News that HMP Birmingham is to revert back into state control will come as no surprise given the events that have found their way into the national spotlight over the last few months. Urgent notification for HMP Birmingham
Today’s announcement from Rory Stewart has sparked much social media activity as people ask the obvious questions about the woeful performance of G4S and why, in spite of this latest calamity befalling the company and myriad failures of other private providers in the Justice system, this Government continue to have faith in the so called benefits of ‘Marketisation’.
In terms of the Probation sell off plans (version 2), it’s become very clear that the proposal to create a 10 Region structure across England and Wales has nothing to do with the creation of a fresh start following the termination of the 21 CRC contracts at the end of 2020. Rather, it has everything to do with finding a way to induce the current owners and a few others to make this look like a new competition.
While this Government have claimed that the latest proposals for Probation are a sign that they have listened to the criticism heaped upon them by the Justice Select Committee and HMI Probation, the reality is that they are playing down the clock for time. It will be easy to waive away any failings between now and the end of the contracts by claiming that it does not really matter because a new dawn beckons, or to use that old cliché, one that will embrace the learning points of the mistakes of the past.
It’s a con-trick of the highest order, and anyone who thinks this is scaremongering needs to explain why the likes of G4S and others with their lamentable delivery record in the Justice Sector were invited to the market engagement events for Probation that I wrote about a couple of weeks back.
We will be continuing our campaigning work over the upcoming TUC and Party Conference season to try and maximise our opportunities to spell out the dangers to politicians and the media of another headlong slide towards another Probation ‘giveaway’. We will also be engaging with the Labour Party Round Table consultation and submitting our response to the ‘Strengthening Probation, Building Confidence’ proposals.
Given what our members have gone through these past 5 years, I doubt if they would equate the prospect of the potential involvement of G4S as enhancing these objectives.
We advised members last week that Napo has entered a formal dispute with HMPPS over the problems arising over ViSOR.
Here is the formal letter that went across we will keep you posted when we receive any sort of response
More news as it become available.
I told you in my blog last week that HMPPS has agreed to provide one day’s facility time for members from each NPS Division to attend The Napo Annual Conference on Friday 5th October and that I immediately wrote to CRCs, PBNI and Cafcass, asking them to consider the possibility of mirroring this arrangement. I am pleased to be able to report that we have already received a positive response from Working Links where, Wales CRC Probation Director, Dawn Blower, has said that the CRC will “endeavour to support time off for attendance on Friday 5th October”. Staff should request time off from their normal duties via their line manager. Sodexo has, also, offered to facilitate attendance in their six CRCs. National Official, Ranjit Singh, will be getting in touch with the relevant branches to discuss how to progress this later this month.