Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A Price On Your Head

With recent interest and contributions from either current or former service users - 'clients' in old money - I've often wondered if they are ever conscious of the fact that in this surreal TR world, each has a price on their head. According to the architects of this crazy scheme, each is in fact a commodity, a potential 'profit' centre that has a value that can be traded between NPS and CRC according to a price on a 'rate card'.  

One aspect of the TR omnishambles that we've not touched on much is that of the 'rate card' - the price list that each CRC has for services on offer for purchase by the NPS. Right from the beginning of this ludicrous attempt at introducing a 'market' to rehabilitation services, NPS staff were instructed not to buy services from CRCs because a) they were expensive b) would eat into NPS budgets c) were crap. 

Although we all know TR isn't working, politicians are especially stubborn at admitting they've got things seriously wrong and have made a mistake. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the policy at the MoJ and a succession of ministers is to continue the pretence that there's just a few teething problems and with a tweek here and an amendment there, everything will be fine. In fact chaos reigns and last year the CRCs threatened to walk away unless they were paid more money. 

The MoJ eventually caved-in and gave them all a 'bung', but it's proving nowhere near enough, so another way of bailing-out the failing CRCs had to be found - a way of shovelling shed loads of public money in their direction, but hopefully without it being that obvious. The 'rate card' is the method now being adopted. Suddenly, hard-pressed NPS probation staff find themselves being urged and bullied into buying expensive services from the CRCs, in complete contrast to previous instructions. The tone of this NPS missive is clear:-         

Offender Manager (Bands 3 and 4)

What do I need to do?

The main expectation is for you to ensure your offender's needs are met through commissioning via the rate card or through accessing free services available by your local directory. On the rare occasion where it is assessed that no commissioning or referral activity is required, this must be with the approval of your SPO and recorded on Delius under a 'management oversight' entry. 

Having identified offender need through completion of OASys, ascertain if those services or interventions can be accessed for free by existing community provision. If not, you must consider accessing provision via the Rate Card.  


'Top-up' services not included or met by the mandated TTG package, will need to be purchased via the Rate Card. Programmes such as BBR and TSP can be delivered under the generic licence condition of 'address your offending behaviour'. 


Once you have identified a suitable Rate Card service, raise a 'discretional services NSI' and transfer this to the CRC provider. You should continue to liaise with the CRC to monitor the rate card activity, support Offender Engagement and enforce non-compliance as required.  

So, what are these 'rate cards' and how much do the 'services' cost? Essex CRC is a Sodexo company and their menu of services and how much they cost can be found from a link here. There's a wide variety of programmes on offer such as TSP and BBR priced at £2,596 per start. Yes that's right - turn up for the first session and no more and the full fee is payable.    

"In understanding the unit cost of services, as outlined in the brochure, it is important to recognise that the price is inclusive of ancillary costs incurred outside of direct delivery to service users including consumables, facilities, resources, staffing, logistics and administration."

"This brochure contains information on each service that the CRC offers; this includes the geographical coverage, service highlights, cost and how to purchase. It outlines the universal Through the Gate offer available to all offenders and the ‘fee for use’ offer, namely services which are purchased by the NPS from the CRC."

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is unpaid work (UPW) charged? 
The CRC are paid for the total number of hours of an unpaid work requirement, providing the service user attends their first hour of unpaid work. (induction does not count as the first hour). 

How are Accredited Programmes charged? 
The CRC is paid for Accredited Programmes by ‘Starts’. Only programmes where the service user attended the first session will result in payment. 

If suspended or deselected are service users put back on for a further fee? 
As above however if a service user drops off a programme, the CRC will attempt to enrol them onto the next programme under the same requirement, at no extra charge. The provision of catch ups remains unchanged. 

Where are programmes delivered? 
Programmes will continue to be delivered on CRC approved premises. For services where the CRC use a supply chain provider, these will either be delivered on CRC or NPS sites, community venues or the providers own premises. Mentoring support is predominately delivered out in the community. There also continues to be a wide range of UPW sites used which is reviewed on a regular basis. 

How are quality, integrity and performance measured? 
All services are subject to regular review of their performance and quality regardless of who this is delivered for. Supply chain services also are subject to a stringent contract management framework which sets out a process of service review designed to continually drive high quality. CRC will work closely with NPS operationally and strategically to review delivery, feedback, the service offer and processes in the hope we continue to develop services for offenders. 

What if I have an issue or feedback regarding a service? 
In the first instance if an issue cannot be resolved locally there is a formal reporting structure in place so that this can be escalated and addressed during the NPS and CRC interface meetings. In cases such as this please alert your manager who will escalate appropriately. 

What are the obligations to communicate updates on the service being delivered, record sessions and feed issues back? 
CRC will provide updates both verbally and via the use of formal reporting mechanisms such as NDelius. The expectation is that all interventions delivered are recorded onto NDelius which includes services provided by supply chain providers.

We know from several HMI Probation inspections that services are not being purchased and the reason given has been that staff don't understand the system, not that they have been discouraged. It will be interesting to see how the situation changes in light of the clear policy shift from NPS and MoJ towards the rate card.

--oo00oo--

Speaking of HM Inspectorate, I was astonished to learn that the demands of Brexit sees Dame Glenys Stacey having to take her eye off the ball with a bit of moonlighting:-

Farm inspection review announced

A comprehensive review of farm inspections to remove bureaucratic burdens placed on farmers has been announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove today.


The review, to be led by Dame Glenys Stacey, will look at opportunities for improving regulation and enforcement pre and post EU Exit, seek out ways to reduce duplication and allow farmers to concentrate on upholding key environmental and animal welfare standards as they produce fantastic British food.

For example, the current inspection regime can result in farmers being visited by as many as five different bodies - the Rural Payments Agency, Natural England, the Animal Plant and Health Agency, the Environment Agency or their local authority – all asking for similar information.

Each visit adds to the burden on farmers, and rigidity of the Common Agriculture Policy rules require inspections of precise criteria such as field margin dimensions and the specific placement of trees in fields. Equally, inspections over lapses such as slurry management and welfare standards are often haphazard.

The review comes as the government is preparing to publish an agriculture Command Paper that consults on future policy in this country after we leave the European Union.

Speaking at the NFU Conference today, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

"The rules associated with current subsidy payments are unwieldy and, very often, counter-productive. They require farmers to spend long days ensuring conformity with bureaucratic processes which secure scarcely any environmental benefits and which, in turn, require a vast and inflexible bureaucracy to police.

As does the current farming inspection regime, which, despite several recent attempts at simplification, remains as unwieldy as ever. Every year, farmers are confronted by a barrage of inspections from different agencies, often duplicating costs in both time and money.

I am delighted to announce that Dame Glenys Stacey will be conducting a thorough and comprehensive review of this regime, seeing how these inspections can be removed, reduced or improved to reduce the burden on farmers, while maintaining and enhancing our animal and plant health standards.

This review is not only long-required but also very timely as we guide our future approach and maximise the opportunities of leaving the EU. It will provide answers to some key general questions to guide our future approach, subject to the outcome of our negotiations with the EU."

Dame Glenys Stacey said:

"I am delighted to be asked to lead the much needed review of the farm inspection regime. With farming at the heart of the quality and safety of the food on our plate as well, and central to the stewardship of our wildlife, land and rivers, this is an excellent time to be working with farmers and their representatives, and all those who inspect farms, so as to get to a sensible inspection regime, post Brexit."

Dame Glenys has over twenty years’ experience in driving reform within public sector organisations. As a former Chief Executive of Animal health, a precursor to the current Animal and Plant Health Agency, she is well versed in the inspection challenge facing our farmers.


The Command Paper will provide further detail on government proposals to design agricultural support fit for the future after we leave the EU.

31 comments:

  1. Plenty of farms down in Devon and Cornwall - oh, and a CRC that is ripe for an inspection. Perhaps Dame Glenys could be persuaded to do a joint visit?

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    1. Its widely know that that particular CRC is allowed to break the rules (and they do break them all btw), I wouldnt go down the SW, its like the wild west down there

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  2. Telling NPS to spend its resources when its understaffed is nuts.

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  3. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Transparent and incompetent attempt to Flog A Dead Horse.

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  4. Love the sales pitch... You know its shit so you havent bought into this. DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD AND BUY THIS SHIT AND THAT'S AN ORDER.

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  5. Yes I read that rate card rubbish yesterday. Weasely words sent and written by Director weasel with a double-barrelled name. Nothing about the stress, pressure and uncertainty on probation staff, the poor pay, the system failure, etc,etc. It’s shaneful.

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    1. And perhaps Dame Glenys would like to get off her high horse on its ivory platform and write a few line concisely saying the Tory govt was wrong to split probation in the first place

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    2. Oops I just deleted it much to big to bother with !

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  6. How about taking a lead from Adult Social Care and allocating a Personal Budget for each client, determined after a joint assessment of need undertaken with their representative (that's you OM). OM and client then go to the market and, as rational actors,jointly purchase services.

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    1. Can't do that; that would actually involve involving the client which probation, in all it's various guises is loathe to do

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    2. I see that our friend who generalises wildly from his or her own limited experience is back

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    3. yeah damm right, as we all know the sevice user isn't even part of the process, they arejust there to signify a profit unit and how many other units of profit/exploitation can be made. The CRCS WANT the user to reoffend, its great for business isnt it 15:42?

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    4. Oh do jog on.

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  7. £2596 per start!! This is scandalous! The NPS is being fleeced by the CRC’s to keep the CRC’s afloat and probation staff are being bullied into making it happen. Bottom line, “purchasing” is not in my job description!!

    “There's a wide variety of programmes on offer such as TSP and BBR priced at £2,596 per start. Yes that's right - turn up for the first session and no more and the full fee is payable.”

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  8. If there was any credibility in this the rate card / budget would be for purchasing services from a range of providers not just from the CRC.

    Many of my offenders are on crack and heroin, do we use the rate card to purchase this for them too?

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  9. http://m.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/justice-cannot-be-delivered-on-the-cheap_uk_5a8b0334e4b088d92ef35b59

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  10. In a tory world we're All just commodities. Some have a different value, but everyone's just seen as an individual unit of commercial value that can be moved and pushed around like shares on the stock market.
    The rate card? It's perhaps just a step on the way to this,

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/25264

    It's where it's all eventually going to end up.

    'Getafix

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  11. This funnelling of clients into programmes pre-dates the rate card. In the probation trusts it was targets rather than rate cards which compelled practitioners to allocate to offending behaviour programmes on the basis of an OAYsy score – it was an arbitrary score as it would be adjusted lower if programme referrals were considered too low. The process was driven by bureaucratic micro-management, not personal need.

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  12. ‘Man down the pub’ says push for increased Rate Card / programme referrals to secure revenue for CRC’s to keep CRC’s afloat. MoJ forced by likes of Interserve Justice and MTCnovo have warned of pulling out of financially unsustainable probation contracts.

    MoJ and NPS Probation directors complicit in “fixing” financial sustainability of CRC payment mechanism and operating models. All NPS PO’s / PSO’s to expect rigidly enforced appraisal objectives to procure x number Rate Card interventions from CRC for x number of offenders.

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    1. "There's a wide variety of programmes on offer such as TSP and BBR priced at £2,596 per start. Yes that's right - turn up for the first session and no more and the full fee is payable."

      If someone on a programme is recalled before its completion would the programme remain 'live' for that person upon their release or would another £2596 need to be paid to restart the intervention?
      Recall could become very profitable.

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  13. Classic Tory 'logic' at work: You can't possibly interfere with the workings of the market, that would be a horribly socialist thing to do - but if the 'market' isn't doing what you want it to do to fit your ideology, the thing to do is to compel people to do things!

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  14. A market with one supplier is a monopoly. A market with one supplier whose goods you are forced to buy is called a racket. I do not know what you call a market where the services you are forced to buy were previously owned by the buyer but subsequently given to the seller by another party to sell back to the buyer?

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    1. Exploitation

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    2. The government call it a contract. Language matters.

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  15. If payment is due even if the offender does not complete, how is this considered 'payment by results'?

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    1. More like Payment by Racketeering!

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    2. The result is enable private companies to profit from criminal activity.

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  16. You'd think Dame Glenys had had enough of inspecting horse-shit.

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    1. No of course not thats what shes paid to do, to 'pretend' to inspect with a rigged inspection then give a load of letting off the hook guff about how serious they take it all with result of no change. Just a distraction technique, wake up

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  17. The rate card was a key component of how TR was meant to work. The NPS resisted using it despite a portion of taxpayers money being allocated for this purpose. The argument that they are understaffed and overworked doesn’t wash as they have been depriving offenders of services. The CRCs have been compensated for the fact the NPS have not been doing what they as public servants have been instructed to do. Staff mutuals such as RISE in London that are not ‘shit’ have been decimated by public servants in the NPS short changing them. Money is available for staffing in the NPS it simply needs a decision to allow the NPS to allow staff to be employed from the CRCs at the same salary point they are on now instead of the ludicrous temp situation we have now.

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    1. In reality, all staff know that the ‘Rate Card’ interventions and service on offer are badly managed and poor quality. Most, if not all, interventions and services delivered through CRC’s are for revenue first and foremost. The NPS is now being directed to ensure revenue for CRC’s. The NPS is a puppet of the MoJ and Tory government, and if they say Trotter’s Trading is better than Ferrari then it is!

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