Newsletter 12 September 2013

Dear PCA member

This edition again covers quite  arrange of issues.  I want to draw particular attention to the arrangements for next year’s PCA Conference. We have now set the date (23- 24 January 2014) and the place (Manchester). So make sure it’s in your dairy!  We welcome of course ideas and suggestions for the Conference Programme which we will be putting together in the next couple of months.

Also, the PCA Executive would like to invite applications from PCA members for three vacancies on the Executive Board: A Director vacancy, to be filled by Associate Members at PCA,  at Trust ACO/Director level, and two co-opted vacancies to be filled by members at any level, CEO,  or ACO/Director. No remuneration is payable to Directors or co-opted members, however expenses reasonably incurred on PCA business, will be reimbursed.  If you wish to be considered please send me (savas.hadjipavlou@localhost) a short statement in support of your application verifying also that the application  has the support of the Trust Chief Executive or Chair as appropriate.  Applications should reach me by 11 October please.  If you would like to discuss the roles please get in touch.

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

Savas Hadjipavlou

PCA Chief Executive


Contents

1. MoJ responds to questions from Trusts

2. Justice Select Committee holds second evidence session on criminal justice reforms

3. PCA response to HMI Probation and HMI Prisons joint report

4. Looking ahead: PCA publish statement of business purpose

5. Probation Trusts receive Recognised for Excellence (R4E) awards

6. Save the date: PCA Annual Conference 2014 

7. BBC feature demonstrates importance of mentors in reducing re-offending

8. Register for our Offender Health events: Improving Health, Cutting Crime & Saving Public Money

9. Restoring the Balance: International Conference on Restorative Justice  

10. Clinks launch Partnership Finder tool

11.  Centre for Justice Innovation publishes report on Better Courts 


MoJ responds to questions from Trusts

The PCA has received the a further batch of replies to questions posed by Trusts on the Transforming Rehabilitation programme:

Q. With regard to the governance of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), what will be the process of forming the Boards of these organisations?  Will Probation Trust Chairs and Board members be eligible for consideration to serve on these Boards?

MoJ Answer. CRC Boards will be appointed by the Secretary of State and as a minimum we would expect the Chief Executive of each company to sit on the company Board.  We are currently considering the option for non-executive roles within each company, and we will provide further information as soon as the decision has been reached.  However, we would certainly not wish to prevent existing Trust Board Chairs and Members from performing this function.

Q. With regard to the creation of the National Probation Service and the CRCs:

a) How does the MoJ intend that Serious Further Offence Reviews (SFOs) will be carried out in future?

b) Will the same regime apply to the National Probation Service and the CRCs?

c) Will Victim Summary Reports be applicable in both?

d) Assuming that the SFO Report regime continues to operate, if the CRCs are to assume responsibility for those elements of the regime that currently fall to Probation Trusts will they be required to maintain Board-level security of Reviews, Action Plans, co-operation with partner agencies etc. and if so, how?  In particular how will the current degree of independent ‘lay’ (but often expert) scrutiny provided by non-executive Probation Trust Board members be maintained in relation to the CRCs?

e) On commission of an SFO, an offender managed by a CRC will presumably (in most if not all cases) be transferred into the management of the National Probation Service.  If so, (i) is it that the CRC formerly responsible for that offender’s management will be relieved of responsibility for any consequential SFO Review and (ii) how will this interact with the Payment by Results (PbR) mechanism?

f) Will overarching responsibility for SFO Reviews remain with the NOMS Offender Management and Public Protection Group (OMPPG) or is it intended that a new regulatory/monitoring body be created with responsibility for the enforcement of the SFO Review regime?

g) With regard to the current SFO Review regime, it is Trusts’ experience that the current SFO format elicits a negative and misleading outcome in that the Review template leads reviewers to an inevitable conclusion of a Trust failing to achieve a sufficient level of practice in the three areas whilst marginalising the positive factors and the contextual issues of a case.  In view of this, how will the MoJ ensure that the template is adjusted to prevent this distortion in future and improve the value to all parties of the SFO process in both the National Probation Service and the CRCs?

MoJ Answer.  The Serious Further Offence Review process is currently being reviewed and revised to reflect the future mixed provider environment.  We will provide Trusts with an update of this area in due course.

Q. With regard to the Rehabilitation Programme competitions, what is the basis of the Principles of Competition applying to Probation Trusts?  Trusts are independent corporate bodies, as confirmed in Offender Management Act 2007 and are neither the commissioners of the procurement for the proposed CRCs nor bidders as such.

MoJ Answer.  The Principles of Competition (POC) and Ethical Walls are designed to ensure the integrity of the competition, minimise the risk of a successful legal challenge on the basis of any unfair advantage to one potential provider over another, and to protect Trusts and their leaders.

Trusts may be approached by any number of potential bidders for information during the competition.  The POC are to ensure that all corresponded is routed via procurement and handled from the centre.  This is to not only ensure the integrity of the competition, in regards to access to information, but also to avoid Trusts being inundated by requests.

Trusts will be involved in the local work to implement the CRC and will be privy to restricted competition specific information.  Trusts also hold other competition specific information that will be of interest to bidders.  As detailed in the guidance document it is important that safeguards are in place to manage access to this information in line with the principles of competition.

Where groups of staff within Trusts want to spin out into public service mutuals additional ethical walls need to be in place locally as these individuals will be developing a bid.  The Markets and Mobilisation team have met with a number of Trusts to discuss local ethical walls.  These conversations have been positive.  Trusts are returning their proposals to the programme team by 23 July [sic].             


Justice Select Committee holds second evidence session on criminal justice reforms

The Justice Select Committee continued their enquiry into the Government’s crime reduction policies with a second evidence session this Wednesday 11th September.  This was the second session of their enquiry into ‘Crime reduction policies: a co-ordinated approach?’ following a previous session, in which Savas Hadjipavlou and Ian Lawrence both acted as witnesses.

The Committee heard evidence from three Police and Crime Commissioners: Rt Hon Alun Michael (PCC South Wales), Katy Bourne (PCC Sussex) and Sue Mountstevens (PCC Avon & Somerset).  The session looked extensively at the importance of local partnerships, with Rt Hon Alun Michael asserting that crime is a “local issue” and reduction policies ought to be sensitive to the specific needs and resources of each community.  There was concern that the TR reform would fragment local partnerships that have been developed carefully over time, which the PCA have identified as a significant risk of the government’s proposals.  We were pleased to be asked for a copy of our report on offender health initiatives ahead of the enquiry, and the concerns raised during the evidence session echoed several of the PCA’s own reservations.

The full enquiry can be watched here.  


PCA response to HMI Probation and HMI Prisons joint report

We welcome the joint inspection report of life sentence prisoners recently published 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 that probation officers in 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 probation officers. 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.


Looking ahead: PCA publishes statement of business purpose

PCA have now published our statement of business purpose, detailing our priorities and activities for 2014.

The PCA will continue to ensure that the professional views of our membership are clearly articulated, and will seek positively to influence the Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ (TR) reform programme. We have raised significant concerns with the reform agenda as planned by the Ministry of Justice and we will continue to voice our concerns and make suggestions about a more effective way forward.

Our complete business plan can now be found on our website.


Update from Quality Standards portfolio group

The PCA would like to congratulate West Mercia Probation Trust on its award of 5 stars certification in the Recognised for Excellence (R4E) programme.  This follows closely after Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust was awarded 4 stars on its first application to R4E. The R4E award demonstrates industry standard levels of organisational performance against the internationally recognised European Framework for Quality Management (EFQM).

The PCA has recently renewed its policy portfolio group on Quality, with a particular focus on standards and awards arising from the EFQM’s concepts of excellence. The group is considering how quality and continuous improvement could be incorporated into the new landscape of Transforming Rehabilitation, including for Community Rehabilitation Companies, Public Service Mutuals, the National Probation Service and the commitment of future contracted providers. A recent PCA statement on Quality, EFQM and Transforming Rehabilitation can be found here.  The group is chaired by Colin Pinfold, Director of Business Development at Leicestershire & Rutland Probation Trust.

To join the group and to find out more over the portfolio’s agenda, please contact Ben Ritchie at ben.ritchie@localhost


Save the date: PCA Annual Conference 2014

We are pleased to announce that our PCA Annual Conference will be held at the Mercure Piccadilly Hotel in Manchester on 23-24 January 2014

We would like to invite Trusts to send proposals for workshops and events, as well as wider themes and topics that you would like to see included on the programme.  Please contact Catherine Sinclair-Jones at pcaadmin@localhost with your ideas.  We look forward to hearing from you.


BBC feature demonstrates importance of mentors in reducing re-offending

BBC’s local news programme “Inside Out – North East and Cumbria” broadcast a short piece drawing attention to the role mentoring plays in helping to transform offenders’ lives.

The feature, aired on Monday 2 September, followed John Todd, a recovering heroin addict, as he celebrated his 40th birthday recovering heroin addict– the first he’s spent out of prison since he was 15.

John was adamant that his desistance was “all down” to the help and support he received from his mentors at the Durham charity ReachOut.  Crucially, John has never received mentoring support as he has only served short-term sentences, and it is this bracket of offenders that ReachOut work with in Durham, recognising that currently short term offenders have no access to support from probation services.

The charity  approaches prisoners whilst they are still inside, and they have to actively want to participate with the scheme upon release The founder of ReachOut, Graeme , highlighted the importance of multi-agency work in reducing re-offending, particularly support with benefits, housing benefits, and work training. Graeme’s results so far have been encouraging, with 8 out of every 10 offenders they have worked with at HMP Durham, clearly indicating the importance of individual support and effective local partnerships in helping turn offenders’ lives around.

The BBC praise the role of the probation service and recognise the ‘proven’ effects of probation in reducing re-offending.  Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, who was also approached for the show, shared the PCA view that the government’s proposals to extend probation services to offenders serving short sentences would help to shut the ‘revolving door’ of crime for these individuals.

However, when it is suggested to Graeme that the Transforming Rehabilitation proposals will allow more voluntary organisations to work with probation professionals, he is very sceptical and expresses concerns that “smaller, local organisations will be disadvantaged” compared to the “Serco’s and G4S’ of this world,” which is a concern that PCA have expressed to the MoJ on several occasions.

PCA were pleased to see a news item on the positive impact that mentors have on helping to transform the often chaotic lives of offenders, and a recognition of the excellent work that probation professionals currently do in helping to turn lives around.


Register for our Offender Health events: Improving Health, Cutting Crime & Saving Public Money

The PCA together with Revolving Doors Agency will be launching a series of initiatives in the autumn on tackling offender health inequalities in local communities. With service commissioning and delivery responsibilities being transferred to a range of new actors in both health and criminal justice (e.g. Directors of Public Health, Clinical Commissioning Groups, PCCs, NHS England, Private & voluntary sector companies), the PCA are aiming to raise awareness and ‘buy in’ to cross-sectoral partnership approaches to address a shared agenda of improving health, cutting crime and saving public money.

We would like to invite Trusts to nominate representatives, particularly probation offender health leads, to a PCA/RDA workshop.  There are two parallel events, one due to take place on 16th October at London Probation HQ and the other on 31st October in Wakefield at West Yorkshire Probation Trust.  Trusts are welcome to attend either event depending on which date/location would be easier. The event will bring together a diverse audience from health, local Government, and criminal justice backgrounds, who will have an increased role to play on offender health service commissioning and delivery in the future. An invite and draft agenda is attached. This will coincide with a joint report published by Revolving Doors and the PCA, to be endorsed by the Association of Directors of Public Health and Public Health England, which is aimed to engage Directors of Public Health on offender health partnership.

The event is free to attend, although we would not be able to cover any travel expenses. Refreshments upon arrival at 10.00, with the workshop starting at 10.30-13.30 and a networking lunch to follow.

If your Trust would like to send delegates, please message Esther Dickie at Revolving Doors at esther.dickie@revolving-doors.org.uk . Please note that because of limited space, this is on a first come first serve basis.


Restoring the Balance: International Conference on Restorative Justice

The PCA would like to draw attention to the International Conference on Restorative Justice in Criminal Matters entitled “Restoring the Balance”. This exciting conference will take place St Catherine’s College Oxford on Thursday 28th November. The attached programme includes contributions from experts in the field of Restorative Justice(RJ), who will provide an international perspective on how best practice in RJ can be achieved, starting from the needs of the victim.

The Conference, funded by the European Union, is one activity in a collaboration between Thames Valley Probation, Victim Support and Thames Valley Partnership and partner agencies in Europe. We are seeking to identify and promote best practice in RJ in accordance with the EU directive (2011/0129/(COD) Section 11.   The conference forms part of a process in which practitioners, managers, policy makers and academics are taking part in study visits, workshops and a series of conferences which will lead to the publication of guidance distilled from the experience of the participating countries.

To register your place at the event, please complete the reply form should be returned to Bron Jones at Thames Valley Partnership (bron@thamesvalleypartnership.org.uk). Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.


Clinks launch Partnership Finder tool

Clinks have launched an online directory for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to promote their work in criminal justice to primes and commissioners is launched today.

Clinks’ Partnership Finder is a new supply chain and consortia directory, which helps VCSE organisations working in criminal justice to promote their services to commissioners, prime providers and consortia.

It allows users to search hundreds of VCSE organisations by service provided, geographical area, size and track record, to find their ideal partners.

Launched to support the Transforming Rehabilitation bid process, it will also be a useful on-going resource for all criminal justice and related commissioning – such as Police and Crime Commissioners and those working in offender health.

Funded by the Cabinet Office to maximise VCSE engagement with the supply chain, it is rapidly attracting entries, with over 300 organisations already signed up.

Register or search the tool at www.clinks.org/partnership_finder


Centre for Justice Innovation publish new report on Better Courts

On 9 September, Centre for Justice Innovation and the New Economics Foundation (NEF) published a new report entitled Better Courts: Cutting Crime through Court Innovation.

The report suggests that by embracing four principles of fairness, swiftness, authority and a focus on people as well as cases, our criminal courts can do more to reduce crime and make better use of resources. The report highlights 11 case-studies, including eight English and Welsh examples that exemplify better court innovation.

The report points to a range of innovations which ought to be explored in England and Wales such as simpler approaches to resolving low-level crime and anti-social behaviour problems and a new generation of ‘accountability’ courts. However, it recognises that successful innovation must start from the local level and calls for more freedom for individual courts to act on their own initiative.

The PCA supports the view that local services work most effectively when designed to meet the specific needs of their different communities and that this is instrumental in reducing re-offending.

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