Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Wrong Guy Resigns

As I've said many times before, politics is as much about luck as anything. The furore surrounding David Gauke and his shameless sacking of Nick Hardwick is just as the nation is suitably distracted by a bloody Brexit milestone, combined with gate-fever as we head for the Easter break with the House of Commons in recess.  This from the Guardian:-

How Parole Board chair became a sacrificial lamb

Justice secretary should have initiated reform of board instead of forcing Nick Hardwick out

Nick Hardwick’s letter to the justice secretary, David Gauke, after their meeting on Tuesday to prepare for the Worboys’ high court ruling makes clear that he was forced to resign in the biggest criminal justice sacking since Michael Howard’s involvement in the dismissal of prisons chief, Derek Lewis.

“You told me that you thought my position was untenable,” he told Gauke. “I am sorry for the mistakes that were made in the case but I have always made it clear that I will support the members and staff of the board in the very difficult individual decisions they make and I will accept accountability for the work of the board. I will not pass the buck to those who work under me. In these circumstances I inform you of my decision to resign with immediate effect.”

The high court ruling in the case was actually on quite a narrow legal issue. The three judges did not try to put themselves in the place of the experienced parole board members who made the decision to recommend release on the basis of the evidence that they had before them.

Instead, the judges said the experienced Parole Board panel was mistaken in not going beyond the attacks on 12 women for which Worboys, aged 60, had been convicted and served 10 years in prison and taking into account up to 100 other offences for which he had not been convicted.

The court ruled that the Board panel was mistaken in this “misapprehension” in a case which they described as “difficult, troubling” and with “many exceptional features”.

In his letter to the justice secretary, Hardwick, who had no role in the decision taken by the panel to recommend Worboys’ release, makes clear he shared that misapprehension which was supported by the legal advice he had received: “We were wrong,” he accepts bluntly. It is a ruling that could now overturn years of parole board practice and lead to even longer sentences in the future.

Hardwick has had a selfless career in public service. He was involved in setting up Centrepoint, the homeless charity. He led the Refugee Council, which was never a popular cause. He chaired the Independent Police Complaints Commission and then took on the tough job of chief inspector of prisons before his appointment to the parole board.

None of these jobs was straightforward and in each post he demonstrated a principled approach to the difficult issues involved. As soon as the Worboys decision became the centre of an intense public debate, Hardwick made clear he had been pressing to increase the transparency of parole board decisions, and the official inquiry made clear it was not a failing of the parole board that victims were not properly kept informed.

But he is also right in his letter to the justice secretary to raise his concern about the independence of the Parole Board: “I believe this matter raises very troubling questions about how the board’s independence can be safeguarded. I hope parliament will consider what structural changes are necessary to ensure this independence is protected in future.”

He was right to raise the issue. The new justice secretary only weeks before swore an oath to protect the independence of the judiciary. Yet Gauke was prepared, egged on by the chairman of the Conservative party, to consider launching a legal action himself to overturn the decision of the Parole Board.

It was right – as has been proved – that the victims’ legal action should go ahead, but for the justice secretary to take his own steps in response to a media-fuelled campaign to overturn the Parole Board in the courts was a step way over the line for a lord chancellor. In the event Gauke didn’t go ahead because the Ministry of Justice lawyers advised that such a high court action was unlikely to succeed. They too got it wrong.

If Gauke felt the Parole Board had made a mistake in not taking into account Worboys’ unconvicted offences, he should have initiated the necessary reforms rather than make a sacrificial lamb out of a Parole Board chair who was only too willing to reform the board.

The role of the Parole Board has grown significantly in the past 20 years, matching the increase in the public’s appetite for more punitive sentencing, which in turn has been reflected in the growth of indefinite sentences. The board’s secrecy – although an essential part of the justice system – has always stood apart from the judicial system. It is time it also enjoyed the independence of the courts and protection from populist politicians.


This from the Guardian's Public Leaders Network column:-

Parole Board affair exposes a tangled web of responsibilities

What’s the point of having arm’s length bodies if ministers are going to sack their leaders as soon as the going gets rough?

David Gauke is no Michael Howard. Somewhat less nocturnal, Ann Widdecombe might say. But the present justice secretary shares with the former Tory home secretary a problem that has bedevilled Whitehall for many years and is now getting worse. What happens when arm’s length bodies, such as the Parole Board, use the autonomy they have deliberately been given to behave, well, autonomously?

If those who chair boards are sacked when they do what it says in their job description, why bother with the length of an arm? The Parole Board case, which has seen the sacking of chair Nick Hardwick, has particular elements, of course, but surely a judicial review of a board’s decision-making should be welcomed as a demonstration of its autonomy, not become the reason for dismissal.

This takes place against a wider public management crisis about accountability. It has been boiling away in local government – look at the semi-autonomous organisation responsible for Grenfell Tower - and in schools, as multi-academy trusts pay their chief executives exorbitant sums and no one, least of all parents, know who’s checking.

Hardwick has stated his concern about the Parole Board’s independence. He’s addressing more than the specifics of the Worboys case. Does the Ministry of Justice really want civil servants to decide on the release of killers, which means in practice Gauke and his successors having to appear in the Commons and answer specific and detailed questions?

The very reason the former health secretary Andrew Lansley hatched the 2012 Health Act was to stop health secretaries being held responsible for what happens in clinics. He was repeating what umpteen predecessors (mostly Tory, as it happens) had said when they created “next steps agencies” in the late 1980s to manage operational delivery of policy through focused and lean public agencies, with their own staff, strategy and leadership structures.

The trouble was that agency managers then did things ministers didn’t like or started to edge into the political spotlight. It turned out agencies were a convenient way for ministers to blame managers – leading Howard, when home secretary, to sack Derek Lewis, head of the prison service, in 1995 after prisoners escaped.

The same question, about who should be ultimately responsible for what, keeps arising. Take the Charity Commission, another arm’s-length, would-be autonomous body. Tina Stowell has resigned the Tory whip in the House of Lords but are MPs and the public really going to be satisfied if the secretary of state Matthew Hancock refuses to answer questions about the commission’s work? He will try to say that it is independent, but will not convince.

Then there is the Office of Students. Its chair, Michael Barber, says he regrets the attempt to appoint a minister’s crony in the shape of Toby Young, but where does the episode leave the assertion that this is a body that is going to exercise judgment and diverge from its parent departments – education and business?

Councils are rushing to set up wholly-owned companies to do things that they are forbidden to do; NHS trusts are establishing arm’s-length bodies that can employ staff on different terms and conditions but are still, mysteriously, part of the NHS.

In 1959, a distinguished professor, Brian Chapman, in The Profession of Government said that “the haphazard creation of semi-public, public, quasi-private and partly autonomous bodies complicates law, operation and control”. The growth of outsourcing in recent decades has made things even more opaque. Carillion’s collapse has exposed, not for the first time, a web of non-accountabilities and irresponsibilities. The Parole Board affair makes it even more tangled.

David Walker 
(Contributing editor to the Public Leaders Network and former director of public reporting at the Audit Commission)


A selection of responses from twitter:-

Very troubling for chair of Parole Board - an independent, court-like body - forced to resign by a politician. As a man, I have found Prof Hardwick to be principled, clear-eyed about complex issues around parole, & robust about need to focus on those affected by parole
Harry Annison

Nick Hardwick is the epitome of integrity. It’s a disgrace that he has been forced into resignation.
Frances Crook

Disappointing that Justice Secretary has effectively relieved Nick Hardwick of his duties as Chair of Parole Board. Distinguished and highly capable public servant who could have led inevitable process of change better than anyone.
Rob Allen

Nick was doing great work and had already publicly said that he wanted more openness about decisions. He is not in any way personally responsible for a new concept - that past offences for which a prisoner was not convicted, should be taken into account by the parole board.
Penelope Gibbs

'I will accept accountability for the work of my team', and 'I will not pass the buck to those who work under me'. The sort of words you would expect of a decent leader. Wish all in public life were so willing to take responsibility. An example some in politics perhaps?
James Treadwell

Shameful that Nick Hardwick, a fine public servant, has been scapegoated & forced to resign over Worboys case. Contrast this with a politician such as Grayling who made so many mistakes running justice & remains in the cabinet.
Ian Birrell

David Gauke's sacking of Nick Hardwick is as bad as Michael Howard's dismissal of Derek Lewis. The justice secretary bowed to a populist wave and has questions of his own to answer about probation's failure to tell Worboys' victims of his possible release.
Alan Travis

So David Gauke refused to bring judicial review on Worboys parole saying it was inappropriate. Victims disagreed and won in court. Parole Board chairman resigns. Gauke survives?
Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Whatever may have gone wrong in the Worboys case, and things clearly did, I am sorry to see Professor Nick Hardwick resign. He has for decades been one of this country's most conscientious, thoughtful and selfless public servants.
Matthew Taylor

Its politically short-termist. The Parole Board loses a high quality leader at just the moment when it needs quality leadership.
Harvey Redgrave

To my mind, one of the most damaging consequences of the Court’s decision has been that Parole Board Chair Nick Hardwick was pressured to resign by the Justice Secretary. The former Chief Inspector of Prisons was (and is) widely respected in the criminal justice field for his qualities of leadership and his willingness to advance the causes of transparency and reform.

Russell Webster

Blunkett brings in IPP, Grayling screws the entire Probation system, removes experienced staff, prisons in most parlous state for years & latest evanescent Justice Sec. tells the one person showing leadership & positive change HIS position is untenable-unbelievable hypocrisy.
John Podmore

Nick Hardwick is a man of unquestionable integrity who has been willing to take on 3 of the most difficult public offices, Chair of IPCC, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, & Chair Parole Board. He is a brave & honourable man.
Jane Furniss

Nick Hardwick did nothing wrong. He welcomed scrutiny. He did his job. He behaved, as far as I could see, better than many would if under the same sort of pressures. I am deeply disappointed by this outcome. It does not achieve anything useful.
Dr Shona Minson

The departure of Nick Hardwick as Parole Board Chair is not a resignation, it’s a sacking and it’s a scapegoating.
Peter Dawson


  1. Nick Hardwick on BBC Breakfast - faces grilling from tv presenter, handles it with dignity, explains his position, accepts his mistakes, expresses his concerns - its still not enough for the baying mainstream media. The REAL issues will be lost in the white noise surrounding Worboys. Police, CPS, MoJ failures will all be erased as the iconic headline of Hardwick's sacrifice is pushed through letterboxes, TVs and over the internet.

    Can't wait to see which favoured lickspittle lackey is chosen to replace him. Spurr? Or maybe Gove's personal favourite Dame Glenys could squeeze the Parole Board in between HMIP & Cowsheds?

    1. This is what Gauke said in the house yesterday when questioned about the dossier given to the parole board.
      Taken from Hansard.

      "On the dossier that was provided by the National Probation Service—and, therefore, my Department—for the hearing that occurred on 8 November last year, it is the case that there may well have been information that should have been included in the dossier and that was not provided, but it is worth pointing out that it is the responsibility of the Parole Board to satisfy itself that an offender is no longer a risk to the public. The judgment of Sir Brian Leveson was that the Parole Board failed to probe that evidence sufficiently, as it should have done. I reiterate that the National Probation Service opposed the release of John Worboys."



    3. The head of the Parole Board which caused outrage by initially deciding to grant John Worboys an early release has called on the Justice Secretary to take responsibility for the situation.

      This week, the parole board's decision was overturned by the High Court after an alleged victim came forward to challenge it. There are now calls for Justice Secretay David Gauke to resign.

      Professor Nick Hardwick this morning told the Radio 4 Today Programme that he was forced out by Mr Gauke, despite having nothing to do with the controversial decision to grant Worboys an early release.

      Mr Hardwick, who quit as chairman after being told by Justice Secretary David Gauke that his position was untenable, said: "I didn't resign willingly. I resigned because I had no choice."

      He said: "I accept that the Parole Board got it wrong, but I personally had no role in the decision."

      The professor claimed the Parole Board was not given material relating to the alleged other crimes of Worboys, meaning they could not take the information into account while making the decision.

      He explained: "The judgment is very clear that the dossier provided to the panel by the Secretary of State did not contain all the information it should have done, and that the Secretary of State's representative, who was at the panel, didn't in any way suggest that the panel should have discussed those other matters.

      "I don't think the Secretary of State should resign but I think he should accept responsibility for the mistakes he made because that is the only way we can put things right."

      Mr Hardwick said the Ministry of Justice needs to take responsibility and learn lessons from the case, adding: "I don't think the Ministry of Justice is being correct in this.

      "I accept that the Parole Board was wrong, but what I don't accept is that we were any more responsible than the Ministry of Justice, and I don't believe that the right lessons will be learned in this case if the only people accepting responsibility are the Parole Board."

      When asked if he was being scapegoated, Hardwick said: "I wouldn't use the word scapegoated but what I would say is that all of those responsible for this case have to take their share of responsibility.

      "I have always said I'll take responsibility for the work of the Parole Board.

      "I accept my share of the responsibility, I think others should do so too."

      Tory MPs and Mr Hardwick himself yesterday suggested Mr Gauke - who refused to challenge the Parole Board’s decision to free Worboys - should now consider his own position.

      Two victims were forced to mount a crowd-funded legal challenge against Worboys’ release after Mr Gauke’s refusal to launch a judicial review, based on legal advice he had been given by a QC.

      They won their case after the judges said both the Parole Board and the Ministry of Justice had made errors during the parole hearing last year, when David Lidington was justice secretary.

      It means Worboys will remain in prison pending a fresh hearing in front of a different panel.

    4. Isn't this the 1st time Gauke has botbered to reference work of Probation? Revolting how he implicitly takes credit for local NPS assessment anti

  2. Still don't see which arm of the MOJ is being hung out to dry here. Probation prepare reports but don't shape the dossier. PPCS dont, in my experience, have a meaningful understanding on the contents of the dossier, or what might be missing from it, either.

    1. Respondent to the above - please don't be insulting and shout - I have edited the response:-

      "Probation do not have responsibility for the dossier, the content and documents requested is the responsibility of the MoJ Public Protection Caseworker and the Parole Board Caseworker. They request Probation provide a Parole Report not the entire dossier. This request is via the Prison Parole Clerk who collates the dossier."

    2. With respect 09:55, I don't think Gauke is being thick. He's being sly and trying to shift blame and responsibility to where it dosen't belong.
      Having read above what he stated in Parliament, perhaps probation chiefs or even NAPO should push for clarification on his comments and why he's suggesting the compilation of the dossier is the sole responsibillity of the NPS.

    3. @jim brown I take it you've filtered a more ill-mannered response to my 9:43 post?
      Probation don't shape dossiers, I've said so repeatedly, but neither have I ever had any indication that the PPCS have so much as read the reports or hold any insight into the intricacies of a case other than that directed by the parole board.
      Will the outcome of this be that ppcs gains a greater remit in some instances, or that our responsibilities swell further.

    4. On ‘behalf’ of 09:55, it was more direct than ‘I’ll mannered’! The word “thick” is retracted. The dossier is the responsibility of PPCS and the Parole caseworker. On many occasions Ive been involved in and observed requests by both for information and documentation. Probation responsibility is simply to provide a parole report and other REQUESTED documents. Probation are merely witnesses as the hearing. The Prison Parole Clerk simply collates the documents sent according to request sent by PPCS and the Parole Caseworker. The NPS and Napo need to make a public statement about this quickly, but won’t because NPS directors are in Gauke’s pocket and the Napo GS doesn’t understand probation work.

    5. Try having a conversation with a PPCS caseworker about the contents of a dossier. Other than hitting the required timescale s, they're at best disinterested and more often than not clueless.

    6. Totally agree. PPCS refer everything back to the disinterested and clueless Parole Board Caseworker, who refer everything over to the disinterested and clueless Parole Board Case Manager, who refer everything to the Parole Board Panel Chair who is usually disinterested and clueless too. BUT, the dossier is still the responsibility of the PPCS and the Parole Board. It is not the responsibility of the Probation Service. Probation Officers are witnesses at Parole Hearings to attend and answer question about their Parole Assessement Reports and Risk Assessments and nothing more, not to provide the dossier, not to arrange the logistics, not to make tea, nada.

  3. “Untenable”?29 March 2018 at 09:57

    The Parole Board panel was reckless in making its decision as many are, but Hardwick’s is not the only head that should be on the block. The position of the entire panel should be considered “untenable”. Gauke had the authority to be represented at the hearing and to intervene into the decision but chose not to. The dossier was the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and the parole board, not the probation service. Gauke must stop attempting to lay blame on the probation officers who did their job, who are not responsible for the parole dossier and who opposed release. What say NPS Sonia Crozier about this, and if she apologises again then her position is “untenable” too?

    If Hardwick’s position was “untenable” then so is Gauke’s. The right to practice of the forensic psychologist that recommended release against the advice of all other professionals, paid for by Worboys legal team, should be considered “untenable”. Worboys legal team abuse of legal processes should also be scrutinised for bring the legal profession further into disrepute.

    Bottom line, we have broken justice system wherein a parole board achieved ‘success’ by ignoring all professional advice, and solicitors achieved ‘success’ by duping said parole board into believing the lies of a serial rapist, and made a decision to release Worboys onto the streets of London to rape again. Is this not considered “untenable”?

  4. Worboys should not be released yet but at the same time shouldn’t have to suffer because of the system failure. How hard will it be for him to work towards rehabilitation and release when he is now facing the wrath of every IPP and Parole prisoner that now wont be released.

  5. All my experience of working in the Criminal Justice System tells me that when it works successfully victims, offenders, the public, the different professionals all have a sense that the right thing has been done. Some of them may not like it, but they acknowledge it is just and ordered. Gauke has topped a series of failures with a decision which fails to do the right thing on every measure. Weak, political decision: all it indicates is that Gauke has neither ability nor intent to put his department into order. I hope he doesn't get away with this.

    1. I think the police and CPS have not had their fair share of criticism.
      It's their decisions that have really caused this dilemma.

  6. Blame probation?29 March 2018 at 10:27

    “Mr Hardwick also said an independent review had found the probation service rather than the Parole Board was to blame for not keeping victims informed of the decision to release Worboys.”

    While Gauke has said in the Commons the need for;

    “Procedures to check that every dossier sent by HM Prison and Probation Service to the Parole Board contains every necessary piece of evidence”

  7. From the Guardian:-

    Ex-Parole Board chief criticises justice ministry over Worboys case

    The former head of the Parole Board, who was forced out over the quashed decision to release the rapist John Worboys, has said the justice secretary, David Gauke, has failed to take his department’s share of responsibility for failings in the case.

    Nick Hardwick, who was forced to resign by Gauke, said three high court judges had made it clear that a dossier of evidence supplied by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to the Parole Board panel considering Worboys’ release did not contain sufficient detail on Worboys’ alleged broader offending.

    Independent members of the Parole Board rallied round Hardwick to defend his record and express anger at his forced resignation.

    The judges’ comments came in a ruling handed down on Wednesday that overturned the Parole Board’s decision to release Worboys and ordered a fresh hearing, prompting the effective sacking of Hardwick as chair of the board.

    The Parole Board should have looked closer at Worboys’ other alleged offences, the judges said. Worboys was convicted of 19 offences, including rape, against 12 victims but police believe he may have attacked more than 100 women.

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, Hardwick, who has received the backing of the QC representing the victims who brought the judicial review, stopped short of calling for Gauke to resign but said the minister must take responsibility for his department’s mistakes or the right lessons would not be learned.

    “The dossier that the panel received from the secretary of state – that was the secretary of state’s responsibility – didn’t contain sufficient information about those other alleged offences,” Hardwick said.

    The MoJ has said there was detail in the information supplied, but Hardwick said: “I don’t think the Ministry of Justice is being correct in this. The judgment is very clear that the dossier provided to the panel by the secretary of state didn’t contain all the information it should have done and the secretary of state’s representative – who is at the panel – didn’t in any way suggest the panel should have considered those other matters.”

    Hardwick said it was the “widely held practice” of the Parole Board at the time not to look at offences for which a prisoner seeking parole had not been convicted.

    “I didn’t resign willingly, I resigned because the justice secretary said I had no choice,” he said. “I accept that the Parole Board was at fault in these matters. I don’t accept we were any more at fault than the Ministry of Justice and I don’t believe the right lessons will be learned from this case if the only people accepting any responsibility for the things that went wrong here is us.”

    Victoria Scott, an independent member of the Parole Board appointed under Nick Hardwick’s chairmanship, said:

    “I am disappointed and angry that he has been forced to resign. On his watch the Parole Board cleared the longstanding backlog: dealing with 25,000 cases and holding over 7,000 oral hearings in 2017 whilst at the same time keeping the rate of serious further offending at less than 1%. Throughout his time in post Mr Hardwick worked tirelessly to increase understanding of the Parole Board’s work and pushed for greater transparency. He championed increased engagement with victims. He was a powerful advocate for a truly independent Parole Board and we need that now more than ever.”

    1. Hardwick is leaving out there was a parole Board Post Tariff Review in 2015. Full documents were available and release was not granted. The 2017 Parole Board Panel would have had access to this decision. The recent Judgement states there was an indication of Worboys convictions and 80+ victims in the dossier and the Panel could have sought further information at any time. This is not just about not having all the information, it is about not properly analysing what they had and making no attempt to obtain what was further required.

    2. Gauke will claim he has taken responsibility,

      "On the dossier that was provided by the National Probation Service—and, therefore, my Department—for the hearing that occurred on 8 November last year,"

      But really he is scapegoating the NPS, and saying he is "forced" to accept some responsibility but only because the NPS are under his ward.
      Hardwick has taken the right stance, there were cock ups made, some by the parole board, and some by various other involved parties, lets accept that and sort the problems out.
      Everyone else however seems to be trying to pass the hot patato.
      It's interesting that Hardwick is the only one that seems to be commanding any respect, yet he's the one who's had to take the biggest fall.

    3. Liar, Liar, Gauke’s Pants on Fire!29 March 2018 at 11:43

      Yes Gauke is scapegoating both the Parole Board and the National Probation Service. Does this mean the head of the NPS is to resign too?

      The truth is the dossier was not provided by or the responsibility of the National Probation Service—and, therefore, Gauke’s own Department the MoJ Public Protection Casework Section—is responsible for the dossier. At any point in the process Gauke had the authority to intervene in the decision being made to ensure public protection and the interests of justice.

  8. Julia Hartley Brewer and Ian Lawrence discuss the Warboys case here. There's also the opertuity to comment.


    1. Julia Hartley-Brewer has condemned the “incompetence and incredulity” of the Parole Board in the John Worboys case, while defending Nick Hardwick, the former Parole Board chief who resigned over the rapist John Warboys ruling.

      Speaking to Ian Lawrence from the National Association of Probation Officers, Hartley-Brewer said: “He stood by the Parole Board decision, but that’s what you have to do. He’s a good man. I rate him really highly. He’s always spoken truth to power.”

      Lawrence replied that “Nick Hardwick will be a great loss. I want to know more about why ministers aren't being called to account for what they've done to the criminal justice system generally. Privatising probation, cuts to the police, cuts to the courts, cuts to forensic services, I’m not surprised crucial information was missing [in the Warboys case].

      “We understand the furore, but many of our members were disappointed that Nick Hardwick has to go.”

      Hartley-Brewer added; “The conclusion of high court was absolutely damning. This wasn’t another man, another rapist, convicted of one crime. This case was huge.

      “Bizarrely, the Parole Board members seemed to be the only people who didn’t know his history. But also the fact that they seemed to take as gospel truth the fact he had converted to religion – I don’t see how that’s relevant – and that he was a changed man. It seems a level of utter incompetence and incredulity.”

    2. So Ian Lawrence said nothing about Hardwick and Gauke wrongly blaming probation for the dossier?, and nothing about wrongly blaming probation for victims not being informed when this wasn’t the responsibility of probation? In fact our Ian just endorsed the scapegoating of probation by stating “Privatising probation, ... , I’m not surprised crucial information was missing“. Utterly useless!

    3. Lawrence puts his finger on the real problem. If you spend years destroying the justice system, dismantling long established structures, dividing agencies and outsourcing critical parts to third parties, then poor communication and serious mistakes are going to be enevitable.

    4. I think not and the judgement does not mention Ian’s view. This was nothing to do with privatisation or poor communication. Probation did it’s job, prisons and it’s psychologist did it’s job, and as Hartley-Brewer called it;

      “Bizarrely, the Parole Board members seemed to be the only people who didn’t know his history. But also the fact that they seemed to take as gospel truth the fact he had converted to religion – I don’t see how that’s relevant – and that he was a changed man. It seems a level of utter incompetence and incredulity.”

    5. Ian Lawrence may as well have blamed Australian ball tampering and poisoning of Russian spies on probation privatisation too!

  9. The judgement recommends more serving and retired judges on parole board panels. Maybe this will stop the shady practices of solicitors and barristers at parole hearings. I’ve seen nothing in the media or from the legal profession about Worboys legal representatives presenting his lies and arguing for his release. Where did they find that psychologist who recommended release?

  10. Veering off topic but important news that gives an other indication of just how broken our CJC is.
    Barristors will refuse to take on new cases from Sunday in direct action and protest over legal aid cuts.

  11. Given all the finger pointing because of the lack of information presented on Worboys probable offending, and Nick Hardwick being effectively sacked, this report says that the SoSs representative at Worboys hearing opposed release on the basis of what he was 'convicted' of, and didn't feel the need to elaborate on his possible further offences.
    Whos at fault now Mr.MGauk?

  12. An MOJ spokesman said: "The department's representatives at the hearing made clear that they had analysed the offences of which (Worboys) had been convicted and opposed release on the basis that he remained high risk.

    "They did not feel the need to analyse any other offending in order to reach this firm conclusion."

    Those are the accusations against the parole board which forced the resignation of Nick Hardwick.
    If the MoJ are now saying they are guilty of the same error then who's going to resign from that department?

    1. I suspect “the departments representatives” means the probation service. This is misleading the truth because the probation officer who submitted a report and attended the parole hearing as a witness is not responsible for the parole boards failure. What we want to know is why the other “departments representatives” the Ministry of Justice Public Protection Casework Section which is responsible for the dossier failed to include the correct information, and why the “departments” head, the Justice Secretary David Gauke and David Lidington before him failed to intervene.

    2. It’s impossible for Gauke or Hardwick to blame probation for the dossier or the decision. From the judgement;

      “40. On 11th October 2017, a new Offender Manager (“PO6”) provided an addendum to the PAROM 1 previously provided in April 2017. This did not refer to P1’s report. PO6 explained that Mr Radford’s case has been discussed at Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (“MAPPA”) meetings on 24th August and 2nd October 2017. The senior prison psychologist did not support the recommendation made in P9’s addendum report. Concerns were expressed as to Mr Radford’s narcissism, his impression management, and that he had only recently completed treatment; the assessment was that he required further work in custody. The view of MAPPA was that Mr Radford remained a high risk of harm and should not be granted release or moved to open conditions before progressing through security categories and continuing to work on his current treatment needs. PO6’s conclusion was that there remained outstanding work around Mr Radford’s self-worth, sources of validation and impression management that needed to be completed and tested within closed conditions. PO6 suggested that this could best be achieved in Category C conditions. The report stated that a move to open conditions or release could not be supported.

      41. As is clear from the schedule to the witness statement of Mr Gordon Davison, Deputy Director in HM Prison and Probation Service, dated 5th March 2018, there were numerous references in the dossier to a large-scale police operation during which around 80 potential victims came forward, and a similar number of offences. Some of these references were specifically linked to the period October 2006 to February 2008; others were not. Although Mr Radford was consistently described as a “prolific” sex offender, it was clear that his admission of guilt (in 2015 and subsequently) has been confined solely to the series of offences for which he had been convicted.”

  13. I don't think the blog piece title 'The Wrong Guy Resigns' hits the mark. We work in imperfect systems, with contradictory guidance and flawed science but do our best in light of this. I think the Judges got the balance right in their summation. My view based on what I have read is that noone needed to resign, the opportunity to reconsider and reflect on Parole decisions is the challenge in light of what happened. Public grandstanding by Politicians is a sign of immature politics and serves noone well. I would respect Gauke if he reconsidered Hardwick's resignation and worked with him to bring about considered changes to the Parole system, they appear to agree fundamentally on much.

    1. Interesting letter in the Guardian here.

  14. What a shower of comments half wrong at that. I read the blog on the basis I thought it was declining in reader feedback but here we have a little lift because of a simple resignation.

    The way this reads is simple If Hardwick had anything about himself he would said FO to Gawky boy and said sack or shut it ! Instead he helped the Gawky boy and fell on a sword not a murmur of protest . In my view at least he asked for it ! No fight no respect.

  15. I disagree. Bowling into the committee ranting and raving blaming everyone else aka Phillip Green should earn zero respect in my view. Unfortunately behaviour like that amoungst the elite means they get weasel out of what’s coming their way. Hardwick took responsibility as managers often don’t and resigned. An honerable man in my view. Unfortunately in this day and age viewed as weakness to some.

  16. Probation Officer29 March 2018 at 22:53

    The judgement came to the right conclusion. The Parole Board panel made a number of shoddy errors. I’ve known shoddy PB release decisions before, but never against recommendations of probation officers, prison psychologists and MAPPA, and never on a high profile case. Hardwick knew Gauke planned to point the finger in one direction so had no choice but to resign. Hardwick resigning meant Gauke didn’t have to for not intervening, it’s simple as that. Gauke has not come out unscathed and now known as an incompetent Justice Secretary. It won’t be forgotten he refused to take responsibility and threw everyone else under the bus, including the probation service.

    Final thoughts:
    Use of non-convictions in Parole hearings will remain a grey area.
    There’re structural problems of solicitors representing dangerous clients at parole hearings as if were innocent defendants in courts of law.
    The probation officer involved should be commended for a tight Parole report, recommendation and risk assessment.