I have never posted anything in my life or used Twitter, texted, been on Facebook or indeed any form of social media. But now I am in my 60's & with over 30 years of practice I am beginning to feel I should say something; perhaps we that are older can afford to be the most radical as perhaps we have less to lose? I would therefore like to salute you for your sterling efforts & to recall, without being too morbid, the words of Dylan Thomas:
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light".
Is there anyone else out there of an older vintage who feels the same? We should not just retire and walk away but fight TR and the 'dying of the light' in Probation with patience, determination and precision?
In our office the resistance is being run by the older hands on behalf of those with 30 years to go-it was the old stagers that stood on the picket lines and the old stagers that challenge the nonsense of the diktats that are emanating from Gestapo HQ.....like every good resistance movement, slow to start but difficult to stop.....
One thing this blog has done for me is highlight that, as a 30+ years in, I am not so alone as I had come to feel. Perhaps we ought to get together somehow?
Speaking as another old stager: I think those of us who have been in the biz for thirty odd years get a real visceral sense of how distinguished the history of probation is, how great the threat, and how deep the damage being done.
I have been in the service for 30 years, not quite into my 60's only just into the 50's, but I fight on a daily basis. I let everyone in the office know exactly what I think and that I will never accept TR. I contribute to this blog on a daily basis and I continue to "rage against the dying light", and carry on fighting, and when it's time to retire we can walk away knowing that we gave it our best shot.
What really concerns me is the amount of experience, the skills underpinning genuinely effective practice, the knowledge of law, objectivity, anti discriminatory practice, innovation arising from concern to improve. So much has already disappeared, those in training cannot train/pass on what they don't know/or have no interest in finding out.
"Luckily in our area we are taking a collective stance and have passed a vote of no confidence on our chief in the hope she will pass this up mainly and get something done".
How do we go about this? I think a lot of those in senior positions would pull their socks up if they thought this could happen to them.
Relatively simple. We compiled a letter to her and all signed it telling her she was not doing anything that we could see to ease staff stress. Asked her to give clear guidance at how to do our work and what to cut corners with as all on 200 per cent mark or roundabout.
Itemised a number of suggestions to her to ease the pressures and asked why has she not thought of any of them thus far? Overtime for one, and basically threatened a collective grievance. She swept into action with a number of tokenistic gestures after the union went to see her but the view was, too little to late.
Collective grievance next up, followed up by individuals all e-mailing managers with much the same. Also look up the term vicarious liability as well. We found this useful. They cannot go on threatening you with SFO 'what ifs' as they are as responsible, if not more so, if one occurs.
This has been rumbling around our office for some time too and something needs to happen. Planning to take legal advice re the failure to fulfil the duty of care which, from just a brief conversation, has evidently been neglected on several fronts.
Has anyone thought of reporting this to the Health and Safety Executive? That would really cause huge problems for the employer. So, I suggest having done your letter to your Chief Exec, you write again and say nothing has changed and all of the same signatories then write to the HSE expressing concern about stress levels. I know they got involved with one organisation to great effect (believe it was an NHS trust but not certain). Please check out their website, you will see probation work now hits all of the stress factors. Good Luck!
A very sensible approach and one I can see a lot of officers utilising. How helpful were/are your local Union reps during this? Also, can you keep us updated as to any outcome as it might be of some use?
Yes of course, I will keep you posted. Interesting our ACO has now offered us stress management interviews. What is the point if they won't or can't do anything about it? Back covering exercise and yet another token. She has said can revert toil as a one off to overtime so at least we get paid for any extra hours, but this does not ease things for the future. Good luck to all colleagues. Collective seems to work better so up and at 'em. At the end of the day, not gonna sack you, they need you, now more than ever!!
Union reps pretty good actually. I urge everyone to do the same as us. It has them on their uppers believe me!!
Man in the pub says that many staff in Manchester are talking about having a vote of no confidence in the CEO of the NPS. Anyone from this area heard anything about this? Could start a trend....
As I currently work in Manchester I feel qualified to comment. There will be NO vote of no confidence in our CEO simply due to the fact that we are too fecking busy just trying to get the day job done. If, and it's a big if, we have a spare five minutes, we normally use it to go and lie down in a very dark room. It's getting crowded in there though and our ACE has moved their pillows in.
I too work in Manchester and although I am also spending most my working day in the dark room, I would still like to slip a piece of paper under the door voting for a vote of no confidence. Our CEO has been an utter disgrace and looked after herself, she has not once showed that she cares about the staff, a vote of no confidence would fit well.
I would urge you to do it via a collective letter. It has ours thinking believe me. Check out Vicarious Liability and chuck this into the mix.
Far too much fear in Manchester to do this.....we are living under a shadow.
I reiterate my earlier comment. Do it collectively. They cannot sack you all. In our area all it took was a discussion at a water cooler. An e-mail sent to all operating staff and that's all that was needed. We have our ACO on the uppers and heard about other area's getting somewhere too. Stick together, they need you more than you need them!!!
I appreciate that all staff from higher management and below are in a very difficult position. The vast majority of people have mortgages, children, debts etc and need a job. They are not going to risk that by speaking out and being critical, even when inside they probably know what a crock of s**t it all is.
What I take exception to is them spouting on to us that everything is ok, bang on about performance, tell us about it being a time for opportunities when we know from looking at other sectors that jobs are the first to go to maximise profits. Be honest, be real; don't say anything at all if you can't say how it really is and certainly don't get on people's backs when you haven't done the coal face in ages and when you did, it wasn't with the crap systems/processes/volume of work that we have now.
Speaking as an ACO who is as fed up with all this nonsense, I would welcome a vote of no confidence and of course I would pass this up to my own seniors. The fact is I am stifled completely by new guidelines and what I could do six months ago is now out of my jurisdiction. This is very frustrating for me but it will at least show our own seniors that what is going on is dangerous and destructive. I began my life in the wonderful probation service as admin and I have worked my way up slowly, not for the money, but because I really do care about the service and the people who work for it, believe it or not.
Just received an email in a Manchester office stating all NPS staff who have written more than 2 PSR's per month since Sept to be paid for overtime for the extra reports. Naturally I asked if CRC staff who have been writing reports up to 1/11/2014 would be treated the same. As usual no one knows. Is this happening in other areas?
Do you think this is a cynical attempt to buy you off? This blog seems to have a lot of negative comments from Manchester. Just wondering what the motive for this is?