Saturday, 17 March 2018

Napo Evidence Part One

We return to the written submissions currently being considered by Bob Neill and his Justice Committee with the first part of Napo's contribution (note 2.15.4 and 5.5 may be either missing or consequence of mis-numbering):- 

Written evidence from Napo (TRH0059) 

Written evidence submitted by Napo, the Trade Union and Professional Association for Probation and Family Court Staff 

  • Napo is the main trade union and professional association representing staff in the National Probation Service (NPS) and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) in England and Wales. 
  • Whilst pay is not strictly within the review remit, we do make reference to HR and pay challenges which undermine delivery and need to be factored into any pathway to improving service delivery – for example, recruitment and retention being impacted by probation staff pay being uncompetitive and out of step with others services; and these challenges being given less priority than Prison reforms, within the MoJ. 
  • In this submission Napo attempts to illustrate current problems facing members and also suggests changes in key areas that could improve both operational practice and accountability. 
  • Our members tell us probation isn’t functioning anywhere near the standards prior to the introduction of TR. In 2013 all of the probation service in England and Wales was performing to a high standard. NOMS own ratings in July 2012 showed 31 of 35 Probation Trusts were in Band 3, ‘showing good performance’; and four were in Band 4 ‘exceptional performance’. In October 2011, the service won the British Quality Foundation Gold Medal for Excellence. 
  • Eight employer groups currently hold contracts to run the 21 CRCs: Sodexo (6), Interserve (5), Working Links (3), RRP (2), MCT Novo (2), Seetec (1), People Plus (1) and ARCC (1). The HMPI has produced 14 Quality and Impact Inspections of probation areas since April 2016. The overwhelming majority of the reports highlight significant operational problems in the CRCs, particularly in those areas of concern raised by Napo from the outset, and are a cause for serious concern. In the NPS, performance has been mostly “satisfactory”, with common reference to relying upon the expertise of staff doing beyond what could normally be expected. The system is neither stable nor sustainable. 
  • In addition the MoJ is intent on pushing through proposals to move more of the management of high risk of serious harm custody cases into the custodial environment. In principle this idea may have merit but like many good ideas, if implemented wrongly then it could have a detrimental impact. In the current operational context across probation the logistical, structural, organisational and cultural impact of the OM in custody model has not been fully comprehended let along addressed by those driving the policy. Significant questions include where will the experienced probation staff come from when there are existing staff shortages and workload challenges; how will Prison service and NPS teams be managed when their HR systems are misaligned and dysfunctional in the NPS without compromising the pension schemes; and what will be the impact on community delivery and workloads in the NPS. Without addressing these issues strategically, coherently and comprehensively staff burn-out, higher absenteeism and turnover risk sinking any good intentions. 
  • Court Probation Services remained with the NPS at implementation of TR. The impact of E3 on court practice has seen an increase in the pressure on court staff which has resulted in reduced effectiveness and compromised the quality of reports. Numerous issues impacting on courts from TR and the split, staffing pressures and the parallel cuts in court funding put an increasing daily strain on the process. These include reduced knowledge and confidence in different parts of the service’s capacity amongst sentencers, problems with communication and information exchange, unsuitable IT systems and a breakdown in goodwill between teams. 
  • The lack of any consistent national framework for standards is a barrier to the service developing apprenticeships, and making use of the Apprenticeship Levy - which could in turn help broaden the recruitment base for probation and close the gap between the profile of probation staff and service users. Whilst a national training programme remains in place for a variety of grades of staff in both the NPS and the CRCs there are concerns about the effectiveness of this training, how accessible it is, and whether cost has overridden quality. The lack of any national oversight also increases the risk of further fracture. 
  • A lack of clear, national, professional standards developed in partnership and monitored independently to empower staff to protect themselves and assert their professionalism is also undermining staff confidence across the service. We have also consistently warned about the management capacity gap amplified by TR, especially across the NPS, which is unsustainable and undermining other change initiatives. Napo members talk about being “de-professionalised”. Napo supports a national license to practice. 
  • Napo has asked the Prisons and Probation Minister to release the outcomes of the Probation Systems Review as we believe it is in the public interest. 
  • Napo welcomes the critical role that HMI Probation has played in independently assessing the performance of the NPS and CRCs. 


1.2 Napo welcomes this opportunity to submit written evidence to the Justice Select Committee. We have grave concerns about the impact of the implementation of TR on both staff and services and doubt the system is sustainable as it is currently structured, both in relation to CRC contracts and the part-nationalisation of delivery. We would also welcome any invitation that the Committee may wish to offer to again provide verbal evidence to your inquiry. 

1.3 In this submission Napo attempts to illustrate current problems facing members and also suggests changes in key areas that could improve both operational practice and accountability. 


2.2 Eight employer groups currently hold contracts to run the 21 CRCs. These are Sodexo (6), Interserve (5), Working Links (3), RRP (2), MCT Novo (2), Seetec (1), People Plus (1) and ARCC (1). 

2.3 The view of Napo members working in the NPS and CRC estate is that the Probation Service is not functioning anywhere near the standards that existed prior to the introduction of TR. 

2.4 In 2013 all the evidence showed that the whole of the probation service in England and Wales was performing to a very high standard. Figures produced by the NOMS in July 2012 detailing annual performance ratings of the 35 Probation Trusts showed that 31 were in Band 3, ‘showing good performance’; and four were in Band 4 ‘exceptional performance’. Indeed in October 2011 the service had won the British Quality Foundation Gold Medal for Excellence. 

2.5 Inspections by HMI Probation of services since the split show how dramatically this has changed under the impact of the TR ‘reforms’. The HMPI has produced 14 Quality and Impact Inspections of probation areas since April 2016 each looking at the quality of both the NPS and the relevant CRCs within the area. The overwhelming majority of the reports highlight significant operational problems, particularly in those areas of concern raised by Napo from the outset, and are cause for serious concern. 

2.6 A more detailed assessment of the performance of the 21 CRCs is provided in annex 1 at the end of this submission. 


3.1 Napo has previously briefed the Committee and Ministers about the shambolic organisation across the National Probation Service. We predicted much of this and see several factors underlying these problems, including: 

3.1.1 Poor financial planning:  Whilst both the NPS and CRCs were in public ownership prior to share sale it was already clear that the expected 70:30 workload split would be nearer 50:50 but this was not politically accepted and the plans were not adjusted. Therefore, the NPS has consistently suffered from staff shortages and excessive workloads, amplified by consequential increases in sickness absence and staff turnover. E3 was in some ways a parallel to some CRC organisational redesigns post TR. This is still being implemented but staff shortages are as great as in the prison service. Unfortunately, probation recruitment is not a MoJ priority, as seen by at least 16 MoJ and HMPPS tweets promoting recruitment to the prison service in the last two months to no tweets about joining probation. At a meeting to discuss the recruitment strategy, NPS officials were not even aware of an MoJ advert showing riot control and baton charges as “key elite skills” for working in HMPPS – an example of the cultural friction facing the MoJ. 

3.1.2 Weak management support: In nationalising half of probation and moving from local delivery to a state run centralised model, little time or consideration was given to the organisational design challenges this creates. One key problem is the significant expansion of the first line manager role, to absorb most HR functions in line with civil service norms. Previously senior probation officers did very little HR, mostly focusing upon supervision of professional output and coaching around cases. They are now expected to do the full line management role, including performance management and development; managing grievances and HR questions around leave, etc; and still maintain the professional support. This is unsustainable, as an average SPO has between 14 and 18 immediate reportees, against a civil service average of about 5 to 8. This is increasingly a critical fault line. 

3.1.3 HR processes: For any service or organisation to run effectively and maintain credible performance levels it needs to be able to maintain basic HR functionality. This has never happened in a sustained way in the NPS. We have had prolonged periods of several months where new starters have not been paid at all; around 1 in 5 staff have not been paid accurately; pension contributions have not been collected for over 1500 staff; contractual sick pay and maternity pay processes have not been followed; and ill-health early retirement is shambolic. Hundreds of staff in Approved Premises are still not being paid holiday pay correctly. When pension adjustments were needed for staff who’d left the service it was recognised that the NPS hadn’t kept a list. 

3.1.4 The SSCL shared service performance has been beyond incompetent. That the taxpayer is now subsiding this incompetence at up to 55p a minute because managers and staff have to call a premium rate number to find out why their pay is wrong is beyond parody. However, Napo contends that these problems are inherent and deeply entrenched, relating back to the decision for NPS staff to remain in the local government pension scheme whilst the rest of NOMS was in the unfunded PCSPC scheme. This means the computer gets confused – shared services only works when things are shared and the same. 

3.1.5 This basic HR functional incompetence undermines confidence in the NPS as an employer, drains morale and impacts upon performance. Until the NPS is either removed from the SSCL contract and system, or is set up as an independent NextSteps Agency (like the Environment Agency who use SSCL successfully) or Cafcass (who don’t but are linked to the MoJ) then this problem will, in our view, continue to recur and undermine the NPS. 

3.1.6 Leadership: Any nationalised service becomes bureaucratic and risk averse. The NPS has struggled because accountabilities are unclear and even senior managers either do not have delegated authority to act or, if they do, can’t get consistent and accurate information about the parameters of potential decisions (e.g. around pension scheme rules or paying settlements) do act confidently. There also seems to be a growth in bureaucracy and “accountability forms” without evidence of a capacity to take responsibility to balance and justify this. The lessons of the last attempt to centralise probation in the early 2000’s were not heeded. Sadly, the potential benefits – national standards, consistent professional development and training pathways, a national license to practice, etc. – have still not emerged and are more difficult to develop with the current split. 


4.1 Small numbers of probation staff working in prisons alongside specialist prison officers on Offender Management Units or within Public Protection Units has happened for many years. 

4.2 The creation of HMPPS (essentially a rebadging of NOMS unless the NPS is more fully absorbed into the MoJ which is impossible whilst HR systems are still incompatible) is intent on moving more of probation into prisons. 10 prisons pilots have been identified and the main focus to date has been prison specific, e.g. new band 3 prison officers as key workers in residential units working with small numbers of prisoners on rehabilitation. No prison has yet rolled out the next phase involving probation staff. 

4.3 The proposals would see each prison having its own senior probation officer (SPO) as part of the prison line management structure, reporting directly to the governing Governor. The SPO would have line management responsibility for all “prison offender managers” i.e. both NPS and prison band 4 staff who could be either operational (uniformed) or non-operational. This has certain cultural challenges, HR challenges and potential workload challenges. 

4.4 The proposals mean increasing the number of probation staff based in prisons and offender managing high risk of serious harm custody cases from within the prison and not the community. This presents costs, operational and logistical challenges given where prisons are located linked to their uneven distribution. Finding these staff will be a problem. Working in prisons brings particular challenges and it is Napo’s view that any staff working in prisons should be experienced in their professional role. 

4.5 Moving staff to prisons will also increase pressure on community workloads, which carries with it an inherent risk of increased stress and burn out. Currently, community workload is a mixture of community and custody cases. Moving the responsibility for high risk of harm custody cases to prison offender managers will mean the remaining caseload for community colleagues will be fully active all of the time. 


5.1 Court Probation Services have remained with the NPS. The impact of E3 on court practice has been to increase the pressure on court staff which in the view of staff has compromised excellence. 

5.2 Those summoned to Court who live out of the area of the PSD are either seen on the day or expected to arrive early to be assessed on the day of sentence. Unscheduled interviews add to the pressure of the work already allocated for the day and reduce the ability to research risk factors with other agencies. The Court officer is under pressure to provide these and then to make up for the missing information about risk information in the form of add on assessments that are cumbersome and time consuming 

5.3 The IT system is slow and not fit for purpose and regularly goes off-line adding to the workload pressure. The short format report template is inadequate to fully address risk resulting in some things just being left out. Any deficiencies add to the pressure post- sentence, as the allocated officer has in some cases to almost start again to make up for the missing information needed to meet the targets for initial sentence plans. 

5.6 Cuts have led to the increased use of video links but these have proved problematic and can lead to delays. This becomes especially problematic if there is a need for an interpreter to be used. Cuts in admin staff are also leading to increased delays and pressure of work. 

5.7 The split between the private CRCs and the NPS is also causing problems with information sharing e.g. where a client’s identity is entered into different events on the computer and whole histories of cases are missed. Probation staff report that attempts to establish responses to orders for those supervised by the CRCs has become embarrassing. In some cases officers are told that the CRC is unable to support enforcement because the case is not being supervised due to staff sickness or staff leaving and the case not having been reallocated. 


6.1 Training 

6.1.1 A consistent training programme remains in place for some staff (below management level) in both the NPS and the CRCs but concerns are emerging about the effectiveness, accessibility, relevance and quality in the new wider operating context. 

6.1.2 Napo welcomes the Vocational Qualification for case administrators to enable career development. This is also available for probation service officers (PSOs) ensuring they can embed their experience and learning in a recognised qualification. However, this only applies in the NPS with no formal requirements beyond having “adequately trained staff” and no clear definition of “adequate” to support CRC training. 

6.1.3 Consequently, emerging risks include: 
  • Less-trained inexperienced staff holding cases in CRCs beyond their capacity 
  • Employment of new staff on new job descriptions and lower pay driving down standards. 
  • CRCs developing their own apprenticeships that are not aligned to any national standards and requirements. 
6.1.4 The lack of any consistent national framework for standards is a barrier to the service developing apprenticeships, and making use of the Apprenticeship Levy - which could in turn help broaden the recruitment base for probation and close the gap between the profile of probation staff and service users. 

6.1.5 Whilst a national training programme remains in place for a variety of grades of staff in both the NPS and the CRCs there are concerns about the effectiveness of this training, how accessible it is, and whether cost has overridden quality. The lack of any national oversight also increases the risk of further fracture. 

6.1.6 Napo members consistently refer to being “de-professionalised” since TR. To train as a probation officer under the Professional Qualification in Probation (PQIP) entrants are required to already have a relevant degree in, for example, Criminology. Whilst there are other routes available without a degree, the NPS is choosing not to use these at this current time due to the cost of putting staff through the full training course. This also denies current staff access to career progression. 

6.1.7 Napo has also had feedback from learners saying that the current length of PQIP (15 months) is not long enough. In order to compress the learning that previously took place over two years into such a short time means that important aspects of the training have been dropped, which further undermines professionalism. Staff further report not having the confidence to do the job once they have qualified. Many CRC’s are now not using the PQIP to train their staff due to the cost. 

6.2 Professional standards 

6.2.1 At the point of TR probation officers transferring into the CRCs immediately lost an element of their professional standing. Being in the CRC they were no longer allowed to write Court reports, advise the Court, attend Oral Hearings or manage high risk of harm offenders. This had a detrimental impact on staff morale and has now in effect created two tiers of probation officers. Those in CRCs now feel their skills are not being utilised and as such are anxious about their career development and job security. 

6.2.2 As a professional association Napo is a champion of professional standards and best practice. The union is campaigning for the introduction of a Licence to Practice, which would bring Probation in line with other professions such as social work and enable practitioners of all levels to evidence their level of training, qualification and experience. It would also protect individuals from holding cases above and beyond their job description - which is a growing problem - as well as providing employers with evidence that staff are trained appropriately. 

6.3 Pre-Sentence Reports 

6.3.1 HMIP has identified the poor quality of Pre-Sentence Reports, and the impact this has on sentencing, case allocation and case management, as a cause for concern. HMPPS introduced an arbitrary target for 90% of all Pre-Sentence Reports to be completed either on the day or within 5 working days. This purely cost saving exercise has resulted in significant issues throughout the pre and post sentence process. 

6.3.2 Magistrates have complained that they are no longer allowed to order a full PreSentence Report. They state that they have very little information on which to sentence someone and this will have a disproportionate impact on BAME clients and women. NPS staff are unable to complete vital checks with the police and children’s services prior to sentencing resulting in inadequate risk assessments and potentially unsuitable sentencing recommendations. This in turn increases the risk of cases being allocated to the wrong organisation to supervise them and increases the risk of serious further offending, risk to victims and risk to the public. 

6.3.3. Pre-Sentence reports should be bespoke to the individual and the type of report reflective of that. 


7.1 Napo has asked the Prisons and Probation Minister to release the outcomes of this review as we believe it is in the public interest. The statement by the Secretary of State for Justice of a £24 million bail out for CRC providers this year and a £277 million guarantee of further funding for the remaining life of the contracts is a development that has caused serious concern amongst our membership. Napo asks that the Committee request a full cost analysis of this finding and how it will be accounted for. 


8.1 Napo welcomes the critical role that HMI Probation has played in independently assessing the performance of the NPS and CRCs and highlighting practice, both good and unsatisfactory as part of the quest to improve service provision. 


9.1 Napo believes that the current malaise in performance across the CRC estate could be addressed by the inclusion of Police and Crime Commissioners and Metropolitan Mayors into the accountability process by the formation of local partnership boards that would bring stakeholders together to consider delivery against agreed targets. This could operate within a revised governance system that would allow failing CRCs the opportunity to offer services on a commissioned basis after the termination of their contract as a major provider. 


10.1 Napo stands ready to work with the NPS and CRC providers to explore remedial measures to improve service delivery and utilise the considerable skillsets of our members in seeking to improve the operational landscape that has developed since the implementation of TR. For this to happen the service will need an increase in investment in the reward package for staff and improved engagement with trade unions under a Professional Practice Forum and the joint development of a Licence to Practice. 

10.2 We also hope that the Committee will endorse our view that where a provider has consistently failed to deliver against contract, then this work should revert back to public oversight with special arrangements being made to ensure acceptable provision that meets the expected standards of service delivery and community safety. 

Ian Lawrence General Secretary
Chris Winters National Co-Chair
Yvonne Pattison National Co-Chair 



  1. Yet again, incompetence undermines purpose. This is a critical document from a national trade union organisation submitted as evidence for parliamentary scrutiny - & it hasn't been proof-read; if it has, it hasn't been corrected. £70,000+ a year for the GS... its embarassing.

    1. Two on the signatures are chair pos just the same then ?

    2. The very first bullet point on the submission is incorrect. It asserts that NAPO represents members in the CRCs. Not in my opinion. What are we getting for our money?

    3. Meanwhile, the evidence keeps coming that the present system is fatally flawed.

    4. An MP has slammed North Wales Police for refusing to provide a “private briefing” on how a violent criminal, out on license, was not recalled to prison before going on to murder a disabled pensioner.

      Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has criticised the force for refusing to explain how Jordan Davidson was left free to murder Nicholas Churton, 67, at his flat in Wrexham on March 23, 2017. Davidson, 26, hacked Mr Churton to death, just days after police freed him on bail for knife possession. At the time he was out on licence for burglary. He was caught with a knife after an altercation with four men.

      After being freed on bail he went on to commit robberies, attack an off-duty security guard with a hammer and attack a police officer.

      While on remand for killing Mr Churton, Davidson also slashed the throat of a prison guard. An investigation by watchdog the Independent Office of Police Complaints (IOPC) is looking into the force’s interaction with Mr Churton prior to his killing after it emerged he had complained about Davidson. However that probe does not include assessing how and why the killer, whose minimum sentence increased from 23 to 30 years on appeal, was released on bail.

      Mr Lucas told the Daily Post he had written to Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP about the affair. He said: “I am very disappointed not to have received a private briefing from any point from North Wales Police and discovered most of the information I have from other sources.

      “I’ve met with the probation service since but I want to be sure the police have made an urgent assessment of what has happened and have put things in place to stop it happening again - but I have not had that yet. It’s really about the connections between the police, the probation service and the prison service and how they cooperate. It seems in this case they have failed.”

      Mr Lucas said North Wales Police would not speak about the case while the IOPC investigation is ongoing, a fact they confirmed again to the Daily Post. An IOPC spokeswoman confirmed it was assessing whether further investigations into North Wales Police would be necessary. She said:

      “Our investigation into prior North Wales Police (NWP) contact with Nicholas Churton is ongoing. “It is our role to investigate police actions and decision-making and we do not have any remit over the Probation Service. Our investigation has focussed on police contact with Mr Churton in the fortnight before his murder. In addition, we have gathered information from NWP and the Probation Service relating to the circumstances of earlier arrests during Jordan Davidson’s probationary period. We continue to assess this information to determine whether any further investigative work is required.”

    5. 11:11 so true. These Officers do absolutely nothing for CRC because they all seem to be NPS. Protecting their own while PSOs in CRC fund the activities of a professional causes that offers unpaid work members nothing nothing at all. Reading this mistake filled comic strip absent of any real researched facts it is little wonder we are a split service in a mess. The trio also presented their judicial review that was kept from the membership and if it was anything as poor as this no wonder they conspired to keep secret the facts and hide their failure away . Has anyone actually seen the ruling.
      It is election time this year . All Change all change says the bus driver. The sooner the better this group should go before there is nothing left.

  2. I do not believe there any any advantages in pushing anymore of the management of most serious criminals into the custodial system.

    Families are not in custody (usually),and the prison needs to be aware of the home situation from workers who are actually in contact with the families.

    That is just for starters.

    I am sorry if that is not Napo policy.

  3. FFS NAPO, don't involve the Police in running things! Are you trying to prove the Mayans were right!!!!

  4. Poor service delivery, de-professionalisation, management of high risk cases being located within the custodial estate are, and should be, worrying for probation, but I feel they're just symptoms of a far more serious problem that's occurring with probation services.
    I was astounded a couple of weeks ago when reading reports in local newspapers, that there's been a huge reduction in cautions given and prosecutions brought against juvenile offenders. Its nationwide, and some regions report a reduction of 90%.
    I doubt very much that such high percentages are a consequence of the 'troubled families programme', and I really couldn't understand such a massive reduction.
    Then yesterday I happened on this,

    It would appear to me that there's a role reversal at play. The probation service who once operated from a position with a social work ethos at its core is actually being turned into an agency of 'policing' licence conditions, and an agency of public protection, with no social work ethos, whilst the police force are adopting a social work ethic at its core.
    I find it quite a strange thing really, and maybe I'm way off the mark, but that really is how I'm seeing things develop.


    1. You're spot on 'Getafix, the police have had to go in this direction for some time, not least because of the failings of community mental health services. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester some years ago ruefully remarked that he 'no longer employed coppers but social workers'.

    2. Mark Bolt, Chief Inspector, Devon and Cornwall Police discusses how the police force is changing to better support offenders with mental health issues.

      Currently, 9 out of 10 offenders in our prisons have a mental health issue. This is a legacy that needs to change.

      In my 27 years as a police officer, I have come to understand the complexity of people. A person committing a crime is often not as straightforward as it seems.

      In the police force, we are all trained to react to the behaviour of a person, and their resulting actions. But this can mean we don’t always consider the root cause of why they are acting that way.

      The reasons people commit crimes are seldom simple. Some may do it because their needs are not satiated by the rules that govern us in society. Others may have a mental health issue which makes them behave in a way that’s against the law.

      Usually, it’s a combination of several things. And it is becoming increasingly important for police officers to learn about what drives people to behave in the way they do. Policing needs to move towards a “communication first, reaction second” approach.

      By working closely with health services, more police officers are becoming experienced in recognising when extra help is needed for an individual.

      There are liaison and diversion services, which many police forces across the UK have now set up in collaboration with NHS England. These services allow officers to have immediate access to a health professional. The support and guidance they then receive when dealing with someone in distress helps them to make a decision on whether a person should progress through the criminal justice system and how.

      With more experience of this, policing is set to change for the better. Instead of just catching criminals and locking them up, we will be able to identify the vulnerable to prevent or reduce any harm to themselves and others.

      I welcome the recommendations NICE makes in its recent quality standard, on mental health of adults in contact with the criminal justice system.

      It will reinforce the importance of this collaboration between health and criminal justice. And it means that more police officers will be supported when making decisions about people’s lives.

      People who come in contact with criminal justice will have access to a comprehensive assessment by professionals. If the information about a person is shared correctly throughout the process, it will ensure the right decision is made at the right time.

  5. If the authors intention was to highlight how the English language can be abused to the point of incoherence then they have succeeded beyond my expectations. If however, the intention was to offer an incisive critique of the current state of play then alas they fell somewhat short. It would appear that being a vacuous moron is a requirement for promotion in both the NPS and NAPO. So at least they have that in common.

    1. Vacuous moron your very kind. They have been labelled much worse, whatever they are called the incompetence is leaching out of their bungled failings. So badly constructed it is beyond belief.

  6. In our office we have noted a significant increase in cases with complex mental health problems. They invariably have no mental health support because they misuse substances which means health services write them off as untreatable. Or they are diagnosed as personality disorder and similarly consigned to the dustbin of the untreatable. Many of them end up on the streets and without access to public funds because they can't comply with the draconian terms that make a person deserving of welfare. When their behaviour becomes disturbing to members of the public the police arrest them for public order offences and often try to divert them away from the CJS but fail because they aren't covered my mental health (because drugs duh). They end up in a magistrates court - often, magistrates recognise that this is a complex case but they've tried Probation before, they can't comply, life is too chaotic, too distressing, how does one attend an appointment on time when you can't keep track of when you last slept? They go to prison for a week or too, maybe they will detox enough to get them housed/ stable enough to engage with some support? They get referred to every voluntary sector agency possible. They get released. They can't get housed. They make a benefit claim but can't get a gp appointment for a sick note. The job centre staff know they're ill but rules. The probatio n officer knows they stand no chance of completing PSS but there are rules. They use professional judgement to get around them but get spoken to about not hitting enforcement targets. Case is running around town talking to spiders and screaming. Case is threatening to throw themselves off a bridge. Case takes themselves to the local crisis unit begging for help, backed up by every agency they work with. Crisis unit says they're not ill, it's drugs, they're drug seeking, they're being aggressive, it's personality disorder we don't work with that. Call the police. Put them in prison for a couple of weeks. Rinse and repeat. That's a good proportion of our case load right now. The majority of the police try hard to avoid this cycle but their hands are tied once there's enough complaints about about someone's behaviour. These cases take up a huge amount of time and resources and yet nothing improves because it's the wrong sort of resources. This is happening all over the UK and nobody is listening.

    1. Annon 22:58

      What you describe is the bread and butter that feeds the shareholders of the private companies that invest in that chaos.
      It's just living off immoral earnings with a licence to do so.