unstable and should not be in a prison.
      'He should be in a mental hospital. He was moved to the Scrubs because he carried out a number of assaults on staff at Pentonville'.
      He added : 'This was a very nasty attack on an officer. Head-butted twice, punched, and then had his ear bitten off. It is outrageous what is happening to staff in prisons throughout the country. Something has got to be done. And soon.'
      In May this year staff at Wormwood Scrubs staged a walk out over safety fears.

  3. Further problems arise over risk-escalation and ping-ponging between CRC and NPS. Have seen CRC staff, especially PSO's new to post, supervising complicated cases. Recipe for disaster if not receiving adequate peer support and line management. Teams being fragmented in WL CRC's - less staff support? More risky decision making?

    1. It will be even worse when we have no oasys. Too many people now involved in individual cases. The amount of breaches that are withdrawn due admin errors in the nps. It's more luck than judgement that there are not more sfo's. We've been saying for the last 2 years surely it can't get any worse but it does.

  4. Court closures have meant more cases going to already busy courts and no extra staff to undertake the expectation of all reports to be done on the day or written up by court staff. Of course they are going to be sketchy the majority of the time. Not the fault of the staff but those that think E3 is the way to go and bugger those who are trying the best they can in an ever increasing target driven service. Staff should be able to work at a level they are comfortable with and let the targets take a back seat. Then maybe,just maybe the powers that be will see it as it is and decide public protection and staff welfare should be their priorities and employ more staff to squeeze into an already too small a working environment. One looks for 20 female staff and been told to use the public loos in the court foyer.

  5. With so few opportunities to formally record views/issues about ALL aspects of Court work, this feels like too good an opportunity to miss. I hope ALL staff across NPS/CRC are made aware of this Opportunity and are given the 'space' and encouraged to provide informed and considered feedback. Either as Individuals, Teams and or indeed Managers.

    I assume evidence will also be obtained from other Stakeholders too about the significant changes that have been brought about by Transforming Rehabilitation and Summary Justice procedures, processes and sentencing Interventions as well , as impact of Court closures.

    I assume similar to Napo's request for Staff to once again inform Constituency MP's of Workload, Staffing, Intervention and Performance concerns and associate Risks that locally NAPO reps will also be encouraging those that can too make a difference by making a contribution.

    With so many changes and amidst everything else going on at this time, coupled with the morale of staff and sickness levels I fear this maybe a very real 'missed opportunity' and whilst Staff maybe cynical about what difference it would make. More certain, is what happens if their is a poor response and the Voice of staff is not heard.

    As always sending best wishes, thoughts and prayers IanGould5

    1. Ian Gould is exactly right to encourage current practioners to report to parliamentarians their concerns about the social damage caused by probation work being required to satisfy commercial/political targets rather than minimise crime & promote good social behaviour/"the peace of our Sovereign Lady".

      It is ONLY the Parliament that can force Government action.

  6. Oral reports and short format reports are not based on risk assessment, but the formulaic outcome of a couple of risk screening tools.

  7. Another loss from TR: many of those writing reports and making proposals have never supervised anyone on an order or licence. Or they may have had pre-TR supervisory experience, but be totally unfamiliar with CRC post TR. This shows. We have DV perpetrators on 60 RARs but with no BBR although they could easily have done BBR and had never done it before. We have people with chronic orthopaedic problems being given 200 hrs Unpaid Work. Time was when end-to-end offender management was the ideal. We took responsibility of the whole experience from start to finish. This way relationship and trust were built, progress noticed, hurdles appreciated, investment in the process by service user as well as worker. Now we fail by fragmentation, by misunderstanding , by confusion and misdiagnosis.

    1. Well said Anon at 23.24. Such public remarks inspire me to keep trying to press Government to enable and encourage traditional probation/social work skills and practice.

  8. Rehabilitation has been well and truly 'Transformed' from an award winning service to a pile of excrement designed by people so far away from the real world who test out concepts on paper before decided what will work...E3 is the deskilling arm of this model designed purely to,get probation work done on the cheap and the beauty of this are the SPO quislings who are pushing the model as if is the prelude to the second coming when in reality theyre like the turkeys who voted for christmas...

  9. Everything will be alright soon - the BlairWeasel is about to launch himself back into "frontline politics". He says he's disappointed with the direction Western politics has taken and thinks its time he should use his "influence" to intervene, but wants the hostile press to ease off with their "unfair" attacks on him. He thinks "the people can stop Brexit if they choose to. He's been encouraged by Lord MandyPandy's pontificating about leaving the EU.

    The last six years have been bad enough with the Eton Regime followed by the Numpty Brigade, but The Return of the BlairWeasel... FFS!! (fee for service)

    Presumably he needs to top up his meagre pension funds? Or perhaps his ego needs propping up?

  10. Much bluster by uk politicians about the risks & calamity of uk businesses being bought up by overseas bidders & the impact upon uk jobs, viz-sale of SkyScanners for £1bn.

    Not a fucking peep when uk government sold off £800M of uk publicly owned assets (i.e. probation) & even paid overseas buyers to make uk employees refundant.

    We're All in it Together!!