The following is a new weather report from tailgunner, as posted today over on the Napo forum:-
Weather Report on Measures December 9th
At a meeting at the end of last week between NOMS HR, the employers and the unions, the range of measures that will need to be addressed before and after April next year was set out in more detail. These relate to staff transferring both to the CRCs and to the NPS. Harmonisation of conditions of service as between Trusts merging into one CRC is one critical issue but perhaps even more critical and complex will be the issue of harmonisation of terms and conditions not only between different Trusts but also with the Civil Service in the case of staff moving into the NPS. The scale of these challenges becomes apparent as one begins to drill down into the issues - most of which are set out in Appendix A of the National Framework.
Quite how all this rationalisation and harmonisation will be achieved is difficult to envisage, particularly between now and April. Previous experience of such exercises (as when Trusts have merged in the past) suggests that they have taken years rather than months to achieve. This was of concern then, but at least it was done within the context of a standard set of national codes and conditions (NNC Codes & Conditions for the Probation Service). Whilst these will remain in place, at least initially, under COSOP, there are undoubtedly more complicated issues around the corner with a developing requirement to harmonise with the Civil Service. The trade unions will continue to press for harmonisation upwards, to the best that is available, though this may not always be achievable.
It is still not evident how much of this work will have to be done in advance of the split in April - and it must be remembered that not all of these measures are simply consultative - some will have to be negotiated. An initial assessment by the unions would seem to suggest that for successful completion by the target date of April this work should have been commenced some considerable time ago. As it is only now just beginning in earnest, so there must be a question mark over the completion date. How critical this will be to the success of the TR Programme remains to be seen. But it does not bode well.