Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Spotlight On MTCnovo

Monday saw publication of an Ofsted report into MTCnovo's running of Rainsbrook STC:-

Inspections of secure training centres 

Inspection of Rainsbrook 
Report published: 12 December 2016 
  • Overall effectiveness Requires improvement 
  • The safety of young people Requires improvement 
  • Promoting positive behaviour Inadequate 
  • The care of young people Requires improvement 
  • The achievement of young people Requires improvement 
  • The resettlement of young people Requires improvement 
  • The health of young people Good 
  • The effectiveness of leaders and managers Inadequate 
Inspection dates: 17–20 October 2016


This from the Press Association on the Care Appointments website:-


Staff shortages at a privately-run youth jail are undermining its stability, watchdogs have warned. Inspectors criticised "poor and problematic" arrangements when the management of Rainsbrook secure training centre transferred earlier this year. A report published by Ofsted concluded that the facility near Rugby in Warwickshire requires improvement for overall effectiveness.

Rainsbrook - one of three secure training centres in England and Wales - is designed to accommodate youngsters aged between 12 and 18, and held 55 individuals at the time of the inspection in October. MTCnovo took over management of Rainsbrook from G4S in May.

The report said: 
"Despite opportunities for liaison and planning between the new provider, MTCnovo, and the previous provider, G4S Care and Justice Services Limited, transfer arrangements were poor and problematic. Of greatest significance, the inherited staffing arrangements led to too few staff transferring to the new provider in order to ensure continuity of care for the young people within the centre. This legacy of staff shortage continues to undermine the stability of the centre as it is almost a daily challenge to ensure minimum staffing levels are met."
A number of detainees who spoke to inspectors expressed concerns that there were not enough staff on the units. Inspectors found that the new providers have responded with "speed and purpose" to recruit more personnel as a priority, and despite the staffing difficulties the vast majority of young people reported feeling safe.

Reported levels of violence at the centre remain high, the report said, with assaults against young people and staff a "regular occurrence". Over the previous six months there had been an average of 28 assaults and two fights each month. While most of the incidents of violence were "relatively minor", 14 young people and six staff sustained injuries requiring medical treatment and one young person required hospital treatment following fights and assaults.

Colin Allars, chief executive of the Youth Justice Board, said: 
"We have been and will continue to work with MTCnovo on all of the issues of concern identified within this inspection report. The report acknowledges the challenges faced by MTCnovo and that improvement is being made but that there is much more still to be done to ensure that required standards are consistently met."
Rich Gansheimer, chief executive of MTCnovo, said: 
"The report recognises that we have a strong vision and operating framework for the Centre and highlights many positive examples of good practise such as the vast majority of young people report that they feel safe at Rainsbrook. Ofsted recognise we are part way through transforming Rainsbrook and the challenges that entails. We recognise there is more to do and we look forward to implementing Ofsted's recommendations in full over the coming months."

Talking of MTCnovo and bad news, it's widely anticipated that tomorrow will see publication of the 'damning' HMI Probation report on their disastrous running of the London CRC, bar far the largest of the privatised probation contracts introduced by Chris Grayling as part of the TR omnishambles.

These sort of events are to a large degree 'stage-managed' by the MoJ who of course are free to decide when any report is published, especially if it contains bad and politically-damaging news. The report was probably written weeks ago, giving plenty of time for the MoJ Press Office to prepare the damage-limitation PR exercise. 

Publishing bad news close to Parliament rising for Christmas and when most people are well into festive preparation mode is extremely helpful, as is ensuring other important announcements are made at the same time and by other government departments. I think we can safely expect something else tomorrow, such as local government spending plans that will help keep the main media attention away from the HMI report. 

Luck of course plays its part because not even the best endeavours of the highly-paid MoJ news management team have the ability to predict what will happen tomorrow and hence the batting order for the main news media. To be honest probation has had a pretty long run of bad luck during the whole TR saga, so lets hope for a change of fortunes tomorrow. 

I'll end this with a stab at what I think the MTCnovo press release will say. It's pretty easy actually because there's a formula for any 'bad report' situation and here it is:-
'the report was ages ago; lessons have been learnt; improvements have been made; a lots has been done; there's more to do'.
Bingo! Job done. Well, it obviously needs finessing:-        
"In responding to the recent disappointing report by HM Probation Inspectorate into the operational activities of the London Community Rehabilitation Company, it should be noted that the period referred to in the report was some months ago. 
Prior to the inspection, London CRC had already identified a number of issues of concern both to staff and the Senior Management Team. Unfortunately, through no fault of ours, there have been substantial variations in workload across our cohorts, together with a number of management issues. 
However, under the leadership of Paul McDowell and a new team, our detailed and comprehensive 'Ambition 20/20' initiative has already begun to see significant performance improvements across a number of key areas and particularly addresses issues of high caseloads, offender managers' skills, leadership, managerial accountability and data integrity.
Working closely with NOMS, who are extremely supportive and content with the new improved approach we've been taking, we remain confident that progress has been made; that much has been achieved, but much remains to be done and we are in no way complacent regarding the challenges that lie ahead. 
It's unfortunate that the inspection has distracted staff and management from the vitally important business of achieving the results we all want for our service users and their needs, but we remain confident that the changes currently being implemented, and including those being planned, will see us all work positively together in building better and safer communities."


  1. For those of a short attention span:

    Report says "The effectiveness of leaders and managers (is) Inadequate"

    Leader Allars says "The report acknowledges the challenges faced by MTCnovo and that improvement is being made"

    Manager Gansheimer says "The report recognises that we have a strong vision and operating framework for the Centre and highlights many positive examples of good practise"

    Grayling says "I've got a gut feeling & £46M in my arse pocket."

  2. I hear a crc up north has been handed back anyone care to elaborate?

    1. No word yet.

    2. I hear the moon tastes of blue cheese, anyone care to elaborate?

  3. MTCnovo Press Release: Truth is we got caught out by the Inspectorate. We can only hope this is a good day to bury bad news. Alas, our 20-20 vision, our rebadging and PR cannot stand up to an assessment of the facts. We feel let down by the MoJ as we understood that TR was part of their post-truth agenda – but nobody told the inspectorate who are still stuck in the age of reason.

    We have just screwed up at Rainsbrook and with this bad report on top we are going to start looking like incompetents. At least this is the UK and not USA where we are being kicked out of the federal prisons.

  4. Staff in London instructed by management not to speak to the press and that tomorrow is going to be a terrible day for London CRC.

    1. Surely this should read 'terrible day for the owners of the London CRC MTC Novo' This is nothing to do with the hard pressed employees, who have been battling the stacked odds foe so long.

  5. I would like to correct an assertion made here:

    "These sort of events are to a large degree 'stage-managed' by the MoJ who of course are free to decide when any report is published, especially if it contains bad and politically-damaging news"

    The Ministry of Justice does not decide when we publish our reports. We are an independent inspectorate and publish our reports as soon as they are ready.

    Jane Parsons, HM Inspectorate of Probation

    1. Thanks very much for clarifying that point. Much appreciated.

    2. Once again Jim Brown blog posting opinion as fact. Corrected by the HMIP itself but not corrected in the actual blog post, so those who haven't read the comments will further spread the inaccuracies. Think I'll go back to not reading this blog....

    3. Do you believe everything you are told?

      Guardian 12 April 2016

      A critical inspection report on the state of Britain’s most famous prison appears to have been toned down before publication, according to drafts seen by the Guardian.

      The report on Wormwood Scrubs, released on Tuesday, includes a foreword by the new chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, who highlights the poor condition of the prison – outlining high levels of assaults, worsening safety records, suicides, easy access to drugs and even a rat problem.

      But an earlier draft leaked to the Guardian, which was written by the previous chief inspector, Nick Hardwick, before he stepped down in January, contained much tougher language.

      Hardwick announced in the first paragraph of his introduction that the prison remained in a “shameful condition”; Clarke’s version said it was in a “poor condition”.

      The earlier version also reported that one in 10 prisoners at Wormwood Scrubs said they had been physically assaulted and that “too many prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm were held in the segregation unit without any explanation of the exceptional reasons required to justify it”. These details are absent from Clarke’s introduction.

    4. Hello
      I will start off by saying that I am considering a career in Probation and I've noticed on the blog people saying that new trainee's are inexperienced.
      Does this generally mean inexperienced in Criminal Justice work and would other areas be classed as having experience. For example.
      New trainee's in their early 20's and have done some voluntary work while at uni and maybe short period of work experience may be classed as generally inexperienced. (Nothing wrong with recruiting this group.)
      Would you generally also class inexperience as someone who maybe in their late 20's, 30's etc who have worked for 5 years plus in related careers such as mental health, substance misuse or homelessness.
      Are there many of the latter group starting as trainees.
      thank you.