The BBC Newsnight piece cataloguing Serco's performance with the London Community Payback contract duly went out last night and struck me as being reasonably thorough in highlighting the dangers to come if the TR omnishambles goes ahead.
Of course smug Serco and MoJ refused to grace the programme with their presence and according to long-winded statements from both, everything's just dandy and there's nothing to worry about. Sue Hall, Chair of the PCA, tried to put up a response to the equally smug Max Chambers from the Tory-financed Policy Exchange think tank, but not being a seasoned politician and lacking the killer instinct, sadly failed to make much of an impression in my view.
It would have been interesting if CEO of the London Probation Trust Heather Munro had put in an appearance, but that was never likely, the MoJ having effectively 'gagged' her earlier in the year for questioning the savings being claimed by Serco.
Max Chambers was allowed to recite the usual MoJ misinformation crap that included references to the HM Peterborough pilot in order to justify TR. Who is Max Chambers I hear you ask and what are his credentials to be an MoJ mouthpiece? He really does need some serious challenging...........
"Max Chambers is Head of Crime and Justice at Policy Exchange. Before joining Policy Exchange, Max worked for a leading welfare-to-work provider, where he was recruited to help establish and grow a new justice services division. As Commercial Development Manager, he led the company’s bids for Ministry of Justice payment-by-results pilots, probation contracts and as part of a major programme of prison competition. Prior to this, Max worked for Policy Exchange as Senior Research Fellow, authoring seven influential reports on police reform, criminal justice and health. Max has also worked in Parliament for the Shadow Justice and Home Affairs teams. He read law at the University of Nottingham."
Meanwhile, the first reassignment notices were reported to have been issued in Wales.
Referring to the failed negotiations on Wednesday and as reported on the Napo forum, tailgunner managed to get this further transmission off yesterday:-
There has been much chatter on the airwaves, on websites, elsewhere in this forum and in communications by both UNISON and Napo with their respective members about what transpired at the NNC yesterday. All of this gives a fairly accurate representation of the days events.
The NNC Constitution requires that papers are tabled for negotiation 7 days in advance of any meeting. This is for fairly obvious and sensible reasons - to enable both Sides to adequately prepare. As it was yesterday, the MoJ ( who have a seat at the negotiating table as part of the Employers Side), tabled a paper at the beginning of the day which essentially sought to undo most if not all of the progress towards agreement that had been made at a previous NNC meeting on the 11th. Most of the day was then taken up with considering this paper which had not properly been tabled anyway. This did not go down well with other members of the NNC on both sides of the table. Towards the close of play, the MoJ then withdrew this paper, essentially returning the meeting to where it had been at the beginning of the day - preparing to consider the final draft version of the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections but with no time left in which to conduct these negotiations. The matter was brought to a close with a failure to agree being registered by Napo/UNISON jointly.
The not unimportant issue of the pay offer was not reached, again due to lack of time but it is expected that this will now be progressed shortly by the Employers making a formal offer in writing.
What happens next? Trusts are in possession of a "requirement' from the Secretary of State to implement a staff assignment process and letters of Automatic Assignment and even letters of Expression of Interest my begin to be issued in some areas. It remains the case that there is still preparatory work that Trusts should undertake before moving forwards with this. So, for example, an Equality Impact Analysis (the impact of the split) should be undertaken, published and consulted upon with the unions locally. Such preparatory work is non-inflammatory and might be proceeded with, but as soon as letters start to be sent, local union branches (Napo & UNISON) are likely to register local disputes.
It seems likely that the MoJ will be communicating with Trusts in the light of yesterdays NNC. Quite what they will be telling Trusts to do remains to be seen.
Further news as and when available. There is a TR Consultative Forum this afternoon. This involves members of the TR Programme, the employers and the unions.
Information note for my MoJ readers:- another record day with 3985 hits.
PS I've just spotted this comment from yesterday which makes an extremely valid point which requires answering I think:-
Having just read tailgunners post on the napo forum for today, I am both surprised and angry that the meeting yesterday went the way it is described in the post. If, as is stated, the MoJ tabled a paper that had not been made available 7 days in advance as required, why was it then even looked at, let alone allowed to dominate the day to the extent that when it was then withdrawn by the MoJ late in the day there was no time left to discuss the paper originally tabled for the day, at which point the MoJ announced the process was out of time! A disgusting and blatant piece of game playing if ever there was one, with the employers and the unions walking straight in to the trap. It only confirms my view that there has never been any intention from the MoJ to negotiate seriously about anything to do with TR, so why they even bothered pretending beats me. Far more honest to have just imposed the change and say 'like it or lump it' rather than this charade. I've seen more honesty in my 13 years of working with probationers than I have in any of this debacle.