UNISON Submission to Justice Select Committee

UNISON Response to TR Inquiry

National Audit Office (NAO) Report on CRC Bail Out

JTU 01-18

3rd January 2018

 National Audit Office (NAO) Report on CRC Bail Out

In August last year, UNISON, Napo and GMB/SCOOP wrote to the National Audit Office to draw attention to the lack of transparency in the MOJ’s multi-million pound bail out of the CRC contracts which had taken place at the end of July 2017.

As a result of the joint union letter, the NAO undertook a detailed investigation into the bail out. The NAO report of the findings of the investigation can be found here: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/investigation-into-changes-to-community-rehabilitation-company-contracts/

The report is detailed, but in summary reveals that:

  • CRCs are paid for the volume of rehabilitation activity which they provide, not the number of clients supervised
  • The MOJ claimed originally that it would transfer the commercial risk of future volumes of rehabilitation activity going down, as well as up, to the CRCs
  • The MOJ obtained parent company guarantees that financial protection would be provided for the taxpayer should the CRCs seriously underperform
  • The volume of rehabilitation activity actually went down, but the commercial risk attached to this was not transferred as promised to the CRCs, but was handed back to the taxpayer
  • The MOJ ended up paying the CRCs more in 2016/17 than was contractually required in order to keep them afloat
  • The CRCs under-estimated their fixed costs when bidding for the contracts, but the MOJ agreed that the taxpayer, not the private companies, should shoulder these costs as well
  • So far this has all cost the taxpayer an additional £342 million
  • By the end of June 2017, CRCs had, on average, met just 8 of the 24 targets set for them under their contracts. The worst performing CRC, met only 4 of its 24 targets.
  • Although it is entitled to fine the CRCs for poor performance, the MOJ has either waived, or allowed CRCs to ‘re-invest,  71% of the total of the fines which were due to the taxpayer
  • One of the options which the MOJ considered in respect of the poor performance of the CRCs was to terminate some, or all, of the CRC contracts, but decided instead to let the taxpayer take the strain of the failing contracts by amending the contract payment mechanisms to give the CRCs more money.

UNISON, Napo and GMB/SCOOP call upon the government to take the failing CRC contracts back into public ownership to protect the UK taxpayer from further expense in propping up unsustainable private companies.

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee is due to hold a session on the NAO Report on 17 January.

 

 

Ian Lawrence                         Ben Priestley                         George Georgiou

General Secretary                 National Officer                     National Officer

Napo                                       UNISON                                 GMB/SCOOP

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX JTU16-17—BELOW

JTU 16-17

Lord Michael Bichard KCB, Chairman

National Audit Office
157-197 Buckingham Palace Road
Victoria
London SW1W 9SP
9 August 2017

Dear Lord Bichard,

Transforming Rehabilitation: announcement of additional tax-payer spending

We are writing as the three recognised trade unions in the National Probation Service (NPS) and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). We wish to draw your Committee’s attention to our concerns about the recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Justice of new spending on the MOJ’s Community Rehabilitation Company contracts.

When you published your report into the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation Reforms in April 2016 you concluded by saying:

‘While NOMS’ oversight of CRCs is robust, significantly lower levels of business than the Ministry projected will affect some CRCs’ ability to deliver the level of innovation they proposed in their bids. Furthermore, the NPS is not yet operating as a truly national, sustainable service. Achieving value for money from the new probation system will require resolving these fundamental issues, and ensuring the right incentives for all participants in the system.’

You also indicated in the report that:

‘The Ministry put prudent protections in place to help mitigate the risks to the taxpayer and to critical services where providers seriously underperform or fail outright.’

Whatever promises the MOJ made to your Committee last year in relation to its ‘prudent protections’, on the last day of Parliament on 19 July, the Justice Secretary issued a low key statement to staff in the NPS and the CRCs to the effect that the government had bailed out the failing CRC contracts with an unspecified amount.

In his written ministerial statement of the same date, Sam Gyimah, the Prisons and Probation Minister, referred confusingly to ‘…additional investment…’ in the contracts, but cryptically placed a caveat over the issue by stating that this additional money will see ‘…projected payments to CRCs still being no higher than originally budgeted for at the time of the reforms…’ Given the implications for the public purse of these apparently contradictory statements and the seeming lack of scrutiny that has occurred we consider the matter should be investigated by your committee the NAO in order to ensure taxpayers’ money has been well used and parliament has not been circumvented.

We are not alone in our criticism of the timing of these two announcements, nor  are we alone in extolling the view that the government is so ideologically committed to probation privatisation that it will do all it can to hide that it has failed at the expense of the taxpayer.

We are also concerned as to why the  Secretary of State has not yet answered why he had not published the outcome of his department’s Probation System Review which was initiated, at least in part, to ‘…address the observations and recommendations within the National Audit Office report on TR.’

We have written to the Secretary of State to ask him why the Probation System Review findings were not made public and to ask him to explain exactly what he meant when he told staff that he had ‘…adjusted the CRCs’ contracts to reflect more accurately the cost of providing critical front line services..’ We did so as we are very keen, and we consider you ought to be, to find out whether additional tax-payers money has been given to the CRCs over and above what they are entitled to under their contracts. There seems to be no transparency on this which is obviously totally unacceptable.

We enclose a copy of our letter to the Justice Secretary and would be grateful if you could bring this correspondence to the attention of your Committee with a view to the Committee calling in the MOJ to account for the justification for the apparent additional spend on the failing private probation contracts.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Lawrence                         Ben Priestley                         George Georgiou

General Secretary                 National Officer                     National Officer

Napo                                       UNISON                                 GMB/SCOOP

 

CC       Oliver Lodge, Director Justice VFM

 

Hands off our holidays: Don’t let Boris and Gove scrap our working time rights

Dear Colleague,
This is worrying. The Prime Minister has repeatedly promised that working people won’t lose important rights when we leave the EU, but we’ve always known there are many in her party who see Brexit as an opportunity to cut regulations as far as they can.
Now we’re seeing the proof of it. The Sunday Times and Sun have today reported plans by ministers – including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – to scrap the Working Time Directive.
This is the piece of EU legislation that underpins lots of our rights to hours, breaks and holidays. It’s long been a target of the hard right, who want to give bosses even more power over workers.
When the directive came in, millions got paid holiday rights for the first time. Losing it would risk holidays for 7 million workers (4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts).
Even more could be forced by bosses to work more than 48 hours a week. Others could lose guaranteed lunch and rest breaks, or night working protections.
This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work, and the PM needs to face down this plot in her own cabinet. No-one voted for Brexit to lose out on holidays, or to hand power over to bad bosses.
We’re calling her out on this. If she won’t stick to her promises now, it’ll open the floodgates for the hard-brexiteers to cut back even more of our rights at work.
Can you help us add to the pressure on the PM?
Thanks for all your help,
John and the Going To Work team
http://www.goingtowork.org.uk | Unsubscribe | Contact Us

Unison There for You

Newsletter Dec 2017 (1)

7 reasons to join UNISON

Each of our 1.3 million members has their own reasons for joining UNISON. But everyone receives our help and support. JOIN TODAY and you can too.

  1. Advice, support and help when you need it at work

We have a network of trained local advisors and negotiators who will provide you with help at work when you need it most, as well as professional legal advisors and experts when appropriate.

  1. Legal services for you at work and your family at home

Our legal support includes free help with most work problems that you may have. This can either be from our specialist in-house lawyers and a team of trade union solicitors that are on hand to help, or by local union reps, branches and officers in the UK. But our help doesn’t just stop when you leave work. We offer free initial legal advice on any matter not related to work, plus a range of other legal help for you and your family. To be eligible for our legal assistance scheme you must have been a member for at least four weeks prior to the incident that led you to seek this help. You must also be up to date with your subscriptions. Legal help is provided at the discretion of the union’s national executive council.

  1. Financial assistance and debt advice in times of need

We’re here for you when you need us most. Our confidential service (and registered charity) There for You, is your safety net when times get tough. We can help with sorting out finances and advise on benefits. We offer grants to help with household bills, ease debts or help with the cost of a much needed break.

  1. Helpline open until midnight

In these uncertain times it’s easy to lose sleep over job security. But don’t lie awake worrying, our helpline is open from 6am to midnight Monday to Friday, and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays closed on Sunday. Your call will be dealt with by a professional who will ensure that the person who can best help will ring you back at a time that is convenient for you.

  1. Compensation for accidents and injuries at work

If the unexpected happens you can count on our support. If you have an accident or are injured at work our specialist lawyers are there to help when appropriate. You are covered for things like assault, accidents, industrial diseases and accidents on your way to or from work. Our experts have got you covered and will do their best to get compensation for you.

  1. Member discounts – including up to 50% off holidays

Join today and you’ll have access to a wide range of exclusive member discounts and offers which could save you up to £250 – more than the cost of your membership. Savings on holidays through the UNISON travel club, plus discounts on home, car, pet and travel insurance, dental and health plans, cashback on mortgages all add up to a great deal for UNISON members.

  1. Education, training and support

Whatever work you do, we are here to help you learn more – whether you are facing change at work, want to develop your career or want to learn something new for your own benefit. UNISON offers a range of courses and short workshops that are free to members, so whether it’s brushing up on computer skills, professional development or finding out more about the union, learning through UNISON can help you develop your confidence, skills and knowledge.

 

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Winter fuel grant application 2017-2018 (North West Region) – DEADLINE 16TH FEBRUARY!

Dear Colleagues

We are delighted to forward details of the 2017-2018 Winter Fuel Grant Programme.  Anything you can do that will ensure members on the lowest of income receive all the information that they need to apply would be very much appreciated.

Included with this e mail is the application form and survey (applicants must complete both please) and a Question & Answer leaflet which we hope will provide the answer to any questions members may have.

Please note the following important information:

·         Due to the growing number of incomplete applications  that we now receive, this year we will be returning any form that has information missing.  A letter  setting out what information is needed along with a Freepost Envelope that can be used to resubmit their form will be included.

·         This programme officially launches on 4th December and closes on 16 February 2018.

 

WFG poster WFG 2017-18 QA WFG 2017-18 form and survey

The Manchester Martyrs

The Manchester Martyrs

The Manchester Martyrs were three innocent Irishmen hanged in public outside the New Bailey prison in Salford on 23 November 1867. They had been convicted of murdering a police sergeant, killed in the course of a successful raid on Hyde Road, Manchester to free two leading Fenians.

Read More

YOUNG WORKERS – ARE YOU WORTH LESS?

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Victory for campaign against Open University ban

Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Cuba Update Special 8 November 2017

Thanks to the persistent campaigning of CSC members, affiliates and supporters the Open University has reversed its discriminatory policy of barring Cuban students from studying at the institution.

This campaign victory comes as a direct result of the actions taken by thousands of CSC supporters writing to the OU and to their MPs; the public statements and letters sent by trade unions with links to the OU, (the NUT, UCU, Unite and Unison); and the MPs who raised the issue with government ministers and in parliament. Without the constant pressure to expose OU policy, the bar would have continued without challenge.

While we welcome the statement issued by the OU on Wednesday 8 November announcing that they would now accept Cuban students, we believe that the bar should never have been enforced in the first place.

When faced with the choice of breaking the UK’s Equality Act, or risk of legal action from the United States Treasury Department, the OU chose to opt for a discriminatory policy against Cuban students. By default, they helped to implement US blockade policy in the UK.

It took a vigorous campaign from CSC, which drew national press coverage and saw questions raised in the Houses of Parliament, to shame the OU to take action to reverse their prejudiced policy.

But it should have been the British government, not the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, who challenged the Open University’s blatant disregard for British laws.

By barring a student’s application based on their Cuban nationality, the OU broke anti-discrimination legislation laid down by the 2010 Equality Act. By complying with the extraterritorial aspects of the US blockade, it contravened legislation which prohibits British companies and organisations ignoring UK laws in favour of US regulations.

Just a few days ago, on 1 November 2017, the British government voted with 190 other nations to condemn the US blockade of Cuba at the United Nations General Assembly. Yet, in reality they do nothing to back up this vote.

CSC believes that the government needs to follow through on their vote at the United Nations and decide whether this vote, and British laws, are worth the paper they are printed on. The only way to stop other companies and organisations capitulating to US Treasury threats is if the government sends a clear message that UK laws are sovereign. CSC calls on the government to make a public statement it will take swift and robust action against any future breaches of British law linked to extraterritorial US blockage legislation.

Once again, we thank all the friends and supporters for being part of this campaign victory by taking action to pressure to Open University to reverse its bar against Cuban students. It is a testament to the power of campaigning and international solidarity.

Thank you for your continued support.

If you are not already a member of CSC
please consider joining here

If you would like to support our work,
please donate here

Yours in solidarity

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign team

JUSTICE SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO TRANSFORMING REHABILITATION – HAVE YOUR SAY URGENT!

Dear Colleagues,

Please find a link below to an online survey asking UNISON members working for the NPS and the CRCs to provide input into UNISON’s response to the Justice Select Committee Inquiry into Transforming Rehabilitation. The call for evidence closes on 17 November and UNISON aims to put in one collective response on behalf of NPS and CRC members.

The Justice Select Committee wants to find out:

Whether the attempts by the MOJ at the end of July 2017 to improve CRC performance by giving them more money, and by making suggested changes to the probation inspection regime, are having any effect?

What impact Transforming Rehabilitation has had on sentencing, recalls, Serious Further Offences and Through the Gate?

What should be done to improve/reform Transforming Rehabilitation?

Your views as probation staff are vital to the outcome of the Committee’s Inquiry, so please do respond in any way you can. You do not need to answer every question and your comments are totally anonymous. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Responses must be made by no later than 12 midnight on 15 November.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TR-Inquiry

CUBA – US isolated as UN votes 191-2 for end to blockade

At the United Nations General Assembly today, the world voted with Cuba in support of a resolution calling for an end to the 55 year old US blockade of the island.

US isolated as UN says end blockade by 191-2 votes

The final vote, 191 to 2, saw the United States isolated, as only it and Israel voted against all 191 other member states. Although the vote is non-binding it sends a clear message to the United States government that it stands alone when it comes to its policy of blockade.

In 2016, the US historically abstained for the first time after 24 years of voting against the resolution. In her speech to the UN, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador told the organisation said that they were reversing this decision since the US people had spoken by electing a new president (Trump) who supported the blockade.

She described the debate on the blockade at the United Nations as “political theatre” and said the US delegation was voting to continue the blockade out of solidarity with the Cuban people. Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s chief negotiator in talks with the US, branded these comments as disrespectful to the United Nations and an insult to Cuba.

Nikki Haley’s comments also contradict US public opinion which is in favour of normalising relations with Cuba and ending the blockade. On Tuesday 31 October a group of democratic senators urged Trump by letter to abstain from the vote again. “Our failed embargo against Cuba has been repeatedly and publicly condemned by the international community as ineffective and harmful to the people of Cuba,” the senators wrote. “The longer we maintain this outdated Cold War policy the more our international regional credibility suffers.”

Opening his speech to the UN, Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban Foreign Secretary, condemned the “offensive and interfering” statement made by Nikki Haley.

He described the blockade as “a flagrant, systematic and massive violation of the human rights of all Cubans.” “It can be described as an act of genocide”, and “an obstacle to the humanitarian support that Cuba offers to 81 countries of the global South,” he said.

Country representatives from across the globe spoke in support of the Cuban resolution, praising the country for the international solidarity that it provided to many poor nations in the form of medical brigades and training, despite the effects of the blockade on its own economy. They also lamented the deteriorating relations between the US and Cuba following the election of Donald Trump and called on the US to return to the path of respectful relations with the island.

In response to the vote, CSC director, Rob Miller said:

“This is a cynical move by the US government. The Trump administration, in its desperation to appease right-wing politicians, is systematically destroying the last two years of progress in diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“At a time when the island needs materials and equipment to aid its recovery from Hurricane Irma, the US policy appears more vicious than ever. It is vitally important to maintain the international campaign against the US blockade so that the US government receives a clear message that the rest of the world supports the Cuban people in their call to end this cruel and archaic policy.”

Find out more:

SUPPORT CUBA, JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TO END THE BLOCKADE TODAY

Future meetings
Find out more about Cuba’s resistance to US aggression and its achievements in the face of the longest economic blockade in history by coming to one of our forthcoming events including the Che Guevara Anniversary Tour with Che’s daughter, Aleida, and a special parliamentary meeting with Cuban MPs in November, plus the 12th annual Latin America Conference in December.

Stress is the UK’s top health and safety concern, say union workplace reps

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The 11th biennial TUC survey of union health and safety representatives, published today (Friday) during European Health and Safety at Work Week, finds the top-five cited hazards were stress, bullying and harassment, overwork, back strains and slips, and trips and falls on a level.

In top place was stress. Over two-thirds of safety reps (67 per cent) taking part in the survey said that stress, and the effect it is having on their colleagues, is one of the main concerns they have to deal with at work.

One in six of the workplace reps who completed the survey say their employers are failing to conduct risk assessments, which is a breach of health and safety law, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s shocking that so many employers are breaking the law and putting their staff at risk of illness and accidents by their sheer negligence. Not only does this put people in danger while doing their jobs, the consequences also carry a high cost for British businesses and public services because it results in lower productivity and more staff spending time off sick.

“Stress remains the top concern for health and safety workplace reps. It’s a particular problem in parts of the public sector like the NHS and local government that have been hit by cuts and top-down reorganisations. Sickness and absence from stress is one of the false economies of public sector austerity.”

PANORAMA TONIGHT (25/10/17)

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CUBA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN

Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Cuba Update 19 October 2017
Cuba reports on blockade damages in advance of UN vote

Cuba reports on blockade damages in advance of UN vote

Cuba has published a report outlining the extensive damages caused by the US blockade during the last year in advance of the annual United Nations General Assembly vote on 1 November.

Education, health, sports, culture, industrial development, tourism, food and information and communications technology continue to be some of the sectors most affected by the aggressive US policy which has cost the island $US1.3 trillion since it was imposed 55 years ago.

This Report, presented by Cuba every year as a prelude to the UN vote on the resolution, also exposes the widespread condemnation of the blockade within US society and the international community, and the Cuban people’s demand for an immediate end to the failed policy.

Cuba Solidarity Campaign slams Trump decision to expel diplomats

Cuba Solidarity Campaign slams Trump decision to expel diplomats

Cuba solidarity campaigners have accused US President Donald Trump of pandering to hard-line Republicans by expelling Cuban diplomats from its Washington embassy.

Britain’s Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) spoke out after the US government ordered Havana to cut staff at the embassy by 60 per cent.

Trump’s drastic move follows bizarre claims that at least 21 US embassy staff in Havana — mainly spies operating under diplomatic cover — were made ill by “sonic attacks” starting in November last year, days after US President Donald Trump’s election.

CSC Director Rob Miller stressed that Cuba had denied involvement in the alleged attacks — and the US had not yet explicitly blamed Havana for the mysterious high-pitched noises reported.

Further reading:

Fifty years gone but Che's legacy lives on

Fifty years gone but Che’s legacy lives on

Half a century ago, on October 9 1967, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was assassinated by Mario Terán, a Bolivian army officer, following orders from the CIA. The Argentinian-born Cuban revolutionary hero died leading a guerrilla struggle against the US-backed Bolivian military regime of Rene Barrientos, eight years after playing a leading role in the Cuban revolution.

The enduring legacy of the Cuban revolution has been at the heart of the longevity of Che’s legend.

It has delivered sovereignty, dignity and independence to the Cuban people, with achievements including free and universal healthcare, education and social care, despite all the difficulties imposed by the US blockade.

Dates for your diary :– Aleida Guevara Tour, Cuban MPs meeting and Latin America 2017

Dates for your diary :– Aleida Guevara Tour, Cuban MPs meeting and Latin America 2017

We have a packed winter schedule with the nationwide Che Guevara Anniversary Tour with Che’s daughter, Aleida, and a special parliamentary meeting with Cuban MPs in November, plus the 12th annual Latin America Conference in December.

Please check event details to ensure you register for tickets with plenty of time.

Che Guevara Anniversary Tour with Che’s daughter, Aleida Guevara

Monday 6 November – Belfast – 7.00pm
First Presbyterian Church in Rosemary Street, BT1 1QB.
Contact lyndaernest@btinternet.com for more information.

Tuesday 7 November – Denbigh – 7.30pm
Denbigh Town Hall, Denbigh, North Wales, LL16 3TB.
Reserve places in advance by writing to gales2007-compras@yahoo.co.uk

Wednesday 8 November – Manchester – 6.30pm
The Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, M1 6DD.

Thursday 9 November – Sheffield – Doors 6.30pm/7pm start
The Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James Street, S1 2EW.

Friday 10 November – London – 6pm
UCL Medical Sciences Building,
Room 131 AV Hill Lecture Theatre, Malet Place, WC1E 7JG
Register in advance at >http://bit.ly/CheUCL

Saturday 11 November – Glasgow – 4pm – 6.30pm
Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign Rally
Contact scottishcuba@yahoo.co.uk
STUC, 333 Woodlands Road, G3 6NG

Elections and the role of MPs in Cuba

Tuesday 28 November – House of Commons – 6.30pm

A high level Cuban parliamentary delegation will visit their counterparts in the British parliament in November as part of an exchange visit co-ordinated by the Inter Parliamentary Union. The six National Assembly members make up the largest ever delegation from the Cuban parliament to the UK, and the visit falls just before important general elections are due to take place in Cuba in early 2018.

CSC in association with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cuba will host a public meeting with the MPs about their work and elections in Cuba.

Place are limited so please register in advance to attend by emailing campaigns@cuba-solidarity.org.uk or call Ollie Hopkins on 0207 490 5715.

Latin America Conference 2017

Saturday 2 December – 10am-5pm Registration from 9.15am
Congress House, London

With countries across Latin America facing a resurgent right and the threat of external intervention from Trump, this year’s Latin America Conference will be the most crucial yet. More than 50 speakers representing progressive movements and governments from across Latin America, and politicians, journalists, trade unionists and campaigners from Britain and around the world will take part in plenary and workshop sessions throughout the day.

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THIS SUNDAY – March for decent health, homes, jobs and education – national demonstration

1 October 201712:00pm–6:00pm

Castlefield Arena, Rice Street, Manchester M3 4JR

Add to calendar

Get directions

National demonstration as part of the week-long Take Back Manchester festival organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to coincide with the Conservative Party conference.

No more austerity | scrap the pay cap | Tories out – for decent health, homes, jobs and education

March for for decent health, homes, jobs and education. Public service workers need a pay rise. #PayUpNow #ScrapTheCap

National demonstration on the opening day of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, organised by the People’s Assembly.

Assemble from 12pm, Castlefield Arena Rice Street, Manchester M3 4JR.

The demonstration is part of a week of protest, demonstrations, cultural events, rallies, comedy, music and public meetings all across Manchester.

BRANCH CONTACT DETAILS

 

REPRESENTATIVE EMAIL PHONE NUMBER (S)
 

 

RICHARD STRADLING (NPS)

 

 

 

 

richard.stradling@probation.gsi.gov.uk

 

 

07873463981

or

0161 761 6419

 

 

 

ZOE TODD (C & L CRC)

 

 

 

zoe.todd@sodexojustice.scc.gsi.gov.uk

 

 

07855543093

or

07341683947

 

 

 

PHILL TAYLOR ( C & GM CRC)

 

 

phill.taylor@interservefls.gse.gov.uk

 

 

07590828232

or

01442 229 5805

 

 

 

PENNY FORMAN (CAFCASS)

 

 

penny.forman@cafcass.gsi.gov.uk

 

 

07557218518

 

 

 

ALTERNATIVELY MEMBERS CAN RING;

 UNISON DIRECT ON 0800 085 7857

 OR THE BRANCH OFFICE  (NB: THE OFFICE IS ONLY STAFFED BETWEEN TUESDAY AND THURSDAY)

87 MOSS LANE WEST

MOSS SIDE

MANCHESTER

M15 5PE

TEL:  07902792741

 

Hurricane Irma Appeal – updates and donations

Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Special Cuba Update – 11 September 2017

Hurricane Irma Appeal – updates and donations

Hurricane Irma Appeal

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign extends its sympathy and solidarity to all those affected by Hurricane Irma which devastated many Caribbean islands this week.

Cuban authorities are still assessing the full extent of the damage, but it is believed to be far worse than originally anticipated, with significant damage to infrastructure, tourist resorts and agriculture. Those wishing to donate to hurricane relief work can do so via the Cuba Solidarity Campaign Hurricane Irma Appeal – details below.

The category 5 hurricane, the strongest on record for the last 100 years, tore along Cuba’s eastern and northern coast between 8-10 September. Winds of around 250km/h (156mph) and waves between 5-8 metres high have caused major damage to coastal communities, tourist resorts, agriculture and industry, taking out power and communication lines.

Severe flooding in Havana and other towns has penetrated further inland than usual. In Havana the sea breached the malecon sea wall several blocks back into the city. Residents have been warned that waters may remain high for several days along hundreds of kilometres of coastline.

Irma comes less than a year after Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm, devastated Cuba’s eastern provinces in October 2016, and many of these communities were still recovering from this when Irma hit.

The full impact on the economy has yet to be judged, but it is feared that many of the all inclusive tourist resorts and farmland in central Cuba have been badly damaged with potentially devastating effects on the economy. The Jardines de Rey international airport, which served the all inclusive northern keys resorts, has been badly damaged, and more than 5,000 tourists evacuated from hotels in this area.

President Raul Castro issued a statement on Sunday 10 September which said that tourist resorts would be restored before the start of the peak season in November: “We have the necessary human and material resources, as one of the main sources of income for the national economy.

“It has been hard days for our people, who in only a few hours have seen how everything we have built with great effort has been struck down by a devastating hurricane. The pictures of the last hours are eloquent, as is the spirit of resistance and victory of our people who are reborn with every adversity,” he added.

So far there have been no reports of hurricane related deaths in Cuba, although 26 people have died on other islands hit by the storm. This is mainly thanks to Cuba’s renowned hurricane preparedness programmes which have won praise from the United Nations as “a model in hurricane risk management.” Last year’s Hurricane Matthew didn’t kill anyone in Cuba, although it killed 271 people in nearby Haiti. In advance of Irma, one million Cubans were evacuated to shelters and higher ground for protection.

Despite the damage and chaos caused by Irma, Cuba has continued its commitment to humanitarian support for other countries. More than 750 Cuban health workers have already arrived on other islands affected by Hurricane Irma, including Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Haiti, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and the Bahamas.

CSC sends its solidarity to the Cuban people in the mammoth task they have ahead to rebuild their communities. We call once again for the US government to end its inhumane blockade of the country so that the Cuban people can access the building materials and equipment they will need to rebuild their country following this tragedy.

You can make donations to the CSC Hurricane Appeal below. 100% of all donations will be passed on to relief work in Cuba.

CSC Hurricane Appeal:

Donations made through CSC should be clearly marked ‘Cuba Hurricane Relief’

Please make cheques out to CSC and send to:
Cuba Solidarity Campaign c/o UNITE, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB, UK

You can also donate online via our website here. Remember to mark “Irma Hurricane relief” in the message box.

For credit card or bank transfers call +44 (0)20 7490 5715 or email office@cuba-solidarity.org.uk

Further updates on hurricane relief and donations will be posted on www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk, our Facebook and Twitter pages and in the October issue of CubaSí magazine.

Thank you for your support.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign team

 

Cuba Solidarity Campaign c/o Unite, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7490 5715 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7490 3556 | Email | www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk

This email was sent to unison20085@hotmail.co.uk | Click here to unsubscribe | Click here to subscribe

 

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My job’s been called Mickey Mouse probation. I’m now inclined to agree

I’ve worked in probation for a long time. It has never been perfect, but before then-justice secretary Chris Grayling got his hands on it, it was said to be a high-performing public service. Now, though, it is difficult to believe what a complete mess it is in.

I work in a community rehabilitation company (CRC), one of 21 private sector firms working with so-called medium- and low-risk clients. Many people are on my caseload because of domestic violence, and there are often concerns about the impact on their children. Most have alcohol, drug or mental health issues. It’s always been a worrying job.

But the CRC I work for is now owned by a company that doesn’t understand my work. These private companies are still miles off the pace in trying to deliver an impossibly complex contract, supervising hundreds of thousands of offenders. After experiences that have included shedding a third of staff, setting up partnerships from scratch, sourcing new buildings, many of which are hard to access, and installing open booths for us to work in, we have been left working in what one client memorably nicknamed “Mickey Mouse probation”.

That particular client refused to use the open booths because of his offence and history. Instead we met outside or in group rooms, when available. I personally feel very uncomfortable when I have to use a booth to meet clients. It means most of our face-to-face work is overheard, overseen and open to disruption. Not surprisingly there has been an increase in incidents, which now seem to occur on a daily basis.

The problems don’t stop there. The interface with the National Probation Service is fractured: cases swap between the two systems as they go back to court, with mistakes rife, and palpable friction between the organisations. Essentially we feel we are misleading the courts and the public every day about what we can deliver. It is frightening.

Promises of new ways of working, and new IT systems, haven’t materialised, leaving us tied to the existing, inefficient technology to hit our funding-linked targets. Frequent inspections and auditing – akin to something out of Big Brother – confirm that the best we can hope to be is sufficient. Any poor record keeping is met with commands by email to rectify things immediately.

The Guardian 2nd September 2017

7th Wigan Diggers’ Festival – Saturday 9th September 2017

Our 7th Annual FREE Festival

This year’s festival will be another fun packed day of activities in The Wiend, Wigan town centre.

With live music and other entertainment across two stages, film showings, kid’s activities, educational talks, exhibitions, puppet shows and lots of other stuff going on in nearby venues and Wigan town centre.

We’ll also have our usual and ever popular ‘Occupie Wigan’ beer tent, and over 50 food, book, campaign and other stalls.

Around 5,000 people attended last year’s event, and a great time was had by all. We’re planning on making this year’s even bigger and better. Why not come and jin us and make a day of it?

Please invite your family & friends

https://www.facebook.com/WiganDiggersFestival/

TAKE BACK MANCHESTER FESTIVAL – NATIONAL DEMO SUNDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2017

TAKE BACK MANCHESTER