Saturday, 5 December 2015

Dodgy Contracts

I'm grateful to the Napo member who has forwarded the following letter to me. This paragraph says it all in my view:-
"As a result of the way that the TR contract has been commissioned, the challenges we face working in a PBR environment, a drop in service users and doubts over the position on the WAV band we are in a position where will need to find efficiency savings of up to 40%."
No wonder all the CRC's went to London en masse to tell Gove the contracts were based on dodgy information and why the MoJ is desperately trying to think up imaginative ways in which to shift work from NPS to the shafted privateers.

27th November 2015

Dear Dino 

Collective consultation 

I am writing to you in your capacity as NAPO representative, in respect of the Dorset, Devon & Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company's (the Company) proposals for changes to the operating model for the Justice and Employability parts of the Working Links group and the proposals to deal with the challenges of a reduced Weighted Average Volume (WAV) within the Company. 

There is a lot of information that we still do not have but we are conscious that during our on-going dialogue, you have expressed a desire to have information as it becomes available so this letter sets out some information and we will of course update you as and when information becomes available. 

As a first step, I am writing to update you on where we are with the development of the Working Links Way, the proposed use of technology to support the Working Links Way and some detail about likely reduction in the WAV. 

The past weeks have been focused on explaining why change is necessary and listening to views and ideas from employees, sponsors and other internal and external stakeholders. These have covered a broad range of issues including how we can deliver a common platform for maintaining quality of service delivery, have a flexible workforce across a flexible estates portfolio and provide a platform for future growth. Since share sale, there have been over 25 workshops and 35 processes reviewed which have enabled us to pull together ideas on how to achieve this.

We have considered the ideas and contributions made by employees who attended the workshops. 

Whilst the Working Links Way is focused on improving the business and the quality of service for customers and service users, employees of the Company may be affected by some of these changes. In addition, the Company is also facing an unexpected challenge caused a reduction in WAV as it is becoming clear that the current WAV is less than the projected WAV which Working Links were informed about during the Transformation Rehabilitation bidding process. 

As a result of the way that the TR contract has been commissioned, the challenges we face working in a PBR environment, a drop in service users and doubts over the position on the WAV band we are in a position where will need to find efficiency savings of up to 40%. 

We would like to continue to discuss these challenges with you and our proposals to deal with them in a collaborative way. There are a number of options to consider with you but we recognise that one possible outcome is that there may be some redundancies within the Company as a result of the proposals. 

As this is one possibility, we intend to file the appropriate paperwork to the government as required by law to enable our dialogue with you to continue. We will send you a copy of the necessary HR1 form and associated documentation in due course. 

The Company plans to have collective redundancy consultation with its local representatives of UNISON and NAPO concerning these proposals. It may be the case that when the affected employees are broken down to each establishment within the Company that the relevant threshold for collective consultation is not met, however, the Company is keen and willing to consult with your local representatives in any event and we will be proceeding on this basis. We currently propose to explore all options with you, including the option of achieving redundancies through voluntary methods. 

Where we refer to "dismissals" below, our focus is on any surplus created by the implementation of the Working Links Way, including the proposals for Hub Operations and certain work to be carried out by them, and potential changes to address the likely reduction in WAV. We use the term dismissals, because that is what the law refers to. 

Diane Powell, Director of Human Resources and Learning and Development, Elaine Morgan, Assistant Chief Executive, Marie Kyme, HR Manager and myself will be leading the company side of the collective consultation process with Denice James, Helen Coley and yourself as representatives of NAPO and Glo Curtis as a representative of Unison. If necessary we may call on others to assist where appropriate.

In compliance with section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULR(C)A), I set out below the reasons for the proposed dismissals which are: 
  • The likely reduction in the current and future WAV compared to the WAV information provided by the Ministry of Justice during the Transforming Rehabilitation bidding process; and 
  • Implementing the proposed Working Links Way which has some elements which may impact on staff, such as the proposed operating model to introduce Hub Operations and an universal delivery infrastructure which could impact some of the current Front Line Operations. 
As anticipated by TULR(C)A, we shall be consulting with a view to reaching agreement on ways of: 
  • Avoiding the proposed dismissals; 
  • Reducing the numbers of employees to be dismissed; and 
  • Mitigating the consequences of the dismissals. 
We understand the potential for these proposals to be notable, and so we are currently discussing with you ways in which we could mitigate their effect. One proposed method we are willing to discuss is voluntary redundancy following which approval of any requests will be on criteria to be discussed in consultation; we will also be using natural wastage, and releasing agency workers in order to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies. 

At this early stage, we are, as we have discussed with you, unable to provide the balance of detail to complete the information that will form the basis of coming consultation. However, as soon as we are able we will provide you with the following detail – 
  • The number and description of those who may be dismissed as redundant following conclusion of our process; 
  • The total number of employees of such description employed in the establishment in question; 
  • The proposed method of selecting any such employees and the proposed method of carrying out any proposed dismissals; 
  • The proposed method of calculating any applicable statutory redundancy payment; 
  • The number of agency workers working temporarily for an under our supervision, the parts of our business where these staff work, and the type of work they are carrying out. 
As we have explained in our meeting, we will provide this detail as and when it becomes available, and will update this letter accordingly.

This will no doubt be a challenging time for those involved, so I hope that we shall be able to work together cooperatively to discuss the proposed changes and their impact on our employees.

Yours sincerely

John Wiseman 
Probation Director

For and on behalf of the Dorset Devon & Cornwall CRC


  1. I'm actually a little surprised this wasn't released nearer to Christmas - that's their usual style.

  2. So the company fucks up and staff again pay the price. nice

  3. Well they have given and recently offered EVR to Corporate Staff and Personal Assistants . One would assume that this precedent and custom would be followed or am I kidding myself?
    The vast percentage of costs are wages so redundancies it appears to be.

    1. Don't hold your breath. Sodexo (N'bria) went down severance route (legally) despite giving EVR to corporate staff and senior management. They will follow their example!

    2. Oh, now that sounds familiar, I think Sodexo in Cumbria & Lancs CRC perpetrated a similar extortion racket, namely to give a handsome pay off to those who facilitated the TR sham (corporate services & senior mgmt) but retain 60% of the allocated EVR destined for frontline staff by using the 'legal' voluntary severance bully-them-into-submission option. So, ex-directors &/or secretariat of CLCRC were paid EVR by their area Trust up to 18 months after accepting it then being paid by CLCRC (or Noms) for new roles in those intervening months... Perhaps giving them enough time & capital to set up new money-making enterprises before walking away with full EVR? Shurely not???

      Lurking Winks & relevant ex-Trust management couldn't possibly be as devious or self-serving? Could they?

    3. "Where we refer to "dismissals" below, our focus is on any surplus created by the implementation of the Working Links Way"

      Nuff said.

    4. The popular beat combo Aerosmith had success with their hit single "Walk This Way", which also owed something to bullying & prejudicial attitudes. I don't think "Working Links Way" sounds as catchy, but it will probably be proclaimed as 'amazing'.

  4. Grayling and his minions are the ones that fecked up, but the profiteers were warned and chose to ignore those warnings, now it's staff who again pay the price. TR train crash just as we all predicted. I've no energy to be angry anymore

  5. Diane Powell? They're ducked.

  6. Like it was said earlier; Ranjit and his number 2 Lawrence are leading on this. I'm confident they will be victorious. We have to believe in them as our union and our bosses.

    1. WHY because they did such a great job with SODEXO who rode rough shod, dream on.

  7. Probation Officer5 December 2015 at 18:34

    So is this John Wiseman's "outstanding contribution to probation and community justice"?

    And he forgot to use the letters “FPInst” after his name!

  8. Mr Wiseman sounds like he is inviting the NAPO union reps to a tea party, although he cannot elaborate on any of the details. He has cleverly laid out bullet points that were originally given to him as questions which he continually avoids answering. I see he no longer signs off as an A.C.O which clearly defines his lost identity to Probation work and ethics. His job is a difficult one but someone has to do it ... for the right price of course ... and plenty of profits for the shareholders ... and at Christmas ... What a man

    1. He such a great guy the Probation Institute made him a Fellow!

  9. There are 2 other CRC's in the WL family. Happening in Wales now.

  10. More changes. Yippee! Why not just scrap it all and put us out of our miseries. I think most people don't give toss anymore. I'm personally tired of this shit.

    Btw I heard that NPS will no longer have SPOs signing off parole reports and OASys starts for high risk offender. Are they going to get rid of SPOs, in order to save money, due to the recruitment of PSOs who will write reports etc. Can any one verify?

    1. As I understand it this is coming in with the NPS/MoJ policy E3 (Efficiency, Effectiveness and some other word beginning with E). SPO's will no longer be required to countersign high risk work and parole reports. PSO's will write Pre Sentence Reports and supervise high risk cases. Yes they could be unqualified, untrained or newly recruited. Pre Sentence Reports will be in a very short format for everyone except those that are high risk or harm or requiring a dangerousness assessment. NPS PO's are already being recruited into prisons as 'end to end offender management' is ending and community PO's will only be allocated prison cases about 6-8 months (or less) prior to release. PO's are set to take on more SPO responsibilities, and SPO's probably set to take on more director responsibilities. No pay increases or overtime payments are planned. They want to remove budgets for sessional work, costs for using agency staff, and costs of expenses for prison visits. I've not heard about job losses for NPS PO's and SPO's but it's probably on the horizon.

    2. Firstly, may I say this is for a better sense of accuracy as opposed to me being an unapologetic advocate for all that is E3. As with anything based on aspects of current practise there are some good things in it. The question is then; "Just because it works in xxxx, does that mean it is appropriate or work everywhere?"

      The third 'E' is excellence. From what I have read, yes, the target is to complete 90% of pre sentence reports in a short format and on the day. The bulk will be undertaken by PSOs based at Court. Probation Officers will undertake SDRs but they will be reserved for only the highest risk cases. My understanding is that no reports will be written by staff in OMUs... field teams.

      Supervision... PSOs will supervise low and medium risk cases but will have offender manager responsibility. The offender supervisor role will stop.

      Sessionals... there is reference to harmonising fees, I've not read that they will go.

      E3 will bring in significant changes for staff. There are massive issues, in my view, for role boundaries at all grades and whatever your view of management the new structure risks exacerbating the sense of managers being completely detached from the realities of practice.

      Job descriptions need to be read and the staff movement proposals could be double edged; nice to be able to pursue new opportunities but if the reality is that staff do move every 3 years then there is a danger that some teams never really settle.

    3. Probation Officer6 December 2015 at 12:29

      The NPS should be honest and ditch the "effectiveness" and "excellence". E3 is about cost cutting and getting more for less - Efficiency x3. Our NPS directors and senior managers who designed this are nothing more than Tory MoJ lackeys helping along the austerity agenda and to profit from selling off justice.

      I makes no sense why they are replacing probation officers with unqualified and inexperienced staff. For years PO work required professional training/qualification and apparently now it doesn't because E3 says so. Once again Napo is napping and should have already been on the loud speaker about the further downgrading of professional standards. There's no point even mentioning the Probation Institute as that monkey outfit is helping along E3 and the rest of the TR fallout.

      Since probation in general is struggling to retain staff, let alone recruit staff, where are these PSO's going to come from? Once again the devil is in the detail. The new NPS job description shouts out they'll be employing anybody who applies and putting them under the responsibility of probation officers. Where does that leave PO's and SPO's?

      Is the so-important risk managing and public protecting National Probation Service about to become nothing more than a gap filling job for school leavers and a point of referral for local job centres?

      ... Minimum 5 GCSE’s at Grade C or above, including English

      ... Candidates will be subject to UK school leaving age legislation."

  11. Re: the minimum qualifications requirements, I wonder how many excellent staff working for Probation now would never have got a foot in the door had these minimum requirements been in place before? Similarly, how many potentially brilliant practitioners will we never see because of the need for these qualifications to even start in the service :/

    1. The NPS is meant to be a professional organisation and so recruits/practitioners should have professional qualifications and experiance. The point is that many probation officers do have these qualifications, and degrees, and experience, and in many cases before they join up. The problem is that they're potentially to be replaced by PSO's that will perhaps be school leavers and others with a few GCSE's and no experiance.

  12. If SPOs are no longer to countersign PAROM1s and High RoSH OASys will the onerous task of amending the spelling, grammar and syntax to make them fit for purpose now default to the SPOs' line managers? That'll go down well. Not.

  13. Can someone confirm that SPO's will no longer countersign PAROM1s and High RoSH OASys? The E3 is ambiguous.