Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Place to Be

Good Afternoon,
Hope you are well,

I am emailing you today because I require an experienced Probation Officer to work in Skegness.

Skegness is a beautiful part of the country based in the wondrous lands of Lincolnshire. Attached is the beaches of Skegness where accommodation is available and you can enjoy the luxuries of working in such a beautiful part of the country. The land is so glorious that you will almost forget you are working as you will feel like you are on holiday relaxing on the coasts of the most beautiful part of Britain.

The town is popularly known as Skeg, Skeggy, Costa del Skeg or Skegvegas and has a famous mascot, the Jolly Fisherman. At the end of Lumley Road is the town's clock tower, built in 1898-99 to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The luxurious gardens beyond the clock tower known as the pleasure gardens. Overall Skeggy or Skegness is the place to be.

The job is even better, you will be working within a team who will be responsible for the rehabilitation of the offenders.

Your day to day role will involve the following:
  • Arrange re-categorisation reviews in line with statutory requirements and timescales
  • Complete required SPR-L reports within the timescales indicated in the parole process or categorisation.
  • Undertake individual work to address offending behaviour, risk of re-offending and risk of serious harm needs in appropriate cases
  • Maintain records to a satisfactory standard
  • Contribute to arranging transfers from prison in liaison with Case Administrator, OCA and ISP Manager in appropriate cases
  • Represent Prisons in Oral hearings as required.
  • Represent Prisons at external MAPPA meetings as required
To be eligible for this role you will need the following:

- Qualified Probation Officer
- Up to date DBS (not essential)
- Recent Experience within 3 years

Are you ready to experience a challenge of a life time and the rewards that come with it?

You will be among the many to join the fastest growing recruitment agency in the country where everything is made easy. Timesheets done online, Compliance documents is a breeze which can be done in a matter of moments, a dedicated payroll team and lastly but not least your own personal consultant who works around the clock to make sure you get the best opportunities possible and to make work something you finally enjoy.

Get in touch and you will realise the potential you could have with Seven Criminal Justice


Good luck to whomever decides to sample the delights of 'Skeggy'. As the old saying goes, 'there are other agencies available' and it's probably as good a time as any to talk about the issue. 

In the current shitty climate, many colleagues just want to get out and find other career paths, but for some that might not be an option. As illogical as it may seem, just as CRC's appear only too keen to wave off experienced staff, they are desperately seeking experienced officers through specialist recruitment agencies. I was approached by one a couple of weeks ago and here is what was said. Oh, and before anyone asks, I'm not getting a 'cut' and don't do advertising:- 

I'm sorry not to have got back to you, but since our first exchange it's becoming clear to me that the mood amongst many readers has changed to that of anger, hostility, resignation and depression. I'm not at all sure how an upbeat piece about agency work would go down in the current climate given that many people are deciding to get out completely - they've had enough and are saying probation is finished - a view I certainly have a great deal of sympathy with. Are you aware of this and how would you address it?


I appreciate the current climate as I am an avid reader of your blog, plus I am currently speaking to my contacts within the privately run CRC’s which help me to get a picture of what is happening.

I can say that we have had people mention this to us when we contact them to register them with our agency. I would always say that change is a difficult thing, but that there are other CRC’s who they could work for that would help them through this and possibly change their point of view. I recently placed a temporary PSO in to a CRC, they are extremely happy because they are desperately needed.

I feel that with the control of becoming a contract worker, the flexibility to work and retrain, the comfort of knowing that they can leave when they want to or move offices if needed, this would provide someone with more confidence about going back in probation work.

I will end by saying that I know the probation staff do care about their job, they genuinely care about the people they are trying to help. If we can help them by meeting the criteria they require in a contract role, then we can help them get back in to a job where they can help people whilst staying in control of their working situation.


I have put together something to be posted if you can. I appreciate any help you can give us to keep good probation staff in employment.

During the changes which have been happening across the Probation sector, affecting both CRCs and the NPS across England and Wales, Servoca have been working with Probation skilled staff to help them find employment whilst transitioning into new roles and careers.

We work closely with CRC’s and in some areas, the NPS, to help balance the workload whilst moving in to the new delivery model by providing experienced probation staff. We aim to help people who are choosing/facing redundancy gain temporary or permanent employment whilst re-training or deciding on their next career move.

We are currently working on temporary PO and PSO roles, as well as numerous other roles associated with the potential new and current operating models, and in order to do this we are looking for candidates to help fill these roles.

If you wish to have a confidential chat or wish to see what roles you can apply for in your area, please email or call 0203 031 4769. You can also visit our website at

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Teaching Granny How to Suck Eggs

Dear Jim,

Quite rightly your blog has focused on the terrible situation colleagues in Sodexo CRCs find themselves in, but if you ever find yourself short of something to publish, you might want to consider the following from the Working Links CRCs.

Each Friday, around lunchtime, we are treated to a 'Transforming Rehabilitation Together' briefing, published on our intranet. This gives us all the latest news from the top brass, and some little snippets from local areas - I assume it's more or less the same across the three CRCs, although the local 'good news' stories might vary.

So far, so corporate, I hear you say. Well, heading up each briefing is an 'Update from Paul Hindson'. Paul Hindson is the Managing Director for UK Justice in Working Links - you can find his bio here:

"Paul Hindson joined Working Links in May 2015 as Managing Director for UK Justice. Paul comes to us with a wealth of experience, having worked within the probation industry for the past 30 years.

A trained probation officer and former lecturer, Paul has held posts with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) including as Head of Offender Management Implementation and Head of Offender Management and Assessment, where he was responsible for the management and development of the Offender Assessment System (OASys).

Paul was Director of Community Solutions with Interserve and was responsible for the operational design and costing of Purple Futures' delivery in the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme.

Paul is responsible for the operational delivery of all services within the Justice arena."

(note especially his earlier career with NOMS and involvement with OASys...) Although it's billed as an "update", there's rarely anything of substance there - we're not promised our operating model any earlier than next April. Instead we are given a glimpse into Paul's views on various subjects to do with 'probation'. A couple of weeks ago he was telling us how our approach to risk management is all wrong, because apparently we don't try to rehabilitate those who are seen as a higher level of risk but just try to control them (news to many of us at the coal face!). 

Last week there were favourable references to how quickly the branding has changed at East Coast trains after their takeover by Virgin, with news that soon Working Links and the CRCs will soon be "one company", seemingly integrating the CRC with the Work Programme (again, news to those of us who thought that the CRCs were separate legal entities and the Government still held a golden share!). This week's edition really took the proverbial biscuit, and it is worth me typing out for you in full:

"Working on the Transforming Rehabilitation programme has caused me to reconsider some of the core elements of the work we do. I have previously talked about the outcomes and risk and I wanted to share with you my thoughts on both of these key subjects.

I strongly believe that desistance tells us that we can be more effective if we focus on the issues that enable people to change rather than solely concentrating on what causes negative behaviour.

The concept of needs seems to be rooted in this focus on negative drivers. Through OASys we tend to look at what is wrong with people and then spend our time trying to resolve their issues. Psychologically the message is that a person is inadequate because they don't reach the required standard for society.

The other problem I have with this approach is that it tends to generate a passive service user who needs expert help to understand what is wrong with them. It also means the service user has limited options to help them set their goals and make their own opinion of what their journey to improvement should look like. We are fully aware that sentence plans cover interventions which focus on the weaknesses identified by OASys this then reduces the service user's ability to take responsibility for their own future. Personally, I think I would find it hard to get motivated in these circumstances and am sure there are service users that lack motivation due to this.

Of course the majority of probation officers overcome this problem by building strong and empowering relationships with service users and I believe that this ability is an enormous asset to our organisation. However, I have wondered how much more effective it could be if we had the tools which assisted our people to empower service users. For instance, my understanding of the Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation is a strength-based approach assessment tool to help people make the transition into society. It uses positive language such as: place in society, healthy lifestyles and hope and motivation which is more engaging to the service user. We still need to focus on the areas where strengths are low so we need to work on building their strengths rather than solving their weaknesses. I think this can also help service users feel a greater sense of ownership when setting their goals, when working with their probation officer to look at how they can reach them. I know that our employability and justice colleagues who are looking at the design of new services are taking this into consideration.

You can read more about the Good Lives model here."

"Over the past decade, the Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation (GLM) has been systematically developed by Tony Ward and colleagues, and has been adopted by many different jurisdictions both locally and internationally. Its ethical core is that of human rights and it starts from the assumption that while offenders have obligations to respect other peoples’ entitlements to well being and freedom, they are also entitled to the same considerations. This is particularly so when it comes to the implementation of punishment and reintegration initiatives. Two fundamental intervention aims follow from this ethical starting point, the enhancement of offenders’ well-being and reduction of their risk of further offending. According to the GLM, these goals are inextricably linked and the best way to create a safer society is to assist offenders to adopt more fulfilling and socially integrated lifestyles."

I will refrain from passing further comment on this, other than giving thanks that the rehabilitation experts have finally arrived, because clearly I have been doing everything wrong for years. Oh, and if you know anyone whose grandmothers need lessons in how to suck eggs, let me know, because I know where to send them.


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Incompetence, Deception, Lies and Questions

I make no apologies for being on the same topic today, but it's not just of vital importance to the many colleagues in the six Sodexo CRC's currently wrestling with agonising decisions. This is just the beginning, the 'test case', trail-blazing and setting the scene for similar scenarios to be played out through the whole profession over the coming months. 

I now feel much clearer about matters since my post yesterday, so I feel it's worth trying to pull things together today. As with many difficult things in life, there's history; blame to be apportioned; deception to unravel; questions to ask; benefit of hindsight to acknowledge; lessons to learn and accountability to apportion. For me, things began to crystallise with these two paragraph's from Michael Gove's recent letter that at face value, appear straightforward. Oh, how naive of me.....   

Gove's letter:-

"Clause 30.3(e) of the Amended and Restated Services Agreement (ARSA) with Sodexo requires that unless more beneficial terms exist, the contractor must give effect to the Voluntary Redundancy Terms; these terms apply unless renegotiated in accordance with applicable law. These Voluntary Redundancy Terms are outlined in Annex B to the National Agreement and are annexed in the commercial contracts. The MoJ position on the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections is that this remains unchanged. Any probation staff employed as at 31st May 2014 will, if they are eligible for voluntary redundancy, be entitled to the EVR terms outlined within this National Agreement. My officials will continue to work with all providers to ensure they honour this obligation.

Any proposals to amend these terms, like those that Sodexo have put on the table, will need to be considered through negotiation with trades union and in accordance with applicable employment law. With regards to the differing Voluntary Redundancy terms that Sodexo are offering, my officials are continuing to work closely with them to ensure they comply with their contractual obligations."

I have already discussed this with two friends who are employment lawyers - basically, the major issue is that NAPO signed up to the EVR terms, but foolishly neglected the fact there were no Enhanced Compulsory Redundancy terms. All this meant that any CRC could bypass the EVR stage and move straight to compulsory anyway. By offering the voluntary severance package, Sodexo aren't breaking the terms of the contract. All they're simply doing is offering something completely unrelated to the contract. One of my friends said he couldn't believe how foolishly amateur NAPO had been in agreeing these terms.

Some of this was on the blog a long while back and if you look further back this was coming. The leadership we have had has no capacity to look long term. Anyone knows that's what you pay a lawyer to do, find the weak clauses. While Napo should be paying for that instead of the former General Secretary relationships fiasco. The bank rolling big spender Rendon forked out the lolly and we are really going to pay the price for that. He was in the 'in club' and paid off his former buddy. Well done NEC, turned your backs on the people that said no to the scandal. That cover up the NEC assisted because they are weak, led the way for the total scam. I hope Lawro does go before AGM. I will be there to boo and stick 2 fingers up to the monitors and useless pair of chairs, double rubbish. It won't matter I have my letters to get rid of me. I won't be able to fund Napo either. I would rather have a job, but that has little prospect now I have to accept.


The situation is simple:-

1) We need to know if what is alleged is true regarding Napo's failure to spot Sodexo's loophole?
2) What legal advice did Napo get specifically in relation to the possibility of a loophole?
3) If no advice, why not?
4) If Napo's legal adviser's failed to spot the potential loophole, what redress is Napo going to seek?
5) If advice was offered, was the advice followed?

All this happened on IL's watch and we need a new General Secretary.

"With regards to the differing Voluntary Redundancy terms that Sodexo are offering, my officials are continuing to work closely with them to ensure they comply with their contractual obligations."

This is ambiguous speech and very different from saying "EVR must be paid to staff". Gove is not fighting for probation staff, no politician is. The first comment summed it up. Sodexo ensured a contract where it could do what they wanted, and Napo were too incompetent to prevent it and unison/GMB didn't give a damn either way. Napo had the experience of the London unpaid work sell off, and so knew redundancies would occur. So it was not foolish, but incompetent and useless. I'm in the NPS and Napo will be useless for us there too.

Good point. London UPW flogged off, NAPO did nothing to save the PSO grade because they were not seen as professionals. Tim Wilson Chair, Tom Rendon London Chair - his own members - Jonathan Ledger GS. Not a peep from the usually heard Pat Waterman and the rest is history. The cast was set - the national privatisation looked a lot easier to pull off as there was a zero campaign. In fact it became the open door invitation.


However, N'bria and Cumbria/Lancashire had policies in place which DID guarantee EVR up until March 2016 if redundancies were to be made. I know that doesn't help the other 4 areas, but surely colleagues in these two areas should have the policy honoured? I believe the phrase is 'custom and practice' ie other people (senior management) have been given EVR as a result of TR but trying to move the goalposts for frontline staff is a clear breach of the policy. Trying to sneak a new policy in without being approved is breach of contract surely?!!

And therein lies the problem. NAPO allowed this to happen and now it has, are trying to cover their tracks with misinformation and posturing. They need to back off. Sodexo will not respond to their attempts to bully their way through this, and people who chose to take a deal want to move on.

In March (BR 25/2015) Napo wrote: 

'The unions do not expect CRCs to propose any compulsory redundancies during the term of the private contracts.' This expectation was held despite the fact that there was a seven months countdown to compulsory redundancies included in the framework agreement. I have never understood the basis for the assumption, presumably shared by all three unions, that compulsory redundancies were unlikely during the lifetime of the contracts. If this expectation that there would be no compulsory redundancies was truly the groupthink of the unions, then what was their rationale for this expectation? Because it has turned out to have been a monumental misjudgement.


Lets be clear. This blog has seen posters asking specifically what reasons did Lawro have for joining in the SCCOG? He was warned by many and I was told reliably he should not be including himself in the talks of the setting up of the TR agreement. Employers should have wrote it independently from his input. That was construction stages, not consultation. He should have received it, read from them and sent to legal for trashing. Instead he helped formulate its incredible deconstruction of us. 

As has been called for in the past, where are the minutes Lawro of all your meetings that you attended? Where is the legal guidance notes, where are the minutes of the SCCOG meetings and what did you tell them that allowed practically the first draft through? Also JUST SO YOU'RE CLEAR as a Napo fee paying member losing my job, I would like Lawros post. I could make the same mess and no worse. Finally, I do not care for the other union leaders. I am holding the man we pay a salary for to account, no one else. Why did the officers let you go to the meetings anyway? Are they that pathetic and send you off 'have a good day at the office dear?'

In April 2015, Sodexo released a statement & a comment on this blog was featured in relation to that statement:

"I feel sick to the stomach as I read that Sodexo statement:

"We had planned on the basis that the majority of exit would be on compulsory terms, seven months after contract commencement, i.e. 1st September 2015, as per the National Agreement."

Says it all - couldn't be more explicit if they tried - it was planned. The slash & burn, the seven month wait to move to compulsory redundancy, the fact it was written into the agreement. IT WAS PLANNED. So come on Napo, Unison, MoJ, NOMS whoever else sat around that table - OWN UP!!! Who got paid what to put together this travesty of an arrangement whereby "the majority of exit would be on compulsory terms, seven months after contract... as per the National Agreement."

A similarly themed post on here from 7 Apr 2015:

"The MoJ have stated:

"The enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme, agreed with Trade Unions as part of the National Agreement on Staff Transfer, is funded by the Ministry of Justice in the period to 31 March 2015... We are not currently planning to offer VR to probation officers and other operational roles as we believe we need to retain the skills of those who have been transferred to the NPS."

So what about the poor bastards in CRCs? Sodexo, any ideas?

"We had planned on the basis that the majority of exit would be on compulsory terms, seven months after contract commencement, i.e. 1st September 2015, as per the National Agreement. If operationally possible and staff wish to exit early through a compromise, we are currently looking at whether we can offer an exit package on slightly enhanced terms."

We can even go back to 2014 & the words of Lord Faulks in Hansard:

"It is difficult to understand why there is apparently - so the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, says - discontent among the staff, because a deal has been negotiated with the unions. We have been undertaking negotiations with probation trade unions and the employers’ representatives over a national agreement for staff transfer that will protect the terms and conditions of staff transferring to the CRCs or the NPS. Probation trade unions and the Probation Association, which represents trusts, ratified the national agreement on staff transfer on 29 January 2014. Trade unions have also withdrawn all local trade disputes. The national agreement offers a very good deal for existing staff, and demonstrates our commitment to fairness by going much further than we are legally required to do. Staff will transfer to the new probation structures with their existing terms and conditions in place. The additional protections set out within the agreement include a guarantee of employment in the new probation structures from 1 June 2014, no compulsory redundancies for a period of seven months following share sale and an enhanced voluntary redundancy period of up to 67.5 weeks. Alongside our negotiations, the programme has put in place a dedicated consultative forum for effective engagement with trade unions and employers’ representatives. We will continue to engage closely with trade unions and employers throughout the transition to the new probation structure."

I suspect only Gove can put a stop to this process now. As SoS he holds the "golden" share which I believe means unless he gives his blessing Sodexo can't do shit. That was Grayling's notion of holding the reins of the privateers.

So as I understand it Gove could tell Sodexo to halt this VS nonsense & pay EVR or pay VS at EVR rates... Or lose their contracts. He could do that now. Gove could stop this travesty in its tracks immediately if he wanted to.

If he doesn't intervene then he is complicit in, colluding with & condoning Sodexo's illicit employment practices as a key shareholder. He can't claim ignorance of the action, he's already written a letter on the issue & he might then be someone else we can cite as culpable in a group action against Sodexo for breach of contract, etc, etc, etc.

The over 55's issue

I am over 55 and have 2 children at university still financially dependent on me....they live in big cities and cannot pay their own accommodation fees....I need to work for my family....and I still have a mortgage so have my own needs to meet. I want to work and accept my role has changed but I never ever thought I would be living in terror of redundancy given my profession and at this stage in my life. I expect to deliver my usual standard of performance, I just never ever believed a profession could be decimated the way ours has, in such a short space of time.

Will someone explain to me what «the pensions issue» is? The deal is either severance lump sum or unreduced pension (55 and over). If you are over 55 and go for severance lump sum the contract requires you to sign to say you will not also seek unreduced pension ie you can't have both. IL's previous communication totally misrepresented this. As per previous requests, will someone from NAPO explain?

Re the previous blog which highlighted Sodexo admitting they made a mistake with the over 55's rights and HAVE NOW CHANGED THEIR POSITION - I have seen 3 requests for an explanation about what this means. Altho' I am retired, I still feel for my friends, colleagues and those I have never met, many who are over 55, who are struggling with making major decisions and would like to see someone explain this baffling statement.

Thanks, I too am waiting for a response to the very clear and reasonable question posed yesterday. This came very quickly after the IL blog had been updated and posted on here so one wonders why someone from NAPO would not have been able to respond?

Napo do not account on this blog, they account to the NEC, so if it's not asked they get away with it. I can assure you Napo had been written to many years back seeking a national policy on redundancy to protect people as it was a fragmented situation and some very decent people saw this. National NAPO did nothing, those letters exist. In West Mids they are the only area to retain their LGPS rights of a 104 weeks pay at point of compulsory redundancy so are laughing at the EVR rate. The harmonisation process also called for upward mergers and so some got a small contract protection. The rest of us will be providing the second pensions rip off since Maxwell and NAPO knew this. Fact!

Can I just make something really clear please. EVR is NOT the same a VS. VS is NOT redundancy (in legal status at any rate) - it is people agreeing they wish to go, on the terms being offered, with absolutely no come back. Redundancy - enhanced, voluntary, compulsory, statutory - you name it, it's different, but it IS Redundancy, and NOT Voluntary Severance.

This extremely basic difference is WHY Sodexo have been able to do this. They are offering (and indeed people are choosing to take) something completely different to what was originally on offer - called Redundancy. I am not in a Union. I did not express an interest in the VS. I easily found out, by phoning LGPS that anyone made Redundant over the age of 55 is entitled to their unreduced pension - no losses (to them) for early payment (at it's current value ie. not as if one had paid in for a further X years to 65!).

The situation is awful; workers are suffering. Sodexo and senior management have been, at best, obfuscatory and this whole mess leaves their morals and ethics in serious doubt in my personal opinion. The Unions have been seriously lax in my view, and totally 'off the ball'. Glad I didn't pay any of them - what do people pay their unions for, if not to protect them from exactly this sort of travesty!?

No wonder everyone is thoroughly pissed off. Sadly I don't imagine Gove gives a fig about any of it, or us - and will just bluff his way through the whole sorry mess, and still come up smelling of roses ... you watch. The 'chosen few' always have a way of bouncing back - look at today's news!

This is the best post I have read on here for a long time. Not just because I agree with you, but because you are clear and concise. Now, do you know what IL meant yesterday when he said 'Sodexo had accepted they were wrong re the over 55s and the pension issue'. I don't think they have been wrong about anything. True, we think they were 'wrong' not to offer us EVR, but they have been very careful in everything they have done.

In response to your enquiry: "Now, do you know what IL meant yesterday when he said 'Sodexo had accepted they were wrong re the over 55s and the pension issue'." - Like you, I can only interpret it as meaning they have been wrong to go off plan with the VS to the detriment of the over 55's, instead of offering the EVR. ... NOT that they will have any intention of playing fair and correcting the situation. I don't imagine they are that 'close to change' do you? In fact, I'd put money on them 'offending' again in the future.

Sodexo have been behaving as if the entitlement to a pension for the over 55s is their gift rather than something you and your previous employers have paid into: nothing to do with them. If you are over 55 check with your Pension admin office for the correct position or look at the website. The information is there.

Release of the pension UNREDUCED is a gift! I am 56. If Sodexo were not offering the deal and I wanted to take my pension I would have to bear an early payment reduction of around 40% a year. The deal covers this. The LGPS website you refer to covers the issue of reductions.


I want to end with, what for me, is a very thought-provoking contribution from Friday. It's from Schindler's List of course. We all know everyone at Napo HQ read this blog, so the message will get through.... 

Wonder whether anybody in our union has seen a certain film? Surely they must remember this
Amon Goeth: This is very cruel, Oskar. You're giving them hope. You shouldn't do that. *That's* cruel.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

An Appeal to Lawyers

I'm sure there must be a few lawyers who read this blog, or maybe people know of a friendly lawyer who could be pointed in this direction? We need help quickly because colleagues in the Sodexo-owned CRC's are being royally-shafted by this French catering company who know nothing about our business. 

I'm a fairly simple soul who likes to think he can understand plain English. The following is a quote from a letter sent to Napo by the Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove MP. It seems pretty clear to me, so what the f*ck is the problem in Gove picking up the phone and telling Sodexo where to get off? 

"Clause 30.3(e) of the Amended and Restated Services Agreement (ARSA) with Sodexo requires that unless more beneficial terms exist, the contractor must give effect to the Voluntary Redundancy Terms; these terms apply unless renegotiated in accordance with applicable law. These Voluntary Redundancy Terms are outlined in Annex B to the National Agreement and are annexed in the commercial contracts. The MoJ position on the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections is that this remains unchanged. Any probation staff employed as at 31st May 2014 will, if they are eligible for voluntary redundancy, be entitled to the EVR terms outlined within this National Agreement. My officials will continue to work with all providers to ensure they honour this obligation.

Any proposals to amend these terms, like those that Sodexo have put on the table, will need to be considered through negotiation with trades union and in accordance with applicable employment law. With regards to the differing Voluntary Redundancy terms that Sodexo are offering, my officials are continuing to work closely with them to ensure they comply with their contractural obligations."            

Friday, 28 August 2015

Latest From Napo 78

Here is the latest blog by Ian Lawrence:-

Unions go back to the Minister over Sodexo fiasco

As we reported to yesterday’s meeting of Sodexo Representatives, we have experienced yet another fruitless week at the coalface in which we held nearly two full days of talks with senior Sodexo management about the voluntary redundancy scheme following a directive by the NNC Joint Secretaries to get back around the table.

These talks followed the receipt of the letter from Michael Gove which we published earlier this week. This upheld the view that Michael Spurr provided some months back that any redundancies announced by Sodexo should attract the Enhanced Early Retirement terms (EVR) as per the National Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement. This view was supported by those Napo and Unison members taking part in the recent indicative ballot who confirmed our view that this was an unacceptable position for the unions.

The blanket refusal to negotiate by this most intransigent company (right up there in my view as about the worst I have experienced and that is saying something) is at times staggering. The Sodexo approach is to have a scripted double answer for nearly every scenario with the bottom line being that EVR is unaffordable and that paying the full amount would merely hasten the onset of compulsory redundancies.

The story so far in short

Sodexo have presented as an unscrupulous organisation who have not entertained any meaningful negotiation with the unions and shown no latitude whatsoever in our exchanges. They have not only changed their approach at the 11th hour in terms of what it is they were actually offering, but have pressed ahead with an unrealistic timetable without members having all the facts available. On the critical issue for staff aged over 55, it is only this morning that Sodexo have accepted that they were wrong on the pension issue and they have now changed their position.

We now know that around 600 staff have indicated an interest in the offer from Sodexo and that there are around 410 departure slots available. On this basis we have suggested that Sodexo could restore some good will and offer a degree of certainty for the remaining workforce by offering a No Compulsory Redundancy Agreement but they are having none of it at this stage.

Our estimate based on feedback from your reps is that between 100 -150 Napo members will leave the six Sodexo CRCs. As you would expect we have put in place all the processes for members who wish to accept what is on offer to access advice from the Thompsons Settlement Service before they sign their settlement agreements. Given the way in which Sodexo have demonstrated their disdain and disrespect for CRC staff, now is a pretty good time to sign up to Napo if you have not done so already. There is no doubt that they won’t stop here.

Even though the negotiations have taken us up a cul-de-sac, the Michael Gove letter indicates that he has some sympathy for the Unions position. In light of this we must explore this avenue to its conclusion and see if the Justice Secretary is willing to intervene in this Sodexo inspired shambles. We are doing (and will continue to do) all that we can to exert more pressure on Sodexo to honour their contractual obligations. My contact with the Ministers Private Office yesterday indicates that the unions follow up letter seeking a meeting with the Minister and Sodexo is already being considered at a senior level within NOMS, so that the Minister can be briefed when he returns to his office next week. I will arrange for further news on developments to be issued as soon as I can.

Our focus on the Sodexo issues has been resource intensive and has stretched us thin at times over these last few weeks, but I can assure you that important work on a range of other issues is ongoing and I hope to be better placed to report on these over the course off next week.

Have you voted in the National Officer Elections yet?

If not there is still time to grab that envelope from the unopened pile or the one that you were going to look at tomorrow as far back as a week or two ago (yes we all have one of those).
The candidates for the vacant National Vice-Chair posts are:

Chas Berry
Charron Culnane
Barry Adams

The candidates for the vacant National Vice-Chair post with Finance responsibility are:

Keith Stokeld
Mona Lim
Chris Pearson

As always I am asking Napo members to consider taking part in the ballot and to recognise that all the candidates are offering to commit a great deal of time and effort in helping to promote your interests. I have always believed that Napo is a reflection of its membership and that our open and democratic structures (which include elections) are there to be used.

Enjoy the Summer(?) bank holiday.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Latest From Napo 77

il/rs/mp 26.8.15




This bulletin updates members on the negotiations between the probation unions and Sodexo in relation to the sub-standard severance offer which has been made by the company to staff in its six CRCs. Talks took place again on 24 and 25 August to see if we could find a way to settle the dispute over the offer. Unfortunately, the talks which the parties were directed to hold by the NNC were not productive and Sodexo refused again to improve its sub-standard offer.


Napo and UNISON maintain that the severance offer that has been presented by Sodexo is a voluntary redundancy scheme and therefore must comply with the terms of the Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy (EVR) Scheme, as set out in the NNC National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections.

Our position is clearly supported by the Secretary of State Michael Gove, who in the attached letter to the trade unions dated 14th August 2014 states:

‘Any proposals to amend these [NNC] terms, like those Sodexo have put on the table, will need to be considered through negotiation with trades union and in accordance with applicable employment law. With regards to the differing Voluntary Redundancy terms that Sodexo are offering, my officials are continuing to work closely with them to ensure that they comply with their contractual obligations.’

The probation unions entered into negotiations with Sodexo in good faith to consider proposals by the company to vary the terms of the EVR. However, Sodexo failed to play their part and have failed to improve on their opening offer. Instead, they have disingenuously, and rather clumsily at the 11th hour, claimed that they are offering an entirely separate voluntary severance scheme. This is in order that they can short change employees and side step their contractual obligations.


The unions will now be writing to Michael Gove asking for him to intervene urgently: firstly, to ask that Sodexo halt their redundancy process; and, secondly, to ensure Sodexo comply with their contractual obligations to use the NNC EVR scheme in the event of voluntary redundancies.


This guidance note sets out advice from Napo and UNISON to any members who have expressed an interest in, and are now considering whether to accept, the Sodexo voluntary severance/early retirement offer in your CRC.

You should be clear that the unions do not support the current Sodexo offer, and do not believe that it represents an acceptable offer for our members. Under the circumstances:

  • it is entirely up to you as an individual to decide whether, or not, to accept the current Sodexo offer
  • Napo and UNISON will offer continuing support to their respective members, as far as we are able, in relation to any potential application for the Sodexo offer, notwithstanding our opposition to it
The Sodexo Offer for the Under-55s

Staff, who are under 55, are just being offered the Sodexo voluntary severance offer of 2 weeks actual pay for every year of service up to a maximum of 30 weeks.

This offer compares very badly with the National Negotiating Council enhanced voluntary severance offer, which Sodexo has refused to offer, which would have given you 4.5 weeks actual pay for each year of service up to a maximum of 67.5 weeks.

The Sodexo Offer for the Over-55s

Staff who are over 55 are being offered a choice of:
  • either the voluntary severance offer (as above)
  • or early retirement with an unreduced pension
Under the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Regulations 2013, any active member of the LGPS aged 55 or over, who leaves employment by virtue of redundancy, or business efficiency, or whose employment is terminated by mutual consent on the grounds of business efficiency, is entitled to, and must take, immediate payment of their pension benefits without any early retirement reduction applying.

In making your decision you should therefore bear the following in mind:
  • If you are over 55 and want to take the voluntary severance offer, the company will include a clause in your settlement agreement to say that you won’t exercise your right, under the LGPS regulations, to take your pension early. 
  • The unions are currently taking legal advice on whether it is permissible for Sodexo to include such a clause in the settlement agreement.
  • If you stayed with your CRC and were eventually made compulsorily redundant, you would get at the very least both statutory redundancy pay* and immediate payment of an unreduced pension if you are over 55. Of course, there is no guarantee that you would be made compulsorily redundant, so it is up to you to assess the pros and cons of agreeing to leave with the Sodexo offer now, or staying and possibly being made compulsorily redundant with the above benefits.
  • Cumbria & Lancashire CRC and Northumbria CRC have both just unilaterally changed their local redundancy policies which gave staff the same benefits on compulsory redundancy as are available under the NNC enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme (i.e. 4.5 weeks pay for each year of service up to a maximum of 67.5 weeks)
  • Napo and UNISON has advised members in these two CRCs to write to their employer to object to this unilateral change. This is with a view to Napo and UNISON potentially being able to take claims on behalf of members in these two CRCs to enforce the original compulsory redundancy terms in the event that you are eventually made compulsorily redundant. However, we cannot provide any guarantees to you at this stage in relation to the likely success of any such claims, and you should not rely on this outcome in your decision making.
What to do in relation to your Settlement Agreement?

1. Sodexo has confirmed that a member of staff who wishes to accept their voluntary severance/early retirement offer must first sign a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement to waive certain employment/legal rights in the future in relation to the settlement you reach with Sodexo.

2. Napo and UNISON have asked for an extension to the period in which settlement agreements are required to be signed and returned. We believe that the timescale needs to be realistic and consistent across the six CRCs. Sodexo are considering our request and we will inform you about the outcome if we get a positive response.

3. Any member who is considering accepting such a settlement from a Sodexo-owned CRC is strongly advised to seek advice from your respective union in relation to the settlement agreement before you sign.

4. Both Napo and UNISON can provide legal assistance in relation to your settlement agreement via the Settlement Agreement Unit of our legal providers Thompsons Solicitors and recommends that you refer your settlement agreement through your respective union in this way. Detailed advice will be sent to members shortly, on how to access legal assistance from your respective union.

5. Unfortunately, Sodexo is offering to pay only £250 plus VAT towards the cost of your settlement agreement, which will not meet the cost of using Thompsons Solicitors Settlement Agreement Unit. The unions have asked Sodexo to increase the offer of assistance with the cost of the settlement agreement to £350 plus VAT to ensure that you can take advice from the unions’ solicitors. It is entirely normal for an employer to meet the full cost of any settlement agreement required by that employer.

6. Nb: If you choose not to use Thompsons Solicitors and instruct alternative legal representation, in relation to your settlement agreement, it might have consequences for the assistance that Napo and UNISON may be able give you with your case going forward in any matter relating to your settlement.

7. Please speak to your local union representative if you have any questions

*Note: Statutory Redundancy Pay

Employees with at least two years' continuous employment get a statutory redundancy pay entitlement of:
  • 0.5 week's pay for each full year of service while they were under 22
  • 1 week's pay for each full year of service while they were 22 or older, but under 41
  • 1.5 week's pay for each full year of service while they were 41 or older.
Employees can only count a maximum of 20 years' service and the 'weekly pay' is subject to an upper limit.

The statutory redundancy payment is capped at £464 a week. From 6 April 2015 the payment cap will increase to £475 a week.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Latest From Napo 76

I've only just noticed that Ian Lawrence posted a blog on Saturday:-

Sodexo come back to table as Minister responds to unions concerns

At the end of another full on week, and as reported in BR 88-2015, the probation unions have now secured further talks with Sodexo on their early severance scheme. The discussions will take place this Monday and Tuesday have come about as a result of a meeting between the NNC Joint Secretaries the parties, and the MOJ contract compliance directorate.

To recap on how we have got to where we are, members will recall that Sodexo and the unions were directed to enter into negotiations about Sodexo's plans to offer a severance package which had initially been presented as an attempt to vary the terms of the Enhanced Voluntary Retirement Scheme. The unions entered into those talks in good faith but Sodexo decided to offer a voluntary severance scheme in its place which they have refused to improve.

The position has become even more complicated now that we have received a positive response from the Secretary of State to the letter that we sent following our meeting with him last month. I will publish this at the earliest opportunity, but as it raises a number of issues which are central to Napo's approach to next weeks talks I am asking that members bear with us for a few more days.

Unions seek halt to Severance exercise

Given the issues that have arisen over these last few weeks and the Ministers interpretation of Sodexo's contractual responsibilities in his letter, the unions have asked Sodexo to pause all procedures on the severance programme for one month to allow for genuine negotiations. Disappointingly (but somewhat predictably) this was refused, hence our latest advice that members do not sign the settlement agreements yet (the generic document is being considered by our legal advisers).

Sodexo's approach to this whole episode has been a communications disaster to say the least; one which has caused massive confusion and resentment across the CRC workforce within the six contract areas. This was the principle reason for members agreeing to be asked to take part in a formal industrial action ballot.

We have insisted that the talks next week include:

  • The interface between the proposed Voluntary Severance payment and release of pension for those aged over 55. The unions still maintain that Sodexo have got this wrong and that people are being induced to sign away their rights.
  • Serious points of clarification over several aspects of the proposed settlement agreement and the totally inadequate offer for financing individual legal advice
  • The intention to change Compulsory Redundancy terms in Cumbria/Lancs and Northumbria CRC's. 
  • Crucially, Sodexo's contractual compliance with MoJ (Gove's letter appears to raise some questions about this and where it is clear that he has instructed his officials to monitor developments).
  • The overall job cuts agenda and the unions concerns that this is unsustainable in terms of service delivery and public safety.
  • Failure to apply SCCOG/NNC job evaluation procedures to redesigned structures/jobs. 
  • The TUPE implications of the transfer of functions to Sodexo Salford.
Protecting your position

We have told Sodexo that we will continue to advise members who are involved in the expression of interest process add the caveat to all your communications that: "this is without prejudice to any improved outcomes that may emerge from the national negotiations I understand are still proceeding between Sodexo and the unions".

In light of Sodexo's track record for shifting the goalposts, none of us are able to predict what will happen in next weeks talks. We will give you as much definitive information as we safely can, but please bear in mind that our priority is bringing the CRC employers and Sodexo into territory in which we hope it may be possible to find some form of accord.

As always we enter this process in good faith, but remain ready to seek redress via industrial action if members believe that this remains the only other option. Its time for Sodexo to start resolving the mess that they have created.

You can help by sticking with Napo, supporting the work and efforts of your local representatives and telling others why they should sign up with us.

More news on a range of issues will follow later this week

Monday, 24 August 2015

Over a Barrel

Sodexo have started sending letters out regarding severance, but you must get legal advice and are only re-imbersed if you enter into an agreement:-  

Dear Colleague

This is an early email confirmation that your application for voluntary severance package has been accepted, subject to you signing the legally binding settlement agreement. A formal letter and agreement are being posted to your home address. Please note that the agreements will only be printed tomorrow afternoon in time for the post.

The settlement agreement is only legally binding if you have had independent legal advice on the effect of the agreement. The independent relevant advisor must be either: a qualified lawyer; a certified and authorised officer, employee or member of an independent trade union; or a certified and authorised advice centre worker; and in all cases they must have a current contract of insurance or professional indemnity insurance in place covering the risk of a claim from you. Providing you enter into a settlement agreement, we are prepared to contribute up to a maximum of £250 (plus VAT) towards the cost of the independent legal advice you receive and the payment will be made directly to your adviser.

In the agreement you may see a different leaving date to that you requested. If this is the case it is because of wider workforce planning considerations. This leaving date is non-negotiable unless there are exceptional circumstances and will only be considered on that basis.

Also in the agreement is the amount of severance pay you will receive (if any). Please note that any statutory redundancy payment is included in this compensation payment.

Should you wish to accept the offer of voluntary severance, you are required to return a signed settlement agreement. For the settlement agreement to be valid, you must have received independent legal advice. The deadline for the receipt of your signed, original agreement is 4 September 2015 (unless in exceptional circumstances an extension date has been given). If I do not hear from you by this deadline, I will determine that you no longer wish to progress your voluntary severance application. If that is the case then I must inform you that you will be considered alongside others (who did not apply for voluntary severance) in the pool for compulsory redundancy. However, if you are clear even before this deadline that you do not wish to pursue your application I would ask you to inform Anita Dixon, Head of HR, accordingly. In this case you will also be placed in the pool of staff 'at risk' of compulsory redundancy alongside others who did not apply for voluntary severance.

If you have any questions relating to this, please contact your senior manager in the first instance. However, if the question relates to the calculation of your severance pay, then please contact Anita.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

News From the South West

Thanks to the reader for sending me the following:-

Napo Members report from Chair Mixed messages and what directions?

Dear members,

This is the first time in writing as the Chair of the Napo South Sou’ Western branch. The combined areas have just celebrated its first AGM being, just over a year old. Although it did not feel like a celebration it has been a dramatic time for all of us. The speed of this year has gone by like no other and after so many changes. This contrasts with what we know about a week in Politics is a long time. Yet anything might still happen given the up and way this has all been done.

The NPS have moved forward in their new direction as an organisation. Embracing their revised public service identity. It has narrowed their responsibilities for the most serious and dangerous while we know our colleagues there will maintain a cohesion to colleagues in the CRC and wider staff teams. In the change the CRCs now have everything. Within Napo locally, Jill Narin PO NPS has been elected as the Branch Vice Chair and Jill will continue her links and support to the branch whilst ensuring a napo official attendance is maintained in the newly formed and regionalised NPS Joint Consultative Committee.

The reorganisation continues across all the union and the national framework. Many of you will know the Union centrally is currently engaging members in a survey. This is to look at ways to reorganise how NAPO has to change in light of the geographic and regional employers. The consequences of having to manage day to day workings with different employers. What the proposals will look like is fairly predictable but most likely we will have a separate union process to meet the changing needs of members. We wait and see.

The CRC JNCC reps have established the branch within the new national model recognition agreement. I do not think it is as strong a constitution as the previous arrangements but it seems at this time it is the best national NAPO could broker. I have written to the General Secretary on some of the issues and problems it generates for effective negotiation. However, Napo locally remain recognised and continue to protect all the nationally agreed terms and conditions that Members currently have.

My Thanks go to Helen Coley Denice James Napo and Glo Curtis of Unison. Also Paul Sabulis and the Executive team who have kept things moving throughout the difficulties of the year. While on Napo activists, we have two of our long serving branch officials running as candidates for the National Vice Chair elections. Their experience and accumulated knowledge will place them well for election and we wish Barry Adams and Mona Lim our best. This can be better though if you ensure to vote for them both. Ensuring that in the centre we have some voice and reasoning that will help protect all our regions interests and that of our national colleagues. Election papers will be out soon please make sure you encourage everyone to vote.

You will all be aware of what feels like daily changes to aspects of your work. I cannot say how much this is reflected in the NPS other than what is reported in corridor discussion. We have a lot In common though as the target culture language is taking hold. There are numerous new instructions and recording process with N-delius ever hungry for more data entries. This will no doubt continue for a good while, but keep in mind nothing is set solid just yet and arrangements might change. Financial depended issues will drive anything.

We are aware of the bigger changes with the news of the recently appointed Area \Divisional Chief executive John Wiseman. He takes his new role in what has now become a massive geographic area. John will be managing Bristol Somerset Gloucester Wiltshire Dorset Devon and Cornwall CRCs. John is no stranger to traversing geography and he will not consider distances as an obstacle. The combined areas probably won’t cause him many difficulties, however multiple sets of staff may have to work in ways which will consider what our geographic neighbours are doing. John will have his work cut out on that. Also the areas will need to combine Union interests. John was quick to look at ways we need to think about efficiencies for the unions as they dovetail into the separate areas he controls. Many of you know John was formally the Chief of Dorset so he is returning effectively. John has a long history and strong career in the Probation services and there can be no doubt he remains just as ambitious and determined to make things work in his expanding role. Of course, it is to be expected and having had opportunity to meet with John for a short time, he appeared committed to a positive future. He was balanced and open to questions.

John made the usual reasonable and expected political protected answers. His awareness of critical issues which are of concern to the Unions gave me an indication he is astute to the wider implications of all the headline issues. I thought there was a small flicker of empathy for the position while nothing that was said could reflect more than a nuance of opinions. John balanced his views on what was before us now, and the changing political potentials. He did not make any assurances to the needs of the membership and workforce. However, the relationship between professional aspects of the work was touched upon. This will be at the centre of future arrangements. Nevertheless there were no cornering or direct pledges and our future practices may well have a meritocracy base for success. John Takes over formally in September, although, he looked settled and comfortable in Exeter already. He is keen to understand the regional strength of the unions and the efficiencies that might be had for both management time and Napo regional structures. Nothing can be advanced just yet and we wait and see the outcome of the National survey decisions. It was clear a wider dialogue within the territories branches will come in time. A tandem task structure from the employers and management and potentially regional delivery model may well happen. All this is ongoing speculation.

From ongoing issues to those or at least someone in particular who has decided their time for continuity is over. With our new (Chief) or Chief Executive John Wiseman coming in September, I want to ensure we reflect a little on those who have decided a new chapter in their life has come. In writing this section of the report I am genuinely saddened and feel some heartfelt warmth for a man who has dedicated his life to the tasks of caring and looking after people. For those who have less in the lottery of society. Our outgoing Chief Rob Menary, has been ACO, SPO, PO, and so on. His experience and memories go as far back as modern probation took hold. He has the broadest range of experience and has been involved in all the changes over the years in one way or the other. In all that time, whether practitioner or management I know from my experience of Rob he has always wanted to deliver better outcomes for the people we work with. In our cross union relationship I have to be clear we have crossed many times. We have argued at some points unable to maintain a totally objective positions, and test both of our patience come close to the limits. We have shared the contrast of a long night over strike action talks. Then, running into the small hours of the morning seeking resolution. A time when employers wanted to ensure our reputation of good running public services were free of militant strike action. Preventing stoppages in provision was important to avoid. However strong our disagreements have been, Rob has always seen these quickly forgotten. We have been able to move onwards without recrimination. This says a lot to me and members of the Unions negotiating teams working with Rob through difficult issues we have developed a respect which has grown over the years.

In the role of Chair of the branch, the responsibilities of recording and reporting are part of the job. Yet writing the union record for Rob’s departure is something I am glad to be doing. Having worked under and alongside Rob, I have many anecdotal stories. I hope to share these one day but not all can be done here. Many a comedy moment, 1 example, when Rob was an ACO new into the merged Devon and Cornwall. In a briefing we sat in the back row of chairs. Slowly but surely as the hours went on we both slid back our chairs trying to snatch a glimpse each other’s notes. The only thing stopping us eventually, was the 4 yards we had moved as we ended up against the wall.

This, sort of marks us really as we have spent considerable time against the wall. We are sadly a long way from those days their like will probably never return. It was a good time when we were afforded the wider boundaries and mix of interaction.

It is a consequence of leadership that decisions have to be made whether we like them or not, as a Union. Leadership is often isolating and despite many of the negatives Rob has never avoided problems always engaging. He has tried to serve his time well. I think he has achieved just that and exceeded in many areas. Often managing difficult issues into settlements if never full agreement. In the vein of lone decisions he has had many judgement calls. I know from my experience of representing members as a group or individuals he has made some difficult choices. Some of these have been emotionally heartbreaking for those involved. At times requiring the sensitivity and genuine sense to do things right for people. Robs activity here has been welcomed. These silent matters in the lives of people I know have been incredibly tough, yet sound and respectful judgements demonstrate his care and foresight for the well being of others. For some of those I thank him.

I do take this opportunity on behalf of the Union to Thank Rob publicly and on the record. The brief period, overseeing Dorset through the harmonisation process. Previous merger from Cornwall leading D+C. Working with the JNCC, and all struggles and support of argument. For some of the wins and disappointments in representing our members. Rob has many strings to his bow and will no doubt he will have much to do. I suspect he will take long voyages on his Kayak (I call his Yacht) He may well spend some time in his Spanish Villa (he calls a 1 bedroom flat.) Recently a grandfather with a new direction for the future or just relaxing as part of the successful family Rob comes from. Whatever he does he will no doubt do it well. Be well and with the warmest regards from us. I wish all best to you Rob whatever you choose to do and say a final thanks from NAPO.

Other recent leavers have been the Board but not yet mentioned. An interesting point we must credit the outgoing group for last year. In conjunction with senior management we finally managed to agree under the small window of opportunity the harmonisation agenda. We ratified full agreement of our current redundancy policy. The harmonisation process required a no detriment and upwards shift to all merging policies. This work continues to protect staff in many ways. The arrangement helped us move a long fought battle managed over 3 years with myself as lead negotiator. Many letters ignored and rejected from both HR and some senior management. There were times the board agreed with us but the momentum was stalled by the management. Citing hurdle after hurdle policy and beliefs over facts and in date requirements. Despite this, finally the board having had enough of the constant agenda item and ongoing lobbying a principled argument took hold. Along with a few other boards also adopting revised policies under the staff transfer arrangements. The opportunity to formally agree the position on our claim, although, we were never going to achieve our request right for 104 weeks under the LGPS scheme our compromise was to adopted the national EVR rates. This critical important agreement is something we feel the board need public recognition and our gratitude for because as they left they gave membership and staff a helping and decent hand. Not something for us to consider right now but ownership of that agreement is important for us all to remember. For that we thank the outgoing board members.

Finally, most members will not be oblivious to the issues and concerns that are being raised with me about our friends and colleagues in the north. Compulsory threats of dismissal in large numbers is an incredible response from the private owners of the contracts. Planned terminations on mass across all grades is an alarming prospect and send us a clear warning of the potential crisis we could all face. The worst situation for many ever in my 32+ years service. We are rightly concerned for them. Your respective work and those colleagues caught up with the reality that they are not required in the new employers operational model. It will be the worst outcomes set against a cost cutting arrangement by which the dismissals on offer seek to fleece colleagues of their critical redundancy rates. We are marginally better off in the form of our contract holder but we are not complacent. None of the SSW branch executive is comfortable with the growing fears and anxieties. I do not want to see any of our membership experience what is happening in other areas. On that basis we must be alert and stringent in all that we do. Ensure we have the fullest membership signed up to NAPO. Recruit where possible. Strong membership empowers us to negotiate matters on both a local and regional membership basis. We call to you our members to encourage your attendance at all branch meetings across the geography. Ensure you make branch minimum quoracy. Make sure all employment terms and issues are duly reported to the branch executive members or directly to me as Chair. Where colleagues are not members please again encourage them to join the branch NOW! The stronger the branch is the better prospects we have of achieving our stated aims, we have a good mandate on which to act but we can make it stronger. We will keep you posted as things develop and monitor the wider national picture.

The AGM is in October and I look forward to seeing as many of our members there as we can so put the dates in your diary.


Dino Peros Napo Chair SSW Jncc Rep.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Latest From Napo 75

BR 88-15(a)

21 August 2015



As a result of talks which took place between the probation unions and Sodexo today, with the assistance of the National Negotiating Council (NNC) Joint Secretaries, we are pleased to announce that Sodexo has agreed to re-open talks with the unions next week over its previously announced voluntary redundancy offer.

You will remember that the unions had previously asked Sodexo to increase its offer, which falls far short of the NNC Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy (EVR) scheme, but the company refused. As a result, we consulted you on the Sodexo offer, and 98% of Napo and UNISON members voted to reject it and take industrial action to seek to improve it. Sodexo is aware of this.

As responsible trade unions, we have halted any preparations for industrial action pending the talks resuming with Sodexo. We asked Sodexo to halt their redundancy timetable while the talks take place, but the company has not agreed to this at this point in time. We will continue to argue for this, because it makes sense to pause at this stage, particularly if the Sodexo voluntary redundancy offer changes.

In the meantime, members are advised not to enter into any agreements or undertakings with their CRC, or Sodexo, in relation to the company’s voluntary redundancy offer, pending further detailed advice which will be sent out next week following the meetings with the company. 

RANJIT SINGH                           IAN LAWRENCE