Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Friday, 27 September 2013


I would imagine that anybody reading here would by now be aware of changes being forced upon the probation service.  The underlying theme is payment byresults.  There is vociferous opposition to this initiative much of it coming not unnaturally from those professionals  who will have to undertake their work where the motivation is profit as opposed to performance.  Protagonists would argue that performance leads to profit and one cannot be achieved without the other.  That might be a sound point of view except that the statistical bases on which PBR is and will be judged  are open to much scrutiny.   Indeed considering all the controversial decisions at the Ministry of Justice since 2010 this change to the concept of probation services must rank near the top of the list.

I have been sent a programme attached to a regular newsletter for an event on 3rd October being hosted by London Probation Trust in its new partnership with SERCO.   I will leave readers to form their own opinions but a thought does strike me that the glossier and more upbeat a programme looks the less substance is at its core.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps it is the consummate timing with Serco being referred to the SFO & the probation union Napo registering a trade dispute with the MoJ on the bad faith & chicanery that have marred ' negotiations ' around the sell of the PS, that made your post a wry judicial sideways glance at the slow death of a public service ... I have submitted 6 separate requests from Serco over the last 6 months for answers to these basic questions regarding LPT & Serco....perhaps some of your colleagues might have a discrete word with reps from S at the next PR love -in!
    ould you kindly clarify in light of your article above :

    1/ How many CP staff have Serco made redundant since transfer of contract from LPT ?
    2/ How many pooled Vans for those on UW to travel to work projects have been cut since the above transfer.
    3/ Have any risk assessments been undertaken on the possible impact of these new arrangements, ie with YO's from YOT's such that individuals who might reasonably fear some threats to their safety ie affiliated gang members are not required to perform UW in areas that might put them at risk of harm?
    3/ Have the breach rates since the transfer remained unaltered and who is the contracted party responsible for breach?
    4/ Who makes the decision on taking UW orders back to court?
    5/ How many singleton placements remain in LPT ? If these have been axed have needs assessment been undertaken. ie Vulnerable service users previously working in bespoke projects?
    6/ Does Serco have to comply with FOI requests? Or HRA compliance?
    7/ Who has overriding control on data entry if records need to be amended?
    8/ Do you recognise the figure of £40m cost savings flagged up on the Serco contract by the Justice Secretary in a recent one -off hearing before the JSC?
    9/ Do you recognise the remarks quoted by a Snr LPT Manager ' That the Serco contract must succeed at any cost'?
    10/ Does Serco consult the beneficiaries of UW programmes and publish the results of such community engagement surveys? Does Serco routinely record feedback from those sentenced to UW projects in LPT?