Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Questions To Bob

There's still time to put questions to the Justice Committee, like these:-

Please can the Committee provide answers to the questions below, which are prompted in part by Mr Selous's written answer of 8 June 2015, viz- 

"As part of the arrangements for the transfer of services from probation trusts to Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC’s), an enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme was put in place, in line with the terms of the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections agreed with the probation Trade Unions, and funded by monies from the Modernisation Fund to support a sustainable reduction in resource requirements."

1. How much public money from the government's 'Modernisation Fund' was given by MoJ to the winning CRC bidders to cover the costs of making staff redundant?

2. How & why did MoJ subsequently decide that money was effectively gifted to the CRCs and not reclaimed if it wasn't used to meet the terms of the enhanced voluntary redundancy (EVR) scheme, e.g. in Sept 2015 one CRC refused to honour the nationally agreed EVR scheme & paid large numbers of staff off using a voluntary severance scheme at what is believed to have been 40% of the EVR rate - presumably the CRC pocketed the other 60%?

3. How could MoJ &/or Noms justify generous pay-offs to senior managers (some in excess of £250,000) yet not intervene on a contract management basis when frontline staff were being denied their entitlement to EVR and the monies provided for this purpose were being kept by the CRCs?

4. Given that MoJ admit they made payments from the public purse "to support a sustainable reduction in resource requirements", is it fair to suggest that the privatisation of probation services specifically encouraged bids from providers which were designed to shed staff? Or, put another way, is it fair, legal or ethical that in order to expedite their privatisation programme the government was prepared to pay global contractors to make professionally qualified, experienced employees redundant?


  1. Will you be able to record the responses, as I be interviewing for a report this am?

    1. I do not know what Jim Brown Blog's answer might be.

      However questions are to be submitted via Facebook and although I have not seem it used like this before - what is posted on facebook seems to remain accessible unless deleted by the poster or administrator - I guess he will be overloaded with questions but these above seen better than I saw last night - some which were vague and unspecific.

      I am reserving judgement on Bob Neill - he seems to be better than I anticipated and was one of very few MPs who seemed to make good use of the debate in the House of Commons yesterday when Richard Burgon cleverly submitted an urgent question about the POA dispute but then sadly had no positive proposals himself and merely prompted most MPs to Yahboo & say nothing meaningful beyond pointing out errors or defending the government position.

      On that note the stuff posted recently in the blog from UK Column (strange organisation) was revelatory in an accessible form about how MOJ is outsourcing and allowing foreign companies to be paid for public services.

      I hope Jim Brown Blog makes a feature of the You Tube video - the probation bit starts about 25 minutes in as a helpful commenter advised yesterday.

      Here is a link - I hope - to that Facebook page - where hopefully Bob Neill's answers will be posted from 10.30 am today Wednesday 16th November

    2. As I was at home this morning posted the above questions as suggested. UK House of Commons Bob: Hi Denice, we don’t hold this information and we are afraid the questions should be directed to MoJ or to the CRCs involved. Should the Committee decide to inquire into this subject in the future it will no doubt take evidence on the impact on staff of the new arrangements. Thank you.

    3. 35 minutes gone - nothing about probation yet

      Here is the latest response I am Following via facebook and each answer comes up in the 'notifications' link - I think it is called

    4. At last probation mentioned - don't get excited!

      "Hi Bob, the prisons are currently in crisis and probation has been carved up and handed to the private sector to make profit from and manipulate the reoffending figures. Is it not time to take back control of the criminal justice system so it works for our communities and protects the public? How will you hold to account the private sector in public? Will you publish data from all private prisons and private community rehabilitation companies so it can be open to public scrutiny?"

      "UK House of Commons Bob: Thanks for your question Oliver. The Committee’s Prison reform inquiry, which is open and still taking evidence, will look at the public and private sectors of the criminal justice system. While we don’t hold the data you’re requesting, select committees routinely publish the evidence they collect on Parliament’s website."

    5. Sorry that is a bad link try

    6. Another non answer to Q re "legal interpreting for HMCTS and Home Office (Italian and French)"

    7. NOW Youth Justice: -

      "Question from @RyanMarkParsons on Twitter: What's @neill_bob's stance on the disclosure of youth criminal records? #ParliamentWeek
      Bob's answer: Thanks Ryan, we're currently holding an inquiry into the disclosure of youth criminal records, so will be publishing on it in the near future. In the meantime, we're still accepting evidence for the inquiry, if you have your own thoughts please do submit them and let us know "

    8. "AYE AYE thats yer lot" as my Gran would say quoting Jimmy Wheeler's catch phrase: -

      "UK House of Commons
      4 mins ·
      Bob: Thank you all for your questions, comments and input. Apologies to anyone I didn't manage to respond to, but please do email the Committee at, and continue to follow our work @CommonsJustice. I've really enjoyed speaking to you all, now I'm off to Prime Minister's Questions. Thanks!"

  2. Philip Shipley, a Conservative, asks if May will reverse the Labour rule saying prisoners could be released halfway through their sentences.

    May says this is an issue that was of concern when she was home secretary. What is important is to rehabilitate ex-offenders, she says.

    From pmq today

    1. It would be nice if there was a way of stopping the shite spewed by know-nothing Tory MPs, halfway through every sentence they utter!

    2. My Granny swore by eggs! Not for throwing at them but for bunging you up if you are on the loose side!

  3. Admittedly I haven't been on Facebook (don't know how) but it would be helpful to know, in summary, if ANYBODY got a straight worthwhile answer of any detail from a question put to the Chair of the Justice today. Because, tbh, from what I'm reading here if doesn't look as if anyone did.

    1. Justice Committee obvs

  4. Lol, what a waste of time!!

  5. A pity we lost Gove. He was probably the best it could get for probation under the Tories!

    "Criminals should not be sent to prison unless there is no alternative and many of those already inside could be released after only a fraction of their sentence, Michael Gove the former Justice Secretary, has insisted. ...."

  6. So what is 'the alternative' Gove? The Government have wrecked the alternative, a fit for purpose probation service that was motivated by professional values, integrity and a desire to protect the public and assist offenders to reduce criminal behaviour and replaced it with a bunch of self serving capitalists whose only interest is making profits and feathering their own nest, destroying morale and using dirty tactics buying and selling us, asset stripping and selling off to the highest bidder. Public protection and genuine rehabilitation now way down on the list of priorities. Some alternative!

  7. Comments lost when spam deleted:-

    Big chunks have no doubt gone on paying off Paul Hindson, and yesterday's Fit for Growth (Good for Nothing) update from Phil indicates that the WL chief financial officer has gone on gardening leave too, so that won't have been cheap!

    Anonymous 16 November 2016 at 22:49
    Us minions offered VS scraps!

    Anonymous 16 November 2016 at 23:09
    Freedom of information request. Put one in and find out how much they have been paid. Then compare it to how much the minions who have given years of service to probation have been given for VS! Does Phil Andrew honestly believe we swallow his bullshit?