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Monday, 5 March 2018

IPP Families and organisations giving written evidence into the probation inquiry/ rehabilitation

I had never had any knowledge of the Justice System in this country until 8 years ago. I had always believed it was something to be proud of. The IPP Sentence is just one of the aspects of the ‘Justice’ in this country that I am now truly ashamed of. I had heard of the Probation Service and believed its role was to look after released prisoners.
Sadly, my son committed a crime 8 years ago and I soon became aware of how unjust out Justice System is. Coming from a law abiding family, this was a great shock. My son is now 8 years into a two and a half year tariff. He has remained enhanced status throughout. He is on the last module of an OU degree. He holds a responsible position in his workshop. He is adjudication free. He is deemed not at risk of absconding and stated to be one of the most compliant prisoners. It has now been acknowledged that my son experienced a one off episode. Yet still he remains incarcerated. I believe this is because of the risk averseness of his previous Probation Officer.
I will focus now on my experience of the Probation Service over the last 8 years.
  1. I could not believe, coming from a senior position in the education world, that there was no nationwide monitoring, assessing and open governance of this organisation. Only now there seems to be a move in this direction. The result of this has been a maverick organisation that ‘called its own shots’ without fear of repercussion. An organisation that varies from area to area and officer to officer.
  2. I attended 4 parole hearings where reports or current assessments had not been completed. There has been no come back for the individuals responsible even though this has wasted the tax-payers money and delayed possible release or progression of prisoners.
  3. I attended a hearing where a probation officer stated that she had recently had a meeting with her client but under questioning it had been 14 months prior and a telephone conversation at that.
  4. I was personally told that my son would always be assessed as low risk but that ‘she would adjust the scores.’
  5. I was personally told that there were no courses suitable for my son to complete yet courses were demanded.
  6. I was told that my son was never going to be found suitable for any of the courses but she would ‘do a clinical over-ride.’
  7. I witnessed a parole board member asking the probation officer ‘to be more creative’ but despite not having completed any recent assessments she still recommended courses to be completed.
  8. Despite independent psychologists of high status recommended release, courses (which have since been deemed unsuitable) were continually recommended.
  9. Despite continual requests, direct to his OM and then to a higher person, to address factual errors in his Oasys, these were never completed. Even after eight years. These factual errors still have a bearing when it comes to parole hearings.
  10. It took four and a half years to get one parole hearing date due to the lack of response from my son’s OM.
  11. Mt son has had three new probation officers in the last month. The last one was just before his recent delayed parole hearing. There was a comment in the dossier from the new officer that repeated what the previous one had said. No up to date report was competed yet this person was advising on whether my son should be released.
  12. My son will be released into Lincolnshire yet his OM is still based in Wolverhampton. He has asked repeatedly to be transferred to Lincolnshire probation. The response has been that he will be allowed to temporarily be allowed to work with Lincolnshire if he progresses to open conditions in Lincolnshire but will then be transferred back to Wolverhampton. His child lives in Lincolnshire. What will be the benefit of transferring back to Wolverhampton? Surely this is poor use of resources. Lincolnshire have agreed to taking over his case.

November 2017

 Miss Siobhan Ryan - written evidence 





I am submitting evidence as I have a close friend who is subject to this IPP law currently detained in prison.  This is sent in a personal capacity and also as a supporter of the IPP Families Campaign as I am opposed to this inhumane and barbaric law.




It is stated that the probation system is responsible for supervising, rehabilitating and where necessary, resettling offenders after or instead of a custodial sentence.




1/ I recently wrote to the Chief Inspector of Probation Services to obtain the statistics regards Probation Officers (POs) who had not recommended the release of IPP prisoners upon their parole hearing post tariff or following a recall and their reasons for this.  I also requested the statistics for the number of recalls of IPP prisoners by POs and on what grounds were they recalling prisoners, was it for failed appointments, breech of the very constrictive licence conditions they are under or for an actual chargeable offence? 

You will be wise to obtain these statistics for your inquiry in order to establish the true picture of the failing and obstructive role of POs who are actively hindering the release of IPP prisoners and any form of rehabilitation and are quite simply keeping them detained in prison and misusing the function of prisons which is that prisons should be utilised to keep people incarcerated for their convicted period or tariff only and that the prison's function is not the resource that should be used to rehabilitate a prisoner post the convicted period / tariff which is what POs seem to think is the case.  

 This is a very significant factor in the increasing and unmanageable prison population with IPP prisoners being detained many years over tariff and if released are recalled back at an alarming rate of 75% recalls for the IPP prisoners actually released.  Subsequently upon a recall the prisoners are held indeterminately again and it is a lengthy (possibly a few years) costly and indefinite process to enable them to be released again having another significant negative effect on the already back log of parole hearings therefore delaying other prisoner's parole hearings which has even resulted in special unit with Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Services (HMPPS) having to be established in order to deal with the IPP prisoners.  This can all be directly related to the inept decision making of POs when dealing with IPP prisoners and to say that POs are to supervise and rehabilitate offenders after or instead of a custodial sentence is actual a mockery to the IPP prisoners still currently detained as a direct result of their PO's and their recommendations.


2/ The definition of rehabilitation is the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.


3/ Your inquiry needs to seriously question why are PO's so adverse to the rehabilitation of IPP prisoners and not recommending release but keeping them incarcerated which is not the environment where a prisoner can possibly be rehabilitated in the very adverse pseudo environment of prison which is proved by the fact that if prisoner is already many years over tariff then they have been deemed not to have been rehabilitated and therefore keeping them detained is serving no purpose at all.  It took media and public pressure for [redacted name of individual] to be released from prison and for common sense to prevail.


4/ Let me give you three other very real case scenarios of the appalling misconduct of POs which results in IPP prisoners being barbarically detained and prevented from being rehabilitated and as such being restored to a normal life who I shall refer to as Mr X, Mr Y and Mr Z


5/Mr X now detained 24 months following a recall

Mr X  had false allegations made against him which resulted in him being recalled back to prison under this IPP law. Then with a series of a catalogue of systematic failings it has resulted in him being now detained for 2 years.  Within 3 months of being recalled following the allegations he had a court case which found him Not Guilty of the allegations made against him but then it was decided to keep him detained pending a civil court case in another 3 months time of which he had previously maintained his freedom pending the civil court case until his recall following the allegations made against him. 

 The civil court case got delayed  5 months due to the very fact that he was in prison and couldn't get his legal aid sorted and obtain a bank statement.  The civil court case was inconclusive with no findings against him and then had a 5 month wait for a parole hearings but throughout all this time of being imprisoned he has done everything possible that was available to him remaining dignified and constructive within prison having undertaken awareness courses, training courses, dutifully worked in the prison jobs of which the employer wants to employ him upon release, actively engaged in supportive groups becoming a "listener / Samaritan", diversity groups, not had one ticking off, avoided any type of conflict within prison life and his Offender Manager Officer initially fully recommending release and his community Probation Officer initially recommending release but then 2 days before his Parole Hearing the community Probation Officer did not then recommend release referring to a Psychology report that recommended further detention for a Therapy Course(TC).  This suddenly gets recommended after already been detained for 17 months?

And also please note in the words of Sam Gyimah (Under Secretary to the Justice Secretary) it is not necessary to undertake approved Offender Management Programme in order to achieve release.  Mr X  says he hasn't even seen this Psychologist, nobody has seen the so called original Psychology report and that it is very obvious to me the Probation Officer has fed this Psychologist information based on a general case scenario telephone chat by the PO with a Psychologist because even in the extract of the Probation Officer's interpretation of this so called Psychology report (and not any actual report by the psychologist) it says that this is just a hypothesis. How can a Psychologist make a recommendation without seeing the client?  I know he does not qualify for this TC because of the criteria.   This TC is meant to be voluntary but the community Probation Officer said to him if you don't do it you won't get a Parole Hearing for 2 years which in effect is coercion. 

Even his prison lawyer can quite simply see through the Probation Officers' deceit saying that she is passing the book as she doesn't want to make the decision for his release so has referred him to this TC so that upon their assessment they will say he doesn't qualify for it so that this onus is then upon them for a decision for release.  Please also bear in mind that there was a Psychologist that was sat in his Parole Hearing who had completed a psychology assessment early on in his recall and said quite clearly I don't know what I am doing here I recommended his release one year ago, his lawyer says he doesn’t warrant TC and even his Offender Management Officer saying to his lawyer post the parole hearing she doesn’t see the need for TC.  So when a person has been found not guilty and no evidence of reoffending and shown and done everything possible with every bit of evidence demonstrating his recommendation for release please don't tell me that the community PO cannot held to be account for obvious obstruction of releasing an IPP prisoner based on a telephone conversation with a Psychologist which cannot be seen as valid if the Psychologist has not seen the prisoner or completed a psychology assessment. 

  I have also met this Probation Officer of which I have directly witnessed her biased and lack of objectivity to the facts of the case yet you are up against  authoritarian, obstinate people who are misusing their power in their recommendations for Parole hearings of IPP prisoners quite simply keeping them in prison using the excuse of any type of misbehaviour or psychological report as an excuse to keep them detained as oppose to exploring the most beneficial support in the community where they can be rehabilitated and integrated back into society. 

 It took 2 months for his PO to get in contact with him after the Parole Hearing to supply an application form for him to complete for the TC but with no supporting documentation as to what he was applying for and that it is actually meant to be an 18 – 24 month course which then when handed in to his OMU another 2 months later when Mr X chased up himself directly with TC as to what was happening and not his PO’s making any active enquiries they said they had not received it so in fact it ended up being another 6 months after his parole hearing that he actually got transferred to the TC unit.  Please also note that his PO had barely seen him through out his 2 years in prison and had not engaged with him with regards to any assessment / sentence plan.


6/ Mr Y  10 years over tariff detained at HMP Risley

Mr Y is an IPP prisoner who is now 10 years over tariff having served his time for the crime 10 years ago.  Mr Y sent a letter very recently to his family and when you read his personal letter you feel the true sense of reality of his prison life with bullying, intimidation and violence within the prison, prisoners being beaten up, faces slashed and fear being an everyday part of his prison life alongside the drug problems and culture within prisons. Please refer to any prison inspectorate reports as to the real state of prisons. Mr Y is very close to suicide, crying out for help, he can't cope and any bit of hope that he has desperately clung on to now virtually gone. Very disturbing.  Yet he has a very loving and caring family now also on the brink of despair.  He and the family, not the Probation Officer, has managed to a secure social services programme in the community that can help to rehabilitate him and his drug problem and take him away from the very environment that has caused this very harrowing and detrimental effect on him and Mr Y’s parole hearing was due in November 2017. 

Yet still his Probation Officer can come out with comments like "you need to walk away from any trouble in the prison" and it would have been the PO's recommendations that has resulted in him being now 10 years over tariff.  Please tell me what world are these Probation Officers living in apart from total ignorance, he is in prison, a confined environment, a dog eat dog world, nowhere to walk away to apart from his cell and no escaping from his fellow inmates where cruelly it is survival of the fittest, a pact like mentality and if you don't fit you’re the scapegoat, the next victim.

This is the true situation that Probation Officers have to be aware of, the true reality of prison life not some idealism and then the Probation Officers keep these prisoners in the very environment that actively hinders any form of rehabilitation and for Mr Y this is now 10 years over tariff.   Please refer to the case of Ian Mordecai v Parole Board where it took a judge at judicial review to see common senses and reasoning of the plight of a suicidal prisoner. 

 The parole hearing for Mr Y did not take place in November 2017 and has now been rescheduled until April 2018 because Social Services want to visit him to check his suitability for their Drug Rehabilitation programme.  Everybody knew that this parole hearing was due for November 2017 so why didn’t the PO’s ensure and arrange the social services assessment for this date.  Again there is no excuse for this and it causes a triple effect with a rescheduled parole hearing prolonging imprisonment for Mr Y, a lost parole hearing for someone else who could have this date and a lost parole hearing for someone else on the rescheduled date in April 2018


7/ Mr Z recalled back to prison within 3 months having already served 11 years over tariff

And yet another case of Mr Z who was young and only 18 yrs old when he committed his crimes with a 16 month tariff but it was another 11 years and 9 months later when he got released which was just very recently and he was told to spend 3 months in a hostel in [name of place redacted] before being allowed to return to home soil in [name of place redacted].  Frustrated at being miles away from his family and without benefits Mr Y threw a chair which bounced and cracked a window.  This resulted in him being recalled back to prison by his Probation Officer. This will now result in him being detained indeterminately again for possible many years all because he threw a chair. This is sheer rash diabolical and ludicrous decision making by the Probation Officers just at a time when Mr Y was adjusting to life on the outside and needed all the support he could get.


8/ There are over another 3,000 IPP prisoners currently in the same situation imprisoned, the vast majority still detained over tariff or following a recall and with an estimated original 8,000 prisoners who had this sentence passed on them there is potentially 5,000 prisoners who could quite simply be whimsically recalled due by their PO.


9/  Your inquiry has to investigate the conduct, mind-set and passiveness of PO's in the treatment of IPP prisoners who in reality barely see or review the prisoner then are using the excuse of dubious psychology / old reports and past history or any form of negative behaviour as an excuse to keep them detained not factoring in the pressure and adverse effect of prison that the prisoners are in as opposed to proactively seeking all the opportunities that are available in the community to enable rehabilitation. It is a direct result of the PO's that has resulted in this horrendous situation that there are thousands of IPP's being held over tariff whereby the word rehabilitation does not even come into the PO's vocabulary but the PO's just recommending further detention based on some risk assessment or ritualistic recall which because of this IPP law they are able to get away with. There are so many resources in the community such as NHS or Social Care Services which can offer drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counselling and psychiatric services, voluntary organisations that provide support services such as Shelter, Mind, Samaritans etc. yet are any of these explored by the PO when it comes to a recommendation for release and enabling someone to be integrated back into society and hence actually being rehabilitated.


10/ The POs need to be held to account as to why they are not recommending release rather than why they are keeping people detained.


11/ Nothing can justify a person having been detained 10 years over tariff which if this law had never existed and all of these prisoners had been on determinate or extended sentences they would have been released and their licence conditions ended many years ago.


12/ The Probation Services handling of IPP prisoners and their recalls is a national disgrace to the criminal justice system and a total abuse and misuse of tax payer’s money that needs to be fully addressed in your inquiry.


13/ Serious lessons have to be learnt from the above 3 cases.  PO’s have to change their mindset of IPP prisoners and to treat them as fairly as any determinate prisoner and to ensure that any assessments and realistic sentence plans are completed for the parole hearing date, and that the IPP law should not be any excuse as to keep them detained longer for necessary and that all avenues and services available in the community are explored prior to a parole hearing as a means to rehabilitate a prisoner and not to use prison services as a substitute for this as prison is meant to be utilised for the detention of prisoners for sentence period only.  The risk assessment for release of an IPP prisoner and recall of an IPP prisoner is an issue that also has to be seriously addressed by the government and that PO’s should be held to account for their failings in not enabling and exploring all the services in the community to enable rehabilitation and completing all of this by the time of a parole hearing and that they should not be so easily be able to recall a prisoner when there are so many supportive services in the community should any social or behavioural problems arise.


February 2018

Katherine Gleeson - Written evidence 


I am an advocate of IPP and the Founder of IPP Family blog in addition the Founder of Dyslexia group Increase Awareness and Understanding. I have a relative who was given an IPP who has since been reintegrated into society with no prior offending, now with his own business. I cannot stress enough the importance of family however the system combats to take family from you rather than reuniting. Lack of the support government provisions this leaves ex-offender broke starving and homeless, if you try and return home you are recalled for breaking the rules.

 First I would like to mention vulnerable groups 

I myself come under that umbrella of a hidden disability. I have severe dyslexia anddyspraxia my IQ is said to be the  4% of the population. The impairments make it difficult for me to write so I hope it’s legible to raise the points I mention. My apologies as I’m not able to abbreviate the content as I would of liked,  you may have to skim through.
Everyone in school or in institutions if put in the same class with same teacher should be able to learn the same as everybody else in that class same class unless you have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia Dyscalculia. It is said those with hidden disabilities had to lose out in an education. As a snap shot I went to college for 7 years and I never passed the IQ test. In my last year I decided to go to the University of Bedfordshire where I never failed and received a 2.1 with honors upper class. I was not punished for having a disability that impaired my spelling, punctuation or reading. I was allowed to spell the way it sounded which gave me the freedom to achieve.  Year later I retook that IQ test and failed it.
Standard test questions don’t work for dyslexics and don’t measure intelligence ….. Dyslexia is an intellectual disability, you have to score low to have dyslexia. Specific Dyslexia does not affect normal intelligence it’s an impairment.  Severe is 4% which is the lowest in the population and anything else is handicapped.
My argument is anyone can learn unless you’re handicapped. If you are handicapped you should be in care, not prison. There are those who may not know they have dyslexia but the IQ test is indicator. One prisoner told me if the Prison found out I had dyslexia it will be worse for me I would never get out and I would be considered as a risk.  How can you support the needs or rehabilitation if people fear getting help or support.
Discrimination act  
Those with learning disabilities or mental health are serving longer custodial sentences than other convicted of comparable crimes. Barred from courses and barred from the only route out of this awful maze.

  • We must stop discriminating against those who are vulnerable
  • We must gain prisoners trust and stop using risk against a disability. Millions of people, one in every 3 have dyslexia who function very well in society. 
Case: of a man jailed for 11 years for stealing just £1.5O. He is said to have a low IQ, 4% is low he is told he can’t manage rehabilitation courses? This means he can’t persuade the parole board or authorities that it is safe for him to be released.
Young offenders who people forget about, where there are thousands still in the system, who were given no legal aid or an advocate.  I feel so angry about this.
Those with hidden disabilities or disabled, have rights to be protect from discrimination. I would like to bring to your attention the Conventions of right of persons with disabilities. Those areas include education, end dealing with the prison system. Article 10 has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure disabilities are on an equal basis with others. Article 13 access to justice for persons with disabilities. In order to help to ensure the effective access to justice for persons with disabilities, shall promote appropriate training for those working in the field of administration of justice, including police and prison staff. Article 14 and 15 cruel degrading punishment /rehabilitation and education-24.
  • If his IQ is was "so low" was he even fit to plead in the first place?
  • We must have a duty of care!
  • Professional advocates are required for those who have special needs
  • Courses: Why not use computer technology so they can answer each question related to the course with tick box questions or multiple choice type questions, as this will allow them to move forward more swiftly. Many people have diverse problem such as reading but they can hear questions and answer them, there not dumb!
  • The prisons can use Scribes or  readers
  • Prisoners can attend special needs classes’ courses suited to their needs.
  • Those who have been lucky enough to get on an educational course are stopped from progressing to a further level, and it ends there? Every opportunity should be used to change a person’s life .don’t build then start taking the brinks away.
Prisoners are often given jobs like cleaning the toilet window or other  then   given a certificates which states what the certificate was given for,  we have to realistic in the real word.

We need a more caring parole board
IPP Family and prisoners have lost their trust in the parole board. Dealing with MPs the parole Board to seek help or support was met ignorance lack of concern no sense of urgency absent or empathy. Over time we realized we were receiving the same response templates which was distressing as you were at a loss what to do next and how to get answers. Prisoners and families were similarly not receiving replies to letters. A hope to get answers was dashed to the brink of suicide

We quickly realized that we were receiving the same response templates which was distressing as you were at a loss what to do next and how to get answers. No replies to letters or replies to family and prisoners. Their hope is to get answers dashed to the brink of suicide

The Probation boards’ inadequate approach to supervision caused the contribution to the increases in size of the prison population. It is shocking that a person can be recalled as much as three times, this is not rehabilitation. Losing their flat, their job 3 times over, these unnecessary recalls are a waste of resources and money.

Prisoners leaving prison need supplementary expenses to support their integration in society. The current £42 or £47 is a disgrace. Prisoners and those with disabilities have greater needs because everything will have to buy new items such as clothes and furniture. They will need travel to connect with family and probation ……

An alert must be raised if recalls occur on 2 occasions
The parole board must question probation, why they are failing the prisoner in progressing? At the same time the onus can’t be left down to the probation officer to claim they know what best.

It is important to have a  team working together in one room, one to one with that person, this will work more efficiently than agency’s working alone, those with mental health, learning differences will also benefit from seeing a team as they don’t often don’t have the capacity appropriate themself alone.

For the purpose of the read I will call it the Action Core Team, ACT). A team comprising off Social services, who will understand if a person requires an assessment of care, mental health or in case of fear or worries that is effecting behaviors. , housing problems, social security, disability adviser, and a complaints adviser to oversee probation which may arise from a probation officer. Prisoners may not function from time to time and will need support those before a crises so falling is no longer an option. All local authorities have to use the same eligibility criteria there must be consequence for probation failing and rewards for those who do progress prisoners and those not doing the job the door.

Key is to investigate to the parole board is how efficient is information stored. How long does it take to act on the information coming who responsible for the progress of that information? Are the computer systems out of date and when the last system updated. Response letters from probation are poor anpoor content this needs to change.

I was invited by Martin Jones and nick Hardwick to discuss ways around the IPP situation but before out meeting I set up a write in via 38 Degrees and inside times for the prisoner and families to investigate key problem .The response was in there hundreds and one of the key fail, s no-response from the parole board.  32 thousand letters of key problems went to the previous justice sec, with no reply this is what we faced day to day?

  • The government bodies need to be more  efficient and responsible
  • Responsible for the information and content of their response letters to prisoners and the family’s ……
  • I also question how often templates are changed?
  • Letter from prisoners and families have gone unanswered this practice must end as it could result in a suicide lather.
  • Lack of  duty to care

Mental health
  • If you have mental health prisoners should not be placed in segregation or in a single cell without supervision. Body camera should be worn and the Mental health file should be check before anyone was placed in to segregation or entering different prison, being recalled, Moved to another cell.

Case of my relative now released 3 years six months since he has been given 7 different probation officers. He has an exemplary record with his own business. The probation officer told him because you have an exemplary record  I will look ending your probation since you have demonstrated reintegration.
However his consistent change in probation officers leeds to each saying i don’t know you long anough is just damaging and to progression .
  • Those ex-prisoners thriving, we need to reward
  • We must be mindful ex prisoner one does not fit all
  • Change the unjustified unrealistic IPP license
  • Review probation officers reports and reward progression of prisoners
  • notes 
  • should be mad of the prisoners background, there must be a  duty is to advise the parole boarof the prisoners Condition and Lack of family ties which is a  another slight influence in determining failure.
Many of the people released from prison will return to prison as a result of a parole violation rules. And lack of support from agency’s “Reentry is the process by which individuals return to communities from prison or jail custody” with the goal of reintegrating into society.

Challenges facing people leaving prison have been well-documented and range from social challenges, such as reconnecting with family People newly released from prison are often stigmatized by their time in prison and usually have to deal with a loss of social standing.

The serious lack of resources you could argue was not foreseen however the families and prisoners have brought this too the attention of the government as far back as when the IPP was implemented. Current we are told they don’t have to do the courses but they should of told the prison this because prisoners are still waiting to do and are told they have to do them?  It is clear that separate departments don’t function. Too much time lapses sending information from one department to the other, information get lost, communication get lost,. we should look at  look at merging the departments.

Sara Jayne solicitor article discloses the lack of resources and courses in an article in 2013. Validates lack of action taken by the Parole board postdate. 
Ref: Inside time August 2013 by Sara Jayne –Solicitors.

18 September 2012 European Court of Human Rights in James, Wells and Lee vuk it is quoted the authorities failed to provide courses an assessments to reduce risk
Ref Inside times European Court of Human Rights March 2013

Lord Hurd raised the issue of fairness, he said those responsible for the working of the system- the Ministry of justice probation services and the Parole Board- do not believe in proportionality, fairness nor even justice. It is abundantly clear that all three are still preoccupied with historic risk and their only remit of argue is another myth.
Ref Lord Hurd Inside times August 2014

Professional misconduct and mail practice is at the highest level, such we press for an urgent law change. It not good sufficient a law change will cost as that’s one of the reasons why we are in this mess, underfunding. It’s not good enough to say that it will take time.

The law already provides for long license periods for ordinary prisoners who need monitoring on release. We need to allow them to be monitored in the community. Sam G mentioned a law change will cost, that’s one of the reasons why we are in this mess, underfunding and not good enough to say that it will take time. We must protect prisoners and have a backup plan.

David Wells Head of complex crimes quotes upon  the lack of resources the harrowing letter of intense suffering, heartache for those forgotten prisoners and that most letter have harrowing accounts of neglect, failure, humanity that will bring total shame on the system!
He goes on to say other letters are “Common “the lack of courses is a prominent concern and those that done them more are given more. Goal posts are not just removed to one side there removed altogether .The list is endless and the concerns well know. Referring to IPP its inception in 2005 has basically waged psychological warfare on prisoners and their families
Ref Inside time March 2015 David Well Burcombe Solicitors.

I expressed concerns on the current reforms for its clarity and on the practical implications. I questioned whether the reforms would address the current crisis in prisons without more trail an error more years over tariff and more recalls. And license not practical.

Every reform must have backup on new reforms  because reforms need time to work, the reform may require more money in pocket areas .IPP does not have that time” we can’t afford to fail we had decades of failing along with justice misters.

The parole board have their chance over we have waited impatiently for them get it right at the cost being over tariff and loss of life. Therefore a change in law necessary even as a backup back up until the probation board can get constancy.

The public has lost their trust and have stopped listening to a failing system. Family and friends are too scared to come forward on behalf of prisoners as they know they will be rejection. It’s a horrible situation to be in. This is just a terrible injustice.Mugger
Ref: Inside time August 2013 by Sara Jayne –Solicitors


Dr Rebecca Marples, Professor Charlie Brooker and Dr Coral Sirdifield - written evidence                                        (TRH0095)

This submission is from Dr Coral Sirdifield (Research Fellow, University of Lincoln), Dr Rebecca Marples (Research Assistant, University of Lincoln) and Professor Charlie Brooker (Honorary Professor, Royal Holloway, University of London). We have backgrounds in working in both criminal justice and health organisations, and have been researching offender health for over a decade. We are currently working on an NIHR RfPB funded project where we are mapping healthcare provision for offenders in contact with probation services across England, conducting a systematic review of the literature to identify effective practice to improve offenders’ health and/or access to healthcare, and creating a toolkit for commissioners and practitioners that will contain examples of good practice and ways of overcoming barriers to providing healthcare that is accessible and meets offenders’ needs.

The consultation document asks “Are strengthening inspection standards and creating joint performance measures (between probation services and prisons) the best ways of improving performance?”“What should be the Government’s priorities to improve work between departments on the delivery of services needed for effective rehabilitation?”, ““What else should the Government do to address the issues facing probation services?”, and “How can the Through-the-Gate provision be improved so that prisoners get the right help before their release from prison and afterwards?”. These questions will form the focus of our submission.

Executive Summary

  • Strengthening inspection standards could be a positive step towards improving performance, but it could not be said that alone this would be the ‘best’ way
  • Joint targets  need to focus on rehabilitation with specific measures centred on offender health
  • New performance measures would need to be established
  • There needs to be an end to ‘silo’ working with all agencies that support effective rehabilitation working together
  • There needs to be a move away from rehabilitation only being measured in terms of reducing reoffending
  • Ensuring that agencies with responsibilities for offender health (both commissioning and provision) meet their commitments
  • Addressing the fact that offenders have a greater and more complex health needs profile than the rest of the population, but there are a number of barriers that make services inaccessible to them
  • Probation providers should ensure they have a named Offender Health Lead
  • The Government can take a number of steps to address the issues facing probation services, which are listed in section 3.1
  • Improved information sharing between prisons and the community (including probation, GPs and mental health providers) to ensure continuity of care as the offender progresses through the criminal justice system with constant assessment of health needs, quality of life and barriers to service access

Are strengthening inspection standards and creating joint performance measures (between probation services and prisons) the best ways of improving performance?
1.1.            Strengthening inspection standards and creating joint performance measures between probation services and prisons is a positive step towards improving performance, but it would be difficult to say if this is the ‘best’ way
1.2.            We would fully support the idea of prisons and probation having joint targets around the rehabilitation of offenders, and would suggest that these should explicitly include performance measures around offender health as this is a core part of rehabilitation as well as a pathway out of re-offending, and underpins other pathways out of re-offending such as securing employment.
1.3.            Performance measures could include things like establishing whether probation providers:
-          Conduct a health needs assessment of their caseload (independently or in partnership with another organisation such as a Health and Wellbeing Board), or continually assess offenders health
-          Produce clear and timely resettlement plans for how offenders’ health can be improved
-          Deliver the resettlement plans that they produce
-          Have a named Offender Health Lead
-          Have inter-agency referral and information exchange procedures in place that staff are aware of and use; and
-          Monitor offenders’ experiences of accessing healthcare, actively seeking feedback from service users and meeting with providers to improve healthcare provision
1.4.            Key to making strengthening inspection standards an effective way of improving performance would be acknowledging that there is a difference in culture between private and public sector organisations, and ensuring that adequate resources are invested to enable recommendations from inspections to be acted upon
What should be the Government’s priorities to improve work between departments on the delivery of services needed for effective rehabilitation?
2.1. As has been stated in previous policy documents and reports there is a need to break down silo working, and join up the range of services that are needed to support effective rehabilitation (e.g. criminal justice agencies, housing, employment agencies and health services). Joint inspection targets that extend across all of these types of agencies could be a good starting point. If we are serious about ‘transforming rehabilitation’, then there should be emphasis on rehabilitation rather than simply reducing re-offending as part of these targets. This would then naturally support reducing re-offending and improving compliance with community sentences

2.2. Considering the ‘health’ element of rehabilitation in particular, it is vitally important that Government makes sure that different agencies are fully aware of their responsibilities when it comes to commissioning healthcare for offenders. In both our previous and current research, we have found that Clinical Commissioning Groups in particular are not aware of and acting upon their responsibilities for commissioning healthcare for offenders (Brooker, Sirdifield and Ramsbotham, 2015).
Many local authorities are not considering the health needs of offenders in the community as part of their Joint Strategic Health Needs Assessments. Offenders’ do have a different health needs profile from the rest of the population (Abdul Pari et al., 2012; Brooker et al., 2009; Brooker et al., 2012; Sirdifield, 2012, Binswanger et al., 2015; Sattar, 2001), which needs to be considered by commissioners. There are inconsistencies in service provision and the way in which commissioning is conducted across England i.e. there is a postcode lottery. Currently, offenders face many personal and structural barriers to accessing healthcare, and more joined up working between commissioners and criminal justice practitioners, and mapping of offenders’ health needs at Sustainability and Transformation Partnership level could help to overcome these
2.3. Government should ensure that all probation providers have a named lead for offender health that is tasked with setting up service level agreements and information sharing agreements between probation, prisons and local health services
What else should the Government do to address the issues facing probation services?
3.1. The Government should:
-          Make no further investment in the Community Rehabilitation Company contracts and have clear contingency plans in place for what happens if the current contracts fail i.e. how can privatised elements be brought back under state control?
-          If CRCs continue with their contracts then they should work with the Probation Institute to ensure that Community Rehabilitation Company staff are well trained
-          Emphasise and incentivise a focus on rehabilitation in any future contracts with Community Rehabilitation Companies
-          Act on the findings of the recent Inspectorate and Audit Commission reports
-          Fund research to look at how we can achieve system-level cost savings through improving offenders’ health literacy and access to services. We know that this should produce savings in terms of less unnecessary use of emergency and crisis care, fewer victims, and reduced re-offending, but more research needs to be conducted into the most effective ways of achieving these savings
How can the Through-the-Gate provision be improved so that prisoners get the right help before their release from prison and afterwards?
4.1. In terms of health, we need to develop standardised systems for information sharing between prison healthcare and the community (i.e. probation and local GPs). Prisoners should be registered with a GP prior to release (using a probation office as their address temporarily if necessary), and the prison healthcare department should send a standardised summary of their health needs (including medication needs), together with the work that has been done with them in prison and plans for continuity of care prior to release
4.2. Probation services need to improve their recording of offenders’ health needs, quality of life, and the work that they have done to address these, including feedback from offenders and any barriers to service access that they face. These data should be reviewed at an aggregate level at quarterly meetings that service commissioners, providers and users attend alongside an Offender Health Lead for the local probation provider

Abdul Pari , AA., Plugge, E., Holland, S., Maxwell, J., and Webster, P. (2012) Health and wellbeing of offenders on probation in England: an exploratory study. The Lancet; 380(S21): 21
Binswanger, I.A., Stern, M.F., Yamashita, T.E., Mueller, S.R., Baggett, T.P., and Blatchford, P.J. (2015) Clinical risk factors for death after release from prison in Washington State: A nested case control study. Addiction, 111(3): 499-510
Brooker, C., Syson-Niggs, L., Barrrett, P., and Fox, C. (2009) Community managed offenders’ access to healthcare services: Report of a pilot study. Probation Journal; 56(1): 45-59
Brooker, C., Sirdifield, C., Blizard, R., Denney, D., and Pluck, G. (2012) Probation and mental illness. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. 23(4): 522-37
Brooker, C., Sirdifield, C., Ramsbotham, D., and Denney, D. (2015) NHS commissioning in probation in England: on a wing and a prayer. Health and Social Care in the Community, 25(1): 137-144
Sattar, G. (2001) Rates and causes of death among prisoners and offenders under community supervision. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
Sirdifield, C. (2012) The prevalence of mental health disorders amongst offenders on probation: a literature review. Journal of Mental Health; 21(5): 485-98

Mr Tony Knivett/John Budd - written evidence

  1. Our Credentials


This is a joint submission. 


John Budd, as vice chair of the Probation Chiefs’ Association (PCA) was one of the PCA team of negotiators for the NPS during the talks which resulted in the transformation of the Probation Service.  In this capacity he worked closely with ministers and senior civil servants as the Secretary of State developed his ideas on Transforming Rehabilitation (TR).  John was also CEO of three Probation Areas, turning around failing performance in all three.  Among many larger projects, with Tony Knivett, John  introduced the EFQM to the National Probation Service (NPS) and was part of establishing a corrections service in Romania. 


Tony Knivett was ACPO in the Cambridgeshire Service - arguably a forerunner in prioritising “confronting offending behavior” rather than welfare.  He went on to form Knivett Blake, independent contractors who amongst many initiatives, contributed to creation of the NPS, conducted inspections across the country and introduced financial management, strategic planning and governance systems to probation services nationally.


This submission is not written from any ideological perspective. It is intended to be a pragmatic response to what we consider to be a dire situation for current probation services.



2. Short term Solutions


In our opinion, short-term solutions are not going to address the problems that the Probation Service faces. The Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) reforms were so fundamentally flawed in their inception and implementation that only a wide scale positive change will result in the Probation Service regaining its reputation as a world leading corrections agency.


Short term fixes will only paper over the cracks that exist in the Probation Service and in our opinion, short term work should focus on the preparation for the creation of a Probation Service that is modern in its approach to delivering effective services for offenders


In the short term therefore, we consider that the government should:


-   commence a fundamental review and develop policy which will allow a longer term implementation of a revised and fit for purpose modern Probation Service

-   commence a consultation exercise with key partner organisations; the Police, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), the courts and judiciary, Local Authorities (LAs), the voluntary sector, etc and ask how they would work with a modern Probation Service and what services they require to help protect the public and their communities

-   re-consider the immediate management of Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) contracts as the servicing of the contract is resulting in probation staff spending too much time providing information and data to NOMS at the expense of running their organisations, working with offenders face to face to confront their offending behaviour and working with other agencies to protect their communities.



3. Longer term Solutions and the Future of Probation Services


Some of the high profile critics are rightly, deeply concerned about the current arrangements and would wish to go back to the Probation Service as it was before TR or to return to a social work model.  We would not support this at all. We believe that an urgently needed review should not be reforming or improving existing arrangements but about looking at effective practice past and present and designing a new approach.   Now is an excellent opportunity to create and introduce a modern Probation Service.   This should have been the realistic goal of TR rather than what has happened as a result of an ideological driven and ill considered TR programme. The future of the Probation Service  should, in our opinion include the following:


-   A modern Probation Service should be a single service. Perhaps the most disastrous effect of TR has been the fragmentation of the Probation Service and dividing it into two separate and mostly disparate organisations

-   An effective probation service will be a public sector organisation employing as it has always done until recently, talented employees wholly dedicated to public service and committed to painstakingly working with offenders in order to reduce re-offending and protect the public and local communities

-   A modern Probation Service should be based upon a pragmatic assessment of effective organisational functioning and the delivery of services. The government should have learned that an ideological driven approach, as demonstrated by TR, does not work

-   A modern Probation Service should be locally accountable. It should not be managed centrally, as it is currently by NOMS. Consideration should be given to PCCs and/or LAs having a role in the accountability of the Probation Service

-   A modern Probation Service should be locally based, locally managed, providing services with local partners to local communities. The emphasis is on the word Local. It has been noticeable since TR how little the Probation Service has been able to contribute to local partnership working. In our opinion this is a key deficit which must be addressed to build a service which whilst following national standards of governance and performance outcomes can provide a relevant product geared to the needs of the community served.

-   The responsibility for the management of offenders should be with the Probation Service, Probation Officers should have this responsibility

-   The provision of offender services should be from a diverse provider base. The private and voluntary sectors have a key role to play and should be actively engaged in working with offenders, but always within the overall offender management role undertaken by a Probation Officer

-   Offender services should be delivered having been developed on the basis of best practice, here and abroad.   To date the focus has been largely on correctional practice in the USA. but a much broader approach is needed - learning from other countries including Europe.


While we do not think that there should be a return to a Probation Service as it was before TR, we strongly recommend that members of the Probation Service that have left the service since TR was implemented, should be actively consulted and engaged in the design of a new Probation Service. It should be remembered that before TR, all 42 Probation Trusts were achieving the performance targets that were set by government.  There are people, past and present who have experience in running successful, effective probation organisations.


It is important not to simply blame one minister or government for the disastrous consequences of the TR reforms. In order to be balanced and to make the most effective contribution to the design of a locally based, public sector service that is fit for future functioning and practice, past leaders of the Probation Service should recognise their limitations in full and effective engagement over a number of years with different governments. Now is the time to utilise the knowledge, experience and skills of all of those who can make a contribution to building a future Probation Service and rectifying the mistakes of TR.


4. Conclusion


The Justice Committee Inquiry into TR is very important as a means of gathering evidence which will show that that TR has not succeeded in its intentions and is not working to reduce re-offending or to protect the public.  While improvement and innovation was needed,  the government of the day did not pay sufficient attention to the advice and information that it was given. It was commonly accepted, except by the government, that the TR reforms, particularly in respect to the Probation Service, were ill conceived, insufficiently developed and would not work in practice.  Sadly, much of what the PCA predicted to government would happen, has happened and in a relatively short period of time. This is an opportunity for government to take stock and we hope to concede that TR has not and is not working. There are many organisations and individuals who would be more than willing to assist in rectifying the mistakes of TR. A civilised and democratic society needs to have a sensible and just, publicly run corrections service. A modern, fit for purpose Probation Service could, with police and prison services, again be a central part of providing for public safety.


December 2017

Written evidence from NAPO (Probation Union and Professional Association) National Executive Committee (NEC) representing the Four Shires branch (TRH0026)

What needs to be done to improve the probation system?

Please note:  no public use should be made of any of this submission prepared specifically for the committee unless permission is first obtained from the clerk of the committee.

Written evidence submitted by Gordon Jackson Napo (Probation Union & Professional Association) National Executive Committee (NEC) representing The Fours Shires (Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, NorthamptonshireCambridgeshire) branch.

  1. Introduction

1.1.  I had my first experience with the Probation service when working in a homeless hostel in County Armagh, Northern Ireland that was 25 years ago.

1.2.  I began my degree in Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire in 1993.

1.3.  I graduated in 1996 and almost immediately began work as a Probation Officer in Luton, Bedfordshire. I have remained in Luton. I have been a member of Napo for 22 years.

1.4.  Napo, in 2014, as a result of the organisational changes to the delivery of Probation, changed its structure. In May of that year Chiltern Counties Napo branch which included Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire merged with Northamptonshire branch. The new branch, named ‘The Four Shires’, also included Cambridgeshire, which had been part of the East Anglia Napo branch.

1.5.  The branch has around 180 members.

1.6.  I have held various roles in the branch. For the last 3 years I have been the branch co -representative on the NEC.

2. Executive Summary

  • Restore Probation services to an effective agency for change for citizens

  • I am not aware of any contractual, financial and administrative changes introduced for CRCs as a result of the internal review of Transforming Rehabilitation in July 2017

  • The lack of enforcement by HMIP has undermined its role in the minds of many Probation staff.

  • If the NPS fails to make an adequate assessment at this Pre sentence stage each stage ahead is impaired.

  • Without proper assessments it is more likely that sentence will be disproportionate either way, too harsh or too lenient.

  • The Rehabilitation Activity Requirements  (RARs) introduced by the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 has brought much confusion to Probation staff, Court staff, sentencers and clients.

  • Evidence is required to demonstrate kiosk reporting, telephone reporting and interview booths aid rehabilitation

  • The Government has to be honest in its evaluation of whether the current service is delivering as an effectively as its predecessor and as cost effective

  • Through The Gate provision has to be evaluated to determine whether it is delivering at a practical level

  • No increase in the voluntary sector until it is identified how it can best work within Probation delivery

  • An immediate review of Transformative Rehabilitation

3. Reason for submitting evidence

3.1. I am submitting evidence as we wish to contribute to restoring Probation services to an effective agency for change for citizens who are convicted before a court and holding to account clients when they depart from conditions of Orders and licence.

3.2. I have used the questions asked by the committee as the structure for my response.

The Questions

4.  (a) What contractual, financial and administrative changes did the Government introduce for CRCs in July 2017 as a result of their internal review of Transforming Rehabilitation? What has been the effect of these changes on the delivery of probation services?

4.1. I am not aware of any contractual, financial and administrative changes introduced for CRCs as a result of the internal review of Transforming Rehabilitation in July 2017. Hence I am not aware of the effect or not of these changes on the delivery of probation services.

4. (b) Are strengthening inspection standards and creating joint performance measures (between probation services and prisons) the best ways of improving performance?

4.2. I am not aware that inspection standards have been strengthened. It may be that this is a proposal.

4.3. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) produces reports which often highlight the failings in Probation though do not appear to have the statutory power to take enforcement action i.e. if they highlight failures and there is no improvement there needs to be action.

4.4.The lack of enforcement by HMIP has undermined its role in the minds of many Probation staff.

4. (c) What should be the Government’s priorities to improve work between departments on the delivery of services needed for effective rehabilitation?

4.5.If we are talking about NPS, CRCs and prisons as the departments one of the key priorities has to be NPS assessments at the pre-sentence stage.

4.6. If the NPS fails to make an adequate assessment at this stage each stage ahead is impaired.

4.7. If the prisons do not have access to an electronic Offender Assessment in the form of an Oasys (Offender Assessment System) they receive a prisoner with little if any information.

4.8. Oasys was developed in an electronic version (eOasysin order that initially Probation and Prison both had access to it and could review it depending on whether the prisoner was in prison or released on licence.

4.9. The eOasys, as it is called, followed the prisoner with the intention that at whatever stage the prisoner was in the system the staff in that department would have access to the latest assessment. They in turn would review it and then at the appropriate stage it would be passed back to Probation.

4.10. Similarly, the NPS court team assessment if not done means the NPS or CRC case manager who inherits that case will not have a full assessment and will not be able to proceed until they complete one.

4.11. If a Prison Officer or case manager does not have the pre-sentence assessment they will have to

1. Do the work, which will either be done but delay delivering service to the client

2. Not be done because it takes to too much time in which case rehabilitation is unlikely to be delivered.

4.12. It is of note that at the Napo national conference this year, October 2017, there were no less than 4 motions attempting to improve the decline in reports to courts. The 4 were composited into one motion, which was passed as at Appendix 1. 

4.13 Another motion specifically requested that Oasys assessments are completed on cases were a risk of serious harm is identified. It was also passed Appendix 2.

5. What impact have the reforms had on:

i) Sentencing behaviour,

5.1 I have no evidence other than that of what I am aware and a perception based on it. Without proper assessments, I believe it is more likely that sentence will be disproportionate either way, too harsh or too lenient.

5.2 The Rehabilitation Activity Requirements  (RARs) introduced by the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 has brought much confusion to Probation staff, Court staff, sentencers and clients.

5.3 I would suggest that the committee looks specifically at the impact of RARs

ii) Recalls to prison, and

5.4 Again I have no specific evidence though I am aware that there is a lack of clarity in relation to clients who have been remanded in custody on new offences being recalled.

5.5. Some have taken the view there is no need for recall as the client is already in custody.

5.6. There is a perception amongst some that there are less recalls as staff are instructed to go beyond what would have actioned a recall pre-split. Yet others perceive there be an increase.

iii) Serious further offences?

5.7. Again I have no specific evidence that these have increased though again it is vital that a proper and full assessment is completed at the pre-sentence stage to ensure a client is allocated to the right service.

6.  How effective have Government measures been in addressing issues arising from the division of responsibility between the NPS and CRCs in the delivery of probation services?

6.1. Again I am not aware of what measures have been put in place.

6.2. Tension points as I see them are;

  1. NPS pre-sentence assessments or lack thereof

  1. Rejection of breaches by NPS

2.1.1.      Namely because the CRC has not given a clear proposal for resentencing. This is actually the responsibility of the NPS to advise the Court on sentence.

  1. Escalation of risk cases

3.1.1.      It seems there is a need for an independent mechanism to decide when NPS decline acceptance of case.

  1. Ability to deliver rehabilitation

4.1.1.      There seems to be a lack of understanding of what rehabilitation means with a belief that it means delivered by a supply chain.

  1. Phone call centres

5.1.1.      Within some operating models a call centre manages hundreds of cases.

5.1.2.      This has to be called into question as an effective means of rehabilitation or at least evidence should be produced to demonstrate that it works.

  1. Kiosk reporting 

6.1.1.      Within some models of operating clients simply turn up and fill in a piece of paper.

6.1.2.      This was based on the original proposal to have clients reporting via a computer terminal.

6.1.3.      Again this has to be called into question as an effective means of rehabilitation or at least evidence should be produced to demonstrate that it works.

  1. Booths

7.1.1.      Some offices have been designed as open plan. It has been commented on that the design looks similar to a burger bar.

7.1.2.      The question is, does such an open plan aid rehabilitation or does it create difficulties for the client and staff due to the lack of privacy?

7. What else should the Government do to address the issues facing probation services?

7.1. The Government has to be honest in looking at,

1. Whether these reforms are delivering a better service than was previously delivered.

2. Whether the costs are higher when Probation was delivered by the public sector.

8. How can the Through-the-Gate provision be improved so that prisoners get the right help before their release from prison and afterwards?

8.1 It must deliver. The key issues are

1. Housing

  • In order to determine how effective THG has been, we need to know how many clients would have been homeless on the first night of release but for Through The Gate?

  • How many clients were homeless on the first night of release?

2. Mental health

In order to determine how effective THG has been, we need to know
How many prisoners with mental health needs had an appointment with support services on release?

3. Benefits

In order to determine how effective THG has been, we need to know
How many clients already had an appointment with the Job Centre Plus  (JCP) prior to release.

For those on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) how many had in place a contact to sort out their claim on release.

4. Foreign nationals/ EU nationals

Those Foreign and EU Nationals who do not have recourse to public funds and unable to find employment become reliant on charities to survive.

I am not aware of any strategy to deal with this client group as almost always they are excluded from services, voluntary and otherwise.

9. What can be done to increase voluntary sector involvement in the delivery of probation services?

9.1. I believe before we increase voluntary sector involvement in the delivery of probation services we need to improve and change the current delivery.

9.2 The voluntary sector is involved what we need to do is evaluate the effectiveness of the current delivery which includes the voluntary sector within the supply chain. 

9.3 At the Napo conference in October the motion regarding THG was passed, see Appendix 3

10.  When should there be a review of the future of the Transforming Rehabilitation model and the long-term plan for delivering probation services?

10.1 Immediately. I thought there was one occurring presently.


  1. Consider giving HMIP statutory powers to enforce changes

  1. Return Pre Sentence Report to the status previously enjoyed prior to the Probation split

  1. Introduce quality control measures for Pre Sentence Reports

  1. Abolish Rehabilitation Activity Requirements  (RARs) introduced by the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 and return to the concept of Probation supervision and National Standards

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of kiosk reporting, telephone reporting and interview booths in rehabilitation

  1. Publish the results publicly of whether the current service is delivering as an effectively as its predecessor and as cost effective

  1. Evaluate Through The Gate provision has to be to determine whether it is delivering at a practical level

  1. No increase in the voluntary sector until it is identified how it can best work within Probation delivery

  1. An immediate review of Transformative Rehabilitation


 Appendix 1

Professional & Training Committee

12. PSRs

This AGM has seen the lowering of standards regarding the quality and accuracy of Pre Sentence Reports since the push to on the day delivery.
This AGM expresses its serious concern about the rapid way in which PSRs have been affected by the ‘Simple speedy justice’ agenda and E3 operating model. Arrangements under a “Simple Speedy Justice” initiative have resulted in requirements being agreed with “stakeholders” to produce reports in one hour.

Such a timescale is unrealistic and unsafe It shows little understanding of the assessment processes for informed judgement and compromises professionalism. To complete an interview, undertake necessary checks, include information from other agencies such as the police and social care, use “diagnostic tools” appropriately and compose an assessment in a rushed environment in the space of an hour, generates considerable and unnecessary pressure that contributes to heightened stress levels and is unconducive to diligent practice necessary for justice. Limited information in a PSR increases the likelihood of unduly lenient or harsh sentences or lack of a relevant accredited programme, particularly with domestic abuse perpetrators.
This AGM believes report writers are being de-skilled and placed in untenable situations when they have to produce reports without access to salient information.

The template is unfit for purpose due to it being poorly designed and unwieldy and not compatible with assistive technology. The character restriction also compromises the author’s ability to fully report on relevant issues. We believe this devalues our professional reputation and places our staff and the public at risk

This AGM calls for our National Officers and Officials to:

  • campaign vigorously for on the day reports to be reviewed and a return to quality and accuracy;

  • gather information from sentencers about the value of the reports currently provided;

  • gather information from members in the CRC and NPS about cases where there are concerns that short reports have contributed to inappropriate sentences/risk assessments;

  • challenge guidance contained within the E3 operating model and PI 4/2016 that is not detailed enough in stipulating when full reports should be written and increases the number of oral reports/SFRs;

  • argue to re-introduce compulsory but meaningful gatekeeping to mitigate against bias in respect of protected characteristics;

  • raise these concerns urgently with the Ministry of Justice with a view to more sensible and realistic proposals being agreed centrally.

Appendix 2

15Lack of OASys risk assessments at Criminal Courts

This AGM notes that:

  • case managers rarely receive an Offender Assessment System (OASys) on a client at case allocation;
  • Case Allocation System (CAS) forms received by case managers are often incomplete and inaccurate.

This AGM believes that:

  • often reports have been completed without the relevant children’s services and police checks occurring;  
  • OASys assessments are often missed on cases relating to domestic violence, risks to children, self harm and suicide risk; 
  • this leads to a service that is less accomplished in assessing risk and thereby less of a service for victims, the public and clients.

This AGM asks that:
  • Napo’s NEC and the relevant Napo committee ensure that we work with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to ensure that: 
  1. accurate assessment takes place on all assessments;  
  2. full OASys assessments are undertaken on serious assault cases and not reduced to basic layer OASys.             
  • Napo branches engage with local Magistrates’ and Crown Courts to inform sentencers of our concerns and the consequences of rushed reports;
  • a strategy on the above mentioned is set out by the Officers, approved by the NEC and implemented by branches and members within the next 12 months.

Appendix 3

13. Abolish TTG and PSS 

Through The Gate provision and the Post Supervision Sentence on licences are the biggest failures in sentencing policy history. This is demonstrated by re-offending rates for short sentences now having increased above the 50% mark. For these schemes to continue would require properly fundeprogrammes to be set up in every discharging prison throughout the country. Realistically, this is unlikely to happen. Therefore, we instruct Napo to campaign for these sentences to be scrapped and for a Napo taskforce to be set up to advocate for a provision fit for purpose that can be presented to the MoJ as a fully funded alternative. This AGM instructs National Officials to lobby for the sentences to be removed and replaced with a scheme endorsed by Napo.

A Police Officer - written evidence                                        
Author:[Redacted so that the submission cannot be attributed to an individual]
Background and Executive Summary
In September 2011 myself, a Senior Probation Officer and Health Practice Manager set up a local IOM Team in [location] UK.  We enjoyed 3 years of productive, forward thinking and meaningful Partnership work to reduce crime, by reducing re-offending, by intense focus on Society’s most prolific acquisitive criminals – PPOs.  We felt we had found the Holy Grail in terms of partnership work and were immensely proud of our achievements. Then came TR. The impact it had on the IOM Operation, positive criminal justice and rehabilitative outcomes and the detrimental impact on personal well-being of staff within the IOM, has been and continues to be hugely negative.  As a [Police Officer] of [number of years’ service], I hope my colleagues would describe me as passionate, positive, enthusiastic and innovative in tackling crime and preventing further victims, by doing the right thing, at the right time, with the Offenders that cause the greatest harm by the cumulative effect and scale of their offending.  It has been increasingly difficult to ‘do the right thing’ since TR for a number of reasons including the fact that monetary targets are fixed to performance measures, only 10% of which are linked to rehabilitation, workloads are now non-sustainable and ineffective, IT constantly undermines the daily operation, staff within CRC and NPS are broken or breaking quickly, working alongside CRC/NPS as an equal partner in the IOM mission is no longer possible.
Sometimes vital enforcement tools, such as recalls, are now difficult to achieve, and very much reactive.  The previous stance of pro-active and positive enforcement action is a thing of the past.  The attrition of trained, dedicated and vocational staff has been painful to watch as has the individual  mental and physical breakdowns caused as a direct result of TR. On a daily basis 3-4 hours is lost to IT failures, centrally organised remote admin hubs reduced common sense decisions with no comprehension of local issues, satellite CRC management has displayed poor strategic understanding of Criminal Justice work and Governance has been confusing, slow and/or no solutions have been provided to critical daily issues, drastically reduced resourcing levels over a short period of time, increased sickness levels and thus ever increasing workloads, have all hindered operational success. Communication at Strategic levels across Organisation has been poor, with decisions being made by CRCs in isolation, causing impact on partners and operations.  Staff at the coal-face have been discouraged from communicating or verbalising concerns and on occasions have been stifled into silence for fear of the consequences of speaking out.
[Redacted so that the submission cannot be attributed to an individual]
Abandon TR
Or if that is not viable or possible at this time then the following actions may improve the situation:
i)                    Government
  • All PPOs should be managed by NPS
  • Funding streams for Community Rehabilitation options
  • No negative PI for Recall. Return of Pro-active recalls.
  • Annual Review of CRCs and NPS with accountability and sanctions, including NPS takeover of CRCs if not performing well
  • Extra Government Investment for Short term prisoners
  • Rolling out lessons to all agencies and practioners from Serious Further Offences
  • Volunteer programme for Probation volunteers

ii)                 Court
  • Threshold of sentencing for PPOs – 3offences per year = 2 years custodial. Bespoke training and specific Courts when sentencing PPOs.

iii)               Police
  • Training of Police Officers on Probation matters and sentencing outcomes, backed up by identification IT markers for Offenders who are supervised.
  • Information sharing protocols between Police and Probation to include notifications of arrest for Probation managed Offenders.

iv)                CRCs
  • SOPS for CRCs to encourage National consistency
  • CRCs should have a duty to attend partnership meetings relevant to reducing offending and rehabilitation and local problem solving.
  • Through the Gate : Shared Rehabilitation plans. Pre-release communication mandatory. Joined up Health services through the gate.

Government Measures
a)      The changes imposed lead to an almost immediate and very sudden 40% reduction in CRC staff. An unclear or slow HR policy on redundancy meant many staff were ill informed when choosing between NPS and CRC. Uncertainty caused some to make the wrong choice and some to leave the service altogether.  Ironically some left the CRC, joined a recruitment agency, only to be re-employed by the NPS at 3 times the cost.
Office CA’s were dis-established and admin hubs created. This affected the IOM operation hugely. Our PO is now allocated new cases often in an ad hoc fashion (allocating to Officers off sick on or leave)  with the PO/PSO often know nothing about the allocation until the Offender arrives having been released from HMP.  Our 1 IOM PO now holds a case load of over 100 cases which is growing. Thus understandably he has lost a proper grasp on his cases and is under unsustainable pressure.
b)     Some Performance measures seem to be meaningless. Accommodation found on the day of release is an example. This can only be genuine and real when Probation work through the Gate with Councils and Landlords. Integration and Communication with Catch 22 has been slow- IT, vetting and recruitment issues – being initial barriers. This generated a lack of faith in the process which remain to this day. Catch 22 processes are admin heavy and have little overlap with POs in the Community.  IOM has never been sent a rehab plan prior to release since the inception of Catch 22. The hard to help Offenders – most of our PPOS – are the last to be helped because they are the most time consuming.  Mentoring on release – usually for 1 day – is ineffective and not always done with good safeguarding protocols.

c)      Government Priorities:
  • If National Standard Operating Procedures were in place it may help.  Our IOM has seen an influx of unsafe transfers into the area. This didn’t happen (as often) when Probation trusts existed because they were disciplined and followed National guidelines.
  • Improved links at NPS and CRC operational levels i.e. set meeting structure might help regulate contact and enhance a feeling of common purpose.
  • CRCs response to the staffing crisis, was to focus solely on offender management and they recently refused to attend any partnership meetings and currently have very little overlap with other statutory or voluntary community services.  In effect TR has encouraged CRCs to operate in silos.

2)  Impact on
i)       Sentencing Behaviour- Post Sentence Supervision regime is considered to be a toothless tiger.  With no additional Government investment in managing short sentence prisoners the additional work was generally absorbed by the CRCS who were already over stretched and in chaos following TR.  Recalls on PSS for 14 days are not cost effective.  They are punitive but have no rehabilitative effect.  They have also opened up an opportunity for drug mules into Prisons which has been exploited by many.
Breach procedures are administratively heavy for little sanction.  Courts are reluctant to give custodial sentences as Prisons are over capacity.  Our IOM recently breached a couple of PPO Offenders for non-compliance of UPW. In the first case the Court chose to remove the UPW element. No sanction.  In the second they doubled the Offenders UPW hours despite the fact that the POs report stated the Offender was not currently and would not comply in the future. Predictably he failed to comply and went on to commit other offences.
To note the current stance to fine a PPO seems a further fruitless exercise.  Many have no means to pay, already have huge debts and most are poor at repaying their fines.  Sometimes a further offence will ironically be rewarded in Court, as the Court will consolidate the fines, thus actually rewarding the original Offending behaviour.

ii)              Recalls
In our IOM Team there used to be 5.5 Probation representatives pre TR. The Team focus was solely on PPOs.  After TR the Team now has 1 PO and 1 part-time SPO. Thus there is no resilience at PO or management level. In addition, the PO holds many non IOM cases which dilutes his focus.  With a workload of over 100 cases, the opportunity to prepare Response to Supervision reports for Court is severely reduced.  Work overload and IT issues also means that notes after supervision are not always up to date. This means the Bench is then advised by the NPS Court Duty Officer, who has no up to date background and understanding of the case.  If the PO is off sick or on leave, there is no one to write or verbally give a RTS (Court is over [number] miles away after our local Court was closed). 
Likewise if the Offender is on Licence, and commits a further offence, is charged and presented to Court, and the PO is not working, recall paperwork will be delayed. If the Police don’t secure a Remand In Custody, the Offender will be released into the Community until a PO comes on duty to write the recall.
With Recalls being a negative Performance Indicator for the CRCs, the message sent to the Offender is at best confusing, and at worst risky.  Our IOM recently had an Offender on licence, who committed a further theft offence, only to be sanctioned with a fine, as a recall was not considered to be relevant. A month later, this Offender a month was caught for PWITS (possession with Intent to supply) in an area in which the Police had set up a specific Operation. Due to Police/CPS processes and a delay on drug testing, the Offender was released under investigation (RUI’d), and the Offender was not recalled on the basis that there was no charge sheet.  This bureaucratic battle reflected the CRCs reluctance to recall a Persistent Offender who had shown a total disregard to his Licence.  A challenge at the highest level saw the recall eventually supported, but the whole battle meant the Offender was at large for months longer than he should have been.

iii)               Serious Further Offences – I understand SFOs are on the increase.  This is inevitable with increasing workloads, a lack of staff, and no protocols in place for sharing intelligence with Police.  Probation only receive a Charge sheet. They do not receive notification of arrests, or Released Under Investigation or Bail.  Likewise, it is currently very difficult for a Police Officer to tell if an Offender is managed by Probation. Prison Licences’ were not routinely put on PNC, and Police have very little understanding of Probation Licences, PSS, Community sentences etc, as it is not included in their initial or ongoing training.  A recent SFO is our Force area, after a male was murdered, highlighted this short fall.

My office had a SFO yesterday.  An offender was charged with attempt murder after bottling another.  The PO who owned the case was not working. The SPO was on a day off. The other CRC manager was on two weeks leave.   I was thus forced to escalate this to the ACO but not in time to make reps at Court. Fortunately the Police were able to secure a RIC.

[Sentences redacted and summarised so that the submission cannot be attributed to an individual. Summary sentence: In 2016–17 there were 66.7% more deaths compared to the previous year and over the same period deaths increased by 33.3% in the NPS].  The introduction of ORA in 2015 may be responsible for some of this increase but nevertheless is a worrying upward trend, when management of risk is designed to be paramount.

3)  Division of responsibility between NPS and CRC – No comment
4)What should Government do to address Issues effecting the Probation Service?
Effective management of PPOs under a National structure (NPS) would reduce demand for Police and Probation and potentially Prisons.  There should be a threshold for sentencing PPOs encouraging a more effective sentence for the most prolific. i.e. 3 offences in one year = minimum of 2 year custodial.
Further funding from Government for the management of Short term prisoners may pay dividends. Nationally designed and consistently reinforced programmes of rehabilitation are needed.  The Government should work strategically and jointly with Chief Constables, Police Crime Commissioners and Community Safety Partnerships and the Voluntary sector to fund and deliver effective programmes.   Community Rehabilitation Projects – our local example is [name redacted]  - should be financially supported as they support reintegration and rehabilitation at an effective local level.
It is my firm belief that the Government should now consider abandoning TR and revert to a National vocational and effective public service. If need be give the money to the NPS and terminate the ineffective private contracts with current poor performing CRCs.

5. Through the Gate provision – We need to see more support for ROTL schemes and funding of Community rehabilitation programmes such as [name redacted] in [location].  There needs to be work between Health providers in and outside Prison to ensure consistency of treatment approaches.  At the moment the dialogue between the two is often strained.
6. Increasing Voluntary Sector Involvement
The Probation Volunteer scheme needs to be urgently reinvigorated.  This would help harvest the abundance of skills and good-will in the Community.  Identifying methodology to look at ‘Shared community goals’ and development of a non-bureaucratic funding stream for local projects would be inspiring.
7.  Future – Review of TR Model
TR started in 2014 – An annual inspection should be mandatory.  In my humble opinion, I don’t believe the Government should not throw good money after bad. There must be an option to acknowledge that TR has not been a success and urgent action should be taken.  Two-way communication, a discussion board, meaningful protection for whistle blowers, a Question Time for Probation Inspectors and Probation Service Providers (i.e. [name of CRC]) with accountability from the top, should be built in as a matter of urgency. Currently there are too many strategic filters stifling the true picture from reaching those who need to know.

October 2017


  • This is a brief summary offering but a tiny glimpse into the impact of the Transforming Rehabilitation project from a personal perspective.

  1. After a variety of experiences in sport, economic development, advertising and media, I started my Probation Service apprenticeship, aged 28 years, as the first accredited Probation Volunteer with a pioneering scheme in the east Midlands. I was guided & supervised by an experienced Senior Probation Officer which led to a chain of events including my employment as an Assistant Warden in Approved Probation Hostels… as a Probation Services Assistant in a tough city centre team… and eventually to be accepted as a mature student on the Home Office sponsored scheme to study for the Diploma in Social Work, ‘Probation Pathway’.

  1. I qualified as a Probation Officer (and Social Worker), was immediately appointed as a First Year Probation Officer and the journey got ever more exciting…

  1. Over my 20+ years within the Probation Service my experiences were many and varied; no two days were ever the same. My places of work included prisons, courts, universities and community offices; I was involved in the early development of a common risk assessment tool (i.e. OASys, a laudable concept that became corrupted & misused); I delivered accredited programmes to individuals and groups; lectured and assessed Trainee Probation Officers; designed protocols with mental health professionals for co-working cases with severe and enduring mental health issues, including personality disorders; developed co-location community schemes with drug and alcohol teams; co-worked with Police Officers in an Integrated Offender Management team…

  1. I worked with some very high risk cases and fielded the brutally devastating consequences of a perpetrator’s actions – events that happened regardless of the timeliness, clarity or quality of any risk assessment.

  1. In the course of my work over the years I have been spat at, hit with furniture, bitten, followed home, received death-threats and had to face angry people wielding various weapons. I have had to cope with the sudden deaths of people I worked with; often through substance use, occasionally through violence. I have also been offered appreciative thanks by those I’ve worked with and/or their families, and/or their victims.

  1. Almost all of my working days during those 20+ years were in excess of the paid, contracted hours because I enjoyed my work, I valued the opportunity to make a contribution and I believed my caseload on any given day deserved the maximum effort I could give. I am not a martyr to lost causes, nor am I flawless or altruistic; I have screwed up many times, both personally and professionally.

  1. In November 2013, based upon some mythical algorithm, I was told I had been allocated to work in the privatised Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). I appealed this decision only to be told it was non-negotiable and any further challenge would be regarded as tendering my notice.

  1. This was the second time in six years I had been forced to accept non-negotiable changes to my contract of employment; the previous occasion being the shift to Trust status. That does not include the numerous other contractual changes since 2007 including reduction or complete loss of in-service benefits (e.g. subsistence allowances, essential car user, etc.) or the loss of 3 days’ leave from my annual entitlement as part of some ham-fisted ‘pay harmonisation deal’.

  1. My working days were increasingly spent inputting data to an unreliable computer system when it should have involved face-to-face work with my caseload; or liaison with the Benefits Agency, with Social Workers and NHS staff. And whilst I was making myself unpopular fighting to get funding for the long-overdue assessment of an undiagnosed & untreated paranoid schizophrenic to facilitate transfer to a high secure hospital, or trying to organise a Circle of Support for a sex offender in the community, I was aware of the ‘noises off in the corridors of power’, e.g. Dame Ursula Brennan in her evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, 12 March 2014:
“What I am trying to say is that we are not saying, “Here is how we do it now.  We are going to do something that adds cost to it.”  We are saying, “Here are all the costs now.  They are going to lie in different places, and the procedures are going to look different.”  So we are not simply saying, “Here is a process, we are adding cost to it.”  We are saying, “Here is a process that is going to operate in a different way.”
  1. Or hollow promises from the ‘great and the good’:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con), 11 March 2014:
"The efficiency savings that these reforms will generate will be reinvested in two major prizes that many noble Lords have long argued in favour of. The first is a through-the-gate system of support for everyone released from prison... The second is the extension of supervision after release to short-sentenced prisoners,"
  1. My union, the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), told us they had signed a national agreement protecting our terms & conditions, securing an Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy (EVR) scheme & confirming NO compulsory redundancies for the first seven (7) months of new ownership, i.e. until end August 2015.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con), 11 March 2014:
It is difficult to understand why there is apparently—so the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, says—discontent among the staff, because a deal has been negotiated with the unions. We have been undertaking negotiations with probation trade unions and the employers’ representatives over a national agreement for staff transfer that will protect the terms and conditions of staff transferring to the CRCs or the NPS. Probation trade unions and the Probation Association, which represents trusts, ratified the national agreement on staff transfer on 29 January 2014. Trade unions have also withdrawn all local trade disputes.
The national agreement[1] offers a very good deal for existing staff, and demonstrates our commitment to fairness by going much further than we are legally required to do. Staff will transfer to the new probation structures with their existing terms and conditions in place. The additional protections set out within the
11 Mar 2014 : Column 1694
agreement include a guarantee of employment in the new probation structures from 1 June 2014, no compulsory redundancies for a period of seven months following share sale and an enhanced voluntary redundancy period of up to 67.5 weeks.”

  1. In 2014 we were briefed locally to the effect that these were “exciting times” and “it was a great opportunity with lots of scope for innovation.”
“The guarantee I can give the hon. Gentleman’s constituents is that we are not removing the people who are doing the job at the moment. We are freeing them operationally to innovate, and we are bringing new skills to the task of rehabilitating offenders.”
  1. On 1 February 2015 the new owners moved in. The CEO who was so unbearably enthusiastic about the CRC retired on 31 January 2015.

  1. At this point (i.e. February 2015) I applied for the nationally agreed EVR scheme (closing date for applications was 31 March 2015) only to be told by my new employer that my role as a PO was “not at risk” and I was “not eligible”.
Andrew Selous MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice):
“Under the enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme opened in advance of the transition of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to new providers, probation staff were able to apply for voluntary redundancy on the basis that they would leave the service by 31 March 2016.”
  1. In July 2015 I received a letter from my new employer telling me I was at risk of redundancy. We were eventually to lose 65% of staff in our area team.

  1. In refusing to honour the agreed EVR scheme the new employer asked for expressions of interest in Voluntary Severance on their terms (estimates on social media put the offer at about 40% of the nationally agreed EVR arrangement).

  1. No guarantee could be given as to where the remaining staff would be based which, given the vast geography involved in the region, effectively required me agreeing to drive (at my own expense in my own vehicle) for up to two hours to a designated place of work, then two hours’ home again after a seven hour day (with no option of public transport as there wasn’t/isn’t any). With the commitments I had in my personal life I was faced with Hobson’s Choice.
  2. On 31 August 2015 my career as a Probation Officer came to an end. I am unable to elaborate further due to contractual arrangements linked to the severance agreement.

  1. I am still grieving for my loss and can find no reason or motivation to forgive the self-serving ideologues who facilitated the travesty of TR.

  1. My submission to this Committee is that Parliament and the country were misled over the purpose of the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) project; that it was fatally flawed from the start; that it was wholly motivated by a blinkered political ideology to privatise public sector services; and as such there was no regard for the cost to the public purse or the jobs of existing staff.

  1. It most certainly was NOT based upon any relevant pilot evidence for a TR model. The Leeds model was abandoned…
Oral evidence: Transforming Rehabilitation
HC 484 Monday 4 July 2016, HMP Hatfield
Ordered by the House of Commons to be published on 4 July 2016.
Chris Evans: How much did the abandoned Leeds programme cost?
Michael Spurr: I don’t have that figure. I am sure we can find it and write to you. You say, “abandoned”, but we were looking at different approaches to payment by results — the point was that it was a pilot opportunity and we took learning from the pilot. It was not quite abandoned: we sought to see whether anybody was prepared to run that project on a payment-by-results basis and we got an outcome from that, which was that they were not.”
  1. In Doncaster it was soon realised that providing a universal service was inefficient; and Peterborough was based entirely upon voluntary involvement by prisoners whose average length of stay was just seven weeks…
“The shadow Justice Secretary talked about piloting, but the pilot programme delivering clear improvements in the level of reoffending that is closest to what I want to achieve around the country is in Peterborough.”
  1. And from the transcript of evidence given to the Public Accounts Committee on 12 March 2014:
Margaret Hodge: But the Peterborough model, as I understand it, is voluntary.
Antonia Romeo: That is correct.
Margaret Hodge: And the model that you are designing is not voluntary.
Antonia Romeo: That is correct.
Margaret Hodge: Is there any international evidence on this payment by results stuff?
Antonia Romeo: Very little actually.

  1. It was nevertheless crashed through Parliament; and it has since cost the taxpayer many, many unnecessary (and undisclosed) millions of pounds – monies which seem to have simply vanished into the pockets of the private companies.

  1. In a Civil Service World interview with Antonia Romeo, Senior Responsible Officer for TR, 24 April 2014, she notes there was…
“… a timing issue, because the government’s policy is to roll it out by 2015, so we can really start feeling the effects in reductions to reoffending… NOMS has a business assurance board designed, she adds, to “give me, the senior responsible officer, the assurance that this is going to work and isn’t taking on any unnecessary risk.”
  1. Concern at the speed of the implementation was widespread:
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con), 11 March 2014:
“I want to deal with the anxiety about the pace of these reforms. It is said that they have been going too quickly, although we say that that is not the case. We have drawn significant learning from earlier initiatives and have tested aspects of the reform programme. For example, our experience with the payment-by-results pilots at Her Majesty’s Prisons Peterborough and Doncaster has increased our confidence about designing robust payment-by-results contracts that drive the required behaviours and help generate improved value for money.”
  1. So at a time of so-called ‘austerity’ when we were “all in it together” the Government gave vast sums of taxpayer cash from the ‘Modernisation Fund’ (allegedly £80m, although no figure has ever been disclosed) to private companies - who had submitted £multi-million costed bids for CRC contracts – to cover the costs of pre-planned job losses. On this basis it could be argued that the Government were so determined to make the TR project work that they gave the private-sector bidders a publicly-funded ‘sweetener’ to cover the costs of making hundreds of Probation Service staff unemployed.

  1. When it subsequently became clear the EVR scheme was not going to be honoured by the private companies and staff would not be paid what had been nationally agreed, the Government confirmed the CRC owners could keep the money for themselves. The highlighted text below is my emphasis:
Andrew Selous MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) in a Written Answer, 15 June 2015:
“Under the enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme opened in advance of the transition of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to new providers, probation staff were able to apply for voluntary redundancy on the basis that they would leave the service by 31 March 2016. The total cost of these redundancies was £16.4m. All remaining Modernisation Fund monies were awarded to CRCs. Redundancy funding was allocated pro-rata to CRCs based on their size and estimated future staffing requirements.
As stated in my answer to questions 900, 898, 902 and 901, we have no plans to reclaim any monies allocated to CRCs from the Modernisation Fund; and consequently there have been no discussions with CRCs about this. Contract Management Teams are embedded in each CRC, closely monitoring how all monies are used and robust processes are in place to ensure all expenditure is correctly spent.”
  1. I remain angry, distressed and dismayed by the politically motivated, ideological vandalism that has not only cost hundreds of jobs and careers, but has sought to eradicate the nomenclature, professionalism and ethos of The Probation Service.

October 2017

[1] There was a subsequent document – The Offender Management Act 2007 (Probation Services) Staff Transfer Scheme 2014, signed off by Chris Grayling on 29 May 2014.


DTV CRC – Context and Overview:

Durham Tees Valley CRC is owned by ARCC – Achieving Real Change in Communities – which is a consortia of nine local private, public and third sector organisations.  ARCC is the only arrangement of its kind within the CRC parent ownership group and is unique in its not for profit stance, whereby should any monies be gained via the current contract with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), it will be reinvested in front line services to improve the effectiveness of such services.  ARCC comprises three of our local authorities, a mental health Trust, three charities dealing with families, peer mentors and young people, a CRC staff mutual (who wrote the operational delivery model) and a registered housing provider.  Between them, they cover many of the core offending pathways which are widely known to contribute towards a person’s ability to shake off their offending lifestyle – such as accommodation, employability, mental health – and their delivery as our supply chain for example within our Through the Gate team, has resulted in schemes whereby prison leavers receive mental health support via a team of criminal justice liaison workers; or where homeless prisoners are prioritised by local authorities in hot spot areas; or partnering with a community bank enables prisoners to save from their prison wages and have an established bank account upon release. 

DTV CRC has established a very positive reputation within the CRC landscape and we believe we have enacted the contracts in the way they were intended originally.  There is little doubt however, that the uncertainty over available income, the changes in volume and mix of offenders and the length of time it has taken to resolve this situation (contract year four of seven) with the Ministry has meant that energy and resource has had to be deployed on activities other than reducing reoffending and innovation.

JSC Questions - Government measures
  1. To what extent do the steps taken by the Government address the issues facing probation services?
a)     What contractual, financial and administrative changes did the Government introduce for CRCs in July 2017 as a result of their internal review of Transforming Rehabilitation?
[Redacted as contains commercially confidential information]
What has been the effect of these changes on the delivery of probation services?
The review by the MoJ led to a review of the Weighted Annual Volume (WAV) bandings in light of the information about our fixed costs and the contractual changes implemented earlier this year, now mean that DTV CRC is paid at a WAV band which enables us to retain manageable caseloads (Probation Officers hold on average forty five cases and Probation Service Officers sixty five cases), ensure safe service delivery with public protection intact and every offender is seen face to face.  The security of payment going forward for the remainder of the contract also gives us the stability and much needed time to focus upon improving our service delivery and the ability to invest in areas where we need to consider doing things differently in an attempt to further reduce reoffending e.g. the offenders who remain as ‘high impact’ within the frequency cohort of our payment by results cohorts.
(b)              Are strengthening inspection standards and creating joint performance measures               (between probation services and prisons) the best ways of improving performance?
It depends?  There needs to be a real balance between the focus upon custody and community and our experience to date with anything concerning the prison service, is that ‘it’ gets priority and therefore the resources.  Undoubtedly shared outcome measures around reducing reoffending amongst all criminal justice services seem sensible, but any changes would be difficult in the current complex system.  The centrally driven management of the prison service (and NPS) does not fit with local delivery and local needs of either the establishment or locality.  Geographical skills gaps for example, are not served by nationally commissioned prison service contracts with education providers who are not familiar with local communities or businesses.  Shared measures between the CRC and NPS may lead to more joint working around smooth process enactment, but there would also need to be a mechanism by which any appropriate sanctions for poor performance is shared.  Currently there is no incentive for the NPS/Prison to do things differently, other than local will to work together.  In the North East the CRC, NPS and Reform Prisons Executive Director have signed a statement of intent around joint working towards better rehabilitative outcomes, but this initiative is locally driven by the three system leaders and sits out with of contractual arrangements.  Consideration should be given to measures which incentivise rather than penalise, and any financial weightings attached, should accurately reflect the costs of delivery.
In terms of strengthened inspection standards, this too depends on the focus – any changes to inspection regimes in the current climate need to reflect the nature of the CRC contracts, and to understand exactly what it is we have been contracted to deliver.  DTV CRC’s approach has been to do the ‘right thing’ professionally, for example, we have over invested in our Through the Gate services (vis a vis FFS income received for this service) as we believe this is still an area where offenders do not receive sufficient support.  The current contract allows an organisation to deliver a ‘minimum’ service if it so chooses.  However, national changes to contracts and national specifications do not take account of local prison need, local community resource available, or provision available from other organisations such as health, community substance misuse support or third sector agencies.  Locally defined co-commissioning of services would ensure resources are targeted and local agencies accountable to those who understand the environment. 
Inspection and Audit since the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms has become complex, is usually enacted by those who do not understand CRC operating models and who remain wedded to ‘old style’ probation practice.  Whilst CRC’s have been criticised for a lack of innovation, notwithstanding the impact of the financial uncertainty on our ability to invest in service development, there remains a reluctance to ‘let go’ of previous practice methodology.  With a desire to innovate comes a natural risk that it may go wrong.  Current audit and inspection criteria do not allow for such risks, which clearly need to be appropriately managed, but the danger with any further centralised standards means this further reduces the CRC’s ability to try out new things.
(c)              What should be the Government's priorities to improve work between departments on the delivery of services needed for effective rehabilitation?
Breaking down departmental silo working – for example, the imposition of Universal Credit will undoubtedly reduce the benefits of the Through the Gate service aims, if not render them impossible.
Health, are notoriously difficult to engage.  Information sharing protocols, or rather the lack of, mean that health professionals get caught up in not being able to share information about offenders, when it is exactly this information which may help us join services more effectively. 
Government drivers with local businesses - through the chambers of commerce for example, could help with a more volume focussed solution to offender employment opportunities.  Engaging one or two local employers who have a social conscious is fine, but it does not give us a volume solution in areas of high unemployment / social deprivation.
Build upon the ideas around local prison Governor empowerment – and mean it! 
Enable delivery via local partnership arrangements where responses can be tailored and agencies held to account by those who understand the environment.
  1. What impact have the reforms had on: i) sentencing behaviour, ii) recalls to prison, and iii) serious further offences?
In our area we have worked hard to retain strong relationships with the local NPS and Courts.  We have agreed the placing of a CRC member of staff in our busiest Magistrates Courts, who helps with ensuring information about current CRC offenders can be fed in to any reports (written or verbal) to ensure offenders are getting the most appropriate interventions.  This was cited as good practice in the recent HMIP thematic report.  Overall sentencers have struggled to understand the split between the CRC and NPS and confusion remains over the Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR).  We have retained our numbers of accredited programmes in one half of our area, but they have dropped off significantly in the other, with no obvious apparent explanation.  One frustration from a CRC perspective is that we cannot access any Court concordance data, or sentencing trend data without needing to ask the MoJ/NPS.  This makes it difficult to tailor inputs to sentencers at a local level. 
Our recall rates and SFO numbers have not changed in comparison to pre TR days. 
  1. How effective have Government measures been in addressing issues arising from the division of responsibility between the NPS and CRCs in the delivery of probation services?
The separation of probation delivery has undoubtedly made some processes more complex and caused a level of confusion and misunderstanding amongst wider stakeholders such as Courts/sentencers and Community Sentence Partnerships.  Initially CRC’s were required to operate via the NPS for any court related process e.g. advice re sentencing, breach, revocation and so on.  As mentioned above, in the DTV area we have secured agreement with the NPS Director for the placing of a CRC staff member within the two busiest magistrates courts, to aid with the flow of information around available interventions or where cases have been previously known to the CRC, in an attempt to ensure individuals receive the most appropriate sentence.  This is local practice however which is driven by pragmatic, positive local relationships rather than any national policy.
The senior system leaders (all CRC CEO’s, all NPS Directors and senior HMPPS officials) meet on a quarterly basis to discuss system interface issues and try to resolve areas of national difficulty – e.g. sentencing trends, decreasing use of accredited programmes, sentencer confidence. These meetings are bolstered by local contractual meetings led by the Contract Management Teams called ‘system integration meetings’ where the more local interface nuances are discussed.
In our view, the psychological impact of the split between NPS and CRC staff nationally has been underestimated but the Ministry are now trying to close this gap via the above meeting structure.  The creation of HMPPS and separation of the policy and operations has yet to impact in any real sense.  There has been considerable ill feeling and criticism as to the NPS being part of NOMS as was, and now HMPPS, and not treated as a provider of services within the system, as CRC’s are.  There has been a lack of transparency around holding the NPS to account or as to what the incentives / sanctions are for NPS performance.  For example – the poor level of detail coming from Court with an offender allocated to the CRC has been cited in many HMIP reports as inadequate and unhelpful, as CRC’s are then unable to make a thorough assessment of the individual. 
  1. What else should the Government do to address the issues facing probation services?
These reforms were large scale and implemented at a pace without any trialling or piloting of the proposed changes. There is a lot to be learnt from the way these reforms were enacted, how services were split, how CRC contracts have been managed.  Hopefully, within HMPPS somebody is looking at the learning and feeding this in to whatever the next iteration of contracts may look like. 
Stop further monies being spent on bureaucratic processes and invest in outcomes instead.  For example the contractual change notice process, the latest being changes to the collection of data around whether somebody has ‘suitable and appropriate’ accommodation upon release from prison. 
The change notice process gives CRC’s the opportunity to submit an impact assessment as to the additional costs the suggested changes to the recording process will incur.  Clearly, whilst additional work needs to be funded, in our view, this money would be better spent on incentivising CRC’s to trial new projects/pilots/ways of joint working, rather than compensating us for what are usually administrative tasks.  This latest process will only give the Authority a snap shot of data for people being released in to accommodation, but the process is about the offender providing the evidence of their accommodation and goes no further to see if that person is still in accommodation at a later date.  This change also allows for ‘text’ evidence to be submitted i.e. an offender says they are residing with an aunt, s/he shows the responsible officer a text from said aunt which states they are happy for them to reside with them.  There is no way of the RO knowing however, that the text is bona fide or otherwise.  This is one example where scrutiny and bureaucracy take precedence over channelling money in to outcomes and real results. 
Short-term changes
  1. How can the Through-the-Gate provision be improved so that prisoners get the right help before their release from prison and afterwards?
At DTV CRC we are working beyond the current contractual specification around TTG services.  Where we work with an individual who has a sentence longer than twelve weeks, we continue to work with them for the duration of the sentence following initial screening, and not just within the twelve week stage prior to release which is the contractual requirement.  Our TTG team comprises CRC probation officers (PO) and probation service officers (PSO), alongside two third sector partner providers who provide the wrap around services against the TTG pathways.  These third sector organisations are fully embedded in our TTG team and were praised by HMIP in the most recent TTG thematic Inspection in June 2017;
‘We found only two cases where Through the Gate services had identified and secured accommodation for prisoners. Both of these individuals were released from HMP Holme House, where Durham Tees Valley CRC had worked with housing associations in their supply chain to improve access’.
We use PO and PSO’s in this team to ensure a professional risk assessment is carried out, as the quality of the Basis Custody Screening Tool (BCST) is often in adequate due to the nature of the questions (specified) and the lack of time prison staff have to complete section one. 
Having trained probation staff in this team was also praised by HMIP in the TTG Inspection report –
‘… experienced staff already working for DTV CRC had been moved into the prisons to deliver resettlement services. We thought this brought advantages, including an understanding of the need to be persistent with cases where the prisoner was difficult to engage…’
DTV CRC’s model for TTG includes what we call a ‘departure lounge’ which is a facility we contract with another third sector provider, to provide us with a location to see prisoners released from custody within the visitor centre, which is immediately outside the prison gate.  Our departure lounges are staffed by the same staff from the TTG team so are already familiar faces to the prisoner.  They also provide the facility for family members to attend and we can reiterate licence conditions etc. to those people closest to the prisoner.  Again this practice was highlighted as good practice by HMIP in the same report -
‘DTV CRC had set up a ‘departure lounge’ just outside the prison gates, where prisoners being released to the local CRC had their first appointment and could receive a range of practical support’
Investment in the TTG service within DTV falls far below the income received via Fee for Service for these services.  In pure business terms, without overall resolution to the financial situation created by the decreasing offender volumes and WAV, DTV would not be able to continue to fund this level of service, despite it being deemed best practice by a range of NOMS/HMPPS officials.  There are current negotiations on going with the Ministry around a revised TTG contractual specification as they have recognised that for providers to fund this work fully, there needs to be a revision in the financial weighting of the work overall.  We wait to see what comes from these negotiations.
  1. What can be done to increase voluntary sector involvement in the delivery of probation services?
There is a need to manage expectations around what this sector can deliver and how easy they are to engage or otherwise as engaging this sector is not as easy as it gets portrayed.  Small third sector organisations can be insular, locally competitive, locally constrained and put off by the level of contractual bureaucracy involved in working with the CRC.  Some are often reluctant to engage in activity which can be enforceable from a probation point of view.  That said, we have fully engaged with two core third sector partners for our TTG services – one a registered housing provider and one a peer mentor / volunteer support specialist.  We also work with NEPACS who deal with prisoner families and wider prisoner support issues. 
We are currently working with our PCC and Local Criminal Justice Board to identify the level of provision locally, and matching these to service delivery gaps in an effort to join up services and avoid duplication.
The future of probation services
  1. When should there be a review of the future of the Transforming Rehabilitation model and the long-term plan for delivering probation services?
The current CRC contracts run until 2021/22.  The first round of Payment by Results figures, all be it positive in reducing the number of offenders in the system overall, have produced disappointing results against the frequency measure.  There are many and varied reasons as to why this may be the case, but one obvious one is that this baseline cohort was formed in 2015 when CRC’s were nowhere near having implemented their new operating models.  Giving sufficient time for the next full iteration of figures to come to fruition would be a more realistic indicator of the impact of the reforms.
November 2017

1 Executive Summary.

  • The CRCs are not genuinely committed to reducing crime or providing decent services to offenders.
  • They do not appropriately care for the staff.
  • Two tier employment practices.
  • No feeling of honesty or integrity of the contract provider.
  • Dissatisfied staff across the whole organisation at all levels.
  • Morale at an all time low and nothing is set to improve.
  • HMIP inspection is well overdue.


  1. As Chair of the Branch of the Trade Union Napo SSW . NAPO members currently managed under the Dorset Devon and Cornwall CRC within the Working Links way contracted area. Napo members have expressed their concerns and a desire to contribute to the inquiry. Napo hopes this contribution ensures change is both accelerated and drastic, direction to the current model of management and misdirection of the services which offenders need. We submit this evidence because during the 3 years of the Working links way, offender services have declined, staff have been decimated in number and morale is at a record low.  For those who remain in legacy employment from Probation trusts, the Unions have tried to engage with a hostile and failing senior management team, with poor leadership process. Working Links dismiss senior management whilst many are still leaving. 

  1. Working Links way is to avoid all correspondence and appropriate engagement to negotiate with the recognised Unions and have continued an avoidance strategy. This tactic had been used in their previous government contracts.  WL do not provide proper contractual obligations upon them as required under the staff transfer and protections agreement. All matters have been raised locally within failures to agree. These escalated to a joint area wide dispute and has had the support of ACAS intervention. Working Links Way has been to continue a smokescreen of non -compliance, non- negotiations. Issues are now under the direct control of the Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence who is seeking a mandate to take a range of industrial action across the territories contracted to all Working Links areas.
  1. The dispute is centered on the failure of Working Links to provide any agreeable model for the management under the contract for offenders. The trade Unions raised formal concerns at the Working Links plan to axe 45% + of the workforce and have continued to drive down staffing of experience. Subsisting the workforce for reduced terms for new staff. They have failed to manage any health and safety requirements without any workload weighting or upper caseloads limits.Passed staff into substandard and not fit for purpose buildings whilst ensuring local community based identity has been eroded. The use of public spaces like libraries is the place they utilize to save on cost, but risk public exposure and no confidentiality to offenders needs. In Bristol it is report that a BBR programme operates with known domestic violent offenders whilst mother and a toddlers group operates in the same location and timescales. Conducting interviews in public is particularly detrimental for vulnerable women, says another ex-staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity. She describes a situation with a female offender having to be interviewed within earshot of her ex-partner – a perpetrator of domestic violence. This does not appear to accord with safeguarding children legislation and the necessary checks on impact assessments having, not been made obvious. It is reasonable to presume this Working Links design is to be replicated across the Southwest and Napo have concerns. HM chief inspector of probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, said of the Working Links Gloucestershire: “This CRC’s work is so far below par that its owner and government need to work together urgently to improve matters, so that those under supervision and the general public receive the service they rightly expect, and the staff that remain can do the job they so wish to do.  
To what extent do the steps taken by the Government address the issues facing probation services? (a) What contractual, financial and administrative changes did the Government introduce for CRCs in July 2017 as a result of their internal review of Transforming Rehabilitation?
  1. The government review that was commissioned by Liz Truss did NOT to our knowledge actually publish its findings on the TR implementation. Therefore without sight of the review, its conclusions or recommendations we have not locally been able to determine any extent to that of a process of CRC change in policy or general direction. Whatever, the view of the Government ordering any change, there has been none felt on the ground or frontline. Our members continue against deeper cuts more working demands and less resources in the workplace. However, despite the no change from Working links failing workplace policies and models for the targeting of offender services they continue to press on to achieve targets at the lowest possible cost or resource. Operating call centers as a way of engaging those on orders continues to fail any safety based risk protective model for the communities in which we serve.

  1. The worst news that the Unions had uncovered of the accounts only published HM Gov about Working Links, showed in September  they were awarded another 4.2 Million pounds of straight profits off to shareholders. None of this saw its way as yet to staffing or re modelling of their activities despite the continued Trade Unions disputes. Working links sought only to hide and obscure the public derived finances and overall profits by nondisclosure clauses and so it is difficult to the layman to read exactly how much cash derived profit has been squeezed from the public funds. Any information on this is a closely held secret and we are looking into the value of pursuing a range of SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS of the Working Links process. 
What has been the effect of these changes on the delivery of probation services?
  1. The effects on the delivery of services in the DDC CRC has been disastrous. We have seen lost professional staff. Overall way beyond a reasonable safe level we have overworked staff in high caseloads similar to the same flawed and exposed model as critiqued by Dame Glenys Stacey HMIP report. This was produced in August and as yet we have seen no action in regard to capability or performance and conduct as remedial actions which, considers the role of the leadership of this area. Working Links appear to endorse those failings. Instead it has been reported that the Working links way is to continue to drive onwards to embed the current flawed and disputed model which has sent shockwaves to the Unions as they continue to roll out their failing service design. On top of this it was reported by the senior manager in Working Links that they blamed the staff for the failings in the HMIP report claiming it was the staff fault.
  • The HMIP  inspection visit came at an unfortunate time
  • Staff were blamed for women who  were off on maternity leave
  • Staff were blamed for many leaving around the time of inspection
  • Staff were blamed for high sickness levels 
Working Links as an operator of the contract cannot be operating in the spirit of which the contract had been let and even if the case for the contract operation is satisfactory as to what contract managers inspect in terms of metrics, the change of ownership to a German based company AURELIUS as the new owner who acquired Working Links after they went broke. These questions have to be asked as to how a recently awarded government contract to Working Links could have been genuinely let?  The Working Links group were bought by Aurelius less than 18 months into a government approved process which is now owned by another company who were not part of the original bidding vettingThey were not assessed as suitable, under the rules of the bidding yet here we are. Aurelius have a government contract without any real commitment to the terms of that contract as laid out when Working Links were solvent. For whatever reason, Working Links were awarded a significant regional piece of the TR agenda despite any checks , that saw them bankrupt with no chance of delivery of that contract. How could this be a genuinely honest award from the Government? The continued deleterious effects that the changes imposed by Working Links Flawed model has seen damage to
  • Failing continuity in orders for offenders
  • Agency workers working with service users with no formal training. This was seen in the BBC spotlight programme in November and the Working Links Spin machine did not mention this fact.
  • Unqualified staff making key decisions ie case allocations this is a new practice and the risks to public are obvious. Michael Spur has also been forced to apologise to the parents of victims for this sort of practice.
  • Case decisions are based on targets rather than right thing to do at right time to do it for service user rehabilitation.
  • Target driven rather than tailored to meet individual or community need - short term goals only within the cost envelope for profits over service.
  • Punitive approach with enforcement rather than balanced aid to compliance and successful completion of orders.
  • Quality of work / interventions versus financial incentives /rewards
  • Expectations of service users now viewed as unrealistic and signposted to other non existent support agencies
  • Unsafe office and working practices
  • No interest in staff views - no staff survey since TR
  • Inconsistencies with case through care
  • DNA of cases more complex with less support services to assist
  • Poor IT service, non user friendly processes
  • Not enough staff to perform tasks.
  • No contingency planning
  1. Within DDC CRC Community Payback staff concerns raised include Insufficient staff resources to deliver a basic service. The reductions in staff numbers to a level where there is no resilience to cover leave and sickness absences.  Reduction has resulted in remaining staff being expected to undertake additional duties over and above their pay levels and job descriptions. Many staff being forced into new roles and wider duties with changing hours of cover.
  1. Staff sickness levels for work related stress is rife now in Community Payback, it has reached worrying levels. Working Links to date have refused to conduct any workforce surveys into health and safety.  Support staff services in Operational Hub who provide admin support are also not resourced to cover the workloads.  The general view is that the Working Links people are just simply not competent to be managing Criminal Justice Services. This is evidenced by the staggering increase in the number of Serious Further offences.  The decline in performance and quality of delivery. DDC is awash with problems and management fear of exposure.
  1. Increase in use of agency supervisors who are not qualified or sufficiently trained to deliver to the standard required. This was also noted earlier and publically by the BBC spotlight programmes showing unsupervised and a completely naked offender acting out in both the Church and in the graveyard. The delivery model adopted by employer was not tested/piloted despite the Unions advice and dispute. It has been maintained as NOT fit for purpose and it is just not tested properly. Little care has been taken towards staff wellbeing, quality of delivery to service users or the partners we work with in our communities has been reduced and bulk loading or non use of vehicles has detrimented the quality of service and delivery. The latest fad is to see offenders drive their own vehicles to worksites to save Working Links admin time and money. It is a farce.
  1. There is a lack of staff in other front line areas of Probation work which, involves all teams fire-fighting and struggling to deliver properly has become standard working approach from Working Links. Senior ManagementThey  try to suggest that specialisms do not work together and blame each other,  our experience is that most staff fully appreciate all front line staff are experiencing the same difficulties and have empathy for eachother. Community Punishment often find that suppliers accounts are not paid on time if at all by Working links  and services are put on hold or declined. Not only CP but all areas of CRC work are finding the CRC credibility absented in the first place but deeper in decline within Courts, NPS, service users, beneficiaries, partners, statutory bodies, customers and communities. Conscientious committed staff are being asked to cover unreasonable work for anyone not familiar with Community Payback: We are unable to provide sufficiently trained, competent supervisors to deliver sufficient groups or support placements to meet demand. The caseloads are too large for case managers to be able to follow up every absence or deliver compliance intervention.
  1. Insufficient experienced staff in Operational Hubprovide admin support When staff are under extreme pressure mistakes are made more frequently How long will we continue trying to work to an operating model that does not deliver what is needed. Community Payback generates income which the official manual requires it to be used to deliver, there is no evidence that this happens. Financial information/budgets are not available to CP.
  2. Hitachi vehicle contract has generated additional work for front line staff and the vehicles are off the road more frequently and for longer periods, they break down more often. Rumours of vehicles being used without insurance cover and at time no MOT. Experienced and committed staff are leaving the service CP are committed but are upset with the position Working Links has placed them. Working Links have abandoned any Senior attendance centre operations that was successful community based sentence under home office. No considerations at all just the costs for profit margin.
(b) Are strengthening inspection standards and creating joint performance measures (between probation services and prisons) the best ways of improving performance?
  1. Clearly not under current process has any accountability been demonstrated or called for. It is incredible that Working Links Aurelius refuse to respond to letters of communication on any matter. Fielding spokespersons to talk on their behalf dismiss their people overnight as if nothing is wrong and then ignore all the information that is staring them clearly in the Press the Television and from the Unions. Accounting through performance measures, are not the key to delivering decent effective pro-social models of treatment to effect change in offending behaviors. Yet the measure of metrics is a cheap process that generates the demise of quality services, to that which are measured in units of small non-meaningful engagements, this has seen offender engagement reduced to a telephone call center. This is a matter of dilution of service to render a nothing activity. Both what is being commissioned and what is provided. Yet the target measure can be ticked the service provision which is a waste of everyone’s time and public money.  It would help if the HMIP was used more often across all territories in a contract area and if the HMIP could be called to an area based on concerns from interested parties and where SFOs are demonstrably on the rise. It is important to note that the governments own published metrics on all the CRCs across the country have NOT published the SFO figure. It must be known as all  current metrics have been collated, published in the national CRC league table, but NOT the SFO figure WHY?
  2. (c) What should be the Government’s priorities to improve work between departments on the delivery of services needed for effective rehabilitation?
  3. Whilst the delivery of offender services are split a consequence of the TR two operations trying to manage the assessed risks at different levels. It will continue to plague the disintegration of any combined interest. The complex offender related needs are best served in a holistic process as was the supported end to end offender management. Consistent through orders was a single case manager. The failure of the CRC is clearly the failing of privatising work for profit as the CRC companies are transfixed on getting millions out of a contract that in fact leaves everyone demotivated and facing a solitary approach to delivering zero value services that the NPS staff have no confidence in, despite staff being ordered to refer offenders  to dysfunctional CRC activity, against their better judgement. 
  4. 2. What impact have the reforms had on: i) sentencing behavior, ii) recalls to prison, and iii) serious further offences?
  5. Arguably we have witnessed a reduction in recalls and a systemic failures to manage the breach and recall process., It was made clear that breaching had no profit or monetary value, however the spotlight on this practice has seen it diminish as too risky for the CRC not to implement breaches at all. SFOs are a closely guarded secret by the failing CRC. Despite this we are aware CRCs  are  awash with SFOs and many managers are reporting they are unable to deliver SFO inquiries on time or anywhere near it.
  6. 3. How effective have Government measures been in addressing issues arising from the division of responsibility between the NPS and CRCs in the delivery of probation services?
  7. Effective is the wrong word. Catastrophic unmitigated mess and total waste of money.  Probation staff and resources are lost. CRC deliver the worst kind of non-provision, costed on a scale of diminished ownership of any quality or meaningful engagement. Surely this is a question designed to anger practioners. The inquiry would not be happening if the government were not seeking to find a way to rectify this privatization that seeprofiteering private companies blackmail this government to keep handing over more cash with no intentions to improve any service delivery and no penalties possible.
  8. 4. What else should the Government do to address the issues facing probation services?
  9. The inquiry should pose realistic questionsfirstly it is not issues CRCs are facing but crisis. There are many trapped staff in service of CRCs who have no vocational interest in working productively or effectively for those CRCs. These staff should have been facilitated to receive equal terms as those who were supported to redundancy and be treated properly. Instead the CRCs took the monies provided for proper exit of career staff. Retained some staff by not providing any fair terms by which they could retire. This has meant posts are blocked by staff who are not able to leave but not willing to assist the CRC asset strip and profiteer. Instead no one is confident of the intentions of the CRC and they cannot recruit new staff to role blocked posts instead the CRCs tactics have been to bully and oppress staff in the hope they resign and beg for reduced terms to leave. Sadly many staff were weakened by the approach and yet the Working Links way is to continue those workplace practices believing eventually they will rid themselves of all the transferred staff.
  10. Short-term changes
  1. 5. How can the Through-the-Gate provision be improved so that prisoners get the right help before their release from prison and afterwards?
  2. Probation should have been funded resourced to deliver the after care service as it was pre CRC the resources pre-release funding should have been placed in the prison services. Combined this would have saved the destruction of Probation trusts and been incredibly cheaper than funding the privatisation and profits to shareholders who have contributed nothing to the social need and the statutory responsibilities that were incumbent on the trusts.,
 What can be done to increase voluntary sector involvement in the delivery of probation services?

  1. The fact is that all voluntary and statutory sectors have no confidence in the CRCs including most staff transferred within this Union. Whilst this view is anecdotal from NAPO members at time of writing there are many additional Trade Union led initiatives with both local PCCs and forthcoming meetings to establish some wider executive controls towards the backward and inward looking experience of the Working Links Aurelius way.  Bringing partners back into probation services may depend when you make the provision of probation a statutory organisation once again and rid the failed CRC debacle.
  2. The future of probation services
 When should there be a review of the future of the Transforming Rehabilitation model and the long-term plan for delivering probation services?
  1. Review NOW and in detail,  Collapse any future funding contracts. Include the legacy Trust staff in transfer  into the NPS and redesign  both to something that is a vocational platform for staff to innovate and deliver the best services we had before the incredible mess created in this failed model.
Dino Peros Napo Branch Chair South Southwest.

1. written evidence- on - Date ordered to be published

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