Tuesday, 10 January 2017

What Investigation?

With the Probation Review well underway into the omnishambles created by Chris Grayling's TR, maybe it's time to reflect on exactly what went on during the bidding process and the 'dodgy' prospectus the successful contractors say they were sold. For instance, what ever happened to this, as reported in an article from 13th March 2016 in the Daily Mail:-  

Ministry of Justice orders an urgent probe into former civil servants helping private firms to win multi-million-pound contracts

The Ministry of Justice has started an urgent inquiry after The Mail on Sunday uncovered evidence that ex-civil servants were boasting of Government connections while working for private firms to secure multi-million-pound contracts in Britain and abroad. 

This newspaper found several senior MoJ officials recently left Whitehall to take up jobs with a consultancy. In the months before they departed, the consultancy’s UK branch had helped secure contracts worth more than £600 million for a controversial US firm to run probation services across swathes of the South East, and a Northamptonshire young offenders’ unit.

They had worked for the commercial arm of the MoJ – shut down last year after disclosures it was to be paid £6 million to ‘reform’ the prison system in Saudi Arabia. This operation, Just Solutions International, closed in September. Its former chief Tony Challinor, now a director of consultancy TDPi, boasts of using experience and knowledge gained in government in the private sector.

His profile on business networking site LinkedIn says he had led a Ministry of Justice team to ‘scope and develop solutions’ for governments and criminal justice agencies around the world, adding: ‘I am very pleased to be able to continue to develop and deliver this work through TDPi.’

Former civil servants must not ‘exploit privileged access to contacts in Government or sensitive information’ gained in their duties. If a job risks breaching these rules, it must be approved by a Whitehall committee.

Mr Challinor is one of several ex-mandarins at TDPi to whom the checks were apparently not properly applied. The firm’s website mentions Sibylle Batten, who led the MoJ’s International and Market Development Unit, and ‘has extensive experience in business and partnership development’.

Sources told The Mail on Sunday that TDPi is looking at contracts in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Somalia, where it hopes to ‘rehabilitate’ pirates. 

Its director Rebecca Grattan is also chief operating officer of MTCnovo, the British branch of prisons firm MTC. Its successful bids to run probation services in London and Thames Valley and the Rainsbrook youth detention centre were organised by TDPi’s sister company. By 2021, the income from these will top £600 million.

In the US, MTC has been beset by scandal. Last year a Texas immigration detention centre it ran was destroyed when prisoners rioted. The state of Mississippi is facing class-action lawsuits from prisoners in MTC-run jails who allege they endured violence and were denied healthcare.

Criminal justice expert Harry Fletcher branded it ‘outrageous’ that a firm with such a record was to run Rainsbrook. MTCnovo said it plans to bid for further UK contracts.

The Ministry of Justice said it had started ‘an immediate investigation with support from the Cabinet Office’ as a result of the findings.

Asked about the probe, Mrs Grattan said: ‘Both Tony Challinor and Sibylle Batten have followed the recommended procedures. Neither individual is working in any capacity for MTCnovo nor has done so in the past.’ Mr Challinor and Ms Batten did not respond to requests for comment.

This article from the Guardian:-

Ministry of Justice officials 'helped private firms win government contracts'

Ministers have ordered an immediate inquiry into allegations that former senior civil servants from the Ministry of Justice have used their Whitehall knowledge and contacts to help private companies secure government contracts worth millions.

The inquiry follows a Mail on Sunday investigation which questioned the role of a director of a consultancy, TDPi, whom they named as Tony Challinor. Challinor is the former chief executive of the MoJ’s commercial arm, Just Solutions International, which was shut down last year in a row over a Saudi prisons contract.

The prisons minister, Andrew Selous, said the reported allegations involved claims that former MoJ employees had behaved improperly and that knowledge they may have acquired while working for the department had been used to gain a competitive advantage.

“We take all allegations of impropriety extremely seriously,” said Selous, adding that an immediate investigation had been launched with Cabinet Office support.

“The rules around former civil servants taking up employment in the private sector are made very clear when they leave. Under no circumstance should they exploit privileged access to government contracts or sensitive information which could be used to influence the outcome of commercial competitions,” he said.

The Mail on Sunday said that Challinor was one of several senior MoJ officials who had recently left Whitehall to take up jobs with TDPi. In the months before they left their Whitehall jobs, TDPi’s UK branch had helped secure contracts that would be worth more than £600m by 2020 for a US company, MTCnovo, to run probation services in London and the Thames Valley as well as Rainsbrook secure training centre in Northamptonshire.

Challinor, who was also head of commercial development for the prisons and probation service, says in his Linkedin profile: “After a brief period of retirement from the UK civil service I am leading a new company building on the work I previously delivered.” He left his role as head of commercial development at the national offender management service in December after more than four years in the post.

Challinor goes on in his profile to highlight his experience in creating a dedicated MoJ team to develop solutions for governments and criminal justice agencies around the world and says he hopes to develop this work through the TDPi consultancy. The paper also named a second former MoJ official who had a senior role in the department’s international and market development unit.

Selous added in a written ministerial statement to MPs that the MoJ had improved its commercial capability in the last six months by doubling the senior commercial experts monitoring work with the private sector.

A spokeswoman for TDPi told the Mail on Sunday that Challinor had followed the recommended procedures and had never worked for MTC Novo. Challinor declined to comment.


This article from CivilServiceWorld

Ministry of Justice launches probe into former commercial staff

The Ministry of Justice has begun an investigation into claims that a number of its former commercial staff have emphasised their links to government while seeking private sector work.

The Mail on Sunday reported at the weekend that several senior MoJ officials who had been part of the now-disbanded Just Solutions International team – set up to sell British criminal justice advice to governments around the world, including Saudi Arabia – are now working for a private consultancy called TDPi.

The consultancy's website promises "a fresh approach to solution development in international justice and correctional services", and its team includes director Tony Challinor, who stepped down as head of commercial development for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) in December.

In a statement to MPs published on Monday, justice minister Andrew Selous said: "Yesterday the press reported allegations that former employees of the Ministry of Justice have behaved improperly and that knowledge they may have acquired while working for the department has been used to gain a competitive advantage.

"We take all allegations of impropriety extremely seriously. We have launched an immediate investigation to ascertain the facts, which the Cabinet Office's Proprietary and Ethics team will support."

Under rules governing post-Whitehall business appointments, senior civil servants "are expected to refrain from drawing on any privileged information which was available to them when in office", with appointments subject to clearance by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

Selous added: "The rules around former civil servants taking up employment in the private sector are made very clear when they leave. Under no circumstance should they exploit privileged access to government contracts or sensitive information which could be used to influence the outcome of commercial competitions."

Selous said the Ministry of Justice had, "over the last six months", taken steps to improve its commercial capability, "more than doubling the senior commercial experts monitoring work with the private sector". But there was "still more to do", he added, and promised to update MPs with the findings of the joint investigation once it had been completed.


  1. Its a lovely website with some familiar names from the world of probation/ prisons/ noms:


    1. Rebecca Grattan

      Rebecca is a very experienced organisational transformation specialist. She regularly advises senior teams as they tackle issues such as strategy, new operating models, organisation design as well as culture change. Her strengths are in innovation and strategic consultancy and she is regularly sought out by blue chip and public sector organisations to lead new delivery models and business turnaround.

      Rebecca has supported strategy and transformation within the Justice Sector for over 15 years. This has included leading projects within Prisons, Police, Probation and the Crown Prosecution Service. Most recently Rebecca developed the Strategy and Operating Model for Transforming Rehabilitation supporting MTCnovo’s successful acquisition of the Community Rehabilitation Companies in London and Thames Valley. Rebecca undertook the role of Chief Operating Officer during the mobilisation and transformation of these contracts into private sector ownership.

      Tony Challinor

      He was previously a Senior Leader with the National Offender Management Service an agency of the UK Ministry of Justice responsible for running the Prison and Probation (Corrections) services in England and Wales. He led the development of new models of working, including providing international corrections support on a Government to Government basis. He led aspects of the development of a competitive market for NOMS business and payment by results and social impact bonds, and benchmarking of best practice. He also managed external funding through European bids and partnerships (including a £480m EC funded rehabilitation of offenders programme that operated in every prison and probation service in England and Wales); and for generating income through the use of NOMS intellectual property rights through the establishment of a Trading Arm.

      Tony has also worked in senior roles in private sector delivery of public services as well as local government. He sat on a UK Government policy action team that reviewed legislation on financial exclusion; was a Board member of a regional investment fund; has been a member of a range of national Boards including the Government’s Security Exports Board. Tony started his career in social work, quickly moving to youth justice. Later in his career he was a member of two Youth Offending Team Boards.

      Sarah Mallender

      Sarah is a high-calibre Business Development and Operations specialist, who has excelled in a variety of senior roles across the justice sector.

      She was recently the Mobilisation, Transition and Transformation Director for Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company, implementing new operating models, ways of working and culture change programmes across the organisation over a 12 month period.

      She was previously Senior Assistant Director at a privately run prison in the North of England, responsible for running the Offender Management Directorate comprising a considerable number of departments and areas. Sarah also acted as the strategic lead for developing Employment, Learning and Skills services in prisons across the East Midlands and East of England as part of the largest offender employment project funded by the European Social Fund and led by Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

    2. Steve Wagstaffe - Steve has worked within the Criminal Justice sector for over 30 years and has a longstanding track record of leading large and complex organisations across a range of difficult environments. His particular interests are in Corporate Leadership, Financial and Strategic Planning, Stakeholder Engagement and People Management, where he has demonstrated his ability to deliver outcomes at the highest operational level.

      As a Senior Civil Servant within the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, Steve operated at Board level within the National Offender Management Service and has successfully performed the most senior operational posts within the Prison Service including leading the High Security Estate and the Public Sector Prison Service in England and Wales.

  2. National Audit Office Report - 'The cost of setting up Just Solutions International exceeded the income generated by completed contracts'.


    1. • The total income generated by JSi was less than £1 million. The main contracts delivered by NOMS, under the JSi brand, between 2012 and 2015 were for training Royal Oman Police officers (£255,000), consultancy on prison design in Libya (£128,000) and contracts in Nigeria (£130,000), Australia (£89,000) and the Seychelles (£34,000).

      • The cost of setting up JSi exceeded the income generated by completed contracts. The NAO estimate that JSi’s costs were approximately £2.1 million from 2012 until its closure, including £239,000 on consultancy services. Therefore JSi made a net loss of approximately £1.1 million in this period. This is due, in part, to the decision to withdraw from prospective arrangements with Saudi Arabia and Oman. The NAO also note that had JSi not been created, NOMS would have committed funding to support wider international engagement with countries to support FCO and wider Government objectives.

      • In September 2015 the Secretary of State for Justice closed JSi and decided not to pursue any commercial activities in Oman. In October 2015 JSi withdrew from the bid for work with Saudi Arabia. This followed the launch of a judicial review into JSi and significant media and political interest in the proposed work with Saudi Arabia. There were no financial penalties for withdrawing from contract negotiations with Saudi Arabia.

      • JSi is now closed and NOMS does not plan to perform further work for overseas governments on a commercial basis. NOMS will continue to receive visits and requests for assistance from overseas governments through FCO and other UK departments for the achievement of cross-government objectives.

    2. - As a consequence of the NAO investigation the Secretary of State for Justice responsible for JSi, along with the relevant directors of NOMS, now face the prospect of imprisonment having been found guilty of gross negligence in public office, mismanagement of public funds & fraud.


      - Following the success of JSi the Secretary of State for Justice has since been lauded for his ground-breaking programme of transformation of justice services and the head of NOMS awarded a sibstantial payrise, enhanced pension and cash bonus.

      Take your pick.

  3. In their prime group accredited programmes were the routes out of offending behaviour. To question their value was heretic. They were governed by strict eligibility criteria, delivered by specially trained staff and oozed programme integrity.

    In recent years their use has dropped by over 50% in prisons and over 40% in probation.

    At Purple Futures in Hampshire they are having trouble resourcing programmes and rather than see them uncompleted have instructed staff to do the work on a 1-2-1 basis irrespective of whether they have been accredited to deliver programmes. Whatever they are doing is not deserving of the designation 'accredited'. But no doubt they will duly be recorded, deceptively, for statistical purposes as accredited.