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PCA Chief Executive
1. Developing a Probation Institute
2. Colin Allars announced as Director of National Probation Service
3. Updates from the TR Consultative Forum
4. PCA respond to Fraud Offences Guideline Consultation
5. London hosts first World Congress on Probation
6. Lords debate discusses probation privatisation
7. PCA and Revolving Doors launch ‘Balancing Act’ report
8. London Councils call for more greater role for Councils in probation reforms
Developing a Probation Institute
At the UNISON Police and Justice Conference on Friday 11 October, Savas Hadjipavlou and Nick Smart discussed the creation of a Probation Institute, which PCA are currently developing in partnership with the Probation Association, Napo and UNISON, and in discussion with the Ministry of Justice.
We see the Probation Institute being an independent, professional body and centre of excellence that will help to promote standards and develop best practice, provide professional leadership and development for probation workers whether they are employed in the public, private or voluntary sectors.
We would envisage the Institute developing into a corner stone for everyone with an interest in probation, and an inclusive membership to reflect the dynamic range of probation stakeholders.
PCA and its partners are hosting roundtable events in November and December to engage a wide range of stakeholders including academics, partnership organisations and future probation providers about the shape and scope of the Institute’s work. We will keep our membership updated on our progress with the Institute’s developments over the coming months.
Colin Allars appointed as new Director of National Probation Service
The Ministry of Justice announced this week that Colin Allars has been appointed the Director of the National Probation Service from April 2014. This follows news that Mike Maiden has stood down from the position for personal reasons. Colin Allars is currently the board director responsible for probation trusts and contracted services.
PCA congratulate Colin on his appointment and look forward to working with him in the future.
Updates from TR Consultative Forum
The Minutes from the 26 September TR Consultative Forum have been agreed and can be read here. These detail discussions on ICT and Business Continuity relating to migration of staff data over the coming months. The MoJ have invited applications for senior staff from Trusts to act as ‘Transition Managers,’ using their skills and expertise to lead and coordinate the reorganisation of the Probation Trusts into the new NPS and CRCs. The letter to Chiefs and Chairs provides more detail, along with the accompanying job description.
The MoJ have written a letter to Chiefs and Chairs regarding the Resource Testing Tool (RTT) which aims to address concerns that the RTT does not currently take local delivery arrangements into account in relation to assigning staff split between the NPS and CRCs.
Following requests from Trusts, the MoJ have produced a timetable of Transforming Rehabilitation milestones until March 2014, which can be seen here.
PCA respond to Fraud Offences Guideline Consultation
On 2 October 2013, the PCA responded to the Sentencing Council’s Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Guideline Consultation.
The Council produced the consultation to seek the views of as many people as possible interested in the sentencing of fraud, bribery and money laundering offences. Through this consultation, the Council sought views on:
- The principal factors that make any of the offences included within the draft guideline more or less serious
- The additional factors that should influence the sentence
- The approach taken to structuring the draft guidelines
- The sentences that should be passed for fraud, bribery and money laundering offences for both individuals and corporations
The PCA response addresses each of the consultation questions as summarised in Annex A of the consultation document.
London hosts first World Congress on Probation
From 8-10 October London played host to the first ever World Congress on Probation, with over 300 delegates from 55 countries came together to share their knowledge and experience on probation practice.
The PCA worked closely with the European Organisation for Probation (CEP) to help bring about the World Congress on Probation. We are proud that the first ever event of this kind was held in the United Kingdom, which is testament to the high level of international recognition for the professionalism of probation services in our country.
Delegates heard talks and attended workshops hosted by a diverse and vibrant range of probation practitioners and academics across the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.
All the presentations from the Congress were recorded and will be available on the World Congress website shortly, together with photos taken over the three day event.
PCA were delighted to be part of such a stimulating and dynamic event, and look forward to the next World Congress in the United States in 2015.
Lords debate discusses probation privatisation
On 16 October the House of Lords discussed the Government’s proposed reorganisation of the probation service in a short debate tabled by Lord Marks QC of Henley on Thames. Significant concerns over the approach being taken by Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) were recurrent throughout the debate, including:
- Increased risks to public safety through fragmenting offender management, ongoing risk assessment, service delivery, and enforcement functions across the new National Probation Service (NPS) and contracted providers.
- The scale and pace of implementing the TR programme
- Sustaining professional skills, staff and expertise post transition, and ensuring the quality of future probation services.
The debate also drew on the work of the PCA and Probation Association (PA), alongside other stakeholders, to bring about the creation of Probation Institute:
Lord Marks stated “one hopeful development is the proposed establishment by the Probation Association and the Probation Chiefs Association, with government approval, of an institute to be known as the ‘Probation Institute.’ Such an institute could offer accreditation of courses and qualifications. It could maintain a register of qualified probation officers, and could ultimately take on the role of monitoring and enforcing professional performance standards. That would assist providers when recruiting, and probation officers when seeking new employment. The institute could also act as an information exchange on innovation and best practice and would be a valuable resource if it did so. The proposed institute might one day apply for charter status, and would establish probation officers as a strong and independent profession. In a world of diverse new providers, this would be a significant benefit.”
Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, acting as Justice spokesman for the Government responded: “My noble friend Lord Marks also mentioned the idea of some kind of chartered institute of probation officers. I assure all noble Lords that this is an idea that the Government are taking forward and looking at seriously. We are working with interested parties across the board to develop a proposal for a Probation Institute that would promote the development of innovation and the sharing of good practice in the new system.”
PCA welcomes the increased interest in and awareness of the significant difficulties surrounding the safe implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms. The recognition of the Probation Institute as an independent professional body that will act to help address these concerns is encouraging, and we continue to work closely with PA and other stakeholders on the Institute’s development.
PCA and Revolving Doors launch ‘Balancing Act’ report
On 15 October Revolving Doors Agency published a joint briefing with the PCA and Public Health England aimed at raising awareness among Directors of Public Health over the need and opportunities to work with probation and health partners to address health inequalities of those in contact with the criminal justice system.
The PCA played a contributing role to the content of the briefing, in particular the PCA Localism group led by Tessa Webb and the PCA mental & personality disorder practice group led by Diana Johnson. The briefing draws on good practice examples involving Probation Trusts, including the Merseyside Resettle Project, the Lincolnshire Health Support Service, Warwickshire’s Health & Wellbeing Board Strategy, and extended alcohol treatment pathways in Newcastle. The findings of the PCA’s offender health practice survey were fed into the report, and we would like to thank all of the probation health leads who contributed to this. We held a very well attended launch event in London Probation HQ on 16 October, which drew on good practice examples in Hertfordshire and London, and West Yorkshire Probation Trust are helping to host our sister offender health partnership event in Wakefield on 31 October.
As a next step, Revolving Doors Agency, with support from the Association of Directors of Public Health, are organising for a hard copy of the briefing to be sent to each Director of Public Health.
The PCA are also encouraging Probation Trusts to share electronic copies with their local Directors of Public Health, and to draw upon the briefing in local partnership discussions on tackling offender health needs.
London Councils call for greater role for Councils in probation reforms
On 16 October London Councils launched new report: Reducing Re-offending in London: Why local solutions will deliver. Councillor Claire Kober, London Councils lead on Crime and Community Protection, released the report with an accompanying cover letter, which can be read here.
The report highlights the importance of local partnerships and calls for a greater role for Councils in the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, raising concerns that the proposals will have significant implications for how local government will work with partners in future to reduce re-offending.
The report contends that the national commissioning of a large proportion of the probation service could have repercussions for joint work between local authorities, probation and the police to tackle re-offending at a local level.
London Councils raise concerns that successful multi-agency programmes risk fragmentation or even dissolution, and that it will be crucial for prime providers to build on existing local knowledge and experience in the new probation system. This should be achieved by close collaboration with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), with Community Safety Partnerships suggested as the most effective way to maintain local accountability for new probation providers.
PCA has expressed similar concerns about the importance of sustaining and building on local partnerships under the TR reforms and continues to engage with the MoJ to ensure local initiatives continue to flourish under the new probation service.