Newsletter 23 August 2013

Dear PCA member

Please see below again a packed August edition of the PCA Newsletter.  We are reporting back on a number of Transforming Rehabilitation developments, including in particular on a critical analysis of the MoJ’s PBR payment model.

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

Savas Hadjipavlou
PCA Chief Executive


  1. PCA thanks Gill Francis, Stuart MacDonald and Sarah Billiald for their contribution on the PCA Executive
  2. Updates from Transforming Rehabilitation Consultative Forum
  3. MoJ announces new Directors of Probation
  4. Social Market Foundation report casts doubt Government’s PbR model for probation
  5. Integrated Offender Management Conference
  6. NOMS PCA workshop on Restorative Justice
  7. Localism Sounding Board sub-group update
  8. Read our report on the PCA roundtable event: Youth Transitions, Young Adult Offenders and Transforming Rehabilitation
  9. Professor urges rethink on sentencing for property offences
  10. PCA welcomes encouraging trends in the latest local adult re-offending statistics
  11. Read the latest CEP newsletter here
  12. Updates on Leadership events

PCA thanks Gill Francis, Stuart MacDonald and Sarah Billiald for their contribution on the PCA Executive

We are sad to announce that Gill Francis, Stuart MacDonald and Sarah Billiald have stood down from their positions as members of the  PCA Executive.   As members will know as a requirement of being involved in the development of probation mutuals, the staff involved have had to sign Declaration B and are now behind the ‘ethical wall’.  The PCA Executive having discussed the issue concluded, in order to preserve the integrity and commitments given in Declaration B, for staff that having signed the Declaration,  that would then be incompatible with  continuing membership of the PCA Executive, given its access to a wide range of  Transforming Rehabilitation information.

PCA would like to take the opportunity to thank Gill, Stuart and Sarah for their work and contribution during their time as members of the PCA Executive.  We shall be inviting applications from members to fill the vacant positions in the next newsletter.

Updates from the Transforming Rehabilitation Consultative Forum

The minutes from July TRCF sessions have now been declared open.  The Forum has been focusing on the designs plans for the National Probation Service (NPS) and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and how these may best be tested and most effectively designed to minimize risks to public protection, offenders and probation professionals.

The minutes from 3 July can be read here, and the minutes from 17 July can be found here.

Design discussions for both NPS and CRCs and ongoing and PCA are continuing to represent our members’ concerns and questions to support the best possible outcome from these discussions.

MoJ announces new Directors of Probation

NOMS has announced the appointment of two new Directors who will play leading roles in implementing the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.

Sarah Payne and Mike Maiden have been appointed to the NOMS Board, following an external recruitment campaign.

Sarah will take up the post as Director National Offender Management Service Wales, and Mike will undertake the role of Director of Probation, leading the National Probation Service in England.

Sarah is the Chief Executive of the Wales Probation Trust and has previously worked as the Chief Executive of the YWCA England & Wales (now Platform 51). She has also held posts in the Home Office and NOMS. Her new role will cover the management of both prisons and probation services in Wales.

Mike is currently working on the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme and has previously been the Chief Executive of the Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust. He has also served as a Chief Probation Officer in Cumbria.

PCA congratulates both Sarah and Mike and looks forward to working with them in the future.

Social Market Foundation report casts doubt on the Government’s PbR probation model

The Social Market Foundation (SMF), an independent think tank, has published a critical analysis of the Payment by Results (PbR) element of the Government’s proposed reforms to the probation service.

Their publication Paying For Results? Rethinking probation reform underlines the long-standing view of the PA and the PCA that PbR on this scale is both too complicated and insufficiently piloted to form the basis of such rapid and expansive reforms.

The report’s author, SMF Director Ian Mulheirn (a former economic adviser to HM Treasury) points out that while PbR makes sense in principle there are aspects of the MoJ’s model that would turn incentives for providers upside-down.

Mr Mulheirn argues that the result would be strong perverse incentives that would result in providers who invest money on reducing reoffending  being worse off than if they had spent nothing at all:

“The Ministry of Justice has effectively made it all but impossible for providers to achieve results good enough to get paid without investors taking on impossibly high financial risks.  The result will be that they simply don’t try.  On these plans providers face incentives to cut frontline costs and allow reoffending rates to creep up.  If they are implemented the scheme will reward failure and penalise success.  Doing so would be setting the scheme up to fail for victims, taxpayers and offenders.”

In our [formal response to the Transforming Rehabilitation consultation paper] we said: “The PbR approach is not sufficiently tested in the criminal justice area to form the basis of such a radical change.  Experience in other parts of government  points to the complexity and difficulty of successful delivery of services organised in this way.”

We urged the Government initially to restrict PbR to contracts for services to offenders released from prison sentences of less than 12 months, to then develop PbR schemes for interventions and only expand PbR once solutions had been identified to the significant problems in contracting out probation business.

Integrated Offender Management Conference

The PCA would like to draw attention to The National Integrated Offender Management Conference, which is due to take place on the 31 October from 1100-1700 and 1 November 0930-1600. Whilst the agenda is yet to be agreed the Conference will a focus on a number of areas including Transforming Rehabilitation,  Emerging Practise and the National IOM Review. Ministerial availability is being sought to help establish how IOM fits with current and future Government priorities. The second day of the conference will involve workshops on  innovative aspects of IOM and keynote speeches from IOM practitioners and strategic leads.

The conference will once more be hosted at the College of Policing Training and Conferencing Venue, Ryton on Dunsmore, Leamington Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry CV8 3EN  

(Telephone: 02476 639639)

If you wish to attend the conference, please fill out the attached booking form.

The conference is free to attend and there is limited accommodation available at the venue. Presently this is chargeable although we are seeking ways to provide accommodation free.  If booking accommodation please provide a cost code until advised otherwise. Delegates will be informed if they have obtained a place at the conference as soon as practicable after applying. Applications will be administered on a weekly basis and confirmation sent out each Friday.

Closing date for applications is 27 September 2013.

NOMS PCA workshop on Restorative Justice

Peter Czajewski, PCA lead for Restorative Justice, is arranging a PCA NOMS workshop, which will look at how Restorative Justice will fit into the Transforming Rehabilitation change agenda.  Peter will be inviting representatives who have been part of the PCA group as well as other Restorative Justice leads in Trusts to attend this event, alongside representatives from NOMS and the RP.

The workshop is scheduled for 10am-1pm on Tuesday 24th September at 151 Buckingham Palace Road. 

If you would like to attend this event, please confirm your availability to Kathy Netting by Tuesday 10 September:

Localism Sounding Board sub-group update

The  Sounding  Board  Localism  sub-group met on 14th August with TR leads for Localism and procurement. PCA representatives included Tessa Webb, John Bensted, Trevor Worsfold and Ged Bates.

The group were advised about the ‘data rooms’, which will contain the ‘As Is’ information that Probation Trusts have provided and will be made available to potential prime bidders through a ‘login’ process.  The data rooms will act as a ‘lending library to potential bidders to facilitate the community offender market.’ (Assurance was sought regarding attention to data protections and respecting partners’ commercial confidentiality.)

The Sounding Board were advised that the TR localism leads have established reference groups for PCCs, IOM and Community Budgets.  It was agreed that it would be helpful if the TR team share information on these groups and their attendance to all Probation Trusts through the TR briefings. The approach to the CEOs of Local Authorities for the IOM ‘As Is’ information was considered and agreed through the IOM reference group.  It was recognised that leadership approaches to IOM varied around the country and that police and probation were often in the lead role.  The letter to all PTs advising about the IOM had been sent to ensure Probation Trusts were aware and able to engage locally in their contribution.

The TR programme is now setting up 10 Local competition teams to engage potential providers and lead local stakeholder events for potential primes.  The group advocated for Probation Trusts to be kept abreast of these ongoing developments, and that there be space for contribution and active engagement from them due to experience and understanding around the local strategic partnership landscape.  This has been taken under consideration.  Moreover the importance of engagement with Sentencers was raised.  The team also asked that Probation Trusts be kept appraised when the local competition teams come into being.

The Localism group  also explored how the NPS and CRC will attend to meeting statutory responsibilities such as MAPPA, Safeguarding and Community Safety Partnerships and how attending to Localism will be maintained through the competition process.

Read our report on the PCA youth justice roundtable event: Youth Transitions, Young Adult Offenders and Transforming Rehabilitation

On 11 July PCA, together with Criminal Justice Alliance and Transition to Adulthood Alliance, hosted a roundtable on Youth Transitions, Young Adult Offenders & Transforming Rehabilitation.  The event, attended by a variety of stakeholders, provided a valuable opportunity to discuss how the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms to restructure probation services could affect young adults’ treatment within the criminal justice system.

At the age of 18, young people within the criminal justice system find themselves at a point of transition, moving from being sentenced by Youth Courts and managed by Youth Offending Services, to being sentenced by Adult Courts and held in Young Offender Institutions or managed in the community by Probation Trusts. Historically the transition process and outcomes have been variable across England & Wales, and inspectorates have frequently highlighted the need for improvements in services directed at this cohort of young offenders

Members also discussed a new maturity guide now available to probation practitioners, which has been designed to enable professionals to better anticipate and recognise how a person’s maturity might affect their offending behaviour.

Our report on the roundtable has now been published, and can be read here.

Professor urges rethink on sentencing for property offences

The Howard League for Penal Reform has published a pamphlet by Professor Andrew Ashworth, the Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University and a former chair of the Sentencing Advisory Panel (a predecessor to the Sentencing Council).  The pamphlet is entitled What if imprisonment were abolished for property offences? and can be downloaded here.

Professor Ashworth argues for property offences to be dealt with in the community, with compensation or reparation for the victim and, where the offence is sufficiently serious, that the offender receive a community sentence.  The contends that this would provide a punishment better suited to the crime and of more direct benefit to the victim, as well as saving the criminal justice system significant quantities of money.

Robert Brown, partner at law firm Corker Binning, has supported Professor Ashworth’s views, arguing that the money saved through implementing his proposals would remove the need for the MoJ to privatise probation, which Mr Brown believes will lead to a “deskilling of services.”

Justice Minister Damian Green has stated that the MoJ has “no intention” of changing the law and will leave judges “with the full range of sentencing options available to them.”

The PCA shares Professor Ashworth’s view that prison should be reserved for the most serious offences and that community sentences should be deployed instead of short prison sentences, having been shown to be more effective in lowering re-conviction rates than short periods of custody.

PCA welcomes encouraging trends in the latest local adult re-offending statistics

The MoJ has published the latest local adult re-offending statistics from 1 April 2012-31 March 2013, which show that re-offending is 5% lower than predicted nationwide.

The statistics measure changes to these re-offending rates across local authorities, regions and probation trusts.  The local adult re-offending measure counts the proportion of offenders who re-offend in a 3 month period, and compares this to the proportion expected to re-offend given their characteristics. The results of 4 snapshots are then combined to form a rolling 4 quarter average.

The latest re-offending results are compared to the adjusted rate based on
2007/08 (referred to as the ‘baseline’ measurement in the statistics report).

The 2007/08 results covered re-offending between 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008 and are the earliest published data on this measure.

14 Trusts showed a statistically significant reduction in re-offending rates, while 7 showed a significant increased against predicted rates.

5 regions had a statistically significant reduction in re-offending (East Midlands, London, North East, West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside).

PCA are encouraged by these results, which reflect the hard work and dedication that Trusts are continuing to invest in reducing re-offending and protecting public safety.

Read the latest edition of the CEP newsletter here

The European Organisation of Probation (CEP) have published the August edition of their newsletter.

This summer edition contains updates on European probation news and events, as well as updates on the upcoming World Congress on Probation (9-10 October 2013).

Please follow the link to read the latest developments.

Updates on Leadership events

Leadership event programme published for Turning out the lights or passing on the torch

We are pleased to announced that the programme for this has now been published, and can be read here.

This promises to be a dynamic and interesting event, which has been reflected in the positive response that we’ve had from our members so far.

There are still spaces available for Chiefs and Chairs to register for this event.  If you would like to take part, please contact Catherine Sinclair-Jones (PCA Executive Assistant) on pcaadmin@localhost

Learning sets for Senior Managers

In the July edition of the newsletter we advertised a learning set to be run at a venue in the north of England, recognising that the 4 sets currently running are all meeting in London. Unfortunately so far only 4 nominations have been received, which is not sufficient to start an additional set. Chiefs are encouraged to review whether any senior managers would be interested and benefit from attending.

The learning sets are facilitated by Harthill and received very positive feedback when they were run last year.  They are a particularly helpful approach to leadership development when managers are handling the uncertainties and challenges associated with a programme such as Transforming Rehabilitation . The cost is £2000 per participant and we will determine the most convenient meeting venue when we have a full set.

Please send nominations to Belinda Hatch (PA to Barrie Crook) by 13 September:

Comments are closed.