Mark Leftly: What crisis? Ploughing on with probation service reform
Westminster Outlook If you thought that teachers hated their erstwhile Education Secretary, you should talk to probation officers. Their anger at the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, makes even the most left-wing teachers look like apologists for Michael Gove.
Probation has been in chaos since the start of June, when the service was split ahead of 70 per cent of it being handed to private sector managers later this year.
Bidders for what are called Community Rehabilitation Companies include France’s Sodexo and the FTSE 250 group Interserve.
Napo, the probation union, has sent a bulletin to MPs with examples of how the changes to the service’s structure have left it at “crisis point”. These include a temporary officer leaving due to the working conditions, meaning that 21 people at high risk of harm, including sex offenders, are currently unallocated.
Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), said it was “inaccurate to paint a picture of ‘upheaval’” and “inaccurate to suggest that the transition has resulted in excessive workloads”.
“Inaccurate” is the MoJ’s buzzword for this issue. It was the reply I received from the press office when I asked for comment on the Napo parliamentary bulletins.
The ministry’s position is, then, that probation officers have simply got it wrong when they say case files have been lost, offenders not met, and that the stress of the changes has been unbearable.
An MoJ source told me this week that when Mr Grayling is “cornered, he comes back fighting” – only the language was a little more earthy. As a result, deny, deny, deny has become the mantra.
It reminds me of the 1984 Christmas special of Yes Minister, when wannabe PM Jim Hacker echoed Otto von Bismarck: “First rule of politics: never believe anything until it’s been officially denied.”
Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'
Undergraduates will be able to study beatboxing and performance poetry at one of Europe’s leading conservatoires for the first time, after the Guildhall School of Music and Drama revealed plans for a “groundbreaking” degree course.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
iJobs Money & Business
£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...
£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...
£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...