Friday, 5 February 2016

Latest From Napo 97

Here we have this weeks blog from the Napo General Secretary:- 


Staff cuts are very much a source of major concern for members these days even among those who have yet to hear what their employers have in store for them as their respective CRC's now see the consequences of the flawed TR contracts that they were sold by Chris Grayling.

We have already seen how Sodexo made a 'dogs dinner' of the way that they handled their appalling staff reduction programme and the huge collateral damage that was caused to employee morale and the reputational opprobium that has followed their previous excursions into public services in the UK e.g Northumberland Prison and in other countries across the globe.

While we start to come to terms and obtain more information about the intention to reduce staffing profiles from other CRC employers, and try to develop as constructive a working relationship as possible with the likes of Staffordshire and West Midlands, and Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northampton and Rutland; and Purple Futures (with whom we have just signed a ground breaking operational procedures agreement), one would have hoped that other CRC owners might have been a bit more sensitive to the current climate of fear, uncertainty and understandable anger.

So one week after what has to be the most shambolic meeting I have ever attended with a private sector contractor anywhere in my career, which at times resembled a french farce with so many people coming in and out of doors desperately trying to fill the huge information gap that the employer had caused, its reasonable for me to relay the question that members within their three CRC's are positing through their local representatives which is: why are Working Links treating us like idiots?

Whilst we ought to be spending valuable time coming to terms with the rationale and detail behind the operating model on which they say they have predicated their staggering 42%c intended job cuts, we have one important problem, in that they seem to still be working out what that actually is. Add to this the heady mix of mass confusion that is being caused by ad-hoc and ill-timed releases of information to certain managers who themselves are then placed in an invidious position and you have a classic example of how not to undertake consultation and negotiation. Its no wonder that our local reps are trying to make sure that the blame for this rests in the right place and I support and applaud their efforts to provide some clarity to members.

Obviously we are making appropriate representations to the employers and are challenging the whole basis of this sorry story. We will also be advising NOMS commercial of our concerns about how this squares with Working Links contractual responsibilities and we will, as always, be guided by what our members want us to do in response. Its not too late for Working Links to bring some much needed order here, and as always we stand ready to engage.

Review of Racial Bias in the CJS

In what was a mixed bag of a week, with events that I will cover in another post, came a welcome announcement that David Lammy MP is being commissioned to lead a long overdue review to look at this issue.

As you would expect, I wrote soon after the announcement to offer Napo's input as our members across all the various strands of the criminal Justice System will have plenty to offer here.

2nd February 2016

Dear David,


I was delighted to hear the news that you have been appointed by the Prime Minister to lead this review. It was also massively encouraging to see that you have already been contacted by Probation Officers who care deeply about this important issue and who will provide valuable testimony on the issues at hand.

As you are aware, Napo, as the Trade Union and Professional Association for Probation and Family Court Workers, prides itself on its diversity. As one of the few senior trade union leaders to emerge from the BAME Community in recent years I am proud to be Napo's General Secretary and equally proud of our work alongside the Staff Associations within the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the fact that last year we were able to launch Napo's own Black Members Network.

Given our membership profile in the Probation and Family Court Service, and the fact that some joint research on the staffing division that took place prior to the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme that we carried out with the Staff Associations has been considered by Her Majesty's Inspector of Probation, I believe that Napo is as well placed as any of our contemporaries to offer a constructive view about the many issues that are likely to feature in the Review. I would be pleased to have the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how we may be able to work together and contribute to this long overdue, but nevertheless welcome, initiative.

I look forward to hearing from you and if you believe that a meeting would be beneficial I wonder if you might arrange for your office to establish contact with my Administrator Annoesjka Valent or Telephone: 020 7326 9982.

Meanwhile my best wishes to you as you get your preparations underway.
Yours sincerely,

General Secretary

Cc. Tania Bassett, National Official Press Parliament & Campaigns
​Ranjit Singh, National Official Equality and Diversity
Chris Winters and Yvonne Pattison National Co-Chairs

I will keep you posted.

NNC review

Some time ago Michael Spurr indicated that he wanted to review the National Negotiating Council machinery in light of the impact of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme.

The unions replied to the effect that we thought it to be premature to undertake changes especially given the huge transitional agenda that we were coping with. At Xmas we met again with Mr Spurr and his officials, and following this we were invited to offer some thoughts about how some possible reforms could be initiated which take account of the NPS and CRC landscape.

Napo's Probation Negotiating Committee will meet soon to consider our 'without prejudice' suggestions that we have decided to put forward with Unison and GMB as an alternative to NOMs doing something precipitate like pulling out and bringing the whole edifice tumbling down. At the same time we have been trying to engage with CRC owners to convince them that a place still exists for them within the NNC which firstly acknowledges their desire to have guarantees around commercial confidentiality and secondly, allows them an opportunity to share in the important professional and technical issues that itrespective of our views about TR and its aftermath will hopefully bring benefits to probation service clients everywhere.

All this is going to be a challenge to say the least, and I will report further just as soon as I can. Meanwhile, I am happy to say that any suggestion that Napo are contemplating withdrawal from the NNC or that we are prepared to see our CRC Members cut adrift from existing National Bargaining arrangements are definitely not on our agenda.

Enjoy the weekend


  1. Maybe the unions ought to pursue WL chair Keith Faulkner to see if he still stands by his self-proclaimed "Merlin Standard" for public/private enterprise? This from Mr Faulkner in an interview with The Guardian:

    "Yet he warns that the way government welfare-to-work contracts are structured means there is potential for companies to take the easiest route to picking up their payments if their primary aim is profit generation. "If you have entered into a contract with government, you can decide whether your job is to maximise profit or to maximise your success in helping people find work and stay there," he says.

    "However carefully you construct contracts, and however well you do your contract management, an organisation that is primarily focused on profits can achieve greater profitability by providing a rather lesser service."

  2. Jim why do you give napo the time of day promoting the useless GS blog on here. Stop doing it as I can honestly say 98 per cent of people don't read his schite and just go to the comments section. Can anyone prove me wrong here?

    1. Spot on. Never read his crap. I know comrades who left napo simply because he is in charge!

    2. Fairness, balance, humour?

    3. Hello Jim. I never blog but this caught my eye. If my view matters.... Give us less of Ian please?

    4. Jim has to be nice to napo after bashing them last year and receiving a warning from their communications team of bullying on social media. Since then Jim has been putty in napos hand :)

    5. After the blog berating the CRC that was his cue to go as he clearly doesn't represent the interest of CRC staff yet he is the one trying to save our jobs. Am I missing something?

    6. Yes I always go straight to the comments section when it's 'Latest from Napo'! Thought it was just me :-)

    7. It's vitally important that Napo members know exactly what their General Secretary is saying and doing on their behalf. I'd have thought that was obvious.

    8. Jim if people gave a shit they would read HIS or the NAPO blog. I can honestly say people don't read his crap. At least Rendo got results and Ledger gave us belief when he was focused on the job. What does Ian bring?

    9. When (Ledger) was focused on the job..... hahaha

    10. I'm afraid I also go straight to the comments on a 'Latest from Napo' piece, as most of Ian's blogs could do with a severe edit and re-write...

  3. The 4th paragraph has no full stop in it. I nearly passed out reading it.

  4. What exactly is this 'ground breaking operational procedures agreement' signed with 'Purple Futures' - or, as they now seem to be known, 'Interserve', what with the supposed 'partners' - plainly no more than bid-candy - barely getting a mention these days? And when the GS says 'just' signed does he mean AFTER their announcement of 23% job cuts in Yorkshire alongside smaller but significant cuts in their other CRCs too? And their plans to decimate PO numbers and force qualified PO staff into PSO roles? And does he mean AFTER the presentation of their woeful desistance-lite, research -free, social work devoid, disaster in-the-making 'Interchange model' for transforming clients lives by being a bit more chipper and trying not to mention their crimes? I wonder if he might instead consider trying to help those of us under the purple cosh to fight to maintain some professionalism, some integrity and some jobs?

    1. I've said it once and il say it again. Napo has to balls. We need someone like Ranjit to lead us. Especially as Waterman does not want the role.

    2. Hahaha goodness me that's funny. Ranjit to lead ... As if things aren't bad enough. He's a nice guy but that is all he has to offer.

    3. Ranjit is a powerhouse. A force to be reckoned with. Don't be so negative 20.36

  5. Please comment on how crcs are doing re service level agreement re successful completion of order? West York failing and been "fined" £100k last month according to our boss

  6. Yeeessss. I'm so happy. Corbyn has been telling the BBC this morning that he wants to give many privatised services back to the public sector. This is at a cost of increased council tax. There is no mention of probation as he must obviously feel things are going fine post TR. I'm happy as it means the show goes on and my council tax remains lowered :)

    1. Councils should be able to run utilities in their areas as part of moves to "roll back the tide" of privatisation, Jeremy Corbyn will say.

      Privatisation of services has made them less accountable, the Labour leader will tell a conference in Nottingham. He will say English councils should have similar powers to cities on the continent, where local authorities have control of water and energy services. His comments come ahead of May's local elections in England.

      Mr Corbyn will tell the Association of Labour Councillors conference he wants councils to become "public entrepreneurs" with greater freedom to spend taxpayers' money and to borrow to fund investment and public services. Mr Corbyn, who has already set out plans to take the railways back into public ownership, said he would back local authorities to take control of utilities and other services in their area.

      "Privatisation isn't just about who runs a service, it's about who services are accountable to," he will say. "It's about who shares the rewards, about protecting the workforce and getting a good deal for local people who use the services.

      "After a generation of forced privatisation and outsourcing of public services, the evidence has built up that handing services over to private companies routinely delivers poorer quality, higher cost, worse terms and conditions for the workforce, less transparency and less say for the public. "We will give councils greater freedoms to roll back the tide of forced privatisation.

      "It locks people out of decision-making, makes services less accountable, too often means a bad deal for taxpayers, a bad deal for communities and a bad deal for workers too."

    2. "he must obviously feel things are going fine post TR. I'm happy as it means the show goes on"

      Typical evidence-free comment from 08:05...

  7. Can someone (again) please tell IL that it is Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & Rutland CRC (not Northampton).......Bobbyjoe