Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Latest From Napo 72

This posted yesterday by General Secretary Ian Lawrence on the Napo website:-

A senior manager slams Sodexo

As the unions finalise our plans to consult members in the Sodexo CRC's over the severance offer, here is a message passed to me by a colleague from a senior manager who understandably wants their identity protected.

There are occasions when the addition of a commentary would be counter intuitive. This is one of them.

"I know you and your colleagues are managing the current negotiations with Sodexo/MoJ/NOMS re EVR and do not underestimate the challenges you are facing in any way - but I just wanted to put a human take on the impact on my staff of Sodexo’s approach to “reductions/efficiencies”. .

Firstly staff feel completely betrayed and let down by Sodexo and the CEO – in my area staff cannot understand why in the other 5 Sodexo CRCs there are still some staff who have been given the EVR scheme on last year’s terms, are still working in the CRC and have had contracts extended to 2016. It appears they have the best of both worlds.

The “oversupply” terminology being used by CEOs (i.e. Sodexo) makes people feel like commodities such as kettles, or cups/plates – my staff are none of the above.

Secondly staff believe that Sodexo is trying to get rid of people on the cheap and through the backdoor via this new “voluntary severance” package – significant concerns relate to the fact that the CEO at a recent meeting could not answer questions posed regarding the difference between VS and VR e.g. impact on benefits, taxation, credits etc. Staff are totally confused and don’t know what is their best option – they also do not know where they will be based as the estates strategy is behind schedule.

Thirdly, staff are upset that there is very little recognition of the “personal impact” of Sodexo’s approach – there is nothing on the table as to what will be made available to people to move on, get new jobs, deal with current personal impact etc - staff cannot understand why such support has not been made available before now.

A local story – there is a PO who has been placed “at risk” and works p/t, but today was doing work on their day off to support a recall application – somewhere in this adversarial environment the professionalism and commitment of staff is not appreciated or recognised.

I just want to conclude by saying I have a wonderful staff group in my location , of whom I am extremely proud , who go way beyond the call of duty for me all the time and who are committed to rehabilitation, public protection, community safety and restorative justice agendas.

I wish Sodexo could understand and recognise this – and begin to recognise what they are at risk of losing."


  1. The PO mentioned above who is `At Risk' should have used their time to look for another job instead of doing a recall on their day off. Wish all you want that Sodexo 'recognise what they are at risk of losing.' They are a business and bottom line is the money not staff loyalty.

    1. I could easily be that PO, coming in & completing the recall whilst on leave. It is not for Sodexo & not for the CRC & not for the manager - its for me (peace of mind), its the professionalism of the role, its for protection of others & its potentially for the protection of the recalled client. A number of my cases have asked me to recall them when they know they've lost the plot & their lives have become unmanageable & they're at risk of further offending.

      But this is why profit & probation will never mix, like oil & water. Whats usually happened when we have a mix of oil & water? Blown engine or shipwrecked oil tanker. Outcome? Economical crisis either because you have no car or theres an ecological disaster.

      Neither HMG/MoJ nor Sodexo/CRC bidders seem to have any understanding of this fundamental law of the universe, which has a number of formulae:

      Do it right or dont do it at all
      If a jobs worth doing, its worth doing well
      Fail to plan, plan to fail
      Etc etc

      Squeezing profit from others misfortune is immoral & unsustainable.

    2. I agree with 9 36 and am disappointed at 9 02. People don't work longer hours to suit the 'firm'; they do it because they are in the job to do the best they can to support clients, and reduce victims. And that can take time, with the ever demanding paperwork stacking up, which necessitates working longer hours..

      I retired 4 years ago after years of virtually never working less than 40 hours a week, and sometimes up to 70, never claiming TOIL as I would not have had the time to take it!. (and admittedly without the approval of my family).And I was not alone, people coming in early, working late, and sometimes w/e's, without claiming overtime, or time off - simply because they loved the job, and the purpose behind the job, which was far more important than stupid targets.

      You cannot give quality time to people, to explore issues and horrendous memories they have buried in their heads, to enable them to move on, if you only give them 10-15 min and then 'here's your next appt'.

      I remember on more than one occasion, people have eventually told me that they have been unable to talk to anyone else the way they were able to talk to me, and that is including counsellors, who I would be told, give you a straight one hour, and then , out the door, just as they were working up to disclose some painful memory. That is worse than not opening Pandora's box at all.

      I still recall, 20 years ago, when a colleague was supervising a 17 yr old (we had them from 14 those days) who she was sure was about to release the thought, and the fear, that he was gay, and she had to stop him as she had run out of time. She felt terrible, and imagine how the young man must have felt. I still wonder what happened to him.

      I think this ability to listen, share and support and hopefully ease people's worst nightmares is something that is being eroded, and replaced by achieving stuff in the tick box, which does nothing to rehabilitate, only makes the CRC's look good and get their money, even if the ticks are manipulated. And many people coming into the Service, in spite of their degrees, will not realise what Probation was about, and will not have the skills or the motivation to engage with damaged minds. Just tick the box and move on.

      I'm not saying it is right to work such long hours, but it sure went further to rehabilitate and reduce offending and thus protect victims than anything which is being done now,

      But then, I'm just a dinosaur.

      And please peeps, stop bullying Jim, I know how much time I spend, just reading it daily, and making the occasional contribution. Without Jim, this opportunity to be outspoken would vanish.

      Get well soon Jim, there are more of us who care for you than don't.

    3. re my comment above at 1343, I apologise if it looks as tho' I am criticising everything which is happening in Probation now. I know that there is still a lot of good work going on - but that is in spite of the likes of Sodexo, not because of. Sorry if I mislead you.

      and finally - I missed out the vital word 'challenge' when I spoke of support etc. We were not soft, and we did challenge their behaviour and attitudes, whether it be a minor thing, or extremely serious. It was just about hitting the right button at the right time. And I know that is still happening now.,

  2. Dozens of Magistrates resign over court surcharge they have been forced to impose since April: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/law/article4510044.ece

    1. New court fee forces the innocent to plead guilty, magistrates claim

      Dozens of magistrates have resigned over an “outrageous” surcharge for criminal defendants of up to £1,200 for standing trial. Courts have no discretion over fees introduced in April, which can quadruple if defendants plead not guilty and are then convicted.
      Magistrates say that there is evidence that the charge is putting pressure on defendants who maintain their innocence to plead guilty to avoid risking a higher bill. The fine is uncollectable, they say, because many defendants are serial offenders on low incomes and unable to pay it.

      That's all due to pay wall.

    2. "
      Frances Gibb Legal Editor
      Last updated at 12:01AM, July 25 2015

      Dozens of magistrates have resigned over an “outrageous” surcharge for criminal defendants of up to £1,200 for standing trial. Courts have no discretion over fees introduced in April, which can quadruple if defendants plead not guilty and are then convicted.

      Magistrates say that there is evidence that the charge is putting pressure on defendants who maintain their innocence to plead guilty to avoid risking a higher bill. The fine is uncollectable, they say, because many defendants are serial offenders on low incomes who will be unable to pay it.

      They have told Michael Gove, the justice secretary, of their concerns and want the impact of the charge reviewed at its six-month point in September.

      Richard Monkhouse, chairman of the 20,000-strong Magistrates Association, said that 20 magistrates had written to the association saying they were resigning over the fees, but that the actual number was likely to be higher.

      “I can fully understand magistrates resigning over this. When courts impose fines, they take account of an offender’s ability to pay,” he said. “Yet this charge offers neither judicial discretion nor means-testing at the point it is imposed — and seeks to undo any attempts to be fair and proportionate.”

      He added: “There are already reports of people under pressure to plead guilty — particularly as they increasingly find themselves acting for themselves.”

      The surcharge starts at £150 for a guilty plea for a summary offence, rising to £180 for a guilty plea for a more serious offence that can also be tried in the crown court. It increases to £520 for a conviction after a not guilty plea for a summary offence and £1,000 for a conviction after a not guilty plea for an offence that can also be tried in the crown court. In the crown court, the charges are £900 for a guilty plea and £1,200 for conviction after a not guilty plea.

      George Lyons, a magistrate on the North Tyneside bench, resigned and wrote to Magistrate: “This is a terrible piece of legislation introduced through the back door.” It would “criminalise many people because that is the option for them”. He added: “Justice is only going to be for those who can afford it.”

      Bob Hutchinson, deputy bench chairman on the Fylde Coast bench, said that he had resigned after 11 years because he felt that he could no longer do justice. “I don’t feel that I can help any more; I have no influence,” he said. “So if I am not contributing — and I am a volunteer — why should I continue?”

      The charge, which was slipped through at the end of the last parliament, has also been condemned by the Law Society, which represents 150,000 solicitors in England and Wales.

      Jonathan Smithers, its president, said: “We think that this charge is counter-productive and against the interest of natural justice.”

      A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “It is right that convicted adult offenders who use our criminal courts should pay towards the cost of running them.

      “The introduction of this charge makes it possible to recover some of the costs of the criminal courts from these offenders, therefore reducing the burden on taxpayers.” "

    3. Truly appalling. All this from the shower of creeps that preened so sickeningly on our TV screens about the Magna Carta anniversary, you know, that old paper that read... "To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."

  3. 'The 'oversupply' terminology... makes people feel like commodities...' As we know, the commodification of staff started long before Sodexo came into probation. The 'specification, benchmarking and costings' project helped to package probation for the private sector and the publicly managed probation service led the transformation of professionals into bureaucrats. But here we have a 'senior manager' empathising and feeling the pain of staff. But this person is powerless to do anything about Sodexo. And even in a situation where there are duty of care responsibilities she/he takes a passive attitude by allowing/condoning a subordinate member of staff who is deemed 'at risk' to work on their day off.

    I wonder what is the raison d'etre of a senior manager in probation. I don't see much in this piece about leadership or what responsibilities it entails. If a leader can see the damage and unfairness that is being done, is there no imperative to do act? apart from rehashing what has been common knowledge, as testified by many posters to this blog. On terminology closer to home, I have seen 'senior manager' used interchangeably with 'senior leader.' It seems to me that the former is a mere functionary who follows orders and the latter a figment of grandiose wishful thinking.

  4. Hmm..subordinate...they introduced this concept a few years ago when they developed their own notion that managers were somehow superior and to whom the 'frontline' staff were accountable.. they themselves are accountable to those who consider themselves superior..none of them consider themselves accountable to the people who actually do the job Prison service, Probation service,,no longer, Forces more like..Leaders very few and far between..


  5. ITV Report 28 July 2015 at 11:44am

    Threat to hundreds of Sodexo probation jobs in the East


    1. More than 400 probation jobs are threatened with the axe under "drastic" cuts in a number of centres across the country, according to unions.

      Sodexo was said to be planning to lay off 436 staff at six community rehabilitation companies it runs. Unions said jobs would be lost in regions including Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. The company was accused of seeking to impose a severance package worth less than half what members are owed.

      Ben Priestley, national officer for Unison, said: "Sodexo made £39.6 million operating profit last year, so the company's pleas, that giving staff their contractual entitlement to redundancy pay is too expensive, rings very hollow for our members."

      "The company should do the decent thing and pay up now."

      A Sodexo Justice Services spokesperson said: "We have shared details of a voluntary severance offer and our proposed staffing levels with employees at our six community rehabilitation companies. "Given that we are formally consulting on plans, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."


  6. Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 1:54PM
    Probation jobs in Cumbria under threat



  7. 436 probation jobs under threat amid 'drastic' cuts

    16:17Tuesday 28 July 2015



  8. Stop Sodexo Cheating Probation Staff
    Monday, July 27, 2015


    1. GMB Demand That Sodexo Pay 436 Outsourced Probation Staff Facing Redundancy The Amounts They Are Contractually Entitled To

      Sodexo is trying to get rid of staff in Northumbria, Cumbria and Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex on the cheap says GMB.

      Probation unions GMB, Napo and UNISON are calling on multi-national company Sodexo to honour its own ethical charter and honour the redundancy terms which members are due as a result of the company’s drastic plans to shed 436 staff (nearly 40% of staff) in the six community rehabilitation companies it now runs.

      Sodexo was awarded six contracts to run probation in Northumbria, Cumbria and Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Bedfordshire/Northamptonshire/Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BeNCH), Norfolk and Suffolk and Essex in February 2015. See notes to editors for the number of job losses in each area.

      The company is seeking to impose a severance package that is worth less than half what members are owed.

      Sharon Holder, GMB National Officer, said ‘Sodexo are trying to get rid of staff in Northumbria, Cumbria and Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Bedfordshire/Northamptonshire/Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BeNCH), Norfolk and Suffolk and Essex on the cheap.

      Sodexo was well aware of our members’ contractual entitlement to redundancy pay when it bid for, and was awarded the contracts. Who will ever believe Sodexo’s claim to be an ethical employer when it’s pulling a fast one on redundancy pay.

      GMB with Napo and UNISON met with the new Justice Secretary Michael Gove on 14 July and have asked him to review the circumstances behind Sodexo reneging on our members’ contractual redundancy entitlement. We sincerely hope that he does not find that his predecessor Chris Grayling colluded with the company to lower the contract price by agreeing to a bid that was deficient in respect of honouring contractual terms and conditions.”

      Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary, said ‘Sodexo’s claim that it follows high ethical standards is in tatters following the company riding rough-shod over our members’ contractual entitlement to a decent redundancy package. We demand the company pays what our members are due.’

      Ben Priestley, National Officer for UNISON, said ‘Controversially, Sodexo plans to use biometric reporting machines to replace probation officers and probation service officers in the monitoring and supervision of offenders in the community.

      Sodexo made £39.6 million operating profit last year, so the company’s pleas, that giving staff their contractual entitlement to redundancy pay is too expensive, rings very hollow for our members.’ The company should do the decent thing and pay up now.“

  9. I missed this 2 weekss ago: -

    The Conversation
    Academic rigour, journalistic flair
    July 16, 2015 6.27am BST

    Fears for offender rehabilitation as Britain embraces US-style probation


  10. Working long hours and doing over and above is what makes a successful business. That's just business. To get anything in value, you need to sacrifice. Again, it's just business. I'd say if you just want to do you 9-5 then go join the NPS.... ;)

    1. Before the backlash comes, I was joking about the NPS part!!! :)

    2. And after 25 years of working long hours, getting up at 4am travelling to prisons or getting home at 10pm, visits to cases on the way home after work, coming in during annual leave to see X or Y on release, or simply working well in excess of 7.5 hours a day most days, what part of your critique at 19:49 is supposed to be helpful to someone aged 54 years & issued with a 90 day redundancy notice?

      Your knowledge & opinion is about as valuable as your sense of humour - not worth jack shit. Go away & bother someone else.

    3. Hi 20 31 similar plight Army guy just short of pension. Campaign to that Cameron guy and he had it reversed the army guy was paid out just on time from their cuts. I don't see why we cant campaign NAPO should help this issue as a case in point whats the PR on this any research to help. Totally feel for you we need the union on these extreme examples of total robbery.

  11. "Working long hours and doing over and above is what makes a successful business.".............if in a factory some would call this exploitation....do probation people like to be exploited or is it some form of self-righteous flagellation because some consider probation to somehow be a "better" kind of work.......or some people's definition of professionalism perhaps?...just wondering.......bobbyjoe

    1. No idea... penance, maybe?

  12. In 35 years of work, I have never worked more than my hours and have also never failed to meet a target. The myth of the importance of working over and above is just another control device. Do what you are paid to do. Anything else is colluding in your own exploitation.

    1. u must be working in a void

    2. No targets informed my work, just doing what I felt was needed, i.e. offering added value. But you're right - target driven work should fit within the scheduled working day & 'over & above' should be for sad gits like me who make those choices. Hopefully nothing I did during extra curricular hours was anything other than my own choice. I certainly never felt "obliged" to work over & above. My Trust's bean counting approach meant I wound my neck in and my CRC are getting the contractual hours only, nothing more, nothing less.

      And equally I expect my CRC to pay out against my contract at the 4.5 weeks enhanced package rate, nothing more, nothing less.

    3. Partner agencies, some staff have worked in Probation for 20 yrs will only receive statutory redundancy payments

  13. Is it true that Working Links CRCs have been told not to breach offenders because of targets/payment? They have to get authorisation from their manager?

    1. I can't speak to your question specifically, but I know prior to crc/NPS split there were targets regarding breaches. It resulted in the court team rejecting breaches for spurious reasons like not putting a full stop at the end of a sentence.

    2. Management sign-off is required where the recommendation is for revocation and re-sentence, not (yet) in other cases. And yes, that's because it affects targets.

      However, this was a direction that came out from time to time in the old days of Trusts and Areas, so it's nothing particularly new or egregious. As far as I know - in my office at least - it hasn't led to any breaches being turned down by management.

  14. I follow a blogger called diamond geezer , here's an extract from what he wrote on 16/07, about the government's treatment of the BBC. Sounds familiar???

    "I do not understand how so many people can be against a broadcasting service that delivers so much for just 40p a day, but will merrily pay far more for a Sky subscription that's mostly repeats. I see no logic in eroding a national broadcaster whose output is the envy of the rest of the world, in particular in countries dominated by the commercial media our Culture Secretary is trying to emulate. I despair that the government seems hellbent on dismantling the BBC purely for ideological reasons, and not because it's what the general public actually wants. But most of all I'd really like somebody somewhere to stand up and lead a proper national protest against what these evil bastards are doing, rather than the entire country simply rolling over and letting them get away with it. As we're starting to learn to our cost, a universal public service lost can never be regained."

    1. Well said Anon at 02.37

      I think the wider issue is connected with whether one feels merely a customer of the UK Government subject to what it offers in the manner of whether a large retailing organisation chooses to set up an outlet near to one's home thus making it easier for one to visit the premises and examine what is for sale, or closes a branch down and moves further away - (maybe in some ways similar to the way locations are changed for the provision of probation services or courts where our disputes might be settled)

      Or perhaps one feels a share of responsibility for 'The Government' because the amount of democracy secured for you by your predecessors protests and battles means one can influence who is in that Government. even to the extent of offering one self as a candidate for the parliament to which that government is answerable.

      When Anon at 02:37 positively quotes "diamond geezer" who writes " OUR culture secretary" it suggests to me that he has a sense of proprietorial responsibility for the institutions that appoint our culture secretary.

      This could bring us to those other Institutions of "OURS" for example, the Trades Unions, that currently we are free to join in order to be part of an organisation that seeks to negotiate with those who want us to contract with them to supply our time and effort in exchange for money that enables us to be customers of others who might supply us with the essentials of life that we have a responsibility to provide those who we engage with and create by our engagements and reproductive encounters and become our dependents.

      So what is our responsibility for the conduct of those Trades Unions and those who run them on our behalf - might it at least be that we use our democratic right to vote and take part in their proceedings, at least in order to demonstrate that we care what happens and are not content to be mere customers or subjects of human institutions who collectively claim power for and over us?