Statutory and Non-Statutoryservice-users experiences ofgender-responsive practice in apost-Corston (2007) Women’s CentreKirsty Louise GreenwoodA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of therequirements of Liverpool John Moores Universityfor the degree of Doctor of PhilosophyJuly 2019
AbstractThis thesis is concerned with the aims, operation and impact of onecase study Women’s Centre (WC) in the North of England,functioning as a post-Corston (2007), gender-responsive, noncustodial arena for women serving unpaid work (UW) sentences andwomen attending voluntarily due to social and structuralmarginalisation. The former are termed statutory service-users andthe latter, non-statutory service-users. Utilising a criticalcriminological conceptual framework that challenges the socioeconomic and political arrangements that give rise to inequalitiesand disadvantage, this project draws upon a range of key thinkers tomake sense of neoliberalism and gendered neoliberal policies. Thistheoretical position draws upon the work of Stuart Hall, StanleyCohen, Jamie Peck and Pat Carlen to critically analyse the narrativesof 24 non-statutory service-users, 16 statutory service-users and 7service-providers from the WC.This thesis fills a significant gap in the literature in relation to theexperiences of gender-responsive practice in a post-Corston (2007)WC from the perspectives of non-statutory and statutory serviceusers. Specifically, it addresses this deficit by contributing to thisfield through focusing on non-statutory service-users experiences ofgender-responsive practice for the purposes of social inclusion,highlighting the links between the destructuring of women’scommunity services under neoliberalism and women’s subsequentdependency and containment within the WC for social and welfaresupport. Additionally, this thesis outlines statutory service-usersexperiences of undertaking UW within a gender-responsive WC,highlighting the tensions in merging a traditional method ofpunishment with a progressive gendered approach. Further addingto previous research (Barton and Cooper, 2013; Carlton andSeagrave, 2013; Elfleet, 2017, 2018; Kendall, 2013; Malloch andMcIvor, 2013), this thesis evidences that gender-responsive practicemobilises a rhetoric of empowerment that fails to recognise theheterogeneity of non-statutory service-users, feminises their needsand promotes strategies of resilience that teach them to cope withtheir disadvantage. Also being the first critical study to explore thefunction of UW in a WC, this thesis highlights the surveillance, riskmanagement and shameful practices that characterise the operationof UW in the WC.2
This thesis considers the function of the WC for two service-usergroups within the socio-economic and political context ofneoliberalism. It outlines how the WC is at once a space ofpunishment, surveillance, coercion and shame for statutory serviceusers and a space of social inclusion and coercion for non-statutoryservice-users. It asserts that neoliberal state reforms and neoliberalpolicy including Transforming Rehabilitation have placed aresponsibility on the criminal justice system to manage populationsof women experiencing social and structural marginalisation andhave instructed the WC to promote the visible punishment ofstatutory service-users undertaking UW within the woman-onlyspace of the WC.3
Declaration of Published WorkGreenwood, K. (2018) ‘Non-statutory experiences of gender-specificservices in a post-Corston (2007) Women’s Centre’, Howard Leaguefor Penal Reform ECAN Bulletin, d, K. (2017) ‘Women’s Centres, Gender Specificity andSocial Justice’, in Fletcher, S., and White, H. (Eds.) Emerging Voices:Critical Social Research by European Group Postgraduate and EarlyCareer Researchers, London: EG Press Limited.Greenwood, K. (2017) ‘Deviant Women’ in Turner, J., Taylor, P.,Corteen, K., and Morley, S. (Eds.) A Companion to Crime and CriminalJustice History, Bristol: Policy Press.Greenwood, K. (2017) ‘Philanthropic Institutions’ in Turner, J.,Taylor, P., Corteen, K., and Morley, S. (Eds.) A Companion to Crimeand Criminal Justice History, Bristol: Policy Press.Greenwood, K. (2017) ‘Police Court Missionaries’ in Turner, J.,Taylor, P., Corteen, K., and Morley, S. (Eds.) A Companion to Crimeand Criminal Justice History, Bristol: Policy Press.Greenwood, K. (2017) ‘Contagious Diseases Acts’ in Turner, J.,Taylor, P., Corteen, K., and Morley, S. (Eds.) A Companion to Crimeand Criminal Justice History, Bristol: Policy Press.Greenwood, K. (2017) ‘The Mobilisation of “deviant” female bodies:Carceral regimes of discipline in Liverpool Female Penitentiary,1809-1921’ in Peters, K., and Turner, J. (Eds.) Carceral Mobilities,Oxford: Routledge.Greenwood, K. (2017) ‘Semi-penal institutions’ in Taylor, P. (Ed.) ACompanion to State Power, Rights and Liberties, Bristol: Policy Press.Greenwood, K. (2015) ‘Applying the philosophical methodologicalapproach of Collingwood to the Foucauldian feminist analysis ofState responses to “deviant” women via the use of semi-penalinstitutions in Liverpool (1809-1983)’, Under ConstructionPostgraduate Journal, Keele: Keele University Press.4
Greenwood, K. (2014) ‘The Oppression, Regulation andInfantilisation of ‘Deviant’ Women: Liverpool Female Penitentiary(1809-1921), European Group for the Study of Deviance and SocialControl: Summer Newsletter 2, available ntext media/2555
ContentsAbstract . .2Declaration of published work .4Acknowledgements . .11List of figures.13List of tables . .13Abbreviations . .14CHAPTER ONE: Introduction. . .151.1 Background.151.2 Thesis and Research Questions.191.3 Neoliberalism and gender-responsive justice.211.4 Statement of Originality.231.5 Chapter Outlines.27CHAPTER TWO: Neoliberalism, the state andgender-responsive punishment: A conceptualframework. .322.1 Neoliberalism.342.2 Neoliberalism and Gender.422.3 Neoliberalism and Punishment.452.4 Punishment and Gender.532.5 Conclusion.59CHAPTER THREE: Corston (2007), WCs and genderresponsivity .603.1 Trends in women’s offending.603.2 Gender-responsive policy and practicedevelopments.693.3 Gender-responsive practice in England andWales pre-Corston (2007).743.4 Corston (2007), gender-responsivity andWCs.776
3.5 Function, remit and scope of WCs in Englandand Wales: A statistical analysis.813.5.1 WCs year of inception.833.5.2 WC funding.843.5.3 Service provision in WCs.883.6 Gender-responsive practice: Conceptualcritiques.913.6.1 Adhering to the neoliberal agenda?:A continued steady rate of femaleimprisonment.933.6.2 The marketisation of gender-responsiveservices?.973.6.3 Neoliberal ideals of gender-responsivity:Individual responsibilisation and riskmanagement.1003.7 Conclusion.106CHAPTER FOUR: Exploring service-user and service-providerexperiences of gender-responsive practice in theWC. .1094.1 Methodology.1104.2 Research Aims and Objectives.1154.3 Selection of the research site.1164.4 Ethical Considerations.1184.5 Role of gatekeepers.1234.6 Piloting.1264.7 Methods.1274.8 Sampling.1324.9 Analysis.1364.10 Validity.1384.11 Reflective account.1414.12 Conclusion.145CHAPTER FIVE: Gender-Responsivity in the WC .1467
5.1 Official aims of gender-responsivity.1465.2 Service-providers views on the aims of theWC: “It’s making women aware of theirpotential”.1485.3 Non-statutory service-users views on theaims of the WC: “It’s bringing womentogether”.1595.4 Statutory service-users perspectives on theaims of the WC: “You come here, and you dogardening!”.1635.5 Service-provider viewpoints on genderresponsive practice in the WC: “We treateverybody exactly the same”.1695.6 Non-statutory service-users experiencesof gender-responsive practice in the WC:The production of gendered neoliberalsubjects.1755.7 Conclusion.184CHAPTER SIX: “It’s just punishment isn’t it?!”:Visibility, punishment and shame for statutoryservice-users in the WC .1876.1 Aims of UW in the WC.1886.2 Visibility: UW in the WC garden.1906.3 “It’s like a little chain gang!”: UW aspunishment.1966.4 Dimensions of shame in the WC: “It’s tohumiliate you on purpose”.2066.5 “I think it’s slave labour”: Genderresponsivity or gendered injustice?.2156.6 Conclusion.224CHAPTER SEVEN: Discussion: The Multi-functionalWC.2267.1 The expanding scope of the WC.2267.2 Individualised yet homogenousgender-responsive practice .2288
7.3 The feminisation of women’s needs.2327.4 Promoting a discourse of resilience.2347.5 The receding welfare state and thewidening carceral net.2377.6 Coercive methods of control.2407.7 Containment and Co-dependency.2477.8 A new carceral logic: Gender-responsiveunpaid work.2517.9 Shame and stigma.2547.10 A hidden custodial system.2577.11 Conclusion: The multi-functional WC.261CHAPTER EIGHT: Conclusion. . .2648.1 Context.2658.2 Research Aims.2658.3 Findings.2668.4 Implications of the research.2748.5 Limitations and ideas for future research.278BIBLIOGRAPHY. . . .281APPENDICES .312Appendix A: Interview Schedules. . .312Pilot interview for service-users.313Interview for service-users.316Interview for service-providers.320Appendix B: Focus Group schedule .323Appendix C: Correspondence with the WC.324Appendix D: Information sheets and consentforms.327Service-user information sheet.328Service-provider information sheet.3329
Gatekeeper information sheet.336Service-user consent from.339Service-provider consent form.340Gatekeeper consent form.341Participant recruitment poster.34310
AcknowledgementsFirstly, I would like to thank all service-users and service-providers atthe case study Women’s Centre who participated in the research.Without your voices and experiences, there would be no data. Itherefore hope that this research highlights some of the key issuessurrounding gender-responsive practice and goes some way inhelping women’s gender-responsive needs be identified andaddressed in the future.I would like to thank the many inspiring teachers that have led mehere, particularly Mr McKee. Thank you for believing in me andencouraging me to be anything I wanted to be. The guidance andkindness you afforded me all those years ago stuck with me fromprimary school right through to adulthood. Thank you.Thank you to Liverpool John Moores University for funding thisproject. Thanks to Dr Laura Kelly for being there at the start of thisproject and for instilling me with confidence in my own abilities.Thank you also to Dr Lindsey Metcalf for founding and running theweekly ‘Shut Up and Write’ sessions which have provided aninclusive and intellectually stimulating space to write. I would alsolike to thank my second-year theory students for being so inquisitiveabout my research and for challenging my ideas.To my PhD comrades; Dr Gemma Ahearne and Dr Laura KellyCorless, your support and solidarity have been invaluable. Thank youfor being so kind.I would also like to thank my friends for being so understandingwhilst I’ve been “busy writing” on far too many occasions over thepast 3.5 years! To Liam, Michelle, Katherine, Oonagh, Penny, Lesleyand Kerry, you’ve always been there, and I can’t thank you allenough. I’m so fortunate to have you all in my life.11
To Rocky, my gorgeous boy. Thank you for the beach walks and theconstant pug love. And to Suzie who was here at the start but is nolonger with us. I miss you so much.The biggest thank you is to my Mum and Dad for supporting meemotionally, practically and financially. Thank you for putting upwith me talking endlessly about my research and for encouraging meto keep going to the very end. Nothing I do could ever repay you forthe love and support you have afforded me. You are my biggestcheerleaders and without you, this thesis would not have beenpossible.12
List of FiguresFigure 1: Establishment of WCs in England and Wales.81Figure 2: Number of WCs by region.82Figure 3: Statutory funding of WCs in England and Wales.85Figure 4: WC service provision in England and Wales.87Figure 5: Number of WCs operating criminal justice servicesper geographical region in England and Wales.88Figure 6: Number of WCs operating non-statutory services pergeographical region in England and Wales.88List of TablesTable 3.1: Funding of WCs in England and Wales per region.86Table 4.1: Age of participants.13313
AbbreviationsAPPG – All Party Parliamentary GroupCJA – Criminal Justice Act 2003CJC – Criminal Justice Co-ordinatorCRC – Community Rehabilitation CompanyHMP – Her Majesty’s PrisonHMPPS – Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation ServiceMOJ – Ministry of JusticeNOMS – National Offender Management ServiceNPN – No Page NumberORA – Offender Rehabilitation ActOM – Operations ManagerPbR – Payment by ResultsPRT – Prison Reform TrustRAR – Rehabilitation Activity RequirementSAR – Specified Activity RequirementSEU – Social Exclusion UnitTR – Transforming RehabilitationTWP – Together Women ProjectUW – Unpaid workWC – Women’s CentreWORP – Women’s Offending Reduction Programme14
Chapter One:Introduction1.1 BackgroundWomen Centres (WCs) have been officially incorporated into thecriminal justice system in England and Wales over the past twelveyears as part of wider reforms to the prison estate (Malloch andMcIvor, 2013). These reforms can be described as a re-imagining ofjustice and punishment for women by aiming to overcome ‘existingbarriers’ involved in the community punishment and custodialimprisonment of women (Thain-Gray et al, 2016:11). While variouscentres for women have existed for several decades (Carlen, 2002),in relation to official criminal justice policy and practice in Englandand Wales, it was only following the Corston Report (2007) thatwhat are now known as “Women’s Centres” were officiallyrecognised as spaces of gender-responsive support for women whohave committed a minor or first time offence, or are considered atrisk of offending. Corston (2007) conducted a review of vulnerablewomen in the criminal justice system and foresaw that WCs shouldbe utilised as referral centres; as a way of diverting women fromcourt and police stations, and providing a credible alternative toprison.WCs were conceptualised on the basis that women in prison presenta range of multiple and complex problems and needs thatfundamentally cannot be addressed within prison, with most womenfeeling ‘inadequately prepared for or supported on release’ (McIvoret al, 2009: 349). The Corston Report (2007) highlighted how shortprison sentences are less effective than community sentences atreducing offending and that enabling women to access support for15
their multiple needs within a woman-only environment would signala turning point in breaking the cycle of offending.Corston (2007) contended that women who offend are oftenthemselves victims of serious crimes or abuse and present acontinuum of needs underpinned by their experiences of physical,sexual and emotional abuse, substance abuse, health issues,financial situation, family life, accommodation and education. WCsare also partly derived in the knowledge that children separatedfrom their mothers or taken into care as a result of her offending orimprisonment are at an increased risk of offending, having pooreducational attainment and poor health (see Baldwin, 2018; PrisonReform Trust (PRT), 2014). Hence the principal aim of WCs are toreduce the harmful consequences of imprisonment, particularlyshort-term prisons sentences. As a direct result, this should thenbreak the cycle of women’s offending along with its complexmultigenerational effects (Corston, 2007).Although WCs were designed as feasible alternatives toimprisonment, the female prison population since 2007 hasremained at a steady rate whilst the number of women undertakingcommunity punishments has decreased (WIP, 2018). Themaintenance of the custodial arm of the criminal justice system hasoccurred alongside ongoing attempts to increase the ‘opportunitiesand format’ of community sanctions designed to meet the ‘genderresponsive’ needs of women (Malloch and McIvor, 2013: 4).Concerns, however, have been raised surrounding the expansion ofthe criminal justice system, with Barton and Cooper (2013: 141;emphasis original) suggesting that gender-responsive reforminstitutions are ‘becoming part of the cycle rather than a solution toit’, calling into question the legitimacy and effectiveness of genderedjustice for women.16
In the twelve years since the Corston (2007) Report and the officialestablishment of WCs across the penal landscape in England andWales, the socio-economic and political climate has vastly altered.Within the context of neoliberalism, gender-responsive penalreforms have ‘emerged in parallel with the dismantling of thewelfare state’ (Prugl, 2015: 616). Whilst it is difficult to provide asingular definition of neoliberalism, broadly, it emerged in the 1930sas both a political movement and set of ideas (Kiely, 2018). As notedby Harvey (2007: 2), neoliberalism ‘proposes that human well-beingcan best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurialfreedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterisedby strong private property rights, free markets and free trade’.Processes of neoliberalism that ‘act on and through’ institutionallandscapes (Peck, 2013: 146-7; emphasis original) and thepenetration and absorption of many inclusionary modes of socialcontrol from the public into the private sphere form part of theongoing neoliberal project of the rolling back of the welfare state(Peck, 2013). Citizens are individualised as part of anti-statism andthe economy is prioritised over the welfare of citizens (Peck, 2013),directly producing steep rises in inequality (Arestis and Sawyer,2005). Processes of identifying and addressing the genderresponsive needs of women have arguably irrevocably changed as aresult of the proliferation of the neoliberal socio-economic climateand neoliberal policy.The neoliberal landscape represents a ‘reassertion of thefundamental beliefs of the liberal political economy’ (Clarke, 2005:57), manifest in a set of public policies. Neoliberal policesencompass ‘the deregulation of the economy, the deregulation oftrade and industry and the privatisation of state-owned enterprise’(Steger and Roy, 2010: 14). Neoliberal culture arguably makes17
individuals ‘more dependent upon market mechanisms for accessinga range of social services’ (Cahill and Konings, 2017: 3).The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) (2010a) paper Breaking the Cycle andthe subsequent Transforming Rehabilitation: A Revolution in theWay we Manage Offenders in 2013 (MOJ, 2013a) led to ‘majorstructural reforms’ to the probation system, including changes toservice-providers and service-delivery (House of Commons, 2018: 3).Reforms also encompassed opening up the market to new providersof rehabilitation and introducing payment incentives for providers ofprobation services (House of Commons, 2018). Probation servicesfor low and medium risk offenders were to be delivered underCommunity Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) (Ibid). Themanagement of women in WCs, under CRCs placed responsibilityonto the voluntary sector to secure funding for gender-responsiveservices (Clark, 2014; Radcliffe and Hunter, 2016). This form ofcompetitive tendering has raised concerns surrounding theeffectiveness, legitimacy and accountability of WC services inparallel with a reduction in welfare and social services programmesfor women outside of the criminal justice system.Concerns have also been raised concerning the Payment by Results(PbR) culture within probation (Burke and Collett, 2015). PbR wasestablished to reduce the cost of probation by the MOJ awardingpayments to CRCs that have proven reductions in reoffending aftertwo years (House of Commons, 2018). However, alongside the partprivatisation of WCs, it has provided a very weak system to holdgender-responsive services to account for their quality and hassimultaneously placed them at risk from funding cuts and totalprivatisation or extinction in the future (Radcliffe and Hunter, 2016;Howard League, 2015). Neoliberalism has been able to ‘obscure theways that states have been reshaped to more closely resemble andoperate like corporations’ (Cahill and Konings, 2017: 3). Not only is18
funding only provided to WCs in England and Wales based ondemonstrable impact on female offending, but gender-responsiveservices have moved away from what the Howard League (2016: 2)call ‘effective individual casework’ and towards less effectivegroupwork.The MOJ (2018c) announced in 2018 that they would seek to endCRC contracts in 2020, two years earlier than anticipated. Therationale for doing so was to explore ‘more effective deliveryarrangements and wider system improvements’ with stakeholdersand the market (MOJ, 2018c: 12). The National Audit Office (2019)published a progress review of Transforming Rehabilitation in early2019, outlining the failure of most CRCs to meet key targets, citinglimited innovation and a lack of progress, alongside significantincreases in the number of people being recalled to prison. In May2019, it was subsequently announced that the probation servicewould be renationalised with the supervision of all offenders in thecommunity to be undertaken by the state (Grierson, 2019). Theincreasingly politicised and contested values of probation, theprecarious funding arrangements of WCs, the target driven PbRculture of WCs and the uncertainty of the future of WCs all raisequestions of whether the socio-economic exclusion and structuralneeds of women in WCs can be identified and addressed throughthe operation of gender-responsive practice.1.2 Thesis and Research QuestionsConsidering the current neoliberal socio-economic and politicalcontext, this research explores the aims, operation and impact of onecase study WC, functioning as a gender-responsive non-custodialarena in England and Wales, from the perspectives and experiencesof service-providers and service-users. Service-users comprise twogroups of women. They include women who attend the WC for19
probation and/or unpaid work (UW). These women are referred to asstatutory service-users in this research. Second, are women who haveno legal recourse to attend the WC and thus attend voluntarily. Thesewomen access the WC predominantly for social support and inclusionand are often referred by their GP or through word of mouth. Theyare referred to as non-statutory service-users in this research. Tomeet the overarching aim of the research, this thesis addresses thefollowing component aims which relate to key arguments madethroughout the project:1. Critically explore and analyse the historical, political, social andeconomic context through which community punishment in WCshas been established in England and Wales.2. Undertake a statistical analysis of quantitative data related to theorigin, function, remit and scope of WCs in England and Wales,including their date of inception, number and geographic location.3. Achieve data and knowledge about the experiences of genderresponsive services in the case study WC from statutory providersperspectives. This aims to explore the legitimacy of WC services inaddressing the multiple and complex needs of both groups ofservice-users, as well as highlighting examples of good practiceand identifying areas for improvement.4. Achieve data and knowledge about the impact of genderresponsive services in the WC from the viewpoints of statutoryservice-users, non-statutory service-users and service providers.5. Provide a critical analysis of the experiences and impact of WCservices from both service-user and service-provider viewpoints.6. Contribute to social policy and criminal justice debates in thisarea.In order to address these research aims, a total of 35 semi-structuredinterviews and 2 focus groups were undertaken in one WC in the20
North of England. 28 interviews were undertaken with service-users,24 of which were with non-statutory service-users and 4 of whichwere with statutory service-users. 7 interviews were carried out withservice-providers. 12 statutory service-users took part in one of twofocus groups at the WC.The following key research areas shape the focus of the researchproject: Both service-user groups experiences of gender-responsive servicesin the WC; Service-providers experiences of delivering gender-responsiveservices in the WC; The opportunities for service-users to have their voices, viewpointsand experiences heard; The issues surrounding the socio-economic and political context thatthe WC operates in, as a non-custodial alternative to imprisonment. The potential policy recommendations that could improve the currentsituation regarding the funding, service provision, effectiveness andsustainability of WCs as community-based, gender-responsive,integrative spaces to address female offending and the risk of femaleoffending.1.3 Neoliberalism and gender-responsive justice:theoretically framing WCsTo address the questions outlined above, the research is underpinnedby a critical criminological conceptual position (Carlen, 2017).Drawing upon critical criminologies to frame the theoretical approachenables the research to provide a platform for the voices of WCservice-users and service-providers, particularly their personalexperiences of the operation, effectiveness, and impact of genderresponsive services. Existing Home Office publications on WCs fail to21
highlight how conclusions are ‘arrived at’ and ‘what the stories arealong the way’ (Davies, 2000: 83), in terms of women experiencinggender-responsive practice. Essentially, the viewpoints of womensubject to gendered justice have not been consistently considered ingovernment or critical research. Adopting a critical criminologicalapproach (Carlen, 2017) enables the production of new knowledgefrom the voices of the excluded and seeks to understand how ‘thepolitical context’ (Hudson, 2000: 177), namely the neoliberal contextimpacts upon how WCs operate within a gender-responsive lens tomeet the gender-responsive needs of women whilst fundamentallyoperating as a crime control institution that is driven by quantifiableresults.This theoretical framework facilitates a scoping of the emergence ofWCs in the penal landscape. This is achieved first in terms of thetransformation of the state being intricately connected to theemergence
and disadvantage, this project draws upon a range of key thinkers to make sense of neoliberalism and gendered neoliberal policies. This theoretical position draws upon the work of Stuart Hall, Stanley Cohen, Jamie Peck and Pat Carlen to critically analyse the narratives of 24 non-statutory service-users, 16 statutory service-users and 7
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