Saturday, 16 January 2016

Latest From Napo 92

Here we have a compilation of three recent Napo communications:-

Response from SWM NAPO Branch to the proposed compulsory redundancies. 

This has not been a good time for some members in the SWM who have been informed at meetings that they are at risk of being made redundant. Those meetings have been held and Napo believed the actual and specific details including the number of job loses would be circulated to all staff on Tuesday of this week, This did not happen and members were contacting myself and other reps asking for details of the proposals. My understanding is that other than the e mail sent to CRC staff by the Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Holland no other details have been circulated. My view is that it is not the role of Napo to circulate these numbers to staff but the CRC should be doing this. However, the one figure given at all the meetings was the headline figure of the proposal of making 97.3 full time jobs redundant out of an approximate workforce of 800.

I need to explain that Napo are totally opposed to the redundancies and the proposals for implementing them. I would ask you to look at the agreed, negotiated redundancy policy that is being used in these proposals. You will see that before compulsory redundancies occur a number of alternatives should be considered by management and unions. I will now indicate whether they have been offered to groups of staff who are at risk of losing their jobs:

Savings and cost cutting (Have the unions been given these figures) NO
Freezing Vacancies YES
Redeployment NO
Voluntary Early Retirement NO
Voluntary Redundancy or Reduced Working Hours NO
Flexible Voluntary Retirement NO

Now let me tell you why we (Napo) and the at risk groups are being told the above cannot be considered particularly voluntary redundancies as alternatives at this time. There is one simple answer, we are continually being told by management that there is no TIME. It is the proposal from the CRC that the majority of staff being made redundant would leave the organisation at the end of March unless they needed your experience skills and knowledge and then you would leave after March. 

Let me explain why Napo are so angry with this excuse about time. For months and months the unions have been asking for the numbers of possible redundancies to be released so that the normal procedures such as voluntary redundancy could be implemented; without success. Why we would ask for this is very straight forward. If you get volunteers there may be none or a reduced number of compulsory job loses. We have been repeatedly told by management that the reason why they could not disclose the numbers is that discussions about the WAV Band (the money RRP would get from the government) were on going and could affect the redundancy figures. 

You may believe that to be reasonable, however, we are told those discussions are still ongoing so surely it is the CRC who must take full and total responsibility for getting the CRC into this mess because nothing has changed from the middle of last year when if the figures had been released voluntary redundancies could have been considered. We are also told that all the above alternatives to compulsory redundancy were considered by the Board and the Senior Executive Team: at no point were the unions consulted and we have not been involved in the considerations.

So what actions are Napo locally and nationally taking? Immediately the figures were announced I contacted our national SWM/CRC rep Mike McClelland who has requested a meeting with Catherine Holland and we await a date for this. Locally the Executive held an emergency meeting yesterday and was the reason that we were unable to attend the CRC Leadership Forum. We have a number of important questions that we will be asking at todays HR/TU meeting and we will feedback back the outcome to members. 

I have been contacted by members who are not at risk of being made redundant as to how they can support and show solidarity with colleagues who are at risk. At the 'at risk meetings' the Operations Director said that case loads in the CRC would not go down. We are aware that members are still going the extra mile and we believe that the RRP are not getting the true picture about the goodwill members are still displaying in these troubled times. Maybe staff at risk and those not at risk could consider just working their contracted hours.


Newsletter for Napo members’ in the Sodexo CRCs

Happy New Year and Welcome 

Firstly, we would like to wish all our members in the Sodexo CRCs a happy and healthy New Year. We welcome you to the very first edition of the Napo members’ Sodexo CRC Newsletter! 

Over the coming year, our aim is to keep members updated and informed about Napo discussions with Sodexo nationally, and provide feedback from meetings held between local CRC reps and national Napo. Your local Napo CRC reps have been meeting regularly with their national Link Official Ranjit Singh. Feedback from these meetings will now take place via this newsletter. 

We all recognise the past 12 months have been incredibly difficult for members and we will continue campaigning for a unified probation service and negotiating with the CRC employers to ensure improvements for CRC members in 2016. It is of huge concern that already, by the second week of January, we have received much alarming feedback from members around a wide range of ongoing issues. 

This first edition covers the following: 

Sodexo’s Estate Strategy 
IT Systems Chaos 
Sodexo’s Operational Model and Workloads 
Harmonisation of Policies acrossCRCs 
Napo’s Engagement Strategy


At the AGM in October 2015, Napo passed an emergency motion demanding that Sodexo halt their estate strategy. The motion highlighted a number of serious concerns about the design layouts of the offices, the associated health and safety risks posed to both members and clients and the inappropriateness of using open plan offices and “interview booths” within the context of probation work, as it compromises the confidentiality of clients attending interviews. 

It is clear that Sodexo do not understand the nature of the work carried out by probation. They have dismissed our well evidenced representations and reasonable demands and are pushing ahead with their plans. Some CRCs have now moved into new premises with these open plan layouts. Infuriatingly, in these offices, members are now feeding back to us the very concerns that we originally highlighted to Sodexo. 

What we would like you to do: 

1. In light of the background above, we are now asking all members from the outset to fill in incident reports, whenever and wherever incidents occur, no matter how small, so that we can evidence our concerns going forward. Sodexo have assured us that each CRC has an incident reporting policy in place. Should you find that this is not the case, please get in touch with your local CRC rep or email Ranjit Singh at the address below. 

2. In addition, we are recommending that all members who are required to work in one of the new workplaces (featuring multiple interview booths in an open plan office) submit a health and safety foreseeability notice. The template is attached to this newsletter. This should be signed and sent to your CRC chief executive with a copy to your local CRC rep. This will help to safeguard your position in the event of an incident which results in you being harmed. Newsletter for Napo members’ in the Sodexo CRCs Page 2 of 3 Newsletter for Napo members’ in the Sodexo CRCs 


Those CRC’s that have already moved into new offices and transferred to the new IT systems have reported the new IT systems are failing. We have received a number of reports from members that the IT systems are simply not delivering and not, it seems, fit for purpose. One welcome consequence of the ensuing IT chaos is that some of the CRCs have not yet moved to new premises and have delayed their moves until these issues can be resolved. 

However, those members struggling to work with the new IT systems are finding they are leading to even greater levels of stress and anxiety; ironically “Solution Line” rather than offering solutions to IT problems, is adding to the frustration, according to reports from members. 

Your local reps have raised concerns with the employers that the IT situation can potentially lead to serious risk issues, especially if the result is members are not able to breach or issue recalls for clients in a timely way. 

The following are some areas of concerns that have been reported: 
  • New systems are not fully assistive· technology compliant and therefore potentially in breach of the Equality Act 2010. 
  • Staff experiencing remote log-on problems. 
  • Communication failures between the old and new systems. 
  • No printing or scanning facilities available. 
  • WiFi in offices not working.
If you have information about any IT problems in your workplace please email your experience to Ranjit Singh at NB please use a personal, not a work email address. 


The original proposals in the Sodexo operational model had as their aim the goal of reducing the staffing profile of their six CRCs by 650 full-time equivalents (FTE). The unions successfully managed to reduce this number to 450 FTEs. 

Even though CRCs are still working towards reaching their final “steady state” numbers for staffing, we constantly hear of the fact that staff are having to manage excessive caseloads and that the new operating model development by Sodexo is a long way from being implemented. This means that CRCs are managing their clients under the old system, but having to do so with a massively reduced workforce. 

Our members are consistently reporting back that they have excessive caseloads, unrealistic targets, and increasing levels of stress and anxiety. Therefore, we have produced this short Workload Stress Survey with the aim of giving members an opportunity and the space to report back firsthand on their experiences of the front line. 

Please click on the following link: It is vitally important that you describe the situation in your workplace so that we, on your behalf, can report what is happening to you and to your colleagues and show how all the above are impacting negatively on service delivery. (The Survey closes on 11th February) 

Even though we all knew this would happen, we must continue to campaign and highlight the consequences of an ill thought-out privatisation, which has resulted in a poorer service for clients and excessive workloads for members.


As many of you may already know, the Salford People Centre has now taken over all HR and payroll functions. As a result of this, Sodexo has approached the unions to consider the harmonisation of policies across the six Sodexo CRCs. 

In principle, Napo is not opposed to this, but it must be carried out within an agreed framework. The unions have put forward a proposal to facilitate this process. This proposal ensures that reps from each Sodexo CRC are fully involved. In addition, we believe any process to harmonise polices should adopt the same principle as contained within the National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections. 

In practice, what this means is that any merged policies should adopt the terms and conditions which are the most favourable to all staff e.g. mileage rates; special leave provisions. As stated above we have put forward a proposal to Sodexo for what would effectively be a pan Joint Consultative body for all the six Sodexo CRCs. However, as we are still waiting for their response, it would appear that Sodexo have gone cold on this idea.

Napo’s Engagement Strategy 

Over the coming weeks and months Napo is embarking on an initiative to engage directly with members in their workplaces. The Engagement Strategy will be the primary focus of the union’s activity. 

The focus of the Engagement Strategy will be to directly “speak to” members to let them know Napo’s priorities and why members should stick with Napo as the union of choice within the Sodexo CRCs.

Look out for details from your local branch about workplace visits.


Going forward, future editions will aim to keep members informed about negotiations with their employers and provide updates from Napo. Naturally, since the rationale behind this newsletter is to inform members, and this newsletter is for members, we would encourage and welcome members to send in any information that they would like to share. Information will be anonymised. Please remember to use a personal, not a work email address.

Napo and You 

The real strength of any union is how well it can support and represent people locally. In a fragmented service this is harder and Napo are investing heavily in recruitment and training for new local Representatives. Anyone interested in helping can access our free new Reps course (provided regionally 1 day a month over 5 months in partnership with Ruskin College, Oxford). If you want to find out more call Ranjit Singh on 020 XXXX XXXX or via


Foreseeability Notification

To: Chief Officer XX XX CRC
Cc: Branch Chair


Dear Chief Officer

You will be aware from recent discussions and meetings, both locally and nationally, that Napo has serious concerns about the design of the new CRC offices and believes that there is likely to be an increase in violent incidents and that such incidents will be more difficult to manage.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act I have a duty of care for my own safety whilst at work and I wish to put on record that I believe there are foreseeable risks associated with these plans and to remind you that under the Health and Safety at Work Act the CRC also has a duty of care for my health and well-being.

I expect that you as my employer, will be concerned to minimise any risk to your staff, and that you will not proceed with any moves into new premises until a) health and safety risk assessments on the offices, and on new methods of working, have been completed in conjunction with trade union reps and b) all necessary steps have been taken to fully address all foreseeable risks identified.

If these steps were not all undertaken prior to my move into the new premises then I would expect any omissions to be immediately rectified.

Please note that failure to take all reasonable steps to observe your duty of care towards me could render the CRC liable to damages.

Name: ………………………. Date: ……………….


Finally, the General Secretary's latest blog (edited):-

Napo's voice in the E3 debate

Some weeks ago I described the NOMS E3 project as the operational structure that ought to have been designed well before the actual pre-TR split of the probation workforce took place.

Everything that I have seen since convinces me that our decision to engage with the programme was correct; and this has been borne out by the tremendous contributions that many of our members have made in the fields of job design workshops and evaluation panels, attendance at engagement events and, via our Professional Committee, offering an expert critique on the E3 Blueprint.

I cannot thank everyone who has been involved enough, for pulling together with us at this crucial time.

Negotiations underway

All of this has helped shape our future negotiating agenda, and we are receiving further feedback from individual members and Napo branches that we are already acting upon in what so far have been some encouraging meetings with senior NOMS management. We are also in the process of pulling the many written contributions together into a formal response from Napo, and we will share this with members once it has gone across to NOMS.

E3 is split into a number of specific work streams, all of which are generating a myriad of complex issues with the attendant pressures that they inevitably bring. Our team at Chivalry Road along with your Officer group are working very hard to manage these as well as undertake the increasing challenges posed by CRC staff cuts and the huge financial threat to Napo brought about by the removal of check off.

By way of example some of the key issues in E3 that up for discussion include:

Mobility, pay protection, job evaluation outcome for all grades, quality assurance, learning and development, custody policy, offender management review and role boundaries, support for victims and the future operational structure, the tiering model policy within community supervision, the YOS framework and the standard operating model for Approved Premises.

None of this includes the thorny issue of Court work, and the expectations by NOMS that members should readily embrace the endemic ‘more for less’ culture that has permeated the MoJ as they close premises and expect increased turnaround times for written and oral reports.

Last, but not least, comes the wholesale review of management structures that will be needed to deliver change of this magnitude and anyone ought to be able to see that we kind of have our hands full.

Planning for now and the future

One of the principle changes that I have been pleased to have helped bring about since being elected as General Secretary, has been the approach we make to our forward planning and how that process can be enhanced by the involvement of Napo staff (your employees).

This is why the Officer Group agreed to fund a high quality staff development and leadership training package which is very close to completion. This has generated some progressive ideas and opened up avenues for employee engagement that will be of great benefit to Napo going forward.

This activity has already been utilised in the design of the re-engagement strategy and the direct debit switchover campaign, but just as importantly, our training programme has allowed Napo staff to bring their latent skill sets into play and help us shape some (at times radical) ideas about our future operational structures. It has been an extremely useful exercise and the outcomes will be reported to the employer and NEC in due course. I am confident in saying it has been money well spent and will bring about improvements in the way that we operate on behalf of our members as we move forward.

News about a few other things

Work continues on our budget profiling for the coming year in what is an extremely challenging financial climate and the NEC finance Sub Committee will meet again soon and provide a further report. The sign over rate to Direct Debit at this stage of the campaign is promising, but there is no room for complacency and we need members to make that switch if you have not already done so!

Napo staff have undertaken some excellent ‘mapping’ work for the re-engagement strategy which we will be sharing with branches. Officers and Officials are exploring ways of using advanced technology to improve internal communications in Napo and how this could contribute to future cost savings. We are also looking into our current membership service provision and hope to have something positive to say about this soon.

That’s about it for this week, but lots more to talk about in the next blog including our work with the Labour party in advance of a major opposition day debate on Prisons and Probation that is scheduled to take place later this month and more news on our campaigns against the CRC staff cuts that we are grappling with alongside our local Napo activists.

Have a good weekend; I think winter has finally arrived.


  1. This is utter shite Napo have written about E3.

    E3 means that Pre Sentence Reports PSR's are now Fast Delivery Reports FDR's, and written by unqualified staff (PSO's).
    Probation officers are to be forced to work in prisons (mainly writing parole reports), and replaced by PSO's in the community offices (managing huge caseloads).
    End of 'End to end offender management' as offenders in custody to have no contact with outside probation officers.
    Tiering models are to change so caseloads will rise (as if it wasn't busy enough already).
    Mandatory use of ARMS and VISOR slowly aligning probation with the police.

    Terms such as "blood out of stone" and "more for less" come to mind. The NPS is dictated by the prison-run NOMS which is why there is clearly no care for probation officer (or PSO) that'll be forced to either be further overworked in the community or forced to relocate in a prison. It seems as if the National Probation Service wants a 'Sonnex case'!!

    1. Can some kind person please point me in the direction of an E3 document, send me a copy or even quote some key passages so we can have a serious discussion? Thanks.

    2. I have seen docs which categorically discuss the reduced work force requirements as a result of E3.

  2. Jim you have not read E3. That's poor hosting

    1. Yes, I try my best, but sometimes my elves let me down.

    2. Now sorted! A very kind person has duly come up with the E3 goods, so I have some weekend reading to undertake. Many thanks.

  3. Jim you know PSRs are back in the CRC?

    1. im in CRC and we have to fill in an official NPS form for updates on current SUs who've re-offended. No 'cold' reports tho. What area are they back in?

  4. 14.52 what documents and what percentage reduction in what grades?

  5. So what about whistleblowing? Nick Hardwick has done a piece for the BBC following on from the G4S programme
    How to staff blow the whistle in NPS and CRC when they see illegal practices taking place? Who do they go to?

    1. You should have access to a Whistleblower policy, it should come with a tel no for anonymouse reporting.
      Failing that infom your union reps :)

  6. Why blow the whistle when everything seems okay. There is no evidence of malpractice in the CRC or NPS

    1. There is distorted practice where the outcome sought is in the interests of the shareholders, but not in the interests of justice.