Tag Archives: probation

Gagging clauses: Chris Grayling silenced justice charities to stop them revealing what a fool he is

Grayling: What does a fool do to prevent his stupidity becoming public knowledge? He gags everybody in the know.

The Times‘ investigation into the Tory government’s use of non-disclosure agreements (gagging clauses) to prevent outside organisations from saying anything that would damage their reputation continues.

Today the focus is on current Transport Secretary Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling and the disastrous changes to the probation service that he demanded when he was in charge of Justice.

We all know that his ideas were stupid, short-sighted and dangerous because we have seen their result – but it seems we could have found this out much earlier, if he had not silenced every organisation that could have told us at the time.

Here‘s the report:

Chris Grayling’s changes to the probation service were deemed to be a failure, but charities dealing with the fallout were prevented from saying anything that would damage his reputation

After Chris Grayling oversaw a £3 billion overhaul of the probation system in 2015, his reforms were condemned as a failure.

Prison inspectors found that changes introduced when he was justice secretary resulted in criminals being released without anywhere to live and without staff assessing “significant risks” to their partners and children.

Dame Glenys Stacey, chief inspector of probation, said the overhaul meant there was “no real prospect” of preventing prisoners from returning to crime.

The findings prompted criticism from campaigners, politicians and probation staff. Some of the key charities working with former prisoners, however, have appeared to be unconcerned.

The rest is hidden by the paywall but you get the idea.

Labour’s Richard Burgon commented on Twitter…

That’s putting it mildly!

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Tories have thrown half a billion pounds away on their admittedly-failed probation privatisation

‘Failing’ Grayling: Charged with reforming the Probation Service in 2014, he ended up ruining it.

Conservatives really don’t understand the way money works in a modern economy, do they? All they can do is throw it at rich privateers and hope they can carry out public functions.

Well, as Chris Grayling’s pathetic privatisation of probation services has proved, they can’t.

This Site reported on the fiasco in January. I wrote:

If you take money to do a job and don’t actually do it, you’re in breach of contract.

Sure, and part of the disaster was caused by HMG. The idea was to give 21 companies £3.7 billion until 2022 to handle and help prisoners serving 12 months or more who are at low risk of self-harm.

But it seems people like Messrs Heaton and Spurr had overestimated the number of low risk ex-offenders leaving prison and underestimated the number of high risk ex-offenders who are still being helped by the publicly run probation service

It means the private companies were dealing with fewer people, so they’d get less money – £1.6 billion less. This put them in financial difficulty.

It also transpires that these companies were also complete and utter failures at the job – so bad, according to inspectors, that they may as well not exist.

So why has the Tory government agreed to spend £342 million keeping them in business and in-contract?

The state should be demanding its money back from these privateers. They’re in breach of contract.

Now, a mere six months later, the Tories are throwing another £170 million at the same companies – to buy itself out of its contracts.

That brings the total spent on keeping duff companies in business up to £500 million – half a billion pounds.

Yet Tories are happy to let other businesses go to the wall. Is it because those firms’ bosses don’t wear the Old School Tie, or don’t belong to the right familes – or what?

According to Sky News:

Agreements with 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to manage low-risk offenders will now end in 2020, two years earlier than planned.

CRCs were part of a major part-privatisation programme for England and Wales introduced in 2014 by former justice secretary Chris Grayling.

Under the reorganisation, the publicly run National Probation Service (NPS) dealt with the most high-risk offenders, while the supervision of low and medium-risk offenders was farmed out to privately run CRCs, who secured contracts worth almost £4bn over seven years.

Many of the CRCs were struggling to manage their caseloads with the resources available, with whistleblowers warning the public were being put increasingly at risk.

The reforms also came under attack last month by the House of Commons justice committee, who stated the probation service was in a “mess” after the reorganisation failed to meet its aims.

The current 21 CRCs will be slimmed down to 11 that are closely aligned with NPS regions. Ten will remain private, with the one in Wales merged with the NPS.

The £170m cost includes £110m the CRCs owe the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in fines for failing to meet performance targets.

They will be allowed to keep the cash to reinvest in services to keep them going for the last two years of their contracts.

The MoJ will also pay £22m in both years for “through the gate” services helping offenders immediately after they are released from prison.

Mr Gauke admitted the amount of work available for CRCs “has been lower than anticipated and that has had an impact in terms of their income and the services they are able to provide”.

That actually saved taxpayers £300m because the MoJ budgeted to pay firms £2.5bn by 2020 and had only paid out £2.2bn.

Mr Grayling has recently been dubbed “failing Grayling” by critics as he battles with major rail disruption in his current job as transport secretary.

That last line is included for its wild inaccuracy – This Site was calling him “failing” Grayling at least five years ago, as you can see by visiting this article.

Now, I was going to comment on this nightmare, but I find that Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has already said it all for me:

“This announcement is further evidence that the Conservatives’ decision to outsource whole swathes of probation to the private sector has created an unprecedented crisis in the system. This ideological experiment has been a costly failure, just as Labour warned it would be.

This decision to throw more good money after bad and the government’s re-commitment to a privately-run probation service shows that the Conservatives have run out of all ideas on how to fix their broken system. Delaying this announcement until parliament closed for the summer is a tacit admission by the Government that its probation policies can’t withstand the slightest scrutiny.

With a Labour government there will be no more bailouts for failing private probation companies. Labour is fully committed to returning the probation system to the public sector. The Tories should do likewise and create a probation system that prioritises keeping the public safe rather than boosting the profits of private companies.”

It will never happen under the Conservatives. Privatisation is their religion – and they don’t care how many people they harm while paying tribute to their false god.

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MPs are asking why probation privatisation cost billions and helped nobody

Richard Heaton, permanent secretary, Ministry of Justice [Image: Wikipedia].

What a waste of public money – that’s your money – by the fake ‘party of financial responsibility’.

Tories don’t understand money – possibly because their party is run by entitled fools who have so much money, they don’t know what to do with it.

The cluelessness bleeds into government, despite the fact that – in public service – the Tories should have the benefit of impartial advice.

But we see, here, that two of their advisors – Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, and Michael Spurr, chief executive of the Prison and Probation Service – are to appear before the Commons Public Accounts Committee to explain why they have allowed the Tories to spend nearly £2.5 billion letting private companies into the probation service – that cannot do the job.

Perhaps it’s different in Westminster, but in the United Kingdom This Writer inhabits, if you take money to do a job and don’t actually do it, you’re in breach of contract.

Sure, and part of the disaster was caused by HMG. The idea was to give 21 companies £3.7 billion until 2022 to handle and help prisoners serving 12 months or more who are at low risk of self-harm.

But it seems people like Messrs Heaton and Spurr had overestimated the number of low risk ex-offenders leaving prison and underestimated the number of high risk ex-offenders who are still being helped by the publicly run probation service

It means the private companies were dealing with fewer people, so they’d get less money – £1.6 billion less. This put them in financial difficulty.

It also transpires that these companies were also complete and utter failures at the job – so bad, according to inspectors, that they may as well not exist.

So why has the Tory government agreed to spend £342 million keeping them in business and in-contract?

The state should be demanding its money back from these privateers. They’re in breach of contract.

It should seem bizarre to anyone that the government is throwing good money after bad in this way.

All should become clear when it is revealed that the government minister behind this disaster – Secretary of State for Justice at the time the contracts were awarded – was walking disaster Chris Grayling.

On Wednesday two very highly paid civil servants – £185,000 a year Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice and £190,000 a year Michael Spurr, Chief Executive, HM Prison and Probation Service – will appear before MPs to explain their latest botch-up  – the privatisation failure of parts of the probation service.

I hope MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee will not only be briefed by the excellent National Audit Office report  and investigation into the failure of Community Rehabilitation Companies – the fancy name for profit making companies like Sodexo and Seetec.

They should also read the coruscating report by Dame Glenys Stacey HM Chief Inspector of Probation and Peter Clarke  HM Chief Inspector of Prisons last June on the performance of these companies and their failure to either help ex offenders go straight or protect the public from child abusers and  perpetrators of domestic violence.

Source: The Great £300m Probation Bail Out: You Pay, They Prey | David Hencke


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