Here we have this weeks blog from the Napo General Secretary:-
WORKING LINKS CRC MEMBERS ASK:CON OR CHAOS?
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
REVIEW OF RACIAL BIAS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 020 7326 9982.
Meanwhile my best wishes to you as you get your preparations underway.
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.
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