E3 - what happens next?
A week ago we issued news of the agreement that we had reached with NOMS on how the planned implementation of E3 is to be carried out. I am grateful for the feedback that a number of you have sent which, largely, appreciates the work that we have undertaken in the areas of no compulsory redundancy, pay protection and future job placement. Amongst this there have been questions along the lines of 'why has Napo agreed to all of the aspects of E3? The answer is that we have not; and as I attempt to explain below your union is leading the charge against some aspects of the programme that we seriously doubt will work in the way intended if at all.
Napo have collectively been involved in three distinct pieces of work relating to E3. In our mailing to members we reported on the important negotiations resulting in protections for any members who might be adversely affected by E3 despite our considerable efforts to prevent this.
At the same time as securing those agreements we have been vigorously challenging the outcome of the E3 job evaluation process for Victim Liaison Officers and Approved Premises staff. It is our view that this process was flawed and important elements of some roles were missed out or misinterpreted leading to anomalous outcomes. Members from those groups have provided invaluable support in helping us gather the relevant evidence to robustly challenge the earlier exercise. We will be following this up with NOMS before new panels are convened over the course of late June and early July.
The other strand of E3 work is the consultation on the proposed operating model. To clarify the process, this was issued to the trade unions at the same time as all staff in the NPS at the start of a period of consultation. That consultation closed recently and now we await further discussion with the employers in light of our excellent response which I have linked below. Our aim is to secure amendments and clarifications to the proposed model through further consultation and negotiation.
Members can be assured that we have and will continue to discuss the specific issues that have been and are still being raised through through branches. The attached document is the core of our response to the consultation, this has been distilled from all of the information brought to us by members as well as input from your elected Officers. The discussions around implementation of E3 will continue, through our established structures and members should feed any concerns to their branches so that we can take these up in either in the regular consultation with senior NOMS management or via the negotiating process.
Obviously, there are still many elements of the E3 operating model that raise concerns for members and nobody here is able to say that we have all the answers to them given the magnitude of the E3 operational change programme. As you would expect we are prioritising these in terms of potential threats to your terms and conditions as well as the key professional issues that are before us. This is a significant piece of work and the situation is rapidly changing, so remember to get in touch with your branch with any concerns and look out for more updates as the talks progress. Officers and Officials cannot visit every single workplace but if Branches can organise specific gatherings of members we will do our best to be there.
Storm brewing over Short Format reports
If proof were needed that all is not bottomed out in E3 then the ongoing dialogue about who should undertake PSR's and what they ought to contain is right up there.
A meeting between Napo and the Magistrates Association yesterday revealed that the MOJ missive for all non-High Risk PSR's to be undertaken as short format reports has hardly filled the judiciary with confidence.
Our submission to the E3 consultation makes it patently clear that there are already concerns among experienced Court OMs that their views on the type of PSR required for the particular circumstances are being overridden by the drive to achieve unrealistic targets.
During the E3 discussions we have tried to maintain a line which says that the same protections should be offered to PSOs working in Court as those working in Community Supervision Teams, and that staff should only undertake assessments on cases which are reserved to POs in the tiering model if they are appropriately qualified and remunerated as a PO.
We have also made it clear that PSO's and PO's must only undertake work that they are trained to do and that what the department is trying to do to save costs is simply unsafe. This is an issue that we have already flagged up with the Secretary of State in advance of our meeting with him next month and it has featured highly during our continual engagement with senior NOMS management.