Sunday, 29 March 2015

Bleak Futures Week 13

Was told by housing officer from local authority who is in our office one afternoon a week, from April clients have to be 12 months offence free before eligible for social housing -starting when released from prison. That's really going to help TTG.

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Been that way in Middlesbrough for some while now. It makes little difference coz most cannot afford either the rent or bedroom tax!

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It's all going to hell in a handcart but none of the providers care as long as they make their profits (which they will, at all costs).

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Whilst I agree that the providers will do what they can to make money, I'm not at all convinced that there is any money to be made. Firstly, the providers are getting the same budget as what previous trust did. From this they have all the Under 12 months to supervise which is going to cost something, eating into the budget. The idea that we would be working out of offices looks to be a pipe dream as the IT infrastructure is not only lacking, but will cost millions to put in place. Regardless, we need a base of some description and commercial property prices are going up, not down. And ALL of these properties will need refurbishment for client contact, interview rooms, CCTV, panic alarms etc. Again, an expense from the ever dwindling budget. On-going training to pay for, which will have to be sourced, and a place rented for any training to take place.

If the budget that CRC's were given has already been dipped into and the profit taken out at the beginning, it will be impossible to continue to offer anything but a token service, not meeting the needs of the clients and doing little to reduce re-offending.

Which brings me onto the next little gem. Re-offending rates have been falling year on year for the past 5 years. We know this. Police are now scrapping cautions for some offences which may have contributed to this and we have a perfect storm brewing of zero hour contracts, benefit sanctions and weeks to start up a new claim. I'll give it 18 months before not only the wheels fall off, but the cart horse pulling the cart drops dead!

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You forgot that the budget also decreases each year and is replaced by PbR......so yeah, we're f*cked!

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ETE workers in some areas are redundant directly due to TR but I bet they'll be kept waiting until after 31st March to be told they're not needed.

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I was just saying to a work mate today, where are Sodexo? Never heard from them since the briefing. The reply was they are coming and coming with so much force we will not know what has hit us, well redundancy will be what hits us. In our CRC in my department it is a joke, the manager cannot manage, in fact never been able to manage hide behind everyone else. Even one of my offenders today told me it was a joke. I used to say I was proud to work for this company, but not now.

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Sad to hear what people are saying. I did email my HR dept & got a reply to the effect that, understandably, until our CRC masters make a decision or an announcement, HR haven't a clue - nor can they calculate any possible figures for anyone.

It rather supports the view that those "in the know" took what they could, when they could, & made a run for it at the most timely opportunity. For those privileged few that likely means they'll disappear before end August 2015 with 67 weeks' worth of dosh in the bank, 12 months salary to boot & full of delusional belief that they "made a difference".Plus ca change.

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Staff in the CRC in South Yorks have now been informed of the redundancies. Staff to be gone by end of May and letters with offers to arrive in the post. No info yet on whether they will be enhanced?

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Has anybody else heard about the new fixed court fees from next month? They are shockingly steep eg £100 following guilty plea and £1,000 following conviction after trial and Mags will have no discretion whatsoever. It's sickening. Apparently sneaked in under statutory instrument, announced today. Our local sols are furious, one telling the Mags today 'everyone needs to wake up to what is happening'. The poor and vulnerable will drown even further under this vicious regime.

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One service user I worked with had agreed at Court for his fines to be taken from his JSA but told them it was in the process of being moved to ESA. When the Court tried to take the money they were told JSA was no longer set up. Service user was homeless and could not be contacted. Two weeks later he came to see me and said he was due to start ESA and could we spend one of our appointment time letting fines department know (he has no phone). We contacted fines department. They had already passed on to debt collectors who had added their own fees.

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I know this sounds mad but there is a part of me that says let it happen and watch it all unravel. These developments are making the problems worse and worse.

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Prison Offender Supervisors now doubling up on duties after benchmarking, so impossible to get sentence planning done. Now they are not submitting MAPPA reports on time - just how dangerous is THAT? YES DANGEROUS!

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BREAKING NEWS: Sodexo have released workforce planning numbers for Cumbria and Lancashire CRC. "We currently have an establishment of 340 full time staff. We will need to move to 217 by autumn".

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Very drunk man in northern hostelry confirms news that 37% of staff to be shed in Cumbria & Lancashire CRC by August 2015.

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Much, much worse than I expected. Time to leave. I'm not staying to deal with that mess.

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Uh? We currently have four POs carrying approx 60 cases each, and six PSOs carrying approx 80 each. Using that formula we'll end up with three POs carrying 80 cases each & four PSOs with 120 cases each. Or will it be seven members of staff variously on long term sick, detained under the MH Act or buried in their favourite church yard?

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Re the Sodexo blood letting that began in Cumbria today. All the temp POs that are all over the place now need to go and make room for those PO's from the CRCs who have been well and truly shafted. And to all of those who took the moral high ground when some of us were fighting for our jobs and who looked on whilst we struck - this was what we were saying would happen and has, unfortunately come to pass....

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I was worried about being made redundant, but even more so now hearing what the numbers are in CRC Cumbria. I know everyone is feeling frightened, I am personally a single parent with two children, mortgage, bills. Just like everyone else. Really scary time.

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I believe that there are almost entire offices staffed with agency staff in some parts of Manchester...

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Just got home after a difficult & emotionally charged afternoon. To any doubters or cynics, the info from Cumbria & Lancs CRC was circulated to all staff by Chief Exec via email. This is not a hoax or scaremongering. No doubt someone will find a way of getting a copy of the email to blog central.

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I feel for those in Cumbria & Lancs - both those who may lose their jobs and those who are left behind, you simply can't run any kind of effective service on those sort of lines. Very sad times.

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It is fact, Email sent to all Cumbria & Lancashire staff confirms case admin will reduce from 57 to 30, PSO's from 88 to 71, PO's from 56 to 31, Middle managers from 19 to 9, Senior managers from 9 to 5, Corporate staff from 60 to 16, unpaid work increase from 28 to 29 and Programmes increase from 23 to 26. It is not yet confirmed but likely that the central hub will be in Preston with local management units in Carlisle, Preston and Accrington, neighbourhood offices in Blackpool, Lancaster, Barrow and Workington. It is a mess, a bloody mess.

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That's not surprising, the contract arrangements mean that there is money for accredited programmes but not for other parts. Purple Futures and Ingeus not woken up to this yet as they are looking to cut Programmes. The issue will be around SFOs when they happen. Sodexo are taking a huge reputational risk, and I suspect there will be no winners in this.

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I can confirm we were sent the email in Lancashire. We are waiting to hear if voluntary redundancy will be offered or if Sodexo will play dirty and do compulsory redundancy after the 7 month clause. Mood in office very somber today with people considering their options.

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I'm in the Purple Futures and we've not heard a dickie bird. Apparently they're plotting as we speak. I'm sure this time next week we'll be posting similar comments - its going to be a domino effect around the country.

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I am so, so, so saddened to hear the news above. CRC staff shafted at every turn of this process. Those that did not fight against the demise of our previously award winning service should hang their heads in shame. These are our colleagues, no one deserves what is happening. No one is safe, it doesn't matter which CRC area you are in or who the feck won your contract - this is just the start. NPS staff - you want to hope the Tories don't get back in because it will be you next for the culling too. YES WHERE ARE MEMBERS OF NAPO HQ - have they taken redundancy?

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South Yorkshire are looking at approx one third cut. Not 100% sure on the breakdown grade by grade as it's only been communicated to grades most at risk of cuts.

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Sad, very sad looking at the numbers at Cumbria. I can see we will be getting interviewed again for jobs and fighting for jobs. Bloody nightmare.

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I'll just walk - stuff em. Creditors can have £1 per month and I'll do some temping for a while. I'm past caring now, it's been going on for too long.

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That is exactly how I feel. Life is more important, not going to get stressed over it. My creditors can have 50p from me hahaha.

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The whole thing is disgusting, in my department they have hired two members of staff on a 5 month contract. Cannot understand why, and when you ask why they been hired, they will not answer. I am training them and feel that they are here to replace me and other staff, as they are on less pay than us. Am I reading into something that is not there????

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I took strike action, attended branch meetings and I was reported to management by a colleague who is non union for alerting staff to this very possibility as being disloyal to my trust. I hoped to promote solidarity to oppose TR. I tried and failed, many others tried too. I just want to express solidarity to all colleagues affected by this. My heart goes out to you and your families. This is a shameful betrayal of loyal public servants.

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Swift email from Northumbria CEO this afternoon (sent while he's on leave), calling the managers in to a meeting Monday morning. NAPO/ Unison sent communication yesterday to members about EVR. The NNC staff transfer and protection agreement, the staff transfer scheme and the services agreement between CRC owners and the MOJ provide for any redundancies which arise during the LIFETIME of the CRC contract in connection with TR to be dealt with under the terms of the agreed NNC voluntary redundancy scheme. In the T&C of this, point 16 states "in addition, the commercial contracts will specify that, other than where more beneficial terms exist, where voluntary redundancy is offered, the enhanced terms set out in Appendix B should apply to any member of staff in a CRC employed by a Probation Trust on 31 May 2014".

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So that is Cumbria, North Yorks and now Northumbria. Looks like they are moving fast now. I think I will make that last nice purchase for myself before I get the P45.

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We've all been shafted. I have seen colleagues devote their working lives to this organisation. Been through the mill, produced results, cared about our clients, and for what? To be booted out of the door with not so much as a second glance. This new world of probation sickens me. It really does. This is not what I stand for. Meat processing "offenders" and worse for the staff. I've seen people really cry today; it was awful.

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Just to say I feel really sorry for all those in the CRC's facing what seems to be immediate job losses. The period May-Autumn suggested is just around the corner, so it seems the privateer probation companies are to waste no time in cost cutting. Sodexo has started the ball rolling and they will all follow suit. They intend to make a profit at any cost so cutting staff and ditching existing premises will be high on their agenda. I think the MoJ will be watching this to see what they can replicate in the NPS.

I recall sitting in a meeting in the early stages of TR. It was assumed that whatever takeover agreements, T's & C's, etc were made the CRC owners would be able to bypass these by "restructuring". From the comments above it sounds like "restructuring" is on the horizon. It's anyone's guess what this will include, but will probably include for staff that survive significant cuts in salary and new job descriptions to justify doing more for less. Maybe even to justify doing nothing at all.

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Whilst the detail is missing, similar numbers have been mentioned across the six Sodexo CRCs. Many careers are going to end with betrayal and hundreds and thousands of years of experience lost to the service. It will be replaced with a shallow pretence and embarrassing ineptitude. I am done with this.

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I am totally in shock at the numbers that they intend to reduce us by. I have given 11 years of my life to this company. Been through ups and downs and it was the love of the job that kept me here. Managers have stepped on me and tossed me to one side, but yet I worked through it all, again for the love of the job. I am unsure of what I would do next. Totally shocked.

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I think middle management in Cumbria and Lancs CRC have been in the dark as much as us. They attended a briefing on the morning that the email came out. They've not actually been told anything more than we have. Based on a conversation I had with my area's senior manager a few weeks ago - I don't think they realised just how deep the cuts were going to be either. I remember my ACO saying that the agency staff would cover the excess numbers. Well, the numbers above do not even taken account of agency numbers. This is on top of losing agency staff. I think Sodexo have kept this very closely under wraps and then let it rain like a massive shower of shit.

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To cut 36% of posts over six months is shockingly deep and rapid destruction anywhere. My heart goes out to all my former friends and colleagues still employed by NPS/CRCs after the election. And quite apart from the nightmare of struggling to deliver any kind of service in these circumstances, permanent staff in Cumbria and Lancs must have been quite needlessly tortured by this memo, which did not even tell them how many of the 123 posts disappearing are currently filled by agency/temporary staff. And so they cannot even guess at their personal risk of being made compulsorily redundant by autumn. Does anyone reading this from Cumbria/Lancs know the figures for non-permanent staff and feel able to share them?

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The non-permanents were not included in the stats presented. We will lose them AND the numbers quoted above.

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What? Are you sure? Bad enough already but the chief's letter clearly stated the non permanents WERE included in these figures. She wrote above: "We currently have an establishment of 340 full time equivalent staff (which includes agency and fixed term contract staff) within Cumbria and Lancashire and we will need to move to the full time equivalent of 217 by the Autumn." I can only hope this is the slightly less dreadful truth, still devastating for all staff, whether temp or permanent and for the communities they serve.

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I have seen a copy of the bid operational model and it's colour coded (offenders become blue, green, red or yellow) and this is determined by 1. risk of harm 2. risk of offending and 3. closeness to change. Every single client has to undertake a two hour New Directions group at the start of their order and they are allocated a number of 'intervention hours' depending on the three factors above. Someone who is highly close to change, med risk and high offending is 'red' and gets allocated 33 face to face hours. At the back end of every order there is a motivational tool of 'kiosk reporting' so that we don't have to see them and interrupt our working hours. The low risk, low harm band gets just 12 hours. All clients are on weekly reporting for twelve weeks and then monthly.

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It is nearer 41% in our area (also Sodexo). Temps and agency staff first to go but I don't see that as anything defensible. It is not as if those temps and agency staff were sitting around doing nothing. The innovations do not look safe, are certainly untested and the proposed operating models leak like a sieve.

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We need to remember that everyone has different personal circumstances and not make sweeping grand statements. My children are grown up, I live in rented accommodation and I don't have a car. For me redundancy is a big kick up the bum to get out of this horribly stressful job with a little bit of cash behind me. I'm all too well aware this isn't the same for everyone. Other people in my position might be feeling pressurised to move on to let colleagues with families and bigger commitments keep the jobs left. It's not straightforward and will set colleagues against each other. The only certainty is that there is more shit to come.

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Just have care in discussing colleagues positions. Last time redundancy was mooted a colleague with whom I shared an office said to me "you clearly have enough money, if you care so much why don't you just leave?". I have never been able to forget that. I did not have enough money but why should I have to tell her that? This will all start again...

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The privateers have timed the announcement to perfection, a sign of their skills in everything but probation.

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In my CRC we've been told already that we will get a max of 1.5 weeks a year redundancy, that is if you are over 40. Under 40 you get a week. So it really grates that all those in the ivory towers are sending out goodbye emails to one and all having snapped up the enhanced package of at least 4 weeks a year.... SODEXO know what they are doing with their £.

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Rumours are running rife in MANCHESTER CRC. People are talking about massive cuts to follow Sodexo announcement. I went to see my manager this morning after reading the blog and she would not even give me a proper answer, except for saying that she was worried about her own position. Now that says it all about management. Don't give a shit about staff but just worried about their own effing position.

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This is odd, I work in Manchester and only yesterday in a meeting we were told that some of us may be asked to work in Cheshire as they only have one PO due to all the PO's being off sick and a couple resigning. It's odd one day we are told we are short staffed then the next we are told that there may be massive cuts.

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Can you believe this shit? There are some people who failed to stand together when the time came to strike and are now in tears having heard all the rumours that they will be thrown out on to the trash heap. They are now talking about wanting strike action. My response was very simple. Where were you when it counted and we needed your support? This is what you get for not speaking up.

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I agree that if we had stuck together, including Unison, we could have brought matters to a stand still. After all you cannot operate a system without people. Total and complete chaos would have set on probation if we all said strike. Maximum strike - maximum effect.

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I agree up to a point, but MoJ played their trump card by giving EVR to support staff, ACOs & COs as they were all doing the work behind the scenes to ensure it could proceed. I know some of them are not able to get EVR now, but the operational staff never had a hope.

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It's disgraceful. Is this the way we should be treated? Is this the way we are supposed to care about each other? Bastards the lot if them. What haven't we given for the service, our time, effort, dedication, good will? Worked beyond the call of duty at a cost to our personal lives so that we can have a safer future and positive communities for our children. Instead we getting shitted on by the same fucking management with their same lies and false promises, and then they try to pretend they value their staff by giving them tokinsitic awards. If you want to celebrate our success, just FUCKING LISTEN FOR ONCE.

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Does anyone have any clue about the future for Trainee Probation Officers that are currently training?

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Grim I would guess. You are there to fill the gaps while they get thier shit together. Once you qualify I guess you can be posted anywhere in the country, plus with the cut in MoJ budget I would of thought there will be less slots for newly qualified. With 70% plus cases going to CRC and PSO's being cheaper, not sure the need is there.

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Dear TPO, the answer is that we simply do not know. It feels as if we all have an uncertain future and my advice to you would be to keep on with your studies and hope labour get in and keep their promise to reverse TR....

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Please do not despair! It is likely that you will be employed, as economically you will be more cost effective - starting on lower end of pay scales etc. One of the worrying features of mass redundancy is how older staff self select themselves. It is illegal to select on the basis of age, however life can be made so awful that older staff go. I know I am in that position.

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I was placed in an office that I used to work in before I became a TPO in October. They welcomed me with open arms. Think that was partly because the office is buckling under the pressure and just doesn't have enough PO's. One of the PO's said to me that they were relieved I was previously employed by the service as they didn't have the time to teach me 'the basics'. I really had to hit the ground running. I'm unsure what the new trainee we are having join our office in May will experience. People just don't have the time to train them. Still, I owe everything to the PO's in my office. They are amazing.

I spent a lot of time with the offenders in my previous role, now I feel they are in and out whilst I (and I hate to say this) clock watch thinking Ive got an ISP to do, I really need to make that referral etc. I was speaking to a colleague the other day about feeling trapped.

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Your honesty is appreciated. I always say to TPO's if you want to do the job, do it for the right reasons. That means using our position to advocate on behalf of those most in need and opposing/voicing those structures and systems that keep people locked in a cycle of offending and self abuse.

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22 years of blemish-free service, and all I can look forward to is the statutory maximum of £13,920.

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I have 31 years service and like you am expecting no more than the statutory maximum. Does anyone know if, in the case of colleagues of 55 and over, if they have to also fund the release of the pension (not enhanced, but without early payment penalty)? Thanks.

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In our briefing we were told there were two options, early retirement which CRC would sort out so without you having to pay the early payment penalty they would pay that. Sorry can't give you the exact wordings, or Voluntary Redundancy, not both would be on offer. Letters would be sent setting out the options to employees who were in the at risk pool.

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For the first time in a long time, I have just had to say no to my son. Redundancies are on at work I said. Then reality hit me and I have just broke down. I hate this government, I hate Sodexo.

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Please share my snotty tissue and accept my virtual hug. I'm with you. I'm so scared about losing my house. My child needs things that I can't commit to and things have already been very tight with the pay freeze and rising cost of living. Maybe we should set up a commune of cast off probation employees?

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The news of the Sodexo shafting came in just as another Northumbria CRC director celebrated his departure on EVR. There's an emergency meeting of managers on Monday now the cats out of the bag, where the HR director, who is also getting EVR, will doubtless tell them how to spin this to keep people hoping until the axe finally falls. They should hang their heads in shame.

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Emergency meeting, shame we already know. Yes I have been disgusted with head of HR getting her bit and running. Well I have no effort left in me now. So I will work until they tell me I am going but I doubt I will be working to the same effort as before.

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Totally!! and would you believe they actually had the nerve to ask for donations to a leaving collection! I hope the HR head isn't going to do the same. She might want to tip them the wink that she doesn't need one! Well I for one am going to wind down my efforts. Can't use threats and bullying tactics anymore as we now know the truth, we are already shafted so time to take the same attitude as Northumbria CRC SMT and Sodexo. Sod the 'service users' lets milk it while we can. Take a break from the stress folks, look after yourselves and sod the job! Good luck with your re offending rates now. September is still a long way off, couldn't give a hoot about your targets now guys.

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Join NAPO as local reps are invaluable and have day to day working relationships with HR and other key management bods. I'd also agree don't cut ur nose off - keep your pride and dignity. I'd also, with regard to colleagues, be a bit selective who I reveal my true thoughts to. Try not to get involved in large lunchtime moaning sessions as things can (and have) been reported back to management by snitches.

68 comments:

  1. In the Napo Branch Memo of 25/3/15. it is written:

    'The unions do not expect CRCs to propose any compulsory redundancies during the term of the private contracts and branches should be vigilant in opposing any such proposals that emerge after 1 September 2015.'

    I find the union thinking on this almost magical. They sign a framework agreement that states specifically, that for a period of seven months there will be no compulsory redundancies, and come away with the expectation that there will be no compulsory redundancies during the contract term.

    When negotiating the framework agreement, I wonder if the union side asked the MoJ why they wanted a sunset clause of a mere seven months when the unions foresaw no compulsory redundancies? It seems to me that any reasonable person would think that there was a clear intention to plan for redundancies. There was no sleight of hand by the MoJ – reading their intentions required no clairvoyance. And yet Napo, unable to grasp this nettle, grasped at straws of hoping it would not come to pass – and it has...September is early this year!
    Why did Napo sign the framework agreement believing there would be no proposals for compulsory redundancies? Whatever, it was a major misjudgment and you have to wonder if they were up to the job.
    If this has caught the union leaderships on the hop, they have only their myopic selves to blame.

    I hope they don't ask us to write to our MP's on this one. They need to build and organise, quickly, for industrial action.




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    1. Probation Officer29 March 2015 at 11:06

      I don't agree with the 7 month clause either, but it's likely that without it the privateers would have made redundancies anytime from 1 minute after share sale.

      Redundancies were always going to happen and the only way to stop this would have been to stop TR.

      Very sad news.

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    2. If you are of the view that compulsory redundancies were inevitable then seven months notice is better than one minute's. This, view, however, does not appear to have been the one taken by the Napo leadership who expressed hopes of no compulsory redundancies during the lifetime of the contracts. Was Napo being hopelessly unrealistic? They, unlike the pessimists amongst us, were not expecting redundancies. Had they been expecting them they could have been planning a strategy to deal with this new threat. As it is, they are on the hop and calling for emergency meetings with CRC reps. Someone suggested on this blog a few weeks back that Napo had 'thinkers and strategists'. Well, it's a pity they never thought to war game the possibility that their optimism was fanciful.

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    3. how do people think they will arrive at the decision of who will be kept and who will be got rid of? I would think first to go would be all temporary staff. I'm not at all convinced that just because you volunteer for VER you will get it but surely to goodness they'd 'let someone go' rather than keep them against their will and make one of their colleagues redundant.
      After this what criterion will be used to choose which POs will stay and which POs will go. This is worrying.

      with regards to offices in Lancs/Cumbria the other day it said there was going to be a central office and a few other smaller ones dotted around the counties - does that mean all admin will be done in the large centre and does all of this mean offices are closing - if so which ones. If they are shared buildings i'm guessing NPS will be left to pay the rent on the whole building rather than as a proportion like they currently are doing.

      I'm dreading the next few weeks as things begin to unravel and hope everyones getting as much support as they can.

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    4. I would have thought anyone with a little knowledge as National official of Napo and elected officers ought to have known and alerted members that any individuals looking to make a claim through an ET would have to lodge inside of 3 months.

      Extended circumstances like the TR there might have been argument which might allow 6 months depending on unique submission.

      In this situation some reps could see through the agreement farce, many realised 7 months with a new employer with no complaints until now when your OUT OF TIME. Employers are well protected now .

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    5. I would not assume that temporary or agency staff would be the first to go. The objective will not be to protect anyone's job. The assumptions that underpin selections will be driven by a cost-benefit analysis. This is all about units of labour, not romantic notions of loyalty to a hard-working workforce.

      I don't think ET time limits are relevant in the present context. As long as the employers follow the usual procedures, there will be no legal comeback.

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    6. Probation Officer29 March 2015 at 13:15

      Netnipper, what I think is that Napo were too weak, incompetent or uncaring to forge a better agreement. We all knew that redundancies were always going to be a consequence of TR, and we knew that EVR would only be for those corporate staff in the Ivory tower.

      Based on what happened when Serco took over London Probation CP, it is unrealistic to think Napo believed there would be no redundancies. I note Napo is threatening emergency rep meetings but the JR horse has bolted and the TR ink is dry.

      If Napo had any fight it wouldn't have agreed this in the first place. I'd like to think that since contract handover it's been supporting numerous complaints and employment tribunals. I think we can confidently say this will not be the case.

      The blame game doesn't help and nor does false hope. It must be awful for all colleagues in the immediate firing line.

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    7. Well in our brief, it was 1 Hub, 3 LDU's. How they will be staffed was not certain as they haven't committed to any new building's yet let alone who are going to staff them. Also the assumption for the new staffing levels depends on better IT, better buildings etc. etc.. I've worked in private sector and normally just given risk letter and gone money as notice in lieu, however, I think because this is country wide it is more complicated than just one factory closing. Business needs was pushed strongly when they talked about the redundancies in Probation. So don't book your holidays until you have it officically in writing your end date, I don't think it's going to be that straight forward.

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  2. I think the only staff mutual is DTV ARC? So far they appear to be operating business as usual - it is a small area so costs must be high ( less economies of scale available than some of the bigger CPAs I'd have thought). Not a whiff of redundancies there ?
    WHY WERE THERE NOT MORE STAFF MUTUALS ?????

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    1. Because it was always planned that there would only be one or two as a sop to the 'look how fair we are being brigade'......look at how much was spent on the Cumbia/Lancs attempts to become one and there was no chance of it ever succeeding........

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    2. DTV are to lose some jobs next year. How many is unknown but it is my understanding that they hope to achieve this through natural wastage. However, if the planned bids were based on closing offices, how will this now be achieved if using mobile IT is not going to be possible because MOJ have not delivered the interface to allow this. I do not think DTV staff are going to be immune from this sorry mess. Trusts CEOs and Boards across the country sold us down River because they did not stand up to NOMS or MOJ with the exception of one CEO and Board Chair, who battled shoulder to shoulder with us. I still believe that had Napo and Unison coordinated themselves better and both Unions had taken strike action collectively, it may have stopped this. Sadly its all now downhill for staff, offenders, victims, public and taxpayers.

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    3. sorry but the unions coordinating themselves better was never the issue - the members not voting for strong unified action was...as was non union staff undermining action when taken and those union members who crossed the picket lines...many in my area Im' afraid.

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    4. I think the fact that Unison was missing in action was a relevant coordinate, as their members worked normally during Napo's strike action. Unison members crossing Napo picket lines was evidence of disarray and lack of coordination, in addition to the blacklegs.

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    5. And everywhere no doubt but the union Chair had no idea what he was into yet he had time to apply for a job in the new crc as an ACE. Of course the Unions misdirection and foolhardy Chair has a major part in this !

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    6. It wasnt only unison crossing picket lines.

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    7. yup, I was really pissed off when asked to rep a member who had crossed a picket line I was on some months earlier..but local unison officials came in their lunch break and stood with me on picket line. You know I feel the only people in this with integrity were union activists and members who fought all the way.....and are still fighting. I dare not say what is in my heart about some colleagues but they were simply not there for us when we needed them.

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  3. I think its time for a palace coup.

    papa

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  4. Am I right in thinking that any challenge to the proposed redundancies can only be about the terms they are offered on rather than the redundancies themselves?

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    1. There is no opposition to voluntary redundancies – as these were part of the collective agreement signed by the unions. The concern is that any hoped-for enhanced terms will be watered-down – and these are the signals coming from Sodezo.

      Compulsory redundancies are a different story. These would be divisive. How these are challenged is an open question.








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    2. I know of 4 PO's in just one LDU who are really hoping for redundancy, there's a chance then that enough people might want to go voluntarily?

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  5. Keep calm and carry on. Ian and NAPO know what they are doing.

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    1. 12.48 - I assumed you were being ironic in your keep calm message.

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  6. Yes but do they know anything about employment and protecting our jobs now we have been sold up in that agreement. The JR they knew what they were doing ? TR in place they knew what they were doing ? PI the officials on now it they know what they are doing ? Staff with notices of serious cuts have real worries and concerns read the posts. Your one line is insulting to their situation.

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  7. This is and was always going to be a dog's breakfast. The operating model leaks like a seive and will show its shortcomings within hours but we have to wait and see becasue the IT and buildings debacles are yet to resolved themselves and all sorts of details are still to be ironed out. The levels of incompetence and deceit amongst both the MoJ and bidders is such that the party is only just starting. There will undoubtedly be casualties but we cannot assume that this will stop at frontline staff. The people who are driving the bids are not the people we see on the ground. Most of them are on short term contracts and are likely to find themselves in the same dole queues as the rest of us as the wheels fall of this turkey.

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  8. No Union can negotiate "no redundancies ever" deal with an organisation. Businesses have the freedom to make a business case for redundancies whenever and as noted above when Serco took on UPW in London they announced redundancy plans within about a month. The transfer agreement cited above would have been the best thought achievable-that doesn't mean Union negotiators thought the agreement was brilliant (I've no idea what they thought) but to sign up to it indicates they belueved they had gone as far as they could to win some protections as opposed to what might have been imposed without. Personally I'd rather we hadn't negotiated at all but the National Officials viewed their task was to protect as much as possible. In relation to what happens next, there should be collective consultation ( eg looking to negotiate/ influence noes, categories, delivery plans,h&s impact etc as well as redundancy payments and redundancy criteria) then it moves into individual consultation with selected at risk group who are deemed to meet criteria. Your local Napo/Unison reps and link National Official need your support not slagging off at this time. The local reps in particular have a lot of hard work ahead of them doing much in their own time. Yes if we had had better strike turn out before maybe things would be different but I personally dont think sniping about the past helps anyone . As someone above noted ask your local Branch chair, what can I do to help. From local Cumbria-Lancs Napo rep.

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    1. No one has ever sought to defend a position of 'no redundancies ever' so that's a straw argument. The Trusts oversaw hundreds of voluntary redundancies. The union negotiators thought there would be no compulsory redundancies and that's where they were naive. Seeking accountability is not sniping.

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    2. no, unions were stating the position as sold to them just to get it on the record...accountability? every single trade union member and every single colleague who exerts their right not to be a TU member all are accountable my friend!

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    3. 18.07 - What was sold to the unions and what did they put on the record? Did the unions know the seven months was a period of grace before compulsory redundancies would kick in and if so why didn't they whisper this to the membership and as they didn't, can we assume they have been getting battle ready behind the scenes?

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    4. 18:22 the only thing going on behind the scenes is the napo redundancy package and their party when all our members are sacked.
      14:25 No one needs a process description we know redundancy selection has a criteria. In relation to London they failed to protect their PSO colleagues in UPW sold them off to sodexo without a national argument and the chairs of London and Napo looked the other way.

      There should have a national strike for the attack on them because that is what blueprinted our sell off.

      No proper or capable union defence. Don't agree look at the JR farce !



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  9. I worked in industry before becoming a PO twenty years ago and have prior experience of divestment and redundancies. if anyone thinks they could have done better than NAPO and Unison in the Framework agreement they really are kidding themselves. At least for 7 months there was protection... Don't believe me? Then look at what happened when Kraft took over Cadbury in 2011 with a pledge to keep open the Bristol factory. No warning just BANG factory closing 400 jobs gone. That is the real world not the 'probation is a business' fantasy that the Trusts operated under and which many colleagues believe was the world of big business!
    Without that agreement jobs could have gone much quicker believe me. This is the reality of the private sector where £profit is all. Staff are just another overhead and offenders the raw material of a probation industry that is now emerging with a vengeance. Yes we should have fought a more committed battle but sadly many of those we work alongside chose not to, for me, that is the main issue we got the union response we voted for ( or perhaps more honestly, failed to vote for). We are reaping the whirlwind of complacency but lay off the unions for at least getting something....it was really better than nothing. WE WERE WARNED AND FAILED TO ACT IN UNITY.

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    1. absolutely right

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    2. So, Napo achieved seven months of protection, Wow, what an achievement! Choose one of the worst examples of predatory capitalism - Kraft, or Citylink - and Napo negotiators are masterful. But, I agree, it was the complacent and apathetic workforce that won the day. Where you don't have solidarity, you end up with miserable tales of individual woe, as the membership reap what they sowed.

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    3. oh Anon 18:17 it was as I said better than nothing ...it is easy to just shout your mouth off after the event. I really wish you were there - it would have been so great 'cos you would have achieved so much...clearly

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    4. 19.21 - you need to stand back and reflect a little.

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  10. I agree 100% with you

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  11. Dear Jim, you usually edit my comments - spelling, grammar etc, for which I am grateful - while ranting furiously, such things can fall by the wayside! However my comment above about fixed court costs may have been amended, but I feek it's significant to highlight the fact that the fixed fee for Guilty plea will indeed be in the £hundreds - £400 plus, I believe, which is way over the current £85. Wrong in every way, oppressive and inhumane. Best wishes.

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    1. I apologise if my tweaking of your contribution has watered down the message - you're right it's an outrageous development and I'm conscious I simply haven't given the subject any space on the blog. This from the BBC:-

      Convicted criminals in England and Wales will have to pay up to £1,200 towards the cost of their court case under new rules, it has been revealed.

      Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the Criminal Courts Charge would ensure criminals "pay their way". The fees, which come into force on 13 April, are not means-tested and will start at £150. The Magistrates Association warned the new charge could place a burden on people with little income. It also warned that innocent people could be encouraged to plead guilty to avoid the risk of higher payments, as those who admit their offences will pay less than those convicted after a trial. It said the scheme should be reviewed after six months.

      The fee will be paid on top of fines, compensation orders and defendants' own legal charges. It will not be linked to the sentence given, but will be set according to its type of case, with the minimum charge for magistrates courts and the maximum level for crown court cases. The charge can be paid by instalments.

      A government assessment suggested that in 2020 the system could raise £135m after costs. But it warned that by then the court service will be owed £1bn in unpaid fees. Courts already have the power to award "costs" against criminals as part of their punishment, but that is to reimburse any expenditure by the prosecution team that the court decides it would be "just and reasonable" to have paid by a losing defendant. The new charge will mean that offenders are making a direct contribution to the costs of running the court itself.

      Under the current rules, convicted criminals can also be ordered to make payments to cover compensation for victims, as well as a Victim Surcharge - which funds victims' services. All of this is separate from the sentence itself, which in some cases can be a fine. Mr Grayling said: "We're on the side of people who work hard and want to get on, and that is why these reforms will make sure that those who commit crime pay their way and contribute towards the cost of their court cases."

      Richard Monkhouse, Magistrates' Association chairman, said: "Now that this is law, relevant agencies need to ensure proper processes are in place to make this work."

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    2. Thanks Jim! At least at my local court the mags chair the other day expressed her concern at the very idea itself and its negative impact on individuals, rather than concern for ensuring it works.

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  12. Yes unity was paramount. It just makes me sick to the stomach. Colleagues who chose a look after no.1 attitude which involved tipping their hats to any old shit they were told...may now regret it...well as far as I'm concerned sudexo..management...offenders...the whole lot can just fuck off.

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  13. My tame barrister seemed very excited about something because she purred as she read the Sodexo email sent on Friday. She won't tell me why, but equally she seemed concerned: "the unions should be all over this."

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    1. "The unions should be all over this." But will they be. I doubt it. The union appears to be a toothless tiger.........

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    2. well, more accurately a toothless membership that doesn't attend branch meetings, wants the reps to do it all and some even cross their own picket lines.....

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    3. Anonymous 18.17 stands corrected and agrees with 19.15. I witness sheeple in CRC and NPS

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  14. After cumbria ceo sent her letter to her staff regarding the actual numbers then intend to lose. Are ceo sent an email. Saying they are calling a meeting with managers monsay. This was not how they planned to notify staff but with cumbria sending their email ours is forced to say something now. I think earlier than what they wanted. Cumbria have forced their hand. I think they are in panic. Incase people start to leave earlier than what they wanted.

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  15. sorry anon 17:55 which area ?

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  16. Replies
    1. I do not know much about unions or strikes. But if the whole of CRC across the six units were to strike and stay out until some thing is resolved how does that sit. Is that a possibility.

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    2. Not with me. I can't wait to be made redundant.

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  17. I am nps in the south west and I'd be prepared to strike for the crcs up north

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    1. Therein lies your problem NPS CRC different employers no single dispute. They may get round to you later though. Too many failed to understand the division consequences of the split. We are weaker than ever before and still fading.

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    2. However, action against each individual employer by its TU member employees remains the power of the workers, each union registering its dispute then ballot its members then striking....correct action within the law!

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    3. Admire your enthusiasm \ resolve. Try a membership count and look at the haemorrhage of TU members . Then cast a ballot while people are scared let alone actually believe it will be carried in strength to strike. It will be you and me on an illegitimate picket line. Reality bites !

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  18. Time to stand and show we will not be pushed out. We know this job and how we need staff not job cuts. They cannot just come in and break us up.

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    1. Hmm - that clicking noise you can hear is the stable door being bolted :-/

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  19. WorkSMART - FROM THE TUC: -

    " In what circumstances are we permitted to go on strike?

    A strike is a form of industrial action. Although each employee will be in breach of their contract of employment, the union and its officials calling the strike will be protected against legal action, provided the strike (or other form of industrial action) has been called in accordance with the law.

    This legislation sets out many detailed requirements including that:

    the action is in relation to a work dispute (this would rule out action for political reasons);

    a secret postal ballot has been held;

    notice has been given to the employer;

    there is a majority in favour of the action;

    the ballot has been independently scrutinised (if more than 50 people are involved);

    and notice has been given of the industrial action. "

    FOR LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION: -

    http://www.worksmart.org.uk/rights/in_what_circumstances_are_we_permitted_to

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  20. OMG, recaptcha just asked to prove I'm not a robot..and I can't 'cos that's what they've made me!

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  21. It is also my understanding that the CEO of Nbria has had his hand forced by the email sent by the Cumbria and Lancashire CEO. It is likely all the CEOs of the Sodexo CRCs have been shown the model at the same time but appears Nbria has had the balls and the sense to rubbish Sodexos plans. Nbria response wasn’t to simply accept and communicate to staff with an email of doom but to send the plans back to Sodexo and tell them "think again...you're having a laugh if you think that will work". While staff have not been told the details it was apparently so absurd it would never work and that Sodexo really need to go back to the drawing board. When I look at the proposed cuts for Cumb and Lancs I cannot see how the same can be made in Nbria. We have lost a lot of staff in a recent recruitment drive to the North East NPS when they realised they did d not have enough staff. This has left staff in Nbria having to be directed all over the place to plug gaps. It is likely more will be lost in another wave of recruitment for North East NPS and is likely some offices in Nbria will no longer be viable. I understand comments today saying redundancies cannot be protected against or that when another company takes over redundancies are more often than not inevitable. I believe however this is a unique circumstance. CRCs are not longer a company which has ceased trading where all staff has to go or where all staff employed by the incumbent company has had a fair shot at redundancy. Don’t forget there are as many who want to leave as there is who want to stay. This is an organisation which has been split into two. The way in which this was done was wholly unfair and still to this day cannot understand how employment tribunals have not arisen as a result. Staff were sifted into the CRC , not based on competency, level of qualifications or years experience but based on what type of cases they were supervising one day. At that stage staff were placed in a company they did not choose to work for and were given no option at all to take redundancy. No option to say “I don’t want to work for a private company”. No option to take the same redundancy packages for the staff that were told they were not needed in the new company before share sale. Hang about!! Aren’t staff being told now they are not needed in the new company? So because some of us have been kept hanging around for a while why the powers that be get their arses into gear we aren’t afforded the same redundancy package. The very staff who have kept things running professionally in the face of fast paced, illogical and dangerous changes. They’d have known roughly what their plans were and how many staff they would need so why not offer the redundancies prior to the split and why , in nbria for example were so many PO’s taken over to CRC when it is clear they are not wanted. Staff were declined the opportunity to go to NPS as they HAD to go to CRC. So why should they be got rid of on a shot redundancy package. Why should these staff also now have to complete application forms, take interviews and negotiate their own terms and conditions to go over to NPS now they have realised they haven’t got enough staff Anyone who has good contacts with employment lawyers need to get talking NOW There are some big questions which need to be answered and matters concerning constructive dismissal type scenarios need to be looked into.

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  22. Probation Officer29 March 2015 at 22:04

    I think there's many ways to interpret this (I know that's hard for those facing immediate redundancy). Credit is due to Penny Barker, CE of C&L CRC for exposing Sodexo's plans when many other CE's are continuing the lie of how great it is to be owned by private companies. Can the others stand up and tell us (and the press) how bad the proposed operating models, structures and locations will be.

    1. The Govt forced TR upon us.

    2. Probation (as it was) had many problems.

    3. Probation Chiefs/CEO's, ACO's and Board Chairs were mostly silent against TR and many helped the sell-off. The Probation Association and Probation Chiefs Association were even quieter. Every single one should hang their head in shame.

    4. The above were rewarded with NPS/CRC directorships, enhanced redundancy packages and little jobs in places like the Probation Institute, and the Sentencing Council. Some of the early senior management retirees even returned to help bid writing for the privateers at agency rates of up to £200+ per day.

    5. Napo is a small Union and has never been a great Union. Most local reps/chairs do a great job. Ian Lawrence should never have made General Secretary.

    6. The Napo leadership was excruciatingly slow to act against TR. Then it did what it could but never had a chance at beating TR. Points 3, 7 and 8 made any chance of success even more difficult to achieve.

    7. Whatever the state of the above Mr Grayling intended to plough on with TR regardless, and did.

    8. The right amount of public and political support could have stopped TR. Problem was that Labour had already started privatisation and probation was not a popular/passionate enough issue to get enough political/public support to save it.

    9. It may have been different if the Probation Chiefs had spoken up against TR and continued to do so.
    a. If the PA and PCA had backed them up.
    b. If the London Probation Chief, Heather Munro had exposed the failings of the UPW contract with Serco.
    c. If the Unions had fought TR from the outset with rigour.
    d. If Unison hadn't backed away from industrial action.
    e. If Napo hadn't pulled out from the judicial review.
    f. If Jim Brown were head of Napo.
    g. etc, etc, etc.

    10. The rump of probation is now owned by private companies whose main interest is making profit.

    11. There will be redundancies, there will be horrible changes in practices and the standards of probation will drastically fall.

    12. BIONIC?

    13. We can pin blame on many individuals and departments, it's pointless. The fact is this is a direct consequence of having a Conservative government.

    14. It is now too late for a different outcome. Napo will be needed to support members to get the best redundancy deals.

    15. If Conservatives remain in government the NPS will be next. Labour is our best bet even though Sadiq Khan cannot "rip up private probation contracts" and wants to give part of our work to the Youth Offending Service.

    16. Look after yourselves and each other. Redundancy/job loss hits most of us at some point. I've been through it, many I know have been through it, and we come out the other side.

    'Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.'

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    1. Thanks. That's what I think.

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    2. So people, get this news disseminated to your local press. Reveal Grayling, NOMS, the Tories & this weasel coalition government for what they are - liars, charlatans, snake oil salesmen, arseholes; choose your own descriptor.

      £46 in their pocket; nothing done to reduce reoffending; no-one available to support prisoners; probation are rubbish; 75% of probation time spent in front of computer screens; we'll make the difference; private contracts are the answer; all is sold, and then...

      ... 40% REDUCTION IN PROBATION STAFF BY AU?tUMN 2015; introduction of reporting by kiosk & call centre.

      People are due to vote in the next few weeks.

      So let them know what Grayling & co have left them with. Help ensure the Tories don't get back in. Advertise what Sodexo are saying: "We planned for 40% compulsory redundancies once the government's seven month protection period had evaporated." Get the message out there.

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    3. We did this two years ago. No one cares.Take the money and run.

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    4. The Place TR should have been exposed was parliament but Parliament is flawed and not doing its main function of holding government to account and passing tested legislation.

      there is massive ignorance about parliament with folk thinking they are about to elect a government - when they are not but actually electing single constituency members who depending on the result of that election will then determine the Governement that is formed.

      The Coalition Channel 4 Programme from Saturday was quite informative - I thought - it is still available.

      The way forward is to get candidates for parliament who are NOT controlled by a party whip. It is very hard work because there is so much competition it is also very difficult to achieve unless the sitting MP has behaved very badly as happened when Martin Bell was elected in Tatton a decade or so ago,

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  23. PRESS RELEASE - Greater London Napo - Email received tonight: -

    "URGENT MEDIA RELEASE – IMMEDIATE USE

    Probation Staff to be replaced by machines Sodexo who now own probation services in 6 out of 21 areas are to make Probation Staff Redundant and Replace them with Call Centres and Biometric Reporting Kiosks

    http://www.napo2.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=968 "

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  24. Mactailgunner Flies again!

    He is back in the Napo Forum with a post headed: -

    How to prevent airline pilots committing mass murder
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    It tackles the same issue as the Greater London Branch Press Release plus a bit more!

    http://www.napo2.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=967&p=3724#p3722

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    1. I haven't pasted the link but I'm assuming, given it's to do with Napo, it's about capitulating and taking hundreds of people, who were relying on you, with you at the same time.

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  25. I have probably paid more in NAPO union fees than I will get in redundancy pay. My local reps are great but chivalry Road has let members down. Sorry to offend anyone but that's my view

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