Prison turns to UK for interim boss

| 05/12/2017 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The deputy director of operations at HMP Northward, Daniel Greaves, will be acting as director for just two weeks, ministry officials said Tuesday, as they have reached out to the UK to find an interim replacement for Neil Lavis, who leaves the post in less than two weeks. In a release about filling the unexpected vacancy for a director of HM Cayman Islands Prison Service, the Home Affairs Ministry said Greaves will be acting director from 16 December until the year end. Meanwhile, the governor’s office is helping to source a temporary boss via the Association of Prison Governors.

While this is an issue likely to raise questions about the failure of succession planning, as Lavis was only months into his new contract when he submitted his resignation, the ministry was not expecting to have to fill his job for several more years.

Given that the recruitment process to fill the senior post is likely to take some time, government officials said that, after consultation with the head of the civil service, the ministry has enlisted the assistance of the governor’s office “to request expressions of interest via the Association of Prison Governors in the United Kingdom”.

The release continued, “Through this process the ministry hopes to select a qualified individual to undertake the role in an interim capacity on secondment. This will support business continuity in the prison and enable the ministry to conduct the recruitment exercise for a full-time prison director.”

Kenneth Bryan, the independent opposition member for George Town Central, who has long been an advocate for better succession planning in the civil service, especially the need to fill the senior uniform posts with local people, said he was disappointed that the ministry was not even prepared to allow the current deputies to at least take on the interim role.

“I find it very disappointing that the ministry is turning to the UK to fill the post on a temporary basis and is not prepared to give existing senior staff at the prison a chance to lead until a permanent director is recruited, which would give them the opportunity they need to help with future succession planning,” he said, adding that government really had to turn its attention to how it was going to address the lack of preparation when senior posts become vacant.

Lavis gave notice last month, less than six months after signing a second contract, and he has remained silent on his decision to leave other than to say it was his choice. Despite some ups and downs over staff scandals, Lavis had proved a strong advocate for the needs of the prison and its inmates and he appeared to be well liked by the ministry and government leaders.

He had also managed to secure an increase in spending for the facility during the recent budget to help support many of the initiatives he had begun to introduce at the prisons to help address the historic lack of funding for rehabilitation.

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Category: Crime, Jobs, Local News, Prison

Comments (7)

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  1. Aduke julius says:

    Oh give it a rest 7:18am we all know where you stand and exactly who you are try stop undermining people you would be better off. But I guess that all you know to do in your job and your little coven.

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  2. Sue Brown says:

    You’re right, he was loved by the Ministry as he was the only voice they heard over his four plus years tenure, maybe telling them exactly what they wanted to hear. But the results are not positive.

    It’s quite strange that the interim replacement is coming from England – a failed prison service – as reported by their very own justice minister.

    Also, Lavis did not display much corrections change as over his tenure he only hired prison guards, no new rehabilitation staff. The vocational workshops remain closed, no additional staff to deliver life skills, drug Counselling, or cognitive change programs. The Case Management arrangement he orchestrated with DCR – ineffective – less than 40% of the prisoner population has sentence plans.

    This budget year he again is hiring 19 new prison guards. What is the brilliant plan that we are hearing that Lavis delivered.

    Plus over his tenure there has been more mishaps than any other prison director – just look in the CNS archives.

    But alas. His bosses have no clue what a positive prison system looks like.

    Let’s see what’s next.

    The reimagined civil service has only been succession planning in UK Directors across all the Home Affairs.

    Good luck with that Deputy Governor. Cayman with this type of plan where are the opportunities for your children in the future?

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    • Anonymous says:

      British land, British governor. That is how it should be.

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    • Veritas says:

      Ms Brown, at least he was not suspended fro more than 2 years on full pay and then given a large severance payment plus pension to “retire”. What do you have to say about the fomer head of Customs?.
      Mr Lavis has been very kind to Caymanians for not giving the real reasons for his departure. Over the years how many times have we seen this with expatriate heads of the Health Services and other departments, most of whom ended up suing Government with the results of the lawsuits never seeing the light of day.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I am confused! but can say the former head of Customs did more in the year she was there than the old or new head of Customs ever did – Staff will tell you that! Plus she has never been suspended or paid off…………. what’s your point?

  3. Rick says:

    Greaves has been at the prison for over 30 years. He is qualified academically and no incoming or past Director can run the prison without him. He trains the incoming Directors on our prisons. Yet he is not even being considered for the post of Director? This says everything we need to know about our government.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Blame the DG! He is too busy planning his annual run, smiling for photo ops, trading favors for “loyal” employees and being a Spanish machete. Way too busy to upskill Caymanians to ensure these key roles are filled by Caymanians only and proper training locally and internationally is provided to civil servants on a consistent basis. The private sector invest in their employees to ensure their human capital is well equipped and kept abreast of all areas within their industries. Statutory authorities do a better job than core government as they usually support staff in attending conferences related to their industry and financing relevant certifications. Hopefully he will address the lack of proper succession plans for all key role within the next budget period. He is creating Caymanians as most expatriates in key roles remain until they obtain status. One should FOI how many expats did the DG allow to become Caymanians. Then have the nerve to state the Civil Service have more Caymanians now than in the past. Invest in your Caymanians and you will eliminate the need to “creat” so many new Caymanians in the Civil Service as those new Caymanians in HR and/or management/head positions are hiring their own and therefore creating more new Caymanians as there are no maximum term limits set for contacted non Caymanian Civil Servant and most stay until they get status. So unfortunate and we wonder why Caymanians feel like second class citizens in their own country.

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