Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Latest From Napo HQ 6

The following e-mail to all members was received this afternoon and can be seen over on the Napo forum:-

Dear All
As you know, Napo’s advice is to file individual grievances in response to being either allocated, or automatically assigned, to the NPS or CRC.  We are being pressured to make a choice, or accept a decision, which profoundly affects our future professional lives with barely any information upon which to do so.  As a rank and file Napo member and employee of London Probation Trust, as well as your National Chair, I’m in the same boat.  In order to offer some solidarity and encouragement to members, I want to share my grievance with you - please find the wording attached (Tom Rendon Grievance ).  There are also a couple of points I’d like to make:

  • I am livid to hear reports of some Trusts saying they will not recognise staff grievances.  We are employees.  We are aggrieved.  We have the right to register this in a formal way.  Trusts cannot simply eat away at our employment rights on a whim and fancy.
  • Grievance issues are time limited.  In other words you normally have a 3 month window- from the date of the issue- in which to raise a grievance.  We advise you to use the process now because if there are any problems post-transfer you need to have the record.  Otherwise, you could be told “sorry, you’re out of time.”  This does not affect your right of appeal.
  • Because of local variations between Trusts it is very important to follow local branch guidance about grievances.  I’m slightly out of synch with my branch because I haven’t yet received my letter but, as I hold a national post, I want to support members who are in this position already.  Nevertheless, with or without a letter, we are in the same situation.
  • Grievances are not against our own managers, although they will have to respond in the first instance.  My own line manager has been supportive and met with me almost immediately.  I’d say this to any rogue Trusts, “Caring for staff: it’s not hard, but it makes a real difference to us.”
As a main grade practitioner I feel angry and quite vulnerable at the same time.  I guess many of you feel the same but we can do something about it.
Take care,
Tom Rendon
National Chair

I am writing to formally register a grievance, in accordance with the Trust’s grievance procedures, against being required to express and interest in working for the NPS or a CRC.

I am concerned for a variety of reasons (specifics appear below) and am requesting an opportunity to meet with you to enable you to investigate and then either resolve my concerns directly or refer the matter to the relevant person. 

A suitable resolution would include being given full information about what I can expect about life in the NPS and CRC so I can make an informed choice. This would include the following; my place of work, the name of the company who will run the CRC, the aims and values of the new organisations, information about how I will be paid and by whom, the equality and diversity commitments of the new employer, the type of work I will be undertaking, a guarantee of continuous service should I change roles, an outline of employee support, a guarantee that I will not be disadvantaged or victimised in any way because of my trade union membership and activism and my status under the Equality Act 2010 as having a “protected characteristic”. I would also want you to inform me of how I will be assessed under the assignment process because on 11/11/2013, I did not hold a case load at all.

Specifically, in relation to my broad concerns I would specifically ask that the following concerns be addressed

• I am concerned about having to choose between career development and losing accrued rights to redundancy because of the loss of continuity of service if I transfer between CRC’s and/or the NPS.

• My job may be allocated to the civil service NPS and I have no information regarding any additional restrictions that maybe placed upon me as a result of this.

• The staff split is to be based upon my job and caseload allocations on November 11th 2013 but I am on facility time release. I would need an explanation of how I might be assessed because I need reassurance that my union activity would not place me at any disadvantage.

• My previous work covered a mixture of high, medium and low risk cases and I benefit from the variation. I feel post transfer my role will be more limited, which will significantly limit my career and professional development as a result of not being able to freely move between CRC’s and the NPS.

• I have no information about where my job will be based post transfer or share sale and this is hindering my capacity to choose a preferred option.

• I am being asked to choose between posts in the NPS and CRC but have no job description for roles and as such I have no serious idea what I’m applying for or being assessed against. This is unfair, especially as the jobs could change significantly post transfer / share sale and I’ll be stuck.

• As someone who identifies as gay means I legally have a “protected characteristic”. I purposefully only choose to work for employers with robust policies and practices to help me feel safe at work. In expressing an interest I have no idea about my future protection against discrimination. I have not seen an equality impact assessment and my union representatives have not had the opportunity to voice my concerns. I therefore feel under represented and this could lead to me being discriminated against and/or at risk of harassment or victimisation.

• The TR programme’s work around diversity, equality and risk assessment has been identified as unlikely to meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, and ignores risks of disproportionate impacts that discriminate against offenders with protected characteristics. As such this will undermine my wider professional standing and status. I would like the Trusts’ views, explanation and reassurance on this.

• Both the CRC and NPS are likely to have reduced resources and increased workloads. I have seen first hand the impact of the privatisation of unpaid work in London. My concern is that mass redundancies will increase workloads and potentially leave me at risk of stress and ill health. Can the Trust give assurances that adequate resources will be available – for example, suitable office locations, IT support, risk assessment tools and adequate line management in each organisation?

As a result of this process, I have suffered from anxiety about my future working life and it has caused me stress and sleeplessness. I hope to be able to have a career in probation work for a long time but am worried about who I will be working for and what the conditions of work will be. Without adequate information, I feel I am being forced into a situation when, in reality, the new arrangements should be in place before I am asked to make a choice. While I am sure that individual line managers in LPT may not be in control of this situation, the Trust remains my employer and has a duty of care to me.

Generally, I support the policies LPT has in terms of staff care and I realise that I could seek counselling through the Trust. However, my anxiety does not arise from an internal conflict requiring counselling but an external lack of information which the Trust needs to take heed of and resolve.

During the grievance process I intend to continue to perform my duties, and to participate in the staff assignment process. 
I reserve my right to:

• take action to protect my position and enforce my rights under my contract of employment
• take action to retrospectively protect my position in relation to any outcome of continuing negotiation/conciliation at the Probation Service National Negotiating Council which may impact on the matters set out in your letter to me and any consequences arising from it.


  1. If I am Palestinian I may not be able to work for G4S because of their involvement with the detention of political prisoners in the Middle East.
    If I am African I may not be able to work for either Serco or G4S because of my belief that they are involved in human rights abuses in South Aferica.
    The same if I'm Austrailian.
    If I champion Animal Welfare I cannot work for a company that is responsible for clinical trials on animals.
    If I champion enviornmental causes then I couldn't work for a company involved in destroying our rain forrests.
    If I am anti-war I cannot work for a company involved in the supply of arms.
    These are diverse issues and as such raise issues of diversity. I have a right to hold ethics, and the freedom to stand proud against whatever wrong I believe exists in the world.
    I am state employed not state owned and as such retain the right to make free choices.
    To be asked to accept employment from an unknown employer takes my choices away, refuses to acknowledge issues of my diversity, and leaves me concerned about political, religious, moral and ethical abuses I may be faced with when I meet my new employer.

    1. Beautifully said, with a clear value base. makes me feel I am not alone.


  2. Today a really hard working colleague collapsed at work in considerable distress about his /her circumstances ( sorry but I don't want to identify their gender) and I fear will not be at work for some time. As a sole parent with children to support, the fear and anxiety created by Grayling's dreadful mess has simply become too much to bear.This person has an excellent sickness record but sees their future having been removed and can no longer cope with what we all know is a demanding job. Shame on this government, collectively and wholly.

    1. This is so sad but I fear will be all too common. I do hope your colleague has a good support network to help them through. This is criminal. One of my colleagues aged 48 has had a heart attack. I'm starting to wonder if Grayling is just trying to kill us all off.

  3. So our trust keeps rolling out training and expects everyone to my embrace new ideas and be positive about how they will implement them. However they fail to recognise that staff are struggling to even cope with the day job and are not a lot function with the me levels of stress from day to day. It is unbelievable that we are required to tick a box to choose a job, of which we don't even have a job title!?? This is madness/

    1. I like the example Tom Rendon has given in this blog with the example of his Grievance - how will MOJ cope if MANY thousands of INDIVIDUAL written Grievances are submitted to Probation Employers?

      Andrew Hatton

    2. The only problem is, UNISON have advised their members against submitting grievances (for the present). The workforce therefore appear disunited in their response, and the Grayling monster that is TR rolls on, devouring decent hardworking people. Hang on, I thought this Govt positively supported hard working people - Dave, do you ACTUALLY KNOW what is going on at the MoJ?

    3. And many thousands of appeals to follow on.

  4. Sorry to hear so many heartachingly painful stories about colleagues.

    Heard our Trust has been asked to pilot a new system for NPS &/or CRC. I suspect some non-union lame duck will put their hand up for it, thereby undermining colleagues' solidarity. I trust (!) NAPO are aware?

    Our Trust management briefed against submitting grievances as they didn't believe there was "anything to grieve about". How wrong they are...

    Insult follows insult follows insult follows insult follows insult ad nauseam.

    Forgive them Papa, because I can't.

  5. As a practicing PO assigned to a crc already I will be following suit with grievance and possibly appeal. Although I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place given the whole uncertainty. HOWEVER having a supportive manager is helpinour team through this difficult time

  6. I don`t want any part of this new arrangement, whether NPS or CRC. I`ve simply had enough and want/need out. I know of a number of colleagues saying the same thing. I don`t need an enhanced package, just enough to get by on. But I have younger (and probably more able and useful) colleagues who are blown to bits by the uncertainty and some have eloquently stated that here.

    They`re going make swathes of staff redundant before long, probably in both bits. Why not just see who wants out on standard terms now and give more of those with mouths to feed and futures to live a better chance of at least having a job.

  7. I submitted my grievance today (auto allocated to CRC). Some fear a comeback if they do so and do not understand that this would be illegal.

  8. http://m.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/mps-call-for-probe-into-civil-service-following-major-contract-fiascos-1-6307908

  9. Off topic, but I'm left wondering if we'll have class divisions with TR?


    And what a load of shite, but they'll develop a mentoring post release scheme or something (because they're professonals) and feed off the TR gravy train.

    1. The former Goldman Sachs secretary who was jailed in 2004 for stealing more than £4m from her banker bosses has landed a job coaching white-collar criminals in how to cope with a prison term.

      Joyti Waswani, who served half of her seven-year sentence in three closed prisons under her then married name of Joyti De-Laurey, is said to be Britain's biggest female fraudster after stealing vast sums from her bosses, Scott Mead, Jennifer Moses and Moses's husband, Ron Beller, all of whom were directors of the investment bank.

      The trio were so wealthy they did not notice their savings being plundered – despite, the court was told, Waswani buying more than £300,000 worth of Cartier jewellery, flying lessons for her husband and a £150,000 speedboat.

      Released in 2007, she has been working as director of fundraising for the Royal London Society, the prisoner charity, before taking up her new role as a consultant at a start-up business called Prison Consultants, which says it advises its clients on "how to prepare and deal with the unfamiliar surroundings of serving time at Her Majesty's establishments".

      The business has launched just as many high-profile white-collar cases are coming to court, from the prosecution of bankers allegedly involved in rigging benchmark interest rates, to the phone hacking trial currently at the Old Bailey.

      "I didn't feel safe at all when I first went in," recalls Waswani. "I felt really scared. Every five minutes there was a kick-off [a scuffle]. You don't need to know how to make friends; you just need to know how not to make enemies."

      Hence the role with Prison Consultants, a business conceived by Steve Dagworthy, another former white collar criminal who served half of his six-year sentence for what was described in court as a £3m Ponzi scheme. Dagworthy took his idea to a longstanding business contact called Steve Hamer, a former chairman of Swansea City FC, who formed the company and employs Dagworthy as a consultant.

      Dagworthy says: "If you go inside for fraud, the first question [from inmates] is 'how much?'. The second is 'what did you do with it?'. If they think you've got money, they'll start working you. You will get one person asking 'anything you need?'. Then you'll get someone else who gives you a hard time. So you go to the person that's been friendly to ask for help, but it costs you. And often you find that those two people have been working together."

      Both Waswani and Dagworthy warn of other traps that white collar prisoners fall into, such as taking jobs in the prison kitchen, where inmates are frequently left with the choice of breaking unwritten prison rules or taking the risk of smuggling food to the wing. "If you don't do it, that's when the bullying starts," says Dagworthy. Such problems can escalate, he says.

      If you end up needing official protection, he adds, "you've got to put yourself on the 'numbers', which means you're in with all the sex offenders. So when you move prison, someone will say: 'I remember you. You got moved to the VPs [vulnerable prisoners]. You're a paedophile.' It will follow you wherever you go."

    2. The pair have numerous other horror stories – which also sound like effective sales pitches to prospective clients.

      "Just before lock-up you get a little flask filled with hot water, for a hot drink at night," says Waswani. "The girls would fill that with sugar and throw it on [someone they had fallen out with]. So it burns and sticks to the skin."

      Dagworthy says that "sugaring" is a common score-settler in men's prisons, too, along with inmates creating a knife by using a cigarette lighter to melt the handle of a toothbrush and then mount a razor blade. The less inventive "pool balls into a sock" is popular, too.

      The risk of bullying does not appear to decrease markedly for females. "If you are a woman and you've hurt a child, it is probably better to do yourself in than go to women's prison," says Waswani. "Women's prisons are the most bitchy arena. Why? Mainly because women are like that. Women can harbour grudges, whereas men drop them quicker. Also, women go inside with a lot more pressure [around their home lives]. When there is tension like that, you are probably not the nicest person to be around."

      Even now that she is out, Waswani does not appear particularly concerned with ingratiating herself with other well-known women. Of Vicky Pryce, the economist who wrote a book on serving two months for taking her husband's motoring penalty points, Waswani says: "I don't think that having served the time that she did [Pryce spent four days in Holloway before moving to an open prison] she is an authority about prison time."

      And of Meera Syal, the actor who played Waswani in the 2005 BBC docudrama, The Secretary Who Stole £4m, she says: "I couldn't believe they picked Meera Syal. That sense of indignation. It's horrible. She's horrible."

      When the programme was broadcast, Waswani says "the whole prison erupted", although media interest in her case meant that she was already one of the highest-profile female prisoners held in Britain.

      So how does fame affect your time inside? There is dealing with the complete loss of status: "I had the shittiest jobs. I had to pick and measure cucumbers," she says. And it is essential not to portray yourself as being superior to other prisoners: "I saw a high-powered businesswoman get beaten up by a girl who had murdered someone."

      There are also unknowns, such as prisoners' perception of white-collar crimes. Both former inmates predict some white-collar defendants who might yet end up in prison could find sentences tough.

  10. http://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-12-11/govt-tougher-guidelines-for-community-sentences/

  11. http://www.theinformationdaily.com/2013/12/09/social-enterprises-to-lead-the-prison-probation-privatisation

    1. Social enterprises can have a key role in the upcoming privatisation of prison probation in 2014, argue industry experts.
      Sector leaders are confident that social enterprise projects could improve employment prospects of offenders and reduce reoffending.

      The latest business models suggest that social enterprises are more likely to develop innovative new ways of interacting with offenders which offer sustainable, community driven solutions.

      Evidence suggests that even small social enterprises can successfully help offenders access mainstream employment, training and education services.

      But, experts have warned that the sector is often dismissed and over looked by contractors.

      “The reach of social enterprises is immeasurable”, said John Parkin, the Performance Manager of the West Yorkshire Probation Trust, speaking at the National Consortium of Social Enterprises Launch in Birmingham.

      “But social enterprises need bigger cash investments to forward their businesses", he told The Information Daily.

      The government’s “Transforming Rehabilitation” will transfer the supervision of the UK’s former offenders from 35 probation trusts to 21 private companies.

      Experts are worried that social enterprises will be disadvantaged when bidding for government rehabilitation contracts.

      Despite the introduction of the Social Value Act in 2012, social enterprises are still widely unrecognised and undervalued by private businesses outside of their sector.

      Therefore, probation performance managers have called on the government to help social enterprises lead the prison probation privatisation.

      This includes levelling out the playing field and increasing the accessibility of contract opportunities.
      The government need to “improve the ability of the social enterprise sector to participate in the delivery of criminal justice services”, said Jennie Barns, the Business Manager of the National Offender Management Service.

      “Social enterprises allow offenders to find sustainable roots” and “get people into the right jobs at the right time with the right businesses”.

      “We need more social enterprises to be involved in public service delivery,” she added.

      Sector leaders hope that increased publicity may increase the share of social enterprises in the delivery of rehabilitation services in 2014.