Sunday, 29 November 2015

Latest From Napo 87

I guess we need to catch up with what the General Secretary has been doing of late and his theme seems to be that of being very busy. This from the 21st November:-  

TUCG rally shows why we and six million trade unionists can still make a difference

No chance of a restful weekend with attendance at a major summit being run by tbe General Federation of Trade Unions in Stafford with a hotfoot back to London today for the privilege of addressing a packed Central Hall for the TUCG rally against austerity. Here I was able to illustrate the impact of the TR disaster and why its part and parcel of this Governments attempt to privatise anything that moves and at the same time seek to knock the stuffing out of the organised workforce.

Here is what I said if you are interested in seeing it:


This from last Friday:-

A punishing schedule but it's what we do

Readers of my last posting live and direct from Central Hall will have got some idea of the involvement that Napo has and the respect that we have with like minded organisations and unions, and this was typified by our contribution to last weekends major trade union summit, organised by our friends in the General Federation of Trade Unions.

Here our delegation joined others from a number of 'craft' unions in exploring how we should encourage and enable new future leaders, how we can and should change the methods we have traditionally adopted for trade union education and critically, how we might seriously explore the concept of shared services amongst unions to help us improve our response, and our services to, our respective members, attain greater efficiency in the areas of tendering and procurement and whether we can quite simply, stop reinventing the wheel on a range of areas that might include ICT, research, design and printing to name but a few.

Whilst I missed the middle session to speak at Central Hall you ought to know that Yvonne Pattison, Tania Bassett and Our Finance Official Theresa Boorman did you proud. We will be issuing a detailed report of the proceedings as soon as we can after the GFTU Executive have considered the outcomes at their meeting here today in Loughborough. You may also want to know that Yvonne and I are on that group as well and therefore in a good place to try and influence that debate.

An eventful week

Immediately after the GFTU summit we started the week with a meeting of the National Executive Committee which had a long and hard look at our financial projections which have been constructed to help us deal with the real (and directly political) threat posed to Napo's existence by the removal of Check Off and our strategy for engagement with members over the next few months.

It was as you would expect, a testing occasion for everyone but I wanted to register my appreciation to everyone who put in a longer than usual shift and their acknowledgement of the hard work being carried out by Napo staff (your employees) who are seeing no sign of a reduction in workload with a bargaining environment where we now have our membership spread across 24 employers.

I know from my regular interaction with Napo staff just how much they are committed to seeing this union rebuild and their intention to play a leading role alongside our activists and wider members.

A real purple future?

I am always cautious about reading too much into what seemed like a really positive engagement with the Chiefs and owners of the Interserve cluster of CRC's.

Make no mistake, I am expecting us to have some major differences as they go about making a fist of the contracts that they and other CRC owners have been mis-sold, but I was struck by the tone and genuine intention to try and work in partnership with the unions. Time will tell, but Purple Futures could make a good start by committing to the EVR scheme once they reveal what their future staffing plans actually are.

Meanwhile, the Joint Secretaries get to meet

Virtually, on account of competing demands, but nevertheless a useful exchange after which we were able to issue reminders to the Sodexo owned CRC's that we still await their response to the Management of Change protocol questionnaires about their plans to handle the posts that they are claiming they still need to make compulsorily redundant. They need to get a move on and try to demonstrate some good faith following the chaos that has been caused by the disingenuous approach by their owners to the whole 'its not EVR but something else'

We also dealt with other non-Sodexo stuff for once including some Market Forces supplements and a good old fashioned NNC dispute which we hope can be resolved without the need for a formal visit.

E3 job evaluation

We have been picking up a lot of incoming concern this week from members across all grades about the job evaluation process that was announced in the E3 operational blueprint.

This has been especially the case amongst our Victim Liaison Officer members who are questioning the proposals to band this role at 3. This is complicated by their seemingly being an almost 50/50 split of staff across bands 3 and 4.

We will be issuing a more comprehensive briefing once your National Officers have completed their mapping exercise with branches, but our position remains clear in respect of these and all other roles that are threatened by the as yet still to be agreed E3 review. There will be job evaluation to the agreed NNC standard with skilled evaluators on board, there will be consultation with members and there must be negotiation with the unions on the outcomes.

Remember that these are not Napo's proposals and they are symptomatic of the 'more for less culture' that is a hallmark of the continuing austerity agenda.

More next week on the FCS strategy day, PBNI and the latest position on Approved Premises.


Finally, regular readers might recall that a couple of weeks ago a cryptic message directed at Napo London Branch members appeared on social media:-  
Every member of NAPO London Branch needs to attend the Branch Meeting tomorrow at 2pm as a matter of priority for an extremely important announcement concerning the future of London Branch. If you are coming please urge as many other members to attend as possible. We cannot emphasise enough that the announcement will concern all members of the Branch.
After the meeting, the following exchanges appeared:-
London branch is financially broke
But not as a result of financial mismanagement but rather as a result of external decisions regarding national finances that in practice appear to penalise branches that manage their finances effectively and in a responsible manner – such as staying in credit and building up a small contingency fund to pay deposits for cheaper early booking of hotel accommodation for AGM – saving substantial sums of money. I realise we are not the only Branch that this policy has impacted on detrimentally but it is false economy to stop financially savvy branches from having the ability to manage their finances in order to maximise the service they give to their members in response to local needs and instead allow greater centralised control of financial matters to occur that is less responsive to members needs and takes money from those who operate within the parameters of their budget to subsidise those who do not. This is not a real world financial strategy and incentivises financial mismanagement.
Oh blimey .. And we have to return any monies to chivarly rd. What happens now
If you run a tight ship you have to give it to those that don't – simples or they withhold your grant.


  1. I like: 'I am seriously squeezed for time at this late hour of the week.' (13/11/15)

    How easily the language of efficiency drives seeps everywhere – 'shared services' for the unions and the alleged profligacy of some branches versus the responsible management and contingency funds of others, now threatened by a centralising exchequer at Chivalry Road. We should learn soon about the impact of check-off on finances at the Last Chance Saloon. IL is speaking of check-off as an existential threat to Napo's existence and yet in another breath speaking of Napo continuing as a strong and independent trade union.

  2. As I understand it NAPO Gives a grant to branches according to the size of their membership. It is well known that London Branch is one of the few branches that managed to increase its membership during the TR campaign and holds steady at approximately 1000 members. What is worrying is this business of penalising branches like London that appear to know how to maximise the effective use of the limited resources they have to serve their members whilst Lawrence and his sidekicks seem intent on clawing back money no doubt to fund the various courses to equip his staff to move on once NAPO closes shop. Lawrence does a great soapbox but his Teflon coated minions are very busy making sure they will survive the shambles ready to wreak havoc elsewhere. Power to the branches and the members not the self serving control freaks in the centre who should be named and shamed for their actions.

    1. 'Teflon coated minions" = Mr Smiley - the Asst General Secretary who is seen and not heard Ms Wotshappened - the invisible press officer/spokesperson ................... Etc etc etc

  3. Blah, blah, blah. Even to skim read IL's musings is a struggle. The only bit that jumped out was about the victim liaison officer role. I thought this was already band 3 and most I've known in the role are band 3 PSO's anyhow. I thought they only received band 4 if seconded to the role as a probation officer. Is this not the case? On that point, it's about time IL and the like say something in support of probation officers as we rarely seem to be mentioned anywhere even though we spent years qualifying to do the job and it's us doing the highest level frontline work!

  4. 10:31 good point about POs especially those at the top of the scale who have been carrying others and have not had a pay rise or any tangible benefit since Lawrence has been at the NAPO helm.

  5. Is Napo still lining Harry Fletcher's pockets? Thousands to launch and fund his new employer then more work when that went wrong. I'd love to know what he's got on people to use my subs as his personal piggy bank.

  6. Great point about POs..... we seem to being wiped from the future of probation and I worked bloody hard to get my qualification also earning less that half salary so my family suffered too. I am watching NPS's desperation to appoint PSO grade staff to do what? Replace POs it seems to me. Our 2 court teams are being stripped of POs and now NPS cases are going to be "reTiered" leaving POs managing the most I thought that was the entire justification for the TR split shambles and creation of NPS in the first place???
    NAPO really needs to get a grip on this and soon...the co chairs and media person are POs after all so someone at Chivalry Road actually knows what a PO is!
    Now before the trolling starts I am not decrying PSO staff - that grade needs to wake up to the massive con trick being played upon them....."look you are just as good as a PO see we believe that or why we we allow you to do their job ?
    Without the responsibility related salary or course and the qualifications...

  7. Any news on the Rendon front? I heard he may be coming back to save NAPO?

    1. Rendon or Ranjit? I heard the latter?

  8. What a load of rubbish from IL no mention of any support for us on the coal face and the appalling practice being inflicted on us. Also whatever happened to our pay award again! And as for the comment about those at top of scale think yourselves lucky some of us will never get there !

    1. I am Anon 12: 33 and am not even close to the top of my grade, not a dinosaur, I am just a PO who sees my professional status being destroyed ...and yes, anxious for PSOs who are being led to do more for less, this will not end well.

  9. Yea those on the top of their scale think they're better than us young guns doing all the work at the coal face.

  10. Within a couple of years a PSO will do all the tasks of a PO. The leaders will look to make a saving and remove the PO. Then there is no profession and the PSO will also face a cut in salary.
    The rest of the players in this game are not paying staff 30K+ so why should NPS/CRC?

  11. What's in a title now.In our CRC we are all to be Responsible Officers.Probation Practitioners or CPO's at the Coal Face,but at the end of the day we are all to be defined as Responsible Officers.
    Not looking good for the retainment of PO and PSO positions long term.

  12. Probation Officer30 November 2015 at 00:15

    Ever heard a support teacher arguing for the qualified teacher to be downgraded in status and responsibility? Or a headteacher plotting to replace all the qualified teachers with unqualified/untrained staff? No you haven't and in fact the support teacher would be instead arguing to keep a progressive and better paid role ahead of them, something to aspire to. But here we have PSO grades and those without qualifications arguing and waiting for PO grades to be downgraded in status and pay; arguing their right to take on responsibilities that they should be paid at a higher rate to do and also afforded the chance to qualify to do so. How easily we've fallen into the trap; divide and rule.

    In my office there is a clear divide in role between PO and PSO, always has been in most places I've worked. Very clear in the NPS but not so in the CRC as a result of TR. We know that E3 is due to erode role boundaries and PO responsibility in the NPS so to solve staffing problems and cut costs. This outlines the sham because creation of the NPS and the justification of TR was the NPS would have probation officers doing the higher end work. Instead of building up the numbers of qualified PO's to do the higher end work and resourcing the NPS, it is to instead recruit PSO's. I'm sure these posts will be filled with an abundance of newly qualified PQF's and fresh faced school/college leavers.

    Give it time until staff retention becomes a problem which it will, and when the media frenzy starts over problems in service provision and further offences. I can already see the NPS directors with their heads in their hands. Serve them right for downgrading probation officers and probation practice. Let's not pity them though, their eyes are on the prize; hefty retirement packages, cushy positions at the MoJ and HMIP, and a Fellowship from the Probation Institute.

    Where's Napo in all this?, probably out looking for its elusive press officer!

    1. off topic but deserving of a comment. D day for Corbyn - why get at the leader when he is being a true socialist. Up in the north he has considerable support from MPs and public. Why don't the papers get at the blue streaked Labour politicians who are showing their true colours, and let Jeremy get on with protecting this country. Has it not occurred to them that he is showing common sense and they are dangerously wrong?

    2. I wonder, if one mixes red & blue do you get a purple future?

  13. In the light of NPS NW staff being told to no longer use the term probation when they refer to the CRCs in Court or with any statutory partner, is it any wonder the Tories divide and conquer isn't having the intended effect. While some of my colleagues have been rightly appalled by this, the majority have gleefully adhering to it with spiteful satisfaction. I was at a team meeting last week when one probation officer was genuinely outraged that a PO in the CRC - his colleague a few months ago - was paid the same as him.

    All very unpleasant.

    1. His colleague isn't a PO, he's a plain ol' hones to goodness w*nker. I made the point, years ago, that all of this is a bully's charter. People who are tempramentally superior, will revel in the perceived status that one role or another gives them. Manager's who are prone to bully are mincing around saying 'we are where were are', 'just do it', 'it's teh new world' whilst all that has really changed is that the people who are prone to treat others like s*** are doing what comes most naturally to them. I have to say, few of those who have given in to this instinct have surprised me. The 'nasty party' has facilitated the corporate acceptance of malice, spite and insensitivity.