The All Party Justice Committee became the latest group on March 25th to express concern at the pace of the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda.
MPs demanded clarification of the exact date of the take over of the new providers of supervision. Was it Autumn 2014 or spring 2015?
They also asked whether or not the unions had signed off a post sale package and by implication the sale itself. The unions remain as ever 100% opposed to the sale.
Problems continue to emerge most days with the timetable. The faster the pace the more likely the chance of errors. Over the last few days staff have learnt
- MAPPA eligible's were not included in the caseload calculation ( and there are about 10,000 in that group)
- Glitches occurred in staff accessing the Risk of Serious Recidivism tool
- The main IT system is not suitable for AT users
- Report writing will take longer
- There are insufficient staff to maintain the flow of courts to the courts anyway.
The full implications for TR of Buddi pulling out of the 3300 million tagging contract for hardware are becoming apparent:
a) the timetable for the huge increase in tagging is behind what was hoped
b) it is another example of a contract being let in an over hasty way
c) bidders may start to think that what they believe they are after and what they will get are rather different.
The Coalition had hoped to have the new traditional tag plus GPS tracking in place by mid 2015 with an increase from the current numbers tagged on a given day rising fro 26,000 now to at least 75,000 by 2020.
Over 20 parliamentary Questions drafted on behalf of Napo by Harry Fletcher on court chaos and tagging have been tabled via Justice Union MPs. At least 15 members of Parliament have written to the MOJ about different aspects of TRs progress. Many more will follow.
he Future The strategy for slowing and defeating TR remains unchanged. It is a combination of Parliamentary action, legal challenges and industrial action.
Legal opinion is needed and sought over a number of issues ; the validity of using the Offender Management Act 2007 to avoid legislation, risk registers, the timetable and risk to the public, consultation with staff over transfer and allocation and the test of recklessness.
In Parliament questions both written and oral will continue, debates will be requested, points of order will be raised, EDMs will be placed and lobbying must continue. During the next 6 months all Probation staff should be sending to a central point details of their observations and experiences. They must then be published both in Parliament and the media.