Newsletter 22 November 2013

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).

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

 

Savas Hadjipavlou

PCA Chief Executive

Parliament to discuss the future of Probation, as serious concerns over Transforming Rehabilitation are voiced

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In an opposition debate scheduled for this afternoon (30 October 2013) the House of Commons will consider the future of the probation service in light of the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reform plans.

The proposed oposition motion and the Government’s amendment can be viewed here ahead of the debate: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmagenda/ob131030.htm

The Probation Chiefs Association (PCA) have raised significant concerns over the safety of the reform plans, the untested nature and speed of transition, the disruption to effective local partnerships and uncertainties over how professional development and skills will be maintained in the future.

A detailed parliamentary briefing prepared by the PCA has been circulated to MPs and stakeholders ahead of the House of Commons debate, a copy of which can be viewed here
PCA briefings on Transforming Rehabilitation

The House of Commons debate comes in the immediate context of a joint letter published by Police & Crime Commissioners outlining their strong concerns over the Transforming Rehabilitation programme.  In a separate article on the front page of yesterday’s Guardian newspaper it was reported that Chairs of Probation Trusts have written to the Secretary of State over the public safety risks presented by the scale and pace of transition.

View the PCC letter here.. http://www.gmpcc.org.uk/news/probation-privatisation-risks-public-safety-commissioners-warn/
View the Guardian article here.. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/28/chris-grayling-delay-probation-service-privatisation

The National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) have voted to take strike action on the 5-6 November over the terms being imposed on probation staff by the Transforming Rehabilitation programme. 84.4% of NAPO’s members supported strike action.

For all PCA media enquiries please call 020 3657 7844

PCA comment on MoJ Transforming Rehabilitation press release: 19 September

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Today (19 September 2013), the Government has given a formal notice over a forthcoming competition on the sale of 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies and linked contracts to provide probation services for those offenders assessed as a ‘low-medium’ risk of causing harm to the public.

Also today the Government has issued directions to Probation Trusts to begin a formal 28 day period of consultation on a staff transfer process outlining the suggested principles and terms of splitting resources and cases to establish Community Rehabilitation Companies and the new National Probation Service.

This marks a step change in the Government pushing forward with plans to implement the Transforming Rehabilitation programme announced in May 2013. The PCA have voiced significant concerns with these plans particularly over risks to public protection from splitting the management of offenders over public and contracted sectors, and the high risks of losing professional expertise and successful local partnership initiatives during and after the transition.

Despite the PCA’s very considerable misgivings – which are shared by very many other organisations – the Secretary of State for Justice has been unwavering in his intention to go ahead with these changes. The PCA believes that the priority now is to ensure that the transition to the new organisations, the National Probation Service and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies, should be done in as safe a way as possible.  This should be about securing an effective and well managed transfer of the probation caseload on 1 April 2014, the date planned for these new arrangements to come into effect following the abolition of the current probation trusts.

We have consistently argued that the time frame for these changes is impractical and unrealistic.  We do not think that the transfer should be dictated by the time scale, but by an objective assessment of the conditions needed for a safe transfer putting first the safety and protection of the public.

The transition to these new organisations will be very complex, entailing splits in staff, resources and caseloads, and the development of new protocols for working across the public and contracted sectors (with support from ICT systems). This all would need to be in place, fully tested and staff trained, before Community Rehabilitation Companies and the National Probation Service should be allowed to ‘go live’.

As the Government looks to begin implementation of its plans, the PCA believe it imperative for the Programme meaningfully to engage and draw on the expertise of the leadership and professionals of Probation Trusts, in particular to develop objective ways of assuring that changes can be carried out safely.

In all this it is extremely important to maintain the support of all staff.  We welcome the assurances for continuing dialogue and consultation. That needs to be meaningful, with the changes and plans fully articulated and other information needed, so that staff can make informed comments and choices about their future.

The Ministry of Justice has also published today ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a summary of evidence on reoffending” providing an overview of key evidence relating to reducing reoffending. The PCA welcomes that this report clearly acknowledges that “the skills of practitioners in supervising offenders and delivering interventions are known to contribute to reducing reoffending and also to improving other outcomes” (section 3).

All this underlines the case for establishing an independent Probation Institute, to promote professional skills and standards in a more plural probation service delivery market. The PCA, with the Probation Association, the Ministry of Justice and other key stakeholders is working to bring about the creation of such an Institute.

Newsletter 10 June 2013

Dear PCA member

Following the May Council we welcome to the PCA Executive Nick Smart, CEO Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust who was elected as Director and Vice Chair. John Budd, who has served as Vice Chair for the past three years, will also continue as Director and Vice Chair for a further year.

PCA is continuing to represent the views of probation professionals, in meetings with Ministers and with other influential organisations. Latest news are reported below.

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

Savas Hadjipavlou
PCA Business Director


Contents

  1. Government Reforms
  2. PCA-ACEVO Roundtable – Transforming Rehabilitation and implications for Public-
  3. Voluntary sector market participation
  4. PCA/LGA Workshop; Community Budgets and Probation, 14 June, Manchester
  5. Learning to Change
  6. PCA celebrates National Volunteers Week

Government Reforms

PCA and PA jointly met with Jeremy Wright, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Justice on 5 June. We discussed a range of issues with the MoJ’s Programme ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’. In particular our continuing concerns about the Operating Model of case management between the National public probation service and the contracted sector, the Programme Timetable, and the need to secure probation standards, through the development of a Probation Institute. Ministers have given an undertaking in the Government Response, published on 9 May 2013 (Transforming Rehabilitation strategy) to work with the profession in developing such an Institute. The PCA and PA offered to put forward proposals soon, and the Minister welcomed our initiative.

The Offender Rehabilitation Bill is now in Committee Stage in the House of Lords. This Bill provides for the post-release supervision of offenders serving prisons sentences of less than 12 months, and also for extended supervision for those sentenced to less than two years. The debate on 5 June of the latest amendments can be found here.

The MoJ has published a paper setting out a proposal for the payment mechanism, ‘Straw Man’, setting out how they would intend to pay for the contracted out elements of the Rehabilitation Programme. The PCA intends to submit a response to this document, joint with PA. If you wish to share your comments with us, to inform our response, please do so through feedback@localhost


PCA-ACEVO Roundtable – Transforming Rehabilitation and implications for Public-Voluntary sector market participation

On the 28 May, the Probation Chiefs Association (PCA) and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) held a high level roundtable between a representation of our respective memberships, to discuss the implications of the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation strategy for the delivery of offender management and rehabilitation services in the community by public and voluntary sector providers.

The roundtable thought it critical that any new service delivery landscape is able to utilise and sustain the quality, professionalism and values built up across the public and voluntary sectors, but identified significant barriers affecting future public-voluntary sector participation. Following the roundtable, a joint PCA-ACEVO letter was sent to the Secretary of State for Justice and the Cabinet Office urging for greater clarity and support in the policy environment and procurement process to facilitate meaningful opportunities for joint public-voluntary ventures. A summary report of the roundtable will be circulated shortly.


PCA/LGA Workshop; Community Budgets and Probation, 14 June, Manchester

We would like to invite all those interested to a joint PCA/LGA workshop evaluating the contribution that Probation has made to the Whole Place Community Budget pilots, and how probation and offender rehabilitation services should in the future engage in such local partnership initiatives in light of the Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ reforms.

The workshop will hear from those involved in the Whole Place Community Budget pilots, identifying the early successes and challenges experienced by Probation and Criminal Justice Agencies across different pilot regions. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to discuss how the Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ reform plans could interact with local partnership initiatives such as community budgets, and what actions are needed to ensure that localism is incorporated into the outcomes of any such reform.

The workshop will take place on from 10.15-15.30 on Friday 14 June at Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester, M60 2LA The workshop is free to attend but we are not able to meet any individual travel or other expenses. For more information and to reserve places, please contact Ben Ritchie at ben.ritchie@localhost or 03000 480 268. We very much hope that you will be able to attend.


Learning to Change

Change is a constant challenge for probation delivery. Within the field of community corrections Paul Gendreau and others have identified that ’implementation failure’ is prevalent. Success, which energises practitioners and engages offenders, needs to be recognised, celebrated and learnt from.

Two recently published studies, by Stuart McPhillips and Andrew Underdown, provide insights into probation changes to learn and share what factors contributed to success.

‘I Wanted to make it Work’ is based upon interviews with probation staff who were involved in delivering policy initiatives and developments in community correctional practice during the period 1998-2010. The study aimed to capture, learn and share from the experience of implementation – to identify factors at work and what contributed to success or failure. The findings identified valuable learning, about management, policy and practice. The report is available on Sheffield Hallam University, Community Justice Portal (www.cjp.org.uk).

‘A Collaborative Approach’, commissioned by the MoJ Offender Engagement Programme, looks at the contribution of change managers working across organisational boundaries to successfully delivering operational changes. Their learning can have relevance to those seeking to work collaboratively across organisations to design and deliver changes. The report is available on the NPS Intranet (http://npsintranet.probation.gsi.gov.uk )

Both reports are available from the authors who would be pleased to discuss their findings or have dialogue with colleagues interested in implementation and change management in this field. Contact: stuartmcphillips@gmail.com ; andrew.underdown@btinternet.com


PCA celebrates National Volunteers Week

To mark National Volunteers Week at the start of June, the PCA published some success stories of Trusts working with mentors and volunteers to help rehabilitate offenders in the community (http://localhost/2013/06/06/were-celebrating-national-volunteers-week/).

Staffordshire and West Midlands has also recently held a national volunteers conference with over 160 attendees. The day featured a keynote speech by Liz Calderbank, Chief Inspector of Probation and Jeremy Wright MP, Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation. Liz Calderbank said volunteers have a meaningful role in the rehabilitation of offenders and should be congratulated for their work. She outlined that probation volunteers can support the bridge to successful desistance with well planned supervision and exit strategies. She also said that while they have a key role to play they should not be seen as a substitute for probation staff.

Highlights at the conference also included speeches by Christine Lloyd of Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust, She received an award from Jeremy Wright after completing over 1,000 hours of work with offenders. The day ended on a high note with a final input from Andrew Framcos, an ex-offender who is now a mentor for Hertfordshire Probation Trust.

PCA response to Institute for Government’s report ‘Making public service markets work’

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The PCA  would like to draw attention to today’s publication of ‘making public service markets work’ by the Institute for Government (IfG).

The IfG report looks at successive Government approaches to changing public services through commissioning and outsourcing, and draws on probation and the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms as a major case study.

Concerns are raised by the IfG, including that the Government’s current approach to the outsourcing of probation under Transforming Rehabilitation is “inherently risky” (p116). In particular, the PCA shares the core messages and concerns that emerge from the IfG’s report, over:

  • The ambition of the scale and timetable for the reforms, with all 21 of the new contracts for managing low-medium risk offenders in the community (approx. 80% of Probation Trust’s current caseload) to be completed by summer 2014. The IfG report recommends that “a safer route would have been to sequence carefully the changes,” rather than undertake such a ‘big bang’ in outsourcing all contracts at the same time.
  • Difficulties in measuring outcomes of reducing reoffending in binary terms for a single provider, when successful rehabilitation is often dependent on addressing multiple needs/issues across a range of public services, e.g. complex health issues, lack of job skills, homelessness.
  • That past history of large-scale commissioning and outsourcing of public services by Government departments shows that mistakes are  made.  The IfG report encourages the Ministry of Justice to pay careful attention to the continuity of service, and allowing “as much flexibility as possible to enable rapid learning and adaptation” when risks and mistakes in commissioning and the emerging new market become apparent.

 

http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/Making_public_service_markets_work_final_0.pdf

PCA Media round up following Government’s announcement of ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a strategy for reform’

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Following the Government’s announcement on 9 May of ‘Transforming Rehabilitation; a strategy for reform,’ the Probation Chiefs Association voiced serious concerns that the reforms pose risks to public protection through service fragmentation, and the dismantling of a currently high performing public probation service structure and effective local partnerships. Below is a roundup of media coverage which specifically featured the PCA:

Channel 4 News focused on how the reforms could dismantle established and successful Integrated Offender Management schemes through removing local Probation Trusts as core partners. The footage was filmed in Avon & Sommerset and featured Sally Lewis, PCA portfolio lead for IOM , the local police force, a current service user and the local Police & Crime Commissioner;
http://www.channel4.com/news/probation-proposals-prison-reoffending-chris-grayling

Sue Hall, PCA Chair also featured on the BBC 1 news piece covering the story. The PCA was also represented on the BBC website story ‘Payment by results plan for offender supervision under fire’; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22452239

On radio, the PCA spokespersons Sonia Crozier, Sarah Billiald, Savas Hadjipavlou, John Budd and Sue Hall voiced their concerns on the BBC Today Programme, Radio 5 Live Breakfast, local radio stations across the country, and on international radio.

The Evening Standard article ‘Probation Chiefs slam shakeup plan’ featured Sarah Billiald, PCA Communications lead;
http://www.standard.co.uk/panewsfeeds/probation-chiefs-slam-shakeup-plan-8608456.html

The PCA featured in the Guardian articles ‘Ministers accused of dismantling probation service’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/09/ministers-accused-dismantling-probation-service?CMP=twt_fd
And in ‘public service probation trusts to become public service mutuals’;
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/09/probation-trusts-public-service-mutuals

The Independent also featured the PCA in the article ‘Risking public safety; probation chiefs vent fury at payment on results private sector shakeup’ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/risking-public-safety-probation-chiefs-vent-fury-at-payments-on-results-private-sector-shakeup-8608859.html

For the PCA’s immediate comments concerning the Transforming Rehabilitation strategy, please see here..

For all media enquires, please call the PCA media phone on 020 3657 7844

 

PCA/PA comment on ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a strategy for reform’ (9 May)

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The Probation Association and the Probation Chiefs Association, together representing the leadership of Probation Trusts in England and Wales, said:

The Government has today (May 9, 2013) announced the dismantling of Probation Trusts within its proposals to reform the rehabilitation of offenders.

Judged by both the Government’s own performance rating system and the independent benchmarking provided by British Quality Foundation, Probation Trusts are high-performing, excellent organisations.

The Government is dismantling Trusts at the very moment that it needs them most and replacing them with an untested system of nationally-let Payment by Results contracts. The reformed system will deal with 267,000 offenders but only 31,000 will be managed by the national public probation service: 88% of the work with offenders will be put to the market and current probation providers prevented from bidding.

These proposals were first announced in January and while there have been some modifications as a result of consultation responses by us and other stakeholders, the substance remains unchanged. Therefore, the substance of our fundamental concerns remain unchanged:

  • The proposals to fragment offender supervision across different organisations and sectors – with low and medium risk outsourced to other providers and high risk retained by Public Sector Probation – will increase the complexity of information exchange and fracture the continuity of offender supervision, adding substantially to the risk of public protection failures
  • The government proposals rely on national contracts which do not fit with local approaches to reducing crime and will damage relationships and the effective joint delivery of services with the police and other local partners
  • The scale and pace of reforms – over the next 18 months a new national probation service will need creating together with a complex market competition across 21 regions with large elements of new services, all to be in place by Autumn 2014. We have serious concerns that this timescale is unrealistic and will compromise public safety.

We acknowledge that the Government has put some safeguards in place in the design of the new system in an attempt to manage dynamic risk. But the Government is still splitting offender management by risk – a move we are fundamentally opposed to as experienced providers of probation services. With no clear aspiration for the levels of Payment by Results in the new contracts, the rationale for excluding Probation Trusts from bidding remains unclear.”

The full PCA submission to the Transforming Rehabilitation consultation back in February 2013 can be found here..

For all media enquiries, please call the PCA media line on 020 3657 7944