Saturday, 31 December 2016

Sadly, it is All About The Money

It's time to mark the passing of yet another year of misery and chaos brought about by TR and the endgame really could be in sight. The trouble is, none of us know what it is and that includes the MoJ. One thing's for sure though - it is all about the money, when we all know it should be about the person, but that's what ignorance and politics have done for us.

As always, thanks for reading and contributing. Following a period of steady decline, interest is picking up once more and I detect signs of a new defiance and determination amongst those that remain to 'tell it as it is'. A bolshy workforce was always identified as a key risk by the MoJ right at the beginning of project TR and this blog will remain as a platform for anyone with something sensible to say on the subject. 

I'll sign off with some fascinating exchanges seen recently on Facebook:-      

Can I ask how people are consistently hitting that ridiculous 10 day ISP target. I ask because some recent cases have come up that DRR delius attendances within 24 hours of sentence have triggered off this 10 day target, when in fact CRC have only been informed of the sentence after 2 weeks! I'm told some pull through or do a very basic ISP with a view to reviewing asap! I just want to try and hit an actual target and not be placed on a hitlist for once.

We had problems where an appt was kept with us, starting the 10 days, but then a week or so in we were belatedly informed the person had kept an earlier appt with a partner agency which triggered the deadline earlier than expected and meant a rush job was required. The advice at the time was to pull something (anything!) through to hit the target and review in better quality ASAP (tho given the never ending flood of ISPs ASAP never arrived for me).

That's shocking but I'm not surprised. I said to my SPO today should I just pull through blank pages to hit a target and then review it as those on top of these tables are doing just this. I saw someone for the first time and was chuffed to actually complete an ISP within 2 hours of our first meeting. It was a failed target as he'd seen a partnership agency before me! so I stormed into my managers room shouting WTF do I do.

Is this for CRC or NPS? In NPS, we are told that the 10 days only start counting from when the 'initial contact' goes on any ndelius. So a partner agency wouldn't be able to trigger this.

We are CRC but it is still when the contact goes on Delius. In my situation I had seen him on the Friday, but a week later a contact from our DRR drug partnership was put on for the Tuesday before - which meant my ISP should have been done 3 days earlier than I realised.

The clock starts at any intervention following sentence even if the person never actually attends an OM appt. I've done a few on people I've never met (and who subsequently got breached for no OM contact at all).

Great example that sums everything up as well as the target pressures we all feel.

No it's the first appt even with agencies - it's crap innit?

We do a paper ISP at induction which is hit and miss as often have no CPS etc and as usually seen on duty - have no time to assess properly!!

Are you in London? Our ISP's only count if on OASys

No apparently it was part of the bid - I thought only oasys counted as well but we have 30 days to do oasys as long as the paper one is done. Trouble is that it includes a risk assessment part which is impossible to do without precons so it's either left blank till we get these or based on information from the offender- neither is good!!

....only specific 'initial contact' starts the clock. Not planned office visit or other contact. If partnerships are recording their apts as initial contact you need to have a word and change it to other apt, drug key work apt etc. X

Just what I was going to say, only the person responsible for doing the assessment should be recording the "initial contact", I assume it means "initial contact with Offender Manager". However, doesn't this need to be within 5 days of sentence or it misses another target? (Theoretically you then have 15 working days to do ISP)?

CP initial contact will trigger the 10 day target as well as clicking the custody release button.

Yea, absolutely right. The initial contact Delius entry has to be offered/recorded within 5 days...x

I left for maternity leave in Nov so it may have changed since but I know I've definitely had to do a few ISPs for people who attended DRR appts and never triggered the Initial Contact as did not show for me. I remember as I made a big deal about the waste of time (a week prior to leaving) in building objectives for someone I was recommending had his sentence revoked for non compliance.

Get the initial data recorded as something other than lnitial Appointment then it does not trigger the 10 day.

Unfortunately data analysts get on our back to either change or ensure that initial delius contacts are correctly applied. Appears to be more people watching and analysing delius entries than practitioners these days!

Always ask for advice from your manager in writing. My experience is there is no pull through no CPS and no one to interview. Target gets missed. Avoid the hit list by asking each case by case in written what you should do. Only an idiot would put you on the list.

Those lists make me feel like an idiot especially after seeing cases for the first time and completing an assessment within 24 hours only to find out I missed that target. I threw my arms In the air the other day in my managers room shouting 'WTF am I supposed to do'.

Paper ISP at induction is all we're managing!

We have been told that it only counts if it is a full pasts, that is signed and locked (NPS anyway). That is from the performance team. X

Just to clarify! The delius entries from partnership agencies are entered by a central CRC hub in our area. That makes me laugh as one recent case was allocated to me via a different CRC hub nearly 2 weeks after the CRC partnership hub had entered that initial DRR contact. Hubbadubdub I say!

As always massive inconsistencies in practice around the country - I have no idea why some areas can do paper ISP and others have to do full oasys!!

We're dealing with the standalone UPW cases, manage cases from the hub by phone whilst they're in another county. Which is challenging. Then there's the caseloads of 260 and the never ending breaches, my colleague had 22 in 3 days last week. And half of them are bound to be rejected by NPS. Gah!!

A hub from another country! Sounds like a sci-fi film title! Did you get a response, I never did so I'm looking to take cases back to Court due to an inability to cater for diversity.

Ok. I would do the basic to clear the 10 days target and set a review date to do the OASYS interview. You must do the review on time though. You must also use the start code on Delois outlining what you have done and the date you complete. Realistically you do not have 10 days. The assessment is run over night. We need to be smart.

That's interesting as well as being strategic. I'll discuss this approach with the team. Thanks.


So why is most of my time now spent taking people shopping, completing referrals to charities and contacting debt or housing agencies etc! I asked a year ago why CRCs had got rid of Engagement Workers that took this valuable but time consuming work on enabling practitioners to focus on behaviour and targets etc. No reply!

Totally agree have stopped doing Sheriff Recorder funds as I ain't got time to go shopping with clients.

I only do them for those showing progress rather than rewarding those who continue to reoffend.

This used to be a fund that specifically said was not to be disclosed to clients. Word gets out though and I often find myself saying 'what have you actually done that entails me seeking and supporting funding for you' I also find myself saying 'no you can't buy top range trainers!'

They've been told by prison staff that you probation officers will work wonders.

One of the most valuable support structures of the past few years was the introduction of Engagement Workers from User Voice. They worked the wonders that gave a realistic and generic approach to resettlement. So they were then dropped despite being a priceless resource to us practitioners.


Happy New Year!


The Sheriffs' & Recorder's Fund was born in the exciting days of social progress at the beginning of the nineteenth century. As with Elizabeth Fry later, it was the horrors of Newgate Prison, where prisoners had to pay for their own food and children lived with their condemned parents in filth and fear, which stirred the Sheriffs of the City of London into action.

In 1808, when public hangings were still taking place outside the debtors' door of Newgate, Sir Richard Phillips, of whom this portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery, and Alderman Sir Christopher Smith of the Worshipful Company of Drapers and later Lord Mayor of London, started a fund to help inmates and their families.

The Fund provided grants to enable prisoners and their destitute dependants to buy food, clothing, footwear, coal and candles. Later, emigration grants to begin a new life were added It was a remarkable philanthropic venture, way ahead of its time.

The first donors were all individuals, led by the Lord Mayor of London and the Bishop of Durham. Poor Boxes at the prisons were the forerunners of Life Governors, 200 Club donors, Legators and Livery Company Charity committees. All through its existence, the Fund has relied on the generosity of individuals and institutions in the City of London.

The first administrators of the Fund were the London Prison Chaplains and in 1828 trustees and a treasurer were appointed, but there are few solid records until the middle of the nineteenth century when in 1845 the Duke of Cambridge attended the first official fund-raising event, a dinner at the Mansion House. In 1846 the first donation by a Livery Company, the Cutlers, is recorded. The most consistent Livery Company supporter appears to be the Armourers and Brasiers, who have been giving since 1876.

The first annual report appeared in 1846 when the objectives of the Fund were described as ‘the temporary relief of the distressed families of persons in confinement; a temporary provision for persons who on being discharged from confinement have no means of present subsistence and habitation; the purchase of such tools, implements and materials as may be conducive to habits of industry in debtors and criminals’. Two hundred years on, the Fund’s mission is remarkably similar: training, tools, equipment and clothing to help ex-offenders find their feet and a way forward.

From the outset, the Fund recognised the innocence of prisoners’ dependants and the particular problems of women ex-prisoners whose family responsibilities limited their ability to earn; grants for mangles and sewing machines appeared regularly – the nineteenth century equivalents of washing machines and clothing.

The need for decent clothing was consistently supported. For example, in 1887 the Fund provided 284 hats, 106 skirts, 102 jackets, 120 bodices, 38 chemises, 54 pairs of stockings and 96 petticoats. During the Second World War under rationing secondhand clothing and blankets were available from the Fund’s office in the Old Bailey. 

As well as its close relationship with the City, over the past century the Fund has grown closer to the Law. In 1931 the Fund merged with the Recorder’s Fund for ‘assistance of cases on probation’. When the Old Bailey south wing was built in 1970, on the site of Newgate Prison, the Corporation of London generously gave the Fund the financial life-saver of a small office from which it still operates.

So, in its modern form, the Fund works mainly through the Probation Service. The two City of London Sheriffs and the Recorder of London are its Presidents and Vice-President, and the individuals and corporate bodies of the City of London its main supporters.

A remarkably consistent City institution, doing good in a fundamental way for over 200 years.


  1. Sorry you've not made the New years honors list Jim.

    Shirley Kennerson Head of South Essex Local Delivery Unit, Ministry of Justice. For services to Probation and Criminal Justice. (London)

    1. Making profit and rehabilitating is honest and there is nothing wrong in that.

  2. Sadly it is all about the money. It's not just probation clients, but the sick, disabled, unemployed, etc that have been "commodified" and sold off to privateers, and constantly being surrounded by loan sharks and ambulance chasing lawyers. It would be nice to think the new year would bring something better, but I won't hold my breath!
    I think you do a great job keeping this blog going, and most who comment on here do so with integrity. Look forward to another year if you can manage it. I'd hate to think you could be replaced by a robot.


    1. Robot takeover begins? Corporate giant Capita replaces staff with automatons

      Outsourcing giant Capita is to sack 2,000 staff and replace them with robots in a move some fear will be repeated across the economy, leading to more than 1 million job losses.
      The FTSE 100-listed firm, which collects the BBC license fee and provides services for the NHS, said it needed to ax 2,000 jobs to save money due to poor trading with corporate clients.

      It said it would use the money it saved to fund investment into robotic workers across the whole company, according to the Guardian.

      The announcement will add to fears the world is a facing fourth industrial revolution powered by artificial intelligence (AI) which will result in unprecedented job losses.

      A study published by Oxford University and consultancy firm Deloitte in October predicted there is a 77 percent probability Britain will lose 1.3 million “repetitive and predictable” administrative and operative jobs within 15 years.

      More than 850,000 public sector jobs – including teachers, social workers and even police officers – could also be replaced by computer programs.

      MPs warned in October the government is unprepared for the coming technological revolution.

      The Science Technology Committee said the government’s role in preparing for the impact of AI is “lacking” and cautioned that “science fiction is slowly becoming science fact, and robotics and AI look destined to play an increasing role in our lives over the coming decades.”

      Capita saw its shares drop to a 10 year low at one point following its December statement, in which the company announced it would be selling off assets and trimming costs to protect its balance sheet after Brexit.

      The company will use robots to help eliminate human error and make decisions faster, said chief executive Andy Parker, whose salary rose nine percent to £600,000 (US$756,000) this year, according to Unite the Union.

      “It doesn’t remove the need for an individual but it speeds up how they work, which means you need less [sic] people to do it,” he said in the statement.

      Parker added that a human assisted by robotic technology could do a 40-minute job in much less time.

      “They can then do 10 times the amount they used to, so you need less [sic] people to do the same amount of work.”

      Rehana Azam, national secretary for public services at the GMB union, said in a statement, “Public services are predominantly delivered by people so it’s hard to see how they’re going to provide a cost-efficient service from call centers in another country.

      “We’d want to sit down with Capita and make sure people are treated fairly in any process that ends with them losing jobs.

      “We’ve never had a good track record with private providers delivering computerized systems. I’d like to see where there have been good examples of that kind of automation.”

    2. no doubt it will end up with the Russians hacking these robots and then directing their functions to benefit Russia and cause havoc for the UK government which would be really funny if not so tragic

  3. crc STERIA helpdesk have told me any Delius queries are forwarded to ATOS (moj in charge of these), rang several times to say my query hasnt been resolved after a week of waiting but Steria cant do anything as it's ATOS who sort queries in their own time.

  4. Course it is 10.44. If you can rehabilitate whilst making profit (to do many things such as pay shareholders, procure additional services, pay staff etc) and saving thr taxpayer money, then smiles all around. That's why "really" you plonker (putting it nicely).

    1. And what's so 'rehabilitating' 16:35, about only offering telephone appointments rather than meeting face to face (and calling that 'supervision), or standing probationers down week after week from unpaid work because CRC won't provide enough supervisors, or closing offices so probationers have to travel miles to appointments (even when street homeless), or being made to see them in open community venues where the public can hear what is being discussed, or drug testing probationers in the street on a bench outside the Police Station 'cos CRC office is now closed and new arrangements for PPO supervision werent sorted out in time (despite months of prior notice)?
      Please do enlighten me.

    2. Sorry, should have added that I can however clearly see the money saving element to all of this - so clearly someone somewhere is happy.

    3. And I would really, really like to know why making a 'profit' out of taxpayers money is in any way a desirable situation. TR is a scam, as is any privatisation of public services. It's still taxpayers money but without transparency or accountability and really really dodgy practices. If any body believes probation services have improved following privatisation please cite some evidence.

    4. Thought I'd take a peek at the blog for the first time in a while.

      So, no changes then except for the date. Same irritating provocateurs posting dogshit in praise of TR; same tales of woe regarding organisational incompetence, structural abuse of staff & users of the increasingly pisspoor service; and still no progress by the unions.

      NPS & CRC = SNAFU - "situation normal; all fucked up"

      HNY to all.

    5. Not provocation but a belief TR is working and is working well.

    6. Working for who?

    7. Everyone except for the moaners on this blog!

    8. you on the happy pills agen? You not noticed that 95% of the bloggers are 'moaners'? does that not tell you something?

    9. 95% consisting of about 12 employees moaning via blogging tells me all I need to know. Do your research buddy. Open your heart to TR and your start to see the success clearer.

    10. allelujah! you a recruit from some fanatical 'religious' cult? I'm so happy for you, in your parallel universe. We are clearly ignorant of the truth.

    11. Ignorant and very foolish son. Accept TR has happened and help us make it work :)

    12. Had a good sit down with a PO exploring thr realities of things. I take back all I have said supporting things. There be no more support on it from me. Things were better before.

  5. Happy Hogmanay Jim. TR meltdown carries on, not easy to see where it will end up, and not easy to rally personal and political resources, when we are all so ruddy knackered. Thanks for keeping on keeping on, which we all must do.

  6. Keep up the brilliant work Jim, your time and effort very much appreciated.

  7. I believe that 2017 is the year that FfS starts tapering off and PbR starts kicking in.

    Should be interesting times ahead!

  8. Pretty long article, but worth the read.

    1. I hope the article receives attention and comment from current practitioners.

      It appears that Carl Eve has put in a lot of work - I hope it finds its way to a member of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee and the probation inspectorate as it seems to reveal many unsatisfactory aspects of the current probation arrangements.

      I think it particularly shows up the failure of not just probation's poor IT systems but in the way the various CJS organisations IT is connected something I first thought about in 1988 when I went into a branch of Abbey National Building Society in Stratford London, and they instantly told me details of my account which was held with another branch - whereas at the time in probation - we could not even tell if someone who appeared in our local court was a client of the neighbouring probation team, within the then Inner London Probation Service, let alone the whole ILPS area or even the whole of the English and Welsh Probation Services.

      From what I read here, I have the impression that things are hardly any better 29 years later, whereas all those years ago commercial organisations had IT systems that were already doing what criminal justice organisations needed.

      Then the CJS is only about protecting the public not flogging stuff.

    2. Jim Come on this is an important and very serious milestone report and you have not posted it? Why Not ? Has someone paid you off not to ?

    3. Carle Eves report is a fantastic insight more to the hidden and smoke and mirrors that this family have apparently been fed. Also what a talented and highly skilled journo he is. His reputation is of the highest and this article illustrates that keep on it Carl Eve.

  9. Simply sending JB and all those that read this Blog and follow Jim's tweets Very Best Wishes for 2017. I too hope/pray for something positive to come from steadfast and unstinting support / love of Service during 2017

  10. Every new year I wonder to myself if this will be the year the government will grasp the nettle and reform drug laws. I have no doubt that it has to, and will eventually be done.
    The laws we have are outdated, do nothing to prevent drug use, they serve to make many criminals rich, and in many cases are just down right stupid. Where's the sense in it not being illegal to have a hundred quids worth of spice in your pocket, but get caught with a £1s worth of normal cannabis and you can be sent to prison?
    How many people are in prison because of addiction? Not just for drug offences, but shop lifting or theft to feed their addiction. How many properties are wrecked each year, and how many units of electricity are stolen because of cannabis farms? How much does it cost agencies such as police probation and the whole court process?
    You could leave your office now and buy drugs within half an hour (if you had to leave your office at all), regardless of what part of the country you live or work in. Current drug laws don't work, and they don't work because they're not regulated leaving it in the hands of the drug barrons to control, providing them with flash cars expensive houses and a celebrity lifestyle. They go to prison if they're caught. But isn't that also a significant cost to the taxpayer? So who wins?
    Even the USA have caught on. It's much cheaper, much safer, and easier to manage drugs and their use and consequences when the state takes control.
    If cannabis could be purchased in a shop or chemist instead of street corners and pubs, how much revenue would just the 17.5% VAT on sales raise annually for the government?
    Sorry, I've had my rant. It was brought on by this article.


    1. Yes - I agree and have thought as much since at least the early nineteen nineties.

  11. Who let Hatton loose on the blog? Jim, U need to police this.

    1. Can't you try and say something interesting or worthwhile? Why would you choose to be an idiot all the time?

    2. for heaven's sake 1754, give it a rest. Why shouldn't Andrew make a comment on the blog - he is not a troll like yourself, and doesn't hide behind 'anon' - like you do. If you are so committed to giving us your opinion, and believe in what you say, have the guts to show your face.

      I find lines like 'who let Hatton LOOSE?' and 'Jim, U need to police this' - exceptionally provocative and insulting to the quality of the blog. You often make such stupid comments, I recognise your style. Explain yourself, name yourself, or go back to where you came from and take your nonsense with you.

    3. It was a joke! I feel bullied so I'm leaving this blog. Your loss!

    4. Read Hatton's link its a very important post and the comment on Carle Eve Journo is spot on . I am no fan of the misleads but this time Hatton is in the game.