Tuesday, 28 February 2017

News Roundup 9

Here we have what Napo thinks of the Prisons and Courts Bill. The press release:-

Prison reform will not work with a failing Probation Service

Today the Secretary of State for Justice will outline and present the Prison and Courts Bill in the House of Commons. The main theme of the Bill is a greater focus on rehabilitation and modernising the Courts to ensure victims are at the heart of the justice system. Despite this however, there is no mention of the Probation Service which is currently in chaos and failing to provide even the basic supervision of offenders in the community. Yesterday saw the publication of yet another damning report by Her Majesty's Inspection for Probation.

Dame Glenys Stacey said: "We advise government to consider whether, with changes to probation company contracts these orders can be made to work well, or whether it is time for a more fundamental rethink.”

This comment follows the inspection of the new community intervention Rehabilitation Activity Requirements introduced by the former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who promised a "rehabilitation revolution". The reality according to the inspector and Napo is that these orders are not being delivered and in many cases no work at all is being done with offenders to reduce their risk of re-offending. The report yesterday supports Napo's claims that Transforming Rehabilitation has not worked and has led to a much poorer level of service.

Ian Lawrence General Secretary for Napo said: "We have persistently advised the government that their reforms are failing. These plans were not evidence based and have led to chaos in the probation service with private providers failing to deliver on the most basic community supervision. Instead of innovation we are seeing less rehabilitation work with offenders. Job cuts and staff shortages have led to unmanageable workloads for our members. The Inspector has in a number of reports said that this is a direct risk to public safety and must be urgently addressed. No reforms to the prison system will work if there is not a fully functioning and effective Probation Service to supervise those being released."

The new orders introduced by Chris Grayling in 2014 were intended to play a significant part in reducing re-offending but according to HMI Probation and Napo less than ever is being done to rehabilitate those in the community.


Here's Rob Allen and his take on the changes announced to the Youth Justice Board:-

Youth Custody Changes : Progress or Retreat?

What’s to be made of the changes announced yesterday to the governance of youth justice in England and Wales? The stripping from the Youth Justice Board of its role in commissioning, purchasing and monitoring of detention facilities is not altogether a surprise. The YJB’s failure to prevent the deteriorating situation in Rainsbrook and Medway Secure Training Centres in 2015 may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. But the problem is more deep seated than that. The Youth Custody Improvement Board (whose report on the secure estate was also published yesterday) was “astonished” that after sixteen years at the helm, the YJB considers the current arrangements not fit for the purpose of caring for or rehabilitating children and young people. Liz Truss seems to agree so youth custody will in future be hitched to her wagon of prison reform with a Youth Custody Service set up as a distinct arm of the new HM Prison and Probation Service.

Back in 1996, Prison Inspector Sir David, now Lord Ramsbotham recommended that the Prison service should relinquish responsibility for all children under the age of 18, arguing that its priorities meant it could not be expected to provide the level of care, supervision and support required by teenagers. Instead of implementing the recommendation, the Labour government hoped the YJB could transform the way the service looked after young people. Thanks to substantial investment, particularly into education within Young Offender Institutions, there were initial improvements. The Children’s Rights Alliance for England, normally a stern critic of conditions for detained juveniles, concluded in 2002 that ‘results have been great, in some cases near miraculous’.

The improvements could not be sustained and despite substantial falls in the numbers in custody since 2008, Young Offender Institutions have struggled to provide safe decent environments let alone rehabilitative ones. Last year’s Inspectorate report on Wetherbyfound for example that “the core day was not designed to meet the needs of the population. Time out of cell was inconsistent and unpredictable, and there were frequent cancellations and regime restrictions. Exercise was limited to 30 minutes each day, weather permitting”. In truth, the levers available to the YJB have been limited and its influence over what happens in YOIs negligible compared to that of the Prison service.

So will the new Youth Custody Service fare any better in bringing about change? It’s certainly promising that a distinct cadre of specialist staff will be recruited and trained to work with young people. But they will need to be incentivised to stay in the sector. Historically, the prison service has not sufficiently recognised or rewarded work with young people despite its challenges and the skills required to do it well . There will need to be wider reforms; an agenda designed to make physical environments more suitable for teenagers and a review of the rules and procedures in YOIs most of which are primarily designed for adults. Achieving cultural change may be the hardest obstacle. When I was on the YJB, the POA objected for years to replacing traditional prison officer uniforms and were not exactly champions of a child centred approach.

Yet there were and no doubt are some excellent staff and good models of practice in the youth estate. When I left the YJB in 2006, I concluded that these could be very much more effective within an organisational ethos and structure dedicated to the secure care of young people. By that I meant a new service outside the prison system. We are not getting that, so the question is whether transformation can be driven from within it. I have my doubts.

Rob Allen


According to this, there's trouble at Interserve:-

Interserve shares lose a third as waste project costs rise

UK support services group increases provision on business turning rubbish into biogas. 
Shares in Interserve fell by almost a third on Monday after the British support services and construction company revealed it had sharply underestimated costs on its business that derives energy from waste.

Interserve, which employs 80,000 staff running businesses including probation services and healthcare at home, raised the provision on its failed waste division from £70m to £160m. Most of the charge is linked to a plant in Glasgow, which is designed to turn rubbish into biogas that will provide electricity to the National Grid. Interserve had been hired by Viridor, the waste collection company, to build the £154m plant but the project was hit by substantial delays and difficulties with subcontractors. Interserve was dismissed from the job last November. 

The company said previously that it would pull out of the waste-to-energy sector. That involved quitting another six waste-to-energy contracts with revenues worth more than £400m. Interserve said on Monday that it expected “a lengthy period of litigation” over its sacking from the Glasgow plant. It also warned it could be harder and take longer than expected to get money back from third parties as its main gasification subcontractor, Energos, was in administration. Some analysts doubted the updated provision was sufficient. 

Joe Brent, analyst at Liberum, said: “We can have no confidence the provision is adequate.” He added that Interserve “faces a whole range of trading challenges”. These include the increase in the national living wage, which could push up labour costs, and its domiciliary care business, which has been hit by cuts in local authority funding.


Finally, it looks like the Probation Institute is at last popping it's head above the parapet with something to say on at least one element of the TR omnishambles:-

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  1. Absolutely everything in 21st.C Britain is linked to the obsession of money over people. Lack of care for or intentional abuse of the elderly & or those with infirmity or disability is widespread & blamed on "limited resources". A range of abuses perpetrated against children, including sexual, emotional & neglect, are associated with poverty or a lack of resources to provide protection. Police are now suggesting that internet child porn behaviours are less harmful than contact offences are should be decriminalised due to lavk of resources. Prisons have become violent, drug-riddled arenas of despair & abuse because of a lack of resources. The Government response? They now want to further reduce local authority budgets by another 6%.

    Where do all these £Billions of public monies from taxes go? Offshore into the pockets of globals like Interserve? Into the pockets of shareholders of those global companies, including many of the MPs who are shuffling the money around?

  2. "A fresh wave of industrial action will be held in jails in England and Wales in a dispute over pay and pensions, the prison officers' union has said.
    Prison Officers Association members will withdraw from voluntary duties, including manning "Tornado" teams which respond to outbreaks of disorder." Source: BBC news

    The next riot could be the nail in the coffin for Liz Truss.

    1. I think this news may is likely to compound Liz Truss' problems with the prison service and make any attempt to resolve a dispute with the POA extremely difficult.
      I think people should rightly be held to account for the disastrous state of the prison system, but maybe it shouldn't be the staff on the front line that takes the fall.



    2. This article makes me wonder how long it will be before front line probation staff are being charged with manslaughter for private probation failings?



  3. From a speech by Theresa May, 17 Nov 2010

    "But even as we increase equality of opportunity, some people will always do better than others.

    And, certainly, I do not believe in a world where everybody gets the same out of life, regardless of what they put in.

    That is why no government should try to ensure equal outcomes for everyone."

    True to her word, PM May is ensuring that some people ARE doing better than others, that some ARE getting more out of life than others regardless of their contribution, and that the government is certainly NOT ensuring equal outcomes for everyone.

  4. If Interserve carry on like this it maybe that they won't have any contracts left. If they have lost shares how are they going to put money into their justice services to improve things. Staffing is cut to bone, they are struggling to implement their Interserve Model, they are not protecting the public, and if they don't have the money to recruit staff how will they survive.

    1. Share price end Feb'16 was 432p; share price today is around 236p, or 54% of the value it was a year ago, a loss of 46%. Given the generous clauses written in by Grayling, Wright & Romeo, Interswerve will surely be looking to dump some not-so-lucrative CRC contracts very soon.

    2. In Oct 2016 -

      "The former director of public sector prisons Ian Mulholland has joined Interserve as the company’s director of justice.

      Ian began his career as a prison officer 26 years ago before working his way up to the top prisons’ job at the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

      Before he left to join the company, Ian had responsibility for 110 public prisons across England and Wales – representing 85 per cent of the prison population – and more than 37,000 staff; together with three immigration removal centres."

      What happened to the senior civil servant cooling off period before cashing-in?

    3. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) considers applications under the business appointment rules about new jobs for former ministers, senior civil servants and other Crown servants. Its job is to stop former high level politicians and public servants from exploiting former insider knowledge in their new positions. (From Indie article last May)

    4. (From the same article) - "Some go on to work in the same industry sectors they once regulated while in government. Analysis by The Daily Mail showed that despite rules against the use of insider information, hundreds of former public servants are cashing in with highly paid jobs with private firms, despite previous promises of action by David Cameron on the issue."

    5. 'They are struggling to implement their Interserve Model' - they are struggling because the 'Interchange' model is a model in name only. In reality it is no more than a confidence trick - a clumsy collection of enticing but empty words and half understood ideas cynically bundled together in an apparently successful ruse wherein both buyer and, seemingly, inspectorate alike were only too eager to be hoodwinked into believing that simply calling nothing something somehow makes it something, and better still something 'innovative' - bundled together by Interserve and 'evaluated' by MMU's 'Policy Evaluation Research Unit' - funded, coincidentally, by Interserve so of course in no way susceptible to malign influence. Meanwhile frontline staff are found to be at fault because they are struggling to apply a model that contains nothing to apply...

    6. My memory of the graphic for the Interchange Model is that it shows a service user being fed through a set of cogs.....I kid you not! And they claimed it was based on Desistence research. Ha Ha.....they were having a laugh!

    7. Anon 20:02, totally agree the Interserve models is totally bollocks, we can all look forward to them "dumping their contract" and doing us all a favour.

  5. We need a new Government to balance this out of control capitalism the working classes are suffering. Bring back Blair or David Milliband to lead and Labour back to restore decency, respect and integrity for all citizens rather than the chosen privileged parasites stealing from public services

  6. Humberside, Lincs, Yorks, Merseyside, Manc & Cheshire, Hants... ?

    I'm sure Sodexo wouldn't mind taking the four in the North, making it more or less a clean sweep, & maybe a bit of horse trading down South to tidy up the geography? Economies of scale, more cash in the bank, but totally shit services guaranteed all-round. And with each CRC being a business entity in its own right requiring consent of the Golden Shareholder, you'll take care of that won't you, Lizzy Dripping?

    Grayling has NO idea what he started, the dumb, numb lump of meat. Nor does he give a flying fig.

  7. I'm surprised ingeus who control the midlands haven't bowed out yet.

  8. http://www.interserve.com/blog/blog-post/iaw/2016/11/16/one-size-doesn-t-fit-all-time-to-get-personal-with-offenders#.WLXvbBmnzq

    Curtesy of Kim Thornden Edwards in her previous role now CEO of HIOW CRC - wife of Chris Edwards CEO CGM CRC , nothing like a little bit of nepotism - the personalisation budget she's talking about is currently being piloted within CGM - however what she's describing above sounds very much like what we previously knew as Spotlight teams !!!!!

  9. Every day this week we have had an email in London telling us yet another ACO has left. I don't know if anyone is left!

    1. The ones who are left will be managing huge areas, not sure it is doable. And they are taking a risk with their careers if it isn't.

  10. And given that they couldn't get it right first time round Interserve are going to be re launching the Interchange model to frontline staff - what part of this isn't working because it's shit do " they " not get

    1. I hope not, how can you train staff on a model that "has nothing to apply". It feels as though Interserve has crashed and are out of their depth and everyone knows it including them. They have no answers for this sorry mess and now by the looks of things they have no money.

  11. I'm quite surprised that no one has commented on the prison officer being charged with manslaughter.
    It's a fact that your decision today could put you in the same place.
    What protection have you got?
    What would you do if it did happen?
    Would it attract more then 2mins on the local news?
    And if Interserve is your employer they'll give a big fuck I'm sure.
    Probation, like all the CJS, is in the spotlight. It could be you next.

    1. Too much reality, getafix. No-one wants to acknowledge it.

  12. Working Links slated tonight on S4C

    1. http://m.plymouthherald.co.uk/failures-of-probation-s-monitoring-of-tanis-killer-and-similar-case-to-be-broadcast-tonight/story-30169907-detail/story.html

    2. The Plymouth mum of murdered Tanis Bhandari will appear on TV tonight in a documentary promising to expose deep failings in the lead-up to her son's death.

      Andrea Sharpe will be featured alongside another mother whose son was killed by a man supposedly being monitored by a privatised arm of the Probation Service.

      The programme will highight how one of Tanis's killers, Donald Pemerton, was filmed on CCTV brandishing meat cleavers in the street just two weeks before the murder.

      The mothers of Tanis, who was 27, and South Wales man Conner Marshall, 18, are calling for grieving relatives to be given more information if mistakes are made by probation.

      Both were murdered following a string of failings by a private probation company who were monitoring their killers.

      The Herald was the first to highlight the similarities between the cases of Tanis and Conner in January 2016.

      There have been growing concerns after the Probation Service was controversially part-privatised by the Government, particularly over how accountable and transparent the new system would be.

      The Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), run by Working Links, is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and any Serious Further Offence reports – which examines incidents where individuals under supervision commit serious offices – are not considered "public documents" and that families of victims were only allowed a summary version.

      Conner's family battled the authorities for a full SFO review into the monitoring of his killer David Braddon, of Caerphilly, South Wales.

      Conner Marshall, aged 18 was savagely beaten to death by Braddon in March 2014.

      At the time Braddon was under the supervision of a CRC run by Working Links.

      That the summary report released to Mr Marshall's parents claimed that there was "nothing the offender manager could have done which would have predicted or prevented the offence".

      However, the full report – believed to be the first Serious Further Offence report ever released to a victim's family – revealed much more.

      According to Nadine Marshall, Conner's mum, the full 20-page report noted how "David Braddon's supervision was unworkable and he should have been sent back to court."

      In a programme to be broadcast on S4C tonight it will be shown how Conner's murderer had convictions for violent offences and at the time of his killing had missed eight appointments while being monitored by private firm Working Links.

      The programme will also highlight how Pemberton had been filmed brandishing meat cleavers two weeks before the murder of Tanis, while he was on licence and supposedly being monitored by Working Links staff.

      Both parents claim that their son's killers should have been recalled to court before the fatal attacks.

      Neither family were told of the failings and had to battle to get the information.

      Tanis's family were only made aware of their entitlement to the SFO summary review after being informed by The Herald.