Thanks to Joe Kuipers and the information he has shared with us, we know about the contract variations being imposed by MoJ/Noms on each probation Trust Board, including the all important termination notice period. We also learnt that these variations turned out to be offers you couldn't refuse, but there is an appeal mechanism apparently.
It would seem that such is the 'independence' in mind and spirit of these Boards that only three have decided upon an obstructive course by exercising that right of appeal, and by far the largest, London, is not included. It is said that CEO Heather Munro 'had a tear in her eye' as she imparted the news.
The following is from one Trust's staff information bulletin, but as I'm not sure about the quantity or quality of each Trust's efforts at sharing information, I thought it would be useful to reproduce here, albeit in somewhat modified and edited form. Clearly each Trust will be going through a very similar process and I wonder if the degree of helpful cooperation is universal?
Termination of Probation Trust Contracts – letters from Colin Allars dated 23 and 27 September 2013
The first letter confirms that Trusts will get at least 10 weeks notice of termination of their service delivery contracts with the Secretary of State, and that termination will not be before 31 March 2014. The second letter gives us formal notice of the start of the Potential Termination Notice on 1 October 2013. This means that once this period starts, the MoJ can give us 10 weeks notice of termination at any time within the 12 months notice period. The letter sets out the following timetable:
- 1 October: Commence of Potential Termination Period (to end on 30 September 2014)
- Mid-December 2013: Formal Readiness Assessments
- 1 January 2014: Earliest date for serving formal notice of termination (3 months after beginning of Potential Termination Period)
- Mid-January 2014: Decision point for serving formal notice of termination, giving 10 weeks notice of termination on 31 March 2014
- 31 March 2014: Planned termination date.
Letter from Walter Brady, Rehabilitation Programme MoJ, dated 20 September 2013 – Resource Testing
You will remember that we had a meeting at the end of August with representatives from the MoJ. This was our opportunity to give feedback on their initial proposals on issues such as estates, local senior management structures, and numbers of staff to be transferred to the CRC/NPS locally.
This letter was MoJ’s response to the suggestions we had made for amendments.
Following “helpful feedback from all Trusts” the estates proposals have been changed and the MoJ’s position now is that they “have no plans for the estate to change as a direct result of transition. The NPS and CRCs will operate from the buildings currently used by Trusts”.
Where buildings are supporting activities that will only be carried out by the CRC or NPS in future, they will be operated by the relevant organisation. An example would be Approved Premises, which will clearly become an NPS building.The MoJ have said that they will be looking - primarily in urban areas where there are a number of Probation buildings close together - to see if it is possible to allocate some buildings specifically to the NPS or CRC rather than sharing them. The MoJ will be contacting Trusts to discuss this, so we will keep you informed as to whether this will impact on us.
Senior Management structures - NPS
We have a further meeting scheduled with the MoJ on Thursday 10 October to go through the full current Probation Trust establishment and map numbers of roles at each grade – and I would stress this is about numbers of posts, not allocation of individual staff members – to either the CRC or the NPS. Any queries will then go back to the MoJ for a final determination, and we should then have the final numbers by the end of October. Once we have the final picture, we will be able to share that information with you.
Exit Management Plan
As Joe recently tweeted:- So, what are the implications of potentially just 10 weeks notice to close a Trust down? Will Trust Chairs sign such a variation? I gather we can expect another blog post from Joe in the near future.