Our comms team are in the process of carefully analysing this week’s oral evidence session of the Committee for Public Accounts (PAC). Here the cross-party committee gave Michael Spurr and MoJ Permanent Secretary Richard Heaton a torrid time as they called them to account following the report from the National Audit Office into the funding arrangements for the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies on the back of the £27m ‘bail out’ this year and the further £277m guarantee for the duration of the contracts.
Unfortunately the announcement below means I have to cut this posting short but I intend to publish a PAC ‘blog special’ early next week once I have also had a chance to view the proceedings. Suffice to say that some of the responses to the searching questions from the PAC range somewhere between robust, unbelievable and embarrassing but you can see for yourself here.
Burnley Probation Office closed due to Asbestos on Premises
I have just heard from Sonia Crozier that following an inspection by the MoJ, a decision has been made to immediately close the NPS Burnley Probation Office due to the presence of Asbestos on the premises.
I have advised the Napo Branch of this news and to offer such support as is necessary to members who will quite understandably be very concerned about this development.
I understand that urgent arrangements will be made to arrange health checks for staff and that contingency plans will be put in place to cover service provision going forward while a search for alternative accommodation commences.
It would be appreciated if any Napo members who have immediate issues that they feel should be addressed would contact their local Branch Rep who will if necessary liaise with Napo HQ.
Lies damn lies or actually just the wrong set of statistics?
It’s not been the best of weeks for the MoJ Mandarins what with the PAC grilling, HMP Nottingham in special measures and, unless I have got it wrong, a set of statistics on reoffending figures that look to be well out of date.
The publication timetable, suggests that we should have been seeing the interim reoffending figures for the measured cohort Jan17 to Mar17 and the one year reoffending figures for the measured cohort between the periods of Jan 16 to Mar16. Those published on Wednesday appear to cover the period for 2015.
Confusion reigns, but why should we be surprised?
SSCL back in the frame again
Just after being assured that the Shared Services division (who are responsible for ensuring that people actually receive the payments they are entitled to) we see evidence that despite the litany of Kafkaesque blunders that were exposed last summer, there are still systemic problems around their inability to determine the difference between contractual provisions and their capacity to make up rules and change contracts without consultation in ways that cannot be correct.
Dean Rogers has had cause to raise a number of issues yet again with SSCL high command who ought really to look very hard at themselves in light of previous failures and the way they have let down their hard working staff who are desperately trying to operate a clearly flawed system.
The latest farce is around the interpretation that sick pay entitlements for NPS staff are related solely to their length of service as civil servants. This is absolute nonsense and as far as we are concerned is in direct contravention of the provisions of the National Transfer Agreement and its protections for those staff who transferred into the NPS under its terms.
More news on the response from Pay and Reward will follow once it is available. Impacted members should meanwhile challenge the interpretation and retain all correspondence and exchanges and consult with their Branch rep who will if necessary liaise with Napo HQ.
More news soon