We acknowledge that times are incredibly stressful for you all and that it is easy to feel despondent. We feel the anger and frustration that’s out there very keenly at Napo HQ but there are some very positive signs coming as a result of our campaign and there are actions which we can take individually and collectively to strengthen our position.
The Justice Select Committee
Napo has submitted two evidence documents to the Committee - see them in this Napo News article. These give a good grounding of the issues for you to use locally in your campaigns and are a useful resource. The timetable for implementing TR slips again and again. It was evident from this week’s JSC that the government are concerned about the growing chorus of criticism of the reckless timetable. The two ministers were falling over themselves to say that there would be a lengthy “dry run” of the two organisations within the public sector. This is a radical departure for the MoJ who thought they could have everything done and dusted within a couple of months. Members should take heart from this. We just have to keep up the pressure by pressing our public safety arguments. The timetable for the tendering process has slipped by two months and the cases will not be divided until well after April 2014. We have it on good authority that the JSC has amassed its own evidence about the risks in the project. Upon robust challenges, the ministers clearly struggled - see Napo News article here.
The Staff Split
Upon strict instructions by the MoJ, Trusts are now implementing timetables for the transfer of staff into the CRCs and NPS. We have sent out guidance about what to do should you receive letters either about automatic assignment or expressing an interest. It is vital that you return the forms but follow the guidance and register a grievance at effectively being forced to agree to take a giant leap into the unknown. Any member of staff has the right to register a grievance and this will provide you with individual protection in the future. Remember, a Trust cannot legally refuse to accept it. Also remember that this does not affect your right of appeal. Get your concerns down on paper and make sure there is a record. The Secretary of State has written a somewhat patronising and untrue personal letter thanking staff for being compliant in the staff assignment process. This is merely the grim output of the MoJ public relations department and to be expected- ignore it, we will be responding formally. We have also written to Chris Grayling to request that all staff should be individually consulted over the staff split rather than being put through the potentially discriminatory staff assignment process. You can view a copy of this letter here - IL 208-13 Chris Grayling - TR Consultation 05.12.13
Negotiations – the real facts
At the Justice Select Committee, Chris Grayling claimed that negotiations had broken down because of the Unions. Again, this is just part of the pantomime of government. The MoJ scuppered the final day of negotiations because of the pre-conditions that they brought to the table at the 11th hour and also because they are not prepared to offer continuity of service beyond the initial transfer. They have said the door may be open to further negotiation and we will take part in that process but the MoJ will have to play by the rules this time. We have registered our dispute with ACAS (the conciliation service) and there are some promising signs that we can rein in some of the process. Meanwhile please see the formal statement that Napo has had written into the minutes of the TR Consultative Forum which provides our view of events - Statement to TRCF 211113
At present we are in a war of attrition as we try to save our Service and of course that’s exhausting. The government, and some Trusts, are disingenuously spinning this, as in: “The poor staff are really stressed so let’s hurry up and privatise and make redundancies because then at least they know where they are.” Being flung out of the frying pan into the fire for your own good? This is no way to treat our members. If we could say more here about our campaign over the next couple of weeks, we would. But we can’t because the MoJ read our emails and it’s all about timing. It may not feel like it right now but there are some still real reasons for hope as the TR timetable flounders hopelessly.
Tom Rendon Ian Lawrence
National Chair General Secretary
National Chair General Secretary