In any conflict situation misinformation is a valuable weapon, and the MoJ saying that the enquiries into both companies will produce a result by Christmas is pure wishful thinking, now effectively confirmed by Serco losing the prison contract. I notice that the Daily Mail thisismoney column reports that analysts feel both of the big boys are out of the game until 2015:-
Grayling said the ‘delay and uncertainty’ caused by these investigations into Serco’s government work meant the group could not begin running the prisons. It comes as analysts warned that Serco and rival G4S could be frozen out of government work until 2015.
Robin Speakman at Shore Capital blamed political wrangling ahead of the general election, which is in May 2015, and next year’s Scottish independence vote.
‘It is likely to be well in calendar year of 2015 before earnings momentum begins to rebuild for these companies,’ he said.
Analyst Hector Forsythe at Oreil said: ‘The biggest threat to Serco is Serco itself,’ adding the company’s business ‘has hit a wall’.
Serco has undergone a radical overhaul to try and win back government trust.
‘The rational response by the government should be to ensure that Serco is viable supplier to maximise competition in bidding,’ Forsythe added.
But he said he feared more shortcomings being exposed by current probes, which would ‘make embracing Serco’s rehabilitation that much harder for the Government’.
This all comes on top of the recent BBC2 Newsnight investigation into the London Community Payback scandal involving Serco and it's rumoured they'd like to get out of it as it's not proving financially worthwhile for them. Maybe they got into it as a bit of a 'loss leader' in order to try and win the bigger TR contracts?
Whatever, like G4S, they now have the significant costs associated with reputational damage to contend with which affects investor confidence and ultimately share price. Michael Spurr might be telling people that 'TR must proceed in order not to prolong uncertainty' but in reality the need for a plan 'B' grows daily.
As ever-more colleagues start receiving reassignment notices, I see that Humberside Napo have been quick to register a local dispute and General Secretary Ian Lawrence tweeted yesterday this concerning Unison:-
Unison now moving to Industrial Action - very welcome indeed! MoJ on the ropes after disastrous week for Grayling (again).Save Probation!
Finally, Napo e-mailed the following to all members yesterday:-
Important information and facts about the failure to agree at NNC
At the conclusion of the NNC/SCCOG negotiations on 20th November the MoJ stated that it will instruct Trusts to implement arrangements to automatically assign staff to the National Probation Service or to the local CRC, or to facilitate staff expressing an interest in joining either arm. Arrangements have not been agreed by the recognised trade unions who have registered a failure to agree.
It is now probable that some Trusts will follow the MoJ instruction. We have re-iterated earlier advice to branches to immediately register local disputes in tandem with Unison and a model letter is being sent to Branches today. It is hoped that more news will follow next week as to Unison’s position regarding a National Dispute. Both Napo and Unison are also referring the failure to agree at NNC to the Conciliation and Advisory Service (ACAS). SCOOP/GMB are reserving their position following the threat to withdraw the VER scheme.
In addition to a collective local dispute Napo members are strongly advised to register individual grievances as soon as they receive notice of an assignment or a request to provide an expression of interest. This grievance should be submitted regardless of whether you believe you will be assigned to the NPS or CRC. It can also cover staff who will have anticipated seeking to express an interest in either the NPS or CRC.
Napo is asking members to register individual grievances for three important reasons –
a) At present there are too many uncertainties relating to future terms and conditions to safely accept or apply for any specific roles in either the NPS or CRC's. Despite the MoJ propaganda concerns include: conditions of service, job roles and responsibilities, staffing levels and risk of redundancies post transfer, and protections supposedly guaranteed under COSOP. Specifics relating to these will be included in comprehensive guidance to be issued early next week.
b) The staff transfer assignment process imposed by the MoJ does not include all of the safeguards and protections provisionally agreed during NNC/SCCOG negotiations with the PA and MoJ employers' side over many months, and therefore the MoJ's instructions are not fit for purpose.
c) The proposed split and subsequent share sale is dangerous for staff and the public. By registering a grievance you are making clear your personal concern about the transfer and legally affording yourself some protection. You’re also registering your support for our ongoing campaign against the Transforming Rehabilitation shambles by forcing Trusts to address your relevant concerns and demonstrating to MP's, peers and the public the strength of feeling against the plans amongst professionals and those closest to probation.
Early next week detailed guidance will be issued on how to structure a grievance. Essentially this will cover all situations: – assignment to the NPS; allocation to the CRC; or being denied the opportunity to make a considered, informed choice where one could have been expected to exist.
It is important that your grievance reflects your specific concerns relevant to your situation. It isn't appropriate for Napo to construct the grievance for you. Firstly, doing so would weaken its relevance when the local Trust has to consider it. Secondly, the MoJ will, we anticipate, seek to pressure Trusts into dismissing the grievances by claiming they are merely part of a collective action by Napo. If the grievances can be individually separated this is much more difficult for the MoJ to sustain.
Why this is vital to the Napo campaign
As stated above, the primary purpose of the grievance is to register your valid concerns about Trusts being forced to do a reassignment. However, you will also understand the reason why the MoJ is seeking to impose a system that everyone knows isn't safe or complete. Without the assignments being pushed through to meet the commercial timetable, this sale to potential providers is more difficult, more dangerous, and more unsustainable. By legitimately registering an individual grievance about your concerns on the allocation process you are also directly contributing to the aim of frustrating the sell-off process and thereby helping to scare off potential bidders. This will not go unnoticed by MP's, Peers, Parliamentary Committees, the media and the public.
Sticking with Napo
We want to take this opportunity to again express our appreciation or your support so far in our influential campaign to save the probation service, and in anticipation of your ongoing solidarity with Colleagues. Further guidance and support will be issued shortly to supplement this initial advice.
Ian Lawrence Tom Rendon
General Secretary National Chair