Thursday, 22 December 2016

Some Christmas Messages

Dear Colleagues

As we come to the end of 2016, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work, dedication and professionalism over the last 12 months. The last year has been challenging but your commitment and passion has helped us continue to deliver positive outcomes for service users across all three of our organisations.

As anticipated, last week’s HMIP report into North London was a difficult read for all of us. However, I’m pleased to say that everyone’s commitment to the delivery of the CRC’s Ambition 2020 Change Plan is beginning to take shape and I’m confident that, when the Inspectorate returns next year, London CRC will demonstrate further significant improvements, moving it closer to achieving its vision of being the best at reducing reoffending.

Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre (STC) also recently received its Ofsted Report this month. Despite the significant changes that have taken place at the Centre since we took over earlier this year, the Ofsted Report highlighted many positive instances of good practice. For example, 93% of young people reported feeling safe at Rainsbrook. And, the fact that the STC retained its Ofsted status during this challenging period is a testament to the hard work of its staff. Their ongoing commitment will ensure Rainsbrook continues to be seen as the flagship STC in the eyes of the Youth Justice Board.

I’m delighted that Thames Valley CRC has retained its position within the top eight CRCs in the country as a result of some incredible teamwork and commitment. This is a great achievement and puts them in a strong position to start 2017, where I’ve no doubt that they’ll achieve their vision of being one of the top three performing CRCs in the country.

These achievements are only possible through your hard work and commitment. I recognise there is still a lot to do but I’m confident we have the right people and teams in place across all three organisations with the passion and drive to achieve our goal of reducing reoffending and rehabilitating service users.

Thank you for your dedication in 2016, I appreciate that some of you will continue to work throughout the Christmas period and I hope you find some time to relax and spend some quality time with your loved ones.

I once again would like to thank you for your hard work and commitment, and I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Rich Gansheimer
Chief Executive MTCnovo


From Martin Davies, Interserve (Justice)

Hello Everyone

I just wanted to write a short email to say a huge thank you and wish you all a peaceful, restful and hopefully fun time over the festive period.

Obviously 2016 has had a fair few challenges, not least the difficulties we’ve had embedding the new ICT and the PSC processes, as well as losing some of our colleagues.

What will never cease to amaze me is the way everyone gets their head down and works to our values and goals. We all know the work we do has a hugely positive impact on our communities and the recent publication of the interim re-offending data validates the work you all do every day. Re-offending is reducing and that’s a testament to each and every one within the CRCs and our partners – well done all.

Undoubtedly 2017 will set us new challenges, but as we have seen in 2016 we will meet those head on together.

Thank you again for your tremendous work and I look forward to 2017 as we drive forward. I hope, over the festive period, you find time to relax and have fun.

Have a great one!


Dear Members,

The times they are a-changing? Not the song, but the ongoing issues we in Napo still face in both the CRC and the NPS. I've just read an old JNCC report from Christmas 2010 to Devon & Cornwall members and it appears to me that little much has changed. Other than removing a few points that are no longer relevant, substitute the Trust/Management for Working Links and many issues are still with us 6 years later - policy changes, pressures on budgets (ironic given the financial status of Aurelius and estimated profit from this deal) and threats to members roles both in the CRC and NPS. See the edited message below and know that we have not given up as you will have seen from the recent Branch Report 17 +.

Before you revel in the nostalgia of the 2010 report be assured that we will continue to fight for your employment rights and if you have kept up to date with the recent updates on ACAS you will be aware there is still a lot to do, and our intention is to see this through to the end. We will be going back to a meeting with the NNC Joint Secretaries in the near future as their still needs to be a conversation with NOMS Contract people, and don't forget that we are awaiting for a written outcome of the recent meeting with the representative from Thompson's.

On a last and important note thank you to all of you for your continued support and communications. We can not do this without you. Likewise I hope you will join me in thanking the Branch Exec who continue to support in the background and the Reps who are there to assist and support you when required. To say it has been an eventful year is an understatement but myself and Dino as your JNCC Reps are ready for any challenges the New Year may bring. It goes without saying that as Branch Chair Dino has continued to demonstrate his commitment to the members through his continued energy and dedication to defending your rights as employees, and I know from your many messages that this is much appreciated.

For the Dylan fans among you:

"Come senators, congressman
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway,
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's the battle outside raging
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
Cause the times they are a-changing"



Denice James JNCC Rep


JNCC Reports Christmas message 2010

Dear members, 

Just as we approach the end of another year we in NAPO can just take a few moments to reflect on where we all are. Given all the news and changes proposed  from a government who  do not really have a  proper grasp of where are going and what will end up being.  The hybrid of public sector joining forces of competition achieving savings on the one hand whilst costing much more in real impact on our posts or security and the tax paying public for reducing risks.  That said we have the feeling in some quarters that the Trust should now act and behave more corporately in the spirit of commercial enterprise as it learns it way to manage budgets that are provided to fund staff properly. 

We are not fans of this in NAPO, it means the end of an approach that would always try to ensure better practices towards our members. We have policy changes and protections suspended to reflect increasing pressures on budgets and costings, although we feel the squeeze,  I can  report that some management supported by the board do not quite engage at the same level. There are too many legacy and new special arrangements or conditions of service for particular staff. A philosophy of equality that NAPO continues to instil and will need to ensure as the budgets will get tighter. No doubt these issues will surface more aggressively in 2011 if things progress to crisis point where our members roles are threatened. 

This is a marked year where we have continued to support a process of efficiencies which have been and remain directly related to preserve members jobs. We will continue to negotiate hurdles and savings that are committed to protect jobs. You will have read various branch reports that we have been putting out to remind NAPO members of meetings and the importance of unionism at these times. The risks of everything facing some review or re modelling.

The latest difficult news to manage is the current threat to Unpaid work. The tendering arrangements and plans to hive off public sectors workers on mass is just a start. The good news however, is that despite all the speedy talk of  action  by the summer and regionalisation with bids stacked against trusts in favour of partners from the commercial world, what is becoming increasingly clearer is the news that bidders do not have a proper awareness or understanding of the nature of the work we engage. 

The levels of difficulty that many offenders present are much more than a people management task, linked to time management exercise.  The belief of a computer cost profit analysis model makes UW a bidders bonanza. This is clearly flawed and we will be doing our best to fight for UW our members and work with trusts to bid for its ownership within probation protecting all colleagues. 

Members we have to consider the threat to us all whatever your role NAPO will act in solidarity with the wider trade union movement  to defeat the Condem governments failings and mis-understanding  of public safety.  

What is clearer, is that we will all need to start thinking of unity action more locally. Protesting at some time in the future will no doubt see balloting of views from members and we need to convey the right messages to those in control to protect safety and generate confidence in us and our work in probation as the only provider of choice for the ranges of work you deliver.

Moving on we see more opportunity for colleague members to apply for  voluntary redundancy.  We have also seen many staff leave in this way at the beginning of the year. To all those who have left and those in contemplation we wish you well and thank you for your support over the years and that the future you choose delivers what you want.  It is a point to remind us all though that the next round of accepted redundancies via voluntary application may not be awarded based on need of Trust. We watch these issues with interest. 

In the meantime those of us who remain to face the increasing workloads  with less time is a strain. We are at a point in the branch that we cannot see members continually taking new work  without relief. Members are suffering the piling up effect.  Napo does not have a recently established work return policy and so  we urge members not to accept work that increases  your feelings of stress through overwork. Foreseeability of your own stress is important. This is to avoid absence through work related sickness. Any further interest on this please contact anyone in the branch exec for further advice and signposting. Equally raise these matters formally and immediately with your line managers to action appropriately.

In the closing part of the year many of us turn our attention away from the additional scrutiny of the OMI. We in NAPO, have a keen interest in the results. These are due in February 2011. It will help us all gauge where we are as a service.  The work that has been delivered and the quality. It may have a significant impact on how we are structured facing the challenges of budget reductions and the policy changes outlined in the latest Condem governments green paper on justice services. We will not get into this here but draw your attention to NAPOs notice board on the intranet where it has been posted.  Your comments are welcome. 

In relation to you,  the members,  we will continue to manage the plethora of issues and cases that members need their union branch for. We remain on constant guard to protect and moderate where possible the worsening impacts of policy direction for NAPO and Unison colleagues in the collective spirit of unity. 

Napo appreciates the difficulties facing us all and continues to promote actions that draw attention to our issues. 

From here we just need to thank all our members for your support up to the end of this year, our executive members past and new. The branch officials for working in many cases above and beyond and to wish you all a pleasant and restful break whatever you may be celebrating or doing. We look forward to a better new year. 

Dino Peros  JNCC


  1. From BBC website:-

    The prison population of England and Wales should be cut to 45,000, a former deputy prime minister and two former home secretaries have urged. In a letter to the Times, Nick Clegg, Ken Clarke and Jacqui Smith said jails had become unacceptably dangerous. They said inmate numbers had risen to more than 85,000 since Michael Howard declared in 1993 that "prison works".

    The cross-party trio pointed out that almost half of inmates are re-convicted within a year of being released. Former Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg, Conservative Mr Clarke and Labour's Mrs Smith said the recent violent unrest at Birmingham Prison was a "wake-up call for this country".

    Riot teams restored order to all four wings of HMP Birmingham last week after more than 12 hours of rioting described as the worst since events at Strangeways 26 years ago.

    The trio's letter said there had been a 31% increase in prison assaults in the past year, and one prisoner killed themselves every three days. "We believe that an escalating prison population has gone well beyond what is safe or sustainable," they wrote. "To restore order, security and purpose to our jails, ministers should now make it their policy to reduce prison numbers. "If the tide is not turned soon, the prisons crisis will do untold damage to wider society."

    Cutting the number of inmates to 45,000 would bring the prison population close to what it was under Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, the letter said. "The system is not serving victims of crime or properly protecting our communities either," it said, but did not explain how the three thought the reduction could be achieved.

    1. Also from the BBC news website.

    2. Spitting feathers at Nick Cleggs statement He wholeheartedly supported Graylings TR and did nothing to help Probation resist it !

    3. Yup! Guardian June 2010:-

      Where is probation going under the coalition government, then? Changing Lives – An Oral History of Probation, published by Napo to mark the service's centenary in 2007, contained a few kind words from then Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, one Nick Clegg. He began: "Few public services can be as readily overlooked as the probation service." How true. During the second pre-election TV debate I listened to him and David Cameron discuss the need for increased use of community penalties for 20 minutes without using the word "probation" once.

      As home affairs spokesman Clegg concluded by telling Napo "... it is crucial that the unglamorous, painstaking, yet hugely important work of the service is cherished, not undermined, by both government and opposition parties." We shall see.

  2. That Martin Davies has not even got the basics of writing a communication and uses the meaningless "I just wanted to write" opening - pathetic - how did he get through the selection process, section on communication?

    1. Agreed, his letter reads like it was written by an adolescent. Denice James however, once again strikes the right note in her communication - a combination of looking back, looking forward with a popular media reference to unite everyone. IL please take note.

    2. Yes it was canny Of Denice James to take a look back and as we read nothing has changed the branch report was alerting members to the facts but what happened . We see now. Napo learn anything from this? No look what we have.

    3. What a nasty personal comment. Has it crossed your mind that some people have to contend with aphasia, dyslexia etc? And a happy new year to you.

  3. Probation Officer22 December 2016 at 08:39

    Usual rubbish from the probation directors which does not reflect reality. Also Napo needs to 'man up' or it's set to fail probation staff in 2017 too. Forget Bob Dylan, start listening to Bob Marley!

    "Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don't give up the fight."

    1. OH Look a PO calling for some a action get a picture !

    2. Lol the po is usually strutting around thinking they own the office!

    3. That comment says more about you than probation officers.

  4. "The cross-party trio pointed out that almost half of inmates are re-convicted within a year of being released."

    With everyone leaving prison on licence and subject to recall, if half reoffend within a year, then all you can do is wish the 'cross party trio' the best of luck.
    Great idea and it needs to be done, but unless there's significant social reforms its not going to happen.
    I'd suggest that to reduce the prison population by half you'd need to first stop using the CJS as a political football and vote winner.
    Reform drug laws, and be more selective about who actually needs to be on licence and supervision.
    And for those that are deemed to require supervision and licence, then a Probation service that 'assists befriends and advises' would be a great place to start.


    1. Just wondering what response reading this might bring?


    2. Rates of reoffending in the UK remain worryingly high. At present, around a quarter of ex-inmates go on to commit another crime within 12 months of being released. For adult offenders with 11 or more crimes under their belt, this figure is unsurprisingly higher – with around 45% going on to commit further offenses.

      As Liz Truss identified recently, the situation needs to be addressed. In a recent report , she identified that reoffending inmates cost the country around £15 billion; which equates to £630 per household. Scientists believe they’ve found a solution – by offering ex-offenders prescribed drugs on their release.

      A study (recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association) made a startling discovery. When given a course of psychiatric drugs, ex-prisoners are significantly less likely to reoffend.

      The research, which was carried out in Sweden, found that offering this treatment made violent ex-offenders calmer, which in turn, reduced the likelihood of them committing another violent crime. Additionally, the drugs helped them to readjust to normal society, even after years of imprisonment.

      The research involved 22,275 former inmates in Sweden, who were released between 2005 and 2010. Their progress in the outside world was assessed until the end of 2013.

      During this time, the inmates were offered either antipsychotic drugs, psychostimulants, or drugs used to combat addictive disorders. Those treated with antipsychotics experienced a 42% reduction in reoffending. Those on psychostimulants saw a 36% drop, and those using drugs to battle addiction cut violent assaults by over 50%.

      Seena Fazel, lead researcher on the study (Oxford University Department of Psychology), commented: “This study raises the possibility that prescribed medications may provide a way to cut the risk of violent reoffending, as part of a wider package of support.”

      The study also found that ex-inmates who received additional psychiatric treatments reoffended even less than those who had received the drug treatment alone. This highlighted the value of adopting a rounded approach to rehabilitation – and seeing the ‘bigger picture’.

      Of course, the study raised many questions, one of the most important being – is it genuine rehabilitation if the ex-offender’s behaviour is being artificially controlled by drugs? What happens when the course of treatment is over?

      These are valid concerns. If taking antipsychotic drugs merely postpones reoffending, then it isn’t really addressing the heart of the problem. However, when used alongside other meaningful forms of rehabilitation, it is easy to see how it might be an appealing option.

      Even the researchers agree that rehabilitation is more than just a course of drug treatments, and needs to be supported with education, community programmes and specialist health services. Fazel concludes: “We have shown that in a population with many mental health problems and high risks of reoffending, improving adherence and links with community health services may offer an effective way to improve outcomes for the individual prisoner and also public health and safety more broadly.”

    3. I seem to remember, some years ago, NOMS (or was it the MoJ?) consulting on whether those who sexually offend should be offered drugs as a way of 'managing' their urges. I seem to remember the idea was PO's would recommend suitable clients in their parole board deliberations, that the scheme would be voluntary but incorporated into the licence conditions. I remember replying to the ACO at the time (who asked for our views) that I did not think PO's were appropriately qualified to undertake what appeared to be a medical appraisal of the person's suitability to take medication, and in any event, didn't we as a society agree to stop drugging people into submission when we closed Bedlam and the like? I didn't hear any more about the proposed pilot so presumed it never got off the ground.

  5. Old fashioned Cannabis used to perform such a function in penal establishments, then along came MDTs (getafix has already written eloquently about this) & the shift was to drugs which metabolised away faster (not sure thats proper english but you get the drift), but which were far more disruptive. So, the return if the chemical kosh? Its either zonked out on chemicals or neck snapped by SAS trained prison officer.