Saturday, 22 July 2017

Prison Boss Rewarded For Failure

With the Prison Service in the state it is, with the suicide rate rocketing, it really does beggar belief that the Civil Servants in charge have been awarded bonuses, but it's true as reported here on the BBC website:-

Prisons boss received 'scandalous' £20,000 bonus

The man in charge of prisons and probation in England and Wales received a bonus of up to £20,000, it has emerged. Michael Spurr was given the payment in 2016-17 on top of his annual salary of around £150,000. The bonus was "awarded" the previous year when the chief inspector of prisons said many jails were "unacceptably violent and dangerous".

The Prison Officers Association (POA) called it "scandalous and shameful". Steve Gillan, general secretary of the POA, told BBC News: "It's absolutely disgraceful that those who are overseeing a crisis in the prison service have been rewarded with performance bonuses. "It's scandalous that they're being rewarded for failure."

'Staggering decline'

In his latest assessment of prisons in England and Wales, released this week, chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke said he was "appalled" at conditions in many jails and said there had been a "staggering decline" in standards in youth custody centres. Justice Secretary David Lidington also admitted in an open letter that the probation system was "falling short" of expectations and that measures designed to support prisoners on release did not "command the confidence" of the courts.

The bonus payment is disclosed in the annual report from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), which was published on Thursday. Mr Spurr was chief executive officer of NOMS until April, when the government agency was re-named HM Prison and Probation Service, which he now heads. The report revealed that in 2016-17 the 55-year-old was paid £145,000-150,000 and received a bonus payment of £15,000-20,000, along with pension benefits of £25,000.

Phil Copple, the chief operating officer and interim director of probation, Colin Allars, director of probation, and Ian PorĂ©e, director of commissioning, were given bonuses of £10,000-15,000. Claudia Sturt, director of security, order and counter terrorism, was paid a £5,000-10,000 bonus.

The report said bonuses are determined by a committee headed by Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice. It said they are based on "performance levels attained" and are made as part of the "appraisal process". "An individual can only be awarded a bonus if they have exceeded at least one finance and efficiency objective," the report said. Mr Spurr, who has spent his entire career in the prison service, starting out as a prison officer, did not receive a bonus the previous year, 2015-16, though payments were made to Mr Copple, Mr Allars, Mr Poree and Carol Carpenter, a former human resources director.

The annual report also revealed NOMS "breached" government pay policy when it increased overtime pay to prison officers, trained to deal with riots, and raised allowances for other officers to address staff shortages. The report said when the breaches became clear the Ministry of Justice submitted a business case to the Treasury asking them to agree to the payments, but it refused to do so. A review into the pay policy breaches found there had been "failings in governance" but the payments still went ahead and are set to continue, the report found.

Smoke-free prisons

It also emerged in the document that all prisons in England and Wales are expected to become smoke-free by the end of 2018. The phased roll-out of smoke-free jails began last year in Wales and the south-west of England and there is now a complete ban on smoking in 21 prisons across the estate. It is understood a further 40 are in the process of going smoke-free this summer, with the majority expected to be smoke-free by the end of the year. Earlier this week, the Scottish Prison Service said it intended to make all of Scotland's prisons smoke-free by next year.

Peter Clarke said the success of the smoke-free scheme depended on how well prepared prisons, staff and inmates were for the change. He said one prisoner had been so desperate for a cigarette he had mixed nicotine patches with tea leaves and rolled the "tobacco" between pages torn out of a Bible.


I must say I have a great deal of sympathy for the sentiment expressed yesterday on here regarding the news above:-
"No doubt much good happens via faith group interventions & support, but the prison system is fundamentally fucked up, not working, understaffed, overpopulated with vulnerable & an often inappropriate prisoner population... and the "openly Christian" man at the helm of this politically sensitive pressure-cooker ready to blow its lid is happy to accept bonus payments on top of an eye-watering salary, whilst frontline staff endure years of pay-freezes & shit working conditions."


  1. This government systematically and swiftly wreck a proud and effective public service. We who fought it, are told to "get over it and move on", as we are clearly not coping with change and progress. Think of it as a bereavement process, they say, Yup, got that thank you, you patronising bastards. Denial, anger, depression, coping, recovery. Trouble is, on an almost daily basis the Government, the MoJ, the CRC owners, rarely miss an opportunity to insult their staff at every level, and pour salt in the wound. This takes the biscuit. It is not good for our health.
    Under the headline: overpaid suit gets paid bonus despite poor results (hardly news really) is the little issue of decision-making, leadership, choices. The inference is made that because Spur had hit an efficiency target, there was little choice but pay him a bonus. Lower down there is an account of the MoJ making payments to staff against the rules, and this remaining in place. Despite my daily experience in NPS of there being apparently no scope for anyone at any level to make any choices or decisions, somebody somewhere chose to increase payments to prison staff. Someone, Richard Heaton?, chose to reward Spur, and Spur chose to accept it.

    1. Relocated to another building when CRC decided cars, and Macdonald's were a suitable venue to discuss a persons offending behaviour and innermost personal issues. Our new office okay, but we have a dishwasher, but no budget to purchase the tablets required to utilise it. When a request went in, the response, no they will not be provided as, no other office has a dishwasher! Oh, that's okay then? Maybe we could ask Mr Spurr to share his bonus with us, as usual washing up liquid is gonna play f***ing havoc with the dishwasher!

  2. Richard Heaton, CB is a barrister and senior British civil servant who has been the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery since September 2015.

  3. Has anyone benefitted from the TR debacle?

    - Antonia Romeo is a British civil servant. She is currently the Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade. She was recently British Consul-General in New York at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

    - Dame Ursula Brennan - In 2012 she moved to run the Ministry of Justice, with responsibility for running the courts, tribunals and prisons in England and Wales, the administration of legal aid, probation and youth justice, and policy on human rights and data protection.  Ursula retired from the Civil Service in 2015 and is a trustee of the National Theatre.  She has an Honorary Doctorate from Kent and was made a DCB in the New Year’s Honours 2013.

    The McDowells (ex-Probation Inspector & his Sodexo wife), the Bennetts (ex-CEO of KSS CRC & his CRC-monitor wife); & the Numb Grayling himself who appears to be made of magic teflon which doesn't allow ANY shit to stick, regardless of how much he generates. Also...

    - The boss of private security firm G4S (Ashley Almanza) received a record £4.8m in pay and bonuses over the last year despite the firm being embroiled a string of scandals.

    - Senior managers at a privately run children’s jail received bonuses this year despite the prison being taken out of their hands following allegations of abuse. The managers received performance-related pay awards in April, weeks after the chief inspector of prisons said that “managerial oversight failed to protect young people from harm at the jail”.

    Meanwhile Spurr, Allars & friends continue to enjoy the fruits of corrupt self-serving government policy. The bonuses have been a feature during times of austerity. This from 2011:

    - "I just thought you would all like to know that in the NOMS Report/Accounts 2010/2011 while we were all getting a pay freeze and effective pay cut. The NOMS Board were getting bonuses of £5000-15000"

    And from Jan 2016:
    - "a higher percentage of Ministry of Justice staff received bonuses last year compared with the year before – and the average size of bonuses was also up, according to figures released today."

    So it looks like the Noms brigade have been pocketing large bonuses - potentially 6x £20k for Spurr alone - throughout the TR shitstorm whilst refusing pay reform for maingrade staff.

    Welcome to Tory Britain.

    1. Perhaps those bonuses handed to the overpaid underachieving czars at the MoJ would be better spent compensating the families of those that have died unnecessarily whilst in custody.

    2. 354 deaths in prison, up 38%

      119 self-inflicted deaths up 32%

      37,784 incidents of self harm, up 23%

      18,510 recorded prisoner on prisoner assaults, up 28%

      6,430 assaults on staff, up 40%.

      Should be prosecution not bonuses.

  4. The smoking ban worries me a lot as I don't think the unforseen consequences that it will bring have really been considered if at all.
    Tobacco is the main currency in every prison in the land. What happens to the economy when the currency is removed? There will still be drugs, there will still be prisoners that want drugs. But no tobacco means alternative ways of payment will have to be found. More pressure on family, friends and visitors?
    There's always been ways of finding a bit of tobacco to make yourself self sufficient in prison, a bit of extra kit from the stores, a bit of extra snap from the kitchens etc etc.
    The removal of the standard currency hands the drug barrons significantly more power, if not all the power, and that can't be a good thing.
    80% of prisoners smoke. I'm a long term smoker myself, and as anyone who's ever quit the habit, or taken a break from the evil weed will know, you feel more lively and energetic. What would the authorities want to energise 80% more of the prison population when there's nowhere for that newfound energy to be channelled into? I'd predict a significant raise in violence in the near future.
    And punishment will also be significantly changed. A couple of days in the 'block' always a deterent for bad behaviour. Loss of gym, loss of association, and No smoking. But if you're not getting the gym and association anyway, and now smoking loss won't be a deterent, I'd argue that being in the block is the most desirable place to be. No queuing in volatile locations such as dinner queues and kit exchange queues, doctor and governor at your door every day checking you're OK?
    The block has become the new penthouse within the prison system.
    It's not just the flash violence the introduction of the smoking ban will enevitabley bring the MoJ need to worry about, there will also be much more longer term consequences attached that they should consider.


  5. That's the free market for you, failure rewarded.

  6. And whilst failure is rewarded, the CRCs continue to chip away at employees terms and conditions. This from SWM CRC;
    Dear union colleagues,

    Further to the consultation document issued to union representatives on 1 June 2017, I am writing to SWM union colleagues in respect of the discretion to pay enhanced redundancy pay. The consultation period specifically in relation to SWM has now come to an end.

    As previously indicated, it is necessary for SWM CRC to formally review the discretion to pay enhanced redundancy pay. The existing SWM scheme sets out enhanced payments on redundancy based on a decision taken by the Board of the predecessor Probation Trust in February 2007. The former Board exercised its discretion to make enhanced payments under powers granted to it by the Local Government (Early Termination of Employment) (Discretionary Compensation) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006”” (the "Regulations").

    Under these Regulations, the employer must keep under review the policy that they apply in the exercise of their discretion. In reviewing the policy, the employer must have regard to the extent to which public confidence could be lost and must be satisfied that the policy is workable, affordable and reasonable having regard to the foreseeable costs.

    As I indicated on 1 June 2017, we have considered whether the enhanced redundancy payments are sustainable in the financial climate in which the Reducing Reoffending Partnership (and thus both DLNR and SWM CRCs) is currently operating. We are clear that they are not. SWM’s existing scheme offers payments which are considerably in excess of the norms in the probation sector and indeed most other public and private sector schemes. Our review concludes that the current policies are therefore not affordable or sustainable. Nothing has been raised during the consultation period, nor has there been any change in circumstances, to alter this view.

    Accordingly, this letter constitutes formal notice under paragraph 7 of the Regulations that SWM CRC will no longer exercise its discretion to enhance statutory redundancy payments by a multiplier of 3.46. With effect from 31 July 2017, only statutory redundancy pay will be payable, until such time as consultation on the new, cross-RRP, policy is concluded. We have commenced consultation on a new redundancy policy, with a multiplier of 1.2. We look forward to hearing the unions’ views on the new policy at the next JNCC.

    I intend to follow this up next week with an ALLSWM communication in order that there is complete transparency on this process.

    Kind Regards


    David Knott
    People Director | The Reducing Reoffending Partnership

    1. Not sure what 'positives' Dean Rogers will find here in this insulting stance, but it merely illustrates management strength and union weakness. All cries and column inches of injustice matter not a jot in the real world where power only respects power.

    2. So the NNC EVR agreement was, as always suspected, a Trojan Horse within which the CRC deals were smuggled past staff. Napo & Unison were complicit in this act of treachery, which was used to (1) pay handsome rewards to the head office collaborators who facilitated sifting & shafting & (2) ameliorate the resistance of longer serving staff who were led to believe EVR would be available. No wonder Napo HQ were so fucking silent for so long during the Sodexo clearances.

      Q: if napo & unison took legal advice but - given the legal position stated in SWM communication above - either said nothing or were mis-informed by their legal team, I'd like to know if there's scope for a public investigation into such a choreographed, pisspoor performance?

      I've always suspected that Napo has been in the MoJ/Noms pocket since Ledger failed to keep his dignity in his pants. You can imagine the conversation between Spurr & Napo HQ prior to the appointment of Ledger's successor... "If it aint someone we can control Napo are dead in the water." THAT, and the loss of hundreds of jobs + thousands of years of experience, was the price of the reputational damage caused by Ledger's obscene & scandalous behaviour.

    3. Why did the union negotiators agree to the 'discretionary' clause ? In some areas the enhanced redundancy is contractual and a right.

    4. Same reason they agreed with MoJ/Noms not to TUPE staff across... it meant the new owners' hands weren't tied to pre-existing conditions and they could do as they pleased.
      £70k+ a year to shaft your own membership!

    5. For the record you lot above please consider the key point made by 1821. Thank you poster. The rest of you doom and gloom is because you just do not understand your actual terms. It is irrelevant what National NAPO say or do as long as they don't get any permissions to negotiate away your previous protection under the transfer arrangement. Cosop or TUPE both the same and a clause was there for the greater protection. Go back and read the SSW branch chair reports on the situation regarding the ARSA he had it all laid out for you bleaters and whiners. Keep looking at Mr Knot the SWM pays the best rate in the country at 52 weeks max redundancy and that was drawn from the national LGPS arrangements. It cannot be changed without agreement either through collective bargaining don't let national napo near that for any reason. Local negotiators just have to object and raise formal dispute remember its only possible if its not challenged if it remains in dispute the members can sue properly if they dare cut their entitlement and then use the period to start cutting more staff on the cheap. This is a bit of a ruse anyway as staff and west mids were given a whole of money £196,675,000 as reward for failure by this perverse process so they have your terms protected as they have more cash than the bank of England.
      Mr Knott is clearly stringing hios luck and we are telling you nicely here we are onto you silly . He says

      "of the norms in the probation sector and indeed most other public and private sector schemes. Our review concludes that the current policies are therefore not affordable or sustainable " Mr Knott please don't tell lies unless you can demonstrate the research tell us now and for the record What other areas did you actually check ? Besides all other areas have the EVR protection anyway its just many foolish members settled for less on a scam offer as they fled voluntarily. Citing other private companies is not a genuine comparative as we remain a third of the CRC in public service so you cant draw that old chestnut. Finally the Unions have recently won a landmark case for members and you need to keep in mind enhanced rates are there for middle aged staff who may not and are unlikely at certain points to get other real work. All said you cant do what you notice suggests and that will no doubt see the members want their unions to bloody well do something as that is the starting gun to unrest.

    6. "its just many foolish members settled for less on a scam offer as they fled voluntarily."

      You make some good points but sadly you let yourself down with that statement, belittling others, misreading their plight & calling them "bleaters". Sodexo had cleverly placed everyone (staff, napo, unison) over a very large barrel (they had good lawyers & insider knowledge) & they exploited the politics of fear to expedite their thievery. Napo/Unison did fuck all & for many voluntary exits were preferable to being managed out by the vicious, self-serving management. IF the unions had fought for the pre-existing, protected rights of staff then none of the subsequent shit would be happening.

      Do NOT judge others so harshly. Many spent months waiting for answers that never came from Napo HQ. Many were under covert threat from local management. Many were prepared to fight but had advice from Napo-funded lawyers to capitulate, take the voluntary money & run.

      So please do not insult the memory of those who walked after being misled, poorly advised & found themselves severely penalised by Grayling's wank-off policy, Napo's ineptitude and Sodexo's bully-boy tactics, i.e. end of a career, 60% short of EVR, and under threat both personally & profesionally.

    7. But hey, at least it wasn't a local authority landlord lying about the safety & integrity of the fabric of the place where you live, cutting corners that meant people burned to death in what should have been a safe place. True, there is no fair comparison in the enormity of impact although there is a common theme, namely the priveleged feathering their own nests at the expense of those in a less priveleged situation AND NOT GIVING A FLYING FUCK.

    8. 22:43 yours is the sort of weak justification that in fact NAPO did warn you not to engage in a voluntary exit this was received by management as a volunteer a they knew was foolish cowardard if you like. Many are staying back in the jobs and fighting still because some people actually want to get the court actions running. Napo don't that may be true but a few do and will with or without the wannabee diplomats that are spending others rights misguidedly. There was no campaign in the North as we all saw what happened and your pointed finger could easily be directed on those who failed to look read and understand the details of the contractual management. Not the same across the whole country thank goodness. The lawyers you speak what are you talking about? The documents are all public and with a fair bit of trade union experiences or knowledge on employment law structures this is not that complicated. Sounds like you left prematurely let yourself down and never had the energy to fight or understand that in fact we are all very well protected. Napo had no need to fight for anything as you all Volunteered and that was a matter for you and the private agreement you signed up for No point blaming NAPO they did nothing wrong. All members were told to let them make compulsory redundancies and yet none waited they took the shortfall and ran away. No one is being unkind about their plight they chose to the route. You are a whiner. You want it both ways.

    9. Sodexo were not just 'in the North'.

      "foolish", "cowards", "weak", "failed", "whiner"

      What a deeply unpleasant attitude from Anon 00:50, presumably a probation employee.

    10. Still bleating read your own patronising wrong and self pity posts again. You want a memory of respect whole you left for some money . You make a presumption that says nothing. Your post is unpleasant as you blame swear and your beliefs are wrong what you take as unpleasant and out of context quotations must really apply to you. ? No one cares about the leavers and that may well be your position try and understand no point in your views as you volunteered to run.

    11. I am not 7.25 but want to make this point. When members chose to act in their own self interest, outside the collective, it has implications for the rest of us. Those of us left behind have a weakened position because others have chosen to accept worse terms in order to get out. By the way, they not only undermined the position with EVR but also did damage to their own pension position. Some will find that out at a later date, much to their cost. That money belongs to the pensioner and has been stolen/denied by these privateers. That's why the article that Jim put up is so important.
      So important to fight all of this. I wish us all the best of luck!

    12. Quite right and some of them want ro be remembered as hero's fools more like. Got what they asked for now want sympathy too from colleagues they helped shaft. Bless them.

    13. I wonder why the revisionists feel now is the time to rewrite history and blame ex-colleagues for their "weakened position".

      To clarify: EVR was a time-limited NNC agreement. Pre-existing conditions in some Trusts were more generous than in others, and WERE carried over in T&Cs when staff transferred but the new owners simply refused to accept it and stood their ground. In some areas they were playing hardball with the 'expensive' staff, effectively refusing to make them redundant but targetting them with disciplinary, capability & other procedures to manage them out without the obligation to pay them. Many of those who left under voluntary arrangements did not want to go but, despite the valiant efforts of local reps, were not offered significant support by their union's silent leaders (napo or unison). Many more of those who left were not members of napo or unison, were not long-term career probation staff, most were happy to take a fistful of cash and they gave the employer enough numbers to force the issue.

      The root cause of the whole TR shower of shit is Tory power gaming, the collaborators who helped facilitate it and those who bought into the outright lie that it would allow for innovation & freedom to practice. It was a financial transaction that made wealthy people more wealthy; a political transaction that snapped probation's neck; and a triumph for Michael Spurr, who has been putting ground glass & weedkiller in probation's meals for years.

    14. 12:59 Nicely summed up and pretty much my understanding.

    15. Yea yea yea half right and good waffle on but the evr is to be paid into terms on redundancy but they stole the pensions too and the custom has always been to pay staff their pensions on exit as part of the settlement same as all the bought out senior management Have a good speech by all means but no legal case could be brought while volunteers made that a non starter. There is still a case or two to be had yet just keep on at Napo unison

  7. London Branch AGM was more of a whimper than a bang. Why won't members wake up and get behind their union, from what I hear all branches in England and Wales are going through something similar. When I was practising I always made sure I attend branch meetings and would rally a few colleagues from my office. To miss AGM was sacrilege. Now members cannot even be bothered to attend the most important meeting of the year. You deserve what you get.

  8. Yes! I know the case. Here's the link

    1. Court rules civil service redundancy payment cuts unlawful

      A controversial cut to redundancy payments for civil servants has been successfully challenged in the high court, leaving the government open to hundreds of claims for compensation.

      The civil service compensation scheme was slashed by ministers in November, reducing redundancy pay and early access to pensions for thousands of public sector workers.

      But a judicial review of the changes ruled on Tuesday that the cuts were unlawful because the Cabinet Office failed to consult with a trade union.

      The ruling is expected to leave the government open to legal challenges from hundreds of public sector workers who have accepted the reduced terms. It is a blow for Theresa May’s government, which has been under fire for refusing to lift the public sector pay cap.

      The public sector union PCS, which has more than 160,000 civil service members, was unhappy with the new scheme and mounted the judicial review in February following advice that the CSCS changes were unlawful. It was heard in the high court on 4 and 5 July 2017 by Lord Justice Sales and Mrs Justice Whipple.

      “We feel this ruling is very clear,” said a PCS union spokesman. “We would like this scheme to be quashed.”

      He added: “Whether the government wants to begin consultation again is a matter for them.”

      The union claimed that there had been a failure to consult with employees’ representatives; unlawful interference with “possessions”; and a failure to comply with the public sector equality duty.

      Counsel for the Cabinet Office claimed the outcome would not have been affected if the union had been allowed to participate.

      The main changes of the imposed terms were to cut the tariff for calculating payments from one month’s salary for every year of service to three weeks; cut the cap for voluntary redundancy and voluntary exit from 21 months’ salary to 18 months; and cut the cap for compulsory redundancy from 12 months’ salary to nine months.

      It meant that a civil servant with 30 years’ service and paid £30,000 per annum would have been entitled to a redundancy payment of £52,500, but after the change would receive £45,000 - a 14% reduction.

      A civil servant with 20 years’ service and paid £15,000 a year would have been entitled to £38,333 in redundancy, but after the imposed change would receive £28,161 – a 27% reduction.

      The coalition government first attempted to implement the changes in 2010 and issued fresh consultations last year.

      In June 2016, the Cabinet Office wrote to the unions proposing further talks but stating: “Those unions engaging in the talks have accepted that the proposal above will form the basis of a reformed, negotiated, set of arrangements that their relevant executives can recommend acceptance to their members in any ballot.”

      The CPS, Unite and the Prison Officers’ Association refused to get involved in the talks, leading to the judicial review.

      A cabinet office spokesperson said: “The government is carefully considering the judgment and intends to appeal.”