Friday, 14 August 2015

Latest From Napo 74


13 August 2015


In consultative ballots which closed on 10 August, Napo and UNISON members in the six Sodexo-owned CRCs have voted overwhelmingly to reject the sub-standard severance terms on offer by Sodexo in its voluntary redundancy exercise, and to move to an industrial action ballot in order to seek to improve the offer.

Members, participating in the ballot, voted as follows:

  • Napo: 98% to reject the Sodexo offer and move to an industrial action ballot
  • UNISON: 98% to reject the Sodexo offer and move to an industrial action ballot
We are now taking these results to Sodexo and to the the National Negotiating Council to call on the company once again to honour the terms of the National Negotiating Council enhanced voluntary redundancy (EVR) scheme. Just to remind you, this is how the Sodexo offer matches up to the NNC EVR scheme, which should apply:

Sodexo Severance Offer
2 weeks pay for each year of service up to a max of 30 weeks 

For staff over 55, either the voluntary severance package, or retirement with an unreduced pension

NNC EVR Agreement
4.5 weeks pay for each year of service up to a max of 67.5 weeks
For staff over 55, both the NNC voluntary redundancy package and immediate payment of an unreduced pension.


Napo and UNISON hope that the strength of feeling demonstrated in the consultative ballot results will bring Sodexo back to the negotiating table. But, in case the company won’t see sense, work is now underway in both unions to prepare for a potential industrial action ballot of all members in the 6 Sodexo-owned CRCs over the sub-standard severance terms offered by the company.

It is really important that all members in the Sodexo-owned CRCs take part in any formal industrial action ballot. Unless we challenge Sodexo now, both Napo and UNISON fear that this could be the start of the company seeking to remove your other hard-won terms and conditions.

No one likes to consider industrial action, but sometimes it is the only way to make it clear to some employers that their actions are unacceptable. If Sodexo could not afford to pay the national enhanced voluntary redundancy terms, they should not have bid for the contract.


TUO 22-2015(a)

Dear Colleague

TUO Survey on Napo Structure and processes

In the next few days TUO committee will be sending out an online survey to all members, via survey monkey, on Napo’s structure and processes. (The wording is attached for your information). The purpose of this survey is to gather the views of members to ensure we have the most efficient and effective structure and processes in place to run the union and to involve the membership in an inclusive decision making process to ensure democratic accountability.

Napo has experienced a significant amount of change since the “split” into the NPS and CRC and prior to that there were a significant number of branch mergers. We wish to make sure that the structure and processes of the union are able to protect and promote the interests of members and that there exist opportunities for members to influence policies and engage in the democratic process. Understanding the views of the membership is critical to help determine if we are achieving our aims.

In addition to consulting direct with the membership, TUO committee would also like to gather the views of the Branch Executive Committees of the 21 Probation branches and the Family Court Section. Attached to this circular is a short questionnaire that we would like you as branch chair to complete in consultation with your branch executive committee. There are seven questions that are all free text boxes, (if possible we would like you to try and limit your response to under 250 words). In order that you are able to have the time to fully consult with your branches we are providing a six week window to complete this survey. Please send your response by email to Margaret Pearce by the 20th August 2015.

The responses to the two surveys will be used to produce a report for the National Executive Committee on how the current structure and processes might be improved, so that we can continue to protect and promote the interests of members.

If you have any questions in relation to this survey please do not hesitate to contact me or Ranjit Singh at

On behalf of the TUO Committee, I thank you in advance for completing this survey.

Kind regards

Megan Elliott, Chair of TUO Committee
Sent on behalf of TUO Committee

Branch Survey on Napo Structure and Processes
On behalf of TUO Committtee

Name of Branch:
Completed by:

Please Note: Try to limit your responses to each question to no more than 250 words


1) How well is your branch functioning since June 1st 2014 (please list any particular issues, good or bad, that you have experienced)

2) Are there any changes that could be made to how Branches currently operate which would increase member participation ?

3) What are the branch’s views on regional meetings and should they continue as they are currently organised?

4) What are the branch’s views on the current functioning of the NEC?

5) What are the branch’s views on the current structure of National Officers Group?

6) How does your branch believe Napo can improve communication between Napo Head Office and the Branch?

7) What are your branch’s views on National Committees and how they currently operate?

8) Are there any other issues that your branch feel TUO committee should take into consideration as part of this review of Napo’s structures and processes?

Please return this survey to Margaret Pearce


To: Branch Chairs, Vice Chairs, Secretaries and Convenors
Family Court SEC
National Committee Chairs

Dear Colleague,

Motions for Annual General Meeting 2015

Notice in writing of any motions from a National Committee, Branch, the PSO Forum or two individual full or professional associate members of Napo must be received by the General Secretary at head office by 12noon on THURSDAY 20th August. Please note that constitutional amendments may be submitted only by the NEC this year.

Motions should be sent to Napo head office on the appropriate form, attached BR 54/2015. Please give your motion a short descriptive title and complete the details for members to be contacted regarding any queries that arise.

Word limit – 200 words

Steering Committee has introduced a word limit for motions of 200 words (excluding the title). Please note that motions exceeding 200 words will be edited in consultation with the proposers.

Forms can be emailed to or faxed to 020 7095 0963 putting ‘Motion for AGM 2015’ as the subject of the email/fax.

While receipt of motions will be acknowledged, we would remind those submitting motions for AGM of their responsibility to ensure that these have been received at head office by the given deadline.

Yours sincerely

General Secretary


  1. South Yorkshire CRC staff have received email informing them that enough applications for severance have been received so no need for compulsory redundancies can't see them taking industrial action ??

    1. Could these not be expressions of interest though? Nothing signed and sealed yet

  2. Any news on Cumbria and Lancs ?

  3. Re CL CRC surely too soon to know! People will have appts shortly to discuss VS & then have 2 weeks I think to decide if they do or dont want it. Staff here have been betrayed every which way as not only will Sodexo not honour the National agreement but they also refuse to honour terms of our LOCAL redundancy policy where as CL CRC last year we agreed CR rates equiv to the nationally disputed EVR. Think there is another Sodexo CRC in similar situation but dont know which one.

    1. The other Sodexo CRC you speak of is Northumbria.

  4. Sounds like bits and pieces of misinformation


    A lot of the national papers today are publishing figures released by the MoJ about re offering rates, specifically those with more then 15 previous conviction. It appears that there has been a rise in this number in the last 12 months.
    I don't fully understand the figures, and particularly why 15 previous and not 10 say?
    I wonder if it's a smoke and mirror exercise by the MoJ, or a deliberately complicated way of trying to hide the fact that TO is not and cannot deliver all that it was promised too?

    1. Seems like smoke and mirrors to me..wonder if they are getting the figures from the RSR ?

  6. Stroke action in the hope they will negotiate.... what are NAPO on? That speaks volumes. If sodexo do not want to come to the table to negotiate then nothing can be done except for staff striking which will effect staff pay and clients booked in. # I know it hurts but I speak the truth!

    1. I think what is in possible prospect is not only "stroke" or strike action - but Industrial Action - which can be many different behaviours as well as withdrawal of labour

  7. And the alternative is roll over and take it? Sorry, Sodexo boy, nice try.

  8. I'm not from a Sodexo CRC but was thrilled to hear that 98% across both NAPO and UNISON have agreed to reject the offer and ballot for industrial action. I have proposed to my branch chair that if strike action does result, NAPO members from other CRCs who are not able to strike are asked to me a financial contribution to a strike fund in support of those striking members. I pledge to donate in support and hope others will do the same.x

    1. I really don't want to pour cold water on this, but we have absolutely no idea what the turnout was - it could be staggeringly low guys.

    2. I was just thinking that very thing Jim. The fact that the NAPO missive fails to mention it tells me it probably was. The strike weapon can only hope to be successful if workers are united. That means the whole workforce need to strike indefinitely and close the business down until the employers have to negotiate. The probable one day actions, if they happen, will achieve nothing. The history of recent strike action in probation tells us that. I'm afraid the chance to defeat Grayling and TR was missed last summer by a supine workforce and union leadership that was weak (NAPO) or non existent (UNISON). Watch now as the other CRC's follow suit and NPS gets it after the devastating public sector spending round in November. We're all fucked activist comrades who read this blog because of our apathetic colleagues.

    3. The questions remains, what's the alternative? Sodexo and their like must not be able to believe their luck at what a pushover Probation turned out to be. We'll just keep on blaming each other while we accept their shitty offer and slink away.

    4. So you saying potentially that the result is 98% of those who voted and that number that did may be low - hope not - its time to stand up together - I am serious that I may not be able to strike but I am more than willing to donate on a regular basis to any strike fund to stand up for those colleagues being exploited by Sodexo.

  9. Like i said at 17.13 there is nothing to stop them doing what they always do. Sad thing is, other CRCs will soon follow suit and only the best (perceived best) and most resilient/committed will survive. . # I know it hurts but I speak the truth.

    1. I hear ya. I fancy myself as being safe as I always do as my masters say

    2. Whilst I would be prepared to donate to a strike fund. Numbers were limited when we went on strike over TR.I don't know what the answer is but striking is only going to make people more frustrated and financially worse off. This government will not give into strikes.

  10. Your pathetic attempt at sarcasm makes you look like a fool!

  11. A bit off topic but a couple of years ago bank workers were told to sign New contracts changing their terms and conditions. Anyone who did not sign were told that they would not get any future pay rises. So those that signed received their pay rises whilst the ones that did not sign got nothing. The union took a test case through the court and won. The ones that did not sign have had the backdated pay rises. The union has never run a test case, cos how can people who worked for the same organisation end up with different terms and conditions.

  12. I have often posted here about the need to run test cases, should have been done at key stages.....I ceased being a rep after 2 members were not supported at the point of split and would have gone to ET...but NAPO said no. Both clear cases where the employer breached Equality Act, my family member lawyer said great cases...I lost all faith in NAPO after that.
    ex rep

    1. "I have often posted here about the need to run test cases, should have been done at key stages.....I ceased being a rep after 2 members were not supported at the point of split and would have gone to ET...but NAPO said no. Both clear cases where the employer breached Equality Act, my family member lawyer said great cases...I lost all faith in NAPO after that."

      This has been a regular theme on the blog and in private correspondence. My anecdotal evidence suggests that some time ago a decision was made by Napo that no cases would go to Employment Tribunals and the reason is potential cost.

      As far as I am aware, this has never been discussed openly and the membership have been kept in the dark. Many feel that ET cases could have been won and would have been an effective action against TR.

      Members must ask themselves serious questions about the leadership of their union and use the AGM to do something about it.

    2. I agree with you Jim. Come on NAPO if we are not right refute our claims

    3. In my experience Napo was always reluctant to support tribunals and the bar must be even higher now in view of the upfront money needed to make an application. But they found all the money for the former general secretary.

      The 98% is meaningless without the turnout percentage. We have been here before when Napo withheld turnout figures. A low turnout will make any solidarity well-nigh impossible. If Sodexo get their way on this one, it will open the way to further insults to conditions of service. The open letter that was sent out recently was a white flag and basically a rejection of a collective approach. Sodexo stand to win on two fronts: they get rid of staff on the cheap and they smash the collective bargaining power of the unions. And this is only possible because of a lack of solidaity. The real losers are not those who take reduced severance, but the colleagues left behind, as will no doubt become apparent in the months and years ahead.

  13. Just to reiterate Andrew Hattons point- industrial action can mean working to rule etc ie a withdrawl of good will! My view is that people should not sell their souls and their integrity to ensure targets are met, or look that way! You are not contracted to lie, and nobody could be sacked for working their contracted hours and keeping honest records, hit them where it hurts,

  14. But you can be held to account for under performance and not achieving what you are paid to do so 8.52 so your giving irresponsible advice really :/ has work to rule email ever worked? Last time napo tried this in my area of one knew it was going on

    1. To add. It's not about lying or cheating as that will get you in trouble. It's about working smarter on your contracted hours. That's what my manager says

  15. sorry, going off topic, but have you seen today's Independent-? a woman stole a 75p Mars Bar pack from a supermarket, in Kidderminster in June, after sanctions were imposed on her Benefits, and she was 'famished' after apparently not eating for several days. On 6/8, at Kidderminster Mags, she was found guilty and her fine and court costs came to £330, which she had no chance of paying.

    A vicar from Bath, 90 miles away, started a crowdfunding campaign to help her pay her fines and within a day £8k was raised.

    'But the unsympathetic chair of the magistrates, Maurice Lashford (what an appropriate name), did not accept the reason for the theft, saying "we do not really accept you go into a shop to steal JUST for being hungry" .

    How lucky are Kidderminster to have such an understanding court....

    Frances Crook referred to Chris G's brainwave as being 'clearly so inequitable' and commented on a number of magistrates leaving the bench because of this unfair rule, although many more were imposing the charges, despite knowing many defendants will be unable to pay and will have to go to prison as a result.

    (And then of course, they will look forward to months of support to get accommodation, a job, and financial advice. Oh what a good idea.)

    1. Youre refering to the fundraiser on the WINGS OVER SCOTLAND site. The "Rev"Stuart Campbell isnt a real rev btw. H's a long term indyref supporter openly based in Bath. The article on WOS site is called "Beyond Endurance" and contrasts the poor womans treatment with a City fuckwit who avoided jail after glassing 2 people. A must-read.

  16. With regard to industrial action, I can't see how it would be possible to 'work to rule' as all CRC'S run differently, and I don't know about anyone else, but I personally haven't the foggiest what the 'rules' are any more.

    1. Work your contracted hours, keep meticulous records on what you do each day, if they try to sack you, that's constructive dismissal !

  17. How about this:-

    Probation Service Officer Criminal Justice Skills - North West
    £14.81 an hour - Full-time, Contract

    Criminal Justice skills are a niche recruitment agency, who provide staffing services to the offender management and criminal justice sectors.

    Our agency is recruiting for experienced Probation Service Officers to work in the CRC in the North West of England. We are seeking experienced Probation Service Officers who can confidently manage their own caseload of Offenders.

    Your duties will include :
    Writing Pre-Sentence Reports
    Preparation of reports for court
    Updating offender records on the electronic system
    Managing and enforcing community orders and monitoring attendance
    Completing breach reports
    Court duty as required
    You will need to possess good IT skills and be able to ensure work is completed accurately within the timescales required. You will be able to multi-agency work to ensure the needs of the offender are supported.

    You will be able to communicate effectively with others including Court staff and Offenders and have the ability to develop productive working relationships with other agencies and your team.

    A current DBS is required for this role, which we can process for you.

    If you would like to be considered for this position and have the relevant experience, then please send your CV to

    Alternatively if this role is not for you but you do know somebody who would be interested please refer them. We have a referral bonus scheme and will pay out £75 for any referrals who are not already known to us.

    Due to the high volume of applications received, if you do not hear from us within 7 working days, I am afraid your application has been unsuccessful.

    Criminal Justice Skills is member of the Red Snapper Group.

  18. I think of these ads as honey traps to try and get you to register with these bloody agencies. How can there be work when people are being made redundant in these numbers?

  19. These ads are aimed at compiling a data base of staff that can be approached post redundancies...just in case they are needed.Please remember what Sodexo did at HMP Northumberland...cut too deep and then had to replace staff (yes at lower wages too).

  20. In CLCRC the two tiered approach is epitomised by many events, including:

    1. The weasel words of King Kevin, who encouraged staff to feel secure in the CRC with his enthusiasm & commitment to making it work, then baled out on the day before sharesale.
    2. The "specialists" who were handpicked to develop Innovo, the doomed amateur mutual, who were given EVR & still have jobs in the CRC
    3. The CLCRC have the good fortune of an ex-Lancs manager as their NOMS fairy godmother, overseeing the contract
    4. Very lucky staff who, it is rumoured, have been gifted EVR and have since transferred to NPS - keeping their terms & conditions & continuity of service. How so?

    Meanwhile a shedload of the less favoured staff face unemployment in the shoddiest of circumstances. Despite the so-called integrity of the process some already know their fate & are posting on Facebook how they'll spend their severance, while others spend the weekend shitting themselves about their uncertain futures.

    Fucking Disgraceful. And the unions are where? Doing what? Telling us that 98% of a handful of respondents are cross about Sodexo's duplicity. We know that. What are you DOING about it?

    1. I assume you are being ironic about the fairy godmother....more wicked stepmother in my, reasonably direct, experience. I am very pissed off if what you say is true about certain staff already knowing their situation. How come? I am currently waiting and have'nt a clue. Who has leaked?

    2. To anon 13:39 have you given info re the rumours you mentionl (point 4)and the comments on the facebook page to your local CL Napo reps?caroline and jo on leave but jeremy,jonathan and geoff all crc and think they are all in this week

    3. I want to know who knows what is happening to them in advance of the official notification, and how they know. I am very upset about this.

  21. There certainly is work in these agencies for POs and lots of it. I left my permanent PO role several years ago due to impossible working conditions, under a monster of a Manager, in an organisation riddled with bullying, intimidation and nepotism. Tried to fight but with no support from either NAPO or (most) colleagues I decided to leave. I've been doing PO agency work for a year (after being made redundant from my charity job due to cut backs) and the pay is as stated. I am offered at least three PO jobs every week. It wont last long. Once Probation staff are made redundant from CRCs then it'll be a buyers market but, at the moment, you can pretty much state your own terms.

  22. My experience of getting agency PO temps coming in are a nightmare with the rest of the team needing to pick up the pieces once they leave. The jury is out in my view on agency POs

  23. The 98% is meaningless without the turnout percentage. We have been here before when Napo withheld turnout figures. A low turnout will make any solidarity well-nigh impossible. If Sodexo get their way on this one, it will open the way to further insults to conditions of service. The open letter that was sent out recently was a white flag and basically a rejection of a collective approach. Sodexo stand to win on two fronts: they get rid of staff on the cheap and they smash the collective bargaining power of the unions. And this is only possible because of a lack of solidaity. The real losers are not those who take reduced severance, but the colleagues left behind, as will no doubt become apparent in the months and years ahead.

    Looking through a glass darkly, you can see the private companies making increasing use of agency workers. As Sodexo reduce their workforce through voluntary severance they will be able to recruit cheaper labour, free of pension and other obligations. Just as we have become accustomed to bank nurses and supply teachers, the CRCs will manage their staff through zero hours contracts. If Sodexo could do it in one fell swoop they would get rid of all their directly employed staff and contract in casualised labour.

    1. You are right, Netnipper. But where does that leave those who also agree but who are surrounded by those who want to volunteer to go? Either kept on in a new structure or made compulsorily redundant. The new structure might direct them to an office some considerable distance away, making it logistically or financially impractical/ impossible. Its a totally shitty scenario - but more so for loyal staff who were teased with the option to leave on EVR terms only to find that Sodexo, MoJ, the CRC & the unions have all put EVR to bed early.

      And still no-one feels able to say where the balance of the estimated £80M from the "modernisation fund" has disappeared to. Have MoJ used it as under-the-counter compensation for their IT fuck up? Why aren't the unions asking where their members' redundancy monies have disappeared to? £16.4M went to a select few, but where's the rest gone?