Monday, 19 January 2015

Guest Blog 18

Having spent the last 18 months with a feeling of being 'out of control' with my future working in Probation and for many in CRC, redundancy is a likely option after 1st February, it is worth reminding us all, particularly those in the NPS, that the Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme is only valid until 31/03/15 which is 10 weeks from now. This Scheme allows for an agreed last day of service before 31/03/2016. 

The message I seem to be getting in NPS is there will be no redundancies and yet some posts are clearly being made redundant ie Prison Programme Tutors, Prison PO posts where the Job Description is changing beyond recognition or the Internal Verifier who works with Trainees or New Learners as they are now referred to. 

I understand £60 million was put aside for Enhanced Redundancy and money not used will go into CRCs, so as much as I spend my time as a Union Rep working for the good of all staff, it sickens me to think that money that should be rightfully going to employees may end up in the laps of CRC Fat Cats! By the way, I will never pass another penny to Shelter who have now joined the list of 'charities' on this lucrative Gravy Train who, in their small print, will choose which clients they consider are motivated enough to change and disregard the rest, how unjust is that!

So the point of this blog today is to have a discussion on the subject I would normally be actively avoiding and for NPS staff in particular to raise this issue quickly as the forthcoming Election will mean Ministers are somewhat pre occupied. They know Civil Servants posts will be cut in the next 12 months, they know with CRCs relocating, buildings and locations will be rationalised, however their selfish intentions mean that NPS staff are likely to miss a key opportunity to take control of their future.

It's not about the money, it's the principle. Our vocation has been dissected to the point of no recognition. For those that want to refer to the documents with details of the Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme, this is the link to the Probation Association, which although no longer in existence, has an archive of key documents which is a good starting point for anything around employee relations. (reproduced below).

Let's have a discussion across staff grades and areas to see just what the current situation is. I am also told there is likely to be 'selective' redundancies ie avoiding those near retirement etc.


Appendix B


1. This Appendix sets out the voluntary redundancy scheme which will apply to employees in a category where there is a potential oversupply post transfer. This is likely to apply initially primarily to Senior Management and Corporate Support staff posts. The provisions apply in all cases of voluntary redundancy arising as a direct consequence of the TR Programme and will remain in operation until 31 March 2015, last day of service agreed to be no later than 31 March 2016.

2. Additionally, the commercial contracts will specify that, other than where more beneficial terms exist, where voluntary redundancy is offered, these enhanced terms should apply to any member of staff employed by a Probation Trust on 31 May 2014.

3. The decision in respect of individual applications on whether to award voluntary redundancy is at the employer’s absolute discretion and will include consideration of, amongst other things, the exigencies of the service, organisational issues and business needs. Whilst the decision as to which applications for voluntary redundancy should be agreed and at what date this will take effect will rest with the employing body, it is expected that, in reaching a decision, the employer (Trusts in the period up to 31 May 2014) will reach agreement with MoJ/NOMS in terms of future service delivery arrangements.

Time Limited Roles to Support Transition

4. A variety of time-limited roles and working arrangements may be agreed to support transition, for example to complete work connected with the dissolution of Trusts. Where possible, these roles will be undertaken by staff currently undertaking the work who have agreed, once those roles have been completed post-transition, to accept voluntary redundancy in line with the National Agreement.

Calculation of Redundancy Payments for Staff

5. Qualifying Service – For the purposes of establishing entitlement to, and the calculation of, a redundancy payment, continuous service will include service with any public authority to which The Redundancy Payments (Continuity of Employment in Local Government, etc) (Modification) Order 1999 applies.

6. Redundancy Pay – Redundancy payments will be based on the employee’s actual weekly pay and not the statutory rate.

Voluntary Redundancy for those under age 55

7. Redundancy compensation will be paid, subject to a maximum of 67.5 weeks’ pay and reckonable service of 15 complete years, as follows:

Four and a half weeks’ pay for each year of completed service

8. Any statutory redundancy payment is included in the compensation payable.

9. A ready reckoner is set out at Annex A to this Appendix.

Voluntary Redundancy for those aged 55 or over

  • Redundancy payment will be paid, subject to a maximum of 67.5 weeks’ pay, in accordance with Paragraph 6 above 

  • Immediate payment of standard retirement pension and a standard retirement grant (i.e. pension lump sum).
10. Where existing local arrangements are more favourable in individual cases, they will supersede the provisions of this scheme.



    Chris Grayling focusing on the big issues.

    1. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has dismissed reports the government is planning to allow nude weddings.

      He was asked if a change in the law was being considered as part of a review of marriage laws.

      "Not as far as I'm aware and I've certainly no intention of doing so," he told the BBC's Sunday Politics show.

      The government was looking into humanist marriages in England and Wales, he said.

      Humanism is a secular philosophy. Humanist weddings are not legally recognised in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - but they are legal in Scotland.

      The Daily Mail reported on Tuesday that ministers had ordered a rethink of wedding laws, which could allow naturists to conduct weddings if the rules were changed.

      It claimed a paper had been published by Mr Grayling which confirmed groups who have expressed an interest in changing wedding laws included British Naturism, the organisation that campaigns for a greater understanding and acceptance of outdoor nudism.

      But Mr Grayling told the BBC: "It hasn't been ordered by me I can tell you that."

      The justice secretary stressed there was a difference between someone "expressing an interest" and "something actually happening".

      "No nude marriage right now as far as I'm concerned," he told the BBC.


    1. The nasty and brutal punishment (1000 lashes) being meted out to Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is rightly being condemned by human rights groups across the world.

      What may not be so well-known is that the British government is currently negotiating to sell prison expertise to the repressive Saudi judicial regime to make money in order to cut the deficit for the taxpayer.

      The man championing this move is none other than Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, well-known for wanting to deny prisoners books and an enthusiastic backer of longer prison sentences and tough prison regimes.

      Quietly he has set up a commercial arm of the Ministry of Justice called Just Solutions International. You can download a glossy brochure here.

      Mr Grayling is passionate about this. At the launch of the social enterprise he said:

      “We are leading the world in our management of offenders and the reforms we are introducing will push us even further ahead of the pack. I’m proud that countries look to us when they want to improve and develop their own systems.”

      “This social enterprise will build on our global reputation for innovation while getting best value, as any profits made will be put directly back into improving our own justice system, making it a win-win for hardworking taxpayers.”

    2. Odious little shit.

  3. Oxfam "Working for the Few" Jan 2014: "When wealth captures government policymaking, the rules bend to favor the rich, often to the detriment of everyone else."

    Guardian oct 2014: The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published on Tuesday which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.... According to the Credit Suisse global wealth report (pdf), a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%."

    BBC today: "The wealthiest 1% will soon own more than the rest of the world's population, according to a study by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.
    The charity's research shows that the share of the world's wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year.
    On current trends, Oxfam says it expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world's wealth by 2016."

    But such concerns date back a long way. During the 16th Century Francis Bacon observed "Above all things good policy is to be used so that the treasures and monies in a state be not gathered into a few hands... Money is like fertilizer, not good except it be spread."

    Give me EVR and I'll be a happy bunny to be out of the shitstorm and out of the race to the bottom.

  4. How do I apply for Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy?

    1. I'm sure there'll be napo/unison reps available to advise locally - I imagine it depends on whether the incoming CRC bidders are going to offer redundancy, if they're prepared to honour the EVR previously offered and what terms/conditions they might apply. My reading of the paperwork is that the EVR was structured with & offered by the now-dissolved Trusts; I'm not sure if the EVR was ever intended to be offered post-share sale.

      It always seemed wholly absurd to me that senior managers could take the EVR then defer it until March 2016 whilst successfully securing a 'new' job in the CRC structures they were involved in designing - with very specific skills for those 'new' roles - and "see how it goes". If it wasn't what they wanted, they could leave with 67 weeks' money in the bank in any event. Presumably that applied to managers re-employed within NOMS too? Most other roles (case admin, PO, PSO, UPW) were transferred across to NPS or CRC with no option for EVR, so no opportunity to pocket 67 weeks' pay then take up a 'new' job almost immediately. It just feels like yet another knife in the back of what had been an honourable and professional workforce.

      So, Bidders around the country, why not offer EVR to those who are hurting, angry &/or destroyed by Grayling's slaughter and let them go. Look at it as investing that £60Million of free money in ensuring you have a motivated workforce who WANT to stay and work under the new paradigm.

    2. I am an NPS PO and would take EVR like a shot ! My job description bears no resemblance to my post split role, isn't that in effect having my old role made redundant??

    3. "senior managers could take the EVR then defer it until March 2016"
      Certainly within our trust this was not the case. We were told that unless you were applying to become redundant before Christmas (just gone) you would be very unlikely to be offered VR. There were a few at our place that applied to leave at the end of March 2015, none were offered VR.

      We were also told that any underspend could be used to offer a second round of VR - I guess that means by the new owners. What is certainly clear is that any underspend wont just be gifted to the CRC owners to do with as they please - it has to go on VR or back to NOMS.

  5. I don't understand the point about PO and prison posts. Currently I work as an Offender Supervisor, I know the post is to go soon but I though we were changing roles and staying. What do you know that I don't?

    Thanks Papa

    1. On behalf of our guest blogger, who says:-

      The role of the Custody Probation Officer is changing, current recruitment is taking place for second phase of Custody Offender Management model. It won't necessarily follow that those currently in post will remain in the new role, this will depend upon competencies and discussions with your Line Manager. Custody Probation Service Officers will be coming out of the prison, in fact this role, in effective, is being made redundant, different areas may be approaching this in a different way ie absorbing back into the PSO workforce, courts etc., this also applies to Custody Programme Tutors will no longer be required in the Prisons. It would be useful to raise the issue are NPS staff being offered Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy if there role is being made redundant? Is this being done consistently across regions or are there variations?

      With the news that new providers will be seeking their own accommodation between August and November this year, a rationalisation of estates and roles is inevitable in NPS, yet the lack of planning could mean that NPS are sidelined and not given this opportunity. A view across areas would be useful to assess this situation?

      To address the issue of how can one apply for Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy Scheme, I would address this to your Line Manager and if everyone raises this, NPS may start to think about it before it is too late.

  6. Sorry Jim - I don't mean to hi-jack today's excellent blog thread but can I offer some non-EVR stats relating to outright unpleasantness around the world. A recent R4 programme ("More or Less") indicated that an Imam's recent claim that '95% of terrorism-related fatalities are Muslim' was not far from the truth - and I've been 'shocked & stunned' by the facts & figures I've discovered. Our media fails us.

    Between 1970 & 2013 it is estimated (various sources including the Global Terrorism Database) that the following countries suffered X known terrorist incidents, of which Y resulted in fatalities (this NOT the number of deaths).

    Country X Y
    US 2381 217 9.1%
    UK 637 86 13.5%
    Nigeria 1535 904 58.9%
    Syria 648 388 59.8%
    Iraq 12,098 7,783 64.3% (almost all since 1991)
    Afgh'stan 5944 4,012 67.5%

    Clearly these stats do not include the more recent crimes against humanity in Nigeria and Syria, and its shocking that from a selection of just six countries there are more than 23,000 terrorist incidents (almost 5 each and every day for the last 40 years) of which more than 13,000 have involved deaths - overwhelmingly of innocent population. Nor do these figures take account of the numbers of additional incidents and massacres as a result of allegedly lawful responses by nation states and/or militia.

  7. If a job disappears during a restructure it may or may not create a redundancy. EVR added glitter to the framework agreement.

  8. THere is a distinct difference between a POST being made redundant and a PERSON being made redundant. One does not necessarily precede another. You will need to look at things on a case by case basis but, in short, if PO or PSO post is no longer required, the first thing to do is to determine whether there are alternative roles for the postholders. If you are a CEO from a merging Trust, clearly the answer is no. If you are a PO, PSO or admin, the chances of an alternative role within your area is much greater.

  9. Well I have applied for Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy, I'll let you know how I get on.


    1. I would be really interested in what response you receive. Are you in a CRC or NPS?

    2. I don't understand, are you still being offered the chance to apply for EVR? I thought it was all done..we haven't heard news of a second round of EVR in our CRC.

    3. In our CRC we have to wait to be invited for EVR, no invites so far...

  10. Who are The Butler Trust? Are they really naïve or are they under the thumb of MOJ?

    Frances Cook (Howard League) has tweeted news story about MOJ making money from dealings with the Saudi judicial regime.

    Butler Trust tweet the following reply: 'a bid to help the Saudi’s Reform their penal system'. The have also re-tweeted 'Usual deliberate misinterpretation by @francescrook'.

    Do they really believe this? What to they gain from buddying up to MOJ and trying to dismiss Howard League? Can Butler Trust be trusted?

    1. R.A.B.Butler was a former Conservative Home Secretary! - with more compassion than Grayling - I suspect -

  11. As a CRC PSO my understanding is currently that EVR is not available as job is not being done away with. I, like many others I am sure, would jump at opportunity to take EVR. Instead we are less than 2 weeks away from takeover and terms & conditions will slowly dwindle, and pressure be too great, that more and more will walk. I feel for NPS colleagues too, because a similar fate awaits, particularly if the Tory party get back in. Award winning service shafted by ideology clap trap.

  12. workload's ridiculous, mistakes are being made due to almost being 'set up to fail' and capability and disciplinary are being used whereas a few years ago things would've been dealt with at linemanager level. Many people looking for the escape route now.

  13. Oooops! Handed another case today of a violent offender (CRC) who hasn't been seen since sentence in November 2014- only came to light as she was assaulted by her partner and he was appearing in Court! Oh joy!

  14. There won't be another round of EVR. The remainder of the £60 million has indeed gone to CRC's coffers. Don't build your hopes up as the golden goose has flown......... Just knuckle down and get used to this shit - or ship out! I know what I will be doing!