Friday, 8 December 2017

Just a Bit of External 'Noise'

Welcome to Friday's edition of an "unfair, poorly informed, unhelpful and sometimes demoralising distraction.."

Clearly MTCnovo must feel pretty confident of a better HMI report this time round because they're positively 'chipper' in the latest edition of the dreadful house magazine 'Connect'. Here's some of the best bits, starting off with the new 'hipster' MD:-

All's good in the Hood
Introducing David Hood, MTCnovo's new Managing Director

I’m delighted to have been appointed as MTCnovo’s Managing Director and would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and talk to you about the future of our business.

Over the past four years, I worked for the Ministry of Justice, and most recently for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). At NOMS I was responsible for a number of the Department’s outsourced services, including the Community Rehabilitation Companies and private prisons' contracts.

I enjoyed many aspects of that role, but by far the most enjoyable was the time I spent travelling the country meeting staff in prisons and probation offices – I was constantly impressed and inspired by the dedication of the people I met. And it was those experiences that led me to take this role – to play my part in helping you continue MTCnovo’s mission of improving the lives of the people and communities we work with and support, and reducing reoffending.

Something else that struck me in my previous roles continues to be apparent – there’s a significant amount of external 'noise' about our business, particularly the Community Rehabilitation Companies, but also our Secure Training Centre at Rainsbrook. Some of it reflects very important ongoing issues that we must and will address, but too much of it is an unfair, poorly informed, unhelpful and sometimes demoralising distraction from the vital work we do.

It’s important that we see past this distraction and focus on the stuff that matters – overcoming the real challenges and achieving our mission. Ultimately, this is why we exist as an organisation, and I’m personally committed to this approach.

Looking to the future
I want us to set measurable and challenging goals that guide us through the coming years. Over the last month, the MTCnovo Executive Team has developed the following set of long-term objectives:

• To be the most trusted provider of justice and social care services in the UK.

• To be recognised as a leader in developing and delivering successful interventions and evidence-based outcomes.

• Through our people, partnerships and use of innovative technology, to improve lives and build safer communities by reducing reoffending rates by 15%, by 2030.

These goals are rightly ambitious and will guide us towards material improvements in outcomes for the people and communities we work with. I’m determined that we track our progress towards achieving these goals using a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and that our performance is regularly shared for all of us to see.

How will we get there?
It’s important to recognise that we’re already on the journey to achieving our ambitious goals. During my visits to Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre and a number of our CRCs’ offices, it’s become clear to me that there’s a huge amount of effort being made by our dedicated and capable people to improve our services. And, it’s our people who will ultimately dictate our success.

But how do we best support and develop our capable people in a world of diminishing funding for public services? In that context, I believe we have an obligation to use our resources more efficiently, prioritising activities which support our mission and allow us to deliver high quality services despite the ongoing shortage of public funds – in short, we need to be 'efficient and effective' at what we do. This approach is obviously easier said than done, yet it should be our mantra to guide decisions about how we operate in the future.

Our priorities
The MTCnovo Board has given us six months to develop a long-term plan for the organisation, which will explain our goals and how we intend to deliver against them over the coming years. Our plan will focus heavily on three key areas:

• People: ensuring we have capable people across all areas of the business who have the time and tools to deliver excellent services – this is first and foremost a business about people and we simply can’t be effective if we don’t develop and look after our high calibre staff.

• Partnerships: we must have effective links and working relationships with our local communities, agencies, partners, local councils, the police, and prisons – we can’t do our best work without the support of these local networks.

• Innovative technology and analysis: we need good systems, analytical and research capability to help us target our efforts where they are most likely to benefit our service users.

What do you think?
As I continue to travel around our offices, it’s important that I hear your thoughts about what is working well and how we can improve. I want, and need, to hear your perspective in the context of our Business Plan. So, please don’t be shy, tell me what you think. I hope to have visited all of our locations by April, so there will be a chance for me to speak with most of you.

I’m extremely fortunate that I am surrounded by so many dedicated, professional and hardworking colleagues who strive every day to help offenders lead safer, better and more fulfilling lives. I look forward to meeting you, and thank you for your ongoing commitment.


Omnia: bringing it all together
MTCnovo’s ICT Programme Manager, Michael Snodden, tells us how Omnia will transform the way CRC's work with service user records

Straight from implementing Rainsbrook STC’s ICT infrastructure, Michael Snodden has recently joined the Omnia Team as the lead project manager. Michael is responsible for co-ordinating the final stages of Omnia’s development and for ensuring a smooth roll-out across London and Thames Valley CRCs. He reflects on the project’s progress to date and what’s next on his ‘to do’ list.

"Omnia, which means ‘all’ in Latin, brings together service user risk and needs assessment, action planning, and case management onto one platform for the very first time and will transform how staff create and manage service user records. Not only have we designed a much improved interface into nDelius, we’ve also built a bespoke, strengths-based Risk and Needs Tool to replace OASys.

The Risk and Needs Tool will bring an innovative approach to how we assess and manage service user’s needs. As a result of the size and complexity of this project, and our commitment to ensuring a secure and robust interface into the Ministry of Justice’s systems, a huge amount of work and time has gone into scoping, planning and building Omnia. It’s heartening to know that we’ve made a significant amount of progress and are ahead of the other CRCs.

The other good news is that we’re now at an exciting and crucial stage: a team of frontline employees are putting Omnia through its paces, extensively testing its functionality."

Our challenge
"The challenge is to check that each of these elements – and the processes that underpin them – work effectively in Omnia. It’s important that this testing is thorough, so it will take a number of weeks to complete.

The challenge for me is that I’ve got a lot of work to do to coordinate the various elements of the project plan, not least fixing the inevitable bugs that always crop up during testing (thankfully, we’re making great progress on this). Then, there’s a lot of ongoing work to be done with the Ministry of Justice and the National Probation Service to ensure our processes align with theirs so that the feed from nDelius populates the correct fields in Omnia, and vice versa. We’re also in the process of setting up an all new Service Desk to support Omnia users once it’s launched."

Leading the way
"Despite all that we’ve still got to do, we’ve made great progress and, as I’ve said before, I’m delighted that we’re currently well ahead of the other CRCs in terms of developing a new interface into nDelius. In fact, we’re laying much of the groundwork to ensure smooth data transfer between nDelius and the CRCs’ new systems.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the CRCs for the support and patience they have given, and continue to give, the Omnia Team. The experience, recommendations, hard work and commitment of the CRCs’ frontline staff has been instrumental in shaping Omnia and creating an online tool that will truly transform how we work with service user records."

What to expect
"With our very own bespoke Risk and Needs Tool to replace OASys, and a much improved and intuitive interface into nDelius, Omnia will streamline and improve how we create and manage service user records. Here are just some of the benefits you can expect:

• Just one log-in
• No more duplication of information
• User friendly dashboards
• Simplified and more intuitive processes
• Much improved search functionality
• Great new features, including Google Maps."

A phased roll-out
"We’re now edging close to launching Omnia and this will be done on a phased basis across each CRC once we’re confident that it can be done safely and securely.

I’ll share more detail with you when we’re at that stage, including information on training for frontline staff."


It's full steam ahead for London CRC, says Helga

London CRC has the unique challenge of managing low to medium risk service users in one of the most diverse cities in the world. With a geographical span of over 600 square miles, we have to ensure that our 900 staff are providing a quality service to the 31,000 service users we manage across all of London’s 32 boroughs.

Ambition 2020 Change Plan
The Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation agenda has given companies like us an opportunity to radically alter the way we all work in the criminal justice sector. In order to do so effectively, it became clear to us that we would need to make far reaching changes throughout the organisation.

We needed a comprehensive change programme that would reform and modernise everything from our working practices, to our culture and environment.

In 2016, we developed and launched our Ambition 2020 Change Plan. Driven by a single ambition – to be the best at reducing reoffending – the Plan features 16 work streams, containing over 90 work packages and 900 activities. Each element has been carefully designed to innovate and transform, embedding good practice and operational delivery, and putting our service users at the centre of what we do.

Green shoots of performance improvement
A lot of positive progress has been made since the start of this year: we launched our new Operational Model; opened our Model Office in south east London; introduced our Custody Team, and began our quarterly Working Better Together event for key stakeholders. I am also encouraged by the green shoots of performance improvement, as well as the healthy interest we have seen from our national recruitment drive.

But the progress won’t stop there. We are well into a three to five year improvement programme which is on the right trajectory. Last year we also began a Back to Basics campaign, aimed at addressing inherited legacy issues. The end of this year will see us step into our quality practice agenda – thorough assessments, followed by appropriate interventions, leading to positive outcomes.

2018 and beyond
As we move into 2018, the next stage of the Ambition 2020 Change Plan will see us roll out of our new IT app Omnia, finesse our interventions offer, and look to create more collaborative workspaces.

We will take these next steps with confidence and ensure new changes are firmly and safely embedded in our everyday working life.

I am confident we are on track to achieve our ambitions.


  1. So Hood is another one who has moved across from public to private sector. I want to know how much he gets paid. He complains about 'noise' but gives no detail. We don't know if the the probation inspectorate are noisy buggers. The unions aren't noisy and don't even get a mention. It's all surreal: an in-house magazine called Connect – which is the very thing they don't want to do. Hood tells staff to tell him what they think – he will then decide whether he's hearing noise or music.

  2. Being chipper and talking upbeat is the usual tool of the confidence trickster,whos real focus is really concentrated on getting as much money from the customer as they can for that dodgy car.
    When people realise they've been sold a croc, the chipper upbeat salesman will just move on to another pitch, and they'll be replaced by another smiling upbeat and chipper salesman.

  3. If they'd get their heads out of each others's arseholes for just one minute they'd realise its not "external noise" but the sound of reasoned argument.

    Still, nice to note the nod to this blog; seems like its giving someone a headache. Good job, JB.

  4. "external noise" wasn't that on a Lou Reed album?

  5. It's all good in the hood!
    It was only March this year that things were so bad (claimed) that MTCnovo was talking about walking out on their contract.
    It was only last month that bad practice and underhand methods of securing payment were being discussed in the media.

    Alls good in the hood is terminolgy I'd personally associate with gang culture, crime and gangsters!
    Parhaps it is appropriate use of language for privateers too?

  6. Just a few points:
    1 " collaborative work spaces": is Harrow CRC relocating to Barnet
    thereby creating the need for Harrow service users to travel for miles to probation appointments part of this deliberate policy?
    2: "Putting the service user at the centre of what we do" - see above.
    3: what is the definition of the "high calibrate staff" which MRC Novo want to look after and develop? Recent developments in the hood would suggest that these do not include part time workers, older, ones , those needing assistive technology and possibly even some who would make distracting noises. Resonate with anyone?
    4 "performance shared for all to see". Yes , but profits shared for all to see? No.

    1. if you can claim travel for CRC UPW appointments (yes you can) then you can claim travel for regular appointments etc if more than 3 miles away.
      NB also you DONT have to show proof of legal driving docs etc

  7. Surely they mean carpe omnia – seize everything, They are profit-driven and one of their key objectives is to take money out of their business to reward investors. All their talk about being committed to improvements is predicated on mercenary motives. If they broke even they would be regarded as failures. Hood has to show a profit and to do that he will happily 'sweat the assets', stagnate pay and cut the workforce. But as he visits the offices, he wants all this forgotten. He says don't be shy about talking to him, but perhaps he confuses shyness with loathing. Why would anyone being screwed down in a CRC wish to spend time being hoodwinked. As for noise, the fool should realise it's sonic warfare and he'd better get used to it!

  8. He sounds like a dick.

    He spews out the same corporate spiel that all the other senior bods - yet another bullshit artist. Change the name of the Director and peddle it out over and over.

  9. An evening of despair about how the Right have turbo-charged the 'end of days' scenario for our world. I'm hoping I'll wake up to find its all been a bad dream brought on by too much wine, cheese & chocolate.

    There's Brexit bullshit on every channel hailing May as a hero for allowing ten right-wing extremists aka members of the DUP to dictate the futures of millions of people in Europe; TR & every other privatisation shitstorm continue to gather momentum as the wealthy plunderers become increasingly emboldened to help themselves to more and more and more, paid for by UK taxpayers of course...

    ... meanwhile in a weird mirror-image world, Trump has also handed the reins to a fundamentalist right-wing party in a divided, occupied country & unleashed the Apocalypse with his proclamation about Jerusalem; Pussy Grabber & his team are endorsing sexual predators, serial abusers and dangerous psychopaths as candidates for high office throughout the US; and he's just approved massive tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy, which will be paid for by reducing or removing government provision for the poor, sick & disadvantaged.

    1. This should cheer you up - Revelation 21:

      All Things Made New
      21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

      5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

      6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

      I reckon Verse 8 covers most of them.

      Enjoy your wine!

    2. Won't be much demand for probation though... you might want to consider re-training, but I'd give anything sea-based a miss, as well as counselling, therapy, medicine, undertaker, etc.

  10. Love the fact that he mentions partnerships agencies and police and prisons .No reference to who we are actually the customer of (to use the lingo )the good old courts

  11. Has working links reached 'end state' yet? The term WL's hatched for their post apocalypse vision when everything is renewed and comes to order, the chosen ones rise from the earth etc? Just wondering when the chosen ones are coming back in BGSW CRC / Devon and Cornwall? So far WL have managed to push numerous staff post 40% cuts to hand in their notice and the letters must be arriving thick and fast from what I hear.However no sign of any replacements with these new maleable super-staff they were hoping for. Only a sorry job offer for a peripatetic PSO for Somerset which = some poor sod driving around in their car wrecking their engine and covering whichever office has the biggest crisis at the time.Staff are already being moved around with multiple office bases so perhaps all new staff will have to meet these criteria. Just when you thought WL's couldn't get any more for less they manage to extract more. No doubt Ian Lawrence will have more to say on this having conducted his 'real picture' tour of the Wild West yesterday. Look forward to reading all about it and no doubt the job applications will be flooding in for that new post.

  12. Surely (don't call me Surely)all noise is external. Save for those voices in my head. . . .