Sunday, 2 August 2015

Pay and Expenses

BR83/2015 (N 13-2015)

Probation Branches
Probation Negotiating Committee
Cafcass SEC (for information only)
Officers, Officials & Staff (for info)


Despite every effort to maintain the earlier engagement with NOMS via the offices of ACAS, it is unfortunate that the NNC Employers have refused to continue our talks which were being held in an effort to resolve the outstanding Napo and Unison disputes over the 0% pay offer that was imposed without negotiation.

Unison members have taken industrial action this month and feedback suggests that a number of Napo members showed solidarity with their UNISON colleagues in a number of locations.

Napo and UNISON have been participating in these talks in good faith, but the NOMS officials representing the Employers Side were unwilling to continue the negotiations. The unions have tried to agree an agenda with the Employers that would have included discussion on the future of national collective bargaining, the potential reform of the pay and grading system, as well as trying to find a resolution to the 2014 pay dispute. 

Here are the key issues which we were prepared to discuss with the Employers:

  • Resolution of the 2014 NNC pay dispute.
  • All staff covered by the 2014/15 NNC pay settlement, including any outcome agreed via the ACAS talks, to receive appropriate payment, whether they are employed by the National Probation Service (NPS) or one of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs)
  • All parties to the NNC commit to entering into talks in relation to reviewing the NNC pay and reward system as a matter of priority.
  • NNC pay bands need to be addressed as a priority in the review of the pay and reward system, in particular, the need to shorten pay bands in order to aid recruitment and retention and to address potential pay discrimination issues.
  • The harmonisation of key and still outstanding terms and conditions in both NPS and CRCs including Maternity pay, parental leave provision and the privilege day associated with the Queen’s Birthday, and the addressing of these as a matter of urgency.
  • In line with the NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement, all parties to the NNC to work together to review the current national bargaining machinery
  • All parties to the NNC to discuss how the Probation Consultative Forum can be developed as a mechanism for discussion of professional standards, and associated matters, across the NPS and CRCs.
What next? 

NOMS has now dismissed ACAS and have indicated that they no longer wish to use them to seek to resolve the 2014/15 pay dispute. UNISON’s National Probation Committee is due to meet on 5 August to review their industrial action strategy and Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee meets again for a special meeting to discuss our future pay strategy early the following month. 

The frustration of Napo members for the interminable delays in making any progress on pay are well appreciated, but I hope that this update will provide some important context as to the reasons for this. 

The lack of respect for staff in the post-TR world, whether they are working in the NPS or a CRC, is all too apparent.

Yours sincerely

Ian Lawrence      
    Chris Winters          Yvonne Pattison 
General Secretary   National Co-Chair    National Co-Chair


31 July 2015
BR 84/2015


To: Branch Chairs, Vice Chairs, Secretaries and Convenors
NEC Co-Representatives
Probation Negotiating Committee
Family Court SEC (for information only)
Officers, Officials & Staff (for information)

Dear Colleague,


This circular explains why NOMS is intending to introduce new car mileage and subsistence arrangements with effect from 1 August. We also set out some of the background as to why this decision has been taken and our agreement that the policy will be taken to the National Negotiating Council NNC for endorsement and that further guidance will be issued including a Probation Instruction (PI).

Meanwhile we have attached the explanatory letters and appendices which NOMS have issued to managers about the intended changes. We are taking up the issues that members are already raising with NOMS senior management and we will issue more news as soon as we can.

Meanwhile the following response has been received from NOMS following our latest representations:

Dear Ian

I note the concerns being raised by NAPO members about the operative date and short notice in relation to the implementation of T&S. It was necessary to introduce the policy with effect from 1st August as NOMS has negotiated dispensation from HMRC in respect of potential outstanding tax liabilities affecting individual staff members which expires on 1st August. We will work with you to address the concerns being raised by NAPO members and provide further clarification where necessary. NOMS recognises that the policy whilst agreed by you in principle, will require endorsement by the Joint Secretaries and that urgent discussions will be taking place on the supporting NNC guidance and the Probation Instruction that it is intended will be issued as soon as possible.

It is anticipated that this process will be completed by the end of August. Detailed guidance and easy guides are being issued and published on EPIC ready for Monday and it would be helpful if you could sign post these in any communications you issue to members. The SSCL contact centre are trained to talk staff through the screens and this will be backed up by face to face training during September and October. I would encourage staff to start to use the system for any expenses incurred in August and staff may use the existing arrangements for mileage and subsistence claims relating to the July period.

Peter Firth

Deputy Director HR,
National Probation Service


NPS made a full and final offer on travel and subsistence to the trade unions on 26 June 2015. The offer had previously been under discussion through the National Negotiating Council (NNC) intermittently in 2014, but was never satisfactorily resolved in the expected timescale due to the pressures of the implementation of TR, and changes in NOMS senior personnel responsibilities. It was then considered by Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee and the National Executive Committee who agreed in principle that it represented the best outcome that could be achieved by negotiation.

Implicit in this decision was the expectation that the revised instructions would be issued via the National Negotiating Council machinery (NNC) and would be accompanied by an official Probation Instruction (PI). Neither of these actions has yet taken place. It was also hoped that the policy would apply to employees in the Community Rehabilitation Companies. This followed the employers recommendations in their report to the National Negotiating Council dated 15 December 2014 (which appears at the end of this memo). However, it was accepted by the Napo NEC that this might not happen automatically and that pressure would need to be applied to CRC employers to mirror the changes.

Following these discussions, and the NEC directive, Napo signalled its agreement in principle to the new car mileage and subsistence rates some time ago. This was on the basis that the accompanying instructions would provide easy to follow guidance to staff and managers about the changes. Sadly you will see from the official attachments (which were issued last week without Napo being afforded a final opportunity to consider them), that they are still unclear.

It has been agreed today that the trade unions will be given the opportunity to take part in urgent discussions about the NNC guidance and relevant Probation Instruction.

Members’ enquiries

Given the current (and especially heavy) pressures on the Chivalry Road team and the traditional difficulties associated with the summer holiday period, it would be greatly appreciated if detailed written questions that we appreciate are already emerging from concerned members could be channelled to Napo Head Office via your local NEC members or Branch representatives. We can consider these in advance of issuing further information.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Lawrence           Dean Rogers                          Chris Winters
General Secretary   Assistant General Secretary   National Co-Chair

ON 1 AUGUST 2015

The National Probation Service intend to implement a new car mileage allowance for NPS staff with effect from 1 August. The new policy automatically applies to NPS staff but Napo and Unison have indicated that we will be seeking to ensure that the policy is mirrored across the CRC environment.

Notwithstanding Napo’s insistence that the policy be endorsed by the NNC, this briefing:

  • Summarises the proposed changes 
  • Provides some background to the changes 
  • Explains Napo’s position 
  • Provides guidance to members on what the policy says about appealing against any financial detriment. 

What are the proposed changes?

In summary, the changes are as follows: 

  • Replacement of the old former Probation Trust car mileage allowances with a single car mileage rate of 45p/mile 
  • One-off compensation payments to staff who suffer some detriment as a result of the introduction of the new car mileage allowance 
  • A £1,000 buy-out of the essential car user allowance for any member of NPS staff still in receipt of this allowance 
  • The introduction of new subsistence allowances
The full details of the new mileage rate and the compensation arrangements offered by NPS are set out at Appendix A of the guidance notes for managers. The details of the new subsistence allowances are set out in full later at Appendix B (Report to the National Negotiating Council) 15 December 2014

Why Harmonise NPS Travel and Subsistence?

NPS is a core civil service employer, so it is not surprising that it wishes to harmonise the varied travel and subsistence arrangements which ex-Probation Trust staff brought with them in the transfer. In particular, there are practical difficulties in managing the former Probation Trust travel and subsistence allowances via MOJ Shared Services, and reconciling NPS tax arrangements with these historical allowances. These harmonisation proposals are the first tranche of a much larger project to harmonise ex-Probation Trust terms and conditions to civil service/NOMS terms. NOMS has claimed that the new car mileage allowances have to be introduced on 1 August to save NPS staff from having to negotiate on personal tax liabilities directly with HMRC, we will be seeking to fully understand this requirement and ensure that it is properly explained to members.

Have any negotiations taken place on these changes?

Yes, the trade unions were involved in detailed negotiations over the proposed changes at the end of 2014. Napo and UNISON were not opposed to the principle of harmonisation, but as you would expect, our intention was to obtain the best possible deal for our members in relation to the proposals which, in some respects if they include the changes to subsistence rates, are likely to represent an improvement in the terms and conditions of some members, with protections for any staff who can evidence detriment as a result of implementation. However, the confusion already being caused by the covering guidance issued to managers has caused confusion amongst staff, especially those currently in receipt of local car parking reimbursement arrangements and we will be taking this issue up via the NNC.

What about the new subsistence rates?

The proposals to change car mileage allowances were originally due to have been accompanied by the replacement of the former Probation Trust system of subsistence allowances based on receipts with a new more favourable system which did not require staff to provide receipts for meals in order to claim allowances.

In summary the new subsistence rates for NPS staff are proposed as follows:

For information on what you are entitled to claim for see: Travel & Subsistence Policy ALLOWANCES


Bed & Breakfast Accommodation:
Inner London    
£115.00 including VAT
Outside London 
£70.00 including VAT
Other Location   
£70.00 including VAT

Additional Allowance (overnight subsistence – 24 hour rate) 
Incidental Travel Element minus £3.20

Day Subsistence
Over 5 hrs 
Over 10 hrs 
Over 12 hrs 

Residential Course Allowance £5.00

Lodging Allowance:
London/All Cases 
Up to £36.75
Elsewhere/All Cases 
Up to £33.20

Retention of Rooms Allowance: £7.00

Business Mileage:
All vehicles: 
45p Standard Rate
Up to 10000 miles 
26p Public Transport Rate
Over 10000 miles 
25p all rates

Motor cycle rate:
Up to 125cc: 

Pedal Cycle Rate
Pedal Cycle Rate: 

Our understanding is that these rates do not require the submission of receipts.

Napo’s position

Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee and National Executive Committee agreed in principle earlier this year to recommend the new mileage and subsistence proposals to members in NPS as the best that were achievable by negotiation. This was on the assumption that the final offer would:

  • contain both the car mileage and subsistence allowances 
  • be launched via the NNC machinery with covering instructions including a Probation Instruction (PI) Hopefully apply to both our members in the NPS and the CRCs, (where the NEC accepted that some pressure may need to be brought to bear in this · respect via the NNC). 
The negotiations on the travel and subsistence proposals concluded earlier this year, but then got overtaken by the 2014 pay dispute. NPS made a full and final offer on travel and subsistence to the unions on 26 June 2015, but unfortunately we were not consulted on the guidance that has been issued to managers.

What does the NNC Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections say about this? 

Probation Trust staff transferred to the NPS on 1 June with their ex-Probation Trust terms and conditions intact. The NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement states that employees in the transfer would be treated no less favourably than if TUPE applied. This means that your terms and conditions were protected at the point of transfer, but can be changed via negotiation following the transfer, i.e. with the agreement of staff via collective agreement.

The Staff Transfer and Protections agreement states explicitly at clause 15:

‘Staff who transfer to the NPS will do so on their existing terms and conditions. Any harmonisation of terms and conditions will be undertaken in accordance with national collective bargaining.’ Whilst we have sought to negotiate the new policies and believe that this is the best that can be achieved, the fact that they still have to be approved by the NNC and have been issued with instructions that do not contain the level of clarity that you would expect, has meant that Napo has had to insist on a further period of consultation about the contents of the further guidance that is clearly still needed.

Advice to Napo members

Within the existing guidance is information to staff who wish to challenge the imposition of the new car mileage rates on the basis that will suffer a detriment. It is expected that in such instances members should initially seek to use this mechanism whilst keeping their Napo representative copied in to developments.

Members are also asked to take the following aspects into account: 

  • the existing car mileage allowances are subject to taxation above 45p/mile 
  • NPS is offering compensation by way of a buy out for the essential car users allowance and this cannot be guaranteed into the future
  • NPS is offering some limited compensation to staff who stand to lose out as a result of moving to the new car mileage rates and similarly this cannot be guaranteed into the future 

Below is the information for managers that has been passed to us by NOMS.

To NPS Deputy Directors
NPS HR Business Partners
NPS Probation Trade Unions

cc Carol Carpenter
Colin Allars
Sarah Payne
Francis Stuart 
Peter Firth

27 July 2015

National Probation Service Travel & Subsistence Changes 

Over the past few months NOMS has been engaged in ongoing discussions with the Probation Trade Unions regarding moving from the former Probation Trust Travel and Subsistence arrangements onto the current NOMS Travel and Subsistence policy.

Agreement has now been reached and with effect from 1 August 2015 and all National Probation Service staff will move onto the NOMS Travel and Subsistence policy resulting in all former Trust arrangements for ceasing from that date.

The key changes for staff for managers and staff will be: 

  • Any claims submitted on the current forms – NPS001, NPS002, NPS 003, NPS004 and NPS005 will be accepted for any expenses incurred up to 31 July 2015. Claims for this period will be accepted on the forms until 21 August 2015. Any claims submitted after this date on paper claim forms will not be accepted as we want to encourage staff to use the system. 
  • All Travel and Subsistence claims for expenses incurred from the 1 August 2015 will need to be made on line using iExpenses on Phoenix. 
  • NOMS Travel and Subsistence rates will apply from the 1 August 2015 and these are included in the new NPS Probation Instruction, which will be available on EPIC.
  • Any staff who are on posting terms such as Additional Travelling Expenditure (ATE) / Displacement Allowance (DA), will be written to separately explaining how they need to claim and what the changes mean. 
A copy of the transitional arrangements is attached with this note and will be available on My Services from1 August 2015.


  • Aligning to NOMS rates opens up the opportunity to utilise the technology available to NOMS and a number of benefits to using the on line system become available. These include: 
  • Staff can self-certify up to £500 on non-taxable claims 
  • Line Managers do not have to authorise all claims and are only be required to authorise claims of over £500 or if it is a taxable claim 
  • Payment is normally received within 3 working days of the claim being received at SSCL assuming that it has been completed in line with guidance and policy. 
  • iExpenses meets HMRC requirements 
There are a number of ‘walkthroughs’ available on My Services that staff can use to familiarise themselves with the i-expenses part of the Phoenix Oracle system, which take you through processes in a step-by-step way.

Guidance and Support 

A guide ‘How to Claim Expenses will be available to support staff using iExpenses and will be hosted on EPIC.

There will be a number of briefings throughout mid- September and October and these will be advertised shortly. The reason we have delayed them is due to annual leave during August where attendance is likely to be lower. The briefings will include:
  • Demonstrations covering how to claim expenses using iExpenses 
  • The transitional arrangements 
  • The key changes for staff 
  • The opportunity for staff to ask questions 
It would be helpful if the communication below could be cascaded within NPS Divisions to ensure as many staff as possible are made aware of the changes.

Benefits in Kind and P11Ds 

Many staff will be used to paying tax on expenses claimed for mileage in respect of the use of their personal vehicle when used for business travel. This has previously been paid via the issue of a P11D to staff affected.

It has been decided that, for mileage paid at rates in excess of HMRC’s advisory rates, that will attract a liability to tax, NOMS will pay tax due on behalf of individuals. The following points should be noted:

· Payment by NOMS on behalf of individuals will only relate to an individual’s liability for the financial year 2014/15, (and only from June 2014)
  • Payment by NOMS will only be made in respect of benefits from business travel in a personal vehicle
  • No P11D will be issued in respect of this benefit for the financial year 2014/15, (from June 2014)
It would be helpful if the details included in this note could be cascaded within NPS Divisions to ensure as many staff as possible are made aware of the changes.

NOMS HR Directorate Business & Programme Manager


  1. Probation Officer2 August 2015 at 10:44

    Wow! Day subsistence is £4.25.

    So I could spend all day visiting a prison or at a demanded by my employer or the parole board. This can mean leaving before breakfast and arriving back just before dinner. Or sent on a training event forced to stay overnight and possibly all day. And all I'm entitled to per day is a £4.25 meal.

    Is it even possible to buy a 'meal' for £4.25? This is a complete joke. Unless famine is being promoted, how can unions even call this "negotiations"!

    1. You're so stupid you shouldn't be allowed to attend a parole hearing. Read it again.

    2. Probation Officer2 August 2015 at 14:28

      Tbh, I skim read it to that part stating subsistence over 5 hours £4.25. This is a decrease of the current rate. If I've missed the point well it's a sunny Sunday afternoon and I'm otherwise preoccupied.

      No need to be abusive.

  2. You read it wrong. Try again

  3. What a shambles and a complicated shambles at that - thank goodness it does not apply to me.

    That blog post sums up clearly the consequences of not sorting out the major staffing issues before a reorganisation of front-line workers takes place.

    As far as probation pay and expenses negotiations are concerned, I realised by about 1979 that the word


    is a euphemism for


    It is used by people who have never stood up in Court explaining why a week's adjournment just is not enough if the court needs a comprehensive, considered pre sentence report that can include an assessment of the impact of a sentence on a family and therefore how it is likely to affect the risk of reoffending,


    who have never dealt with the Parole Unit and tried to convince them why a decision is needed in thirty minutes - if not sooner!

    I presume government ministers, at all levels (there are seven in the MOJ) have a facility for using their own vehicle and claiming expenses and subsistence allowances. I suggest the Unions negotiate so that all probation workers receive exactly the same - after all what probation staff do affects the safety of the public - it is time the folk in the offices of the MOJ realise that fact!

  4. Enjoy the rest of the day Anon 10.44.Clive James is on the radio with lots to say and the sun is shining.

    Ex SPO Anon No 2

  5. Could anyone explain how some people could still be claiming as essential car users... wasn't that withdrawn from everyone and if not why were some people allowed to continue ??

  6. Apologies for crashing a primarily NPS thread, but in Napo 73 blog posted below IL makes use of some interesting turns of phrase and references to comments on this blog, and again appears impossibly pleased with himself.

    Mr Lawrence - I'm glad you can look forward to any sort if holiday whilst I stare the inevitability of unemployment in the face. Thanks for reminding me. And I can't wait to enjoy the remainder of the summer - shitting bricks as to whether I can pay the mortgage, find another job, buy the grandchildren Xmas presents, etc.

    Thoughtless? Your talent for the inappropriate just stepped up a notch.

  7. Ian reads the blog daily. Trust me, I know!

    1. Obviously how do you know. Anyway does he realise, (do you think ) he is fairly unpopular for the time being and it is doubtful if the membership will get behind him. Most feel like its all lost now.

  8. well if Ian reads the blog daily, he should know just how angry staff are - I am sick and tired of hearing the words - its the best we could negotiate - I have never in my lifetime of work come across such a weak union - whoops not true - UNISON are no better, unless they representing the big fish of public sector like NHS - Probations staff are too small fry for the like of UNISON to invest in representation or legal challenge

  9. Dear blog author. The face we've 11 comments on an issue people aren't interested in screams out "change the topic of discussion" or run the risk of this blog dying a death. Jim, are you winding down the blog?

    1. stop whining write something not interested in this commentary read elsewhere.

  10. Interest was lost yonks ago hence no new guest blogs. Anyone have any update on TTG? Is anyone going in the prisons and doing this work?

  11. Scary but fascinating how similarly people can behave.. pressure groups develop, become successful, the ' system' it challenges acts to destroy it, either bestowing it with plaudits , whilst taking it over , or seeking any means to destroy it, and those who developed it.. the Probation Service being just one...
    Jim starts his blog, His blog, it offers something not available elsewhere, intelligent thought and debate.. it becomes popular, powerful even, and then the process to destroy it sets in.....fools

    1. 22.14: This blog attracts supporters and detractors. I don't think the negators will knock it off balance. Unlike many blogs, this one is being read because it encourages a range of opinions, serious and humourous. The inane commentators who goad must do so for a variety of reasons ranging from the political to the psychiatric.

  12. Firstly let me start by saying I am one of those that are usually a reader and not a speaker.... however, recent events have gotten under my skin so I feel I have no other choice but to be vocal about my feelings.I feel that I was shafted the CRC and not sifted!! Then I feel I was shat on from a great high by my SPO and ACE telling me I had a future in the CRC and that my experience and knowledge were valued and that there was a place for me long term. It transpires however, that my CRC just needs me in the short term to keep the service going until they can replace me with unqualified staff. The union UNISON have done nothing to protect me, instead they have ensured their own jobs on NPS and have now reduced my mileage allowance just as we in the CRC are supposed to be going mobile working!! Hence my decision to withdraw from the union and go it alone, why put my head above the parapoit for them when they wont do it for me.... I am managing 'high risk' cases in the CRC because my SPO wont refer to NPS in case there is a financial penalty on refusal... laugh... I could cry!! I am a fully qualified PO, I am trained in risk assessment but my decisions are over run by arseholes more concerned with keeping their jobs then with concern about public safety, what does that say, the whole TR agenda has been a shambles which is why I have rendered my resignation today as I can no longer be party to such a debarcle. good luck to those of you who remain, just remember that the whole point of this job was to reach out to people and help them to recognise their risk and to self manage it, to reduce future risk of reoffending and of causing harm to others. The goal posts have moved, payment now is my manipulated results and I am relieved not to be a part of this fucked up process that will result in profit for private companies bit increased risk in our communities. Sleep well those of you that chose to stay xx

  13. Sorry to read your position 2316 but respect and credit to u 4 posting and truthful many feel like you.

  14. The end of my NAPO subs being taken direct from my salary is getting nearer and nearer and I am becoming more and more certain that my subs would be better employed as a top up of my pension than further funding of a useless union!

    1. Absolutely brilliant 23.32 couldn't agree more, no direct debit for me either in December, will redirect to pension fund. I too wish I could resign from NPS dictatorship, retain sanity and stop feeling complicit in Probation Service demolition

  15. Well done to napo, no security, shit job, no pay rise and now lost 22 pence a mile expenses.

  16. This is a bit off topic. .... but why don't nps now get moj maternity leave as we are now allegedly civil servants? 6 months full pay. ... Yes please! This of course would not be fair on crc counterparts but thought I'd ask incase anyone knows! It would definitely ruffle feathers! Actually. ... thinking about it I think their would suddenly be a surge in pregnancy.... my office is 90% female! Is it wrong to view starting a family as a way of escaping this huge soul destroying mess!!!?! I love(ed) my job and hate what probation is becoming!

    1. I too am wondering why nps probation staff have not been aligned with civil servants for maternity pay? Are we not civil servants now?

  17. Nos staff in nod still creaming off the tr shambles. All fighting for sessional reports that are hardly wort the paper it's written on.

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  19. Is there any movement on harmonisation of maternity pay from the nps to he civil service? An update on this would be appreciated