Monday, 30 March 2015

Redundancy Special

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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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 misjudgement 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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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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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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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 everyone's getting as much support as they can.

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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 Employment Tribunal 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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I think 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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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 buildings 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 officially in writing your end date. I don't think it's going to be that straight forward.

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

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This is and was always going to be a dog's breakfast. The operating model leaks like a sieve and will show its shortcomings within hours but we have to wait and see because 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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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 believed 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 numbers, 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 turnout before, maybe things would be different but I personally don't 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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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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After Cumbria CEO sent her letter to her staff regarding the actual numbers they intend to lose, our CEO (Northumbria) sent an email aying they are calling a meeting with managers Monday. 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 in case people start to leave earlier than what they wanted.

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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 Cumbria 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 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 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 while 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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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. Trust 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 it's all now downhill for staff, offenders, victims, public and taxpayers.

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Just to add my support to you all as former colleagues. As a NAPO rep it was obvious to me from the beginning that the fall out from all of this was not going to be pretty. Encouraging some colleagues to pull the ladder up thinking they were OK whilst others have been thrown to the wolves. As the only middle manager in my former Trust who took industrial action, I was generally seen as a fully paid up member of the awkward squad and decided to trade in my CQSW and move to another job. I knew I would be seen as an easy target when the inevitable redundancies popped up and I had no intention of ending my career in that way. It is interesting to reflect that most of the active NAPO members ended up being shafted into the CRC, myself included. Remember, the best predictor of future behaviour is what has happened in the past. EVR was only ever going to be trousered by a few. When I read the proposals for EVR I mentally made a note of those I predicted would profit. I am confident I will have guesed right.

To colleagues in the CRCs, do read these blogs. In between the understandable rage there is some sound advice. If you have allowed your union membership to lapse, it now may be too late to sign up but if you are in either UNISON or NAPO get rep help asap. It makes senior management stick to the rules even if your rep feels out of their depth (don't bank on help from NAPO HQ). Take as much control over the process as you can but don't cut your nose off as some are suggesting. Going out through competancy proceedings is not nice and could affect your chances of getting another job. Think for yourself and your own needs and those of your family. The organisation you worked for and took pride in has been butchered and the crows are picking over the corpse. Whatever Grayling and co think, you all have skills that other organisations will want to have. Nil desperandum, colleagues.

90 comments:

  1. This is going to be a dreadful week and I suspect it will be a good time for more bad news, more CEOs will have their hands forced and well, we might as well get the pain out at once.....please look after each other, start to take your lunch breaks as mental health support breaks! Have a coffee with a colleague get out of the office. We wait for news.

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  2. There is JUST a little bit of cheer in that Napo Greater London have adapted the information about the dangerous job cuts plan from Sodexo in Lancashire and Cumbria and issued a Press release aimed at stopping MTCNOVO doing similar in Greater London.

    Well done David Raho, Pat Waterman and colleagues - possibly other Napo & also Unison branches can be similarly proactive and so get the probation issue into the media spotlight for the Election coverage.

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

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    1. Yes, well done David and Pat. On a side note, I'm surprised by how little news I hear of goings-on in London CRC and NPS here on the blog - I hear a lot on the grapevine but none of it seems to make its way onto the comments.

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    2. Well maybe it's down to you to post what you hear..?

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    3. @Anon 09:37 I'm based hundreds of miles from London. Although I consider my sources reliable, the information would be second or third hand at best, and I don't think that would be helpful at the moment. We haven't all got a 'man down the pub' in our lives...

      My point is, it seems strange to me that there seems to be comparatively little information coming out of the largest single area, that's all.

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    4. Napo GLB are regularly emailing there own members - which is how I got the press release last night - like some other Branches they have a Facebook page.

      https://www.facebook.com/napoukglb?fref=nf

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    5. Thanks Andrew. It is good to hear David Raho mentioned. I worked with him a long time ago and he supported me and others when we were training as PO's. If someone didnt know something in our office we always went to David and he always made time for us and patiently explained things and why they were done that way. He had strong principles about what is right and wrong and always spoke up. I also gained a lot of knowledge and understanding from him about many different things like computers and drugs Handy!! If Napo leaders have any sense they will listen to his advice carefully and they wont keep going wrong. I dont know Pat but Ive seen her and heard her speak and she seems like the kind of strong union leader Napo needs. My friend who works in London says that Pat came to her office and an ACO manager they dont like hid in their office and wouldnt come out until she had gone. She said she had a meeting and promised them she would fight for them and noone there doubted she would. So keep going David and Pat.

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  3. From the release that still hasn't arrived in my email (I got it off the googlenet):

    "BR 25/2015
    IL/AV

    25th March 2015
    To: Branch Chairs
    Family Court SEC (for info)
    Cc: Probation Negotiating Committee
    NEC Reps
    Napo Officers and Officials

    Dear Colleague,
    BRANCH BRIEFING ON CRC REDUNDANCY HANDLING
    Napo members are likely to have concerns over the workforce plans of the new CRC owners. Some CRC owners have published early proposals to introduce new operating models which have serious implications for the future job prospects of key CRC staff. The unions have a key role to play in seeking to protect employment security and getting the best deal for members who are placed at risk of redundancy as a result of these new operating models.
    The following branch actions are essential:
    • remind your CRC and your members that the NNC voluntary redundancy scheme, which was negotiated as part of the NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement, applies to any voluntary redundancy that your CRC plans to make during the entire lifetime of the CRC contract. The terms of the NNC voluntary redundancy agreement can be found at the end of this briefing.
    • advise members to not enter into any personal discussions with the CRC over any voluntary redundancy offers which do not meet the terms of the NNC voluntary redundancy scheme; there is a danger that some CRCs might try to offer staff inferior terms and this must be resisted at all costs
    • ensure that your CRC enters into consultation with the staff unions at the outset of any potential for redundancies, whether these are voluntary or compulsory
    • remind members that the NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement guarantees that there will not be any compulsory redundancies in CRCs for a period of 7 months following share sale – i.e. before 1 September 2015
    • remind your CRC and your members that the NNC Management of Change Agreement on the handling of potential compulsory redundancies continues to apply to the CRC since privatisation. This agreement requires the CRC to advise the NNC Joint Secretaries of any proposals to declare compulsory redundancies and submit to the NNC Management of Change process to seek to avoid any such compulsory redundancies"

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    1. And it continues:

      "1.1. NNC Voluntary Redundancy Scheme
      The NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement, the Staff Transfer Scheme, and the Services Agreement between the CRC owners and the MOJ provide for any redundancies which arise during the lifetime of the CRC contract in connection with Transforming Rehabilitation to be dealt with under the terms of the agreed NNC voluntary redundancy scheme (VRS).
      Each CRC has been given a sum of money by NOMS, known as the ‘modernisation fund’, which was originally intended to be used to fund voluntary severance in line with the NNC VRS Scheme. It would appear that following the share sale, NOMS has indicated to the new CRC owners that the modernisation fund can be used as the CRCs see fit and that the money does not have to be spent on redundancy costs. This is regrettable, but it does not change the fact that if a CRC wishes to make any staff voluntarily redundant at any time during the term of the contract, the terms of the NNC voluntary redundancy scheme have to apply.
      However, the MOJ has provided the CRC owners with a potential get-out clause in the Services Agreement (see 1.3 (e) below) which allows the CRC to try to negotiate inferior voluntary redundancy terms with individual employees. This must be avoided at all costs and branches should make it clear to CRCs that any attempt to avoid paying voluntary redundancy terms outside of the terms set out in Appendix B to the NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement will be strongly resisted.
      Branches should also advise members not to enter into any personal talks with the CRC in respect of any voluntary redundancy offer which undercuts the NNC voluntary redundancy package in any respect, and to report any such approaches by the CRC to their union as soon as possible."

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    2. Great quote from Ian Lawrence on 24 March 2015 - so LINK it in with the redundancy issue - drive the point home, i.e. how can there be compulsory redundancies of almost 40% when there's an existing staffing crisis which represents an increased risk of harm?

      "Ian Lawrence General Secretary said “the National Probation Service is massively understaffed as a result of Graylings reforms and outsourcing. We completely support the inspectorate’s recommendations but struggle to see how these can be implemented if there isn’t the staff to do the work. High workloads and increased stress for our members poses a direct risk to the public and this report confirms our fears. The next government will need to urgently review the delivery of probation and prison services to avoid any further catastrophic consequences.”

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  4. JOURNO from Suffolk & Norfolk where Sodexo run the CRC seeking info about the redundancy story.

    CONTACT: - david.powles@archant.co.uk

    He is on Twitter @David_Powles

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  5. Jim,

    Would it be possible for you to update the glossary section of the blog as people are using a lot of acronyms in recent posts such as DTV and others which are meaningless to some readers of the blog

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    1. Durham Tees Valley

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  6. In the GS blog of 27 March the figure for the Sodexo redundancies in Cumbria and Lancashire was 11%. In the latest blog this figure has been revised to 31%. We should always talk about jobs – whether full or part-time – and now allow figures and percentages to be derailed by FTEs – terminology which is implicitly discriminatory towards those with part-time and fixed-term contracts.

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  7. QUOTE from Rob Palmer: -

    http://www.napo2.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=967&p=3726#p3726

    " Someone here reminded me this morning that 70% of communication is non-verbal. So called 'low risk'* cases dealt with by way of phone reporting and kiosks will be dealt with without being confronted by a human being who is expert in reading the 70% as well as the 30%. In risk management terms, it ties one hand behind our backs.

    * remember, in the new universe, 'low risk' is only a means of determining resource allocation. It is a determination based on their relationship with those who are 'high risk' and not on the needs of the offender or those s/he has contact with. "

    MY RESPONSE: -

    "
    EXCELLENT that should nail it - the few booths in London should be decommissioned forthwith - this is the story that the media can report and will be understood by public if not the former Liberal Democrat and Conservative elected Members of Parliament.

    Thanks for publishing Rob! "

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  8. To my mind redundancy announcements at this time is a tactical move by Sedoxo.
    Many are not going to hang about to see if the axe falls on them, and many will already be looking for alternative employment.
    Come August, much of the saff reductions wanted by Sedoxo will probably have been met by staff leaving off their own back, and of course Sedoxo will have to pay them nothing.

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    1. Sodexo are the first to announce, but unlikely to be the last. Extrapolating from these figures is going to put the redundancies in the thousands, not hundreds and so I cannot see alternative employment filling the vacuum.

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  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32107291

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  10. 386 staff down to 254.....in BENCH area

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    1. Acronym up date BENCH = The Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Community Rehabilitation Company Limited

      http://benchcrc.org.uk/

      From their website

      " Key facts:

      Our caseload: 6,500 cases a year
      Our workforce is approximately 450 "

      I do not know if the caseload figure takes account of the TTG cases (Through The Gate)

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  11. MORE FROM NAPO with another Press Release with information about Call centres and reporting in booths for Sodexo CRCs: -

    http://www.napo2.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=969

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  12. It is in the (London) Evening Standard with a write up by Mark Leftly who has written about it all before in The Independent: -

    http://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/probation-officers-under-threat-of-axe-after-sodexos-takeover-10143684.html?origin=internalSearch

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    1. "Earlier this month, Sodexo made what it described as a “public service pledge” at a Westminster reception addressed by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude. The group wanted to play down fears about the outsourcing industry."

      Wonder how that 'pledge' goes?

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    2. Oh, look! Here it is:

      http://uk.sodexo.com/uken/Images/Sodexo_Public_Service_Pledge336-848916.pdf


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    3. Good to see they are pledged to paying the living wage - that's £7.85 per hour.

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    4. Lip service, there is a wide difference between saying you will do something and actually doing it.

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  13. Presumably Sodexo could further boost their profits by sub-contracting the call centres overseas.

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  14. Fuller report in Tomorrow's Guardian - Norfolk & Suffolk CEO quoted

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/30/probation-officers-face-redundancy-in-plan-to-replace-them-with-machines

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  15. Northumbria (with various caveats) down from 273 FTE to 181 FTE by October with a further 26 to go when the IT gets sorted.

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  16. Do you have the breakdown on northumbria?

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  17. Am I right in thinking that compulsory redundancies pay more than voluntary, due to the fact that you are being made unemployed rather than voluntary as you are making yourself unemployed.. Also once you get compulsory redundancies you are entitled to benefits.

    Has anyone from Cumbria and Lancs had any more news today.

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    1. Completely backwards. The vol. redundancy payments are higher to incentivise those who are willing to go 'at a price' before making people compulasrily redundant. Without the higher payments, everyone will just take their chances and play the odds.

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    2. Voluntaries are offered to entice people to go sooner to save company £££ (eg staff like higher management ). Sodexo have no real incentive to offer voluntaries.

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    3. Coupled with the fact that the National Agreement clause (16) on enhanced redundancy only applies to voluntary redundancies, I would imagine it is in Sodexo's interest to wait until after end September 2015, when they will be able to make compulsory redundancies without being obliged to offer enhanced terms.

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    4. Unless your HMCI Probation who got twice as much for resigning than if he had been sacked! Such a honourable man! ��

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  18. S.Yorks Napo and Unison formally registered a trade dispute today over failure to apply staff transfer agreement in respect of EVR and apparent denial of VR enhanced or otherwise to over 55s.

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    1. brilliant ! that is what we need....hope others follow suit....this is what the staff transfer agreement was for...I was really exasperated by all the "it's worthless" "the unions have sold us down the river" bleating.... please get behind your unions.

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    2. Naive we had locals disagreements folled by poorly voted strike action. Sodexo consulting on the agreement wont bind anything. The can still sack . It will just cost a little more now lose a littke profit overall. Oh no your right they will see their insensitive approach and give us a rise and less work .wake up the fight was lost already.

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  19. Not confirmed but reportedly 49% PO, 49% SPO, 50+% Admin, 14% PSO.

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  20. Your numbers are incorrect. You should actual wait until you have conformation before postings numbers. Have you had these in email from ceo? If not i suggest you wait. You are scaring people.

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    1. Not scaring, get people ready, the cuts will be brutal.

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    2. You are. Unless the figuers are out you cannot comment. We all know what is happening. But not everyone is going

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    3. The figures are out. Read the CEO's email, the breakdown was shared with Team Managers this morning who then shared them directly with teams. Nearly half of FTE existing PO and SPO posts, more than half of admin and 11 FTE PSO posts.

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  21. Panorama now.... legal aid cuts!

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  22. Massive cuts in Northumbria - confirmed in email from their CEO to all staff today. Sedexo wanting to cut workforce including front line staff. Someone from Northumbria will hopefully confirm as I'm not from up north

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  23. Napo's Rob Palmer on Telly - until 18.55 Tuesday 31st March

    http://www.napo2.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=972

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  24. CEO of Northumbria changed his email settings so that the email couldn't be forwarded, printed or copied?! Sodexo in 'discussion' with MOJ to seek clarification on EVR. Glad to see its getting some headlines in the media, though not sure it will make any difference to their plans.

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    1. That is a little out of order, I what that email to take to my lawyer.

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    2. Write it out and sign and date it and give its origin as an exact copy.

      It shows them up as frightened of even their own words - also talk to the Union AND THE MEDIA!

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    3. take a photo of it on your phone !!

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    4. And blog it dont keep itbto yourself !

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  25. screen shot it or use mobile phone and take picture.
    Lets play the bastards at their own game

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  26. The future of Probation

    http://youtu.be/JzF5VawGgiA

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  27. Crc and nps strike action would get their attention....

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    1. cloud cuckoo land......it isn't going to happen...Bobbyjoe

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    2. Your absolutly right BJ not a chance too many going to sit on their hands doing what they did before hope its not my new company hope its not my area hope its not my ldu hope its not my grade hope its not me. OH DEAR. You all had your chance blame napo not entirley fair. Voting weak apathy strong now its hurting.

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    3. Strike action or get their attention?

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  28. we need to strike NOW. Hit them during the strike and watch how the media jump on board.

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    1. I agree strike. But stay out until we win.

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  29. Retweeted Carl Eve (@CarlEveCrime):
    Any Plymouth Probation Officers want to give me a call tomorrow about Sodexo's plans to replace you with "machines", ring 01752 293100

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    1. I THINK THAT TWEET WAS FOR THE NORTH !
      Soddit and co are not in your area as employers ?.
      Hope that phone number is not a flag for you.

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  30. cloud cuckoo land......it isn't going to happen.......Bobbyjoe

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  31. oh- my - god! As a retired PO 3 yrs ago in Nbria, after 18 years in Sunderland and still missing the job and my colleagues, this latest news, on top of the torture of the last 2 years, is simply heartbreaking. The callous way 'they' are expecting staff to treat users, and the resultant 'cleansing' procedures, are more than makes any sense other than just a money grabbing scheme. Certainly it will not reduce re-offending.

    The country is losing some of the most loyal, wise, knowledgeable, experienced AND caring staff you can find anywhere. The majority of Probation staff have always given more, working longer hours with no extra pay, always fitting in time to give genuinely distressed people (sometimes the offender, sometimes the family, sometimes the victim) support wherever it is most needed, but being firm and giving it straight, where required.

    Probation staff are the country's unrecognised and unacknowledged workers, their work and the current fiasco still going ignored,even now. I read about Nbria's cuts and wonder how many of my friends are on that list, and am aware how difficult it will be for many of them.

    And in spite of the vitriol about PO's spelled out anonymously from the odd client on this blog and giving Jim a headache, there are many more clients/users/ex-offenders who have dreaded the day their Order ended and they have lost the support of an officer who they regarded as a friend.

    And I worry about the victims, and the future victims. Thanks to the grubby greedy Tories, and ignorant self-seeking company bosses, so many more children will suffer and it brings tears to my eyes as I type this.

    Most people in Wearside will know who I am, and I send them my love and hopes that somewhere there will be a reasoned common sense outcome to this hell. And my best wishes to every hardworking staff member, other than the get rich quick top grade staff who have chosen to fly with the vultures.

    And hell-fire and damnation to those who have caused this torment, with you know who on the top of the bonfire.

    May equilibrium be found somewhere. x



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  32. CPOs are really earning their blood money now. Put your own descriptors in here.....................................

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    1. They going to have to come down to ground level and get hands dirty, demoralised staff won't be giving a fig about that targets

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  33. Strike won't happen with both CRC and nps out to support crc and that is a shame as it would cause some real friction between private provider and public pay master. Sodexo causing strike across the board would comprise public protection in nps

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    1. Excellent point. NAPO press officer will claim that as theirs

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    2. You wana bet. everyone that I have spoken with are full on.
      We have had enough of this bullshit.
      staff are exhausted with this crap.
      The momentum is there because this effects everyone whether you are CRC or NPS.

      Delete
    3. An isolated example I know, but a colleague of mine joined one of the main unions today solely for the purpose of being able to participate in any official strike action.

      Delete
  34. It's time for Sodexo to change their name to Sonnexo

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  35. Keep an eye on Catch 22, who will be delivering through the gate services for CRCs within months.
    Case manager role at HMP Doncaster paying £16,489 to £22,673, job description as follows

    http://www.catch-22.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Case-Manager-2015.doc

    Senior case manager, From £19,527.37 to £26,849.36 per annum

    http://www.catch-22.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/C22-JD-Snr-Case-Manager-2015.doc

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    1. Bloody disgraceful. I doubt at that price you are going to get anyone with passion and commitment.
      You pay for what you get.

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    2. Gutless CRC CEO's and SMT going along with the Sodexo salami slicing. Ultimately it is the CRC who is our employer and the contracts sit with the CRC. When are they going to wake up and grow some balls and realise the risk sits with them if delivery goes tits up because they have no skilled staff left. I've already heard them whining about it not being their fault and blaming the private company.The private companies have shares but it is the CRC management who are accountable for employee maters and delivering on contract. It will be the CRC who faces a tribunal and are expected to deliver. Come on NAPO its time to wake up, you've been caught with your trousers down again.

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    3. You will though. What you may also get though is inexperience and a less well trained staff group. You may get staff that become quickly disillusioned or see their post as a "means to an end", maybe a step towards a public sector job... one day. Catch 22 have been a threat waiting in the wings for a while now.

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  36. I left Probation 5 years ago just when this bollocks was kicking off and moved into a completely unrelated field. It was the best move of my life. I am happier and healthier. There comes a point when you just have to accept the government sees the Probation Service as 100% expendable and move on. Stop flogging a dead horse

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    1. ... but what "unrelated field"? I know people say they have moved on but where to? Apart from a few who have gone into Social Work no-one has said what they are doing now. I am genuinely interested in k owing. I accept the notion that we have lots of transferable skills but can anyone show where they have proved the point, especially if they have no other experience than Probation.

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    2. It's hard to answer this without 'outing' former colleagues if you want the detail that I think you are looking for. However, substance misuse agencies, children's charities, mental health agencies,arts organisations, travel agencies, big solicitors firms, universities and colleges and own businesses have all snapped up people I've worked with very quickly. Most of them now earn more than they did in probation. Hope that helps a little bit, check out indeed or some other big job sites and you might be surprised at what's out there. Good luck!

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    3. What you learn in Probation is how to think quickly, navigate incomprehensible IT systems, solve problems, communicate on all levels and interpret a myriad of laws and policies. You'll be welcomed by many, many employers. Don't panic!

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    4. I'd steer clear of substance misuse and mental heath. They're hardly a bag of laughs or gold. I think people in Probation are so worn down they've lost the confidence or energy to make a move out. If they make you redundant after all of this you should be thankful that someone has made the move for you. Sorry if that pisses some people off but I think there's a lot of stockholm syndome about. JUST GET OUT!!!

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  37. @anonymous 00:07 I work in IT now. I re-trained. It was totally worth it. My years in Probation gave me anxiety the doctor said PTSD. I don't know about that but I was medicated for the first two years after I left. Even reading this blog is raising my blood pressure. This isn't a smug "look at me & my better life" post but really really there is a better life out there. Just leave . It's not worth it, I promise you.

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    1. Thank you. I agree with comment about confidence. I think I have done this for so long it is hard to see a role outside of Probation.

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  38. @00:45 I understand. You're so very qualified for so many things out there. It's going to take a paradigm shift away from you holding your nose to the grindstone and feeling the constant fear that if you stop-all the cards will fall to loving yourself enough to take a little time to plan a future. Book holiday now-use the time to fix your CV and apply for other things. And for Gods sake see a counselor privately. The toll this job is taking on you can in no way be underestimated. Not just you-every PO reading this.

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    1. Po centrism it might be a pso or admin. This is why Napo started divided it is about being a worker. Something po grade dont appear to get. The snobbery of practice what practice pso do the same job everywhere have done for years just not recognised in Napo as equal this is what undermines workers 06:45 your comment just as divisive grow up your workers being a po is irrelevant under privatisation and we wait to see in NPs as jobs get given to civil servants non po.

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  39. Everyone needs to calm down and put things into perspective

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  40. What is THAT supposed to mean? Our profession is having the guts ripped out of it and those most likely to lose their jobs are those who have invested most. What 'perspective' would you consider appropriate?

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  41. I think it's disgusting what they're doing, Essex had a meeting with the Chief Officer yesterday and its bleak, 50% of admin staff to be axed, a central "hub" aka Contact Centre in Chelmsford, OM3 and 4 grades are alleged to be "safe" but for how long? It just stinks and to add insult to injury staff cannot apply for Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy! There are plenty of staff (including me) who would jump at this but once again any opportunity to do so is denied, which is insulting as I want to go but not without a pay off! I'm taking my 6 years of expertise, knowledge and skills elsewhere as I'm actively seeking alternative employnent, interviews are flooding in! Having Neighbourhood Centres and a central hub is awful, how can you guage risk by telephone?? This is a dangerous and shambolic system and I'm ashamed to be involved in it but I have no choice and without a decent financial recompense to leave voluntarily I want out. Sodexho don't care about or value experience, all we are to them is a disposable commodity or a mere number. How will decisions be made to get rid of staff? We've been told it's based on appraisals and sickness, but who really knows? The only certainly I can foresee is offending will escalate if not managed correctly and this will seriously affect their PbR figures, so then what?? It's too hideous to contemplate and won't be reversed come the election (regardless of who is elected). Sad times indeed for a once decent and respected service!

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    1. Thank you for that report.

      I was an Essex po from 1982 - 1988 and continue to live in the Maldon District.. Commiserations.

      Please post more as the situation develops.

      I have attempted to give your words a wider audience via Twitter: -

      https://twitter.com/Andrew_S_Hatton/status/582996647040278528

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