Transformation and integration programme: briefing following union meetings
We are continuing to speak to the unions about our proposals as we look to transform our business and want to ensure all of our people receive this information at the same time. As you are aware, we need to make up to 40% efficiency savings. This will come from:
- An integrated business model across Working Links that is efficient, scalable and adaptable to change, whilst ensuring we are not working in silos.
- A proposed Target Operating Model which sees a split between face to face customer focused activity, and non-face to face activity and operational support services.
- An estates strategy which supports the proposed Target Operating Model, as well as co-location to maximise efficiencies.
- New ways of working – including new processes, automation, a drive for consistency and self-service.
- New technology – including a new IT system, infrastructure and better data and analytics.
This is a complex change programme that will last over a year and we are sharing information with you, and the unions, at the earliest opportunity to ensure proper and meaningful consultation, but that this is why we won’t always have full details with regards to people.
Our proposals have been developed with people from across the entire business. We’ve reviewed all business processes, systems, estates and so on. We’ve completed surveys, workshops and focus groups to ensure those people that are experts are involved in shaping our future business.
We are now starting to develop our vision of the ‘to be’ and have further information on how this could impact people as we may need to consider operating with a reduced FTE across the CRCs. More detail on this will be shared with the unions this week and we are also looking at how we can reduce fixed-term and agency workers. YTD we have also seen a reduction in our employability workforce of 38%.
We still need to look further at our estates strategy, IT strategy and the wider HR picture in order to see how we reduce the gap between our operating model and affordability and will be continuing to consult with the unions in order to reach final numbers on our FTE requirements.
As this is such a complex programme we’re looking to implement our plans in a number of phases.
We propose that the first phase of implementation will focus on moving operational support services to Operational Hubs, as per our proposed Target Operating Model, such as administrative duties. The proposed locations for our Operational Hubs are:
- North Wales and Scotland (smaller sub hubs)
We have identified what activities we wish to move to an Operational Hub environment, without the need yet for the implementation of the new IT system with regards to operational support activity. This will be a transitional phase to take us in the direction of travel towards our ‘to be’ vision and we are working on a proposed rollout plan. This plan will ensure we support all of our people through this change.
For phase one, we now have some views on how this will impact people. For administrative roles we need to consider operating with 146.7 FTE, which is a reduction of 62.5 FTE. This reduction number is to be / end stage and we propose no compulsory redundancies as part of phase 1. This reduction number is also based on our expectation that individuals will be willing to move locations. Shortly we will be opening up a Voluntary Redundancy scheme to administrators to accommodate those administrators who do not wish to move locations and to reduce the need for any compulsory redundancies in the longer-term within this group. Those people that are eligible will receive more information about the process this week. We will also be introducing a new role of Service Delivery Manager in each Operational Hub and will begin recruitment for this in the next week.
As we continue to develop our proposals, and consult with the unions, we will keep you updated.
Paul Hindson, Managing Director UK Justice, Working Links
21st December 2015
Napo and UNISON representatives met with yourself and representatives of the three CRC employers (DDC, Wales and BGSW) on Tuesday 15th December to discuss the way forwards in respect of consultations, negotiations and information giving in respect of the recent Working Links pronouncement across all three CRCs regarding staffing cuts.
We undertook to write to you outlining the information that we expected to receive at the outset of consultations in respect of potential redundancies. This we will do, but in the meantime we have been dismayed and indeed angered by the release, not 24 hours later, of a Senior Leaders Team Briefing which has been sent to all staff in DDC and BGSW. We do not believe it has been sent to staff in Wales, although we understand that senior and probably middle managers are aware of it – and may be sharing it with their admin. staff. This Briefing outlines Phase One of a programme in respect of administrative roles and we will return to the detail of this Briefing below.
Before doing that however, we would like to rehearse the conversation that we had on Tuesday regarding the dissemination of bad news just before Christmas. We thought we had agreed that this was not a sensible way forwards and yet here we are, less than 24 hours after our meeting with just such a message being sent out to administrative grades of staff who are now left with the uncertainty and anxiety about their future livelihoods over the Christmas period.
We are grateful for your attempts at clarification, received by email, but we still feel it necessary to write to you in respect of this communication to staff.
We would have to say that this is one of the most unhelpful, ill-timed and insensitive documents that we have had the displeasure of reading in many weeks.
Let us take you through it, section by section, with what we shall politely call our critical analysis.
The title: "Transformation and integration programme: briefing following Union meetings". I refer you to our opening comments above.
Efficiency savings - a series of bullet points. To put it bluntly, the efficiency savings are being found not through any of these bullet points but very simply by your plans (admittedly a worst case scenario) of shedding up to 584 FTE posts. In reality that could mean upwards of 600 staff losing their livelihoods.
" ...to ensure we create a sustainable value service ...etc" . It is difficult to envisage how any comparable service to your service users and customers is going to be provided at all with a workforce that is nearly halved. We remain to be convinced that this is in any way possible and quite clearly we will need serious discussions about manageable workloads, founded in an agreed workload measurement and management system. The figure contained in this paper of a reduction of 62.5 FTEs across all admin staff in the three CRCs, even added to losses anticipated in Corporate Support, must logically point to further losses across front line and managerial grades well in excess of 400 posts.
"Our proposals have been developed with people from across the entire business" & "YTD we have also seen a reduction in our employability workforce of 38%" These two observations give the lie to the fact that this programme of staffing reductions within the CRCs is not about the CRCs per se but more broadly about the business of Working Links as a wider entity. Whilst it is sad to learn that 38% of the employability workforce have also lost their livelihoods this year to date (which we assume is what the unhelpful abbreviation means), this has nothing to do with CRCs which are stand-alone companies - or at least it shouldn't have. The finances and the future of the CRCs are being linked inextricably with the finances and future of Working Links in a way that is neither acceptable nor appropriate. Cuts to CRCs with the consequent impact on public protection should not be made in order to assist what might be an ailing parent organisation. We clearly recall that in the preparatory work for TR, we were time and again re-assured by MoJ representatives that CRCs would remain independent entities/stand-alone companies. Here it is also worth observing that these companies must also be capable of maintaining their operational capacity in the event that ownership changes hands. These proposals do not lend themselves to such a scenario.
" ...focus on moving operational support services to Operational Hubs ...." Then a list of hubs including Middlesborough and Scotland. Really? Some operational support services are going to be located in Middlesborough and/or Scotland?
Target date for phase 1 to be completed is mid-February 2015 (!). One assumes this should be 2016 but even so, we would remind you of the Management of Change Protocol which incorporates a six week period of reflection. Thus, if any compulsory redundancies were on the cards, then this process would need to be triggered about now to meet a mid-February target. We appreciate you don't know if this is going to prove necessary yet but again, we have discussed the various stages of consultation required, and information required as a part of this process. Equally, as we discussed on Tuesday last, it is our view that to expect staff to make fundamental decisions about their own futures in the absence of any real information is unreasonable.
Identification of an Operational Hub environment as a transitional phase. We'd have to say that this paragraph didn't really make a whole lot of sense. We can make an observation here though. There is no reference whatsoever in this paper to assistance that might be given to staff to re-locate their workplace - assistance that is contractual under Section A of the NNC Handbook - and here it is worth making it absolutely clear that we would not accept that any such relocations were being made voluntarily. This rolls into the following paragraph. Here again you suggest that you "propose no compulsory redundancies as part of phase 1" That must surely be more of a hope than a proposal on your part given the scale of changes proposed in terms of work location. Indeed this final substantive paragraph goes on to muddy the waters in regard to the need for any compulsory redundancies in the longer-term.
A final point on this last substantive paragraph - at the same time as placing most admin staff at risk of losing their employment, or having to relocate their workplace, you announce that you are recruiting new Service Delivery Managers. This is unacceptable - at the very least, we would have expected this initiative, if progressed at all, to be ring-fenced to existing admin. staff - but no such assurance is given in this document.
Again we must emphasise that good communications should be both dated and they should make it clear where they have come from – i.e. who wrote/issued them.
So to sum up, admin staff in at least two CRCs are notified, two weeks before Christmas that their world is going to be turned upside down within less than two months and the EVR scheme is likely to be opened to these staff members the very week before Christmas. In our view the proposals for administrative staff are unworkable and should be subject to further consultation with the unions before being progressed in any shape or form. The briefing issued to staff last Wednesday should be withdrawn with an explanation (and an apology) that it was issued in error and that there will be further consultation over it.
MIKE MCCLELLAND GLYN JOHNS
Napo National Official UNISON Regional Officer
c.c. John Wiseman
Probation Joint Secretaries
Napo/UNISON members in affected CRCs
Napo/UNISON local officials
Napo National Officers & Officials