Saturday, 13 January 2018

Former PO Speaks For Many

Continuing to plunder the formidable mountain of evidence provided to the Justice Committee TR Inquiry, this forensic piece of work speaks for many I suspect:-

Written evidence from a former Probation Officer (TRH0004) 

This is a brief summary offering but a tiny glimpse into the impact of the Transforming Rehabilitation project from a personal perspective. 

1. After a variety of experiences in sport, economic development, advertising and media, I started my Probation Service apprenticeship, aged 28 years, as the first accredited Probation Volunteer with a pioneering scheme in the east Midlands. I was guided & supervised by an experienced Senior Probation Officer which led to a chain of events including my employment as an Assistant Warden in Approved Probation Hostels… as a Probation Services Assistant in a tough city centre team… and eventually to be accepted as a mature student on the Home Office sponsored scheme to study for the Diploma in Social Work, ‘Probation Pathway’. 

2. I qualified as a Probation Officer (and Social Worker), was immediately appointed as a First Year Probation Officer and the journey got ever more exciting… 

3. Over my 20+ years within the Probation Service my experiences were many and varied; no two days were ever the same. My places of work included prisons, courts, universities and community offices; I was involved in the early development of a common risk assessment tool (i.e. OASys, a laudable concept that became corrupted & misused); I delivered accredited programmes to individuals and groups; lectured and assessed Trainee Probation Officers; designed protocols with mental health professionals for co-working cases with severe and enduring mental health issues, including personality disorders; developed co-location community schemes with drug and alcohol teams; co-worked with Police Officers in an Integrated Offender Management team… 

4. I worked with some very high risk cases and fielded the brutally devastating consequences of a perpetrator’s actions – events that happened regardless of the timeliness, clarity or quality of any risk assessment. 

5. In the course of my work over the years I have been spat at, hit with furniture, bitten, followed home, received death-threats and had to face angry people wielding various weapons. I have had to cope with the sudden deaths of people I worked with; often through substance use, occasionally through violence. I have also been offered appreciative thanks by those I’ve worked with and/or their families, and/or their victims. 

6. Almost all of my working days during those 20+ years were in excess of the paid, contracted hours because I enjoyed my work, I valued the opportunity to make a contribution and I believed my caseload on any given day deserved the maximum effort I could give. I am not a martyr to lost causes, nor am I flawless or altruistic; I have screwed up many times, both personally and professionally. 

7. In November 2013, based upon some mythical algorithm, I was told I had been allocated to work in the privatised Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). I appealed this decision only to be told it was non-negotiable and any further challenge would be regarded as tendering my notice. 

8. This was the second time in six years I had been forced to accept non-negotiable changes to my contract of employment; the previous occasion being the shift to Trust status. That does not include the numerous other contractual changes since 2007 including reduction or complete loss of in-service benefits (e.g. subsistence allowances, essential car user, etc.) or the loss of 3 days’ leave from my annual entitlement as part of some ham-fisted ‘pay harmonisation deal’. 

9. My working days were increasingly spent inputting data to an unreliable computer system when it should have involved face-to-face work with my caseload; or liaison with the Benefits Agency, with Social Workers and NHS staff. And whilst I was making myself unpopular fighting to get funding for the long-overdue assessment of an undiagnosed & untreated paranoid schizophrenic to facilitate transfer to a high secure hospital, or trying to organise a Circle of Support for a sex offender in the community, I was aware of the ‘noises off in the corridors of power’, e.g. Dame Ursula Brennan in her evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, 12 March 2014: 
“What I am trying to say is that we are not saying, “Here is how we do it now. We are going to do something that adds cost to it.” We are saying, “Here are all the costs now. They are going to lie in different places, and the procedures are going to look different.” So we are not simply saying, “Here is a process, we are adding cost to it.” We are saying, “Here is a process that is going to operate in a different way.” 
10. Or hollow promises from the ‘great and the good’: 

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con), 11 March 2014: 
"The efficiency savings that these reforms will generate will be reinvested in two major prizes that many noble Lords have long argued in favour of. The first is a through-the-gate system of support for everyone released from prison... The second is the extension of supervision after release to short sentenced prisoners," 
11. My union, the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), told us they had signed a national agreement protecting our terms & conditions, securing an Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy (EVR) scheme & confirming NO compulsory redundancies for the first seven (7) months of new ownership, i.e. until end August 2015. 

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con), 11 March 2014: 
“It is difficult to understand why there is apparently—so the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, says—discontent among the staff, because a deal has been negotiated with the unions. We have been undertaking negotiations with probation trade unions and the employers’ representatives over a national agreement for staff transfer that will protect the terms and conditions of staff transferring to the CRCs or the NPS. Probation trade unions and the Probation Association, which represents trusts, ratified the national agreement on staff transfer on 29 January 2014. Trade unions have also withdrawn all local trade disputes. 
The national agreement* offers a very good deal for existing staff, and demonstrates our commitment to fairness by going much further than we are legally required to do. Staff will transfer to the new probation structures with their existing terms and conditions in place. The additional protections set out within the 
11 Mar 2014 : Column 1694 
agreement include a guarantee of employment in the new probation structures from 1 June 2014, no compulsory redundancies for a period of seven months following share sale and an enhanced voluntary redundancy period of up to 67.5 weeks.” 
 (*There was a subsequent document – The Offender Management Act 2007 (Probation Services) Staff Transfer Scheme 2014, signed off by Chris Grayling on 29 May 2014.) 

12. In 2014 we were briefed locally to the effect that these were “exciting times” and “it was a great opportunity with lots of scope for innovation.” 

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Grayling) HoC Hansard, 18 March 2014, Volume 577 
“The guarantee I can give the hon. Gentleman’s constituents is that we are not removing the people who are doing the job at the moment. We are freeing them operationally to innovate, and we are bringing new skills to the task of rehabilitating offenders.” 
13. On 1 February 2015 the new owners moved in. The CEO who was so unbearably enthusiastic about the CRC retired on 31 January 2015. 

14. At this point (i.e. February 2015) I applied for the nationally agreed EVR scheme (closing date for applications was 31 March 2015) only to be told by my new employer that my role as a PO was “not at risk” and I was “not eligible”. 

Andrew Selous MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice):
“Under the enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme opened in advance of the transition of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to new providers, probation staff were able to apply for voluntary redundancy on the basis that they would leave the service by 31 March 2016.” 
15. In July 2015 I received a letter from my new employer telling me I was at risk of redundancy. We were eventually to lose 65% of staff in our area team. 

16. In refusing to honour the agreed EVR scheme the new employer asked for expressions of interest in Voluntary Severance on their terms (estimates on social media put the offer at about 40% of the nationally agreed EVR arrangement). 

17. No guarantee could be given as to where the remaining staff would be based which, given the vast geography involved in the region, effectively required me agreeing to drive (at my own expense in my own vehicle) for up to two hours to a designated place of work, then two hours’ home again after a seven hour day (with no option of public transport as there wasn’t/isn’t any). With the commitments I had in my personal life I was faced with Hobson’s Choice. 

18. On 31 August 2015 my career as a Probation Officer came to an end. I am unable to elaborate further due to contractual arrangements linked to the severance agreement. 

19. I am still grieving for my loss and can find no reason or motivation to forgive the self serving ideologues who facilitated the travesty of TR. 

20. My submission to this Committee is that Parliament and the country were misled over the purpose of the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) project; that it was fatally flawed from the start; that it was wholly motivated by a blinkered political ideology to privatise public sector services; and as such there was no regard for the cost to the public purse or the jobs of existing staff. 

21. It most certainly was NOT based upon any relevant pilot evidence for a TR model. The Leeds model was abandoned… 

Oral evidence: Transforming Rehabilitation HC 484 Monday 4 July 2016, HMP Hatfield Ordered by the House of Commons to be published on 4 July 2016. 

“Q10 Chris Evans: How much did the abandoned Leeds programme cost? 

Michael Spurr: 
I don’t have that figure. I am sure we can find it and write to you. You say, “abandoned”, but we were looking at different approaches to payment by results — the point was that it was a pilot opportunity and we took learning from the pilot. It was not quite abandoned: we sought to see whether anybody was prepared to run that project on a payment-by-results basis and we got an outcome from that, which was that they were not.” 
22. In Doncaster it was soon realised that providing a universal service was inefficient; and Peterborough was based entirely upon voluntary involvement by prisoners whose average length of stay was just seven weeks… 

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Grayling) HoC Hansard, 30 Oct 2013 : Column 986: 
“The shadow Justice Secretary talked about piloting, but the pilot programme delivering clear improvements in the level of reoffending that is closest to what I want to achieve around the country is in Peterborough.” 
23. And from the transcript of evidence given to the Public Accounts Committee on 12 March 2014: 

Margaret Hodge: But the Peterborough model, as I understand it, is voluntary. 
Antonia Romeo: That is correct. 
Margaret Hodge: And the model that you are designing is not voluntary. 
Antonia Romeo: That is correct. 
Margaret Hodge: Is there any international evidence on this payment by results stuff? Antonia Romeo: Very little actually. 

24. It was nevertheless crashed through Parliament; and it has since cost the taxpayer many, many unnecessary (and undisclosed) millions of pounds – monies which seem to have simply vanished into the pockets of the private companies. 

25. In a Civil Service World interview with Antonia Romeo, Senior Responsible Officer for TR, 24 April 2014, she notes there was… 
“… a timing issue, because the government’s policy is to roll it out by 2015, so we can really start feeling the effects in reductions to reoffending… NOMS has a business assurance board designed, she adds, to “give me, the senior responsible officer, the assurance that this is going to work and isn’t taking on any unnecessary risk.”
26. Concern at the speed of the implementation was widespread: 

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con), 11 March 2014: 
“I want to deal with the anxiety about the pace of these reforms. It is said that they have been going too quickly, although we say that that is not the case. We have drawn significant learning from earlier initiatives and have tested aspects of the reform programme. For example, our experience with the payment-by-results pilots at Her Majesty’s Prisons Peterborough and Doncaster has increased our confidence about designing robust payment-by-results contracts that drive the required behaviours and help generate improved value for money.” 
27. So at a time of so-called ‘austerity’ when we were “all in it together” the Government gave vast sums of taxpayer cash from the ‘Modernisation Fund’ (allegedly £80m, although no figure has ever been disclosed) to private companies - who had submitted £multi-million costed bids for CRC contracts – to cover the costs of pre-planned job losses. On this basis it could be argued that the Government were so determined to make the TR project work that they gave the private-sector bidders a publicly-funded ‘sweetener’ to cover the costs of making hundreds of Probation Service staff unemployed. 

28. When it subsequently became clear the EVR scheme was not going to be honoured by the private companies and staff would not be paid what had been nationally agreed, the Government confirmed the CRC owners could keep the money for themselves. The highlighted text below is my emphasis: 

Andrew Selous MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) in a Written Answer, 15 June 2015: 
“Under the enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme opened in advance of the transition of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to new providers, probation staff were able to apply for voluntary redundancy on the basis that they would leave the service by 31 March 2016. The total cost of these redundancies was £16.4m. All remaining Modernisation Fund monies were awarded to CRCs. Redundancy funding was allocated prorata to CRCs based on their size and estimated future staffing requirements.
As stated in my answer to questions 900, 898, 902 and 901, we have no plans to reclaim any monies allocated to CRCs from the Modernisation Fund; and consequently there have been no discussions with CRCs about this. Contract Management Teams are embedded in each CRC, closely monitoring how all monies are used and robust processes are in place to ensure all expenditure is correctly spent.” 
29. I remain angry, distressed and dismayed by the politically motivated, ideological vandalism that has not only cost hundreds of jobs and careers, but has sought to eradicate the nomenclature, professionalism and ethos of The Probation Service. 

October 2017

(Ed - the links have been removed for clarity)


  1. Powerful stuff! Well done to the anonymous PO who put in this submission. I do feel for them on a personal level and can relate to much of their experiences. I hope that after their period of grieving they are able to put their talents and experience to good use. Their is life after CRC or NPS for that matter and additional opportunities for this individual given that they are also a qualified social worker. YOS for example. It is just so incredibly wrong that it has come to this and I hope that exposing the truth will make a difference.

  2. Well said.I spent 38 years in the Probation Service,starting in what was then Community Service and leaving in August 2014 when I had been an SPO for 10 years.I decided to get another job as I did not want to work for the French caterers who had predictably got the contract and EVR would only go to a few.The cost was huge,both emotionally and financial but I felt I had to take some control after some many attempts to just make me,along with my colleagues,pawns on the chess board.
    I do not envy that SPO in the London CRC having to impose the rubbish that is coming from the centre.A crisis or phone call will rapidly derail the 30 min rule.It is all designed to stop offering a service to the client and the public at large.
    The destruction of the Probation Service will be examined by business graduates in years to come as an example of how not to do things.

  3. Tragic.

    The only thing that was not predicted was that front line staff would be personally abused on behalf of HMGovernment & HMParliament to the extent it has happened, in addition to the whole plan for the so called Transforming Rehabilitation project to be the complete failure as was indeed increasing predicted from when it was first announced.

    Yet still there is no apparent recovery plan, just another and different review.

    Why waste taxpayers money on an Inspectorate and effectively ignore their reports?

    1. That's a pretty good submission. As well as the obvious anger it reads with honesty and passion.
      There can be no doubt that the state destroyed a valuable public service, and in doing so screwed over both those that work in it, and those that use its services.
      For those with a library card, this book may be of interest if you haven't read it already.


    2. Privatising probation
      Is Transforming Rehabilitation the end of the probation ideal?
      By John Deering and Martina Feilzer

      Published:29 May 2015

      Over the past 20 years, there have been many changes to probation governance in England and Wales aimed at controlling it from central government. However, the changes introduced under the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) agenda, introduced in 2013, are unprecedented: the service has been divided and part-privatised and no longer exists as a unified public body.
      This topical book looks at the attitudes of probation practitioners and managers to the philosophy, values, and practicalities of TR. Based on a unique online survey of over 1300 respondents which found that they were unequivocally opposed to its broad aims and objectives, it provides unique insights into the values, attitudes and beliefs of probation staff and their delivery of services.
      Including broader discussion of the privatisation/marketisation debate, the context of privatisation of criminal justice services and questions of legitimacy and governance, this is essential reading for everyone interested in the future of the service.

    3. Took the money and ran what about staying and making the stand with the few against the corrupt and power.

    4. Fair point, 11:04. What arguments did your submission to the Justice Committee make?

    5. 08.52 here.For the record I only took the salary I was owed.Some of us did not get any of the spoils- out of principle,in my case.

  4. What are you talking about 11.04?! Very judgmental comment. It is virtually impossible to stay in many CRC's if you disagree with the corruption and speak out. You would end up being disciplined or sacked for misconduct and would struggle to work again. Better to leave and work for a reputable service.

    1. Not really those who scurried for anything else taking their Voluntary severance made it easy for the employer. It then in turn weakened everyone else who was left but hey who cares as long as number 1 is ok right. Sympathy for the voluntary leavers is a waste save it for the sufferers stuck in CRCs and the incredible aggressive NPS . Many stated on here make them sack you then EVR would apply but too many back watchers scurrying for what was left. No I do not care for the cowardly and lack of solidarity. You wrong about getting the sack that is what the leavers were too afraid to argue about their jobs.

    2. okay, 20;48, we've rehearsed that approach many times on here. I still disagree.

      Do you apply that thinking to those who felt they could not or would not work for a privatised company and who, after exhausting all avenues to remain in the public sector, chose to leave? Were they "cowardly"?

      How about those who were suffering from ill health (incl stress, depression) as a direct consequence of the bullying, lies & game-playing by the privateers? Were they "back watchers scurrying for what was left"?

      The people directly responsible for the hell probation staff & service users are having to endure are NOT your ex-colleagues.

      Responsibility sits squarely on the shoulders of Grayling, Spurr & those who enabled TR & split the Service - including the privateers, collaborators & the financiers who wet their pants at the thought of easy money through yet another Government contract "with an average value of GBP20 million to GBP25 million over the 10-year duration", and the ex-Chiefs who prepared the ground for privatisation then left everyone in the shit whilst they took off with handsome payouts of up to more than ten times the size of any severance payment.

      The unions also have to take some responsibility for the weak & bizarrely worded NNC agreement that allowed the privateers a gaping loophole through which they drove their voluntary severance limousine.

      The trajectory of NOMS has always been away from Probation, more so under the Tories e.g. there isn't an explict ministerial role for Probation post-Gyimah. Rory Stewart describes himself as Minister for Prisons, even though Probation is one of his responsibilities alongside prisons.

  5. Post TR and the new order is agency worker lead. I am vert conflicted about this ( I am not an agency worker) It would be interesting to get some more views about this. I can see there are positives and negatives for the agency staff but what about CRC? Is it really a good idea to staff teams with people on short contracts who are doing compressed hours and travelling long distanced..who nwver really get to know service users or their patch because they move on within 6 months so no real investment. Probably tick all the boxes re targets but what about service users?

    1. The NHS have a big problem with agency staff too. Not because they don't do good work, but they cost more, and moving frequently to different placements can't imbue any great sense of belonging or create a sense of commitment to any one place.
      This article in the Guardian highlights some of the issues facing those that are employed in public service.

    2. My comment regarding that article in The Guardian referenced by Anon at 13.12: -

      "Am I right in thinking that despite the experience that is gained - the casework aspect is on the job learning and that these psychologists would mostly not be eligible to be Chartered Psychologists as practitioner members of the British Psychological Society?

      That is not to say the pay may not be suitably high for the effort and study needed. Though unlike probation officers they do not have supervisory reponsibility for convicts outside of an institution. "

  6. Don't recall it being mentioned yet but Desperate times in Ox and Bucks NPS,as many as 40 vacancies and staff across the division being asked to volunteer for a placement there.

  7. I think Justice Select Committee should be applauded for upholding anonimity. It shows they are prepared to give a fair hearing to evidence across the spectrum. So if as Jim says youre reading this blog Bob Neill - well done to you & your team.

  8. Seen on Napo East Midlands twitter feed:-

    "Email to NPS staff at 4:55 on Friday that OMiC is to be rolled out. No proof it will improve delivery to cases. NO consultation with staff."

    1. 4:55 on Friday!?!?!?!

    2. Its Friday, its five-to-five and its...

      ... CRACKERJACK!!!

    3. There IS a link... Eamonn Andrews presented Crackerjack!, but the show was on a Thursday not a Friday.

    4. Do you know I could have sworn it was always on a Wikipedia ever wrong?

    5. Odd but true...
      A Crackerjack pencil is worth more then a dozen Carillion shares right now.

  9. There was never any doubt OMIC would be rolled out, just a matter of when and how.

    1. I don't know how OMIC will impact on probation work. I thought ìt just applied to prisons, one officer effectively becoming a case manager for a set number of prisoners?
      Having said that, I read the following two articles in conjunction and wonder how that can come about.


    2. Lord Ramsbotham Crossbench

      To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Secretary of State for Justice intends to implement the ratio of personal responsibility for six prisoners being given to every prison officer, as stated during scrutiny of the Prisons and Courts Bill.

      Hansard source(Citation: HL Deb, 18 October 2017, cW)

      Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

      We want our prisons to be places where staff and offenders feel safe and where those in our care are challenged and supported to make the most effective use of their time in custody to best prepare them for release.

      This is why we have committed to the introduction of the new Offender Management in Custody (OMiC) model will improve the way in which we case manage offenders through their sentence and on to release.

      We have therefore invested £100m to boost the front line by 2,500 prison officers by the end of December 2018. These additional officers will enable us to rollout the OMiC model. The key worker model is currently being rolled out across the prison estate which started with 11 ‘pathfinder’ prisons, 4 of which have had sufficient numbers of new officers to commence their keyworker sessions.

    3. With two members of staff left to manage a wing of 80 sex offenders, one of them female and two weeks out of training OMiC can't be anything else but a success can it?

    4. They're having to save every penny for their cash-strapped chums at "too big to fail" Carillion. Not even Grayling's generosity has been enough to fill Carillion's pockets.

    5. MoJ should be prosecuted for putting its employees in such obvious danger.

    6. On Carillion, questions are being asked about Chris Grayling awarding them Hs2 contracts when he was fully aware the company was in trouble. There is a suggestion that he was attempting to bail them out with taxpayers money.

    7. “It has been clear for months that Carillion has been in difficulty but the government has continued to hand over contracts to the company even after profits warnings were issued,” said MP Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister.

      “Jobs and public services are now at risk because the Tories were blinded by their commitment to a failing ideological project of introducing the profit motive into taxpayer-funded services. Labour urges the government to stand ready to intervene and bring these crucial public sector contracts back in-house in order to protect Carillion’s employees, pension holders and British taxpayers.”

      Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, is facing the most pressure. Last year, his department awarded a consortium, which included Carillion, a share of contracts for the HS2 line, just a week after the company issued a shock profit warning that marked the start of its crisis.

      At the time, Grayling said he had been given “secure undertakings” from the company.

      Whitehall insiders stressed that the HS2 contracts had been “stress tested” to ensure that if one contractor pulled out, others in the consortium were able to fill the gap.

      But Andrew Adonis, the former chair of the government’s national infrastructure committee, said: “It looks as if Chris Grayling may have been bailing out Carillion as well as Virgin. They got HS2 contracts from him after their troubles emerged in the summer, raising big questions about his due diligence and judgment.”

      Carillion, which has debts of about £1.5bn and a pension fund shortfall of almost £600m, is proposing that the banks swap their debts for majority equity stakes in the business.

      But a more urgent sticking point, the Observer understands, is the need for a £300m cash injection to keep the business afloat. With the banks balking at stumping up more cash, there is speculation that the government may have to step in to guarantee Carillion’s short term future.

    8. There's nowhere for Carillion to go now. It's either a government bailout tomorrow or the administrators on Monday.
      A government bailout will rightly cause uproar, particularly as Carillion have recently been put under investigation by the financial watchdog.
      The government are feeling the strain on this just as much as Carillion are. Bail them out to rescue ideology damages the parties already toxic image. Don't bail them out and many public services go into chaos.
      Do or don't, it's still going to cost the taxpayer a vast amount of money.
      The next two days are vitally important for the public sector and everyone needs to be making a lot of noise.

    9. I've just optimistically clicked 'buy' on RightMove and now I'm in need of a cash injection of £2m. Can anyone direct me to the Government's Magic Money Tree Dept please?

    10. You need to talk to Grayling.

    11. He's not taking my calls.

  10. Meanwhile, back in 2014:

    LONDON (Alliance News) - The Ministry Of Justice named the preferred bidders for the 21 rehabilitation services contracts on Wednesday, with Interserve PLC the only UK-listed company to win a place on the programme.
    Interserve is among the members of the Purple Futures consortium, working alongside social enterprise 3SC and charity groups Addaction, P3 and Shelter. It was named as the preferred bidder for five of the contracts, covering Humberside, Lincolshire & North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Cheshire & Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Hampshire & Isle of Wight.
    French outsourcing group Sodexo SA's Sodexo Justice Services division also won a place on six of the contracts, working alongside charity group NACRO.
    The contracts, once signed formally, are expected to be put in place by early 2015, the MoJ said.
    The MoJ said 20 of the 21 contracts are to be led by new partnerships and joint ventures between private sector companies and British rehabilitation charities. Half of the partnerships also include new 'mutual' organisations created by existing probation services staff in order to take over their own organisations.
    Liberum said the contracts were a material positive for Interserve in its view, with an average contract value of GBP20 million to GBP25 million over the 10-year duration, according to the broker's estimates.
    It did warn, though, that as the outsourcing probation services is untested in the UK, it expects unions to be difficult, thereby making it more difficult for Interserve to make cost savings.
    It said the award was also negative for Capita PLC, Carillion PLC and Staffline Group PLC, all of which unsuccessfully bid. Staffline bid for four contracts, Capita for five, and Carillion bid for 12 as part of the CRR Partnership with Reed in Partnership and the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust.
    Liberum noted both G4S PLC and Serco PLC were barred from bidding for the contracts having been found to have overcharged on government contracts in the past.
    For both Carillion and Staffline, the broker said the failure to win any contracts was disappointing, though nothing more. But for Capita, the disappointment was more pronounced given it had hoped for a contribution of 3% to its organic growth.
    Liberum added that though the award of the contracts refutes doubts about the coalition government's commitment to outsourcing, it does come only six months before the General Election is due to take place. Major new outsourcing projects are unlikely to be awarded until 2016, though it did not rule out a possible extension to the Work Programme, which would boost Interserve, Staffline and Serco.
    While it retains a positive view on Interserve, Carillion and Staffline, Liberum said its worries around the impact of a hiatus on outsourcing contracts being awarded is reflected in its cautious view on Capita and Serco, as well as Babcock International PLC and Mitie Group PLC.
    Interserve shares were up 2.7% to 611.1613 pence on Wednesday, making it one of the best performers on the FTSE 250. Capita was the hardest hit by its failure to win any contracts, falling 5.6% to 1,092 pence to be the worst performer on the FTSE 100.
    Carillion shares were up 0.3% to 324.9 pence, while Staffline shares also took a hit, down 3.5% to 860 pence.
    By Sam Unsted;; @SamUAtAlliance

    1. Significant comment in there = "It did warn, though, that as the outsourcing probation services is untested in the UK, it expects unions to be difficult, thereby making it more difficult for Interserve to make cost savings."

      Oh really?

    2. And back in July 2014 this story on - proving Grayling had lied to Parliament in HoC - was well & truly buried:

      "The revelation will increase concerns that the justice secretary is intent on raming through the privatisation programme regardless of the consequences.

      An email chain seen by earlier this month showed a member of staff at a probation trust informing an employee with 20 years experience that he was selected for one of the new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) by random lottery.

      "Can you please advise me on the criteria of how the PSOs were selected between CRC and NPS [National Probation Trust]," the officer wrote. "I have heard a disturbing rumour that names were placed in a hat, hopefully this was not the case."

      The support manager wrote back: "There was a random selection process and employee numbers were used to select between NPS and CRC... Employee numbers were drawn out of a hat by a panel of three."

      Probation staff have been treated appallingly & the Tory govt has gotten away with every disgraceful act of bullying, disenfranchising & humiliating staff in order to expedite TR and move £bn's of taxpayer monies into a single Minister's selection of private bank accounts.

    3. Yes indeed covered here:-

    4. True. Not many stones have been left unturned by this blog, which is much credit to you as editor in chief, Jim, & the contributors. And presumably the patience of those around you.
      It would have been fascinating to have seen what evidence the blog might have submitted to the JSC...

  11. BBC website:-

    The justice secretary is considering a judicial review of the decision to free sex attacker John Worboys on parole.

    The Sunday Times reports David Gauke has sought advice on whether a judicial review could succeed. It is understood he will only move forward if there is a reasonable prospect of success.

    The Parole Board said it was "confident correct procedures were followed".

    The Sunday Times article says Mr Gauke's possible intervention comes after four cabinet ministers warned that Worboys's release might be unlawful because victims were not consulted.

    The Ministry of Justice told the Sunday Times: "The secretary of state commissioned advice last week about the plausibility and potential success of a judicial review; he is minded to move forward if there is a reasonable prospect of success."

    By Alex Forsyth, BBC political correspondent

    There was a huge backlash to the Parole Board's decision to release John Worboys; from those who thought it was the wrong decision, and from those who were critical about the way victims has been informed about it.

    At this stage, David Gauke's actions are just a scoping exercise, he won't proceed unless he feels there are grounds to do so.

    Nonetheless, this is significant. It is highly unusual for a justice secretary to intervene in the decisions of the Parole Board in this way, and that's because the Parole Board is very deliberately independent of government.

    It's understood that Mr Gauke, who is new to the job of justice secretary, takes that independence very seriously and wants to maintain it, which is why at this stage he is just collecting information about the possibility of a judicial review.

    1. Guardian website:-

      New row over advice given to John Worboys parole board

      Prison and probation officials have complained that disproportionate weight was given to external advice in the controversial decision to release “taxi rapist” John Worboys, the Observer has been told.

      An independent psychologist, hired by Worboys’ defence team, drew up a report, making the case for his release, that ran contrary to the opinions of some Prison Service officials. The psychologist, whose identity is protected by parole board procedures, had previously called for Worboys, jailed in 2009 for attacks on 12 women and suspected of scores more, to be moved to an open prison. The request was rejected in 2016.

      However, after conducting interviews with Worboys last year, the expert, who has decades of experience working with sex offenders, produced a report for Worboys’ lawyers endorsing his release which was then submitted to the three-strong parole board panel hearing his case. Its decision to approve Worboys’ release shocked his victims, who have questioned whether he has been sufficiently rehabilitated.

      It is currently unclear whether Worboys has undergone a sex offender rehabilitation programme or admitted his guilt – normally a precursor to release. In 2015 he launched an appeal against his sentence, proclaiming his innocence.

      “The decision to release Worboys is highly controversial,” said Harry Fletcher, an expert on probation and victims’ rights. “The independent report appears to have been very influential in that process. Prison sources have told me that undue prominence was given to the independent report over those provided by prison and probation staff.”

      Fletcher said that lawyers acting for prisoners applying for parole were entitled to commission independent experts. Increasingly defence teams commission their own psychological reports. This would usually involve at least two interviews with the applicant in jail. “The report does not have to be submitted, but if put forward it can be influential,” Fletcher said. “It is controversial, as prison staff are paid to assess inmates and have considerable experience of monitoring behaviour and risk over many years.”

      A spokeswoman for the parole board said the decision to release Worboys was taken only after extensive consultation. “The parole board carefully considered a detailed dossier of evidence of nearly 400 pages and heard evidence from nine witnesses, including four psychologists, two probation officers and three members of prison staff,” she said. “The independent parole board panel took account of all of that evidence. It is simply untrue to say that they were overly influenced by one individual’s evidence.”

    2. I doubt there's any possibility of Gauke succeeding, it's just MoJ propaganda, fooling the public into thinking the new SoS is doing something about their outrage and concerns.
      The Guardian however report that to much weight was given by the parole board to the evidence given by the defendants psychological independent assessor.
      He will be released to a hostel where he's not wanted because of the attention his case will attract. He'll be supervised by a P.O that will be fearful of the slightest thing going wrong. He'll have a curfew and a shit load of conditions. He'll be tagged and the police won't let him breathe.
      There's no point in a judicial review, he'll be lucky to last a week before he's recalled in my opinion, and he might find prison affords him more freedom then he'll get outside.


  12. Anonymous at 21.41 has clearly yet to complete The Justice Academy (copyright Janet & John On-Line-But -Only-If-Your-Flash-Player-Works Training Products)or he/she would be aware that the Magic Money Tree lives in the Atrium at 102PF. Here it is at Whilst at first sight this may look like a product of someone with too much time on their hands and an offer on timber at B&Q this is the very place where suitably robed Ministerial acolytes gather to mumble their faith/Harry Potter based incantations to summon a Crystal Maze like blizzard of readies. So now you know.

    1. I'm setting off immediately, barefoot, staff in hand with some unleavnd bread wrapped in hessian. Thank you.