Saturday, 20 January 2018


A week review in LondonCRC:

A quiet day. No new directives issued. A real sense of staff morale and motivation at an all time low, following on from last weeks grenade of new ways of working. An eerie silence around desks. Phones not ringing. Service Users not attending. The hum of the printer working overtime, warning letters galore. MTCNovo, London CRC - this is success, right? Closure of local offices, cramming in CRC Teams under one roof. It’s not about service user engagement anymore, is it?

No laptop connection. RAS key for mi-fi also down. A full working day lost. Calls made to IT. Issue logged at 9.30am. Finally resolved and able to log in and see the build up of emails at 4.12pm. Raised with management the knock on effect this will have in my week. ‘Unless you have no access on your laptop for three consecutive days, it is not classed as an acceptable reason for any performance failures’. 4.25pm, deep breath. Laptop shut down. Speechless at how managements attitude has changed so drastically. A display of complete disdain for the regular barriers put in our way. Home time.

Supervision day. I used to look forward to supervision. A chance to reflect. Receive constructive feedback - both positive and negative - on my practice. An opportunity to discuss a case (or cases) of particular concern. A time to consider opportunities for personal development and training needs. Now, a form is completed prior to meeting with your SPO. A form to document targets - Standing Agenda, SPO with OM 121. After battling though 9 sections with numerous sub headings incorporated, a small box asks, How’s it going?

Late night reporting. Good to see 4/5 attend for their appointments. I was forgetting what it was like to step in a room with a service user. To engage and try to support positive change. Interesting to observe numerous colleagues. Well into a 12 hour day. Not a single word spoken for over an hour. Just the sound of keyboards. It seems, even with management long gone from the office, the fear remains. Targets must be met. We are but robots.

Quiet day. Breaches to be completed. Hearing colleagues now discuss how they are fearful of being placed on PIP. Laptops being taken home so some can work through the night to try and keep on top of their ever increasing caseloads. Also, interesting to hear colleagues talk of the current LondonCRC Overtime project running on Saturdays. Over 800 cases with no assessment in orders. OASys assessments now being completed without any knowledge of the case or service user. Those partaking in this are given 2 hours to complete a full assessment. Expectation is to complete 3 full OASys assessments.

I assume this is all part of the ‘focus on quality’ management keep talking about?



  1. From the FT:-

    One of the UK’s leading penal reform groups has demanded the government cut prisoner numbers or find more money to tackle the “catastrophe” of jail conditions, after two reports underlined the sector’s sense of crisis. Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, was speaking after a report into Liverpool prison said conditions at the facility were the worst inspectors had ever seen. Peter Clarke, chief inspector of prisons, also issued an urgent notice to David Gauke, the new justice secretary, outlining “significant concerns” about conditions at Nottingham prison. The simultaneous reports have reinforced the impression from numerous recent inspections that conditions in jails in England and Wales are deteriorating rapidly. A report last month on Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London criticised the “intractability and persistence of failure” there, including high levels of violence. Violence and disorder have worsened at many institutions.

    Mr Dawson called the Liverpool and Nottingham findings “disastrous”. He added they confirmed a pattern that had been emerging ever since a 25 per cent cut in prison funding in 2011 had started to take effect. Neither Chris Grayling, who as justice secretary from 2012 to 2015 encouraged growing prisoner numbers, nor any of his successors had solved the fundamental problem of providing the resources to cope with a growing jail population, Mr Dawson said.

  2. So glad I left CRC. There IS life after probation. Don't be a robot and look elsewhere.

  3. has anyone picked up on hdc changes. those who qualify are pushed out of custody unless exceptional circumstances. compliance no longer a factor

    1. Yes. Madness. Home visits to proposed address’ no longer a must. Assessment of suitability can be completed by, you guessed it, a phone call. Trained and qualified P.O. / PSO’s are no longer to make a proposal. Just provide information. More evidence of being de-skilled. It’s all just bonkers!


    2. Yes - we get the request 3 months before and have a ten day target to return form ! Then there is the increasing difficulty to get a breach agreed, the increasing difficulty to get a recall Agreed .. with the targets for alternative to recall, lovingly recorded by a nsi. It’s obviously designed to allieviate the full to bursting prisons

  4. I am being told on Twitter by serving NPS staff that HVs are unnecessary for PSR or HCR assessments

  5. The Tories have plenty of money for brexit for the private contracts activity a billion to prop up that Irish deal to stay in power . Tory MP runs up 12k for hotel bills in London. They have expenses and cars full time security and jets laid on as they need to travel don't you D davis and all the spare lunches provided on their do nothing days eating drinking for free as the Exes pay up more for nothing.
    They don't have a penny for civilised secure warm dry clean jails safe for those incarcerated nothing for offenders needs the poor and the needy of skilled interventions.
    Mrs May a spiteful mean ugly liar who holds a conference talks of equality fair Britain. What does she really believe seeing this carnage. CRCs take the money provide nothing deliver a wasted time for staff . Come on the WSI initiative and soon just soon we all hope the amalgamation of the NPS to something back to what probation is. Is it too much to ask for a fair deal ?

  6. Ref HMP Liverpool, HMP Nottingham, MTCNovo, Working Links, etc etc.


    I think its now clear we're living through a national roll-out of a new Milgram experiment:

    "As with real prisoners, our prisoners expected some harassment, to have their privacy and some of their other civil rights violated while they were in prison, and to get a minimally adequate diet."

    HMP LIverpool report: "prisoners had to endure squalid living conditions with rats, cockroaches, damp, dirt, hundreds of broken windows with jagged glass in the frames and filthy or leaking toilets."

    "The use of ID numbers was a way to make prisoners feel anonymous. Each prisoner had to be called only by his ID number and could only refer to himself and the other prisoners by number."

    MTCNovo - "A form to document targets - Standing Agenda, SPO with OM 121."

    How far have NOMS already gone? How much further will HMPPS go? Where will the CRC's take it?

    1. Wikipedia:-

      The Stanford prison experiment (SPE) was an attempt to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers. It was conducted at Stanford University between August 14–20, 1971, by a research group led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo using college students. It was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research as an investigation into the causes of difficulties between guards and prisoners in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The experiment is a topic covered in most introductory psychology textbooks.

      Guards and prisoners had been chosen randomly from the volunteering college students. Some participants developed their roles as the officers and enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, by the officers' request, actively harassed other prisoners who tried to stop it. Zimbardo, in his role as the superintendent, allowed abuse to continue. Two of the prisoners left mid-experiment, and the whole exercise was abandoned after six days following the objections of graduate student Christina Maslach, whom Zimbardo was dating (and later married). Certain portions of the experiment were filmed, and excerpts of footage are publicly available.

    2. Very well known experiment, and a lot to be learned from it.
      But in the words associated with Jo Cox, prisoners and prison staff have more in common now then divide them.
      The Tories have created such a divided society, many prison staff come from the same place as those they're locking up. Rented accommodation, no opportunity to buy, same housing estates, financial difficulties and worries.
      When there's no ladder to climb, everyone finds themselves in a similar place.
      The Tories have really f****d things up.


    3. You are absolutely 'on the money', getafix, and have made the point well. My post was a clumsy attempt to say:

      (1) HMPPS are putting prison & probation management in the role of the original Milgram guards, i.e. that probation chiefs sold their staff down the river, or that prison governors are playing Russian roulette with their staffing complement, and:

      (2) that HMGovt via HMPPS are expecting prison & probation staff to treat those they are responsible for with increasing levels of contempt. Thankfully this idea isn't taking off, as we see from Bionic's posts & other contributors, plus the independent will of HMI's to highlight & publicly shame HMPPS.

      Equally 'Hats Off' to Bob Neill for calling "Foul!" & challenging the piss-poor management by Spurr & co.

    4. If you're drawing your water from the same pump?

  7. Missed it yesterday, but apparently in HoC Esther McVey referred to Carllion's board's self-serving actions as "possible misdemeanours" & that workers' pensions would be (mostly) honoured by the pension protection fund.
    *tuts loudly, raises eyes to the heavens*
    And there was gloomy, pessimistic 'glass-half-empty' me thinking it might perhaps be major fraud & corruption worthy of jail terms.