Friday, 21 April 2017

Latest From Napo 147

Napo General Secretary address to Westminster Legal Policy Forum

At a seminar on prison reform held in London today, Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence, offered the following thoughts in a debate covering the raising of standards in Prisons and the future of integrated offender management:

Colleagues, Chair, in response to the Chair’s request for the speakers to be exciting, I am not sure that what I have to say will have you rolling in the aisles, but thanks for this opportunity which I hope will supplement the excellent contributions from other speakers.

Let me start with a positive, saying that in Napo's view the creation of HMPPS out of the ashes of NOMS ought to be the driver for the long awaited and desperately needed integration of the offender management system.

As we have heard, the advent of the General Election means that the current Prisons and Courts Bill goes back to the drafting board, but given the priority afforded to prison reform and the host of issues that Steve and Bob Neill have mentioned, one can only hope that the future government post 8th June, will move forward urgently with reform.

But let’s drill down into just some of the pressing issues that our members in the Probation service are facing in the context of managing the client base and some suggested solutions.

Firstly, on the stated intention to increase the number of probation staff in prison which has engendered some serious debate amongst our membership.

The Probation service is often the only consistency in a prisoner’s journey through the CJS. It is suggested on the one hand that this proposal would seriously disrupt this concept as offenders would see a change in their supervising officer every time they move between prisons, bringing further uncertainty in an already fragmented system which will only damage prisoner/probation relationships which we believe are the key to reducing re-offending.

Let’s face it, and its never popular to say this outside of this type of this engaged audience, but there are simply too many people ( and as we have heard earlier and too many unwelcome insect infestations) in the prison system, and I bet you won't hear many politicians echoing this fact in the upcoming hustings!

Prison should be a last resort for those who have caused or are liable to cause danger to our communities. So Napo believes that the MOJ should focus firstly on community interventions and prison based rehabilitation (for which there is clearly a compelling need). Second we must have skilled practitioners out there in the community to complete the whole project and break the cycle of recidivism.

And, as Bob Neill and others have said, Probation and Prisons must get the investment that is needed to focus on the priority of reducing re-offending and providing value for money to the taxpayer who speaking frankly have been taken for a ride.

Whilst we await the outcomes of the Probation System Review that has been trying to unravel the post -Transforming Rehabilitation problems, we believe that the new Government should take a firmer line with private probation providers who, as continual HMIP reports have indicated, (two more this week examining Working Links and Sodexo) are simply not delivering all that they were contracted to do.

So where necessary Napo believes that the MOJ should use its golden share option to take back control of failing CRCs.

But where CRC owners show a willingness to engage with us by treating their staff fairly and investing in training and working with us and others to develop a License to Practice, then Napo is prepared to match that commitment both within the National Probation service and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies and that is what I said in my recent evidence to the Justice Select Committee and what I will again be saying to the next Secretary of State.

Finally, Progressive reform also means reducing the prison population by investing in probation, reviewing sentencing guidelines and restoring the confidence of sentencers, politicians and the public in the role of probation as an effective agent in the intervention process.

And I would say this wouldn't I? What’s also needed is a major Pay review for Probation to increase the recruitment and retention of staff.

It’s a long wish list I know, but we believe that with the right degree of commitment and political courage from our next Government, whatever its complexion, then these suggestions will make a major contribution to the social reforms that we have been considering and debating today.

Thank you for your time


  1. There would never have had to have a major pay review if they did not split us in the first place. All those advocating to throw MORE £££££££ at the CRC's firstly need to come and experience at first hand and work for them for a week or two, to truly understand its not money they need. They need to be educated on what probation means, these models are not working, and money will not change that. How can catering and cleaning companies have any idea of the complex work probation does and that is why they are failing. Mr Lawrence, please have a rethink about asking for more money, don't you understand that the only reason they won contracts in the first place was based on money and profits and you want them to have more.

    1. What will they do with the money they have all ready bulldozed probation history by closing offices and getting rid of experienced staff. What exactly do they need the money for, they have no estates or staff that they need to pay, so can only assume its for their own greed.

  2. CRC's investing in training !!!?? Interswere are bringing out their very own " Apprenticeships " we have no details on this as you have to attend a seminar if interested (I think not ) I'm concerned far this will water down even further the skilled work force in terms of Probation qualifications ( in old money ).
    I would have prefered the call from Ian to be a resounding that the CRC's are not working therfore the control shoud and must be removed from them rather than more money be given to them . Again as others have posted I have no idea what Intetswerve would do with this money other than to boulster there ever falling shares and to bail them out of the mess that made of their failed waste contract - that we now have to ensure we MUST meet targets as to not cause Intetswerve any more finacial penalties !!!! whilst failing to discuss the other multimillion construction contracts they have secured early this year

    1. Weren't interswere and the other CRC's given 23 million not so long ago, and they also kept all the money set aside for redundancies. How much money do these greedy bastards need. Don't give them another penny it will only be used to bolster their credentials in the business world and allow them to borrow more to take out more contracts, it definately will not be used to create a better probation service. Next year they will be asking for more what you going to say then Mr Lawrence.

    2. The general secretary is completely off key here. Let the rubbish CRCs fail asap and they Government can snatch them back cost free and save what is left of the TR CRC wreckage and bye bye to all those sold out senior monumental managment lackeys! YOU YES YOU and we KNOW who you are ! It will be your turn soon enough.

  3. a rather unpleasant management email from Interserve today - 250k service fines and so we need to buck up or staff will be lost. (copy of the email's been sent to NAPO).

    We're doing the best with what we've got,too many cases, running around like headless chickens. IT to be fair, isnt too bad of late.

  4. Replies
    1. it wasnt Yvonne or that level of management - it was off cunard building managment.

  5. Yvonne Thomas of Interswerve stated to the JSC that they hadn't ( I can't remember her exact words ) off loaded as many staff as anticipated so now they're trying to use " service charges " as a bullying tactic - staff are already going under with work load pressures so it'll be interesting to see how they " off load " any more staff that haven't already gone or in the process of doing so because they can no longer stand the bullshit policies and model that we at CGM have to contend with ( along with all the rest of you out there dealing with your equally inefficient CRC owners and nodding dog management ) and how they think the remaining staff will cope ?? - if staff are struggling to cope with the demand of high case loads how the hell do the CRC's say they've been short changed and not got the work they were " promised ".
    I do hope NAPO / Unison respond to the Email sent by Interswerve !!

  6. Anyone know what LibDems are proposing for probation in their GE pitch? If it's positive enough do we give them the benefit of the doubt &/or forgive them for either sitting on their hands or actively shafting us when they were in coalition? If it meant the certain end of May & her fascist brown-nosers could you (dear reader) bring yourself to vote LibDem?

    1. You might have a point, Andrew. LibDem PR from 2016 offers this view of the shitstorm we're in but offers no policy or approach to achieving any resolution:

      "Reforms to probation services are far from complete and there is no clear picture of how the new system is performing in important areas, the Committee of Public Accounts says. Commenting on the report, Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Jonathan Marks QC said:

      “With no Liberal Democrats in the Ministry of Justice driving forward reform and making cutting the cost of reoffending a priority we have seen progress grind to a halt.

      “Approximately 60% of those serving sentences of less than 12 months go on to reoffend within a year of release. This is a massive waste of public money, disastrous for the public and not working well enough for those stuck in the cycle of reoffending.

      “It is outrageous that the Government has taken no steps to reduce the prison population. The evidence is clear - short sentences do not work and probably do more harm than good. That is why the Liberal Democrats want to see the introduction of a presumption against sentences of less than 12 months in favour of robust community sentences and greater use of tagging. The public should see justice being done and not taxpayers money being wasted.

      “Our prisons are dilapidated, squalid, understaffed and overcrowded. There is not enough education and appalling violence. It is no wonder that many are academies of crime.”

    2. It was not one jot better when Lib Dems were in the MOJ, they are part of the TR problem - to imply anything different is plain wrong.

      They were also dreadful on the Bill Committee for the Offender Rehabilitation Bill and most were useless in the House of Commons at Question Time and in the debates.

      that above comment is despicable - I shall be voting Labour - never again Lib Dem.

  7. From NYTimes this week: "Few industries have stood to gain as much under Mr. Trump as private prison operators, and they gave generously to his inauguration. Two of the largest such companies, the Corrections Corporation of America, now known as CoreCivic, and the GEO Group, each contributed $250,000. Since then, the outlook for both companies has greatly improved. In February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era order that would have phased out the use of such prisons by the Justice Department. And Mr. Trump directed his administration to prioritize the detention and deportation of unauthorized immigrants, proposing hundreds of millions of dollars for a vast new network of detention facilities like the ones the companies already operate for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Neither company responded to requests for comment on Wednesday."

    This will be the very same GEO group that joined up with Amey to provide prisoner escort services & CRC ownership in the UK. Amey are long time favourites of the UK govt. In 2011 they were given Home Office contracts "Working in a three-way partnership, Amey, BGB and the Home Office developed a ‘payment by results’ energy management contract to manage energy consumption across 350 Home Office-managed buildings in London and the South East."

    As previously highlighted on this blog (e.g. Apr 2016) there appear to be many intricate & intimate directorship links between GEOAmey, MTCNovo & a range of mutually interested companies.

  8. Yet another ill informed and unrepresentative effort from the GS. The only thing he appears to be any good at is demonstrating that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Others have commented on his ludicrous position that CRC's should get even more money so I shan't dwell on that. I do have to note however, that in the next breath he is saying that failing CRC's should be taken back. So some deserve more money whilst others deserve to be dissolved. How does that work Ian? On the subject of training he demonstrates a touching level of naivete if you're being generous or rank stupidity if you're not. I'm not, if you haven't guessed. A worthless licence to practice is exactly that, worthless! When will he finally understand that the CRC's do not want or need main grade officers. They do however, want a the thin veneer of credibility that a licence to practice would provide. You can bet the house that the criteria for achieving said licence would be even less exacting than the pisspoor new HMPPS training arrangements that the CRC'S wanted no part of. Once again Ian alludes to a joint approach with the PA to destroy probation as a profession. This man is doing Graylings work for him. Is he a sleeper agent? And finally; what's he on about when he says that prisoners will have to change supervising officer every time they move prison? Does he mean OS or OM? Does he know the difference between the two? Does he have the faintest idea what we do? He's our chief negotiator on pay but doesn't even know how much we get paid. Demonstrate some credibility for once Ian and just resign so we can get on with resisting properly.

    1. There have been plans in existence for about a yr at least that more NPS Probation staff will be required in prison and the OM role for prisoners will move to Probation or prison staff rather than community staff. These plans do break up the current efforts to have a consistent OM based in your local area given most prisoners do change prison during their sentences.

  9. The General Secretary fought hard to ensure that TR became a reality by relentlessly stymying any meaningful action to oppose it , so there's little wonder he's now calling for more money for his mates at the top of the CRCs. And working for a'license to practice'? the next thing you know he'll be supporting the bosses' 'Probation Institute' .... oh..... yeah.....