To: Branch Chairs, Vice Chairs, Secretaries & Convenors
Family Court SEC (For info)
Cc: NEC Co-Reps
Napo Officers and Staff
12th February 2016
For some months now, Napo, supported by a large number of NPS member volunteers, have been engaged in central negotiations and local engagement events along with important involvement in the Job Evaluation panels associated with E3.
This circular advises members about this work and Napo's robust agenda on the E3 project, the outcomes of which we are currently negotiating with NOMS.
What is E3 about?
This is an operational structure programme that ought to have been in existence prior to the split of staff between the NPS and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies. The fact that it was not, was directly attributable to the political imperatives of the former Secretary of State to push through the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda without sufficient regard to the problems that would inevitably be caused within the newly created NPS and which members have been trying to cope with ever since the division of the service.
It is also important to recognise that E3 is another means by which the employer intends to introduce changes to working practices against the background of further budget cuts to MoJ/NOMS ('more for less'). This will undoubtedly mean that some difficult discussions will take place especially around the outcomes of Job Evaluation and the future of Victim work.
The additional factors behind the E3 programme are the intention of the employer to see greater flexibility of the workforce in terms of job roles and duties, and movement of staff between locations. Other Important issues under consideration include the future strategy on Offender Management and Approved Premises.
What has Napo has been doing?
Since the announcement of the E3 programme Napo has been actively engaged in regular high level discussions with senior NOMS management to try and shape the future agenda.
We have successfully argued that this programme was far too big and too important to be determined centrally. Also attached is a letter that the Napo General Secretary sent to Senior NOMS Management last June, following which we saw the establishment of the various work-streams covering: Community Supervision, Custody, Courts, YOTs, Victims and Approved Premises.
We asked for volunteers from Napo to get directly involved with these projects which were underpinned by a number of engagement events where our practitioner members brought their skills and experiences of life at the sharp end to the fore in an attempt to shape future strategy.
Napo also led the way in the Job Evaluation process and the various evaluation panels included fully JEGS trained Napo members. We are sure that Napo members everywhere would want to express huge appreciation for their efforts. As indicated above, this is an area that is of obvious concern to members and we intend to secure the best possible outcomes in the negotiations to come.
This work has also been supplemented by Napo's Professional Committee, Napo Officers and Napo Officials, who have compiled the attached submission on E3 which has been sent to NOMS and to which we await an initial response.
The Napo submission makes it clear that whilst we are prepared to try and engage constructively on the E3 agenda, we will vigorously resist any attempts to introduce detrimental terms and conditions and that our engagement is also contingent on seeing a progressive agenda emerging on future pay and reward.
Don’t believe rumours!
Given the size and scope of the E3 programme it is inevitable that there are many rumours and disinformation being spread around the probation network to the effect that decisions have already been made. The position in this respect is very clear: Napo has received Ministerial agreement that we will be part of a series of structured negotiations with NOMS about the future outcomes from the project. Our involvement in that project will be led by the views of our members through our internal democratic processes and we urge members to make their views known via your local Napo Branch reps and members meetings.
Join Napo today
This statement, showing how we are involved with E3 and the high quality submission we have made which directly reflects the views of practitioners, shows why Napo is the union of choice and why we are best placed to represent the interests of staff. Our approach to the challenges posed by the E3 project is designed to protect and promote the interests of our members working within the NPS.
If you are a Napo member who has yet to sign across to Direct Debit or seeking to join Napo then please do so by accessing the following link: https://www.napo.org.uk/switching-direct-debit
Enquiries about the contents of this circular should be directed through your Napo Link Officer in the first instance who will if necessary liaise with Ian Lawrence.
Ian Lawrence Yvonne Pattison Chris Winters
Napo General Secretary National Co-Chair National Co-Chair
Via email: Colin Allars, Chief Executive, National Probation Service
12th June 2015
I write as promised to outline Napo’s concerns about a number of issues relating to the above project.
Staff working in the NPS have been through a massive amount of change in the past 18 months. On the 1st June 2014 they found themselves in an organisation which had been created without the requisite amount of preparation or planning. Structures were absent or unfathomable. The support infrastructure that had helped staff to do a highly stressful job no longer existed. Since then most NPS divisions have now recruited heavily to form their “hub” but not all are fully functional. Policies and processes that were entirely new have been introduced by way of lengthy emails that many of our members claim they have had no time to read. The staff members were in a new organisation but carrying a full caseload, some with a high number of newly transferred cases. This meant there was no time to read the incessant number of “Welcome to the NPS” or “Getting Started” emails that were sent out in lieu of a proper induction.
Allied to the above we have previously rehearsed our ongoing concerns around the WMT and our view that most elements of the WMT project have, with little notice, been subsumed into the E3 work streams, thus denying the unions a voice in the changes which are bound to follow. You will not be surprised when I remind you that under the (still draft) revised Employee Care & Workload Prioritisation Agreement, union engagement is fundamental to this process of revision and indeed essential if one is seeking to ensure 'buy-in' from staff.
Similarly, Napo are seeking an opportunity to have representation on each of these work streams – as opposed to periodic report backs at E3 forums. This would be a significant commitment on our part and given that this is 'professional' as opposed to strictly 'union' business, we would be seeking project time for this involvement rather than union facility time.
Added to this were entirely new ways of working, untried and untested processes with little guidance. Team Managers were expected to take on roles that they were unaccustomed to (HR, finance, health and safety, office management) with no proper training or guidance and this has resulted in huge amounts of confusion, stress and in some cases significant mistakes. As you are aware we have had to continually bring issues to your attention around the Shared Service Centre approach to HR, support has been a very challenging experience for all, presenting problems with communication, pay and pensions which in some cases are still being resolved.
Feedback from our members indicates that there are workload problems around the country, with some Officers reporting dangerously high workloads and no prospect of an end to this.
Some members have spoken to Napo about the prospect of the E3 project as a repeat of the upheaval of last year. The race to push through a “top down” reorganisation of everything that we do seems senseless at this point. Many members of staff are starting to feel that they can just about understand their job role again, even if their high workload makes performing well impossible. The idea that someone will suddenly send endless emails telling them to adopt yet another new raft of processes and procedures has compounded the loss of morale among those who are still recovering from the trauma of the inception of the NPS.
It is clear that there are problems with process and infrastructure in the NPS and while Napo agrees that a proper process of change is necessary, lessons must be learned from the disastrous process of splitting the Probation Trusts to form the NPS and CRCs. Any process of further change must be managed properly, planned with the real involvement of the people who will be most affected by each change and then rolled out in a managed way, with time for staff to understand and absorb information which should be delivered in a variety of methods to take account of different learning styles.
In conclusion, Napo believes that there needs to be a cohesive and complementary approach to re-organising service delivery across both the NPS and the CRCs and this might perhaps point to there being some advantage in having a PCF that covered both the NPS and the CRCs.
(more to follow)