TO NAPO MEMBERS
Who you gonna call..........your union or HR.
Attached below is a letter from Tom Rendon, National Chair, and Ian Lawrence, General Secretary, which was previously e-mailed to you all directly. This letter sets out why the unions registered a failure to agree at the meeting of the National Negotiating Council (NNC) on 20th November.
Although in a formal sense the negotiations are between the trade unions and the Probation Association (which represents the employers) it has always been clear that the MOJ, in their determination to break up the trusts and privatise the probation service, were pulling the strings behind the scenes.
At the meeting on the 20th, and on the previous one on the 11th November, it became increasingly clear that, rather than allowing negotiations to continue, the MOJ had every intention of simply imposing their will on the trusts.
This is what we call BULLYING and, rather than stand up to it, there is every indication that at their meeting on Friday 29th November the Board of London Probation Trust will simply roll over and do what they are told.
Attached below are three appendices. The first two documents give you advice on how to construct your grievance. The third document is advice to branch officials on registering a local dispute.
I fully expect that from next week members will start to receive either assignment letters or letters inviting expressions of interest. In accordance with national advice and guidance, you should lodge a grievance even if you think what you personally are being offered is the best of a bad job.
You should follow this advice and lodge a grievance because, such is the MOJ’s determination to rush this transformation through, you are being asked to make a decision on the basis of inadequate and incomplete information.
You will probably be asked to give your response within seven to fourteen days. You will probably still have unanswered questions and concerns that your HR advisor will be unable to answer.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
Just because LPT has given up does not mean you have to. Take action and lodge a grievance. This is a collective action whose purpose is to highlight just how badly we are all being treated. So even if you are satisfied with your lot; even if you think you’ve done ok; even if you don’t care; lodge a grievance and show LPT what you think of their actions.
The advice attached on how to construct your individual grievance is helpful and I advise you to read it carefully. But it cannot be exhaustive so feel free to call or e-mail me if you need further advice.
I don’t know exactly what further information Heather Munro intends to send to you on Friday afternoon. I can tell you that if any letters are sent out next week I shall be registering a local dispute.
Up until now there have been cordial relations between the branch and senior management as they assured us they were doing everything they could to make their concerns about the risks associated with implementing this transformation known behind the scenes. But now, as seems likely, the board will be giving the go-ahead for their implementation.
At the meeting I attended with Senior Management on Tuesday I was accused of getting agitated as the plans for sifting and sorting were unveiled. I told them that I was here representing over a thousand members who were, to put it mildly, not very happy and, if I sounded disputatious, it was because we were now in dispute at a national level and probably, very soon, at a local level also.
I urge you all to stand up for what you believe in. We are not commodities to be sifted, sorted, parcelled up and sold.
PROBATION IS NOT FOR SALE
Sticking with London and following on from the BBC's Newsnight investigation last week into the Serco Community Payback contract. here is the London Evening Standard reporting that Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee is launching an investigation into the claims made in the broadcast:-
Ms Hodge is taking action after receiving a letter from shadow justice secretary Sadiq Kahn. The Tooting Labour MP wrote: “In my dealings with probation staff across the city I have heard about problems with this contract.
“A growing catalogue of problems shows it is not delivering quite the value for money ... claimed by ministers.”
Serco and the London Probation Trust were awarded the £37million probation contract last year amid claims it would save £25million.
But concerns were raised after the BBC’s Newsnight broadcast whistleblowers’ claims that community sentence projects were not properly supervised — denied by Serco.
Yesterday saw the announcement of another marriage between a staff mutual called Delta and the GEO Group. I guess many of us will have seen prison vans labelled GeoAmey as this company has one of the prison escort contracts. In case you were wondering, yes the Amey bit comes from the former quarrying company Amey Roadstone who used to build motorways. Clearly nowadays anyone is qualified to run all kinds of services as it's the brave new world of 'no experience is necessary'.
The parent company is based in the United States and can trace its roots back to Wackenhut Corrections Corporation and has quite a dodgy history of running penal institutions, as recorded here on wikipedia.
The GEO Group UK Ltd and Delta Rehabilitation Ltd have today announced that they are to form a Joint Venture as a potential bidder for the Ministry of Justice's Transforming Rehabilitation competition in the York and North Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire region. Phil Watkins, GEO UK's Managing Director said:
"We are delighted to be working with a highly professional and dedicated staff mutual with a clear vision for reducing re-offending whilst at the same time maintaining the risk management skills required to keep the public safe".Richard Barker, Delta's Chairman, said:
"I'm delighted that we have secured a partner with the same drive, ambition and values as our own. GEO brings strong sector experience and a unique sets of competences. When put together with those of Delta and our local delivery partners we represent a very formidable proposition indeed".
Project Director Martin Gore paid tribute to the Staff Council and the Project Team for building the successful proposition so quickly:
"We have moved from the initial concept of a mutual in July to a fully developed Project Team and elected Staff Council with supporting Business Plans in four months. In addition, I would like to acknowledge the contribution and support of Cabinet Office Ambassadors and our local partners. Our bid will emphasise local provision, utlising the skills and knowledge of our staff and partners, together with those of the GEO Group, a major international company".
It's reported that some 80% of probation staff voted in favour of the mutual and as you can see they have seemingly decided to form a Staff Council rather than stick with recognised trade unions in order to safeguard their terms and conditions. Good luck with that then especially as according to twitter traffic yesterday, 'the MoJ have told them they've won the contract'. I wonder if the other contenders know that?
Not everyone is happy though and I thought it was worth highlighting this comment from yesterday:-
As for the mutual? Enthusiastic amateurs being dangled on the end of a line by canny business people in a bid to tug at heartstrings. They think that 6 months of rubbing shoulder pads with business consultants means they're ready for the dragon's den - they don't see that they're the sprats to catch the mackerel. Wouldn't buy anything from them - a bit like the door to door children operated by the modern day fagins; the kids earn about tuppence from a day's sales, whilst fagin sits at the end of the road watching from the leather interior of his brand new range rover. It was a sad experience, but made more so when seen in the context of working for the MoJ and their immoral backstabbing antics.
Finally, I'm told that this blog is read avidly down at MoJ/Noms HQ, so here's a piece flagged up by a reader yesterday from the Financial Times that seems to have a familiar ring to it and signals a lot more trouble lies ahead:-
Plans to offshore up to 1,000 civil servants’ jobs in a potential £2bn contract for back-office functions across Whitehall could spark an “exodus” of “demoralised” staff, a cabinet minister has warned. Steria, the French outsourcing company, has won the contract to provide procurement and finance across three departments – Work and Pensions, Environment, and Food and Rural Affairs – as well as the Environment Agency.
It took over 1,200 employees on November 1 and has agreed to delay any offshoring for the first six months. But it is understood that shifting jobs abroad will be a key part of the deal, which is aimed at shrinking central government and cutting costs. Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, has sent a letter to Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister in charge of the outsourcing, raising alarm over the deal.
“I am worried about the possible staff exodus and demotivation – and the risk to service even before the bidders have taken over,” he wrote.
PS I see that tailgunner has just posted this on the Napo forum pages in relation to requesting a caseload printout prior to preparing a grievance:-
Very good point. Worth doing - and then check all risk flags, tierings etc to ensure they are correct. Make a note for yourself where they appear to be wrong. Grist to the mill in an appeal. Perhaps also worth conferring with fellow members to see if their caseload details are accurate. Being able to demonstrate that any sifting has been done on inaccurate/inconsistent data will cause difficulties for appeals panels. One does not necessarily want to aggravate our direct employers but sadly that is the name of the game that is being foisted upon us all.
For those faced with the dilemma of trying to reconcile irreconcilable problems at appeal stage, I might suggest pushing the problem upstairs to HR Hubs. They are allegedly the specialists. Or, don't start the process until you are 100% certain that caseload data on 11th November was accurate.