I see that Tolkny, aka Andrew, has been undertaking some sterling work in trying to kick the Napo forum pages back into life and has posted some useful information. It's early days, but there are signs of something happening with this very interesting 'Weather Report' from a new tailgunner:-
Reports of assignment letters raining down on desks during the coming week are thought to be wildly exaggerated. The National Negotiating Council (NNC) meets tomorrow, November 11th, to consider the draft National Agreement on Staff Transfers. If the employers and the unions finalise this agreement, it will be issued, probably on the 12th, under cover of a Joint Secretaries Circular. There will also need to be guidance about how this should be implemented. This guidance should first be consulted upon locally and so actual implementation is unlikley to begin immediately. If it does happen, the first stage would be what is called automatic assignment - where staff are assigned either to the NPS or a CRC because it is obvious from what they do as to where they should go. But even this is unlikley to start straight away. So this particular depression would likely be somewhat delayed in its arrival.
Option 2 is that the NNC cannot reach final agreement tomorrow due to a number of unresolved issues - mainly only soluble by the MoJ rather than the employers - such as guarantees of continuity of service, what to do with secondees and what to do with corporate support staff. Also the length of time that the proposed enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme remains available. A reasonable approach here would be to adjorn for further negotiations. This would mean the depression would be further delayed in its arrival. But will the Secretary of State (SoS) countenance this? Current indications are that he would not -though it is the most sensible course to adopt.
Option 3 is that the Secretary of State loses patience with the negotiations and decides to impose a split, instructing trusts to get on and do it. In this instance the storm might break pretty immediately and chaos would ensue. Why? Because it is firmly believed that all the SoS has to impose is either an earlier staff transfer model which all parties said wouldn't work - apart from a firm of consultants called PA Consulting (nothing to do with the Probation Association) who were doubtless paid thousands of pounds to work up this unworkable model. Or he might try to use the current model being negotiated within the NNC - which is as yet incomplete. The havoc caused by such imposition would take a long time to clear up and so again, the prospect of everything being in place by April would look somewhat shaky. It is also uncertain how stakeholders would react to such imposition. Some trusts might refuse to co-operate on the basis that the SoS doesn't have the authority to impose and/or because it's a half-baked plan. Other trusts, perhaps where chiefs already have posts in the new probation world, might go along with it, in which case local trade disputes might be registered. And UNISON might also go into dispute if this happened.
So each of the above options has it's risks for the SoS in terms of delaying implementation. Nobody really knows which way the wind will blow tomorrow and Tuesday.
Questions? Ask the tailgunner.
Watch this space.
Meanwhile, with perfect timing so as to piss off as many staff as possible, we find to no great great surprise that the utterly uninspiring new head of the National Probation Service, Colin Allars, thinks that 'the public sector should not have a monopoly on probation services.' Here he is at his inspirational best talking to the Guardian about 'going forward' (arghhhh!):-
I'm sure these words will only really serve to confirm to many colleagues the extent to which we really are up shit creek in a barbed wire canoe and desperately searching for a paddle. We must have been extraordinarily bad in a previous life to justify all this being done to us. Even the new HM Chief Inspector of Probation is not a probation officer, but a former prison governor straight out of running Nacro, and of course as keen as mustard on the whole bloody TR omnishambles.
Finally, whilst tucked up in bed with my cocoa last night, I found myself listening to the venerable psephologist Professor Anthony King talking about his new book 'The Blunders of our Governments' on the BBC Radio 4 'Week in Politics.' It was a real trip down memory lane as all the really monster past cock-ups like the Poll Tax, Child Support Agency and Individual Learning Accounts were recalled.
Interestingly, King was prepared to say that Universal Credit was looking increasingly like a new candidate for monster blunder status, but the other obvious one called TR didn't even get a mention, as per usual.