Sunday, 15 June 2014

Latest From Napo 32

Two items, the first is a letter published on Friday and can be found on the Napo website and the second is an email sent recently to all Greater London Branch members by Pat Waterman:-

Last Friday, Napo expressed serious concerns around authority to practice and access to information as a basis for halting the Target Operating Model.

Napo wrote to the Directors of Probation in England and Wales as follows:

As the first week of the new arrangements for the provision of Probation services draws to a close, we are doubtless all taking stock.

Members have been contacting us through the week with concerns about the new systems and operating arrangements. I would like to draw two specific issues to your attention.

The first concerns the basic authority to operate as Officers of Providers of Probation Services and in particular in the context of staff being asked to operate across the new divide between the two organisations. Napo is seeking to provide its members with advice and guidance but this is proving difficult in the absence of certain key pieces of information. We do now have the NPS SLAs and have seen Schedule 28 of the CRC contracts ( though not the contracts themselves, despite having requested them on several occasions). What we do not have are what appear to be two critical Probation Instructions - The Role of Court Duty Staff & Authorisation of an Officer of a Provider of Probation Services - the latter expected to be PI 31/2014. Both are trailed elsewhere and we are aware they are in preparation but, considering the requirement for consultation and authorisation, it seems unlikely that they can be issued in anything less than six weeks. Existing Probation Instructions on these matters have effectively become null and void with the advent of new employers and as such we would question whether staff are in fact operating ultra vires. Both of these Instructions should have been in place on June 1st.

The second concern is around the (in)ability of staff to access key information on offenders across the divide. As you will know, restrictions have been put in place notably within NDelius and OASys. Many members have contacted us about this. They are concerned that these restrictions hamper their ability to properly assess and manage risk. In our estimation, these restrictions pose a high if not very high risk of serious harm to service users, staff and third parties.

In light of these two very significant issues associated with the new operating model, we would ask you to confirm, by return, that the model will be put on ice. If you feel unable to comply with this request, then we will feel bound, as a public duty, to place these concerns before a wider audience.

Mike McClelland
National Official

Not unexpectedly, NOMS did not acquiesce. In their response, Colin Allars and Sarah Payne, asserted that the Offender Management Act 2007 provided the basis for authorising individuals to act as Officers of Providers of Probation Services. They said that they were reminding both CRCs and the NPS that they should confirm to staff that these authorisations are in place. The referenced PI will provide further guidance on this once it is issued.

As regards Napo's expressed concerns about access to information, they said "we are now making good progress in embedding and stabilising the new organisations and associated operational processes." They went on ...."with a programme of this size, there will also be a period of stabilisation relating to the transfer and whilst we recognise that this is a challenging time for NPS and CRC staff, the introduction of some of the operational processes from 1 April allowed the transfer to take place in a phased and controlled way. Whilst there have been some local ICT issues with individual role based access (RBACs) profiles we along with local ICT support managers are continuing to address any issues as they arise." They conclude, "Transition to the new working structures is now well under way and good progress is being made, as you are aware our top priority is to continue to support probation staff as they work to embed new working structures."

Napo will be replying and our response will be posted here shortly.


TR Briefing for Branches - Update

(Last update BR70/2014 issued 6th June)

This is the latest information from NAPO National Office. Any comments or observations should be submitted directly to National Official Mike McClelland (

Reminder: All TR Briefings can now be found on the Napo Website in the Members section.

Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme

As reported in BR 70/14 this scheme is now available but it is evident that there is a degree of misunderstanding about the Scheme. So here are a few key points:

The Scheme is available to both CRCs and the NPS

In the first instance it will be offered to senior managers and Corporate Support staff whose jobs have effectively disappeared in the re-organisation of the Service.

Voluntary redundancy is always in the gift of the employer and will only be offered where there is a surplus of staff in a particular role or at a grade. Many members might be hoping for it as a lifeline/escape from what they now perceive as a job they no longer want to do but hopes should not be raised unrealistically.

The money for this enhanced scheme is being made available by the MoJ. It is a separate pot reported as being £61million - although this figure is only an estimate of what may be required. It may be less and it may be more. If more is required then the understanding is that the MoJ will seek authority from the Treasury to increase the size of the pot.

Although the MoJ are funding the scheme, it belongs to the NNC, which is where it was negotiated and agreed.

There may be second and even third waves of invitations to express interest in the scheme, whilst it remains in place - any time up to 31 March 2015 (with departure dates as late as March 2016). Whilst applications in this first tranche are limited to those obviously surplus, across its life the Scheme applies to all staff and there is no reason why further expressions of interest should not be sought from other groups of staff if appropriate. This will depend on the staffing requirements of both CRCs and the NPS.

In our view, MOJ/NOMS cannot dictate how and when the scheme is offered. Despite it being "their" money, it is not their scheme

On the other hand, the financial impediment to either CRCs or the NPS offering Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy where appropriate is less critical as this separate fund exists. However cost will still be a criterion where there are competing applications - and this is public money.

Voluntary redundancy should always be considered before compulsory redundancy. This is addressed as best practice in the Management of Change process which still applies across Probation.

Pat Waterman
Branch Chair


  1. Napo expressed serious concerns about authority to practice?

    Sweeping measures being considered for inclusion in next year's Tory manifesto would put an end to rolling strike campaigns by forcing union bosses to re-ballot their members every three months

    The Conservatives are drawing up radical anti-strike laws to stop trade unions bringing Britain to a standstill with industrial action.Under existing laws union leaders can call their members out on strike until a dispute is resolved to their satisfaction, with repeated waves of industrial action over issues such as pay or pensions continuing for months or years.However, sweeping measures which are being considered for inclusion in the Tory manifesto for next year’s election would force union bosses to re-ballot their members as often as every three months, putting an end to rolling strike campaigns.A Cabinet source said: “We need to look at this quaint rule which means that unions can hold endless strikes as long as their first walkout comes within 28 days of members backing action.”Changing the law so that a ballot in favour of industrial action elapses after three or six months would give union general secretaries a greater incentive to reach a deal.“It would also force the unions to go back to their members and re-ballot if they wanted to continue with strikes, rather than letting them roll on forever,” the source said.The Conservatives are also considering a law to set a minimum turn-out requirement in any ballot before industrial action could take place.Some unions have launched strikes on the basis of very low numbers of members voting in the ballot authorising industrial action.Tory plans could set a minimum of 50 per cent turn out for such a ballot to provide the necessary legal authority for a strike.A first draft of the Tory manifesto is expected to be delivered to David Cameron later this summer.The proposals follow a call from Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to outlaw strikes when fewer than 50% of a union’s membership has taken part in the ballot authorising industrial action.Mr Johnson was responding to a strike by transport worker on the London Underground in February, which took place after fewer than half of members voted in a ballot. Ministers are particularly concerned about limiting the disruption caused by teachers' strikes in schools, because of the impact on the ability of parents to go out to work.At present, only a simple majority of union members voting is required to authorise industrial action. Downing Street has said the issue of a new voting threshold was “on the table”.Only members of essential public services, such as the police, armed forces and prison officers are currently prohibited by law from taking strike action.

    1. Which paper is this from please?

    2. My guess would be the Telegraph. It's blatantly copied from Conservative Central Office propaganda, but it's not quite rabid, 'reds under the bed' stuff enough for the Daily Mail.

    3. If it's in the manifesto then experience suggests it will either be lies or not come into force.

      You just cannot believe these lying bastards.

    4. Link for above article. Lies or not it is something that was raised in several papers around the time of the most recent tube strike ( that didn't happen), and 50% plus vote required from membership before strike action is considered legitimate is something thats featured in political interviews on TV around the same time.
      It may not happen, but I'm sure it's in the suggestion box.

    5. Another interesting clip here in the Independent although not as comprehensive as the above, that suggests that the Tories may be focusing on some assault on the unions.

    6. I would agree to a 'minimum' turnout for trade union votes if the same applied to national elections. No strike votes if less than 50% turnout if no Government if less than 50% turnout for national elections. Reasonable enough.

  2. probation officer15 June 2014 at 13:06

    Any views Jim. I note Napo have referred to the PI which is surprising as it is neither an authority nor source of reference for probation staff.

    From the PI website - outsourcing a professional register which will be further comprised by being dictated by the MoJ and private companies! Now I'm even less convinced there's any point to the PI, and still no statement against privatisation and TR. PI is lucky probation staff are too nice to start a 'boycott the probation institute campaign'.

    The Probation Institute is inviting proposals for developing a Voluntary Register for Practitioners, ready to be implemented from April 2015. Interested bidders should submit their proposals to by 31 July 2014.

    1. I am in favour of a professional register in principle, because this would sink TR once and for all. If the privateers can't just employ anyone they find on the street (or anyone sent to them to work for free under the Work Progamme), they can't make a profit from a business where staff costs are a huge proportion of the overheads.

      But precisely because it would sink TR, either the Government will never let it happen, or the register will be toothless - which appears the most likely thing at the moment. Exactly what is the point of a voluntary register? It's just a list of names, which is liable to be incomplete and so of little to no use to anyone!

    2. Well I'm deeply suspicious, but read what Prof Paul Senior says here:-

    3. To anon 13.06 have you confused PI meaning Probation Instruction as in Jims blog above with PI meaning Probation Institute?

    4. There has been some discussion regarding the Probation Institute and some evidence of unjustified paranoia about what it might be either intended or unintended. Sure it got a £90k MoJ startup bung (apparently no strings attached) and there are things the MoJ won't allow it to do at the moment such as the licence to practice. I think it is best understood as a formal meeting point between those interested in probation in the UK (academics, practitioners, new players etc). It is so far non-political and may provide a useful focal point for those who want to fund research and allow probation practitioners some of the same functions offered by other professional institutes. Membership of the institute is not a substitute for trade union membership and the professional association functions already provided. It does however have the potential to be further infiltrated by those with a political agenda and subverted from within allowing it to be a potentially very useful tool in the fight against TR by simply accessing some other circles of interest whilst maintaining a veneer of respectability. With any luck someone else will pay for your membership. So as many radicals and activists whether academics, practitioners, or other need to get in there and radicalise it. Alternatively ignore it.

    5. I fear that in a world where market forces are priority and are dictated by supply and demand, the qualification and standards that will be required to obtain a licence to practice may suffer greatly.
      Thats just my own personal concern.

    6. It is a probation instruction not the probation institute that they ate referring to ffs!!!!!

    7. 22:32 isn't, and thats what brought 22:47s comment.
      Educate yourself ffs before trying to do so to others.

  3. I'm wondering if this is the first step in getting all those badgers that out smarted the government in the cull behind bars?

    Sorry for being off topic and flippant, but I just got an image of probation offices in this new world full of little furry animals with a G4S brand mark on their rump to enable staff to placate difficult clients.
    Tools of the job?

    1. Well, I fucking feel like I'm on a wheel writing all these fucking PSR's.

    2. ROFL!!
      Almost forgot how good laughing felt. Thankyou.

  4. '...a degree of misunderstanding,' about the redundancy scheme. So Napospeak.

  5. £9.5m & counting for consultancy fees, £61m & maybe more to pay off staff - presumably treating those who collaborated with the TR agenda to handsome packages. What's the cost of agency staffing to 'fill the gaps'? How many staff are now sick, limping along or worse? How many staff now feel undermined, mistreated, ignored, de-skilled, discarded?

    We won't get paid a £30k resettlement fee for losing our jobs, unlike MPs. Thats a few bob more than the mantra of "£46 in your pocket". We can't claim £tens of thousands in expenses.

    The neolibs, the condems, the bullingdon bullies - all are in full flow now. The true extent of their callousness is yet to come.

    Why am I still hanging on? In hope of VR? Perhaps. But mainly because many moons ago I made my own poor choices then eventually clambered over the wall, and now feel very reluctant about leaving clients at the mercy of a pot pourri of global jackals, weasels and parasites. It was always a tough enough gig to change your life with the support of a high quality, vocational service.

    I dread what's to come, but imagine that the meltdown of JSA, ESA, PIP are clear indicators of the shitstorm brewing, The Perfect Storm?