PCA comment on MoJ Transforming Rehabilitation press release: 19 September

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Today (19 September 2013), the Government has given a formal notice over a forthcoming competition on the sale of 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies and linked contracts to provide probation services for those offenders assessed as a ‘low-medium’ risk of causing harm to the public.

Also today the Government has issued directions to Probation Trusts to begin a formal 28 day period of consultation on a staff transfer process outlining the suggested principles and terms of splitting resources and cases to establish Community Rehabilitation Companies and the new National Probation Service.

This marks a step change in the Government pushing forward with plans to implement the Transforming Rehabilitation programme announced in May 2013. The PCA have voiced significant concerns with these plans particularly over risks to public protection from splitting the management of offenders over public and contracted sectors, and the high risks of losing professional expertise and successful local partnership initiatives during and after the transition.

Despite the PCA’s very considerable misgivings – which are shared by very many other organisations – the Secretary of State for Justice has been unwavering in his intention to go ahead with these changes. The PCA believes that the priority now is to ensure that the transition to the new organisations, the National Probation Service and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies, should be done in as safe a way as possible.  This should be about securing an effective and well managed transfer of the probation caseload on 1 April 2014, the date planned for these new arrangements to come into effect following the abolition of the current probation trusts.

We have consistently argued that the time frame for these changes is impractical and unrealistic.  We do not think that the transfer should be dictated by the time scale, but by an objective assessment of the conditions needed for a safe transfer putting first the safety and protection of the public.

The transition to these new organisations will be very complex, entailing splits in staff, resources and caseloads, and the development of new protocols for working across the public and contracted sectors (with support from ICT systems). This all would need to be in place, fully tested and staff trained, before Community Rehabilitation Companies and the National Probation Service should be allowed to ‘go live’.

As the Government looks to begin implementation of its plans, the PCA believe it imperative for the Programme meaningfully to engage and draw on the expertise of the leadership and professionals of Probation Trusts, in particular to develop objective ways of assuring that changes can be carried out safely.

In all this it is extremely important to maintain the support of all staff.  We welcome the assurances for continuing dialogue and consultation. That needs to be meaningful, with the changes and plans fully articulated and other information needed, so that staff can make informed comments and choices about their future.

The Ministry of Justice has also published today ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a summary of evidence on reoffending” providing an overview of key evidence relating to reducing reoffending. The PCA welcomes that this report clearly acknowledges that “the skills of practitioners in supervising offenders and delivering interventions are known to contribute to reducing reoffending and also to improving other outcomes” (section 3).

All this underlines the case for establishing an independent Probation Institute, to promote professional skills and standards in a more plural probation service delivery market. The PCA, with the Probation Association, the Ministry of Justice and other key stakeholders is working to bring about the creation of such an Institute.

Probation chiefs welcome new research on crime reduction

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New research by Sheffield Hallam University, released today by the Sussex Criminal Justice Board, demonstrates the benefits of integrating the work of probation, police, local authorities and other agencies, to provide a high level of monitoring, supervision and support to offenders. Over a two year period, the proportion of offenders reconvicted in Sussex was reduced by 57 per cent and the frequency by 69 per cent.  In consequence, this also reduces the number of people who are likely to be victims of crime.

The research was commissioned by the Sussex Criminal Justice Board (SCJB) into the Integrated Offender Management programme in Sussex, which is led by the Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust, Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council, East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council.

Nick Smart, Vice-Chair of the Probation Chiefs Association, comments:

“The Probation Chiefs Association welcomes this research, which clearly demonstrates the benefits of probation trusts working closely with a range of partners to reduce crime and create a safer society. Targeting offenders who commit the highest volume of crime with this integrated approach has resulted in reducing reconvictions by around two-thirds.”

The research is available at http://www.sussexcriminaljusticeboard.org.uk/news/iom

For all PCA media enquiries please call 020 3657 7844

PCA response to Joint Inspection Report of Life Sentence Prisoners

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We welcome the joint inspection report of life sentence prisoners published today (12/09/2013) by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Probation. Such joint inspections will be crucial in the future to ensure that both policy thinking and service delivery joins up, so that the public are protected and those who have been rehabilitated can resettle safely and effectively in the community.

We believe the report amply demonstrates the complexities of managing offenders as they move to different phases of their sentence, and responsibility of their management changes.

This underlines the PCA’s anxieties over the Transforming Rehabilitation reform plans about fragmentation resulting from dividing the case load on risk, with management and service delivery of probation provided across the public and future contracted sectors.

The report also highlights the importance of building relationships between the probation officer and lifers prior to release from custody, improving the effective planning of continued support and rehabilitation interventions. It finds that lifers who have been released on licence appreciated the quality and commitment of support which offender managers in Probation Trusts have given them. The vast majority of life sentence prisoners are successfully integrated back into the community, with only 2.2% of those sentenced to a mandatory life sentence and 4.8% of those serving other life sentences re-offending in any way.

A key recommendation made by the report is that offender managers should be allowed to exert more influence over the release decision-making process within prisons, and to be offered further training on how to plan and deliver work in a way which engages offenders over the full licence period.

We welcome these recommendations in particular over the training of offender managers. We see the professional development of probation workers as critical in supporting improved performance and outcomes irrespective of how the services are organised in terms of employer. We support the proposal in Transforming rehabilitation to establish a Probation Institute, and the PCA are working with a wide range of stakeholders to see how best that can be brought about.

Newsletter 2 August 2013 – World Congress on Probation edition

Dear PCA member

In this World Congress on Probation edition, the PCA would like to draw your attention to this Conference, which is taking place in London on 9-10 October 2013. The PCA have been a sponsor of the event, working closely with the European Probation Association (CEP) to put together an international programme of speakers.  The World Congress on Probation, the first of its kind, will bring probation professionals from across the globe together to participate in a diverse and fascinating range of speeches and workshops.

This newsletter provides some background information on the Congress, as well as links to the provisional programme and details on how to register.

Spaces for the Congress are filling up fast, so please do encourage people to register for this event as soon as possible.


Contents

1. World Congress on Probation: Background Information

2. Programme details

3. Registration details

4. Contact and location details


World Congress on Probation: Background Information

On 9-10 October 2013 the CEP (European Congress of Probation) will launch the first World Congress on Probation (WCP), which will be hosted at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London.

The event will feature a wide range of keynote speakers from across the globe as well as various plenary sessions, workshops and informal networking opportunities.  Chris Grayling and Jeremy Wright will both be speaking at the congress on 9 October, discussing the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.

The Congress will provide delegates with an invaluable opportunity to network with probation professionals and those with a wider interest in criminal justice from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and share examples of best practice with colleagues from around the world.

The WCP will run in partnership with PCA, NOMS, London Probation Trust and West Yorkshire Probation Trust.


Programme details

The WCP will be a two day event running from 9-10 October and will take place on 9 and 10 October at the Queen Elizabeth II Institute in Westminster.

The provisional programme details the range of speeches and activities on offer from 9-10, including workshops on subjects ranging from Offender Health to Victim Offender Mediation.  There are an exciting array of speakers due to deliver keynote speeches, including justice professionals and academics from Canada, Belgium and Thailand to name but a few.


Registration details

If you’d like to register for a place on the event, please fill in the requested details on the online registration form.

The registration fee is £250 per delegate and includes attendance at the conference on 9 and 10 October and lunch on both days.

For any inquiries regarding registration, please contact the CEP secretariat:

secr@cep-probation.org


Contact and location details

The conference will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, which is situated in Westminster.

Accommodation is not included in the conference price – World Congress on Probation

Newsletter 30 July 2013

Dear PCA member

Please see below a packed summer edition of the PCA Newsletter.

Work here at PCA continues unabated. We continue to represent the probation professional standpoint, ensuring that the expertise of probation practitioners continues to feed in to the design of new Transforming Rehabilitation processes. There have been a number of workshops over the past month attended by volunteers from trusts. We hope to be able to feed back from these events in forthcoming newsletters.

We value your feedback. Send your comments to feedback@localhost

Savas Hadjipavlou
PCA Chief Executive

Newsletter 10 July 2013

Dear PCA member

In this edition, along with the usual update on the probation reforms, we bring you news of the continuing good work being done by front line probation staff, the winners and finalists of the Probation Awards 2013.

Please note also the opportunity to help shape PCA policy, with a vacancy for the portfolio lead on Electronic Monitoring and Curfews.

We value your feedback. Send your comments to feedback@localhost

Savas Hadjipavlou
PCA Business Director

Newsletter 27 June 2013

Dear PCA member

In this edition we bring, in particular, latest news on the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme. A recent development has been the creation by the MoJ of the Transforming Rehabilitation Consultative Forum,(TRCF), which has PCA, PA, NAPO and Unison representation. The Forum provides an opportunity for the PCA and other stakeholders to hear at an early stage of the MoJ’s plans and to be able to feed in our views on various aspects of the implementation programme, particularly HR. Links to the minutes of the first meeting and terms of reference can be found below

We value your feedback. Send your comments to feedback@localhost

Savas Hadjipavlou
PCA Business Director

Newsletter 10 June 2013

Dear PCA member

Following the May Council we welcome to the PCA Executive Nick Smart, CEO Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust who was elected as Director and Vice Chair. John Budd, who has served as Vice Chair for the past three years, will also continue as Director and Vice Chair for a further year.

PCA is continuing to represent the views of probation professionals, in meetings with Ministers and with other influential organisations. Latest news are reported below.

We value your feedback. Send your comments to feedback@localhost

Savas Hadjipavlou
PCA Business Director


Contents

  1. Government Reforms
  2. PCA-ACEVO Roundtable – Transforming Rehabilitation and implications for Public-
  3. Voluntary sector market participation
  4. PCA/LGA Workshop; Community Budgets and Probation, 14 June, Manchester
  5. Learning to Change
  6. PCA celebrates National Volunteers Week

Government Reforms

PCA and PA jointly met with Jeremy Wright, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Justice on 5 June. We discussed a range of issues with the MoJ’s Programme ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’. In particular our continuing concerns about the Operating Model of case management between the National public probation service and the contracted sector, the Programme Timetable, and the need to secure probation standards, through the development of a Probation Institute. Ministers have given an undertaking in the Government Response, published on 9 May 2013 (Transforming Rehabilitation strategy) to work with the profession in developing such an Institute. The PCA and PA offered to put forward proposals soon, and the Minister welcomed our initiative.

The Offender Rehabilitation Bill is now in Committee Stage in the House of Lords. This Bill provides for the post-release supervision of offenders serving prisons sentences of less than 12 months, and also for extended supervision for those sentenced to less than two years. The debate on 5 June of the latest amendments can be found here.

The MoJ has published a paper setting out a proposal for the payment mechanism, ‘Straw Man’, setting out how they would intend to pay for the contracted out elements of the Rehabilitation Programme. The PCA intends to submit a response to this document, joint with PA. If you wish to share your comments with us, to inform our response, please do so through feedback@localhost


PCA-ACEVO Roundtable – Transforming Rehabilitation and implications for Public-Voluntary sector market participation

On the 28 May, the Probation Chiefs Association (PCA) and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) held a high level roundtable between a representation of our respective memberships, to discuss the implications of the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation strategy for the delivery of offender management and rehabilitation services in the community by public and voluntary sector providers.

The roundtable thought it critical that any new service delivery landscape is able to utilise and sustain the quality, professionalism and values built up across the public and voluntary sectors, but identified significant barriers affecting future public-voluntary sector participation. Following the roundtable, a joint PCA-ACEVO letter was sent to the Secretary of State for Justice and the Cabinet Office urging for greater clarity and support in the policy environment and procurement process to facilitate meaningful opportunities for joint public-voluntary ventures. A summary report of the roundtable will be circulated shortly.


PCA/LGA Workshop; Community Budgets and Probation, 14 June, Manchester

We would like to invite all those interested to a joint PCA/LGA workshop evaluating the contribution that Probation has made to the Whole Place Community Budget pilots, and how probation and offender rehabilitation services should in the future engage in such local partnership initiatives in light of the Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ reforms.

The workshop will hear from those involved in the Whole Place Community Budget pilots, identifying the early successes and challenges experienced by Probation and Criminal Justice Agencies across different pilot regions. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to discuss how the Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ reform plans could interact with local partnership initiatives such as community budgets, and what actions are needed to ensure that localism is incorporated into the outcomes of any such reform.

The workshop will take place on from 10.15-15.30 on Friday 14 June at Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester, M60 2LA The workshop is free to attend but we are not able to meet any individual travel or other expenses. For more information and to reserve places, please contact Ben Ritchie at ben.ritchie@localhost or 03000 480 268. We very much hope that you will be able to attend.


Learning to Change

Change is a constant challenge for probation delivery. Within the field of community corrections Paul Gendreau and others have identified that ’implementation failure’ is prevalent. Success, which energises practitioners and engages offenders, needs to be recognised, celebrated and learnt from.

Two recently published studies, by Stuart McPhillips and Andrew Underdown, provide insights into probation changes to learn and share what factors contributed to success.

‘I Wanted to make it Work’ is based upon interviews with probation staff who were involved in delivering policy initiatives and developments in community correctional practice during the period 1998-2010. The study aimed to capture, learn and share from the experience of implementation – to identify factors at work and what contributed to success or failure. The findings identified valuable learning, about management, policy and practice. The report is available on Sheffield Hallam University, Community Justice Portal (www.cjp.org.uk).

‘A Collaborative Approach’, commissioned by the MoJ Offender Engagement Programme, looks at the contribution of change managers working across organisational boundaries to successfully delivering operational changes. Their learning can have relevance to those seeking to work collaboratively across organisations to design and deliver changes. The report is available on the NPS Intranet (http://npsintranet.probation.gsi.gov.uk )

Both reports are available from the authors who would be pleased to discuss their findings or have dialogue with colleagues interested in implementation and change management in this field. Contact: stuartmcphillips@gmail.com ; andrew.underdown@btinternet.com


PCA celebrates National Volunteers Week

To mark National Volunteers Week at the start of June, the PCA published some success stories of Trusts working with mentors and volunteers to help rehabilitate offenders in the community (http://localhost/2013/06/06/were-celebrating-national-volunteers-week/).

Staffordshire and West Midlands has also recently held a national volunteers conference with over 160 attendees. The day featured a keynote speech by Liz Calderbank, Chief Inspector of Probation and Jeremy Wright MP, Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation. Liz Calderbank said volunteers have a meaningful role in the rehabilitation of offenders and should be congratulated for their work. She outlined that probation volunteers can support the bridge to successful desistance with well planned supervision and exit strategies. She also said that while they have a key role to play they should not be seen as a substitute for probation staff.

Highlights at the conference also included speeches by Christine Lloyd of Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust, She received an award from Jeremy Wright after completing over 1,000 hours of work with offenders. The day ended on a high note with a final input from Andrew Framcos, an ex-offender who is now a mentor for Hertfordshire Probation Trust.