Dear PCA member
In this edition you will find reports on, among other things, PCA’s evidence to the Justice select Committee and participation in a panel discussion on Newsnight on 21 November . I should like to take this opportunity to remind members about registration to our January PCA Conference. An update on our plans for this important event is given below.
If you would like us to mention your news in the newsletter please get in touch with Catherine Sinclair-Jones (pcaadmin@localhost).
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PCA Chief Executive
1. BBC Newsnight raises concerns over Government’s reforms to probation
2. Sue Hall gives evidence to Justice Select Committee on TR proposals
3. Updates on Offender Rehabilitation Bill
4. New Chief Inspector of HMI Probation announced
5. Simon Armitage to perform at PCA Conference 2014
6. Justice Select Committee publish draft Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Guideline report
7. Read the latest edition of the ARCOIP newsletter
8. Institute of Criminology now accepting applicants for Masters course in Applied Criminology
9. University of Salford to launch ‘Understanding the Criminal Justice Process’ course
10. HMI Probation report praises Probation Trusts’ work with victims
11. Restorative Justice ‘Facing up to Offending’ Conference: booking now open
BBC Newsnight raises concerns over Government’s reforms to probation
On 21 November PCA Chair Sue Hall appeared on BBC Newsnight as part of a debate on the Government’s reforms to probation, which also featured Max Chambers, Head of Crime and Justice at the Policy Exchange think tank. The debate came in the context of a Newsnight investigation into Serco’s performance in delivering the Community Payback contract in London.
The programme is now available on BBC iPlayer and can be watched again here. (13 minutes in)
Sue Hall gives evidence to Justice Select Committee on TR proposals
On 12 November PCA Chair, Sue Hall and PA Chairman Sebert Cox, gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee on Transforming Rehabilitation.
The Committee heard concerns over the safety and feasibility of the Government’s timetable for abolishing Probation Trusts, and establishing 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS) all by April 2014. The witnesses raised doubts about whether there was sufficient time for proper testing of the new operating model before it goes ‘live’ on 1 April 2014, and the complexity that Trusts now face when allocating staff and cases to CRCs and NPS with a continued lack of details over roles and functions. The pace and scale of the transition presents challenges for ‘business as usual’ as well as staff morale and retention through the process.
The PCA raised concerns that the proposed operating model could increase risks to public safety through fragmenting offender management, ongoing risk assessment, service delivery and enforcement functions across NPS and contracted providers of CRCs. The complexity of the proposed TR operating system, where transfers of case oversight and responsibility between the contracted providers and the NPS are to occur frequently, presents risks for the continuity of the probation supervision, and creating communication gaps and delay to responding to changes in risk.
The Committee requested information on how probation officer qualifications, skills and career progression would work between and across the NPS/CRCs. The absence of a unifying and comprehensive skills framework across the future operating model could further fragment the service. The PCA will submit further views on this issue to the Select Committee in the context of our partnering role with the Probation Association, NAPO and UNISON to develop a Probation Institute .
Coverage from the Select Committee evidence session is available to watch here. (PCA/PCA contributions begins after approx. 57 mins) The uncorrected oral evidence is now available and can be read here.
Justice Select Committee Chair Sir Alan Beith attended Justice Questions at the House of Commons following the Committee’s evidence session, where he asked Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to review the evidence presented by PA and PCA, which the Secretary of State pledged to do before he is next called to give evidence before the Committee.
Updates on Offender Rehabilitation Bill
On 11 November the Offender Rehabilitation Bill received its Second Reading, which provided MPs with an opportunity to explore the implications of the Bill for the future of probation practice.
Opening the debate on the Bill, Chris Grayling stated that the Government were introducing the TR proposals based on provisions within Labour’s Offender Management Act (2007). A robust exchange between
MPs from all sides of the House contributed to the debate, with all speeches now available to watch on the Parliament TV archive here. Sir Alan Beith, Chair of the Justice Select Committee, mentioned his Committee’s enquiry into the TR reforms, confirming that he would aim to produce conclusions ‘very quickly’ so as to have an effect on the legislation and the new probation system on the basis of the evidence gathered from relevant parties (including PCA).
Labour’s amendment to the Bill, which aimed to defeat the progress of the Bill due to concerns about the privatisation of probation, was defeated by 213 votes to 269, with three LibDems voting for Labour’s amendment.
The full transcript of the Second Reading can be read here.
The Bill will now progress to Committee stage, where it will be considered line by line alongside a list of tabled amendments, which can be found here and here. The Public Bill Committee membership has now been announced:
Nadine Dorries (Con); John Robertson (Lab)
The Committee will meet to consider the Bill on Tuesday 26 November (8.55am and 2pm); Thursday 28 November (11.30am and 2pm) and Tuesday 3 December (8.55am and 2pm), with the proceedings brought to a conclusion by 5pm on 3 December.
New Chief Inspector of Probation announced.
PCA would like to congratulate Paul McDowell on his appointment as HMI Chief Inspector of Probation.
On 8 November Paul McDowell, who is currently Chief Executive of Nacro, was announced as the successor to Liz Calderbank as HM Chief Inspector of Probation. This appointment was approved following the pre-appointment hearing by the Justice Select Committee .
Paul was Governor of HMP Brixton before accepting his current role at Nacro. He joined the Prison Service in 1990 as a Prison Officer at HMYOI Stoke Heath and has subsequently worked at HMP Wellingborough, the Prison Service training college at Newbold Revel, HMP Gartree and HMYOI Feltham.
In 2000 Paul was seconded to the Home Office where he worked as the Prison Minister’s Private Officer. He returned to HMYOI Feltham as Deputy Governor in 2001, followed by a period in charge at HMP Coldingley.
PCA looks forward to working with Paul extensively in the future, with the wealth of knowledge he brings with him for both the public and voluntary sectors.
Simon Armitage to perform at PCA Conference 2014
PCA are delighted to confirm that the award-winning poet and novelist Simon Armitage has agreed to give a performance at PCA Conference on 23 January 2014.
Simon worked as a Probation Officer in Greater Manchester until 1994, after completing his MA thesis at Manchester University on the effects of television violence on young offenders. As well as his poetry collections, Simon writes for radio, television and film and has written several novels. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Sunday Time Young Author of the Year, a Lannan Award and a Keates-Shelley Poetry Prize, as well as a BAFTA for his song-lyrics in the Channel Four Film Feltham Sings in 2003. He was awarded a CBE in 2010, and was appointed Professor of Poetry at Sheffield University in 2011.
PCA welcome the opportunity to host a celebrated performer with a personal interest and background in probation, and look forward to you joining us at PCA Conference in January.
Please send nominations for attendees to Catherine Sinclair-Jones: pcaadmin@localhost if you haven’t done so already – we advise early booking to avoid disappointment.
Justice Select Committee publish draft Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Guideline report
The Justice Select Committee have published their report concerned with Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Guideline, which the PCA submitting evidence to last month.
The draft Guideline is split into separate guidelines for the offences of (i) Fraud, (ii) Possessing, making or supplying articles for use in frauds, (iii) Revenue fraud, (iv) Benefit fraud, (v) Money laundering, (vi) Bribery and (viii) Corporate offenders. It will replace the existing Definitive Guideline for fraud offences published by the Sentencing Guidelines Council in October 2009. A guideline for sentencing organisations convicted of financial crimes has been produced for the first time, as have guidelines for bribery and money laundering perpetrated by individuals.
Read the latest edition of the ARCOIP newsletter
The latest edition of the ARCOIP (Association of Retired Chief Officers and Inspectors of Probation) newsletter is now available and can be read here.
This packed edition contains reflections on many notable recent events, including the Bill McWilliams lecture, the World Congress on Probation and the 100th birthday of Georgina Stafford.
Institute of Criminology now accepting applicants for Masters course in Criminology
Institute of Criminology: Masters (MSt) in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management
The Institute of Criminology, at the University of Cambridge, runs a part-time course specifically for senior practitioners working in all areas of criminal justice, including prisons, probation, the judiciary and the magistracy.
The course is taught in short, residential study blocks by internationally renowned Cambridge academics and guest speakers in a setting with world class facilities. All candidates become full and life-long members of the University and of Homerton College.
The closing date for applications for the next course beginning in March 2014 is 31 December 2013. For further information please contact Lucinda Bowditch (firstname.lastname@example.org ; 01223 335 373)
University of Salford to launch Understanding the Criminal Justice Process course
The University of Salford is running a two-day criminal justice course from 22-23 January 2014. The course is aimed at criminal justice practitioners, postgraduate students and those interested in beginning (or bidding for contracts in) work for the criminal justice system.
Participants who have completed the course will gain:
- A systematic knowledge of the entire criminal justice process and the role of each agency within it
- The ability to identify and reflect on key questions regarding their own professional and practical responsibilities and their contribution to criminal justice
- An opportunity to share experiences and questions with practitioners from other agencies
More information on the course, including tutors’ details, structure of sessions and the application process is available here.
HMI Probation report praises Probation Trusts’ work with victims
A recent HMI Probation report of an inspection of the Victim Contact Scheme has concluded that Probation Trusts are working well to support victims of crime. The Victim Contact report, published on 7 November, reflects the findings of an inspection undertaken in response to a request from the Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses.
Inspectors interviewed 28 victims of crime and assessed 72 victim contact cases in detail. They also spoke with the victim liaison officers and offender managers involved in the particular cases. Inspectors found that:
- Victims said they were provided with key dates relating to the offender’s sentence and felt their safety had been treated as a priority
- In nearly all cases, requested licence conditions were incorporated into the licence upon the offender’s release
- The vast majority of victims valued their contact with the victim liaison officers and felt supported by them at critical points in the offender’s sentence
- Information sharing for the management of the risk of harm was more likely to take place when victim liaison officers and offender managers worked in close proximity to each other
- Victims said that they were unhappy that victim personal statements were now normally disclosed to the offender at the time of parole hearings and so were consequentially less likely to submit one
- Victim liaison officers were concerned about hospital orders and the reluctance of some hospital staff to share information about the offender
- In many cases, the offender manager had given insufficient consideration to the impact of the offence on the victim and how best to manage the risk of harm the offender may have posed, or continue to pose, towards them
Commenting on the report, Liz Calderbank praised the quality of direct work with victims as being “of a good standard,” and welcomed the MoJ’s decision to allow the new public sector National Probation Service to retain all cases that require a victim liaison role “because of the critical need…for victim liaison staff to work in partnership with those responsible for the assessment and management of high risk offenders.”
Inspectors made a number of recommendations for improvement to NOMS, Probation Trusts, YOT managers and the YJB.
Restorative Justice Conference ‘Facing up to Offending:’ booking now open
Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping and No Offence are jointly hosting this ‘Facing up to Offending’ conference in recognition of the significant benefits of Restorative Justice (RJ) and the need for a quality consistent approach.
A copy of the Agenda can be found here.
Restorative justice has the potential to make savings and improve outcomes if used properly. A win, win, win for victim, offender and society. The flexibility of how and where it can be used is a benefit, but there still lacks a clear strategy to ensure restorative justice approaches are applied consistently.
This is a national conference that will have a regional and local focus, a benefit to anyone who has an interest in RJ and what this approach can bring you. Taking part in the day are: Police, Probation, Restorative Justice Council, Youth Offending Team, victims, perpetrators and more.
PCA Restorative Justice lead, Stephen Czajewski, will be delivering an update at the Conference, which will focus on the future of RJ commissioning in the new world of probation under the TR reforms.
The Conference will take place at Nottinghamshire Golf & Country Club, Nottingham on 3 December, 10am – 5pm, with registration from 9.30am.
For more information and details of how to book places, please visit this link : http://bit.ly/16Rcu3J