Friday, 11 March 2016

Latest From Napo 99

Thanks to the colleague in the South West for forwarding the following:-

Branch report redundancies update 7

09th March 2016
Dear Napo members,

CRC issues

1. This is a short report on the consultation process so far. Also to circulate to you some of the correspondence that we are engaged with as the JNCC group continue to battle the senior management in an attempt to ensure they operate a consultation process properly. At no point can we say this is either happening nor likely to improve locally or regionally.

2. Since the last JNCC branch report Working Links have ordered the early voluntary redundancy process to be started and this has been offered to staff in administration. Despite several NAPO objections to this because there has been no case made to justify the dismissals of the administrators nor a consultation process that can be termed reasonable, irrespective of that, a process seeking voluntary leavers in a specific group has been put on offer.

3. Similar reasoning has been captured in the NAPO reps JNNC letter dated the 10th February and for administration staff in Napo we draw your attention to paragraph 12. While this is going through the application stage the branch reps are offering consultation and discussion opportunities across the counties and we encourage Administrators in NAPO to seek out reps and ask questions or schedule a workshop with us.

4. In the correspondence exchanges there has been a long awaited reply to the issues raised in NAPO’s letter from November last year. Three months plus before this response and yet it said nothing. This style of brief and non committal approach from Mr Wiseman dated the 26th February. From that you will see we have been thrown out to the long grass. I think this is, in the hope that the Pan meetings will dissolve any locally required responses. We do not accept that.

5. Napo SSW branch have responded to that letter just today. This 9/3/16 letter is also attached so you can keep abreast of issues and to understand that we in the DDCCRC are not actually committed to the regional meetings. There are many reasons for this and one is that the Pan meeting agreements may reduce our better and current position. However, until I have a proper period to report and share with you on the final agreed proposals for the regional meetings we may be over reacting. That said the issues they currently are trying to get into the structure are labelled “terms of reference”.

6. Members you will be alarmed and disappointed to read what the senior management have in store for your terms and future employment conditions. These ongoing discussions are subject to correspondence. I will be reporting on these issues and circulating the material shortly as matters get decided. For the moment we are sceptical and unless the agenda is managed and these inappropriate items are removed we will most certainly be unable to support Pan meetings and prefer in your interests to manage only within our region.

7. In-between all this and running parallel I have written to Thompson the lawyers through the General Secretary. This is a lengthy complex complaint that illustrates the failings and subversion tactics of the Working Links management style and implementation of redundancy consultations. We have a right, albeit time limited, to get issues raised at the Central Arbitration Committee whereby process are not conducted properly, amongst a range of other serious and potential complaints can be heard and a ruling made. I will be releasing these as we receive legal advice and after Napo has had appropriate time to consider the implications and directions in our collective best interest.

8. I will end things here despite there being so much to report but attached is a number of letters that have some detail to understand and some important messaging about the way napo is managing an appropriate and effective challenge to what is facing our members at the worst of our known working times in what was once the Probation Services.

9. Again a small reminder to get members who are not in a union to JOIN NAPO the only union to actually take action to combat the TR agenda and the best local branch to reflect your interests and needs at this difficult time.

NPS issues

10. Unless NPS colleagues in Napo have been hiding you could not have failed to have heard by now of the incredible attacks our members are facing from the E3 agenda. What is most likely looking like a real fight on our hands for the disastrous and inappropriate way the job evaluation and job descriptions process has been managed to attempt to drive down staff wages and oppress colleagues into a working role that really means more for less. 

11. The VLO role is well known in probation circles to have attracted a wide and diverse workforce many staff entering Probation from other sectors to specifically work with victims. The original victims charter placing a neglected group in society back into the process of natural justice to ensure innocent victims had a voice in the outcome of punishments to offenders. Many of us have some idea of the incredibly varied range of skills that require tact, care and diplomacy these staff must have in order to deliver such a demanding and emotionally challenging role when dealing with the most distressed people given many of the most serious crimes against them. Yet in all this the MOJ central office have operated a scheme that appears to manipulate and drive down appropriate rates of pay to a job they now expect staff to settle back into with a huge reduction in the rewards agenda.

12. In the most cynically arrived at job description and evaluation process they have in one foul sweep upset not just the VLO group not grade specific but what should be regarded as all of staff in the NPS. What might well be the next role they want to reduce to save costs in staffing is anyone’s guess but if they are able or allowed to get away with this first stage then when will the management in reorganisation terms look to change your current post. What can you do to protect yourself and who will you ask for support advice and if it comes to it legal protection.

13. If you are not in NAPO now then join up. If your thinking of renewing membership post Christmas then do it now, join up! If you just fancied a change and want to join the other union then don’t! NAPO is the only union that has all the skills and energy that you require when it comes to defending and combating the potential disasters that might start to befall us all. Now we are being attacked from within and more than from the organisation to which you work. Join Napo. 

14. Take a note of the latest national Napo circulars and voice your concerns to us the reps and through branch meetings give Napo your support and we can ensure it will be returned as the situation might well yet demand.

15. Please circulate this Branch update and attached letters as widely as possible amongst members and non members so knowledge is shared fully, please add to your work place notice boards.

Dino Peros SSW NAPO Branch Chair JNCC rep
Helen Coley JNCC rep
Denice James JNCC rep


Date 10th February 2016.
John Wiseman Probation director DDCRC.

Dear John,

1. Firstly thank you for the manner in which you conducted the meeting of the JNCC on the 4th of February. While it appears we both appreciate technical arguments there remains the need to maintain an “on guard” stance so to speak. Fear, perhaps of making significant mistakes no doubt, but your tone and relaxed style was well received here so that we could move forwards on the outstanding issues.

2. The JNCC was interesting as it both settled some immediate disagreements and in my view the passage of time had effectively seen these being overtaken by the regional pan meetings. Also, it highlighted the importance of moving away from too much formality to try and engage in the substantive issues that we may have an influence on locally within the DDCCRC and possibly onwards to the wider structure.

3. During our meeting we engaged the issues surrounding the formality of the JNCC recognition arrangements. Coincidently I had written to Napo our General Secretary last October in relation some aspects of the quality and interpretation of the national model JNCC agreement. Given my previous and well documented concerns about Working Links avoidance of responsibilities as an employer, in relation to a case that has made some small contribution to case law. The PCS union case relates directly to the heart of recognition negotiation and agreements activity. The fact that Working Links won, what appears to me at least, to be a tenuous and hard line approach to treating union arrangements constructively. You might at least recognise the concerns we raise, even if you do not appreciate them. I accept the outcome as decided but do not have to fall into the same trap. This is why the recognition and status of the employer is critical, if matters deteriorate to a point whereby we seek external resolutions for detriment to our members.

In relation to the terms of reference model recognition agreement specifically 

4. Section 5c. Of course we agree it makes absolute sense to remove the existing name and replace it with yours although the issue of who is secretary to the board is not now clear at all given the explanation we have received from you and our understandings of your responsibility as the employer. It is an obvious conclusion that being named in this way will leave responsibility on you. As such that has to be clearly underwritten in the form of appropriate authority and legal cover should anything improper happen to staff. Alternatively, it may be that you take appropriate advice and offer an alternative name if that be more appropriate in the chain of command. I have included the General Secretary into this correspondence for his consideration. I have spoken to Mike McClelland who has reservations but is likely to run this past legal advisors to ensure we get the position right. On this matter we will now have to await that activity. The benefit of this it may well be a situation that can be duplicated for other areas of NAPO interest.

5. In relation to your commentary in section 5a (i). I had hoped that we would agree a pragmatic approach to the specified numbers. After all, it is not like your recent practice has adopted the model. In fact your letter of the 27th November paragraph 11 makes the case for 4 aside and you name the people as I do here. Your team, which we accept include Diane Powell Marie Kyme yourself and Elaine Morgan. The latter was also expected in your open telephone dial in on the 4th, although that failed to work. Sorry to state the obvious but your team is generally four. Reducing the number of reps on the TU side to three is not working towards a consensus. Your side to date has maintained a complement of 4. On the 5th October it included Mr Clewlow, HR a teleconference and ACO. That said, the spirit is to match sides in equal numbers and currently we are not likely to increase our representatives from the NAPO side as we have 2 PO reps from each county area and myself in Devon. This provides a good cross grade view and our representative from Unison covers the remaining administrators and other grades totalling the same as you currently field. We therefore have the basis of an agreement here. Four on each side. We would also like to revisit the role of observers to JNCCs especially at this time. Historically, recognition policy has provided observers and these are contained in the national models NNC terms. However, the quality of the current terms of reference appear to have missed these important features for members.

6. Further, in our discussions we raised the issue of appropriate facility time. Currently the NAPO branch is complemented by a number of hours that are divided amongst the representatives who are duly elected. We manage the appropriate process. We have joint recognition with Unison but how they legitimately field their representatives is a matter for them. Napo utilise its full allocation of time. The 3 JNCC reps have a half time allowance which is pro rata. Napo have three S188 redundancy notices issued to the branch and national officials. Local negotiations have increased to weekly meetings that include a JNCC minutes, agenda,  preparations, letter writing and reviewing of the constant changing indications from management. We are required to consult first hand with our members at both branch and office based meetings, report and record issues, and now, under the formal consultation periods of your opening period of 45 days. We have to ensure we meet all grades affected take soundings offer assurance and manage their unique circumstances in surgeries at office based meetings. Cross grade representations have to be managed and all matters recorded. The Trade Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act (TULRCA 1992) make it clear unions are to be afforded appropriate time off for a range of consultative duties. I appreciate you recognise the issues and the traversing the geography that has in itself time implications. We seek at least 3 Napo full time reps to be released to conduct this work properly and to engage meaningfully.

7. We do not agree the consultation period of 45 days. Our locally recognised collective 1. agreement states a 90 day limit and this is our operational policy. Yet again it is unclear when this period commences given your serious and significant revisions dated the 3rd of February. We had a meeting on the fourth of February at a JNCC held in your office. Figures were discussed, confidentiality was mentioned and at no time did you appropriately notify us, the recognised trade unions, of this incredible addition to the figures. Your office failed to notify us appropriately as required, of the changes which were communicated today by e mail late afternoon 10 2 16 This is not the first time figure of staffing information appear to have been withheld from the Unions. Mr Hindson is also on record for making a statement on figures known dates but the written evidence contradicts his account.

8. Turning attention to the wider conversation on the responsibility of the employer to define the business case for redundancies. We refer to our NAPO letter dated the 30th November 2015. This letter was in response to your case for consultation letter dated the 27th November 2015. In that document you rely on stated evidence for which you reasoned dismissals would become necessary in the DDCCRC. In your paragraph four you have stated 25 workshops and 35 processes reviewed. We have asked for your workings out and refer you back to the letter of the 30th 11 15 sections 5 through to ten. Please ensure the workings out of your evidence to make such changes is supplied to the Unions for our understanding. We require an accurate calculation as to the percentage cut to staff, in the DDCCRC. The latest increase today does not reflect the claimed 40% . Worse still, despite your claim a further 100 jobs have been saved by an additional number of hubs being arranged, this has not produced any saved jobs in this area, unless you tell us otherwise.

9. It appears that DDCCRC is to bear the biggest proportional cut than any other territory. In the several meetings since the letter you have replied that Napos letter of the 30th is with your lawyers and that it will be replied to. On the 4th of February you could not recall having said that. I remind you that in fact you made the commitment openly in the Pan meeting at Worle on the 15th 12 15. I appreciate it may have slipped your mind however, I have recorded notes from our meetings on the 15th and the 16th 12 15 where you made two further references that a reply from the lawyers to the letter of the 30th 11 15 will be forthcoming. This was reported in the branch report the 22 12 15 see below.

Napo’s letter to Mr Wiseman. 

10. Regarding Napo’s branch letter to Mr Wiseman dated the 30th November ‘15. There was a small acknowledgement in an e-mail from Mr Wiseman having made the just ‘noted’ comment. However, we have pushed on with the serious issues and we have been promised answers to our questions from the lawyers. Who’s lawyers, CRC or Working Links? We wait to see. Napo would prefer to see these legal costs diverted into savings for jobs along with the £15.00 per person Christmas contribution that is continuing, rather awkwardly, to be available for substantive staff only. It is another morale sapping gross error of judgement by the Working Links senior management. We have made this point to them, our comments also being dismissed as ‘noted’. When our NAPO branch receives the promised written response we will publish and report on it.

11. You have made several references to a formal response coming, we would like to see you honour your word. The pan meetings have not changed the accountability process in the local DDCCRC and we expect a formal reply to the trade unions side’s appropriate and reasonable questions. We continue to press for disclosure of your evidence for the model and we are entitled to see it. We have not been duly or adequately informed of any material facts that support your planned dismissals of staff in this reorganisation. We are not in a position to make informed decisions without appropriate facts. In relation to the EVR plan to administrative staff starting on the 15th February 2016.

12. Of course Napo have to reject the use of any dismissals at all stages for frontline staff. We have still not seen any business case that facilitates the drive in direction for the reorganisation you have chosen. There is no releases of how this design has been arrived at. The hurried implementation and undisclosed WAV figures are an incredible way to initiate dismissals before establishing any legitimate case to do so and in the absence any consultation process. To date neither the national union officials nor local officials have had appropriate or full opportunities to review and work in ways that minimise the impact of cuts to our members.

There has been no formal think tank exercise or review period for reconsideration yet despite this Management have engaged a release plan of staff who have a range of specialised training and well practised skills for their particular areas and geography taking account of local nuances and teams knowledge.

Management’s intention to strip away the underlying staff that hold up many of the frontline service delivery functions will automatically place other staff under considerable strain and job changes. It leads to forced office closures in the plan to move to hubs. This a gross error in the longer term of public protection and appropriate comprehensive case management.

However, it is not too late to suspend your plans until properly considered at the negotiating table with the Unions. We had taken notes of Mr Hindson written direction that this is not something he would delay but again we make the point this is not an agreed position, it has not been properly consulted, and certainly has no agreement to the proposition of cutting frontline staffing. Despite the voluntary arrangements offer this is not an agreed model to premise a service delivery that has no tested prospects of a safe or better service provision.

Yours sincerely

Dino Peros Napo Branch Chair SSW.
Cc Ian Lawrance GS Mike McClelland Napo National Official
JNCC Reps Unison


26 February 2016
Dear Dino

Further to your letter of 10th February I am now writing in response.

I too felt that our meeting on 4th February and the subsequent meeting on 17th February was conducted in a more conversational and less confrontational style. I hope that we can maintain this approach going forward whilst acknowledging that these are challenging times and we both have a difficult job to do and there will, inevitably, be points of disagreement.

On the matter of the constitution, I do not want to get into a lengthy discussion re this now or in the future, but I did want to confirm our mutual understanding in terms of the numbers in attendance at each meeting. I was not wanting to be prescriptive in any way and I had not intended to suggest that we should make any formal amendment to the constitution to increase the number on each side to 4.

Saying that, I do not have any issue with all 3 NAPO representatives at the same time as well as the 1 Unison representative but in the unlikely event that we should ever have to vote on an issue we should ensure that the number voting from both the staff and the management side is equitable.

As regards the issue of the Secretary, I will leave it with you to seek a view from Mike on this, but in the meantime I do not believe that this should impede us in any way in our ongoing meetings.

Coming to the matter of the facilities time, again I would be interested in Mike’s views re this as we would want to have a consistent approach across the 3 CRCs. In the meantime, however, I would rather not try to pin this down to a particular figure or number of hours, but would rather that we adopt a pragmatic approach in order to ensure that the representatives are able to fulfil their commitments recognising that the demands on their time are likely to be greater for the foreseeable future due to the frequency of the meetings and the sheer volume of activity that will arise from the consultation. Clearly if any individual is feeling thwarted in their efforts to fulfil their duties as a Union representative I would want to know about this and to deal with it on a case by case basis.

I note your statement at paragraph 7 re the consultation period but will not be drawn on this as this is a matter for the Joint Union Meeting.

Likewise I believe we dealt with the other issue at paragraph 7 re the numbers when we met on 17th February and I do not intend to repeat myself further on this matter.

For the rest of the points raised from paragraph 8 onwards, including the reference back to your Letter of 30th November, I believe that these matters have now all been addressed or will be the subject of the ongoing consultation process and I do not intend to deal with them under separate cover here.

You will also be aware that Mike McClelland wrote to Paul Hindson on 4 February and that many of the same questions were raised there; hence it would be better, in my view, if we could seek to ensure that the questions raised, be it by Mike on behalf of all 3 CRCs or by any individual JNCC, are coordinated and we will seek to ensure a consistent response. I hope that makes sense.

I look forward to continuing to work with you in the style and manner that we have recently set and hope that we can find a way through the challenges that lie ahead in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation.

Yours sincerely

John Wiseman
Probation Director

South West Community Rehabilitation Companies (covering Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset & Wiltshire (BGSW) and Dorset, Devon & Cornwall (DDC) CRCs)


9th March 2016
Dear John,

Thank you for your reply letter of the 26th February. I am not surprised it is a fairly non committal document and possibly might have adopted some of the same approach. Nevertheless, for this record we thank you for the acceptance of the wider inclusion of JNC reps. The democratic voting is understood and accepted. To date I have not received any commentary back on the secretary of the board issue and will follow this up again with Mike McClelland. I suspect paragraph 4 of the letter of the 10th Feb may well still be held up with legal advice.

We are disappointed that the matters raised in my letter of the 30th November are to be bypassed under the cover of the Pan union meetings. It is important to recognise that in fact there remains an obligation upon you to consult properly and respond fully to all trade Union concerns and appropriate requests for adequate and full information.

The Pan or JUM meetings are not a substitute for local consultation and despite your account of the position, it is wrong. It is not clear as yet or decided if this trade unions side will be continuing within the Pan meetings, on that basis, what might you say then, to appropriate correspondence.

For now we will circulate these correspondences to our members to ensure open dialogue as far as is possible. Despite the Working Links restrictions of what is appropriate and unrestricted information.

Yours Sincerely,

Dino Peros Napo SSW JNCC Rep Branch Chair
Cc. Helen Coley Denice James JNCC Reps Mike McClelland Napo National Official
Ian Lawrence General Secretary


  1. ZHCs banned in New Zealand

  2. Zero-hour contracts have been outlawed in New Zealand after parliament unanimously passed a bill to ban the controversial practice.

    Treen estimates there are “hundreds of thousands of workers” employed on zero-hour contracts in New Zealand, which means employers do not have to guarantee minimum hours of work per week, and often expect employees to be available 24/7.

    The contracts have also caused controversy in the UK where the country’s biggest sports retailer, Sports Direct, has 15,000 employees on zero-hour deals.

    In New Zealand they are typically used by fast-food chains, as well as by cinema groups, security firms and cleaning companies, said Treen.

    The bill, which will take effect on 1 April, stipulates that employers must guarantee a minimum number of hours work each week, and workers can refuse extra hours without repercussions.

    Political parties across the board supported the ban, which is being hailed as a major victory for minimum wage workers, particularly in the fast-food industry.

    Mike Treen, leader of the Unite union, who led the charge, said the move was being closely followed by fast-food workers worldwide, many of whom banded behind the New Zealand workers campaign last year.

    “It was like we had God sitting on our shoulder helping us out – it just went wild,” said Treen.

    “This is an incredible victory and I am still shocked by it to be honest – the fact that the ban was unanimously supported in parliament is pretty unbelievable.”

  3. Is it true that WL are re-writing job descriptions? If so which staff will be affected.

    1. All staff, lower pay bandings job evaluation on the way and morale is irrelevant its all about the profits.

  4. Napo 99: It's almost too much information - not easily digestible and even if it was, where is it taking us? All these meetings, detailed notes, conflicting interpretations - It's a series of colliding viewpoints – a microcosm of the fiasco that is being enacted throughout the country. Perhaps the unions can mitigate here and there but such 'gains' are likely to be insignificant overall. The employers are getting what they want: reduced workforces, greater staff flexibility with weakened terms and conditions and low-cost redundancy.

    1. Yes I agree it is almost certainly too much information, especially if accessed via a mobile, however I think it's important to get it out into the public domain and for the record if nothing else. It's probably worth letting other areas know what WL are up to down in the West Country and it might be reassuring to some to see that Napo locally is putting up a fight. I thought about instalments, but that would tempt fate and possibly clash with other emerging events. Finally, it might be that other areas might learn from the information published here.

  5. 14.15 you can criticise the union effort from ur armchair and accept the inevitable outcome. Alternatively embrace the effort being made on our behalf and thank the local reps for calling management to account and possible legal action. We are fortunate to have knowledgeable reps capable of taking this forward, many areas don't have this expertise.

  6. Getting legal advice early this time - good!