Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Napo at Work in the South West 23

Blog Preamble

Since the MoJ announcement last week regarding reunification, it's rapidly become apparent that we have once more descended into a fog of confusion, misinformation, mistrust and misunderstanding. Somewhat alarmingly, it's already beginning to look and feel like a re-run of TR. 

Just like the first time around, we all have a choice, either remain passive and await information and instruction from official sources, or by individual effort and action share information, news, thoughts and expertise as a way of trying to 'own' this fucking mess, as opposed to just being somewhat of a helpless bystander in something that acutely affects everyone in the profession. 

Whilst ever it is possible, this platform will remain as a means by which all those who care for 'probation' as a worthwhile endeavour can share information for mutual benefit and the protection of a vital public service. However, it can only be as good as the information it garners and therefore the onus falls primarily on you, the reader. Which leads nicely into warmly thanking the individuals who regularly forward news from Napo at work in the South West with not one, but two branch communications that discuss matters that will be of relevance to staff in all CRCs. (It would be useful if someone could kindly forward the employers Q and A referred to in the second report - thanks). 


Branch information important 16 5 19

Dear Napo Members

Good news !!! Its is official. The Government has finally, after much pressure, including the NAO, HMIP, and several evidence inquiries have relented and managed to accept the “U” turn on their appalling damaging and flawed probation revolution.

Sadly only part of the Service in case management is to be taken into the NPS. It is reported that CP and programmes interventions will likely be retendered into another privatised fiasco. I won’t spell out what a waste of an opportunity that will be when their chance to repair public services to what they were is now. However, if taking back case management reduces the risk of the increase in murders and domestic violence then there can be no argument to these ends.

Despite the latest management information from Seetec who quite obviously do not appear to have any grasp of the politics surrounding the scandalous approach to privatised probation they actually think expansion was a good idea in February! Really? The past few weeks of these drip fed weekly propaganda bulletins were so off the mark they are not worth challenging. Many of us already knew this news was coming and it is well overdue. In relation to Seetec most likely not wanting to generate any fears, they appear to believe it themselves. The reality is the bulk of the operating contracts value will now plummet. Finally to end by spring 2021. Whatever tendering that takes in the future, the reliance on their development unit will not convince anyone case management is better in private control. Whatever generates this sort of thinking does make me ask some questions about the experience and knowledge base. Arguing against the intelligence of the national information reports and audits the HMIP inspections all pointed to the very real car crash TR has been. The double speak we have been subjected locally has no further place in DDC. Colleagues should look forwards to restoring their public sector status.

Most likely April 2021 is a new vesting day that terms and conditions as well as staffing arrangements will take priority in the form of national collective bargaining and your national terms. While NPS may not be the best home for probation given what we have experienced from their ways. NPS developed and too often avoid or bend any policy colluding with privatised HR services. Marginally better than the private companies.

What is of paramount importance is to ensure all staff are transferred wherever there is inclusion for the appropriate roles and all grades that deliver case management. All parts of the split services are understaffed and the NPS need skills held in the CRC. All POs will certainly need a lot of information as things develop and the NAPO branch AGM is to be held on the 27th June in Plymouth make sure as many of you attend this important meeting which will have the general secretary speaking on all developments with a lively Q and A with our link official. Book your diaries now. Locally and with the link official Napo will be organising all grade meetings as we discover the renationalised process to be agreed.

In all cases enjoy this major news Napo will continue the campaign call to ensure CP and programmes are returned to public services because we all realise there will not be a valuable contract to anyone who is serious about delivering the best services. Taking a Profit from probation in case they have not understood the NAO report simply does not work.

Celebrate this news and look out for national Napo bulletins coming out today.

If you are reading this and not in a union Join Napo today. This news makes fairly clear all staff should think carefully on the next 20 months.


Dino Peros 

Napo SSW Branch Chair


Branch information 2 important 21 May 2019 

Dear Napo members, 

Apologies for yet another fast-moving branch update but in some regards it is important to keep as many issues in context wherever we can. 

20 5 19 saw the release of Seetec’s amalgamated type of Q and A similarly fashioned from the MOJ release. At no point have we in NAPO been consulted or seen any canvassing of members or staff for the questions posed and we presume this is the Seetec company’s view. Therefore it is probably more about how they want you to see the situation developing and most importantly perhaps try to keep some control over the next few months as we all await the blueprint to be produced for any new transfer arrangements for staff to NPS. There is no obvious expectation that outsourcing of case management will continue beyond the announcement. 

Given the confirmation that MOJ only passed this situation to Seetec with just a day’s notice, incredible as it sounds they then silenced contractors before the public announcement. It sort of says it all really. They have effectively been told their contractual period is to end yet cannot say or do anything about it. As Chair of the Napo SSW branch I have not been able to appreciate how this is any sort of a surprise when the contract terminated 2 years early had already been announced a while back. Unless, private companies just appear to bank on the current TR fiasco being blindly continued. Not to mention here in the real world of reporting from the PAC report the NAO report and the HMIP final inspection report all culminating in the publication of the MOJ results of the September 2018 survey. Interested parties have overwhelmingly influenced the range of directions from the publication some four months later than expected. This final piece of the jigsaw makes it obvious all current wisdom could not condone the continuation of case management in private control. The idea that it could continue post all the official condemnation to date coupled with the factual evidence base with the conclusions we have seen. It is incomprehensible that some would think otherwise. 

There remains some nonsense or fantasy which is not an effective public protection position, seeking to encourage a belief that things could be better in private hands. The comprehensive evidence is a resounding rejection of such a position and yet it does not appear to registered properly or seem understood by the current Seetec contract holder. 

It is appreciated that many staff are speculating on the mixed views about the wider staffing situation questioning whether “is this really re-nationalisation or something sort of but not really”? The bottom line is, it is too early to speculate beyond what has been stated to be the MOJ plan. The notice of intention to end the privatised delivery of case management is a great outcome long overdue. It does not go far enough. We want to see all probation work back into public services. It will make sense that there will need to be a transfer process and new arrangements. When the national Unions are convened there will be no doubt full scale consultations on that process for agreement will take place. That said the timescales are not fixed points. We all know of the previous transfer fiasco periods slipped and were then hurried into being. There are many newer staff since that time and arrangements will have to cater for legacy protected staff and recent CRC contracted employees who are also subject to entitlements under existing collective agreements. 

Spring in the public services is the end of March and the notion nothing will change in the next two years is almost laughable. As a bare minimum there will be notice periods for change to staff contracts with ongoing consultations and arrangements for staff selections and a criterion for such transfers. I doubt Seetec really expect staff our members to believe this will happen post their contract period having ended. Seetec suggest they will be seeking to continue a competitive bid and the of prospect might see another new employer wandering around offices doing an inventory. Further, the idea of the range of different posts being divided across employers is not clear how this will be developed. Save to say we continue to hold better protective terms and conditions in DDC than many areas and we will be ensuring all the agreements are properly complied with subject to any unilateral national collective agreements taking precedence. 

Unfortunately, there will likely continue to be a range contractor led responses to such MOJ bulletins and from this point going forward NAPO locally are acutely aware of the bulk of staff desire is to get back into the public or the civil services. Seen as a better place to be appointed than any form of the continued and flawed privatisation contractors, it has to be understood the mixed economy on probation services remains damaged and is limping with the promise of more contracts, yet nothing can be guaranteed. There may be the intention now but a change in government fortunes will break the cycle. Working Links was supported in and never had the required money in the first place sold out to Aurelius and in no time left to operate probation case management. Look what happened - the single worst ever HMIP report on record. The CPO gone, the contractor gone and yet staff continue to suffer carrying extreme workloads due to the complete and continued failure of the leadership which remain wed-locked to a failed model. Sadly to date continued by Seetec. 

Finally, the Seetec Q and A issued 20 5 19 does not answer many questions in depth and leaves way too much in the we don’t know category of answer box. In that sense a little more patience would help us all reduce the over speculations and whatever it takes the Unions will continue the campaign for complete reunification of probation services to protect interventions from the discontinuation of the privatised fiasco. 

If your reading this and not a member of NAPO then join the branch now www Napo membership follow the links. Our next meeting is the AGM and Paul Sabulis Branch secretary will be posting out the list of members discussion topics shortly and with details during this challenging time. 

Dino Peros 
Napo SSW Branch Chair


  1. Russell Webster today:-

    The London division of the National Probation Service has the ignominy of being the first NPS area to be officially assessed as under-performing in today’s HMI Probation report.

    Inspectors have formally rated London NPS as “requiring improvement” under its new system; the four other NPS divisions inspected so far have all been rated as “good”. Inspectors did find that London had made progress over the last two years but was still failing. Surprisingly, it was London’s Victim Contact Scheme (work rated as good or outstanding elsewhere) which was of particular concern.

    The inspectors termed London’s work with victims as “wholly unsatisfactory”. In more than a fifth of inspected cases, victims of serious crime were not offered access to its Victim Contact Scheme. The statutory scheme provides victims with updates on the perpetrator’s sentence and gives them an opportunity to contribute their views on release plans.

    Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said:

    Some victims are not being offered a service at all, while others are receiving a service that is simply not good enough. There has been significant media, parliamentary and public interest in the London division’s work with victims in the Worboys case. The Secretary of State for Justice asked me to conduct an urgent review into the division’s work with victims, and this was published last year. It is deeply concerning to see that some victims of serious crime are still being failed by the service.

  2. Given his tendency to be frank & not suffer from over-excited short-sightedness like the union's top table, I'm keen to know what Dino has to say about the £3.6bn tender for rehabilitative services, the covert shifting of timescales to take staff beyond their period of protection & the reality that this is TR2, albeit under cover of MoJ's savvy media manipulation.

    1. What would this mean for staff who were originally working for probation both in crc and nps. It does make you wonder if this wasn't the plan from day 1. Lambs to the slaughter


    3. Probation workers are celebrating a famous victory with the announcement that all case management in England and Wales will be renationalised from spring 2021.

      This puts into reverse the disastrous part-privatisation carried out by Chris Grayling in 2014, reunifying community based offender management as a publicly owned service accounting for around 80% of staff.

      The move is a huge climbdown for the Tory government who had been in denial about the scale of the problems facing the service and were preparing to re-tender contracts to new private providers. Mounting evidence of operational inefficiencies and spiralling costs put paid to these plans, however, with the probation chief inspector describing the current working model as "irredeemably flawed".

      In February this year, one company that ran three of the contracts went into administration leaving £1.2 million in debts to third sector providers.

      The probation workers' union Napo has played a key role in securing the reversal through an effective campaign of political lobbying and use of the media. It maintained the confidence of members through a consistent call for 'reunification', seeing off the attempt to bankrupt it through removal of check-off and eventually bucking a trend that would have put many small unions into terminal decline.

      One major benefit will be the return to national collective bargaining for staff in the privately run 'Community Rehabilitation Companies' who have seen their pay and conditions decline in relative terms to their former colleagues in the state-run 'National Probation Service'. Our priority must be to end the disparity and the blatant unfairness of a two-tier workforce.

      Celebrations have been muted by the fact that 'Community Payback' (unpaid work) and 'Offending Behaviour Programmes' will remain in the private sector and be re-tendered under new contacts. But as Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said: "Napo will continue to campaign to ensure that all of these services and the members who provide them are eventually transferred back into the public sector".

      While probation workers have almost universally welcomed the news, there is unease, not just about a further period of operational disruption while systems are stitched back together, but what a fully integrated publicly run probation service should look like.

      Members don't want the current 'mixed model' replaced by just a bigger version of the centrally driven and bureaucratically run National Probation Service. We want local accountability and a say in how the service we provide is run.

      The bankruptcy of the current system is an opportunity for trade unionists and socialists to raise the question of workers' control and the role of the community, including service users, in the provision and accountability of public services.

      Chas Berry, chair, Napo union Kent, Surrey and Sussex branch (personal capacity)

    4. Never see anything from other branches what are they doing with their members . Napo Sw is always on here ?

    5. I always enjoy news from SSW branch. It gives me hope

    6. Other branches are left to flounder. My own experience is that you can't get hold of anyone at NAPO HQ and some are well known for not replying to emails even when they are very urgent

    7. The reference to £3.6bn for rehabilitative services is misleading, when the figure is £280m (Russell Webster's figure).

      What's wrong with contracting some services? Probation was doing this pre-TR. Buying in drug services has been the norm, so why not accredited programmes that did not exist until the '90s. We don't provide psychiatric services in-house, so maybe having other provides on the scene will enrich a probation culture which is over-inclined to bureaucracy.

    8. It does give hope when you see that branch fighting for members actively engaged . They are a beacon and example of trade unionists working properly. Keep it going .

    9. 07:53, the figure of £3.6bn comes from the tender notices issued by MoJ 15/5/19, published on 20/5/19:

      "II.1.5) Estimated total value

      Value excluding VAT: 2 600 000 000.00 GBP"

      That was for rehabilitative services, and there was a second notice at £1bn for upw & accredited programmes.

      Total: £3.6bn.

    10. 08.37, your figure is more likely to apply to the entire prison and probation budget. £1bn for UPW and Programmes is an overestimate. The figure is under £300 million.

    11. 14:50 - just take a Look at the MoJ's own tender notices. Large chunks of both were posted on here previously. The tender notices have to be published under EU procurement rules. If I can find a link to a site showing the notice I'll post that on here then, perhaps, you might accept the figures?

    12. Try here:

      Or for a wider choice, try here:

      The notices contain such gems as:

      "The Contracting Authority’s exercise of its right to extend the contract beyond 4.12.2020 to expire on or before 30.6.2021 will help to ensure safe and stable transition and mobilisation of probation services."

      "The Ministry of Justice intends to use a dynamic framework primarily to purchase the following services:

      1) Rehabilitative interventions:

      Rehabilitative Interventions are delivered as part of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) of a Community Sentence and for Custodial Sentences from pre-release through post-release licence and Post Sentence Supervision (PSS). These are intended to support offenders and reduce re-offending by addressing a range of needs such as accommodation, education, relationships, etc.

      2) Resettlement interventions:

      Resettlement activity starts 12 weeks before release, continues after release and aims to help offenders to resettle in the community after custody. Resettlement interventions aim at addressing the specific resettlement needs such as accommodation, education, relationships, etc.

      3) Other desistance interventions:

      The dynamic framework will facilitate the purchase of enabling services and interventions for the Authority and other commissioning bodies. These services will be used to enhance the effectiveness of rehabilitative interventions delivered as part of the sentence and will provide additional support beyond those specified as part of an offender’s sentence. This will promote desistance and enable fair sentence delivery...
      ... Value excluding VAT: 2 600 000 000.00 GBP"

      And, of course:

      "Probation Services (Accredited Programmes and Unpaid Work)...
      ...Value excluding VAT: 1 000 000 000.00 GBP"

      I read that as £1bn which, although I went to a shit state-run comprehensive, I'm pretty sure is >£300m.

      No doubt this post will be dismissed as misleading, inaccurate & biased.

    13. If anyone wants to follow the link you'll have to type 'probation' into the keyword box of the search filter, hit the 'search' button & then you can have your pick of the May 2019 notices.

    14. Good post 1830 as well as the school you mention youll certainly end up working the same described state run probation and even worse private other .



  5. A little nearer to home is NPS London, apparently they 'require improvement' the second lowest rating. Come on NAPO and Unison for heavens sake step up and see what's happening. Our London colleagues are struggling, what are you doing to support them, clients and victims of crime ? Its not all a bed of roses in the NPS.

  6. Of course London NPS failed its HMIP inspection. All it’s staff are too busy reading that 58 page London NPS newsletter !

  7. Think what could have been done if the tax payers money that has been wasted on tr had been put into resources for our clients.

    1. Health care the old infirm and cancer research. The children's hospital the homeless dependency units welfare for the poorest a new building for the blind deaf or children. Drugs for specialist care surgeries for the waiting list more pay for the doctors anything else sensible than giving it to those robbing thieves and scum privateers called whatever's they can get lost thieves.

  8. Its shit. Its disgraceful. Its manipulative social engineering by ideological lunatics.

    Some simplistic, idealistic sums to try to get a perspective on the cost of this utter shitcake:

    TR = (at least) £2.2bn given away to private companies between 2015 & 2020
    That's £700m a week.
    That's £140m a day (5-day week)

    If we work on a figure of 250,000 subject to probation at any time...

    That's £560/day for each and every case
    That's £2,800/week for each and every case

    Just think, you have a caseload of 50 - oh, what you could do for your caseload with £139,400 a week (having taken off your PO salary!).

    *****And that's just using the CRC budget*****

    What's the NPS budget?

    1. Probably about £1 if the state of the inspection is anything to go by !


    3. Thousands of crimes were committed by previous offenders in Westminster last year, figures show. The news comes as the probation watchdog says criminals sentenced to short prison terms are locked in a “merry-go-round” that leaves the public at risk and costs billions of pounds a year.

      Ministry of Justice data shows that, of the 2,022 offenders in Westminster who were released from prison, received a non-custodial conviction at court, or were cautioned by police between July 2016 and June 2017, 644 went on to reoffend within a year – 32%.
      Between them, they committed 2,502 new offences. They had each committed an average of 19.2 crimes previously.

      The rate of reoffending was even higher among juvenile offenders – 51 of the 118 under-18s (43%) went on to commit another crime within a year of being released from custody, given a non-custodial sentence or cautioned.

      A report from HM Inspectorate of Probation highlighted shortcomings in the system for managing offenders in England and Wales. It includes figures showing 64% of adults released from custodial terms of less than 12 months re-offended within a year, committing crime estimated to cost the economy £7 billion to £10 billion per year.

      Earlier this year, Justice Secretary David Gauke said there was a “very strong case” for abolishing sentences of six months or less, with some exceptions, such as for violent or sexual crimes.

      Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said that such a move was “unlikely to be effective without other changes”. She added: “In my view, a system-wide approach as well as much more purposeful probation supervision is needed. Without it, individuals are locked in an expensive merry-go-round of criminal justice processes and the public are left at undue risk.”

      From 2015, every criminal given a jail term became subject to statutory supervision and rehabilitation upon release into the community. Prior to the change, which was designed to reduce re-offending, convicts who had served less than one year did not have to be supervised by probation services. But the inspection report found there had been “no tangible reduction” in re-offending.

      Re-offending rates varied significantly between types of crime for the July 2016 to June 2017 cohort. While figures are not available at a local authority level, across London:

      Theft offences: 45% of 11,013 offenders committed a crime within a year of being released from custody, given a non-custodial sentence or cautioned (compared to 52% across England and Wales) Drug offences: 31% of 11,851 offenders (England and Wales: 25%)Violence against the person: 21% of 4,380 offenders (England and Wales: 25%)Possession of weapons: 30% of 2,443 offenders (England and Wales: 31%)Sexual offences: 17% of 819 offenders (England and Wales: 14%)Re-offending rates have remained largely steady over recent years in Westminster, varying from a low of 26% between July 2006 and June 2007 to 36% from July 2008 to June 2009.

      Responding to the HM Inspectorate of Probation report, Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Chris Grayling’s decision to extend post-release supervision and place it in the hands of private companies has ended in failure, as the Howard League and others warned it would. It has not made the public any safer, but it has trapped tens of thousands of people in the criminal justice system for even longer than necessary. This has blighted lives and put an intolerable strain on prisons, and it should be abandoned immediately.”

  9. Whilst the stats scream failure Jim and is something we all knew would fail, the cost of these repeat offenders still doesn't go away. Austerity measures cut so many services neither NPS nor CRC stood a chance from the beginning. Labour spent, spent and continued to spend until the pot was empty. The Conservatives locked the purse strings and cut services that heavily its a wonder we have any meaningful rehabilitation left. If we scrap the 12 months and under's what does society do with them?
    When that question is answered we can start to move forward with this debate. We can blame so many services for failing through lack of money and staff but these repeat offenders are not going away any time soon. The public sector is not the only source of help out there and more needs to be done in developing an extended library of charities who OM,s can refer into.London NPS, classic example of collapse of service offered from all respects. You can flood London with 4x the OM,s but if there is no support to go alongside our work it will fail again.
    UPW, there are some brilliant Supervisors up and down the country out with our clients for 7 hours a day. Bring back the UPW work shops, employ skilled staff to teach trades to our young people, we had it before. Meaningful rehabilitation has always been the driver, sitting in an Office for 20 minutes is not meaningful and serves very little purpose to man or beast without the appropriate resources. Quality assurance control on reports by power hungry PDM's creates more time on the computer than meaningful work to the already worn out, depressed and unhappy work force. The whole Criminal Justice needs an overhaul not just Probation, prisons have very little experienced staff and is flooded with corruption. The police are no where to be seen these days so it might be a small victory for Offender Management in going back but things need to change fast. Saying that the 2 main political parties are as much use as my pot plant in the bathroom at the minute!

  10. Well, seems this govt can & does pay handsomely to carefully remove 4000 sets of human remains from a Victorian burial ground over a period of years to facilitate HS2, but it can't & won't pay staff, pay for training or pay for suitable accommodation for living people with learning disabilities. Or invest in addressing the resource issues faced by real, living people vis-vis mental health, social services, probation, substance use, housing.

    A traintrack to nowhere takes priority over those this govt regard as worthless.

  11. Continuing my frustrations on...the solution to the 12 months and unders could be this. Bring them back into the NPS. Have a dedicated and specialist team in every area to carry these cases. Make sure the staff who hold these cases are creative and ready for the challenge. Have designated Court space every week for these cases to be heard if reoffended or in breach, with members from the team in there to work with the Courts, similar to DRR Court specialists. The Government cannot keep blaming the Private sector and take responsibilty implementing a way forward to support these cases. It was their doing in the first place and accountability is key to working with this difficult group of people. Own it MOJ it is not that hard.

  12. I take the view that not everyone on probation or post sentence supervision needs to be there. Some don't need it, some are unsuitable, and for some it's always going to be just a rung on the merry-go-round and a quick route to custody.
    But if its to remain the case that all offenders leaving custody is subject to probation then the obvious question to be asked is why. What point, what purpose, and how does that going to benefit the offender and society as a whole?
    That TR has seen 40,000 more offenders been given support from the probation service is just a total lie. There's little or no support to be had. If anything, the inclusion of this group has swelled caseloads and made it more difficult to provide support across the board.
    In today's probation World, where the relationship between offender and probation officer is really based on fear, where the offender is fearful of being dragged back to prison if they disclose problems, and the PO is fearful of being dragged over the coals or dismissal if something goes wrong, surely someone's got to ask 'why' any particular person is on supervision in the first place?


    1. 6.34 and 8.50 back in the room.
      Totally agree with you, there are many who do not need this service. The 40,000 are a pick and mix group where case loads have been swamped. So lets share the load, we are trained enough to assess who's needs are greatest and act accordingly. This is a difficult client group to supervise but bring them back into the NPS and collectively under MOJ guidance see how we can deal with this piece of legislation. If it fails again at least MOJ have only themselves to blame for implementing it.

    2. And who decides who's deserving and who's not?

    3. Ask 'I am the intervention'.