Saturday, 14 November 2015

Latest From Napo 86

Blog posted yesterday by Napo General Secretary:- 

E3 is this to become the line in the sand?

I am seriously squeezed for time at this late hour of the week (and not feeling 100%) so will have to use Monday's long journey to Exeter on route to see members in South Western Branch to fill in some detail on the other hot topics that have emerged.

Key consideration for us all this last few days, with the publication of the E3 blueprint, has to be: just how further can our members be pushed given the disasters of TR, the relentless austerity agenda, the move to unintelligible and rigid Civil Service HR policies and the continuing problems that members face by way of massive workloads and operational chaos in many parts of the NPS?

For on the back of all this comes the latest potential assault on professional standards, grade boundaries and ultimately terms and conditions, in the shape of the generic E3 job descriptions for the NPS.

Old responses no longer available

Ordinarily, in days long gone, we could have told NOMS via the NNC and the probable support of the employers on the Probation Association (oh halcyon days) that heaping a massive grading exercise on members who are reporting that they are close to meltdown after the most despicable piece of political chicanery (TR to the casual reader) would be well, a not very good idea to say the least.

Times are sadly much different now, and in the absence of a hard hitting campaign of industrial action by the probation unions, then engagement has to be the initial response.

That ought not to be mistaken for acquiescence, or that we have ruled out asking that question at some stage given the potential threats posed by the various plans that have been previewed in the E3 blueprint, especially as we are already receiving a lot of traffic which suggests that many members are outraged at what they see as generic job descriptions that bear no reality to real life and, moreover, offer future detriment rather than reward.

For us it will be about trying to shape the engagement strategy in a way that will help make some sense out of the shambles that Grayling heaped on you and use this to try and achieve our aspirations on pay and much else besides.

Make no mistake, the E3 project will stretch our resources at Chivalry Road and whilst we will have no problem standing up to the employer, as members expect us to do, we cannot deliver it all from the centre.

That is why we have a healthy number of practitioner members who have volunteered to take part in the E3 work streams and those who have come forward to become fully trained job evaluators.

They will bring considerable expertise to their role, which is not to represent members but represent their interests (hence the project time that they will be granted and credit where it is due to NOMS on that score). Their work will supplement our efforts around the negotiating table.

Together we are stonger; but you know that already.

Good weekend


  1. Whilst I welcome the G.S blog, I'm concerned about the vaguely defeatist theme running through it. There has been an impressive united complaint from all Victim Liaison Officers up and down the country this week asking, no pleading it would seem, with NAPO officials to represent them in the grading issue. There are VLOs in different areas doing the same job on grade 3 and grade 4 in a roughly North/South divide. This clearly shows that there are men doing the same role paid at a higher level than their female colleagues. Seems unbelievable in this day and age but it's sadly the case, and over a number of years. People are concerned that without careful handling, by very experienced staff in the job evaluation process a detrimental outcome will be delivered. We have requested NAPO to invite assessors with proven track records to serve on the JE panels and the G.S has been included in the national emails shared by VLOs this week. I understand this initiative was taken by individuals incidentally and not the union. Let us hope that this collective action will send a clear message and maybe inspire others to do the same. It should not be required, of course, isn't this what we pay subscriptions for? There are some lazy officials at the top table in a NAPO and maybe it's time the G.S reviewed his staff ability and practice in the interests of credibility.

  2. Blueprint is another buzz word. They have E3 blueprints for the strategic management of education in Texas, Shell has an E3. And now NOMS has its own – Efficiency, Effectiveness and Excellence. I think E4 would more fairly map reality – Enslavement.

    I am no wiser from reading IL's missive. He does have a habit of being pushed for time and saying he will get back with more information later...

    So Napo will 'engage' but it's not 'acquiescence'. Is this the same as signing up to TR but not agreeing to the dismantling of the probation service?

    I do think that Napo should put more time and effort into communication with members. We know where we are and we know where we have come from but we do not know where we are going. We know probation is not going to 'broad, sunlit uplands' but an analysis and critique of the ramifications of E3 would help to build some common understandings of how it is likely to impact on terms and working conditions.

    We are informed that the 'old responses are no longer available' and that 'times are sadly much different now'. And the two examples given are the absence of the Probation Association to make common cause with and the absence of 'hard-hitting industrial action, which in times past could have been mobilised to challenge 'political chicanery'.

    This paints a picture of union powerlessness. The negotiations on TR were between the weak and the strong. You will not find an example in history where negotiations between the strong and the weak ever produced a fair outcome.

    The stance being taken by some VLOs as outlined by Anon @ 9.13 is where the potential strengths are to be found. This is where the leadership needs to be alert, supportive and nurture alliances with their own struggling members. It is not only E3 that can change things is what the VLOs are saying and Napo needs to listen hard and act.

  3. Jim all this bitterness must be tired some. I think your a disgrace at how you only ever want to focus on negative TR propoganda stemming from a few senseless individuals who routinely post. If you really cared about things you'd be more active in your union. You said nowt at conference and edit what you don't like on here. Your blog feeds into a lot of people's unhappiness as all you want to do is get people to think things are bad. I'm sorry you didn't quite make it in life as this clearly bothers you as all you do is facilitate cheap shots at anyone in a position of authority including union officals .It's time to move on and to those who don't like working in probation; it's simple. Do something else!

    1. Hi Chris how's your new job as Leader of the House?

    2. Your naïve 11:32 People do care and that's why they post. I am not a routine poster but I do feel strongly about issues I read on here. It is not fair to insult JB why ? Do you not understand that this is the open voice of objection. The mechanism in the NPS CRC are employer led and stall all staff input. The unions have got a lot wrong no standards beset them with incredible behaviours of the previous chairs. Now we have crisis management and yet again it appears there is another scandal in the mix. Things are bad in every quarter look north and soon 400 staff will have been forced to move out to what other jobs ? Others are under constant attack and now the E3 has started the NPS is going to see another whitewash and yet this blog has been the only place to sound any prospects of organising a fight.
      JB has been a reasonable critic of Napo but as much as their failures deserve and why not ? He has attacked all the TR and all the head players properly in a way to encourage and galvanise action. He has encouraged all the NAPO activists to support action. Be reasonable in your assessment. Nothing strong has come from anywhere else . Personal attacks on the Blog keeper reflect badly on your post and suggest you are not a genuine poster of objective thought. If you are are in a CRC or NPS role you will soon be changing your tune I am confident of that. As for probation there are no CRCs that use the word Probation anymore so They are not Probation. As for the NPS yes they can use the word but they are not delivering probation anymore and soon the name will be gone. When that TR battle was decided by the AGREEMENT OF THE UNIONS the end of Probations reign was secured.

    3. Clearly they don"t know how successful Jim IS in his role in life .....if only they did!

      Keep it going Jim, the wheels are buckling on the TR wagon.

    4. Using capital IS on a day like today is not appropriate

    5. don't be silly 1204 .

    6. Notice how those in favour of TR can barely string a coherent sentence together ;)

  4. There is a serious element to this. This is a "probation blog" but anything Jim does like he / she deletes despite it being non offensive and "probation related". Esp when it's something positive about TR or from a Tory point of view.

    1. 1151 that's not correct. I think Jim has called for comment from all the napo candidates in fact some officials have blogged here at length. Also there is open invite to all of the tory party to write an open blog in guest. This invitation extends to everyone interested to make a comment for consideration by readers. The recent clean up has seen a few comical and reasonable posts deleted and they attacked the Tory quango regime of how to get richer quicker schemes that the Tories are world leaders at off the backs of everyone else with guilt shame or remorse. Know anyone else like that ?

    2. I'll be generous and not delete today, but you are correct, I do delete any pro TR and Tory propaganda unless it's backed up by reasoned argument. All moronic comments not evidenced and designed merely to inflame and irritate are routinely consigned to the waste bin.

  5. The sad aspect of postings such as 11.32 is that they gets lots of responses. They derail a discussion of the main issue. They inflame opinion and that's their purpose. So 11.32 wins. When such postings lack - as they usually do - any sign of reasoned argument it really would be better just to ignore it. If someone has wants to argue that TR is good, that's fine, but let's at least see an argument and not the usual ranting nonsense.

  6. 11.51 is correct by Jims own admission. He is a first class socialist so anything left wing is moronic to him as is TR not being considered a success is moronic blogging to me. The point is Jim sees these comments supporting TR as inflammatory and designed to provoke as he is so blinded by his socialist views he feels anything who thinks to the contrary is moronic. Sorry Jim but it's true :)

    1. To me, being a socialist means caring more about people than money. I'm proud to be a socialist.

  7. So back to E3 and especially the boundary increase of the band 3 PSO's.

    Do you support this increase in their duties?
    Do you think it may undermine the role of the Probation Officer?
    Does it undermine the profession?
    If band 3 can do band 4 work, why pay for a band 4?

    Is the Probation Service finally dead?
    or is this the 'enough is enough moment?'

  8. E3 just sounds like the CRC. PSOs holding CP cases, MARAC cases etc. Some areas have stopped using the word probation officers.

    1. Probation officer no such thing anymore . Face reality we have lost the TR split now sadly PSO who are not PSOs at all anymore would like to have earnt the same money for doing the same work as can be seen over many ways. Jobs counties and duties. Yet here they are likely to be fixed in 3 while the PO grade will be decimated because anyone can do that role its only a diploma . Too much of the wrong arguments and not enough trade union. Well done you spent yourselves up and sold out by the PO leadership. Abused positions and low pay no change then for PSOs they are used to it and can work around all the issues no problem.

  9. I have read with interest some of the comments tonight and some of the criticisms of "Jim". I don't belong to a CRC or the NPS. I run amongst other things a limited company.

    My major concern about TR is what it does or rather what it doesn't do.
    Does it provide a better service, does everyone say what a fantastic job CRCs and NPS are doing, is it grabbing the imagination of its staff and clients? The answer i get is no, if it was a yes I would support it but I see no evidence of this.

    I am recruiting disillusioned very bright probation officers into my business (non-CJ work) I watch people I have known for years, very bright and highly thought of individuals disappear off the probation scene. I hear from colleagues about the appalling mess in private prisons and in court, non-probation colleagues.

    So I support this blog and Jim because what he is fundamentally interested in is the best possible service to the community. Nothing more nothing less, so keep up the good work Jim

  10. 20.24 with all due respect I doubt you have recruited more than a handful of disillusioned staff and if this blog is your only source of information then your not well informed. Every inspection and official review into TR is positive so far and is working out for a lot of staff and clients.

  11. 21:21 with all due respect to you, have you read the inspection report properly or spoken to staff individually? Try speaking to offenders in 6 months time, or even a year, when 'operating models' have bedded in. You're clearly in a different world to me! For the record it's "you're not your".

  12. Day after day the evidence against TR builds up. NOMS' own statistical bulletin showed a rise in re-offending, and two HMIP inspection reports have raised considerable concerns. By far the biggest weight of evidence is staff's day to day experience, as recorded here and on social media - yes, this is anecdotal, but where are the positive anecdotes? When the TR champions show up here with their vague remarks which could (and perhaps do) come direct from TR briefing documents, not one can offer even a single example of positivity. Laughably, one post claimed that the CRC wouldn't want to publicise their successes, for commercial confidentiality reasons.

    Until one of the TR cheerleaders can point to some evidence, any kind, the old maxim still applies: if it ain't written down, it ain't happening.

  13. Probation Officer15 November 2015 at 02:27

    After a right good night out Ive made the mistake of browsing and coming back to the probation reality. Thankfully our plight is nothing compared to the horrors being faced in Paris, Kenya and Syria.

    TR was designed to be a failure and has achieved its purpose - the end of probation.

    E3 is a management model designed to restructure and decimate what's left of probation. E3 and the Civil Service to the NPS is the same as what Sodexo is to the CRC's - one big axe.

    Probation management lie and tell us that new measures like E3 and the instruction to downgrade court reports are blueprints and drafts ... "Let's give it a chance" they say. We already know the outcome and sadly London NPS is already implementing these "methods" and the rest will follow. Not so long ago London Probation Trust was the first to sell off community service - now 70% of probation has been sold.

    Whether your with the CRC's or NPS it's all about the money for those in control. There is no emphasis on what works, they don't care about good practice and all the evidence for 'end to end offender management' no longer matters.

    As always, managers and directors will work us all the way to the slaughterhouse - and they'll be no enhanced redundancy or golfing handshakes for those on the frontline. So in the meantime all we can do is what we've always done;

    Do what you're required to do. Clock in, clock out and come to terms with working for a shoddy employer. If they want short reports and "efficient" working then that's what you give them.

    Work your hours and no more. Record your hours and tasks, and email your manager every time you're about to or do go over your contracted hours. If they want overtime let them pay for it as session work and unsocial hours.

    Use team meetings, director briefings and whatever public forums they use to introduce new messages to voice your objections and concerns.

    Join/rejoin a union and make them fight for us. Napo is rubbish but it's better we've a pathetic weakling fighting our corner than nobody at all.

    In reports, in letters, in emails and at meetings and hearings, call yourself a PROBATION OFFICER. Every PO I know signed up to help, rehabilitate and change people for the better. We didn't train to be 'offender managers' and we didn't ask to be civil service robots.

    Be honest with courts, prisons, parole boards, and all the rest - probation isn't what it once was. It's not our job to explain and apologise for the shite forced on us by probation directors.

    PO's, PSO's, Admins and support staff - we're all colleagues and in this mess together. Be nice to each other.

    Remember there are other jobs and professions out there and THEY WANT YOU.