Swindon AdvertiserProbation officers walk out over privatisation bid (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Probation officers walk out over privatisation bid

Swindon Advertiser: Probation officers against the privatisation of parts of the service. From left, Albertine Davies of the National Association of Probation Officers, Marie West, Sharon Drew, Michelle James, Andy O’Pray, and Kirsten Fenton Probation officers against the privatisation of parts of the service. From left, Albertine Davies of the National Association of Probation Officers, Marie West, Sharon Drew, Michelle James, Andy O’Pray, and Kirsten Fenton

PROBATION workers and solicitors walked out yesterday in protest at what they say are disastrous plans to reform the probation service.

The Ministry of Justice is planning to split the current service and outsource about 70 per cent of it to the private sector.

Napo, the probation service union, claims lives are being put at risk and opposes the ’morally wrong’ changes being proposed.

The strike action began yesterday at midday and will last until midnight tonight with the union hoping to force the government to change their mind on the decision.

Today there are protests taking place by union members all over the country with Swindon members travelling to Cardiff. Among them is Albertine Davies who says it is a matter of principle, not personal gain, that is spurring her to take action.

She said: “As far as we are concerned this is a matter of life and death. As it stands we have one service which deals with everyone. With repeat offenders we are able to build up an understanding of them so if they go through a bad way we can offer help.

“If these changes go through then the person will have to go through a whole new process at a time when they need stability the most. People often assume that we are taking action over pay or jobs but that is not the case.

“There are no compulsory redundancies so I am secure on the issue. We are fighting for what is right.”

According to Napo, the changes going through mean any company is in a position to bid for the parts of the service being outsourced. They will earn money on a performance related system, something else which has seriously concerned the union.

Albertine said: “There is a real risk that they will only work with the easiest cases as there will be no money to make from the other cases. This could well leave some of the most vulnerable cases at risk of not getting any help.

“It is wrong that companies should be making money out of other people’s misery and crime.

“The government argument is that the system needs reforming but crime is falling even though these are the tough economic times when you would expect crime to be rising.

“This is an ideological move and it needs to be stopped.”

Comments (7)

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8:57am Tue 1 Apr 14

ChannelX says...

Not this AGAIN.

The probation service can't possibly be any worse than it currently is, and as almost all of the staff in the 'new' system will be the same ones as work in it at the moment, there's unlikely to be any change - for better or worse.

Pointless the union harping on about 'lives being put at risk' (which isn't true in this case) when lives genuinely - and demonstrably - are not only put at risk but actually ended by the misguided, ill-advised decisions made by the judiciary, Parole Board and probation service.

Stop running the entire Criminal Justice System solely for the benefit of the criminals and the public, who are forced to fund this nonsense, *might* take you a little more seriously.
Not this AGAIN. The probation service can't possibly be any worse than it currently is, and as almost all of the staff in the 'new' system will be the same ones as work in it at the moment, there's unlikely to be any change - for better or worse. Pointless the union harping on about 'lives being put at risk' (which isn't true in this case) when lives genuinely - and demonstrably - are not only put at risk but actually ended by the misguided, ill-advised decisions made by the judiciary, Parole Board and probation service. Stop running the entire Criminal Justice System solely for the benefit of the criminals and the public, who are forced to fund this nonsense, *might* take you a little more seriously. ChannelX
  • Score: 6

10:41am Tue 1 Apr 14

trolley dolley says...

What a bunch.

They say “As far as we are concerned this is a matter of life and death".

No it isn't, it is just the same old tripe.

Easy money for an easy job.
What a bunch. They say “As far as we are concerned this is a matter of life and death". No it isn't, it is just the same old tripe. Easy money for an easy job. trolley dolley
  • Score: 7

10:47am Tue 1 Apr 14

Hmmmf says...

Ah yes, the Probation Service. Coming to visit offenders in a community centre near you.
http://goo.gl/oqnxqE
Ah yes, the Probation Service. Coming to visit offenders in a community centre near you. http://goo.gl/oqnxqE Hmmmf
  • Score: 0

12:05pm Tue 1 Apr 14

express_a_view says...

The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include:

- The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View.
- The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants..
- The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission.
- G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died.
- Pets being registered as court interpreters.
- Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed.
- Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance.
- A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below.
- A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off.
- The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects.

Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better.
The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include: - The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View. - The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants.. - The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission. - G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died. - Pets being registered as court interpreters. - Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed. - Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance. - A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below. - A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off. - The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects. Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better. express_a_view
  • Score: -6

12:41pm Tue 1 Apr 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

express_a_view wrote:
The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include:

- The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View.
- The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants..
- The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission.
- G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died.
- Pets being registered as court interpreters.
- Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed.
- Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance.
- A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below.
- A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off.
- The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects.

Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better.
At least if you outsource the running of public services it is easier to change providers if they are not performing (assuming of course the contracts were ever done correctly!). With a solely state run service there is no competition and so therefore no incentive to provide a better and value for money service.
[quote][p][bold]express_a_view[/bold] wrote: The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include: - The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View. - The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants.. - The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission. - G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died. - Pets being registered as court interpreters. - Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed. - Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance. - A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below. - A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off. - The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects. Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better.[/p][/quote]At least if you outsource the running of public services it is easier to change providers if they are not performing (assuming of course the contracts were ever done correctly!). With a solely state run service there is no competition and so therefore no incentive to provide a better and value for money service. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 5

1:56pm Tue 1 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

express_a_view wrote:
The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include:

- The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View.
- The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants..
- The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission.
- G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died.
- Pets being registered as court interpreters.
- Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed.
- Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance.
- A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below.
- A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off.
- The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects.

Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better.
I agree with your final comments. Having worked in a public sector/private sector "partnership" it was a complete shambles on both sides. The public sector with its complacent out of date working practices and all the dead wood staff and managers who have no idea how to run a business against the uncaring private partner who would do just enough to ensure their bonuses were paid and had no interest in actually providing any sort of decent service.

I do believe that all of the Justice system should be public sector but run in a way that is accountable to both those in their care and the public who pay their wages too. Not expecting that to happen as those in charge are just as useless as the front line staff and why it is in such a mess.
[quote][p][bold]express_a_view[/bold] wrote: The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include: - The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View. - The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants.. - The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission. - G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died. - Pets being registered as court interpreters. - Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed. - Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance. - A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below. - A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off. - The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects. Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better.[/p][/quote]I agree with your final comments. Having worked in a public sector/private sector "partnership" it was a complete shambles on both sides. The public sector with its complacent out of date working practices and all the dead wood staff and managers who have no idea how to run a business against the uncaring private partner who would do just enough to ensure their bonuses were paid and had no interest in actually providing any sort of decent service. I do believe that all of the Justice system should be public sector but run in a way that is accountable to both those in their care and the public who pay their wages too. Not expecting that to happen as those in charge are just as useless as the front line staff and why it is in such a mess. house on the hill
  • Score: 1

2:35pm Tue 1 Apr 14

ChannelX says...

express_a_view wrote:
The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include:

- The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View.
- The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants..
- The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission.
- G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died.
- Pets being registered as court interpreters.
- Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed.
- Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance.
- A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below.
- A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off.
- The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects.

Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better.
Shall we list all of the failings of public sector organisations?

A list of catastrophic mistakes by the NHS, alone, would fill a couple of hard disks' worth of space.

It will be THE SAME people doing THE SAME job in the case of these probation staff - the only difference might be that there will now be some level of accountability.

When it comes down to it, the thing all public sector workers and their unions are worried about is having their performance measured and graded. I wonder why.
[quote][p][bold]express_a_view[/bold] wrote: The public service bashers are off again. Failing of course to acknowledge the failings of many public sector to private sector outsourcings. Outsourcings that can make things worse rather than better. These include: - The outsourced care homes that prompted such disasters as Winterbourne View. - The G4S Olympic security debacle that had to be rescued by volunteers and public servants.. - The privatisation of the Royal Mail sold in such a way that it did not offer value for money to the taxpayer according to the Audit Commission. - G4S charging the state for tagging prisoners who have died. - Pets being registered as court interpreters. - Atos's inability to assess properly whether disabled people are fit to work with the result they are jumping out of the contract arguably before they are pushed. - Free schools and academy chains beng increasingly scrutinsed for lack of fiscal probity and effective governance. - A privatised rail network with fares above those found in much of Europe and investment well below. - A privatised energy cartel that sees consumers increasingly ripped off. - The Chief Inspector of Schools reportedly announcing that he wants to restore publicly funded HMI and reduce outsourced inspections because he feels their standards are not as he expects. Looking at the above I can totally comprehend why probation staff are wary. I never approved of the left's whole sale drive to nationalise almost everything. Nor can I feel comfortable with the right's current ideology that outsourcing and privatisation will automatically make things better.[/p][/quote]Shall we list all of the failings of public sector organisations? A list of catastrophic mistakes by the NHS, alone, would fill a couple of hard disks' worth of space. It will be THE SAME people doing THE SAME job in the case of these probation staff - the only difference might be that there will now be some level of accountability. When it comes down to it, the thing all public sector workers and their unions are worried about is having their performance measured and graded. I wonder why. ChannelX
  • Score: 1

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