Sunday, 24 August 2014

TR Week Twelve

Let's get on to the risk escalation model....the CRC officer thinks risk has risen. What do they do? Do they see the person more often, amend the order/licence...discuss ways to manage the situation...all of which that very same officer might have been expected to do in the past. NO. What do they do? They implement a process, nothing to do with the service user, nothing to do with the issues underlying the risks such as MARAC, talking to police, talking to social services talking to senior managers, hostel staff housing managers...doing the job, whatever might be useful to manage or even reduce the risks. 

NO there is a process to be implemented, a process of passing the buck to the NPS. What do the NPS do, anything up to 2 days after the situation that caused the concern has arisen? Exactly what should have happened in the first place, ie thinking about what needs to happen in order to manage the risks. Dangerous or what. Now please don't get me wrong, I am not inferring that CRC officers and their managers are complicit in passing the buck...they didn't create this ridiculous process. But this PROCESS is so fraught with delays, like transfers have always been, that it is designed to be dangerous. 


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Last week I covered late night duty at my office. One of the duty office visits was a man who was released on licence just over a year ago. His offence was one of the most serious and he has had to change his name to avoid any reprisals. He has been supervised at another office at a tier 3. He hasn't been seen regularly since last November, or at all since March - despite making repeated phone calls asking for appointments. 

His officer is on long term sick and the rest of his team have been too busy to cover it. He hasn't completed any offending behaviour work to date. My colleague saw another man with an almost identical story and had to break the news that he can't keep having his son for overnight stays until approved by social services - we don't know why this wasn't done previously as there are no contact sheets since January. 


Staff in our office are on their knees, people are going off sick. We just have to hope that there won't be anymore deaths due to TR, be it from offenders or one of our colleagues. RIP Sarah Kane.


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The example you highlight is replicated up & down the country. It is a very sad situation that colleagues are overwhelmed with work & working in absolute chaos whilst managers turn a blind eye.

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The sad news of a colleague taking her life is devastating and my heart goes out to her friends, family and colleagues left behind to manage their loss. That she took the time to reference the current destruction of a service she obviously believed in and felt passionately about in her self written eulogy is testimony to the impact of the TR agenda. If that doesn't reverberate around parliament I don't know what will.

Regarding the earlier comment about a workload management tool, the best tool is the line manager, the employer, their relationship and the organisational culture. Sadly we have employers willing to neglect their duties and employee care arrangements. TR has irretrievably destroyed working relationships.

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Death is the extreme result of somebody being unable to cope - what about everyone else at risk of stress-related strokes, heart attacks, mental health breakdowns? We desperately need a workload management tool NOW because these excessive workloads are as unsustainable. Ideally we also need to look at the staff ratios due to the glaringly obvious under/over staffing because why should I have a caseload of 90 purely because management have got their sums wrong and without a WLMT, how could I prove in a tribunal it was excessive?? RIP Sarah

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I would echo all you have said. Our loyalty to our organisation was a) to "probation" which no longer exists b) predicated on assumption that our organisation and its management would reciprocate. They fail in duty of care to staff, fail in moral duty to the service, fail fail fail. Fuck them.

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I think the comments clarify how many in probation are feeling:

1. feeling grief stricken
2. feeling bereft
3. feeling cheated
4. feeling lied to
5. feeling abused
6. feeling abandoned
7. feeling screwed over
8. feeling shafted
9. feeling scared
10.feeling feelings you never had before and are worried why...

I'm sorry that no-one was able to interrupt her musings & take Sarah Kane fishing. I'm sorry that Sarah Kane felt she had no other options. I understand how those close to Sarah Kane could be feeling. I have lost a very close friend & mentor & and have been very close to completing a similar choice for myself. Grayling's policies, arrogance and dishonesty were contributory factors to how I felt.

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How dare Andrew Selous patronise us and say he knows how challenging TR has been. He has no idea. If we weren't all gagged from speaking out and told we must be positive about the changes maybe Sarah Kane could have received some understanding and support. RIP Sarah Kane.

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I can recall meeting with our Chief who was completely unwilling to hear anyone say anything negative about TR. The chiefs attitude was if you don't like it 'then new probation is not for u, u need to leave'. Some people spent many years investing and building their career & profession - to be the told simply 'leave' is unacceptable.

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More work, less staff, failing IT systems, clients slipping through the cracks. Nice one Grayling!

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This weeks going to be interesting. More than half the office are on holiday. Now the team is massively reduced, holidays have a big impact.

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I work in a relatively small office and all in one day, I get notification that a Parole Board decision, made in June is to be set aside, as the prison had not notified the prisoners legal reps of the review and or the existence of a dossier, for them to read. Consequently, the process is to start again. 

Three PSR requests came in, all RIC, and for another office 10 miles away - they are understaffed due to the sheer number on long term sick; the clients are not RIC to our local nick, but 70 miles away, cos the local is full. Another colleague had to submit a nil to Court as the interpreter did not attend as requested and no explanation was received from them or the company. (Crapita). 


Everyone lost their shortcuts, again, as the system has been tinkered with over the weekend and most of us had difficulty logging on and just before she left tonight, a colleague lost an entire FDR, and it could not be retrieved. It takes twice as long to make an entry in Delerious, since the 'migration' a few weeks ago, simple information even the most IT illiterate could reasonably expect, i.e. that the computer programme you just logged into actually recognises you and doesn't have to be notified, who your are, where you work etc every time. It is completely mystifying - what the F*ck are they up to in the corridors of power? 


While I am at it - I have to say, all these positive statements from MoJ, Minister of Prisons, and Chief's, make me want to leave this job; the job that has been such a huge part of my adult life, and has helped shape and define who I am, by the time of the share sale I won't know who the F*ck I am.

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Different tack - I've cancelled my annual leave because we just ain't got the staff. If I go off as I had planned there wouldn't be any PO in the building for 8 working days. Being the only one not going overseas, I silently made different plans. No-one at the office knows, but I ain't too popular at home this week. Hey ho, it'll pay dividends at a later date - won't it???

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I see that the statement from Selous is very similar to every chief blog we've seen in the last few months...must have gotten a template during their jolly's to London! Lets face it they all repeat the same rubbish, maybe the implants have started, of course they have...the 'dark lord' has taken control of their minuscule brains, the Minister 'Davros' is controlling from his hidden room in Whitehall as he counts the gold bars piling up from his rich international backers, DESTROY, DESTROY, DESTROY!!!

Shamefully if is us who have worked hard to build a career in public service (and i mean SERVICE as we worked for the public good not profit) who are being DESTROYED. Shame on those that push people to such a low ebb and don't give a damn!

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Ian Lawrence tweeted yesterday that TR was 'on the wire'. I do not know what that means but suspect nerves are showing. Maybe the bids really are as bad as we thought?

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I hope he is right as I am on my knees with this TR shit. Had a horrible week, it still doesn't seem to get better or settle, everyone's stressed out beyond words. Someone needs to start saying things like we've tried it and its not working, instead of the drivel they keep spouting that its all going smoothly nonsense, because its not. It didn't need fixing before TR but it does now.

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Just in case anyone is interested, the systems are still fucked, staff at rock bottom in terms of energy and morale, and clients floundering all over the place, as they don't understand what is going on, and we are not in a position to help them understand. It is indefensible to treat a workforce and the public in such a dismissive and disrespectful way, but hey, everything is fine in Graylingland!
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OASys is on a 2 minute delay here. I type a paragraph and have to eagerly await for it to appear on my screen! It's so frustrating.
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If we do a PSR & assess client is high risk, why do we have to do an RSR & CAS form as they will automatically go to NPS? Waste of time!
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Boss has already asked if I would be interested in using some of my time off, doing overtime. The NPS is a sinking ship! Not enough staff.
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I'm so 'Gate-happy' I'll be pretty devastated if I don't get VR. I'm avoiding courses, meetings and anything work-wise that requires any commitment where humanly possible and my boss cannot have missed the lack of drive that people now currently demonstrate. Who wants to play a part in developing systems and new ways of working when the shifting sands make each day a new miserable landscape? I'd rather leave and have control of my own mental health back. Over the last 20 years, I can't remember a time when some muppet, probably with 'change is the only constant' pinned on their wall, hasn't been instigating change for its own sake and sucking the life out of people who thought they were there to nurture POSITIVE change in individuals and society. Enough's enough.

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I have gone from working 60+ hours a week to doing my contracted hours and am not alone in this. Have also noticed how empty the office is where I work too. Because we cover such a large geographical area, more and more time is being spent travelling and double the meetings now there needs to be an NPS and a CRC rep at the same meeting. 

I didn't go to work the other day because I just couldn't face it. I didn't ring in sick and no one noticed I was missing. Would apply for another job outside of probation but so fed up that I can't be bothered. Chris Grayling does not know what irreversible damage he has done to the probation service.


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On a daily basis I cannot decide to be angry or just sad. The phrase "staff goodwill" has been bandied about so much, and it just doesn't do justice to the commitment and dedication that has been binned in the TR shambles. The WASTE the bloody WASTE this has generated. If I was a bidder I would right now be writing off £milliions from the asset register. There is a particularly devastating horror of being a (decent) middle manager in all this; your job is to make TR "roll out" and tick the boxes for people you hate, and who have betrayed you, and your instinct is to hang in there and try to minimise the damage on your team. Devil and deep blue sea.

14 comments:

  1. Last week I attempted to apply for Nps post. When I logged onto website it said I had no application, despite receiving an email that I had not completed my application. No-one could help me in probation and I gave up phoning the 0845 nombre. I've now missed the deadline. Staff in crc are on their knees and then expected to complete a full application process to do a job they already did prior to June 1st. Surely up to share sale we should be able to move to the NPS, that was thé impression we were given prior to the sift. Nps staff did not apply. Anyway I left the service emotionally weeks ago. Not in terms of working with service users. Shame on those making money out of our misery by temping and sessional work. They are the ones not interested in the people we work with only their own greed.

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    1. I had the same experience, gave up in the end. If they are so short staffed in the NPS why are they making it impossible for staff to apply. Secondly, we should not have to apply for our jobs back they should be giving us an automatic choice to go back. ARSEHOLES SHOULDN'T HAVE SHAFTED US IN THE FIRST PLACE.

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  2. My Director told me that the NPS were hiring 100 motivated Probation Officers!!

    Great I thought, that should bring the total up to 101.
    :)

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    1. How on earth have you managed to retain one motivated staff member???

      Even my friend on maternity leave is dreading coming back....there are already 3 PSR's waiting for Tuesday...I kid you not. She does not even know how to work Delius!!!!

      I have a feeling that baby #2 will not be long away!!!!!

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  3. If they did it down our way, it'd bring the total up to 100. (Thenk yew, I'm here all week....)

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  4. http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Probation-blunder-sees-thug-let/story-22809073-detail/story.html

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    1. A thug who racially abused police after being caught taking drugs has been let off his punishment – as the probation service forgot about him.

      Anthony Hogg, 27, was spared jail when he appeared in court last year, despite already being on a suspended sentence at the time for drunken violence.

      Police caught him snorting cocaine in a nightclub toilet and he hurled a volley of racist comments at them.

      The drug-crazed yob also threatened to murder them and 'eat their eyeballs'.

      A judge told Hogg: "This is almost certainly your last chance" as he imposed a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work.

      But the probation office failed to tell Hogg when to turn up for the community service until last month – by which time the order was almost over.

      And a judge sitting at Swindon Crown Court said Hogg, a water company worker, would not have to do the hours as the blunder was not his fault.

      Recorder Robert Pawson said: "There has been a complete failure to do these hours but that is not the fault of Mr Hogg.

      "He has shown an excellent level of compliance and enforcing these hours would be detrimental."

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  5. Gandi's footsteps24 August 2014 14:28

    Perhaps its time that we the grassroots took a stand...literally-the next time we have a meeting with one of the many quisling CEOs at a given time we stand and quiety depart- a silent but dignified response to a lond and undignified slaughter of a much loved service

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  6. My mate down the pub told me that there is a CRC office in London where all the staff are on three month contracts; no stress and no commitment and they are off a soon as the kitchen starts to warm up. I'm ready to walk, only a few years to go why should I take all this shite? Like most people I joined the service to help individuals and their communities, now that the market and the profit motive is or raison d'etre I'd be a bloody mug to stay.

    papa

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  7. TR has been a HUGE positive for me. It fast forwarded the erosion of Probation to the point where it is unequivocally not what I signed up for and dedicated to. So an uneasy queasy anxiety is now a straightforward decision.

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  8. Fortunately the Probation Service will survive regardless. There are many highly enlightened individuals who are perfectly fine with whats occuring. The only thing that would effect them is a cut in pay.

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  9. do not feed the trolls

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  10. Lol credit to your "profession".

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  11. I think the comments clarify how many in probation are feeling:

    1. feeling grief stricken
    2. feeling bereft
    3. feeling cheated
    4. feeling lied to
    5. feeling abused
    6. feeling abandoned
    7. feeling screwed over
    8. feeling shafted
    9. feeling scared
    10.feeling feelings you never had before and are worried why...

    Bless them, my heart bleeds for them. Imagine how I felt when I was mentally unwell and under the control of a complete monkey who wouldn't understand the words 'risk' or 'rehabilitation' if it jumped up and bit her. When I was recalled I was given an oral hearing. Me and my solicitor pleaded with the judge to leave me in jail for 21 months; the remainder of my licence. This wasn't bad behavior or rebellion, it was to protect me and ensure my drug and crime free future. Apparently now they have stopped people doing this and you cant leave jail with less than 12 months licence. This is a tragedy as now inmates cannot defend and protect themselves against idiocy and bureaucratic madness. I am drug free and therefore crime free but I had to leave jail with no probation, I kid you not. Probation in my experience are a very expensive, self justifying entity who think a lot of themselves. I think that if it came to light just how many problems probation cause society and how much money it takes to cause those problems, I think people would be quite shocked...

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