Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Focus on Liz Truss

Here we have yesterday's MoJ Press Release:-

Justice Secretary launches HM Prison and Probation Service

A new frontline service focused on reforming offenders and cutting crime has today been launched by Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss.

  • New frontline service tasked with reforming offenders launched by Justice Secretary
  • Prison and probation staff to be given increased training and clear career progression
  • HMPPS launch coincides with prison governors being given greater control of establishments
HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) will have full responsibility for the operational management of offenders in custody and the community, including strengthening security in prisons, building intelligence about criminal gangs and supporting offenders when they are released.

The introduction of the new service coincides with prison governors being given greater control over how they run their establishments – a key commitment in the Prison Safety and Reform White Paper.

The Secretary of State pledged in November to recruit 2,500 staff to bolster the frontline as well as introducing a comprehensive package of measures to improve safety and security across the estate.

Probation services will also be more empowered in providing support to offenders both under our supervision and in the community when they come out of prison. As part of the further growth opportunities we are enhancing professional qualifications for probation officers and increasing the integration of prison and probation services.

The launch of HMPPS, alongside development opportunities for staff, will further professionalise and build pride in the service.

Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:

"The creation of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is part of our far-reaching changes that will ultimately reduce reoffending and make prisons places of safety and reform. 
We are building a Service that is focused and driven to make our prisons safe and reduce the risk of reoffending, in turn creating fewer victims of crime and safer communities.
The launch of this new organisation is a crucial step towards achieving our reforms. Staff will be given the training and support they need to succeed so they can be proud to work for an agency that will help to transform lives."
The new operationally focused service will be supported by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) taking on responsibility for overall future policy direction, setting standards, scrutinising prison performance and commissioning services.

As part of the Government’s commitment to boost opportunities for staff in the newly-formed HMPPS, we are creating 2,000 new senior promotion opportunities for valued and experienced prison officers to progress into.

Apprenticeship schemes are being launched to give recruits a clear progression pathway, underlining the Government’s commitment to develop the skills of prison and probation staff.

HMPPS Chief Executive Michael Spurr said:

"The launch of HMPPS is being backed by new investment which will make a real difference to the work we do with offenders both in prisons and in the community.
We have a compelling reform agenda and the new Agency will focus relentlessly on improving performance to better protect the public and reduce reoffending."
From today (April 3), governors in all adult prisons in England will take control of budgets, allowing them to decide how they spend money rather than being given specific budgets for different things.

They will be able to develop local commercial relationships with businesses to provide work opportunities for their prisoners, and reinvest income to deliver additional services in their prison.

Governors will have more flexibility in setting staffing structures and the ability to hire people with the skills they think their prison needs, whilst they will also be directly involved in the decision making process for commission health services for their establishment.

The launch of HMPPS will be supported by measures in the ground-breaking Prisons and Courts Bill, which sets out a new framework and clear system of accountability for prisons. For the first time, it enshrines into law the purpose of prison and sets out that a key aim for prisons is to reform and rehabilitate offenders.

It is further backed by measures in the Prison Safety and Reform White Paper, which identifies a clear structure of accountability for delivering reform.


While we're at it, lets see what Liz Truss is saying. Here we have her writing on the Reform website:- 

Where next for criminal justice reform?

Reforming our criminal justice system is my top priority. Since my first day as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, I have been clear that we must create prisons that change lives and a court system that works for all. The ground-breaking Prisons and Courts Bill is a crucial step towards achieving that vision. It is a firm commitment from the Government to overhaul the system for the better.

Prisons will be transformed, protection for victims and witnesses will be boosted and the courts will be revolutionised so justice can be delivered more swiftly. Making prisons work is something in which we all have a stake. They keep some of the most dangerous criminals locked away from society, depriving them of their liberty and putting an end to the misery they have heaped on so many. And of course, it is right that prisons are there to punish people who break the law.

But I am clear that there is more to do in order to reduce the likelihood of them reoffending after they’ve been released. The burden on society caused by those who are caught in a cycle of reoffending is staggeringly high. It costs society £15 billion every year. And then there is the emotional turmoil faced by the millions of blameless victims who come home to find their home has been ransacked or car stolen.

I’m absolutely determined to get a grip on this and that is why the changes in the Prisons and Courts Bill are so important. They will give prisons a clear and direct instruction that they must achieve more than simply act as offender warehouses. This is a crucial change that will, for the first time ever, set out that reforming offenders is a key aim of prison. We will require prisons to show progress in areas such as getting prisoners off drugs, boosting their English and maths skills, and into meaningful employment.

This matters because we know that prisoners who are drug-free, are able to read and write, and have a job to go to are less likely to go on committing more crime when they’re on the outside. But when offenders do commit crime, the system must support victims. I know from conversations with those who have had to appear in a courtroom that the process is a daunting one, so we must do all we can to help make it a smoother and less-traumatic experience.

That is why I have included specific measures within the Prisons and Courts Bill that will extend the use of online courts and virtual hearings, allowing more witnesses to give evidence outside the courtroom to help deliver swifter justice. As a result of this legislation, many more people will be able to take part in court proceedings without actually being in court.

The legislation will also give courts the power to end the appalling practice of domestic violence victims being cross-examined by their abusers in family proceedings. The bottom line is I want victims to have real confidence in the system and to feel empowered to come forward and speak out. And I want prisons that provide offenders with the best possible chance of turning their lives around for good.

It will take time to make these substantial changes and there is a great deal of work to do. But there should be no doubt that the Prisons and Courts Bill is a critical component in our mission to drive reform.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice


I notice that the Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is on Liz Truss's case over her enthusiasm for prisons being drivers of economic development:- 

Letter to Justice Secretary on prison jobs bonanza claim

Date: Friday, 24 March, 2017

Our Director, Richard Garside, has written to the Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, calling for her to publish a secret Ministry of Justice report on the economic impact of new prisons.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice announced plans to build four new prisons in Yorkshire, Wigan, Rochester and Port Talbot. According to the Ministry, the new prisons will 'act as a boost to regional economies' and create 'new opportunities for local businesses.'

According to the Justice Secretary, the prisons would be an 'economic lifeline for the local community – creating hundreds of jobs for local people'.

The Ministry's claims of a jobs bonanza are based on a secret report written by consultants, Peter Brett Associates, called Economic Impact of a New Prison. The report remains unpublished, despite a Freedom of Information request made by our Senior Associate, Rebecca Roberts.

In his letter to the Justice Secretary, Richard writes:

As the Ministry embarks on this latest stage in the prison-building programme, it is important that its plans are subject to proper scrutiny by parliamentarians, independent experts and members of the public, particularly in those areas where the new prisons are planned to be built. The publication of the Economic Impact of a New Prison report will assist the scrutiny process and I ask that it be published without delay.

Richard's letter can be downloaded below.
Download: Letter to Liz Truss, 23 March 2017.pdf


  1. "Probation services will also be more empowered in providing support to offenders both under our supervision and in the community when they come out of prison."

    This phrase raises questions... "offenders both under our supervision & in the community when they come out of prison." More changes due? Is the PSS going to be scrapped? Or amended? Or is the scope of probation going to extend beyond statutory supervision?

    1. Or - and possibly more likely - the piece was written by someone who doesn't know what they're talking about...

    2. Sloppy drafting - much more likely I feel :)

    3. There may be plenty of buffoons in hmpaps, but don't underestimate the sneakiness of Spurr et al. They're survivors when many have fallen by the wayside. Its always prudent to look carefully at the words they use.

    4. It's a reflection of the prison driven agenda - "under our supervision" means when in custody. Presumably drafted by an HMPS author - someone who probably still calls the probation presence in prisons the Welfare Department.

  2. Spurr has a 'compelling reform agenda'. 'Reform' must be one of the most abused words in the language. Spurr and his like are compelling recidivists!

    1. Along with open and transparent

  3. Jim - ref earlier posts elsewhere. Try this:


  4. Giving prison governors more say in how their prison is run = "we will give you the usual £5 to do it with and when that goes wrong we will blame you, not us. You will soon learn to turn your prison into a business using your captive workforce as free labour"...

    1. Then again prisoners producing goods in prisons is nothing new and depending on the ethos in the establishment can give an individual a real boost of pride, of having a role and a part to play, particularly if the work encompasses learning skills in conjunction. And all this would then be in contrast to the experience of many prisons of their time leading up to their sentence, when they have been shunned by employers for their criminal record and excluded by on line society generally. So something drastic would need to happen on the outside for these chaps simultaneously.

  5. in the 'good old days' "weren't we already proud to work for an organisation which gave us the training and support we needed to help to transform lives?"

    1. "we know that prisoners who are drug-free, are able to read and write, and have a job to go to are less likely to go on committing more crime when they’re on the outside".

      Can't that also mean that with good education reforms, and a more pragmatic approach to drug legislation and the stigmas that surround them, people may not have to go to prison in the first place?


  6. Under the title of (HM)PAPS, shouldn't all arms of the service be subject to equal parity of service standard?
    For instance, CRCs being subject to freedom of information legislation?

  7. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-04/uol-ihc040417.php

    1. Healthcare services available to people on probation and how they access them will be examined as part of a new research project.

      The study, funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit Programme, aims to tackle relevant issues identified by the researchers in consultation with probation workers and service users.

      Researchers say better healthcare could help increase the number of people successfully completing community sentences and could potentially reduce the rate of recidivism, while also saving the NHS substantial sums of money by reducing the unnecessary use of urgent and emergency services.

      The study, led by the University of Lincoln's Dr Coral Sirdifield and Professor Niro Siriwardena, with colleagues from Royal Holloway, University of London, will address three key areas: the best way of providing healthcare to achieve good health outcomes for probationers; how healthcare is currently delivered to probationers, for example by probation services, through local partnerships, or through clinical commissioning groups; and what data is already available that could be used to measure and improve probationers' health and the quality of their healthcare.

      The team of researchers will carry out a literature review of the existing studies, conduct national surveys, examine written policy and procedure documents, and conduct telephone interviews with senior members of probation and health services.

      Lead investigator, Dr Coral Sirdifield from the University of Lincoln's School of Health and Social Care, said: "There are more than 200,000 offenders on probation in the UK, and they are often deprived, vulnerable and have complex health needs such as mental health, or drug and alcohol problems, compared with the general population.

      "Many probationers are not registered with a GP, or only access healthcare during crises. To reduce health inequalities, we first need to understand how healthcare is provided to probationers, and how its quality can be measured and improved.

      "This is important because providing better, evidence-based healthcare will improve probationers' health, increase their chances of completing probation, and could potentially reduce their risk of reoffending. There are potential cost savings to the NHS by reducing the unnecessary use of urgent and emergency services."

      The grant bid was put together following consultation with probation workers and service users to ensure the research would tackle relevant issues. Those probation workers and the service users will be on the project steering group and will help develop information resources, carry out interviews, and share the findings of the study. The funding is just under £150,000.

      The findings will be shared with all participants, relevant organisations and policy makers as a toolkit, and submitted to relevant journals for publication.

  8. MTCNova not paying wages. Is Sodexo about to start reducing wages and make the difference up in childcare and food vouchers?


    1. Two-fifths (41%) of respondents want to receive childcare vouchers via a salary sacrifice arrangement as part of their employee benefits package, according to research by Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services.

      Its survey of 1,000 employees also found that 51% of respondents want to contribute to their workplace pension through a salary sacrifice arrangement.

      The government will limit the range of benefits that attract tax and national insurance advantages when offered through a salary sacrifice arrangement from 6 April 2017. Childcare, pensions, ultra-low emission vehicles, and bikes-for-work-schemes are among the benefits exempt from the changes.

      The government’s new tax-free childcare scheme will be rolled out gradually from 28 April 2017, with all eligible parents set to be brought into the scheme by the end of the year. The existing childcare voucher scheme will close to new entrants from 28 April 2018.

      The research also found:

      36% of respondents would like to have access to discounted shopping through a salary sacrifice arrangement.

      20% of respondents would like their employer to provide access to car schemes through salary sacrifice, and 18% would like to be offered gym membership as a benefit through a salary sacrifice arrangement.

      22% of respondents who are parents have had to borrow money from friends and family to pay for childcare, and 32% have seen the cost of childcare increase by more than 10% since they started raising their child.

      James Maliad, director of employee benefits at Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Sevices, said: “With just a matter of weeks to go until the new tax-free childcare scheme is introduced by the government, our research highlights that employees still view childcare vouchers as a highly valuable and sought after employee benefit.

      “With vouchers soon to disappear from the employee benefits world, businesses are going to have to think about other ways they can support families in order to remain competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.”

    2. "according to research by Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services.
      Its survey of 1,000 employees..."

      As far as I can ascertain, Sodexo employ in the region of 420,000 people. So a sample of 0.25% is most impressive, as are the astonishing revelations by Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Service that some employees want a rewards & benefits service.

      Did you know that the French pastry 'croissant' derives its name from its crescent-shape?

    3. Love the term salary sacrifice.

  9. Napo update on maternity pay negotiations...