Board Minutes Jan 07 by decree



                         LONDON PROBATION BOARD

            Minutes of the meeting held at Great Peter Street
                     on Thursday 25 January 2007

Present:             Suhail Aziz (Chair)
                     David Scott
                     Angela Camber
                     Carole Markham
                     Derek Sawyer
                     Emma Mandley
                     Judge Lindsay Burn
                     Judge William Kennedy
                     Ken Ashken
                     Lincoln Beswick
                     Mark Blake
                     Maureen Salmon
                     Max Telling

In attendance        Geraldine Gavin – Chief Operations Officer
                     Phil Drury – Director of Human Resources
                     Martin Blake – Procurement Manager
                     Chitra Karve – Director of Equality and Diversity
                     Stephen Moran – Director of Business Solutions
                     Geoff Lee – Chief Accountant
                     Paul Davies – Board Secretary / Solicitor
                     Anika Visser – Board Services Officer (note taker)

Also present:        Trade Union representatives and two members of the public.

1.      Preliminaries

a)      Welcomes – The Chair announced it was Angela Camber’s last Board meeting and
        expressed his gratitude for her hard work and commitment for the past 6 years at LP
        and to the Probation service in previous years. David Scott endorsed SA’s tribute and
        gave his own acknowledgement to AC for her contribution to the Probation Service.

b)      Apologies – received from Sue Carrie, Viv Ahmun, Pauline Swash-Wallbank and
        Adrian Smith.

c)      Declaration of interests – None

                                          Page 1 of 10

2.          Minutes of previous meeting – 23 November 2006

a)          Approval
           Following minor amendments the minutes were approved.

b)          Matters Arising
           Geoff Lee confirmed that the £2.7M projected overspend equals 2% of the budget.

           Carole Markham informed the Board that Rosemary Abernethy and Nick Hammond
            were to receive the Butler Trust Award for their contribution to diversity.

3.          Chief Officer’s business

David Scott gave a verbal report to the Board.

3.1         DS made opening comments about the amount of change and tension around the
            criminal justice system. He referred to recent press coverage about the over
            population in prisons, saying he has expressed his concerns about LP’s limited
            capacity to manage the potential demand for services.

3.2         The NPD has become absorbed into NOMS marking a significant change. In relation
            to this, the Chair reported that the diversity function would move to the commissioning
            side meaning a changed direction in leadership. DS commented on some of the
            benefits that the new arrangements for running the probation service will bring.

3.3         The NPD has in effect ceased to exist and the change will have an impact on LP.
            Mark Blake said he was concerned about the way the Home Office broke the news
            about the position of the NPD and that he is not seeing any consultation from them.
            Derek Sawyer said he welcomed the phrase “ceased to exist”.

3.4         Budget pressures are having an impact on all the CJS agencies.

3.5         The first meeting with the ROM to discuss the SLA has taken place. This will be made
            available at the March Board meeting and the Chair will be informed of any concerns
            around the SLA.

3.6         Lincoln Beswick expressed his concern about the pressure on Probation of increasing

3.7         Judge Burn referred to the overcrowding of prisons and asked if LP has made any
            representations to the Home Office as to what would happen to Probation if the
            request made by the Home Secretary to sentencers, to accommodate the increase in
            community based sentences. David Scott shared the concerns about the increase
            caused and the capacity of the Board.

                                             Page 2 of 10

4.         Business Solutions:

a)         Sustainability Policy

Martin Blake introduced his paper, referring to Government objectives for sustainability and
the environment. There are two aspects to endorse:

       The commitment of the Board and COMT
       Implementation through a generic staff objective.

In response to a question from Lincoln Beswick, MB confirmed that the policy is consistent
with the Mayor’s “Green Code”.

Policy Approved

b)         Sub contracting plans and Business Development

Stephen Moran introduced his report highlighting the main points.

4.1        Page 2 of his report states the potential candidates for sub-contracting. The value of
           the work identified is about £15M.

4.2        SM reported on his meeting with the London ROM on 19 Jan 07 when he gave a
           verbal update around LP’s progress towards contestability. He said that the ROM is
           pleased with the LP’s development and that he has no objections to LP going over
           the 10% target. The ROM supports the inclusion of Victim Support in the sub-
           contracting plans. SM said the ROM would like to see contracts being issued over a
           12 month period, rather than all with effect from 1 April 08.

4.3        The Chair thanked SM for his paper.

4.4        Maureen Salmon said she welcomed the paper and asked what steps will be taken to
           ensure there is not high risk arising from the voluntary sector. MS commented on the
           need to ensure that voluntary run hostels aren’t at a higher risk. SM referred to the
           facility to review a contract if there was a concern about quality.

4.5        In response to a question from Lincoln Beswick, SM said LP is seeking the Excellence
           Award, which is similar to that of the Beacon Award. Martin Blake explained the
           flexible framework, which has 5 criteria. LP meets all of them in the Sustainable

4.6        HHJ Kennedy acknowledged SM’s leadership and the hard work of his team. He
           expressed his concerns about the inadequacies of the IT infrastructure due to factors
           outside the control of London Probation, calling on the Board to deplore the under
           investment the organisation receives for IT from NOMS.

                                             Page 3 of 10

4.7     SM reported he had met with the Minister, Roger Hill and the Head of IT for Probation
        and Prison that morning. The Minister will be visiting LP next month to address the
        shortfall. SM said that LP has old equipment that will need a lot of investment to bring
        us up to date. LP is dependent on another supplier and NOMS is looking at
        opportunities to improve the system.

4.8     HHJ Kennedy said he would like it minuted that the Board deplored the lack of
        investment by NOMS and the provision of outdated equipment.

4.9     SM said that Mike Mannister has become more involved since last July with the
        running of IT across Prison and Probation. SM said that funding is a big issue
        because GPS and Mitre House have to be updated. A £¼ - £½ M investment is
        required. When C-NOMIS is introduced the database will become absolute.

4.10    Derek Sawyer said the Performance Scrutiny group is looking at the subcontracting
        plans and was concerned about issues around double waking cover and feels that it
        needs a separate risk assessment. There is a question about whether the quality of
        the outsourced service would be better than the current service.

Report Noted

(Martin Blake left the meeting at this point).

5.      Financial management:

a)      Month 9 Report

Geoff Lee introduced his report.

5.1     Clarification was received earlier that day regarding the Pay Awards. GL felt confident
        that LP’s overspend would be within the 2% target.

5.2     Derek Sawyer asked if it were likely LP would receive more national money for
        Communications. GL said he doubted this.

5.3     In response to a question from the Chair, GL there is an expectation that there would
        be a small increase in funding in the next year and thereafter no more increases. GL
        reported that the budget is yet to be resolved, but the financial accountants are
        working closely with each Director to try and reduce expenditure.

Report Approved

                                           Page 4 of 10

6.      Operations

a)      Performance Report

Geraldine Gavin introduced her report.

6.1.    London is placed 33 out of the 42 Probation Areas.

6.2.    GG explained there is a disagreement with NOMS over the time scale for completing
        an OASy’s report on an offender leaving prison.

6.3.    Demands for Court Reports had increased by 70% and this poses a risk for LP. This
        is being discussed with the ROM in order to look at realistic targets.

6.4.    LP should finish above the zero mark. LB reminded the Board that LP’s Performance
        was in the red when they first started and that he is pleased to see that LP currently
        has 4 ambers.

Report Approved

b)      SFO strategy report

Geraldine Gavin introduced Adrian Smith’s (Head of Internal Inspections) report. Further
work is to be done in the area of SFOs.

Report Noted and Approved

c)      Regional Plan – 6 month review

Geraldine Gavin introduced Iain Anderson’s report, which was for information purposes only.
IA has now changed jobs.

Report Noted

                                         Page 5 of 10

d)      Domestic Abuse Strategy

Geraldine Gavin introduced Louise Hubbard’s’ report.

6.13. There is a need to build on a London wide Domestic Abuse Strategy.

6.14. GG said the continuing increase of Programmes in LP is adding to the demand and
      would be discussed with the ROM.

Strategy Approved

7.      Diversity

a)      Lesbian and Gay Strategy

Chitra Karve introduced her report.

7.1.    CK said that consultations with staff around the LGTS have taken place. Sexual
        orientation is currently not being looked at and that there are issues around this.

7.2.    Derek Sawyer asked CK if they are considering sub-contracting this part of the work
        out. CK said the Procurement strategy focused on these issues and would be

Strategy Approved

b)      Diversity Statement

Chitra Karve introduced her report and spoke briefly about it

Statement Approved

c)      Disability Equality Scheme – cost of Action Plan

7.4.    Geoff Lee introduced the schedule of figures showing annual costs of about £100,000.

7.5.    In referring to the extent of the detail, Angela Camber said it would be helpful to have
        a short “strap-line” whenever anything is sent out. CK said she is working with the
        Marketing and Communications Department on a logo and statement.

                                          Page 6 of 10

7.6.    Lincoln Beswick said that London Probation should be proud of its diversity, its policy
        and statements and the way it goes about its business. It shows that LP is serious
        about its cultural make-up.

7.7.    Ken Ashken referred to the costings as an extremely thorough piece of work, adding it
        was something that should be done in the future. Emma Mandley also referred to the
        thoroughness of the work but expressed concerns about 13 pages of detail. It would
        be preferable to have a standard template.

7.8.    The Chair asked whether LP has got the money to meet the cost of the plan. In
        response to this, GL said that it would be necessary to look at next year’s budget.

7.9.    Maureen Salmon asked how the implementation of the training would be measured.
        CK said each Directorate would be visited to ensure implementation.

7.10. David Scott said that the points made on costing would be taken forward.

Cost of Action Plan Approved

8.      Human Resources

a)      General report

8.1.    Phil Drury introduced his report and highlighted the following:-

            There was currently an HR caseload of 62 going through procedures. It was 40
             when he first joined LP. Management initiated 2/3rds of the cases. It is a very
             significant load.

            Following job evaluation, staff received letters concerning the outcome. Staff in
             Operations are generally happy, but non-operational staff has been affected as a
             result of the majority being down-graded. This has been more marked than
             expected and has not been a major issue in other Metropolitan areas. There is
             now a need to focus on the next stage. The appeals will continue through
             February and March and likely to involve 40 – 60 jobs. The focus will be to drive
             the process through as quickly as possible. This is a significant issue for the

            Two courses on performance management were run before Christmas. PD said
             he was confident that the target for training all managers would be met by July.
             There are a number of supporting activities around performance management.

8.2.    Max Telling asked about pay protection in relation to downgrading. PD confirmed that
        salary protection applies meaning there is no immediate impact on pay. There is
        however a psychological impact.

                                          Page 7 of 10

8.3.    Lincoln Beswick asked whether the Board had approved the evaluation. PD explained
        that an agreed national procedure had applied. PD then explained the appeal process
        which is also being prescribed nationally.

8.4.    David Scott informed Board members that he was concerned about the position the
        Board might be put in through premature discussions. He invited the Board to stand
        back in the confidence that this matter is being given careful attention.

8.5.    Emma Mandley reported that the HR Scrutiny Group had looked at the HR plan for the
        year, dividing it into sections. She said she would like it to be noted that all of the
        plans have been achieved apart from the budget resource due to external factors.

Report Noted

b)      Human Resources casework data and management reports

8.6.    Phil Drury introduced the report and highlighted the main points:-

            There was a change in the ethnic mix of staff. Broadly speaking there is an
             equal number of white to BME staff. Gender is disproportionate. So far as age is
             concerned the number of staff under 40 has increased by 50%, but the average
             remains in the 41-45 age group.

            The position with management is different. 80% of staff of ACO level or above
             are white. PD said he had discussed this issue with Chitra Karve and they have
             concluded that black staff should be equipped with the right tools to move up in
             the organisation. They will also be looking at changing the way recruitment
             operates to try and influence career choice from ethnic groups.

            The ratio of gender is very disproportionate. It is 2 to 1 female to male even
             though a large number of people have been recruited in the past year.

8.7.    PD referred to the data on sickness absence from which it could be seen that in
        looking at a year-on-year comparison, since July 2005, every month-on-month
        comparison has shown an improvement apart from the past two months. PD said
        there was a great deal of action around sickness, but the organisation was still not
        where it wanted to be.

Report Noted

                                          Page 8 of 10

9.      Governance

a)      Appointment of new Board members – update

Paul Davies introduced his report.

b)      Offender Management Bill - update

Paul Davies introduced his report and added that a few amendments had been made to the
Bill at Committee stage. The Bill now goes for third reading.

Both Reports Noted

10.     Minutes/Reports of Groups and Committees

There were no questions arising from the minutes presented.

11.     Reports

11.1. The Chair reported:
       The PBA’s council meeting is coming soon.
       Meeting took place with Justine Greening MP (Putney) and Sadiq Khan MP
       Visited Westbourne House with Max Telling and Barbara Thomas (SPO), who is
         doing an excellent job in the largest hostel in Europe. MT asked for a token gate to
         be put up at the entrance to keep people out of the courtyard.
       Accelerate programs – currently not receiving any accreditation, HR to look in to it
         as it is discouraging staff to go on training.

11.2. Maureen Salmon visited Kelley House, which remains an important resource for
      woman. MS said that Claude Denton and Nancy Stewart (Hostel Manager) have been
      working hard.

11.3. Carole Markham attended a MAPPA meeting in Twickenham.

11.4. Derek Sawyer attended
       A Community Payback Launch in Camden and experienced that LP’s profile is
       KPH (Hostel) he saw how staff prepared offenders for release.

11.5. Max Telling attended the Financial Scrutiny Group meeting and thanked the team for
      all their hard work.

                                        Page 9 of 10

11.6. Angela Camber said she visited other Chief Executives in Local Authorities and looked
      the interface between them and LP. AC also visited the Austrian Ambassador with
      whom she had lunch. AC said the Ambassador is keen to meet DS and visit sights.
      AC had attended the Corporate Induction that morning.

12.     Any Other Business

There was no other business.

The date of the next meeting was noted to be 22 March 2007.



The Board resolved to continue the meeting in private in accordance with the local Probation
Board’s (Miscellaneous Provisions) 2001 Regulation 8(4) and Probation Circular 139(2001).

                                       Page 10 of 10

To top