It's also becoming clear that there is widespread unease amongst the ranks about the policy, process, content and timescale of it all. I suspect the following, circulated to members within one branch whilst attaching the documents, might not be untypical:-
We are concerned in the way National NAPO appear too relaxed and write in a way that is not balanced on what else we can be doing and should be resisting the employer proposals.
This soft acceptance from National NAPO gives us an impression they may be too close to the drafting team and lost much of their ability to be fully critical of the plans which ultimately offer members very little. What we perceive, being generous to our national colleagues, is at best possibly a delay tactic to see what the members say and at worst a support of these proposals to influence members to sign off their own demise. The Language used to support that view "this is the best we can achieve" suggests there will be no proper fight, no overall action and really very little support for your jobs in the longer term. No proper protection of roles and security.
As has already been mentioned, members will have just two weeks in which to absorb the complicated content of the draft agreement, discuss it amongst themselves and voice an opinion through their branch officials before the NEC considers the matter on September 17th.
Officially, not only are the details not supposed to be circulated amongst the membership yet, but crucially details of two key elements of the draft agreement are as yet unkown until the conclusion of today's NNC:-
Appendix B gives details of the Staff Transfer Framework. It is the subject of further negotiations on the 30th August and hence it is not available in advance. It will include an element of assignment of staff – e.g. where there is a distinct operational function, an element of expression of interest for some staff and the application of sifting criteria that are objective and measurable and finally an appeals process.
This is probably the most contentious part of this agreement and it is unlikely ever to meet everyone’s hope and expectations. This is an unhappy process and we can only seek to make it as fair and equitable as possible. However, as with this entire agreement, and indeed the package as a whole, it is for members to accept or reject.
Appendix C is an enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme associated with the TR Programme. It will apply in all cases of voluntary redundancy arising as a direct result of the programme. The structure of the scheme is fairly standard and modelled upon that which was applied in 2001 when a number of Probation Boards (as they then were) were merged. This Appendix should be available on 2nd September for perusal. We await two significant elements. Firstly, how long the scheme will remain in operation. The initial offer from MoJ/NOMS is until September 2015 and our initial claim is until 2024 (likely end date of contracts with new providers). The likelihood is a date somewhere in between. Secondly, the maximum number of weeks pay that will be applied (and this is offered at actual rates of pay rather than the statutory maximum). Here, the initial offer is 66 weeks and we have claimed 104. These matters should be subject to further discussion on the 30th August.
No wonder there is widespread anger and unease, not only at Chris Grayling's absurd and wrecklessly-imposed deadline, but also the suspicion of a 'sell-out' by Napo officials. In the end it will be for members to decide, but it's hard to avoid the unpleasant conclusion that they are being 'bounced' into making a vital decision whilst under duress and within an absurdly short timeframe. It's to be hoped the full details are published as soon as possible after the NEC on Monday or there will be real trouble in the ranks.
As an aside, I understand that such is the turmoil down at MoJ/NOMS HQ with officials trying to make sense of the whole omnishambles, the 'split' between CRC's and NPP is now likely to be 50/50! It really is a case of not having a clue and in the end it might be decided either by tossing a coin or that other well-known scientific method of plucking a figure from thin air. If it were not so serious it would be quite funny.