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Last Essex Probation Leadership Forum works on close collaboration between two organisations

Posted: 1st June 2014 by Essex CRC.
Managers at the Final Leadership Forum
Managers at the Final Leadership Forum

The last Essex Probation Leadership Forum for managers – working on vital new systems.

Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) – the current position: As part of the TR process, Essex Probation has now separated into two entities: a Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and the National Probation Service (NPS).

In January 2012, there was a consultation process led by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, which looked at what was then called a ‘Rehabilitation Revolution’ – with the intention of competing part of the Probation Service and using a Payment by Results mechanism to drive performance.

That process evolved into what we now know as Transforming Rehabilitation (TR), with a final consultation process taking place in January 2013.

Essex Probation: at the heart of the consultation process

During the consultation process, Essex Probation raised many issues and gave comment, and was particularly keen to emphasise the need for Essex to be a single Competition Package Area (CPA).

Becoming a Mutual enables us to bid for our work

In 2013, Essex staff also decided to form a Mutual, so we could bid for work when it was competed. We were later successful in securing funding from the Cabinet Office in order to do this. That Mutual is now called Aspire to Change (A2C), and is now involved in the bidding process against various organisations to run the Essex CRC.

Many staff have, in their own time, contributed to that work and will continue to do so as the TR process moves forward.

CRC and NPS managers planning together

CRC and NPS managers planning together

From June 1st:

  • The Community Rehabilitation Company will be Public Sector owned, in the first instance. There will be 21 CRCs, as the TR process rolls forward. Many counties’ Trusts are in the process of merging. Essex remains alone as a Single Competition Package Area.
  • From 1 June 2014, CRC Essex will deliver low and medium risk-of-harm work, as well as the full range of interventions that we currently deliver.
  • The new CRC structure will enable us to deliver our work with a focus on local innovations and offer more freedoms to implement them.
  • The National Probation Service will be a national organisation led by Director Colin Allars. In Essex, two of Essex Probation’s former Directors who will lead the NPS locally. Other Directors will be working within the CRC led by Mary Archer, OBE, Essex Probation’s former Chief Executive.
  • It is worth noting that although we have talked for some years about a National Probation Service, 1st June will launch the first legally constituted national probation organisation and national employer.

Which staff will go where?

Staff will be working in their newly-assigned positions from June 1st. Office addresses for both organisations remain the same for the being. Six Delivery Units provide accommodation for both organisations.

Making sure that joint working works

Of great importance will be the operational interface between the CRC and the NPS in four main areas:

  1. Allocation in court of reports and appointments
  2. Risk escalation – when risk of harm becomes high, CRC cases will be transferred to the NPS
  3. Breach processes when a return to court is required
  4. Recall to prison

Close working between the two organisations will be vital.


Working on vital new systemsWhat preparations have we been making?

Probation is used to change. We are good at it. TR is the biggest change ever, and has involved us all in make major adjustments.

We have been working on our IT systems, on changing our office layouts, on informing our service users, on reallocating them for oversight by the correct organisation, on planning new processes to ensure a smooth transition and continuing efficiency, on HR issues concerning all probation staff, on communicating changes to our partners, colleagues in the Criminal Justice System and elsewhere, and above all working on every one of our systems and creating new protocols to make sure they will support the big changes ahead.

We have been using the months of April and May as our test-bed, to make sure we are as ready as possible for the switch-over on June 1st. There will still be work to do in the future.

Look here on our website for further updates. The site is now the CRC website. Other information about the National Probation Service will be available from the Justice site at:  www.justice.gov.uk