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Capitalism has an undeniable chokehold on every facet of our lives. Almost everything that one can imagine is driven by profit. It has managed to wrap its tentacles around many of the services that should never be monetized (justice), and constantly threatens to get others in its total grip (NHS).
Those high up the ‘privatisation food chain’ who head up these companies, feel their pockets bulge from the wads of cash they have made by often cutting corners and exploiting their workers; while their staff on much lesser salaries, are left with little or nothing, having barely covered their living expenses (and often only with entitlement to state benefits or a visit to a foodbank). So, what ever happened to the so-called trickledown effect? It’s funny how, when these companies are doing well and filling their coffers, workers are the last ones to see any benefit; but the minute they are on the verge of collapse, it’s the workers who are the first to feel the effects.
In Probation, we have seen the disastrous impact on service delivery and public safety that we predicted well before Chris Grayling implemented his Transforming Rehabilitation Agenda. Not that the NPS has anything to shout about after having some recent accounts qualified by the Treasury.
Equally concerning, are the numerous reports that illustrate how the payment mechanism (PbR) which underpinned the original contracts between the MoJ and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies has been an abstract failure in itself.
The reliance on this unproven business model, has directly led to CRCs making unnecessary staffing reductions, and in some instances the introduction of unsafe operational models. These being primarily designed to ‘cut corners’ and which have reduced standards for essential face-to-face supervision of clients. These failings, along with many others elsewhere across the CRC estate, have resulted in the taxpayer bailing out the CRCs to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds in additional funding, which has been a major factor in the decision to terminate these contracts by 2020. Worse still, is the compelling evidence suggesting that there has been a human cost as well as a financial one, in terms of the official statistics showing an alarming spike of serious further offences in recent years.
Because money plays such an important role in service provision, we have decided to dedicate this entire issue to finance. Lol Burke and Barry O’Doherty help to explain how CRCs are financed and look at the impact of Universal Tax Credits on women.
This issue also covers matters a little closer to home with the PCU warning against Pay Day Loans, Lighthouse Financial Services offering advice on how to spring clean your finances and Dean Rogers offering up some information around pensions.