Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Fake News?

These two recent comments pretty much go to the nub of things I think:-

Having read many posts on this truly helpful blog, and having been a NAPO member for over 15 years, and having enjoyed and been proud for the most part of being associated with the Probation Service, I have come to the conclusion that as staff, being experienced, dedicated and knowledgeable, on what works and equally what doesn’t, we are no longer listened to, considered or valued. We work for a faceless breed of pen pushers, pushing through a tick box, computer driven, target led framework that fails the service users, public and staff alike. And no one in charge cares.

Simply put, unless we all stand together, including every member, and use the financial and legal services of NAPO and Unison combined, to muster a movement of our own, we may as well just roll over and be done because nothing we have done so far has stemmed the tied of the destruction of our once respected Probation.

My question is this; what if anything can be done, on ground level and also by the unions?

This is not the place to discuss or publicise union strategies. I have become convinced over a period of time that our adversaries follow this blog, and from time to time will post comments for mischief.


  1. Who are the 'adversaries'? Of course senior managers read the blog.Private companies will also task someone with searching intetnet and media for any publicity, positive or negative. They hate this blog because it allows staff and members of the public to post confidentially. It is the only place we can do that. I don't personally believe there is a problem with posting union related info on here and welcome open debate. I feel very much like the person who posted above.I have tried to do what I can to raise issues and flag up failings but ultimately all that is left for me is to find another job and bid farewell to being a PO. So that is what I am going to do. Perhaps eventually when the staffing situation reaches crisis point (.is it not there already? ) something will be done. The unions are only as strong as its' members. If you are a member please be a member in more than name..it is not just there to fight for you, you must also fight for each member and the union as a whole. I would like to see NAPO taking legal action through the courts. The time is right!

  2. There was no evidence in the run-up to TR and in the years since, that anything can be done to improve workplace conditions or achieve fairer pay. Some individuals, through promotions and other opportunities, may achieve job satisfaction and adequate remuneration, but the majority of the frontline workforce will continue to experience increasing demands, less control, while wages lag behind inflation. For the majority, therefore, it will require great imagination to feel valued.

    Nothing will change for the better until the balance of workplace power shifts. And it will only shift if it's forced to. This requires solidarity amongst the workers and determined leadership by the unions. Most members of unions are inactive and show no interest in collective action. They can't even be bothered to vote in union elections – only 1 in 5 voted for the current general secretary and even fewer for the current chairs. Despite all the travails of TR and real terms decline in wages, the wider membership remains in slumber. Maybe they sleep contentedly, are able to adjust to austerity and feel grateful to be in employment – and not in the gig economy. Their passivity is one of the wonders of TR, as the TR impact risk assessment did flag up worries about worker unrest.

    There is no workplace counterforce to the writ of the bosses. Nothing is ever up for meaningful negotiation because you cannot negotiate from weakness, no matter how much you cry foul. The probation unions are weak and they know – as do the employers – that there is no mandate, no clamour from the wider workforce for confrontation. On the one hand, probation staff talk about challenging bad behaviour, but not when its coming from their own employers. Since TR things have steadily worsened on many fronts and there is nothing to indicate that this downward trend will change any time soon.

    I don't really think we need worry, melodramatically, about others reading this blog. The only union strategy I see is one of trying to survive on a declining membership.

  3. I don't understand the anxiety. There wasn't any mischief yesterday was there? Surely just the usual polarised comments from proNapo optimists & disappointed, disenchanted, disenfranchised others.

  4. Perhaps first come to terms that the union isn't going to do it for you and that some of your colleagues are part of the problem. If the good POs leave then they will be replaced by other inexperienced people.also part of the problem.
    Much as you may not agree, how about joining forces (via media) with those that use the 'service'.
    One way thats quite effective is to 'out' the more /greedy/corrupt CRCs in the press. And just keep outing them. In the end it will be so embarrassing to keep these CRCs in business they will have to withdraw their contracts.
    Get outing.
    The people to assist you in that endeavor are the service users.

  5. Justice questions today.
    Richard Burgon complained that the justice Secretary had continuously failed to provide numbers for staff reductions made by private probation companies and that reports suggest that its been 20% since 2015.
    Lidington replied (though refused to give a figure) that it was completely up to CRCs to decide how many staff they employed and what they employed them to do.

    I'm struck that therefore there can't be any standard set by the MoJ that governs probation practice in the private sector?


    1. Moj could have set standards, they had no interest in doing so because they said it would hinder the crcs innovation. Besides, the staffing reductions were hardly unintended consequences were they.

  6. sorry if its off topic
    how about a piece on Unpaid Work UPW
    see here

    Now ask yourself why they are packing up at 3.20pm.
    Do you really think they are going onto something else? think again
    Its very common for the supervisors to shirk off at 3.30/4pm drop people off away from the office, tell them not to get into trouble (before 5pm) whilst at the same time having done the paperwork giving those present 8hrs off their total hours.
    If I said to you that nearly everyone in my area probably only did 90% of their UPW hours, would you be happy?
    Do you think a judge would be happy knowing their was a 10% CRC UPW sentence discount going on?
    OR do you think they know and let it go?

  7. https://nypost.com/2017/12/05/spreading-fake-news-on-social-media-could-become-a-crime-in-this-country/

    1. The jig is up!

      A new law proposed in Ireland would make disseminating fake news on social media a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, according to a report from The Irish News.

      Lawmakers in the Republic, which struggled for centuries to gain independence from Britain, fear fake news campaigns could influence future votes there, as bogus online stories have in the 2016 US presidential election and the 2016 “Brexit” vote.

      “Evidence suggests that an army of fake social media accounts is being amassed to disrupt the democratic process in the future, with journalists and prominent public figures highlighting an upsurge in the number of dubious accounts following them on social media platforms,” James Lawless, a lawmaker in the nation’s Dail lower house, told The Irish News.

      “It’s highly likely these dormant accounts will spring into action during a future election or referendum campaign, as happened in Britain and the US.”

      The law would punish anyone who knowingly uses automated bots to run 25 or more phony social media accounts for political action. Low-level punishments may include six months in jail or a roughly $600 fine, while serious offenses carry an up-to five-year jail sentence and fines of nearly $12,000.

  8. Worm is turning in my team. Ever since I got there, its been a low on Union members, with a not unfamiliar "what did they ever do for us" mumble. Definitely a hint of "enough is enough" doing the rounds there, and talk of the need to join up. If any of us have the energy to fish out the form and the bank mandate: I have never seen a group of people so uniformly exhausted and stressed -outwith the height of the split and sell-off.

  9. I recently went to a staff forum involving probation officers from different areas....the sentiment in the room wouldn't probably surprise most readers, but may come as news to those working for the MOJ or E3 or those who are so removed from practice. What was expressed broadly followed the following:

    a) we WANT to do good work, but the service has lost sight of what "good means" in terms of evidenced based reduction of re-offending/desistance

    b) we WANT to do assessments that are meaningful, but OASYS doesn't allow for this - if we need a 10 page PIT tool to explain what needs to go in each section, something is amiss

    c) We can and DO want to record information - but not in 10 different places

    So if you want HETE data, risk registers, NSI breach and recall stats, ARMS assessments and SARA then stop making us duplicate the same information in 3 different places, as we have data fatigue

    The final comments were - get rid of OASYS, get rid of Delius, get rid of data, get rid of stupid systems like mappa meganexus, SOP, Equip - bring in an assessment system that actually makes sense, bring in evidence to support and underpin the work we are doing.

    So what can we do to bring about change? - collectively refuse to complete Delius risk registers, personal information/equality info and HETE data - can we not write a collective letter that we submit to managers essentially stating "we are no longer completing any of this as it means nothing and we are focussing on the core elements of our job instead"?