Thursday, 20 August 2015

Morally Bankrupt

Somewhat unusually, whilst at school I had aspirations to follow in my Grandmother's footsteps and become a Civil Servant. Like most of us at the time, I was brought up believing that Public Service was A Good Thing and that we were extremely fortunate as a society to have sound, impartial governance and the highest possible standards of Public Administration. So what the hell has happened that things have sunk as low as this, as reported in The Independent:-

DWP admits making up quotes by 'benefit claimants' saying sanctions helped them

The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted making up comments from supposed "benefit claimants" that appeared in a leaflet about sanctions.The leaflet, which has now been withdrawn, included positive example stories from people who claimed to have interacted with the sanctions system.

In one example, titled "Sarah's story", a jobseeker is quoted as being "really pleased" that a cut to her benefits supposedly encouraged her to re-draft her CV. "It's going to help me when I'm ready to go back to work," the fabricated quote reads. Another, by a benefit claimant supposedly called "Zac", details the sanctions system working well.

But in response to a freedom of information request by the Welfare Weekly website the DWP said the quotes were not actually real cases and that the photos were not of real claimants. “The photos used are stock photos and along with the names do not belong to real claimants. The stories are for illustrative purposes only," the department said.

The leaflet, a copy of which is available in full at Welfare Weekly, contains no suggestion that the stories are not real. The revelation is controversial because the sanctions system has been criticised for causing extreme hardship and being operated in an unfair and arbitrary way.

In March this year Parliament's Work and Pensions Select Committee said there was evidence that sanctions were geared towards punishing people for being unemployed and might not actually help them find work. The MPs said there was evidence that the benefit cuts for unemployed people caused more problems than they solved and might be "purely punitive".

Previous widely-criticised decisions include people being sanctioned for missing jobcentre appointments because they had to attend a job interview, or people sanctioned for not looking for work because they had already secured a job due to start in a week’s time. In one case a man with heart problems was sanctioned because he had a heart attack during a disability benefits assessment and thus failed to complete the assessment.

Charities including Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation say the sanctions are responsible for a significant increase in homelessness and rough sleeping in Britain under David Cameron's government.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, told the Independent that the department's actions were "sinister". "It's disgraceful and sinister that DWP has been trying to trick people into believing claimants are happy to have their benefits stopped or threatened. Sanctions are unnecessarily punitive and counterproductive, and should be scrapped," he said.

The DWP added in the FOI response to the website: “We want to help people understand when sanctions can be applied and how they can avoid them by taking certain actions. Using practical examples can help us achieve this. We have temporarily changed the pictures to silhouettes and added a note to make it more clear that these are illustrative examples only. We will test both versions of the factsheet with claimants and external stakeholders to further improve it in the future. This will include working with external organisations.”

Once news broke on Tuesday, the story has been trending on Twitter with many people providing their own comical and sardonic responses. 
This is my favourite:-

"Having benefits stopped helped me get over my obsession with eating, my electricity addiction & the urge to sleep indoors." 

But of course this is serious and particularly sickening in the light of repeated refusals by the DWP to publish details of the number of claimants who have committed suicide over the last few years. I can only assume that the level of bad publicity has helped someone high up to examine their conscience because this notice has recently appeared on the DWP website:-

List of upcoming ad hoc statistical releases

27 August 2015 Mortality statistics: out-of-work benefit claimants Mar 2003 to Feb 2014 

This publication will provide mortality statistics for people on out-of-work benefits in Great Britain by age group and sex, from March 2003 to February 2014. Out of work benefits are Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit /Severe Disablement Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support. 

27 August 2015 Mortality Statistics: ESA, IB and SDA claimants 

This publication will provide information on those who have died after claiming Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance in Great Britain in response to a number of Freedom of Information requests.

No doubt it will make for sobering reading.


This from the Guardian:-

Public relations body investigating DWP fake welfare claimants leaflet

The industry body for public relations has launched an investigation following the production of a government leaflet which featured invented quotes from two non-existent claimants talking up their experiences of the benefits system.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) said it had written to all of its members who work at the Department for Work and Pensions to find out whether they had played any part in putting the leaflet together.

Sarah Pinch, the CIPR’s president, said: “Falsely creating the impression of independent, popular support is a naive and opaque technique which blatantly disregards the CIPR’s standards of ethical conduct. It is deeply disappointing if public relations professionals allowed it to be published.”

The official document was pulled on Tuesday after the DWP admitted it had made up supposed benefits claimants “Sarah” and “Zac”. A spokesman said the leaflet was produced in-house by its “communications team”.

The CIPR, which represents and regulates public relations professionals, is responsible for enforcing its code of conduct and can convene tribunals that have the power to expel any members found to have committed the most serious breaches. It can also issue reprimands and suspensions of membership, as well as negotiating settlements where possible.

A spokesman said it would await responses from DWP staff before deciding what action to take. She added: “All CIPR Members are publicly accountable for the standard of their professional conduct, and the conduct of those under their management. This accountability is a valuable asset to the public, to members and to those who employ them.

“Honest regard for the public interest, delivering reliable and accurate information, and never misleading clients, employers or others are vital components of proper professional practice. Any CIPR member found to be breaking any of our ethical principles, will be held accountable for their actions.”

The use of the fake claimants was criticised by Labour’s leadership candidates. Andy Burnham said the DWP had been “caught red-handed”, while both Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall said Duncan Smith should apologise. Jeremy Corbyn said the saga showed “how out of touch the Tories are”.

The DWP did not respond to a request for comment.


  1. As ever, good stuff JB.

    Now I'm going to have to admit to being morally bankrupt cos I'm tekking the voluntary shilling & going. On balance: no confidence in Crappo, the useless union; no confidence in the "operating model"; no interest in working for a pack of shitbags like SodYou.

    To those who feel I've committed a heinous crime - I didn't dismantle the service or shaft colleagues, I didn't fuck up the terms & conditions, & I didn't give SodYou the contract. I have actively fought tooth & nail to stop TR, cried many times & ended up seeing my GP to help manage the effects of these last two traumatic years. I've committed a full 25 years of my life to the profession & those we work with. Now its time to go before I start crying again.


    1. Always sorry to hear of good colleagues being driven out, but as you indicate, our first duty is to our own well-being. Best of luck in whatever direction life takes you and take care.

    2. Well said JB - I would hope that anyone in probation who has endured thus far has very valuable transferable skills that should eventually be welcomed by another employer should self employment not be desirable or achievable in the relatively short term.

      I read the other day that there are about 10% of all social work jobs vacant and although nowadays not all probation workers are qualified to be actual social workers, it may well be that there are nonetheless jobs that are suitable and pay reasonably well within the agencies that employ social workers.

      For those with a First Degree I see that the Frontline organisation are currently advertising for folk to take their speedy social work qualification in 2016, and that maybe an acceptable route for some probation bods, who are bold enough to risk being in social work during what maybe a time of significant change in employment arrangements ahead, particularly as this Government seems determined to outsource almost any public work that can be got away from Public management.

      In your blog comments in recent days I have read snippets from folk who really do seem trapped by domestic circumstances and are being appallingly treated by probation employers whilst their unionised protections seem very fragile.

      I commiserate with them all and hope they can use this blog to share experiences and feel supported knowing that some others reading this are not the smirking posters who seem to troll here nowadays, I cannot imagine what benefit they get, but those of us with probation experience eventually become almost unshockable at the lengths some will go to to treat their fellow planet dwellers disgracefully.


      In order to be eligible for our programme you will need to have all of the following:

      A 2:1 or higher in your first undergraduate degree (predicted or obtained)
      At least 300 UCAS points from your top 3 A Levels (excluding General Studies and any additional AS levels)
      At least grade C in GCSE English and Maths applicants must also demonstrate competence in IT as well as spoken and written English.
      If English is not your first language you may be required to provide evidence of a relevant qualification or test. Click here for more details.

      Unfortunately, Frontline will not have the capacity to make any exceptions for applications to the 2014, 2015 and 2016 cohorts. Neither are we able to accept a postgraduate qualification or Master’s degree as a substitute for any of our main eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria will be reviewed again after the first three cohorts. If you do not meet these requirements and are still interested in applying to be a social worker, please refer to for other social work courses.

    4. I am a very ex-PO (left 20 years ago, nearly, before we even had Delirious, No-Waysys etc. I even did Part C records and wrote SERs. But I follow this blog. I left partly because the job was so tough even back then and I decided enough was enough. The fact you have stayed till now is massive credit to you.


    The above link shows an other part of society that is morally bankrupt, and I post it just because it's so bloody appalling.
    It's worth remembering too, that benefit sanctions were introduced by Grayling, the most dishonest, most vile, self focused and thug like toss pot of a minister that ever walked the floors of parliament.
    It's his punitive and disgusting policies that have killed more people in the UK then any terrorist organisation or natural disaster.
    It's a corrupt government we've got, and a dirty one at that too!


    1. A 15-YEAR-OLD vulnerable boy was dragged before court for taking a box of choc-ices from a staff fridge at the care home where he lived.

      The teenager was charged with burglary and faced a trial at magistrates court after he ate at least one of the 70p Asda Smart Price choc-ices.

      However, on Monday magistrates threw the case out after hearing the prosecution’s evidence - prompting questions over whether it should have been brought to court at a time of huge budget cuts.

      The case followed an absolute discharge given on the same day to a man convicted of criminal damage for scrawling “Lies, lies, lies,” on a poster advertising a Conservative MP during the general election campaign.

      Leading criminal lawyer Rodney Warren, a member of the Surrey and Sussex Criminal Justice board, said: “There is obviously a lot of pressure on courts and reduced resources. Therefore I find it surprising when police officers find they need to investigate offences of such a low level and even more surprising when the CPS believe it worth prosecuting .”

      The teenager's lawyer, Jason La Corbiniere, successfully applied for the case against the teenager to be dismissed on the grounds that he thought he was entitled to a choc-ice because he lived at the home in Hove.

      Speaking to The Argus after the trial, heard in the boy's absence at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, he questioned the handling of the case.

      He said: “Anyone who is in the criminal justice system knows the effect of the savage cuts. But do these cuts explain the decision to arrest him, take him into custody and then prosecute him, given that he is in a residential care home?

      “Can you imagine the state prosecuting your child for not asking can he have an ice cream from the freezer?"

      Olivia Johnstone, a member of the Sussex Youth Commission, set up by the police and crime commissioner to strengthen relations between young people and criminal justice authorities, said: "I was a bit shocked the police were even involved in the first place.

      "This boy lived there and needed to feel safe and the the involvement of the police does not create safety."

      The court heard how the boy had got into the locked room where the choc-ices were held via a window.

      A staff member told the court there had been problems with food disappearing from the fridge and staff property was kept in the room, prompting concerns it may have been tampered with.

      A spokesman for the care home, which looks after a small number of children with emotional or behavioural problems, told The Argus staff had phoned police because the teenager had broken into the locked room, not because the choc-ices were taken.

      Last month an inspection reviewing the Crown Prosecution Service in the south east found that more than 40 per cent of decisions to charge people were “poor”.

      The CPS had not responded by the time The Argus went to press.

      A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "In both cases, we investigated reports of crimes that had allegedly been committed and finding evidence to support a prosecution, they were submitted to the CPS for a decision to proceed."


      IT was not a good day for prosecutor Jane Deakin, as she made her way through her case list on Monday.

      Magistrates conceded she had had a tough day of it as they threw out her latest case as soon as her evidence concluded.

      Chairwoman of the bench Maggie Brain wasted no time in deciding she agreed with the defence lawyer that the boy accused of stealing choc ices had no case to answer.

      Earlier in the day Mrs Brain had given an absolute discharge – the lowest type of sentence available to the court – to a man who was caught scribbling, “lies, lies, lies,” on an election campaign billboard poster.

      The prosecutions come at a time of huge budget cuts to the criminal justice system, when courts are being closed, legal aid cut, and police officers axed.

      They also come at a time when criminal justice authorities are increasingly keen on looking at prosecuting people outside of court, emphasising other routes such as cautions, warnings and apology letters.

      So why had these cases made it so far?

      If you take the outcomes, it appears the magistrates agreed they should not have made it to court. They dismissed the case against the teenager and gave an absolute discharge to Mr Morgan which results in no punishment and no costs.

      The care home stressed they called the police because they were concerned staff goods may have been taken. They said they did not call over the choc ices. But he was evidently left facing trial for an offence so trivial that it risks bringing the court system into disrepute.

      Authorities can dole out warnings or cautions as opposed to taking people to court, but stress in most cases the defendant has to admit guilt.

      It is not clear whether other out-of-court options were explored with the teenager, but he apparently accepted taking the choc ices but not that this amounted to an offence of burglary.

      A similar situation was at play in the case of Mr Morgan as he accepted scribbling on the poster but not that this amounted to an offence of criminal damage.

      This was not the case when he was initially interviewed at the police station, when he made a no comment interview.

      However, by the time it came to court, his position would have been clear.

      No doubt the fact he was representing himself, for financial reasons he said, had some bearing on how the case panned out.

      The CPS was unable to comment by the time The Argus went to press but Ms Deakin told the court “political overtones” of his offence were included in the decision to prosecute, adding it had been reviewed at a “high level”.

      She said prosecutors weighed, as always, whether there was a “realistic prospect of conviction” against whether it was in the public interest to prosecute, adding: “Given the political overtones it was decided that it should be and would be in the public interest to proceed.”

      Whether these cases are symptomatic of a wider-problem or just one-offs is not clear.

      However, a recent review of the South East Crown Prosecution Service found that decision making was poor more than 40 per cent of the time.

      But before the crown’s decision to prosecute, all cases start with a police decision to arrest and to send a file to prosecutors for a decision. It can be a hard balancing act. They are sometimes criticised for dealing with too many cases out of court – and sometimes for too few.

      Police said in their response that they investigated and “finding evidence to support a prosecution,” submitted files to the CPS. They are not, however, robots and are of course, rightly, allowed discretion in their work.

      Regardless of all of that, both cases will, in their own way, have had an impact on the individuals affected, not least the stress of the criminal process.

      Olivia Johnstone, a 22-year-old who works on the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s youth commission, said the effect may well be the opposite of that intended.

      She said: “He may have thought that the message is that it is OK because the courts have said this is essentially acceptable.”


      LAWYER Rodney Warren, founder and senior partner of Warren’s law and advocacy in Eastbourne, said: “There is obviously a lot of pressure on courts and reduced resources. Therefore I find it surprising when police officers find they need to investigate offences of such a low level and even more surprising when the CPS believe it worth prosecuting .”

      “For some time now it has been difficult if not impossible for defence lawyers to have any input into decision-making, and this is something that needs to change. We need to be able to make representations.

      “I remember a time when it was common for solicitors to be talking to police officers about the case. They looked at what steps should be taken in deciding whether or not to put a case to the CPS.

      “That has all changed because it was felt that the decision-making should be made on the strength of the case against the defendant, irrespective of the view that the defence might want to bring. Now it is their decision and the defence have no right of input.

      “There have always been delays [in court cases] and the reduction in the number of court rooms and the restructure of the way courts are listed across Sussex is unhelpful.

      “The closing of the local courts is bad (the Government has closed Lewes and Mid Sussex Magistrates’ Courts and plans to close Chichester and Eastbourne, to save money). There is no concept of ‘local justice’ and the deterrent effect of that should not be underestimated.

      “I don’t believe the courts will cope adequately – there will be more delays and and a huge amount of travel.

      “I don’t think that is true (that the courts are under-used, as the Government has said). The only way I can describe it is that you can manipulate the figures to achieve a result that is absolutely self-serving.”

    4. It seems as if the Magistrates themselves are having a significant impact on exposing these sorts of nonsenses.

      Magistrates have long spoken from the heart in no nonsense ways with some of us at times being on the wrong end of criticisms. Maybe in the long run they offer some protection from an over mighty state, and I wonder to what extent closing local courts is going to cut down on their influence that began 700 years ago, way before Local Government and an organised meritorious Civil Service.

      It seems when magistrates were completely removed from employment and management of probation officers, officers initially of their courts; it was done surreptitiously and with little protest from probation folk, which I regret.

      It was on a very hot August day about 30 years ago, that the relevance of being an officer of the court really struck home to me.

      It was in court seventy something high up in a newish annex to The Royal Courts of Justice, in London where I was cross examined on one of the most contentious domestic cases I ever worked on. ...CONTINUES

    5. CONTINUEING… I had been required whilst primarily employed as a probation officer, to prepare an independent report into an application of a local authority, to release a child in their care, who had been made a ward of court for adoption, against the wishes of a father who for some while at one point had been absent from the child in contentious foster care - despite the mother having no expressed interest in the then seven year old child.

      At one point the local authority had refused me direct contact with the child - my SPO - later a CPO - had advised I look at the social services record and do a paper exercise - I declined and instead wrote an initial limited report of ifs & buts & I cannot says but maybe.

      The judge was amazing - how dare the local authority prevent MY welfare officer from speaking to MY ward? (unfortunately I did not have their refusal well documented - but we got past that)

      Prior to his summarizing above, whist I was being cross examined - it was implied by the council's QC - that my views were biased as a father, because I too had a seven year old son. I had let that information slip in a conversation with a social worker who was tasked with finding adoptive parents and preparing the child for that possibility. I replied with a question to the judge about whether I should be expected to answer such a question, when I had done a professional piece of work - the judge was simply brilliant - he said - well Mr H. - counsel is entitled to ask ANY questions of witnesses he thinks may advance his client's case - I cannot begin to imagine what the relevance of such a question might be & will be interested to see how he develops the point but I MUST direct you to answer - I said - yes - I do have a seven year old son - QC - made no further reference to the matter. In the end the Judge's order went much further in favour of the father regaining custody at that point, than I would have imagined and I was not surprised to discover the LA appealed - on mainly technical points about adoption law - I did not go to the court of appeal - who awarded in the LAs favour, nor to the second appeal in The House of Lords BUT I did go to the HOL to hear the judgement announced.

      By then imbued by being THE COURT's officer & having strained throughout to be non partisan ( I worked very closely with the social workers concerned in other cases in the small town I was based where I was one of only two probation officers) - I made a point of entering the House of Lords Chamber from the official’s entrance - via the administrator of the Judicial Committee's office - rather than the public entrance - though ultimately all the parties stood at the Bar of the Court whilst the Judgement was read, which was more balanced than the High Court's and initially appointed me as supervising officer to oversee the transfer of the child from the foster parents to his father who was temporarily given sole care subject to a 6 month review.

      Thereafter, being an OFFICER of the Court - of whichever Court's order I was overseeing as a probation OR court welfare officer, remained paramount in my approach to the job, including when I was seconded to work in a prison.

  3. I see Chas Berry has used Facebook to highlight his cheeky pitch in 'The Socialist', no doubt hoping to gain from the Jeremy Corbyn bandwagon:-

    Probation and courts union Napo needs socialist leadership
    Chas Berry, National vice-chair, Napo

    Members of probation and family courts union Napo are currently voting for national officers. The union is under sustained attack following the break-up and privatisation of over half the probation service.

    In this context, a socialist voice linking our struggles with the wider anti-austerity movement has never been more important. That is why I am standing again for national vice-chair.

    In the outsourced community rehabilitation companies (CRCs), members face savage cuts. Their new owners want to cash in through wholesale redundancies.

    Union-busting Sodexo, which owns six CRCs, is attempting to bully nearly 500 staff into voluntary severance on drastically reduced terms. While this may be an option for some, most will have no alternative but to stick it out. And we cannot stand by while services are downgraded and destroyed.

    Those who have rejected the so-called 'offer' of voluntary severance want a fight to maintain current jobs while protecting terms and conditions.


    The situation for members in the National Probation Service, now run by the civil service, is no better. Current staffing levels are dangerously low in many areas. Flexible and responsive locally run services have been replaced by a bureaucratic dictatorship. It is proving incapable of delivering the complex "rehabilitation revolution" promised by former Tory justice secretary Chris Grayling.

    Members are understandably downcast. But the anti-austerity mood exemplified by support for Jeremy Corbyn shows the tide is beginning to turn. By voting for me, Napo members can show that they too will not be browbeaten by the bosses' big business agenda.

    1. By voting for him ? What an idiot by voting for him I want Berry to be saying I will ensure once and for NAPO fund ET claims and take legal action for members .

  4. Jo mead has quit from dlnr crc.

    1. Jo Mead became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CRC on June 1st 2014. Before her latest appointment she had been the CEO of the former Derbyshire Probation Trust for two years.

      Early Connections
      Jo Mead began her association with the Probation Service after training to be a volunteer worker with the former Leicestershire and Rutland Probation Trust.

      She progressed and worked directly with offenders as a Probation Service Officer in a range of roles including a busy field team, in the Courts, as part of a programme’s team and with young people.

      After gaining her Diploma in Probation Studies, as a qualified Probation Officer Jo Mead specialised and began working with young adults.

      The National Offender Management Service was created in 2004 and Jo Mead joined the new Government agency, eventually taking a commissioning role covering the East Midlands.

      Her career then progressed to a further public sector role as Head of Performance in adult social care commissioning.

    2. Really!? I thought that glassy-eyed robot wouldn't be around long!

    3. Wow, wonder if Trevor Worsfold might be tempted to take a (4th) shot at the title now?


      Looks like Catherine Holland will be running both

    5. Catherine has worked in Probation Services for over 12 years. She was Director for West Midlands Probation Board from 2003 until 2010. On the merger of West Midlands with Staffordshire Probation to form SWM Probation Trust in 2010 she took on the position of Director of Executive Services, before she was appointed CEO of SWM CRC in June 2014. As of 1 September 2015, Catherine will be the Chief Executive of both SWM and DLNR CRCs.

      Catherine originally qualified as a Social Worker in Wales and worked in both residential and field work settings primarily with people with learning disabilities. Catherine continued her commitment to supporting independence as a Community Services Manager in a Housing Association setting up residential and community based supported housing for people with various support needs. In 1995 Catherine moved to the West Midlands as a Training Officer in a Social Services Department specialising in NVQs, Equality and Diversity and Management Development.

      Catherine was subsequently promoted to HR Manager and later Head of HR with responsibility for establishing a new integrated HR Unit for the Social Services Department. As Assistant Director for Business Services, Catherine oversaw Planning, Finance, IT, Communications and HR for Dudley Social Services before joining West Midlands Probation Area in 2003 as a Director.

      Catherine specialises in organisational change and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies and an MSc in Organisational Development and Management Learning.

      "Organisational Development and Management Learning" That's clearly where we went wrong thinking a CEO should be a Probation Officer.

    6. You went wrong because as a PO you failed to recognise your a worker first and that is the nonsense that disunited NAPO get over the grade and find a wayt of supporting all workers. It has been the PO CPOS that helped sell you out so what help is a CQsw or a dip SW

    7. I have reasons to bear a grudge against Trevor Worsfold but at the same time I can honestly say he was very good as a CEO. Just had a problem remembering people who helped him get up the ladder. He stood against TR and I think he would still do a good job as someone pissing from inside the tent.

  5. Jim please can you include in your lexicon the names of our CRCs? I have tried but cannot work out what the acronyms for many of our CRC s stand for and similarly am left scratching my head over new Napo Branch names!!

    1. Will do - meantime DLNR CRC Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & Rutland CRC


  6. New team of Non-executive board members appointed at the Ministry of Justice

    From:Ministry of JusticeFirst published:20 August 2015Part of:Justice system transparency ...

    The Ministry of Justice has announced the appointment of a new team of non-executive board members

    1. Liz Doherty brings significant financial expertise to the board with 30 years’ international finance experience in a number of large multi-nationals, including Unilever and Tesco. Her significant financial and previous non-executive experience makes her well placed to chair the department’s Audit and Risk Committee.

      Sir Martin Narey is a former prison governor and was the first Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service. He has extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system and, as the former Chief Executive of Barnado’s, the UK’s largest children’s charity, he also brings considerable experience from outside the public sector.

      Lizzie Noel has a wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors. As a former director of communications at government services and education business Tribal Group plc, an expert adviser at the Department for Education, and a former senior aide to the Mayor of London, she brings valued knowledge of working in business as well as public service reform and programme design.

  7. I'm getting a little narked by the constant references to Sodexo's dumbed down 'severance' offer by both the union and those who seek to represent the service.
    Was 'redundancy' ever on the cards? Does the union actually know there's a difference between redundancy and severance?
    Surely the argument is not just about the amount of money that's being offered? Surely the union are saying regardless of money offered, you agreed to 'redundancies' not to severance, and just on that point we're going to fight you so you can't lay off 100k of staff and recruit cheaper replacements for them?
    The argument is more about the legal implications for staff and the service as a whole.
    Could the people "upstairs" please stop referring to agreed redundancy arrangements as severance?
    They're very different things!


    The right to strike is under threat. Here's a quick video explaining why...

    In a nutshell, the government's Trade Union Bill would mean:

    employers were able to use agency temps to replace striking workers
    restrictions on pickets and protests that threaten freedom of speech
    attacks on union reps in the public sector

    along with lots more unnecessary red tape, tying up unions.

    Taken together, these will undermine our basic right to strike. And that will tip the balance in the workplace in favour of employers.

    We need your help to defeat this bill.

    Join me in the campaign to protect the right to strike.

    People win when we stand together. Stand with us.

    Thanks for your support,
    Frances O'Grady
    TUC General Secretary

  9. Corbyn, Most unions are backing him, UNISON is, when is NAPO signing up? What does is say about NAPO if it does not? Corbyn is the only hope of saving our profession you know.


    1. Napo does not run a political fund - so is not affiliated to any political party.

      I think Unison does though and almost certainly the GMB.

    2. The GMB does but even though I ticked the box to say I didn't want my sub's to support the Labour party, before the last election, GMBs board announced it was going to limit the donation to the amount that members had pledged. In other words, they were helping themselves to cash from members who hadn't given permission. The opposite, in fact.

  10. Ian is back Monday and he is going to come out all guns blazing. I have it on very good authority. He has a plan. Things will start to move big time next week and I wouldn't be surprised if a few heads roll

    1. I've heard the same too. Top brass in my friends area are feeling uncomfortable knowing NAPO have aces up their sleeve and Ian will ne on the offensive.

    2. Well I for one find Ian offensive, so he's off to a flying start!

  11. hurray!! I can't wait so hope you have got this right!

    1. Whatever you three are on, I want some!

    2. It should IL head rolling. As for plan he might have a few bottles of duty free up his sleeve but nothing else he is a washout . I would hope he just resigns.

  12. There is defiantly something going on as my branch are sitting smug (in a good way) at the moment. Come on Jim, get on the second coming NAPO band wagon. There has to be a second coming. Your see at AGM

  13. @18.28, 18.46 and 19.39, I so hope you are not winding people up with this. I hope that people just wait a little while longer before signing their rights away. I really want to believe it will all turn out right in the end but that niggling doubt is still digging away

  14. Cant wait I reckon he will have some gifts from his holiday for us hahaha

  15. I have specifically asked napo a direct question as to whether I should go ahead with voluntary severance or risk compulsory redundancy & run the gauntlet of a drawn out legal battle with my employer. No magic IL plan was mentioned, no enthusiasm about anything let alone blazing guns, and no confidence in anything - just pages & pages of fence sitting waffle: "you must do what you think is right for you."

    I (& many others) have been systematically bullied by my employer into the corner I now find myself with no confidence in my union, no legal advice or guidance from my union and every rug I stand on is being tugged this way & that; nothing is what it seems.

    So what do I do? Given the paucity of information & total lack of guidance I've made my decision & I'll live with it. But IF Mr Lawrence & co suddenly produce a magic bullet that makes EVR reappear I'll most certainly be pursuing an explanation as to why ALL members were not properly advised. It will once again feel like only the chosen ones have entitlement to EVR. That doesn't smell like solidarity to me. Still, nor does secretly paying £120,000 to the former GS.

  16. Probation Officer20 August 2015 at 23:11

    There is no spoon.

    Napo cannot change the current situation, just as it couldn't stop TR.

    What Napo could have done is change Napo, but it didn't and now it's too late.

    1. Never wanted or needed spoonfed, only advice as to the best action to take collectively. As a union member that has always been important to me. My point is - regardless of the choice I have made for myself - I will be very upset if my union hasn't shared what they know with all of its members, thereby causing significant further disadvantage to some. There's already been the travesty of disparity in the leaving packages for those entitled to EVR & everyone else. If that duplicity is repeated then "morally bankrupt" will be an appropriate label to hang around the unions' necks.