Articles by Jim Brown
A grumpy, disillusioned, CQSW trained, generic, main grade probation officer based in a small English town.
Act in haste: repent at leisure
“It strikes me that in order to get out of this omnishambles that Transforming Rehabilitation is creating, there really does need to be a Plan B. We all know what it is.” Jim Brown looks at the way out of the omnishambles that is the outsourcing of probation.
The morning after
“The House of Commons debate turned out better than I expected, …with some really very good speeches from the opposition benches. By contrast those by Chris Grayling and the government were lacking conviction…” Jim Brown updates us on the political debate on outsourcing of probation.
Danger of death
“It’s not that often that probation hits the front pages, and when it does it’s usually… get[ting] the blame for not having prevented a horrible murder.” In light of a recent Guardian headline, Jim Brown updates us on the omnishambles that is the outsourcing of probation.
What about clients?
“There is absolutely no getting away from the fact that life for most of our clients has become considerably more difficult during this period of austerity. They are suffering the triple whammy of benefit cuts, rising prices for food and utilities and a stagnating employment market.” Jim Brown looks at the impact of austerity on ex-offenders.
Doing the Ministry’s bidding
“The Ministry of Justice is absolutely desperate to give its TR omnishambles planned for probation some semblance of credibility by making sure that not all the ‘prime’ contracts are awarded to the questionable big boys…” Jim Brown looks at how charities and mutuals are trying to pick up probation contracts.
Omnishambles on track!
“As Napo delegates head off to the Welsh seaside resort of Llandudno for their AGM, there’s news that Chris Grayling’s TR omnishambles is progressing well on all fronts.” Jim Brown updates us on the progress of the ‘omnishambles’ outsourcing of the probation service.
“…the Napo Lobby at Parliament yesterday went well with over 270 members packed into two committee rooms along with 40 MP’s and Peers. It would seem there’s still some scope for the parliamentary process to cause trouble for the minister Chris Grayling in the coming weeks.” Jim Brown provides an update on the outsourcing of probation.
“We know without any shadow of a doubt that there is absolutely no evidence or professional argument that can be advanced to support this Transforming Rehabilitation omnishambles that is being imposed upon us.” Jim Brown looks at what the lessons of the Work Programme could mean for the outsourcing of probation.
“It’s extremely sad that things have ended up like this for us, but there doesn’t seem to be any alternative…” On the eve of the World Congress of Probation, Jim Brown explains why industrial action may be necessary to resist the Government’s ill-thought-out plans for the probation service.
“Any organisation thinking of bidding for probation work ought to be fully aware that despite all the rhetoric and spin, every Government policy from now till the next General Election will be designed to make the task of Transforming Rehabilitation as difficult as possible…” Jim Brown explains why the probation reforms won’t work.
“It’s becoming ever more clear …that there simply aren’t going to be enough bidders for the probation contracts being advertised this week, and as a result peace is breaking out between the minister and naughty Serco and G4S.” Jim Brown wonders how the MOJ will outsource probation service without the involvement of the ‘big boys’.
“It’s becoming ever more clear that thanks to the unremitting efforts of ministers Chris Grayling and Jeremy Wright in driving forward the Transforming Rehabilitation omnishambles, normal probation services are breaking down.” Jim Brown considers the impact of the Coalition’s plan for outsourcing probation on existing services.
“You can tell it’s the party political season because suddenly all hyper-ambitious politicians find lots of reasons to grab the media limelight. So it is that Chris Grayling seems to be relentlessly popping up saying all sorts of attention-grabbing crap…” Jim Brown considers who is the real Chris Grayling.
“Meanwhile the Government’s plans to try and sweeten the [Transforming Rehabilitation] pill by encouraging the formation of cuddly-sounding ‘mutuals’ appears to have suffered a few setbacks…” Jim Brown provides a further update on the ongoing omnishambles of probation reform.
“In less than 13 years we’ve been nationalised, bureaucratised, regionalised, marginalised, de-nationalised, localised, and shortly to be split in two, abolished, part-privatised and nationalised for the second time. It’s crazy…!” With the outsourcing of probation motoring on, Jim Brown reminds us that we’ve been here before.
“Probation is a vitally important public service with a proud history, exemplary performance and unparalleled integrity. Probation must have a voice and we are entitled to look to the leadership to provide it.” Jim Brown responds to a defence of probation’s leadership.
“The future may look bleak for probation and probation staff, but not half as bleak as it does for many of our clients, and we’d do well to remember that.” Jim Brown is concerned about the impact on clients from outsourcing of probation services and welfare reform.
“If the present political structure is simply not able, or unwilling, to adequately reflect the views of the electorate, then surely there’s got to be another way.” Jim Brown braces himself for 18 months of pre-election shenanigans from the main political parties and wonders whether we can’t do better than this - with a little help from an 80s sci-fi cult classic.
August has arrived and the Transforming Rehabilitation omnishambles rolls on with full cooperation from Probation Trust boards and management citing ‘contractual’ obligations that effectively prevent any other course of action. How they must be laughing down in London at the ease with which they’ve all fallen in to line and are following orders. As one […]
I’ve been reading some exchanges over on the Napo forum website, and thank goodness there’s been some sign of life just recently. What particularly struck me was a response to a long and detailed post by ‘SaveProbation’ basically trying to rally the troops and get colleagues to wise up to the very real threat to our profession […]