Dear PCA member
Welcome to the first newsletter of 2014. January has been a very busy month for the Office, planning the PCA Conference – full report below – continuing to respond to requests for comments on the Transforming rehabilitation reforms and planning the development of the Probation Institute. So this edition, albeit somewhat later coming out than usual, provides an opportunity to let you know about all these developments and more.
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. PCA Conference 2014; ‘Celebrating Probation & Looking to the Future of Probation’
2. PCA endorse recommendations made in Justice Committee Report into TR reforms
3. Ilid Davies recognised in New Year’s Honour List
4. Justice Select Committee hold evidence session on the work of the Parole Board
5. Updates on Offender Rehabilitation Bill
6. Notice of Probation Trust contract termination
7. Care not Custody Coalition urges commitment to delivery of national liaison & diversion services pledge
8. NAPO ULF Project comes to an end
9. Call for Papers: What Works in Managing Young People that Offend
10. Prisoners Abroad welcome Trustees applications
PCA Conference 2014: ‘Celebrating Probation & Looking to the Future of Probation’
On Thursday 23rd January, PCA members gathered in Manchester for the start of our annual Conference, with the first day dedicated to ‘Celebrating Probation.’ The tone of the day was set with an introduction by PCA Chair Sue Hall and PCA Vice-Chair John Budd, as we focused on “transforming the values of the past and present into the practice of the future.” John Stafford and Heather Munro delivered a poignant session on the achievements of the public probation service, which explored the exemplary attitudes and principles of probation staff, and how these should be both celebrated and carried forward into the new world of probation. There was also a recognition of the esteem in which our probation service is held on a global stage, and the pride we should take from the international emulation of many aspects of our probation practice.
We were also delighted to launch our book: Probation: a celebration of achievement at this year’s Conference, which featured contributions from Probation Trusts, retired leaders and staff associations. The book showcases the exceptional work undertaken by probation staff past and present, and highlights the many and varied elements of good practice and professional excellence that will be taken forward into the new world of probation.
This year the Graham Smith Award lectures were also hosted at PCA Conference, with research undertaken by our two Graham Smith Award winners, Andrea MacDonald (Durham Tees Valley PT) and Shelly-Ann McDermott (London PT) on their compelling accounts of veteran offenders and the MAPPA 3 cohort respectively.
Following the lectures, we heard from three leading academics: Prof. Rob Canton, Prof. Anne Worrall, and Prof. Paul Senior on the achievements of probation over the past 20 years, drawing on the creative, innovative and inspiring work of probation staff, whose values have remained constant against a backdrop of frequent structural reorganisation and change. We were delighted to have award-winning poet and novelist Simon Armitage join us for a pre-dinner reading, with funny and often touching recollections of his time as a Probation Officer in Greater Manchester.
Sue Hall paid moving tribute to those Probation Chiefs who will be leaving, with the appreciation of their achievements reflected in delegates’ warm applause: Sally Lewis, Jane Geraghty, Heather Munro, David Chantler, Pete Brown, Trevor Worsfold, Peter Wright, Barrie Crook, Russell Bruce, John Bensted and John Budd. Sue received a standing ovation from the room in recognition of the exceptional work that she has done throughout her career to date to raise the profile of probation both nationally and internationally, and her support for senior leadership through this challenging time for the service.
Friday 24th January saw us look to the future of probation, with attendance widened to include delegates from across the private, public and voluntary sectors. The second day of Conference featured a diverse mix of plenary sessions, beginning with ex-service user Anthony Bebbington talking about overcoming his drug addiction after 20 years with the help and support of his probation officer, Sarah Conroy, who joined him on stage (click here for further details on Anthony’s session). We heard from Probation Minister Jeremy Wright, who took a host of challenging questions from the floor.
Nick Smart gave an informative summary of the development of the Probation Institute, supported by a panel that featured representatives from our partner organisations NAPO, UNISON and PA. The notion of a summer Conference to launch the Institute was well received by delegates. The departing Chief Inspector of Probation Liz Calderbank and Assistant Chief Inspector Sally Lester discussed the role of the Inspectorate to date and offered food for thought on the Inspectorate’s future relationship with the CRCs and NPS.
Our final plenary of Conference featured Jo Mead and Catherine Holland, both appointed Chiefs of CRCs, and Sonia Crozier, appointed Deputy Director of the NPS South East. All three gave different but equally compelling strategies for tackling challenges facing new leadership under future probation arrangements, and the handling of the NPS/CRC interface.
Following the plenary sessions, delegates chose between seven workshops, with a range of topics themed around the challenges and opportunities of the new probation service, with events on: partnerships, leadership challenges, developing CRCs, short term offenders, mitigating equality risks, quality & standards, and desistance in practice.
PCA wish to thank all of our speakers and delegates, for helping to achieve a sensitive and often emotional balance between celebrating the past and present and exploring the ‘brave new world’ of probation.
The initial feedback from the Conference has been encouraging and positive, and we would welcome your thoughts on the event. If you have not already done so, please complete the Evaluation Form and return to Catherine Sinclair-Jones at: pcaadmin@localhost
We will be posting a full Conference summary report, along with PowerPoint presentations and photos from the event, in due course.
PCA endorse recommendations of Justice Select Committee’s Interim Report on Transforming Rehabilitation
On 22 January, the Justice Select Committee published its Interim Report on the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation Programme.
The Committee highlighted various significant areas of concern with the TR programme many of which were touched upon by the PCA and PA in evidence submitted during the enquiry.
In its summary, the report concludes:
- There has been a lack of information given by the Ministry of Justice about the risks in implementing the programme, how those risks may have been mitigated and contingency plans in the event that a new provider subsequently fails. The report recommends that the Government in its response should provide a full narrative of the programme risks. (paras. 25-26)
- Questions whether the Government has carried out a proper assessment over the affordability of the reforms, and recommends that the Government “set out a projected impact of the extension of rehabilitation to short sentenced offenders on the prison population and on associated costs.” (paras. 27-35)
- “The absence of piloting of payment by results for delivering reductions in reoffending by those subject to probation services means that some lack confidence that the Government’s reform programme will work better than the existing system.” (paras. 16-21)
- The proposed split of functions between the new Community Rehabilitation Companies and the National Probation Service in case management, service delivery, risk assessment and breach escalations presents “additional risks over and above the current situation” of having one single case manager in a Probation Trust. The Committee concludes that this “will be challenging to remedy through contractual specifications” and that “it is essential that very good lines of communication and cooperation” are put in place. (paras. 44-46)
- There are risks to existing local partnership arrangements where Probation Trusts area lead agency, and recommends that “Ministers put in place appropriate safeguards to ensure that new providers in the private sector appreciate the importance of working with existing local partnerships to reduce reoffending.” (paras. 47-50)
- The report expresses “considerable concern” that under the reform proposals Community Rehabilitation Companies “will not be required to have professionally qualified staff,” and recommend that the new providers “should be bound by a contractual requirement to have a minimum proportion of qualified probation staff related to the volume and risk levels of offenders supervised and to provide continuous training.” The Committee welcome the joint venture of the PCA, PA, UNISON and NAPO to create a Probation Institute to support staff to gain suitable accreditations and qualifications. (paras. 62-65)
The Committee have since held two further evidence sessions:
On Tuesday 21st January, the Committee heard from four leading probation academics: Prof. Cynthia McDougall (University of York), Prof, Gloria Laycock (UCL), Prof. David Farrington (Institute of Criminology -Cambridge University) and Prof. Stephen Farrall (University of Sheffield).
A transcript of the evidence can be read here.
On Tuesday 28 January, Richard Garside (Centre for Crime & Justice Studies), Ben Page (Ipsos MORI), Prof. Andromachi Tseloni (Loughborough University) and Prof. Mike Hough (Institute for Criminal Policy Research – Birkbeck University) appeared before the Committee.
Their evidence session can be viewed via this link.
Ilid Davies recognised in New Year’s Honour List
PCA were delighted to see Ilid Davies awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honour List for services to Public Protection and the Rehabilitation of Residents of Approved Premises. We congratulate Ilid for all the excellent work she has done and continues to do as Head of Public Protection for London Probation Trust.
The Honour’s List also recognised Christine Goldstraw, Chair of Nottinghamshire Probation Trust, who was awarded an OBE for Services to Probation & Criminal Justice, and John Home, the Owner & Director of Willowdene Farm, was presented with an MBE for service to the Rehabilitation of Offenders.
We are pleased to see that the work of probation professionals continues to be appreciated and celebrated, particularly through this challenging time for the probation service.
Justice Select Committee hold evidence session on the work of the Parole Board
On Tuesday 17 December, the Justice Select Committee held a one off evidence session on the work of the parole board. Sir David Calvert-Smith, Chair, and Claire Bassett, Chief Executive of the Parole Board, were called as witnesses to explain the purpose of the Parole Board and take the Committee through their finances and plans for future development.
Updates on Offender Rehabilitation Bill
On 14 January the Offender Rehabilitation Bill reached its report stage in the House of Commons, which was followed immediately by the third reading. The Government voted to remove amendments inserted by the Shadow Justice team, which called for full piloting of the proposed Transforming Rehabilitation reforms and a full parliamentary debate on the Government’s proposals.
Labour MPs John McDonnell and David Hanson lead on further tributes to former Probation Minister Paul Goggins MP, who passed away on 8 January, a passionate supporter of probation who spoke eloquently on the risks and challenges of the TR programme, both during debates in the House and at the Public Bill Committee. The sentiments for Paul were echoed on all sides of the House.
The Bill will now return to the House of Lords for consideration of amendments, with the date yet to be announced.
The full transcript of the debate can be read here.
Notice of Probation Trust contract termination
On 20 January, the Ministry of Justice gave notice that Probation Trust contracts will be terminated on 31 May 2014, as the Government transitions under the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms to a new operating structure for probation service delivery. Probation Trust staff and case splits are now expected to ‘go live’ on 1 June 2014.
The PCA understands the need for the Government to delay the date for terminating Probation Trust contracts, originally scheduled for 31 March 2014. However the timetable for transitions is still extremely pressured. We have previously commented on the timetable for the TR reforms, out of the need to ensure a safe and sustainable process that does not put the public at risk.
We remain concerned that there are serious implications for probation service quality and public safety if the infrastructure is not properly implemented and fully tested before the new organisations ‘go live’ on 1 June 2014.
The proposed TR operating model fragments the ongoing management of risk, sentence delivery and breach/recall process across the NPS and CRCs, which risks the creation of communication ‘gaps’ and delay between different parts of such a complex system. The Government will need to ensure that the procedures and systems to be put in place are safe, efficient and understood by staff.
Care not Custody Coalition urges commitment to delivery of national liaison & diversion services pledge
On 10 January, the Care not Custody Coalition raised concerns regarding the Government’s delivery of national liaison and diversion services.
In a letter, published in the Guardian, the Coalition welcomed the Government’s pledge to divert those with mental health needs from the criminal justice system into social care and treatment, with Health Minister Norman Lamb and Crime & Policing Minister Norman Lamb announcing on 4 January that a further £25m allocated to extend the coverage of mental health nurses and other specialists working alongside the police and courts.
However, they noted that “the initial commitment for delivery of national liaison and diversion services by 2014 will not now be met.” The letter was signed by 22 members of the Coalition, including PCA Chair Sue Hall.
The Care not Custody Coalition represents 2 million people across the health, social care and justice sectors and wider civic society. It was convened in 2011 to support the government in keeping its promise and to hold it to account for effective delivery of its Care not Custody pledge.
The letter has also been sent to Department of Health, Ministry of Justice and Home Office Ministers and officials, as well as Select Committee and APPG Chairs.
NAPO ULF Project comes to an end
NAPO has announced that its bid for further financing of the Union Learning Fund (ULF) has been rejected by the Department of Business and Enterprise Gateway. This means that all projects will cease with effect from 31st March. This is very disappointing news and means that project staff engaged in ULF provision will not have their contracts renewed.
Lead Project Manager Marilyn Owens said that “we will continue to do all we can to achieve our contractual obligations until the natural end of the project on 31st March 2014.”
The NAPO ULF team has thanked its Union Learning Representatives past and present, who have demonstrated their commitment to the projects by working hard to promote Continued Professional Development in the workplace. The team also wish to convey their thanks for the encouragement and support that they have received over the years from Trusts, who have engaged with them in relation to the project. They hope that the achievements and commitment will not be lost and can be built upon within the new operating environments.
Call for Papers: What Works in Managing Young People that Offend
Forensic Psychological Services at Middlesex University has been commissioned by the Ministry of Justice to conduct a Rapid Review of Evidence on what works in managing young people who offend, aged 10-18 years. They have been tasked with considering how what works in youth justice, works, with a particular focus on relationships between service users and service providers.
The findings from the review are expected to be published later this year by the Ministry of Justice on the GOV.UK website and will be of interest to policy makers and practitioners across the criminal justice system.
The project would be grateful for alerts to any unpublished material and/or material published in non-academic places (e.g. documents/reports/briefings) that is in the public domain. Ideally, they would like documents sent via email attachments, but would otherwise accept a full reference with its source. Additionally they would welcome any personal peer reviewed work.
Please send any electronic materials to: WWYJ@mdx.ac.uk. If the material is a hard copy, please send to:
Professor Joanna R Adler
Department of Psychology
The deadline for submissions is 21 February 2014.
Please follow this link for a list of the specific questions that the Department have been tasked to review.
There is an intent to hold a workshop in London during the week commencing 17th March to discuss the preliminary themes of the rapid evidence assessment with relevant parties to ensure that the final report produced will appropriately represent the evidence base. If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org briefly stating why you would like to take part. Please be advised that places will be strictly limited.
For further information on the Rapid Review of Evidence, please contact Joanna R Adler (Principal Investigator): email@example.com
Prisoners Abroad welcome Trustee applications
Prisoners Abroad are currently looking for Trustees to provide strategic leadership and effective governance for this unique charity, dedicated to caring for British prisoners overseas.
Prisoners Abroad are looking to recruit a Chair and Treasurer-elect, and have three additional Trustee vacancies available.
For further details of the application criteria and procedure, please click here.