Friday, 12 January 2018

Napo At Work in the South West 11

Branch Report January 2018

Dear Members,

Please find below the SS Western branch submission to the parliamentary inquiry. This document was endorsed by Ian Lawrence Napo General Secretary and is part of the wider response to the failing TR agenda. The publication of the submissions came just too late for me to put out before Christmas. They are all available to read on the following link.

I did commit to share the document with you as part of the last Branch report and so now that we are all back from the seasonal break I have opened quickly on this year’s reporting hoping these go better than the new year’s start. Already there is a requirement that we all have to attend another briefing for BGSW and DDC. They seem to suggesting they are looking for how to do things better? I would offer to resolve the dispute with the Unions; to act properly with integrity. At this point looking what has happened so far whilst Working Links have adopted a non-cooperation tactic. The Unions submissions make the position clear.

In stark contrast to the submissions of the Working Links document AKA Aurelius who amazingly were not mentioned at all? Just as well the Napo submission has thrown the spot lights on that situation for the committee to fathom as to how we end up with another euro central profits while the public funds drain. Those undisclosed accounts and massive profits taken from the services which reform offenders. They are ignored for commercial gain. It is incredible.

Public Parliamentary inquiries are just that – Public. Yet despite the clue being in the title the usual Working Links way has seen them yet again try and get a private meeting going to talk or hustle more money by justifying their claimed losses.

Imagine that they whine over the extensive transition monies the government gave them whilst taking the bulk of this which was provided for all staff exits settlements. They then completely ignored the staff entitlements, keeping that money which was rightly due others. I hope to ensure this message is not lost when they plead for more in profits, they won’t tell us the truth and that gets outsourced to Aurelius.

“These numbers are commercially sensitive, as you will appreciate, and we are seeking a meeting with the Chairman of the Committee to share the information in a private, confidential way to assure you on the validity of these points”.

Perhaps Working Links might publish in disclosure the full figures properly. Instead of their hiding behind accounts clauses that we discovered and reported on already. I doubt very much that any Parliamentary Chair managing this inquiry be providing any preferential time for Working Links without offering the same privacy to all CRC submissions. You will have to make your own minds up readers but you can appreciate the foil here cant you?

There is a fair bit going on for NAPO right now and we want to ensure you get some opportunity to talk directly with us at the next branch meeting in Exeter on the 22 January 2018. Please make sure you attend.

This branch is set to be exciting as the General Secretary is joining us for further discussions with members on the indicative ballots for taking member led industrial action over the ongoing dispute issues. Unison will be joining us also and from there we will continue canvasing your needs.

Despite optimism that the TR inquiry might start shaking down the mess, we are still seeing resignations increase. I think they might jump when the NPS get their clearance process speeded up. I am hopeful still that the Whole system improvement process kicks in soon.

Ok enough from me on this report please read the submission below and visit the website. Any comments to me or Denice James please and if you’re not a member join Napo now!

Dino Peros Branch Chair Napo


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Written evidence from NAPO SSW Branch Trade Union (TRH0014)

Executive Summary.

  • The CRCs are not genuinely committed to reducing crime or providing decent services to offenders. 
  • They do not appropriately care for the staff. 
  • Two tier employment practices. 
  • No feeling of honesty or integrity of the contract provider. 
  • Dissatisfied staff across the whole organisation at all levels. 
  • Morale at an all time low and nothing is set to improve. 
  • HMIP inspection is well overdue. 
Introduction.

1. As Chair of the Branch of the Trade Union Napo SSW. NAPO members currently managed under the Dorset Devon and Cornwall CRC within the Working Links way contracted area. Napo members have expressed their concerns and a desire to contribute to the inquiry. Napo hopes this contribution ensures change is both accelerated and drastic, direction to the current model of management and misdirection of the services which offenders need. We submit this evidence because during the 3 years of the Working links way, offender services have declined, staff have been decimated in number and morale is at a record low. For those who remain in legacy employment from Probation trusts, the Unions have tried to engage with a hostile and failing senior management team, with poor leadership process. Working Links dismiss senior management whilst many are still leaving.


2. Working Links way is to avoid all correspondence and appropriate engagement to negotiate with the recognised Unions and have continued an avoidance strategy. This tactic had been used in their previous government contracts. WL do not provide proper contractual obligations upon them as required under the staff transfer and protections agreement. All matters have been raised locally within failures to agree. These escalated to a joint area wide dispute and has had the support of ACAS intervention. Working Links Way has been to continue a smokescreen of non -compliance, non- negotiations. Issues are now under the direct control of the Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence who is seeking a mandate to take a range of industrial action across the territories contracted to all Working Links areas.

3.The dispute is centred on the failure of Working Links to provide any agreeable model for the management under the contract for offenders. The trade Unions raised formal concerns at the Working Links plan to axe 45% + of the workforce and have continued to drive down staffing of experience. Subsisting the workforce for reduced terms for new staff. They have failed to manage any health and safety requirements without any workload weighting or upper caseloads limits. Passed staff into substandard and not fit for purpose buildings whilst ensuring local community based identity has been eroded. The use of public spaces like libraries is the place they utilize to save on cost, but risk public exposure and no confidentiality to offenders needs. In Bristol it is report that a BBR programme operates with known domestic violent offenders whilst mother and a toddlers group operates in the same location and timescales. Conducting interviews in public is particularly detrimental for vulnerable women, says another ex-staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity. She describes a situation with a female offender having to be interviewed within earshot of her ex-partner – a perpetrator of domestic violence. This does not appear to accord with safeguarding children legislation and the necessary checks on impact assessments having, not been made obvious. It is reasonable to presume this Working Links design is to be replicated across the Southwest and Napo have concerns. HM chief inspector of probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, said of the Working Links Gloucestershire: “This CRC’s work is so far below par that its owner and government need to work together urgently to improve matters, so that those under supervision and the general public receive the service they rightly expect, and the staff that remain can do the job they so wish to do.

To what extent do the steps taken by the Government address the issues facing probation services? (a) What contractual, financial and administrative changes did the Government introduce for CRCs in July 2017 as a result of their internal review of Transforming Rehabilitation?

4.The government review that was commissioned by Liz Truss did NOT to our knowledge actually publish its findings on the TR implementation. Therefore without sight of the review, its conclusions or recommendations we have not locally been able to determine any extent to that of a process of CRC change in policy or general direction. Whatever, the view of the Government ordering any change, there has been none felt on the ground or frontline. Our members continue against deeper cuts more working demands and less resources in the workplace. However, despite the no change from Working links failing workplace policies and models for the targeting of offender services they continue to press on to achieve targets at the lowest possible cost or resource. Operating call centers as a way of engaging those on orders continues to fail any safety based risk protective model for the communities in which we serve.

5.The worst news that the Unions had uncovered of the accounts only published HM Gov about Working Links, showed in September they were awarded another 4.2 Million pounds of straight profits off to shareholders. None of this saw its way as yet to staffing or re modelling of their activities despite the continued Trade Unions disputes. Working links sought only to hide and obscure the public derived finances and overall profits by nondisclosure clauses and so it is difficult to the layman to read exactly how much cash derived profit has been squeezed from the public funds. Any information on this is a closely held secret and we are looking into the value of pursuing a range of SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS of the Working Links process. .

What has been the effect of these changes on the delivery of probation services?

6.The effects on the delivery of services in the DDC CRC has been disastrous. We have seen lost professional staff. Overall way beyond a reasonable safe level we have overworked staff in high caseloads similar to the same flawed and exposed model as critiqued by Dame Glenys Stacey HMIP report. This was produced in August and as yet we have seen no action in regard to capability or performance and conduct as remedial actions which, considers the role of the leadership of this area. Working Links appear to endorse those failings. Instead it has been reported that the Working links way is to continue to drive onwards to embed the current flawed and disputed model which has sent shockwaves to the Unions as they continue to roll out their failing service design. On top of this it was reported by the senior manager in Working Links that they blamed the staff for the failings in the HMIP report claiming it was the staff fault.

⦁ The HMIP inspection visit came at an unfortunate time
⦁ Staff were blamed for women who were off on maternity leave
⦁ Staff were blamed for many leaving around the time of inspection
⦁ Staff were blamed for high sickness levels

Working Links as an operator of the contract cannot be operating in the spirit of which the contract had been let and even if the case for the contract operation is satisfactory as to what contract managers inspect in terms of metrics, the change of ownership to a German based company AURELIUS as the new owner who acquired Working Links after they went broke. These questions have to be asked as to how a recently awarded government contract to Working Links could have been genuinely let? The Working Links group were bought by Aurelius less than 18 months into a government approved process which is now owned by another company who were not part of the original bidding vetting? They were not assessed as suitable, under the rules of the bidding yet here we are. Aurelius have a government contract without any real commitment to the terms of that contract as laid out when Working Links were solvent. For whatever reason, Working Links were awarded a significant regional piece of the TR agenda despite any checks , that saw them bankrupt with no chance of delivery of that contract. How could this be a genuinely honest award from the Government? The continued deleterious effects that the changes imposed by Working Links Flawed model has seen damage to

  • Failing continuity in orders for offenders
  • Agency workers working with service users with no formal training. This was seen in the BBC spotlight programme in November and the Working Links Spin machine did not mention this fact. 
  • Unqualified staff making key decisions ie case allocations this is a new practice and the risks to public are obvious. Michael Spur has also been forced to apologise to the parents of victims for this sort of practice. 
  • Case decisions are based on targets rather than right thing to do at right time to do it for service user rehabilitation. 
  • Target driven rather than tailored to meet individual or community need - short term goals only within the cost envelope for profits over service.
  • Punitive approach with enforcement rather than balanced aid to compliance and successful completion of orders. 
  • Quality of work / interventions versus financial incentives /rewards
  • Expectations of service users now viewed as unrealistic and signposted to other non existent support agencies
  • Unsafe office and working practices
  • No interest in staff views - no staff survey since TR
  • Inconsistencies with case through care
  • DNA of cases more complex with less support services to assist
  • Poor IT service, non user friendly processes
  • Not enough staff to perform tasks.
  • No contingency planning 
7. Within DDC CRC Community Payback staff concerns raised include Insufficient staff resources to deliver a basic service. The reductions in staff numbers to a level where there is no resilience to cover leave and sickness absences. Reduction has resulted in remaining staff being expected to undertake additional duties over and above their pay levels and job descriptions. Many staff being forced into new roles and wider duties with changing hours of cover.

8. Staff sickness levels for work related stress is rife now in Community Payback, it has reached worrying levels. Working Links to date have refused to conduct any workforce surveys into health and safety. Support staff services in Operational Hub who provide admin support are also not resourced to cover the workloads. The general view is that the Working Links people are just simply not competent to be managing Criminal Justice Services. This is evidenced by the staggering increase in the number of Serious Further offences. The decline in performance and quality of delivery. DDC is awash with problems and management fear of exposure.

9. Increase in use of agency supervisors who are not qualified or sufficiently trained to deliver to the standard required. This was also noted earlier and publicly by the BBC spotlight programmes showing unsupervised and a completely naked offender acting out in both the Church and in the graveyard. The delivery model adopted by employer was not tested/piloted despite the Unions advice and dispute. It has been maintained as NOT fit for purpose and it is just not tested properly. Little care has been taken towards staff wellbeing, quality of delivery to service users or the partners we work with in our communities has been reduced and bulk loading or non use of vehicles has detrimented the quality of service and delivery. The latest fad is to see offenders drive their own vehicles to worksites to save Working Links admin time and money. It is a farce.

10. There is a lack of staff in other front line areas of Probation work which, involves all teams fire-fighting and struggling to deliver properly has become standard working approach from Working Links. Senior Management. They try to suggest that specialisms do not work together and blame each other, our experience is that most staff fully appreciate all front line staff are experiencing the same difficulties and have empathy for each other. Community Punishment often find that suppliers accounts are not paid on time if at all by Working links and services are put on hold or declined. Not only CP but all areas of CRC work are finding the CRC credibility absented in the first place but deeper in decline within Courts, NPS, service users, beneficiaries, partners, statutory bodies, customers and communities. Conscientious committed staff are being asked to cover unreasonable work for anyone not familiar with Community Payback: We are unable to provide sufficiently trained, competent supervisors to deliver sufficient groups or support placements to meet demand. The caseloads are too large for case managers to be able to follow up every absence or deliver compliance intervention.

11. Insufficient experienced staff in Operational Hubs provide admin support When staff are under extreme pressure mistakes are made more frequently How long will we continue trying to work to an operating model that does not deliver what is needed. Community Payback generates income which the official manual requires it to be used to deliver, there is no evidence that this happens. Financial information/budgets are not available to CP.

12. Hitachi vehicle contract has generated additional work for front line staff and the vehicles are off the road more frequently and for longer periods, they break down more often. Rumours of vehicles being used without insurance cover and at time no MOT. Experienced and committed staff are leaving the service CP are committed but are upset with the position Working Links has placed them. Working Links have abandoned any Senior attendance centre operations that was successful community based sentence under home office. No considerations at all just the costs for profit margin.

(b) Are strengthening inspection standards and creating joint performance measures (between probation services and prisons) the best ways of improving performance?

13. Clearly not under current process has any accountability been demonstrated or called for. It is incredible that Working Links Aurelius refuse to respond to letters of communication on any matter. Fielding spokespersons to talk on their behalf dismiss their people overnight as if nothing is wrong and then ignore all the information that is staring them clearly in the Press the Television and from the Unions. Accounting through performance measures, are not the key to delivering decent effective pro-social models of treatment to effect change in offending behaviours. Yet the measure of metrics is a cheap process that generates the demise of quality services, to that which are measured in units of small non-meaningful engagements, this has seen offender engagement reduced to a telephone call center. This is a matter of dilution of service to render a nothing activity. Both what is being commissioned and what is provided. Yet the target measure can be ticked the service provision which is a waste of everyone’s time and public money. It would help if the HMIP was used more often across all territories in a contract area and if the HMIP could be called to an area based on concerns from interested parties and where SFOs are demonstrably on the rise. It is important to note that the governments own published metrics on all the CRCs across the country have NOT published the SFO figure. It must be known as all current metrics have been collated, published in the national CRC league table, but NOT the SFO figure WHY?

(c) What should be the Government’s priorities to improve work between departments on the delivery of services needed for effective rehabilitation?

Whilst the delivery of offender services are split a consequence of the TR two operations trying to manage the assessed risks at different levels. It will continue to plague the disintegration of any combined interest. The complex offender related needs are best served in a holistic process as was the supported end to end offender management. Consistent through orders was a single case manager. The failure of the CRC is clearly the failing of privatising work for profit as the CRC companies are transfixed on getting millions out of a contract that in fact leaves everyone demotivated and facing a solitary approach to delivering zero value services that the NPS staff have no confidence in, despite staff being ordered to refer offenders to dysfunctional CRC activity, against their better judgement.

What impact have the reforms had on: i) sentencing behaviour, ii) recalls to prison, and iii) serious further offences?

Arguably we have witnessed a reduction in recalls and a systemic failures to manage the breach and recall process., It was made clear that breaching had no profit or monetary value, however the spotlight on this practice has seen it diminish as too risky for the CRC not to implement breaches at all. SFOs are a closely guarded secret by the failing CRC. Despite this we are aware CRCs are awash with SFOs and many managers are reporting they are unable to deliver SFO inquiries on time or anywhere near it.

How effective have Government measures been in addressing issues arising from the division of responsibility between the NPS and CRCs in the delivery of probation services?

Effective is the wrong word. Catastrophic unmitigated mess and total waste of money. Probation staff and resources are lost. CRC deliver the worst kind of non-provision, costed on a scale of diminished ownership of any quality or meaningful engagement. Surely this is a question designed to anger practitioners. The inquiry would not be happening if the government were not seeking to find a way to rectify this privatisation that sees profiteering private companies blackmail this government to keep handing over more cash with no intentions to improve any service delivery and no penalties possible.

What else should the Government do to address the issues facing probation services?

The inquiry should pose realistic questions, firstly it is not issues CRCs are facing but crisis. There are many trapped staff in service of CRCs who have no vocational interest in working productively or effectively for those CRCs. These staff should have been facilitated to receive equal terms as those who were supported to redundancy and be treated properly. Instead the CRCs took the monies provided for proper exit of career staff. Retained some staff by not providing any fair terms by which they could retire. This has meant posts are blocked by staff who are not able to leave but not willing to assist the CRC asset strip and profiteer. Instead no one is confident of the intentions of the CRC and they cannot recruit new staff to role blocked posts instead the CRCs tactics have been to bully and oppress staff in the hope they resign and beg for reduced terms to leave. Sadly many staff were weakened by the approach and yet the Working Links way is to continue those workplace practices believing eventually they will rid themselves of all the transferred staff.

Short-term changes

How can the Through-the-Gate provision be improved so that prisoners get the right help before their release from prison and afterwards?

Probation should have been funded resourced to deliver the after care service as it was pre CRC the resources pre-release funding should have been placed in the prison services. Combined this would have saved the destruction of Probation trusts and been incredibly cheaper than funding the privatisation and profits to shareholders who have contributed nothing to the social need and the statutory responsibilities that were incumbent on the trusts.

What can be done to increase voluntary sector involvement in the delivery of probation services?

The fact is that all voluntary and statutory sectors have no confidence in the CRCs including most staff transferred within this Union. Whilst this view is anecdotal from NAPO members at time of writing there are many additional Trade Union led initiatives with both local PCCs and forthcoming meetings to establish some wider executive controls towards the backward and inward looking experience of the Working Links Aurelius way. Bringing partners back into probation services may depend when you make the provision of probation a statutory organisation once again and rid the failed CRC debacle.

The future of probation services

When should there be a review of the future of the Transforming Rehabilitation model and the long-term plan for delivering probation services?

Review NOW and in detail, Collapse any future funding contracts. Include the legacy Trust staff in transfer into the NPS and redesign both to something that is a vocational platform for staff to innovate and deliver the best services we had before the incredible mess created in this failed model.

Dino Peros
Napo Branch Chair South Southwest.

November 2017

30 comments:

  1. Link above only takes you to SSWBranch pdf. Maybe needs tweaking?

    The JSC page has some 80+ submissions of written evidence. Perhaps that's a record?

    http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/justice-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/transforming-rehabilitation-17-19/publications/

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  2. All go for staff in London CRC:

    - Electronic diaries must now be used by all. All appointments to be recorded and shared calendar shared with SPO / Admin / Team. As of his Friday.
    - All must now print out their caseload and record reporting frequency along with rationale as to why. Must be passed to SPO to sign of by 31/01.
    - Where BitPort has registered 3+ acceptable absences or 2+ unacceptable absences - feedback must be provided to SPO on circumstances and enforce. Feedback on this task to SPO by 15/01.
    - A deadline was set this week to feedback to SPO on all cases with a CIN register.
    - All out of date registrations on Delis must be updated and cleared by 31/01.
    - Prior to supervision with SPO, Standing Agenda Supervision Form must be competed by OM and submitted (it’s a long form!).

    All while majority of staff are holding in excess of 65+ cases, with approx 90% of these on community sentences. With limited intervention support. Lack of resources. Non existent management support. Staff are literally drowning. Stress levels at an all time high. Some having anxiety attacks and in tears.

    Staff in genuine long term sick are being called by SPO’s and informed if they do not return, they will be discipline or relived of their job.

    BIONIC.

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  3. Wow! The South West branch are really in there. Can't fault that.

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    1. They are the only Napo branch to comment well done them.

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    2. No. Four Shires branch have submitted as well.

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    3. Oh yes sorry well done four shires Napo too

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  4. I agree with 9.01. This is a great opportunity to publish the impact of TR. They can't ignore this.
    Jim, will we be seeing submissions from other branches? Presumably you'll be publishing the NAPO national submission as well?

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    1. Yes I'll be publishing other evidence including from Napo, more academics and former PO's - there's a lot of it though and other stuff to cover on the blog...

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    2. This article in the Sheffield Telegraph caught my eye because of its antiprivatisation content. The paper seems quite happy to publish articles of political persuasion, and it's looking for more of a similar kind. It's not a big national paper, but may provide a platform for anyone who may wish to air a particular view.

      https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/opinion/column-sick-of-government-rain-dance-1-8952935

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    3. “The NHS is in crisis” is a phrase we have all heard a thousand times, though I feel this time round there may really be a wolf, and some sheep are in more danger than others. The question, could the crisis have been avoided, is a crucial one.

      Apologies for the crude analogy you’re about to read – I often think to myself, that when some elected and nationalist Governments in this world urinate, they must have a policy to simultaneously tell the workers, poor and vulnerable people that it is raining.

      The Government action plan, as a result of the policy, is to sell umbrellas, so that people can protect themselves from the rain using methods like: self-inflicted austerity, must work harder, tighten belts, blame someone else, generate income and profits from someone else’s pain and ensure access to food banks, so people don’t completely fall through the bottom – taken together, all of these actions (according to the Government) will contribute to a strong and stable economy.

      Assurance is usually provided through a new sets of polices that can be applied to all sorts of things, the probation service, NHS, Adult Social Care, education etc....under the auspice of people empowerment and usually competition that inevitably leads to privatisation. Though if the policy fails – like austerity has, then press the little red button and cancel the plan (though still call it a plan) storing things up for another rainy day – or for the next flock of sheep. It isn’t just the NHS that is in crisis.

      Most leaders of councils, charities and food banks will tell you that its much worse – particularly for working class families, the poorest and the most vulnerable. Our problems only exist because we live in a country that allows our Government to sell policies and reforms that will heighten inequality and class division; what I call wolves in sheep clothing. These policies have an ugly history, they served Britain well during the Colonisation phase, and they serve equally well, domestically, during times of recession too.

      The evidence contained in the Paradise Papers should have been “another” water-shed moment – particularly in getting the super-rich and elite to pay their fair share. Our Government is so morally bankrupt, that despite it having the powers to block those immoral loopholes in our tax system, and its responsibility for good governance in territories like Bermuda, it chooses to do nothing.

      All laws of these British overseas territories are approved by a Privy Council – made up of Government Ministers – including from other parties. In my view, if we want to stop this Government rain dance we must have an independent inquiry into why the Privy Council passes law that do harm to the UK, including by proxy to the NHS too. We have to ask this Government why it has undermined and hampered HMRC so that it cannot go after the financial elites that trade in tax avoidance.

      In April 2005, HMRC had staff of 104,670 and a budget of £4.4b. Compare this to April 2017 when the HMRC only had staffing of 61,800. In real terms, since 2011, HMRC has only investigated 72 high net worth individuals for potential tax fraud and there has only been one prosecution.

      To put all of my column in to context, we will never have a strong and stable economy, or have the ability to afford an NHS, or even simple things like dignity, unless we have a properly resourced and legislatively robust tax system – that treats everyone equally before the law. In this regard, we need an independent board that oversees the tax law policy makers – because frankly, like all those people who are having their operations cancelled today, I’m sick of this Government’s induced rain.

      The Sheffield Telegraph always welcomes contributors who would like to write columns for the paper – on every subject from wildlife to health. If you have a topic in mind, contact us by emailing telegraph@jpress.co.uk or calling 01142 767676.

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  5. Petition by other tenants in one building used by WL CRC to have CRC removed as they don't like offenders going there.

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  6. Rather have offenders than working links perhaps.

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  7. Don't like their customers mixing with offenders.

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  8. Off topic, but Carillion have put administrators on notice and could go into administration by the end of the day.
    They have massive government contracts, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the government has so many eggs in one basket!

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-42656879#ampshare=http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42656879

    'Getafix

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    1. Workers at troubled construction firm Carillion should have their jobs safeguarded and the government should consider bringing its contracts back under public control, unions have said.

      Carillion is struggling under £1.5bn of debt, including a pension shortfall of £587m, raising fears about its future. The government says it has been monitoring the situation to ensure its "contingency plans are robust". It is holding a meeting on Friday to discuss the firm's pension deficit.

      Carillion is the UK's second-largest construction company and employs 43,000 people globally. It has been awarded contracts to build part of the £56bn High Speed 2 railway, including the first phase of the line which will run between London and Birmingham and is scheduled to open in 2026.

      The general secretary of the RMT rail union, Mick Cash, said Carillion's workers were "not responsible for the crisis". He added that workers "should have protection and guarantees from the government, including an assurance that operations will be directly transferred over to Network Rail with all jobs, pensions and rights safeguarded if Carillion goes bust. RMT has been through a similar situation to this with the collapse of both Metronet on London Underground and Jarvis on the railways. This is the high-risk gamble you take with handing infrastructure over to speculative private companies and the workers caught in the crossfire must be protected."

      In addition to its rail operations, Carillion also manages nearly 900 schools, provides services to the NHS and works with National Grid.

      The assistant general secretary of the Unite union, Gail Cartmail, said: "The government must consider all options while the future of Carillion hangs in the balance, including bringing contracts back in-house."

      The company held talks with its lenders and advisers in London on Wednesday. However, no announcement has been made on a business plan to secure its future. The Financial Times reported that ministers from across a number of departments met on Thursday to discuss Carillion's financial problems. It said that David Lidington, who was moved to the Cabinet Office as part of Prime Minister Theresa May's reshuffle this week, convened a meeting with Business Secretary Greg Clark, new Justice Minister Rory Stewart, new Transport Minister Jo Johnson and Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

      A spokeswoman for the government declined to comment on any specific meetings. "Carillion is a major supplier to the government with a number of long-term contracts. We are committed to maintaining a healthy supplier market and work closely with our key suppliers," she said.

      "The company has kept us informed of the steps it is taking to restructure the business. We remain supportive of their ongoing discussions with their stakeholders and await future updates on their progress."

      Carillion was forced to ask its banks, which include Santander UK, HSBC and Barclays, for support after breaching its loan agreements last year when it issued a series of profit warnings. The firm's share price has plunged by more than 90% over the past year. The company has been working on a plan which it said "will provide the basis for the agreement of a proposal to restore Carillion's balance sheet".

      A spokeswoman for the Pension Protection Fund said it was "aware of the discussions between the company, government and banks and, along with the trustees and the Pensions Regulator, will act as it always does to protect the interests of Carillion scheme members and levy payers. We have been and remain closely involved in discussions with Carillion and the trustees of the pension schemes as this situation has unfolded. We will not comment further unless it becomes appropriate to do so."

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    2. The government will just bail them out. It's estimated they need £300m by the end of the month to have any hope of survival.
      Hand out, give us the money, or your ideological drive to shrink the state and privatise everything will be shown to be a croc of shite.
      Oh, and if we need a bit more we'll come knocking, because we think you didn't realise that when you give big chunks of the state away, you also give power away!
      Keep calm. Sign the cheque. And carry on!

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    3. The BBC understands that the Ministry of Justice has drawn up plans to bring £200m of prison contracts run by Carillion back into public control.

      Carillion, which was founded in the late 1990s as a spin-off from building giant Tarmac, also operates in Canada, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

      It has worked on key projects including the Royal Opera House in London, the Suez Canal road tunnel and Toronto's Union Station.

      It is also the second largest supplier of maintenance services to Network Rail.

      The general secretary of the RMT rail union, Mick Cash, said Carillion's workers "should have protection and guarantees from the government, including an assurance that operations will be directly transferred over to Network Rail" if it goes bust.

      However, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said ministers must not bail out the company.

      The former business secretary told BBC Breakfast: "They've got to force the shareholders and indeed the creditors, the big banks, to take losses, and then the government can take responsibility for taking the contracts forward and making sure they are delivered."

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  9. When is anyone going to do something about Working Links. They've done a brilliant job of galvanising staff against them. It's criminal how they behave towards everyone - staff and service users.
    Good thing the NAPO branch is strong in South West.

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  10. There are some strong trade unionists there, led by Dino. It seems to me they understand the role of the union and how to support it.

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  11. London CRC Team meeting called his afternoon. SPO delivered the following:

    1. All calendars are to be shared l. They will be spot checked by management.

    2. Plan, Meet & Record. It is a new directive that a Delius entry is completed within 30 minutes of Service User appointment. Will be spot checked. Any longer, accountability sought.

    3. Service Users are not to be seen weekly. Any case seen weekly, escalation should be sought to NPS as this would imply an increased risk.

    4. Not a new directive, but an expectation that each Officer should be submitting at minimum of one breach each week.

    5. Staff should not plan an ‘admin day’. By following Plan, Meet & Record, this should not be required.

    In other news - Harrow CRC are now a week into their new home at Denmark House. No induction to the office. A massive decrease in reporting frequency from service users (my caseload - 1 out of 12 appointments attended). That breach target will be a walk in the park.

    BIONIC.

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    1. BIONIC
      Your place of work sounds awful too. Also the situation you are describing is not where Probation should be at all. Good to read you bringing these issues out. However, what have you or your union area actually been doing to highlight the plight to Parliament? Is there a submission. Has your Union done anything locally and involved your members. The SW team are clearly organising and working to promote their best interest with and for workers.
      The report is strong and evidence of the TR debacle yet they are contributing to the efforts to defeat the TR agenda. It is all very well to make comments of local issue today today but clearly your activity is of no use if not part of a coordinated and national strategy to change and reverse the situation, which all staff face. Focusing on your own window is a shame when you have missed or failed to contribute to the parliamentary process with all those brave contributors who are challenging the appalling situation of privatisation.

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    2. Any offers of bus/ train fares for service users to get from Harrow to Barnet?

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    3. Under orders not to promote the availability of travels fares from management. Also, been advised that providing any fares will only be short term. I have issues bus saver tickets to S/U. Still a no show.

      BIONIC

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    4. The challenge currently is being managed by fear. Staff genuinely are fearful of being disciplined or dismissed. As has to be respected, speaking out / challenging decisions is therefore reduced by this fear.

      Sadly, managers with Probation backgrounds, seem to have forgotten the true identity of a successful probation service. Forgotten are the core principles of what makes the service work for service users.

      Service Users are bottom of the pile now, very closely followed by Probation Officers in the CRC.

      Staff are being disliked at an alarming rate. There is no effective management supervision. No training provided in any areas. MTCNovo are very quickly turning CRC Probation into one big call centre set up.

      Any advice on how to escalate the hideous mismanagement occurring daily I am aware of would be greatly appreciated. I would also love to be able to contact Jim Brown directly with information.

      BIONIC

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    5. BIONIC

      Thanks for this comment it makes the others stand out as a similar situation faced by those in the SSW reporting above. You should contact the obvious activists who are clearly maintain their positions and readers realise just how little is being done in your branch by the union ? It reflects on the failings of those in roles at branches level. You have made references to the very same experience of fear and management adoption of negatives views against staff. POs are being left fallow and many non qualified staff are in control of the developing crisis.

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    6. Bionic - if you click on the "view complete profile" link (top right of the blog page near the photo) there's an email link to Jim. It works... i've used it. Good Luck.

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  12. SWM Branch & East Midlands Branch

    Dear Members

    Below is a joint statement from Napo SWM and East Midlands Branches

    CRC colleagues will have received an email this week from the CEO of RRP- Adam Hart. There was reference in this email to the ‘Delivery First’ consultation and the proposed strategy in relation to the future of HR and Learning and Development within RRP.

    Napo want to advise you that this proposal was only shared with the recognised TU’s after the Christmas break and has previously not been raised during any of the consultation meetings. Due to this and recent job adverts for PDM (SPO) and deputy Regional Head Roles being shared internally and externally Napo requested an urgent meeting with Senior management to share our concerns. This meeting happened on the 09.01.18 and we felt that we needed to share with members the issues and action Napo will take in response on behalf of the membership.

    • Napo discussed the impact of the announcement around HR and L&D upon our members and the recognised TU’s in terms of future engagement and that it has undermined confidence in the consultation process. Furthermore, those directly affected by the redundancy consultation feel that they have been misled. Napo are seeking advice from out national officials about the legality of such a move and will continue to reinforce the significant detrimental effect that this has had on our members and confidence and trust in negotiations with RRP.

    • Members may be aware of two recent job adverts for PDMs and Deputy Regional Heads. Napo were aware of the potential for these adverts to be shared in the New Year. However, we requested that these jobs should be advertised internally prior to external applications being sought. This was so that RRP employees felt that there was still an opportunity for career progression within the organisation and to motivate RRP to use the significant skill set already available to them. Unfortunately, RRP have disregarded this request and have gone external immediately. Napo have also noted that the qualifications for the jobs have been changed, without consultation, to allow those without a Probation qualification to apply – stating that a “related criminal justice degree or other relevant degree” would be considered. Napo have asked what degrees would be considered for these roles and have received an ambiguous answer thus far.

    • At the meeting on the 09th of Jan Napo advised senior management of our concerns about such a move citing the following:
     Potential de-professionalization of the organisation and staff.
     The detrimental impact of this on public protection.
     Recruitment of managers with no knowledge of managing / reducing risk of reoffending, OASys, nDelius and Probation processes who could be managing a team of professionals who have more knowledge and understanding of the key role of probation services and public protection. This could lead to increased potential for professional conflict.
     Reinforced recent HMIP inspection reports which raised significant concerns about public protection and management oversight of cases.

    Unfortunately, RRP appear to be of the mind that Napo and its members concerns are less of an issue than “getting the right person“ for the job as they see it. As a result Napo will be notifying interested parties of the developments within RRP and our significant concerns around how the organisation are progressing their recruitment strategy. There is a meeting with Adam Hart organised for the 23rd of January where Napo intend to reinforce our members concerns and if required seek members views on if and what further action may be warranted.

    Napo will keep you advised.

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    1. Anon 16:34 and 17:58 Thanks for posting this info - sharing information is one sure way to counter feelings of isolation, help demonstrate we've not given up and will continue to make the case for putting probation back together again. Bob Neill MP reads this blog - remember that.

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  13. Off topic - and this guy is the leader of the free world. What an example of a pathetic ignorant and down right racist bigot https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/unkind-divisive-elitist-international-outcry-over-trumps-shithole-countries-remark?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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