Saturday, 6 August 2022

Probation to Disappear

Call me a cynic, but the Napo leadership must have woken up to the fact that the Eastbourne AGM is fast approaching and the membership will be eagerly expecting some rousing contributions from the top table. This from Friday's mailout to all members:-

Your Friday News from Napo HQ

‘One HMPPS’ – even more reason for Probation to be moved out from the department

Katie Lomas and Ian Lawrence write..

In yet another display of bad faith by senior HMPPS management, communications were issued earlier than had been agreed with the unions about the launch of the so called ‘one HMPPS’ programme.

What is it?

Members will recall the appalling message from the Prime Minister earlier this summer, which talked about reducing the ‘size of the state’ and cutting Civil Service numbers to 2016 levels. Following this, ‘One HMPPS’ is purportedly being launched to ensure closer regional alignment between Prisons and Probation in terms of high level operational matters and localised administrative functions.

Why we oppose it

Napo’s view is clear: this further major restructuring is being presented as a mask for future staff cuts across HQ functions in Prison and Probation despite the thin assurances that staff below Regional Probation Director level will be unaffected. This will not fool our members, who are seeing the daily populist tirade against public sector workers and their trade unions from both of the contenders for the Conservative Party leadership.

The General Secretary has sent a withering critique of the ‘One HMPPS’ programme to senior Probation leaders. Among other things this sets out our serious concerns about the stripping away of any semblance of separate support systems for Probation and the further de-professionalisation of the work carried out by our members.

We also reflect on recent history and how privatisation had such an egregious impact on the Probation Service.

The constant attempts to introduce more and more unwanted initiatives that are designed to instil a prison-centric culture into Probation and the regular insulting suggestions of the need to ‘professionalise’ Probation staff are unacceptable.

Probation is different and must always be

The letter also reminds management that we warned how the move into HMPPS many years ago was a risk to the profession and the threats posed by the needs of our larger and more costly partner in the prisons.

Finally, we say that if the Civil Service headcount needs to be reduced, then Napo have the perfect solution which is ‘oven ready’. Move the Probation Service out of the Civil Service into a non-departmental government body. In the public sector but freed from prison and removed from the Civil Service. Give Probation professionals the freedom to practice, give senior leaders the freedom to truly lead. Make the Probation Service locally accountable, enabling partnership working while retaining its unique culture and values.

Napo will be ramping up our campaign against this project in and outside of Parliament.

Calling all Napo members (Probation England and Wales) - your chance to hear about what Napo is trying to do on your behalf

Discussions on a number of major issues which directly impact on members have been taking place over the summer and are still ongoing. That’s why you are being invited to take part in the following meetings below. Come and listen to your National Officers and Officials about updates on Pay and Professional issues.

There will be 2 sessions on each of the following dates and we very much hope that members will be able to work one of these into your schedules. The First online meeting is: Tuesday 6 September at 12.30pm to 13.30pm and 3.30pm to 4.30pm. The Second online meeting is: Friday 30 September, again at 12.30pm to 13.30pm and 3.30pm to 4.30pm.

--oo00oo--

That 'withering critique' in full:-

Jim Barton
Director
Probation Reform Programme

By E-mail only
4th August 2022

Dear Jim,

Napo response to ‘One HMPPS’ announcement

While Napo intends to issue a report to our members this Monday to align with the release of the employers communications, I did indicate that Napo would offer our perspective on the ‘One HMPPS’ initiative.

Before doing so, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on some recent history to explain the basis of Napo’s antipathy to this project which, as you will see, we believe to have grave consequences for the Probation Service.

As a result of the disastrous Transforming Rehabilitation Programme in 2014, That part of Probation which was not subject to privatisation was brought into the Civil Service as the National Probation Service. This shadow of its former self was markedly different to the Service that existed before, with the Probation Trusts being abolished despite all having performance assessed as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and many having externally assessed marks of excellence.

The cancellation of the CRC contracts in 2021 moved the final elements of Probation work into the Civil Service and now all of the Probation System exists either as a direct provider, or in small regionally managed contracts for specialist support services. While reunification was obviously welcomed, the centralisation into a Civil Service culture has been a disaster for the profession.

The move away from Trusts that valued and supported the professionalism of their staff into the top-down command and control mechanisms of the Civil Service has stifled Professionalism so much that there is now a move, (led as ever by Senior MoJ and HMPPS Leaders) to introduce even more unwanted initiatives, purported to ‘professionalise’ Probation staff. As Napo has continually stated, this is an insulting term to highly skilled and committed professionals who have struggled to deliver a service in the face of cuts to budgets and staffing, following the previous disastrous and dangerous split in the system under TR, and its long term damage simply cannot be under estimated. It is unlikely that the decision makers in the Ministry of Justice will ever hear the true voice of the profession however, as they are so far removed from Probation, a tiny but hugely important part of the bigger machine that delivers Justice across England and Wales.

Now we are told that, in response to the announcement made by the outgoing Prime Minister about Civil Service Job Cuts, Probation will be subsumed into HMPPS and no longer exist with a separate framework to support it. Early versions of the communications about this move promised that decisions would be based on evidence and data which we have yet to see. It is not clear if this information will even make it into the final cut after Napo pointed out that this is the latest in a string of harmful decisions made on the basis of political whim with no appreciation of the facts.

Probation is different and must always be

The Probation System is markedly different to the Prison System. That does not mean that either one is better or worse, they are fundamentally different. The Prison system works on strict rules, security and hierarchy. These are necessary for the safety of staff and those in prison. The Probation system works on transparency, constantly questioning everything including instructions and rules. Probation training encourages the professional to question the system in which they, and their client, exist and to seek to understand and explore issues relating to power and control in their working relationships. This inevitably affects the way that those professionals respond to their own working relationships in their own supervision and management arrangements. Probation professionals should be expected to ask for evidence and data, to scrutinise the motivation for instructions and policy changes and, above all, to have an active voice in their own management.

For many years Napo has been warning that the move into HMPPS was a risk to the profession; the ‘One HMPPS’ programme is likely to realise these fears.

Probation as a profession will be under threat due to the needs of our larger and more costly partner in the prisons. Senior leaders will continue to struggle to make the voice of Probation heard and, in order to survive, will adopt more of a command and control approach, discouraging questioning and becoming more remote. The mantra of: ‘that’s not how Civil Service/HMPPS/Prisons do it’ will continue to be the stock response when those who retain Probation values and approaches try to be heard. It is important to note that in all the work done since 2014 to rebuild Probation in the Civil Service you never hear anyone say ‘that’s how Probation do it’. It is a great shame, there is much that our colleagues in the wider HMPPS and Civil Service could learn from the former Probation Trusts, especially those who were outstanding performers with externally verified excellence standards.

If the Civil Service headcount needs to be reduced, then Napo have the perfect solution which is ‘oven ready’. Move the Probation Service out of the Civil Service into a non-departmental government body. In the public sector but freed from prison and removed from the Civil Service. Give Probation professionals the freedom to practice, give senior leaders the freedom to truly lead. Make the Probation Service locally accountable, enabling partnership working while retaining its unique culture and values.

As previously stated, and for the formal record in all our future discussions about ‘One HMPPS’, Napo is implacably opposed to what we believe to be a direct threat to the profession, it’s staff and it’s vital role in the justice system and wider society.

In light of the foregoing you will not be surprised to hear that Napo will vigorously campaign in and outside of Parliament to achieve the aims outlined above.

Yours sincerely

Ian Lawrence
General Secretary

--oo00oo--

From the HMPPS job advert, April 2022:-

The HMPPS vision is based on working together to protect the public and help people lead law-abiding and positive lives. Whether staff work in prisons, probation, youth custody or HQ, we share the same vocational commitment to change lives. We are ‘One HMPPS’. 

The outcome of the Spending Review gives us clarity on the scale of investment to be made in improving the service we can offer. That certainty allows us to think afresh about how we operate to best deliver on our strategic priorities by enabling more effective ways of working.

To do this thinking, we are setting up a One HMPPS Programme. The programme will work with staff across the agency to develop proposals for a new service delivery model that: 
  • Allows for a “whole sentence” approach to the way we deliver our services, ensuring offender management services are better joined up across the whole of the offender journey; 
  • Empowers decision making at a regional level, enabling our leaders to ensure that the services they offer are tailored to the needs of and improve outcomes for users of our services; and 
  • Supports the sharing of resources, knowledge, information and skills through a new organisational structure that enables better outcomes and provides value for money.
We believe successful delivery of these objectives is critical in supporting the agency to meet the department’s key strategic priorities - to improve public protection and to reduce reoffending. 

This is an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a fast moving and far-reaching new programme that will offer ample opportunity to work across boundaries to design and implement change, and gain a unique insight into how large government agencies operate. 

I look forward to working with you! 

Amy Rees Programme Sponsor
Director General for Probation and Women, 
HMPPS.

119 comments:

  1. The constant Napo bleat from a team who are way out of touch. The one hmpps proposals are a redesign broad-scope. They have to be doing something to move along the central line orders. I did not read any implicit threats to any staff and besides should there be cuts the rush of volunteers to get out will be a stampede. The foolish leadership in Napo fail to appreciate opening these avenues for members is good news. The fact under staffing is an issue a re design may well look to create movement and role freedom. Napo says grave concern and yet offers nothing to explain why it's grave at such a stage without a list of real consequence. Napo seem to complain of bad faith as they wanted to delay the intentions. What the hell is napos explanation for an attempt at collusion to keep members in the dark for longer . Who does this GS think he is? It is not bad faith for an employer to share information and they should do so to non members who are equally important to anyone. Not be tied with with the Napo fumble weed. It is consultation and any changes may well suit many than the tired old Napo let's get back to divided past where some get outrageously better terms as they do now for the same unskilled computer data entry jobs which Napo got us locked into. Wake Napo from your own withered approach from the boring drone of Lawrence and co. Bloody useless and rubbish letters should have said we welcome a review at this time to see where we can agree advantages and benefits for our members and all staffing. Then we can consider how to eliminate any consequences of the developments to ensure our staff are protected across the board. Reductions are strictly voluntarily should there be any open to all to create opportunity and we get full agreements from staff as a collaborative change. Napo do not get it writing reports and freedom to practice what exactly are days long long gone and won't come back under the Tories ever. Wake woke Napo get real learn to be a trade union not a blah blah noise of nothing. Your letters in a file because the bin was to far to walk to.

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  2. I won’t be popular here when I say my old Trust was very much ‘command and control from the top down’ I quite liked the CRCs compared to my Trust …..

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    1. Trusts were the gateway to NOMS/HMPPS control, so you're not far wrong in my view
      Very few, if more than one, CRCs were a positive experience though

      Delete
  3. One HMPPS will end up meaning less #Probation. Staff already transferring to new prisons. PQiP adverts reissued as no applicants. Offices are “red sites” as no staff. We’re not even called Probation Officers any more!

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    Replies
    1. How about person centred responibilizers or bespoke mindful coach as a new job title instead of po ?

      Delete
    2. If you are a Probation Officer, call yourself one. Put it in your email signature, amend the templates. No one has taken that away from you.

      If you don't hold a PO qualification, don't call yourself one.

      Delete
    3. Whose stopping the use of Probation Officer? Comms only use probation practitioner to refer to PSOs as well, when what’s being talked about is equally relevant to them. I really don’t understand the concern here. It’s certainly better than ‘Offender Manager’ which was the last generic term (for those holding caseloads.) Probation Officer remains widely used when its relevant and specific to a quantified probation pratitioner

      Delete
  4. When the minister who directs prison policy and practice is also responsible for directing probation policy and practice, then it's difficult to see how probation can possibly avoid being further swallowed up by HMPPS.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers/minister-of-state-at-the-ministry-of-justice

    'Getafix

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    Replies
    1. Any views from Wales colleagues? Aren’t they already restructured? Would love to hear from staff there if they feel like they’ve lost their identity or are somehow worse off, or if it’s just helped build better relationships with their prisons.

      Delete
  5. From Twitter and Sally Lewis, former CEO Avon and Somerset Probation Trust:-

    "One HMPPS is not a new initiative, just a new name for a long held concept. This select committee evidence, given over a decade ago, is highly relevant and instructive for current understanding."

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmjust/519/11052302.htm

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    1. I’m not buying it. One HMPPS is bs.

      We need to separate probation from the prison service. We are not the same.

      Delete
    2. Narey: "The Probation Service is largely a graduate work force, and the Prison Service is largely prison officers, many of whom joined before there was even a requirement for five GCSEs... A big step into putting that right for me was to give greater influence to probation officers. When probation officers talked to me about when they were going into prisons that I was running, I was very struck about their sense that they weren't treated with respect and that their opinion wasn't taken seriously... What would have made NOMS a success was what was an historic agreement between David Blunkett, who was then Home Secretary, and Lord Chief Justice Woolf. They agreed that the prison population would not be allowed to rise above 80,000. It was about 76,000 at the time. We were on the verge of putting that into legislation. If that had happened, and through sentencing guidelines we had been able to manage the prison population a little better, then I am very clear that we could have found some of the resources to put into the probation side of NOMS to make offender management a success."

      "Although the Probation Service is full of terrific, dedicated people, certainly when I was running it, I thought some things done by the Probation Service, such as the management of unpaid work or community punishment as it was, were done very badly and very expensively. I always suspected from my own observation that the statistics we read about the number of hours of unpaid work that are not completed were a significant underestimate... "


      snippets from the link referred to

      Despite his cute revisionist account in retrospect, Narey did probation no favours = not as DG prisons & certainly not as head of NOMS. He was just another career bully in a shiny suit who could spin like a chiuld's top.

      Delete
    3. It is interesting to see the origin of the quote from Lord or Sir Martin (what is he now?)

      It came from 2011 when he was being questioned by Lizz Truss when he was before the House of Commons Justice Select Committee - her remarks suggest she was almost totally ignorant of probation and it's background and traditions - I did not get the impression that she had learned much more by the time she was replaced as Lord Chancellor in June 2017 - so I think there are grounds for pessimism if she fulfils the bookmakers expectatations and becomes prime Minister in a few weeks time


      https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmjust/519/519ii.pdf

      Delete
  6. From Twitter:-

    "NAPO have spent years moaning about centralisation and the ever end increasing size of the centre. HMPPS create a programme to reduce HQ and devolve decision making down to regional leaders…. NAPO kick off about potential HQ job losses. Make your mind up."

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  7. From Twitter:-

    "Here's a little snippet for you in prison being resistant to change was a negative comment for prisoners, likewise how many times have you described a PoP on Oasys as resistant to change?"

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  8. 16 May 2019: "Win! Napo celebrates as probation services returned to public sector"

    4 Aug 2022: "the centralisation into a Civil Service culture has been a disaster for the profession"


    3-year Pay Claim - Napo accept the professionalisation agenda

    4 Aug 2022: "The move... into the top-down command and control mechanisms of the Civil Service has stifled Professionalism so much that there is now a move... purported to ‘professionalise’ Probation staff."

    "Move the Probation Service out of the Civil Service into a non-departmental government body."

    And there are many many more examples of quotes & sentiments expressed on this blog over the last decade now being appropriated by Napo GS.

    Could this mean alignment & enlightenment?

    Pity its a decade too late.

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    Replies
    1. "Could this mean alignment & enlightenment?" This is what I love about this blog and its readers - knowledge, insight, wit, but above all, humour!

      Delete
    2. There was talk several years ago by the MoJ (I remember posting an article about it at the time), of creating a generic role of criminal justice officer.
      An interchangeable role where if not being in the probation office doing OASyS, you could be walking the landings locking and unlocking doors.
      All part of the same organisation?

      'Getafix

      Delete
    3. Are you "Getafix" referring to when Probation Officers were almost - this really did happen - I heard it direct from the mouth of Martin Narey - privately to me and one other colleague -"CRAPOs" - apparently the new name was almost about to be announced when some one somewhere with the ear of the right person at the MOJ got them to think through the implications.

      Delete
    4. I can't be entirely sure Andrew that it was CRAPO I was referring to, but I do recall the acronym.

      Coincidentally however, I've just read a new government bulletin on training and career pathways for prison officers.
      It seems quite clear to me that the MoJ see very little separation between prison and probation.

      "The Prison Service offers opportunities for long and varied careers, in both operational and non-operational roles. A detailed, interactive careers pathway framework which showcases this has been developed to allow all employees to see the career options and jobs available to them across not just prisons, but probation and HQ."

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/looking-after-our-people-the-prison-service-employee-package/looking-after-our-people-the-prison-service-employee-package

      'Getafix

      Delete
  9. This is what’s happens when you a docile and deprofessionalised workforce nothing will change exit stage right

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  10. From this very blog back in Sept 2013, words directed at Grayling:

    "You've divided a cohesive & experienced staff group into those who will be at the mercy of whoever holds political power & those who will be at the mercy of unknown shareholders.

    You've placed the futures of our most dangerous population in the hands of political pawns, i.e the public 'servants' whose sole desire is to please their masters &/or further their own political careers.

    You've devastated a profession that has been primarily vulnerable because of its innate honesty and honour; a profession that has never been focused upon meeting artificial targets or political ends; that has never been motivated by financial reward; that has never been desperate to be in the limelight. It was, until politicians got their grubby hands on it, a vocational profession wherein those who chose to join & practice did so for "good" rather than for "profit" or "gain". "

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    Replies
    1. Thanks 19:11 for reminding us of this - maybe you were the author? I've been looking back to 2013 as well and some remarkable contributions during that period. It's a wonderfully rich historical record to refresh our memories and hopefully educate others as to how the hell we got here.

      Delete
    2. They didn’t care then and they don’t care now.

      Delete
  11. Just dug up some old paperwork from July 2015 which reminded me of the blatant lies told by Sodexo, MoJ & anyone else regarding their offer of reduced severance over the Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy. It comes from Sodexo's own Q&A (so-called) 'factsheet':

    * WHY AREN’T YOU OFFERING THE EVR TERMS?

    "Sodexo bid for six CRC contracts on the understanding that the EVR terms would be subject to negotiation with the relevant employee representatives following the sale. The Sodexo bid and proposed future operating model has been developed on this basis.

    The cost of the EVR terms is extremely high and if a voluntary redundancy scheme was offered to staff on the EVR terms, the business would be severely limited in the number of applications it could accept. In some CRCs it is possible that no applications at all would be accepted. As a result the CRC would be forced to reach the proposed staffing reductions through a compulsory redundancy process. This is something that we wanted to avoid as far as possible.

    Sodexo has therefore developed an alternative voluntary severance package."


    No mention whatsoever of the £multi-million Modernisation Fund bung they had already pocketed, as provided by Francis Maude's Cabinet Office, to cover the costs of all voluntary redundancies; the very same bung acknowledged by Andrew Selous in his Parliamentary Written Answer a month earlier, i.e. 8 June 2015:

    "As part of the arrangements for the transfer of services from probation trusts to Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC’s), an enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme was put in place, in line with the terms of the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections agreed with the probation Trade Unions, and funded by monies from the Modernisation Fund to support a sustainable reduction in resource requirements. An initial wave of redundancies was made in advance of the letting of the contracts for the CRCs, and the remaining monies were transferred to the CRCs on a pro rata basis to be used for the same purpose. While we have no plans to reclaim any monies allocated to CRCs from the Modernisation Fund, we have robust contract management arrangements in place to ensure that they are used for the purposes for which they were provided. Contract management teams are in place in each Contract Package Area to oversee each CRC operation."

    I raised this obvious sleight-of-hand with Napo HQ at the time, but never received a response.

    Anyone surprised that what's left of Probation is to be disappeared by this right-of-right tory junta?

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    Replies
    1. "I raised this obvious sleight-of-hand with Napo HQ at the time, but never received a response."

      Something I heard many times - indeed I'm sure I later learned that after staff departures at Napo, at least one email account was discovered with numerous unread emails from members......

      Delete
    2. That be the useless deputy as is the leader. Both witless. Lawrence walked us into this and quelled any rebellious members who were shouting out . It will come home to us but not him he will get out before being held to account.

      Delete
    3. If that were true I'd have to aks why the GS allowed such a breach of trust to be hidden from the membership? Maybe a napo member could raise it with the Certification Officer?

      "You can complain to the Certification Officer about a trade union if you’re a member."

      https://www.gov.uk/complain-trade-union

      Delete
    4. I'm not sure what your driving at as any complaints about anything generally go nowhere. what we can be sure of if this government continue its anti worker agenda then Napo are finished anyway as the collective bargaining mechanism has already been diminished under the current inadequate .

      Delete
    5. Too complicated 8:48 what the post at 20:58 does not appear to appreciate is the man is not up to the job and consequently folds on all issues for members.

      Delete
  12. "The message is clear... if your conditions are being attacked, if your pay is being attacked, if your jobs are being stripped from you, you are in a class struggle"

    https://twitter.com/SaulStaniforth/status/1555811889678061568

    ReplyDelete
  13. Napo are a complete waste of time and your n the current cost of living crisis people would do well to cancel their subscription. Bunch of militant moaners who achieve nothing other than to stir up anxiety among an already overwhelmed staff group. Where’s our pay deal Napo? Where’s anything you promised? Stop moaning and start working on your cases which is where your time is better spent. Disgraceful behaviour and as an organisation yuh should be ashamed of yourselves given how difficult things are for frontline staff.Wake up and smell what your shovelling!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just found this. An interesting read I thought.

    "A difficult trip. The end days of probation"

    "Probation has been pushed down the wrong road ever since Michael Howard declared prison works."

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301237807_'A_difficult_trip_I_think_The_end_days_of_the_probation_service_in_England_and_Wales

    'Getafix

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    Replies
    1. George Mair in 2016:

      "The probation service has been a key part of the criminal justice process for more than 100 years. It deals with more offenders than the prison service; it is more successful than prison in terms of reconviction rates, and it is considerably cheaper than prison. Its advantages as a court sentence seem to be only too clear. Yet, prison remains the gold standard for punishment in England and Wales while the probation service is facing a bleak future. How has it come about that the existence of probation is now under serious threat? That a vital public service is faced with extinction? This article explores the issues that have led to the possibility that probation’s days are numbered."

      Delete
    2. *This* is a poignant closing observation by Mair (originally made in 2013 before it was published in 2016):

      "Almost 100 years ago, T S Eliot published one of the key works of literary modernism. By the time the centenary of The Waste Land is celebrated – in 2022 – the probation service may have disappeared and if this is the case we will be in a penal wasteland, and that would be a 21st century tragedy. The probation service has been the civilising influence in our criminal justice system and without it we face a bleak future."

      Delete
    3. Sound familiar???

      "around half of Chief Officers left the service in 2001 when the NPS was introduced and a generous redundancy package was made available; and these were highly experienced individuals"

      "Key Performance Indicators began to drive what the service did and – as such indicators or targets tend to do – they distorted the work of the service towards what could be measured and what the Home Office decided were the priorities. Financial incentives meant that services that failed to hit targets lost out on resources instead of gaining to help them improve their work. "

      Delete
    4. Mair also, very fairly & very squarely, highlights that probation has always been its own worst enemy:

      "What were the responses to these issues of poor management, inconsistent practice and a lack of evidence on effectiveness? Increasing central control and accountability (performance indicators, targets, financial incentives, managerialism), the development of national standards, a national risk/needs assessment score, a joint prison/probation accreditation panel, ultimately a National Probation Service, and the What Works initiative."

      Probation never learned any lessons from its historical laissez faire approach to its purpose; which, from my perspective, was part of its charm.

      If we could have had hard-nosed managers who were committed to the cause & prepared to provide an 'iron dome' for the frontline practitioners, probation-as-was might still be in existence. Sadly we have probation-as-is, with self-interested career bullies shitting on everyone else in a bid to show how carefully sanistised their own patch is.

      The end-user, the client, the person sent to be supervised, has become simply someone who is likely to go to prison at some point... maybe pre-probation, maybe post-probation...

      ... And now, maybe no probation at all.

      Delete
  15. Prison officer I know already talking about probation being subsumed into regional command and control centres and linked to local prisons, they’ve been talking about it for a while it seems......

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  16. From Twitter:-

    "We have lost our identity swallowed up by prison , civil service. No professional judgement left no common sense approach. Lost our way!"

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    1. I warned colleagues pos especially don't train the poa staff did they listen . Noooo

      Delete
  17. https://twitter.com/daniscross/status/1556575864342683648?s=20&t=v2r3fvYSczNJP4ATDc7vkw

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  18. The probation service started to disappear under the Trusts, contrary to IL’s romanticised role as Trusts protecting professionalism. Naps should be focusing on pay, instead of saving the soul of probation, they’ll be no second coming.

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    Replies
    1. correct - trusts merely delineated tasks, de-professionalised roles & empowered a handful of wannabe-ceo's to bully staff with impunity.

      GenSec & others at Napo HQ are focused on protecting their exit packages.

      "There'll be no second coming" - also correct.

      Its over. Its been over for probation for a good while but HMPPS are now about to save some kW/hours & knock off the life support.

      Delete
  19. Interesting, 17:20. I am personally deeply invested in saving the soul of probation. But if the soul of probation isnt saved, then its a tuppeny ha'penny job and not the profession, so I reckon we are on the same page. Whether it can be saved, is a whole other question. If not we can all bicker about the shitty wages and the awful conditions. Can we find some common ground and bicker for some better pay just for the hell of it argue for a transformational and progressive institution freed from the clutches of the MoJ and HMPPS?

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  20. NAPO can’t do anything because apart from the people who read this blog they have a docile and robotic membership , that’s the crux , if we had the same membership as the RMT then there would be mandates for action and unity , it’s simply daft to keep slagging of a union which as on the whole a weak membership base, that’s why our pay is rubblish and nothing will change


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    1. I agree 10:28: there’s a history of membership apathy and a depressing number of times when voter turnout has been disappointingly low and when picket lines have been crossed rather than supported. We seek where such apathy and docility leads: the nosediving of pay and conditions. One of the reasons why probation is constantly being ‘reformed’ and ‘restructured’ is that it’s easy to bully a weak workforce. A stronger workforce would be able to negotiate change, not have it imposed. Which is why I think ‘withering letters’ will wither and merely create an illusion that something can be done. However, in the current economic climate Napo will never get a better opportunity to wake up the membership and instead of getting worked up by change agendas, they should hammer away on the insulting rates of pay and reminding the membership that they will only stand a chance of stopping the rot if they act together.

      Delete
    2. Abandoning Napo is a big mistake as they are recognised by the employers and have a seat at the negotiating table even though the current GS is a weak link. Those who want reform need to join the union and use its democratic structures to demand change. A union is instructed to act by its members via motions. Join and get active. Support your local branch and strengthen the trade unions voice. Stop mourning past golden ages and concentrate on what you can do now before there is nothing left to complain about. Those in power want us to be be divided.

      Delete
    3. “Support your local branch and strengthen the trade unions voice”

      If you mean Napo, that’d be like trying to strengthen the foundations of a sandcastle when the tide is coming in.

      Delete
  21. Thanks go to the reader for spotting this on Politico Aug 1st:-

    "SPOTTED: Getting into the spirit last night at Wembley was none other than Tory leadership favorite Liz Truss, flanked by her own dream team of Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and campaign manager Thérèse Coffey. Also in attendance was Antonia Romeo, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, who has been tipped for Cabinet secretary if Truss gets the top job."

    https://www.politico.eu/newsletter/london-playbook/footballs-home-southern-showdown-nad-for-it/

    ReplyDelete
  22. I dialled into a briefing today on the changes to parole (not being allowed to make recommendations) and it was cancelled as there has been a legal challenge made. Anybody know more about this? Trainer told us all the guidance my have to change if this legal challenge is upheld 🤦🏻

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a judgment urgently handed-down on 9 August 2022 (R (Bailey) v SSJ [2022] EWHC 2125 (Admin)) the Administrative Court has granted interim relief to ensure that the Parole Board hearing a review of the continued need or otherwise for detention of an individual shall receive the evidence it chooses to.

      Philip Rule of No5 acts for the Claimant, instructed by Gintare Daukintyte, of Instalaw Solicitors.

      The case follows the Secretary of State for Justice introducing changes to the Parole Board Rules in July 2022 (by statutory instrument S.I. 2022/717) without prior consultation by which it appears the aim is to prevent the expert report writers from providing their recommendations – positive or negative – to the judicial body which has hitherto received their evaluations of progress made and manageability of risk on licence. (Read more about the rule change here.

      Beyond the rules a detailed guidance was delivered that sought to instruct witnesses as to what they could or could not say at a hearing, and which was accompanied by 15 training sessions run to ensure probation officers and psychologists were told what they should be saying in evidence and what the Secretary of State wished to prevent them from answering.

      Whilst the full claim is yet to be heard, the Court accepted that for the imminent parole hearing the witnesses must not be prevented from giving their full evidence and answering all questions put to them.

      The Judge said:

      "If I refuse relief, I would be permitting the Secretary of State to have independent control over the evidence given to the panel at the claimant’s hearing. There is a strong risk that I would therefore be allowing an interference with the judicial processes of the Board and an interference with its statutory duty to consider all evidence that might be adduced before it."


      "If I grant interim relief, I would be allowing the Panel to deal with matters as it thinks appropriate and entrusting the Panel with the right to decide on its own procedure, to ask questions it wishes to ask and thereby to receive evidence it might consider relevant. It will then be in a position to deal with the evidence in accordance with the law and the rules as it interprets them."

      Bearing in mind that the guidance is not primary or secondary legislation, does not support the amended rules and appears to interfere with the judicial functions of the Board and bearing in mind the claimant’s right to a fair and impartial hearing pursuant to Art.5(4) the balance of convenience in my view comes down strongly in favour of granting the relief sought.

      The Court also rejected an attempt by the Secretary of State to rewrite the guidance during the hearing of the application, by which the Secretary of State conceded parts of what the instruction said went further than it should and suggested officers would be provided with new instruction along amended lines – though it remains unclear when or if this suggested change shall be given effect.

      The Judge expressed surprise at the hearing that the Parole Board itself remained a non-participating interested party in the proceedings and did not make any submissions to the Court.

      It is anticipated that this judgment will be welcomed by the unions representing probation officers who have pointed out the risk to the public that the changes introduce in cases where they would wish to recommend remaining in custody, for example.

      Delete
    2. https://amp-theguardian-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2022/aug/07/leaked-report-suggests-dominic-raab-trying-to-curb-judges-powers?amp_gsa=1&amp_js_v=a9&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&aoh=16601189262852&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fpolitics%2F2022%2Faug%2F07%2Fleaked-report-suggests-dominic-raab-trying-to-curb-judges-powers

      Delete
  23. Ah, Antonio Romeo. Curiously reminds me of Dolores Umbridge. Are they in any way related?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. July 2020:

      "A Whitehall chief tipped to be the first female head of the civil service is said to have arranged to get free paint for her official New York apartment in exchange for promoting Farrow & Ball.

      Antonia Romeo, 45, was nicknamed “Strong White” by her staff in reference to the colour of the £75 tins of the upmarket brand she allegedly received.
      Sponsored

      A leaked file of claims, including bullying, was dismissed by Downing Street yesterday, which insisted that allegations had been investigated and Mrs Romeo had been cleared..."

      paywall

      https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/whitehall-frontrunner-in-row-over-free-paint-offer-xzwnbdz7h

      July 2022

      Simon Case is expected to offer to step down from his role as cabinet secretary when the new prime minister takes office in September.

      https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/simon-case-expected-to-stay-as-cabinet-secretary-but-not-for-very-long-nvnsqxr8s

      paywall

      Feb 2022

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/02/01/boris-johnsons-partygate-shake-up-unravels-fire-top-civil-servant/

      paywall

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9305603/Boris-Johnsons-fianc-e-Carrie-Symonds-tried-damage-careers-women-civil-servants.html

      In a separate clash, this newspaper has learned that Miss Symonds made a baseless sexual insult against Mrs Romeo, who was tipped to become Britain’s first female Cabinet Secretary last year.

      In an angry tirade, she said high-flying diplomat Mrs Romeo was not fit to be head of the Civil Service but would stop at nothing to get the job.

      Not long after the outburst, Mr Johnson picked ex-Royal aide Simon Case as his No10 Permanent Secretary, ahead of Mrs Romeo.

      Mrs Romeo’s hopes suffered a blow when, days after nominations closed for the Cabinet Secretary’s job, details of allegations against her from 2017 were leaked.

      She was cleared of any wrongdoing and continued to rise through Whitehall ranks. But the damage was done.

      Delete
  24. Royal Mail strike ballot: on 77 percent turnout 96 percent vote for strike action. Meanwhile, the probation unions ‘campaign’.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well done Instalaw. All power to the "Lefty Lawyers" and I hope the "Enemies of the State" find in their favour

    ReplyDelete
  26. A PO is not someone who should be taken advantage of, especially by being blamed for something that sits within the Parole Boards legal obligation to exercise. PO’s are nobody's patsy and the Parole Board need to stop hanging all future blame on the PO.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 0736 the union membership of postal workers will take action , most probation staff won’t that’s not the unions fault but the membership of criminology graduate robots my advice move to social care of youth justice and get a 5 grand pay rise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pie in the sky. You can't get £5k more than band 4 Maxima in social care in youth justice or social care. Besidea, unless you qualified as a SW pre DipPS, you can't walk in to either profession.

      Delete
    2. Postal workers are blue collar so therefore more working class, whereas being a probation officer, especially nowadays when a university degree is a requirement, is a white collar profession. Theyre still workers of course, but might differ in class interests, or ways of achieving them. Youve got people like Mick Lynch reaching out to other workers and talking openly about the cost of living, whereas probation/napo are silent.

      Delete
  28. Senior occupational psychologists working for MOJ, a registered professional qualified to doctorate level, only earn the same as Band 5 SPO grades.

    Don't get your hopes up for a pay rise any time soon.

    https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1806218

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well well well this is because Napo sold out on the national job evaluation agreement. Nice job they did against members interests. Nasty bunch.

      Delete
    2. A quite extraordinary amount of anti trade union and anti trades unionist comment on here that is likely to dissuade the new entrants to probation from even considering joining one. Local branches that are the lifeblood of any union struggle to fill posts. Bleating about particular leaders serves no purpose as they are not up for election and there has not been a motion proposing a vote of no confidence Any member of a union can submit one. Napo is operating constitutionally and the body that holds it to account is its NEC. Every branch in Napo has NEC reps and any full member can apply to be one. If you don’t like what a union is doing then join get involved and change it. Making snide remarks don’t achieve anything. Try to bear in mind that the MoJ are well resourced and skilled to manage social media and they are keen to steer the course of the narrative particularly when engaged in delicate negotiations. This blog is often quoted as evidence that unions should not be listened to at all and the most appalling plans given the Green Light without consultation as a result. So yes union haters you have if anything accelerated the rot.

      Delete
    3. Simply not true 21:32

      Delete
    4. Can you point to any real victory. When faced with so many losses . Napo is ineffective they don't even pretend to try and defend anymore.

      Delete
    5. Anon 13:56 "This blog is often quoted as evidence that unions should not be listened to at all and the most appalling plans given the Green Light without consultation as a result."

      That's quite an astonishing observation and if correct some might say serves to underline the absurdity of Napo refusing to acknowledge its existence for 12 years, let alone engaging with it.

      It's worth noting that since introducing comment moderation, I delete much negative Napo material unless reasonably coherent and well-argued.

      Delete
    6. Napo would be better placed if they actually listened to/read this blog & took note of the comments offered by contributors - some are absurd, some are provocative, some are tainted by perception BUT most seem to be based on members' experiences... and most seem to be pro-union in principle, angry that napo is failing to do what it says on the tin, i.e. "The Trade Union, Professional Association and campaigning organisation for Probation and Family Court staff."

      Delete
    7. @anon 13:56 - agree, although would add that newbies in probation work might also be put off/less interested in unions due to they're own class position; probation work being a white collar profession and requiring a university degree means it leans more middle class.
      Social work, which is very similar to probation work, is solidly middle class, and has historically been antagonistic to the working class. If my memories right, Unison is they're union and it has been, or at least was supportive of Sir Keir, who we must all know by now is a Blairite, so anti-working class.

      Delete
    8. Anti Napo yes anti union no??
      849 good point well made. Many of us were desperate to get the Napo immovable centre to act on behalf of the fee paying membership. Napo stalled it took massive campaigning by this blog to force the then incompetent chairs and keystone cops style leader into understanding what their role was. I actually think jr for tr was a blog initiative which could have been more strategic but the undisclosed submissions never shared to members because some of us know it was couched so badly it could never have been taken seriously. That's what we get for electing this rubbish and they are rubbish. However if Napo took itself seriously and spent some money on proper advice collaborated within a strategic union partnership it would fair better for my support. The current leadership is broken.

      Delete
  29. Two things that have been reinforced for me this week:
    1. The relationship is the foundation on which anything of any worth will be built
    2. If you expect someone to behave in a certain way, they probably will

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. It is profoundly disruptive to treat a person as if they werent the person they and everyone else has decided they are. (Not that I am going to vote for or forgive Tory party any time soon)

      Delete
    2. This is the helpful kind of philosophy which shapes a service and defines its culture....instead what do we get? Corporate clap trap about risk registers and OASYS completions, or kulvinders musings about pop songs or football teams

      Delete
  30. https://twitter.com/AvaSantina/status/1558052561495678976?t=bbUGWEYTIaz-U8bkuaHWNQ&s=19

    He could be speaking about TR1. Literally explains the farce of CRCs and the ridiculous payments received.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Can anyone explain why since probation was reformed some offices originally NPS have for some years been getting extra money due to market forces. The crc offices are equally short staffed but despite being part of the new probation service for over a year do not receive this benefit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Easy - Grayling deemed the NPS (as was in 2014) to be the cream-of-the-crop high risk kool-kats & the CRCs to be the NPS rejects handed over free-of-charge to the CRC gangmasters. So he ensured that budgets for the pseudo-civil service crew would be more generous in order to keep the sleight-of-hand viable.

      Delete

    2. Ian Lavery - There is the potential for 900 probation officers to be made compulsorily redundant within just three CRCs in the very near future. These are the people who stood by the Government at the time of the transitional period into privatisation. They should not be penalised; they should be praised. Will the Minister guarantee that these professionals receive full voluntary redundancy terms and will not be booted out? They provide a very valuable service in the role provided by these private companies on the cheap.

      Andrew Selous - I repeat what I said just now—we will make sure that the community rehabilitation companies comply with employment law as they are supposed to do. We closely monitor their performance in line with the contracts that they have signed.

      https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-01-26/debates/16012625000024/ProbationServiceWorkers

      Delete
    3. WARNING - SOME MAY SEE THIS AS ANOTHER ANTI-UNION POST. It isn't. Its an observation of what actually happened.

      MP's Voice of Concern: "There is the potential for 900 probation officers to be made compulsorily redundant within just three CRCs in the very near future. These are the people who stood by the Government at the time of the transitional period into privatisation. They should not be penalised; they should be praised."

      Voice of Napo et al: "Nah, fuck 'em. The CRCs have a point; they never signed up to the EVR. Let Sodexo (the newly appointed owners of those three CRCs) do their worst, we've got our own salaries to protect. Quick, abandon the judicial review."

      Sodexo: "The cost of the EVR terms is extremely high and if a voluntary redundancy scheme was offered to staff on the EVR terms, the business would be severely limited in the number of applications it could accept."

      Govt: "As part of the arrangements for the transfer of services from probation trusts to Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC’s), an enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme was put in place, in line with the terms of the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections agreed with the probation Trade Unions, and funded by monies from the Modernisation Fund to support a sustainable reduction in resource requirements... the remaining monies were transferred to the CRCs on a pro rata basis to be used for the same purpose."

      Napo et al: "The National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) said it was withdrawing its judicial review after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling gave a series of undertakings to the court."

      Staff: "Thanks Napo & co. We've been well & truly fucked over. We thought we were worth more than this. But ok, message received, see ya!"

      Govt: A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "We are pleased Napo have backed down before they could waste even more time and money."

      Napo GS: " Here is what I have said to Michael Spurr on this very subject:

      18th December 2014

      Dear Michael,

      Following on from the Judicial Review proceedings, those of us at Napo who were in the confidentiality ring are somewhat at a loss to understand why you would not want to make your submissions to the High Court publicly available in the spirit of open government, transparency and accountability. Moreover, it is our belief that if probation staff were able to read your submissions, then they would better comprehend the ministerial decision to proceed with the sale of the CRCs."

      Delete
    4. If it was not so awfully true I might laugh. However the stap
      that's the staff transfer arrangements protection into CRC second round will not provide any enhanced redundancy prospects. These were all time limited and I did not see any carry over of the terms . So 900 to won't be costly. Let's hope the over 55s are many in order to get a pension. Anyone under will also lose reductions protections. Double bad news. Anti Napo no but the general secretary sits on a 100k per year for doing nothing and on a membership of less 5k who's having a laugh. Napo will only be thinking how many are members subscription will it lose.

      Delete
  32. same old divide & rule shit

    http://probationmatters.blogspot.com/2019/11/transfer-news.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. Excerpts from a newspaper report of a case seen on't'internet. As always we must be mindful that there could be key information missing &/or the possibility of facts being misrepresented or misreported.

    "A pensioner whose marriage fell apart after he had a stoke has been sentenced for stalking his estranged wife.... The “possessive and paranoid” behaviour displayed by the 69-year-old left his wife terrified... In an earlier hearing, the prosecution outlined how the trouble began after the def. suffered a stroke last year. He was drinking most days and became possessive and paranoid... Defence solicitor said the new offences came during what had been a “traumatic and emotional phase” in def.'s life and there was a clear link between his at times "bizarre" behaviour and the stroke."

    What would you suggest as a sentence if you were asked to write a report (which seems increasingly unlikely in these modern times)?

    Time was a probation report might have incorporated an independent assessment from a physical/mental health perspective; maybe undertaken liaison with an older adults social worker & substance misuse team...


    Seems he was given an 18-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. He must complete 20 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Time was a probation report might have incorporated an independent assessment from a physical/mental health perspective; maybe undertaken liaison with an older adults social worker & substance misuse team..."

      Are you suggesting a mental health perspectives good or better in some way ? If so, what makes you think that the mental health industry is in some way free from bs ? Not to say that mental health assessments are bad - clearly people do suffer from mental illness and this can impact behaviour, and psychologizing offending might be an improvement compared to viewing them as innately deviant. At the same time, it still lets capitalism off the hook, and allows the mental health and criminal justice industries to expand, rather than making the necessary changes for an equal society.

      Delete
    2. Uh? I'm sorry but I don't really understand what you are trying to say.

      Perhaps a health assessment could have offered an informed view as to the link between the stroke & the def's behaviour? Good? Yes. Better? No, just likely to be more appropriate.

      Not sure what to make of the rest of the post:

      "psychologizing offending"?
      "innately deviant"?
      "letting capitalism off the hook"?

      Apologies that I have missed the point.

      Delete
    3. We agree assessments can be useful. I was on about the wider mental health field and its pit falls.

      Delete
    4. I agree with annon @10:51.

      There are complex issues involved with the case referred to, and they require a much broader consideration then just probation opinion.
      Indeed, how can risk be assessed in such a case if probation are not furnished with a mental health report?
      Probation might see a lot of people with mental health issues walking through its doors, but it would be very wrong for probation workers to assume (or assess) without medical input, to what degree someones mental health has influenced their offending.

      https://www.countypress.co.uk/news/20626019.isle-wight-man-jailed-failing-follow-probation-requests/

      This case, again all facts are not reported, but there's obviously broader issues at play then just innate criminal intent.
      15wks imprisonment, released half way.
      Not long enough to be given any help, and in under two months back on the street, subject to probation again with the same level of risk of harm.
      I suggest that this person has just stepped into the revolving door. When they've gone through it enough times what caused the original offence will have been buried under the number of recalls they've had and the associated reports explaining the bad attitudes, the non compliance, and poor behaviour that has invoked those recalls.
      They will have become a 'deviant' regardless of the base cause of the original offence.
      It's all very disturbing

      'Getafix

      Delete
  34. I’m sure the UPW will help probably a PSR written by a criminology graduate , ready to breach him as we talk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probation doesn't work without the social work ethos.
      Probation is in the state it is today because the social work ethos was removed.
      Probation services operating without a social work ethos shouldn't be called probation, it should be renamed like the constant renaming of those that get pushed through the service.
      Probation is a public service, it has a responsibility to ALL the public, which includes those released from custody and subject to court orders.
      If probation is to survive it needs to reinvent itself pretty quickly because its trajectory seems clear to me.
      Todays probation officers will become probation workers, then probation operatives, then parole officers or rehabilitation officers or such like.
      That's bad for those subjected to the service, and it's bad for those within the service because the road probation is on can only lead to deskilling, eroded conditions, and reduced remuneration.
      How and why will probation be any better (for anyone) in five years time?

      'Getafix

      Delete
    2. Whats the social work ethos ?

      Delete
  35. Apologies for returning to the TU thread however a growing number of probation staff now feel like Napo are just looking for baseless arguments to make members think they are active on their behalf. Making everything in probation a Napo shouting point serves only to reinforce their militant approach to bullying probation into long and pointless
    Discussion on trivial matters. If probation are to free themselves from the civil service command and control they would do well to include Napo within the broader and growing problem of who is slowing down progress towards a new probation service that can innovate and be be the dynamic organisation they want to be. Napo are part of the problem and definitely not the solution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, lets hope a new Chair and other Exec members can shake things up and make a few changes.

      Delete
  36. “What is the social work ethos? “ FFS how far have we come/declined? The very essence of probation is being eroded and I am genuinely sorry that many new staff will never know what we were, what we stood for, what we fought against and what we championed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “What is the social work ethos?"

      Middle/upper-middle class Victorian morality.

      Delete
  37. 18:13 stop bleating. To many of us Probation has been a job, that’s all. The job changes, as does the new people joining. It no better or worse, just different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a lot worse.

      Delete
    2. 2351, 18.13 provided their opinion, that if people are asking "what is the social work ethos" then this is further evidence about how denigrated our service had become. That is not "bleating"...how dare you. Thos forum is for people to provide their opinion...

      You believe the service is no better or worse, fine. I, too, believe this fractured model of "referring out" to disparate services and interventions leaving the role of the probation officer bereft of meaning and credibility to be the low point of practice. I've worked here for 15 years and even within that time see the quality of our services and practitioners nose dive....probation has become pointless, hence why NQO leave before they become trapped in endless meaningless OASYS and lose their confidence in their ability to be employable elsewhere

      Delete
    3. Anon 15:47 - you've just described whats happening in nhs mental health services, which many probationers are also service users of re referring out to other services, often all charities who are making £££ out of it. All really ethical of course. Its done under the guise of offering choice and promoting independence, but its really just a way of trying to make people less reliant on the service, and allows the service to avoid improving pay and conditions because they can utilise lesser skilled workers in the third sector. A lot of the newer cco's are good at the box ticking, but totally depoliticized, and unthinking. To them, its a cushty white collar career, and they want that pmc lifestyle.

      Delete
    4. Different = more neoliberal

      Delete
  38. "To many of us Probation has been a job, that’s all."

    Probation has been disappeared by the prison service junta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the interest of balance, some might say Probation disappeared up its own arse

      I'm of the view that the political class have been clamouring for control of Probation for the last three decades.

      NOMS/HMPPS were the agents of control used by myopic politicians over the last 20 years or so to make Probation invisible & seize control of the criminal classes:

      The role of honour in date order 1989-2022:

      Waddington, Baker, K.Clarke, Howard, Straw, Blunkett, C.Clarke, Reid, Straw, Grayling, Gove, Truss, Lidington, Gauke, Buckland, Raab

      The keen-eyed will note I've missed K.Clarke's second stint in 2010 because, in my opinion, he was trying to redress the balance in his twilight years. His efforts startled the tory ultras & they replaced him with Grayling in 2012:

      "The appointment of Ken Clarke as the new Justice Secretary may have saved the Human Rights Act 1998 from repeal."

      "Ken Clarke has warned David Cameron that replacing him with a right-winger in the forthcoming reshuffle will lead to the "retoxification" of the Tory party."

      "The Prime Minister promoted Chris Grayling to Justice Secretary, replacing veteran Ken Clarke, who had been criticised as too soft."

      And Clarke made a PR gaffe (which was exploited to the max) when trying to explain sentencing issues:

      https://www.channel4.com/news/miliband-calls-for-ken-clarke-resignation-over-rape-comments

      And this, for me, moved Ken from slimiest of toads to intelligent human being with an agenda:

      "After being dumped in last week's ministerial reshuffle, the veteran voiced concerns over the economy and revealed Margaret Thatcher wanted to scrap the NHS"

      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-lose-election-blasts-3887623

      Its always a great shame that such views are aired once someone is out of the poilitical-power-loop. Proof-positive that politics is personal & about personal gain/profit - NOT representing the electorate.

      Delete
  39. At 2351" those of us at Napo who were in the confidentiality ring" does anyone know who this was and a motion should release the documents. We might then have the Napo great wisdom of why the general secretary agreed to no action and the sackings of our members. What is this really about.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Any prison based colleagues hearing anything about the proposed new Governor grade of Post Release Manager?.

    ReplyDelete
  41. It was never “just a job” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. 23:51 you epitimise the problem, your brown tongue will no doubt serve you well but you do not deserve to sit amongst those brothers and sisters who tried to hold on to some very basic core values. You are a disgrace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it was a quote not owning what was said. The problem is Napo GS never explained nor shared just blamed away the secrecy that we know he agreed to. So why.

      Delete
    2. is anon 23:51 really just a po whose more than happy and willing to go along with whatever out of touch fraff the higher-ups push, or is he/she actually a manager ?

      Delete
  43. Some recent gems from HMPPS website:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/looking-after-our-people-the-prison-service-employee-package

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/generic-parole-process-policy-framework#full-publication-update-history (updated version)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/release-on-temporary-licence (updated version)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-joint-thematic-inspection-of-multi-agency-public-protection-arrangements

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strengthening-probation-building-confidence-monthly-bulletin/probation-service-change-bulletin-issue-13-july-2022

    ReplyDelete
  44. Just a job?? Wow! I very much doubt most bloggers who entered into this profession felt it was just a job…it is an amazing chance to try and make a difference. I still very much hold onto those values and stay well away from the ticky box nonsense. If I miss this, that or the other, that is because I’m working with people and I am very well in my right to justify why I haven’t done something in that time frame etc. I have practiced for over 2 decades now and feel I am respected by colleagues as someone who is different. Someone who cares. We all have a rant and a rave about the ridiculous decisions made be those above. I just laugh and get on with what I know works best…

    ReplyDelete
  45. Annon @19:03 mentions the £££s being made by the agencies receiving referrals from probation.
    The following may be of interest, and it certainly shows there's plenty of £££s to be made, and probably not very ethical £££s.

    https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/councils-and-prisons-sending-homeless-people-to-birmingham-due-to-abundance-of-exempt-accommodation-76956

    'Getafix

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "There are also an increasing number of prison leavers from across the country being sent to Birmingham on their release.

      Thea Raisbeck, a researcher at the University of Birmingham and author of Exempt from Responsibility?, a report on Birmingham’s exempt accommodation, said: “I identified in 2018 that probation officers and prisons from around the country have seen Birmingham as the easy way to get difficult cases housed, often seemingly bypassing West Midlands probation. That was in 2018, and it is still happening now.”

      Mr Bradley has also seen this trend. He said: “What is the hardest thing for prison resettlement teams? It’s housing. If you have got providers saying we will take whoever you have, they jump at that.”

      Inside Housing has heard that some providers have direct links to councils and prisons, and that they even hire drivers to collect those being sent to Birmingham from the train station."

      Delete
    2. Thanks 'Getafix'. It wont let me view unless registered. Are you able to post an excerpt of it ?



      Delete
  46. 23:51, unclear why a contrary view warrants a scatalogical slur, but would love to see the evidence of where basic core values have been maintained in practice. Sure, some staff may suffer cognitive dissonance, but the punitive probation agenda has faced little opposition, and been welcomed by others. It’s always a bit of a concern when the arguments stray into ideological purity. Doing the job well is what matters, not the myths you live by.

    ReplyDelete
  47. From CivilServiceWorld in June 2021:

    "Privatised probation services have been returned to public control in England and Wales and absorbed into the newly-named Probation Service in a reversal of reforms that began in 2012."

    WRONG... Privatised probation services were ALWAYS under public control; NPS/HMPPS/MoJ held oversight of & veto over the work of the CRCs.


    "Under the Transforming Rehabilitation programme championed by then-justice secretary Chris Grayling, the management of medium low-risk offenders was outsourced to CRCs, while the NPS managed high-risk offenders.

    But the Ministry of Justice announced in 2018 that the reforms would be reversed after it emerged that the payment-by-results model, which was intended to drive down reoffending rates, had cost £467m more than projected and led to worse outcomes.

    It had initially said that it would design a new part-privatised system after ending the CRC contracts early – but in 2019, it confirmed services would be fully renationalised."

    Not true, as CSW goes on to acknowledge:

    "However, companies and charities will provide further services to reduce reoffending, such as housing, employment and training support, through a £195m contract awarded in May."

    But this quote from the article is the only one needed:

    The changes to probation will also give the government “greater levers over community sentences”, including unpaid work, the MoJ said.

    That is all it was ever about:

    "it will give the government greater levers over community sentences”

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    1. "That is all it was ever about:

      "it will give the government greater levers over community sentences”

      Thats not entirely true anon 08.59.....unpaid work (i.e serfdom) is also lucrative. They've taken inspiration from US prisons, where companies like Victoria's Secret use prison labour.

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    2. I'd tend to agree with the 'control of the levers' argument; the UPW ££'s are just a side hustle for the tories' grifter chums.

      Delete
  48. https://www.civilserviceworld.com/news/article/moj-launches-overhauled-probation-service-in-transforming-rehabilitation-reversal

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  49. In the light of some of the comments posted some might wish to read this paper by Matthew Walker (who acknowledges contributions from this blog):

    https://www.lse.ac.uk/government/Assets/Documents/pdf/masters/2017/PPA-Matthew-Walker-2016-17.pdf

    Its an academic paper so certainly not a free-flowing casual read, but it is interesting (at least I thought so). Some tasters:

    "Abstract - This study seeks to evaluate two issues still undetermined by the Public Service Motivation (PSM) - theory literature: (i) whether PSM may be vulnerable to reduction on account of adaptation to an incompatible working environment, and (ii) whether the relationship between PSM and job satisfaction may be mediated by the employee’s level of value congruence with his/her employer. To evaluate these issues, a cross-sectional survey was conducted of English and Welsh probation workers (n = 517) following their recent division into newly-established public and private sector organisations under the Coalition Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reform agenda."

    The study considers if "pre-existent workers’ PSM may not change, but new recruits may have lower PSM" & concludes that "PSM is not vulnerable to diminution on account of adaptation to a working environment that is not supportive of public service values."

    "It is expected that CRC employees’ levels of value congruence will be lower than their NPS counterparts. Previous research attests to the general sentiment amongst probation officers that ‘being part of the public sector, and not being involved in the pursuit of profit, was at the heart of the value system that the probation service should have’ (Deering and Feilzer 2017, p.166; Napo-UNISON 2014)."

    "CRC employees did change their behaviour to accommodate the financial incentives faced by their employer, indicating that the PbR arrangements were not so weak as to be ignored. For example, there is evidence of CRC probation officers being reluctant to (and being instructed not to) breach probationers (i.e. return them to court because of non-compliance) due to the financial penalties their employer would face as a result (Justice Committee 2017b; HM Inspectorate of Probation 2016)."

    "Further, a recent inspection of the CRCs’ ‘Through-the-Gate’ resettlement services has revealed that the CRCs suffer from tunnel vision with respect to focusing only on those aspects of the service for which they are recompensed (completion of resettlement plans), diverting ‘attention from making sure that any needs raised by prisoners were actually met’ (HM Inspectorate of Probation & HM Inspectorate of Prisons 2017, p.40)."

    "it is concluded that in the context of post-reform fractious working environments, value congruence becomes a very significant determinant of job satisfaction at the expense of PSM (public service motivation)"

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    1. Interesting that CRCs and TTG get a mention today as it's announced that Sodexo have won a £264m contract from MoJ to run Lowdem Grange, taking over from Serco.
      I wonder if they'll try to influence the wider CJS because having run CRCs they will now be an authority on probation services and how to run them aswell as prisons?

      'Getafix

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    2. Sodexo's government arm has secured a contract to manage HMP Lowdham Grange in Nottinghamshire with an estimated value of £264m over a ten-year term.

      Sodexo's government business has worked with UK governments since 1993 and currently manages five prisons in England and Scotland, including HMP Addiewell, HMP Forest Bank and HMP Peterborough.

      https://www.thecaterer.com/news/sodexo-secures-nine-figure-contract-hmp-lowdham-grange

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  50. "To many of us Probation has been a job, that’s all."
    Then dont expect a professionals salary.

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    1. profession
      /prəˈfɛʃ(ə)n/
      noun
      1.
      a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.

      A *paid occupation*. The pay is for the work you do, whether it's a vocation or not. While I object to 23:51's use of the word "bleating", let's not get into the trap of dismissing people because they don't meet some arbitrary standard of dedication.

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