Thursday, 7 July 2016

Napo at Work in the South West 4

Once more, thanks to the reader for sending me the following, the content of which I'm sure will relate to similar situations colleagues find themselves in with other CRC's. 

Branch report Redundancies update 11

Dear members,

This report is not intended to be a full report but will deal specifically with the senior management led all staff 1-1 consultation process. I remind members to read the General Secretaries dispute letter to Working Links and the recent briefing I issued on the 1st July on the arrangements for the consultation exercise.

Despite some communication back to Ian Lawrence Napo General Secretary his letter (which included the joint union and the whole region) from Mr Hindson, WL in the reply of the 1st July his letter feigns surprise and appears to me at least a disingenuous attempt by Working Links the company to suggest that in fact the WL position is that they do not believe they are acting in a way that constitutes consultation. Or, that this has a bearing on redundancies. This position despite their claims is simply just not correct. To his credit they acknowledge a meeting should go ahead as soon as possible with the trade unions but sadly he attempts to encourage NAPO nationally to accept that our members continue in the process of 1-1 discussions.

Members, we have on many occasions as detailed in the flow of branch reports advised management away from such a disastrous path yet their agenda is transfixed on the reduction of 145+ staff by the end of March 2017. These reduction in staff number add up to millions of pounds in profit as jobs are dismissed.

Anyone working in this organisation will know despite the WL figure of 40% reduction it has been well over 50% and will be more by the time we add in all the corporate services staff who have recently just had enough, some resigned and those waiting patiently for and early voluntary redundancy application outcomes. Any exit route is becoming a desire more than the goodwill to stay. Morale and staff well being is not a concept that appears well understood or grasped by the current management style we are experiencing. Many staff concerned at what their futures may look like as a result of the continuing and impending cuts agenda.

We have engaged the management over the recent revelations around the Innovation Wessex activity as a truly NON INDEPENDENT organisation and a clearing house for activity that effectively attempts to ratify the Working Links the company reorganisation plans. This means they drive ahead with a reorganisation plan claiming it has a provenance in the so called proof of concept. Yet despite this there is no real or thorough up to date breach analysis. Also the activities in certain parts are exposing staff to higher levels of risk.

Napo’s reaction to the managements agenda has been to lodge a national dispute this takes account of the 3 regions controlled by WL contracts and now in more shocking news the take over by our euro partners a German company called Aurelius. Their money injection will have a part to play in whether WL can now afford to fund the cuts it desires. Of course this take over or merger will provide a further dividend for yet another venture capitalist this money can only be derived through staffing reductions and salaries becoming their profits.

To assist them in this, the middle management have been handed some documents that directs them to impose 1-1 meetings on all staff. Union members or not. In NAPO we have members across the spectrum so it is important to be mindful of this fact and recognise that managers will attempt as they are instructed to discuss with individuals their current situations. Also they have 5 key areas to address and these should be written and your response recorded and jointly signed. Members should feel able to discuss normal matters in any supervision but a structured meeting with just the consultation may well present a number of difficulties. Also you are not obliged to agree or sign anything.

Napo would advise you to follow the General Secretaries line of questions and record in your notes that you have done so.

  • Why is Working Links intending to make such a substantial reduction in staffing?
  • How can such a large reduction be justified when there is a need to ensure that the quality of probation services and the protection of communities are maintained?
  • Why has there not been an agreement with the unions about the consultation process including the HR principles and the appropriate redundancy policy before consultation with staff has started?
Once you have done these follow up with a locally driven questions of
  • Is my current job being made redundant please?
  • I am at direct risk of compulsory redundancy?
  • Has the reorganisation plan made arrangements for my job despite planning to close this building? 
  • Will I get travel time and relocation costs for new location of work. 
  • Have you an alternative post in mind for me and what and where is it please. 
  • Have the new job descriptions that we have heard about actually been agreed with my union reps and nationally agreed job evaluation process? 
  • When and where are the rates of pay for the roles 
  • I am concerned that the Human Resources principles that are being deployed are at the centre of my unions dispute with the employer. How can this go ahead whilst the matters are not agreed? 
  • I cannot take part in a process that may have a detriment to my terms and conditions as these are not agreed with my Union how can you evidence that my terms are not affected. 
  • My Part time role has the same rights so what happens to my role will that be retained in the new model, if not am I being informed of my redundancy here? 
  • Why has Working links not offered an open invitation to all staff so it can find all volunteers for redundancies in line with our current redundancy procedure? In line with section 5b of the local redundancies procedure 
  • As a probation officer my role that was transferred into the CRC this has already changed and will again. What is being done about my variation of contract as I no longer will be a Probation Officer. Can you assure me this is not the case. 
  • My Union is concerned, as I am too, in that conducting 1-1 interviews in this way is a clear indication that compulsory redundancy is imminent. Can you assure me this is not correct? (In writing) 
  • If so why are we having 1-1 statutory interviews at this stage then if not to avoid the requirement as the situation worsens and avoiding my redundancy policy express terms? Section 4.0 
  • I want a trade union representative present as is my right so we should adjourn until one is available. Are you happy to record this as my reasonable response. 
  • Is this interview covered in the DDC redundancy policy at section 4.0 b? 

Napo locally argue that management WL should adopt the appropriate redundancy policy sections in full before continuing into a statutory process of 1-1 consultations with staff. Napo assert that management have done this to avoid both their required duties contained in the redundancy policy and to avoid negotiations whereby the Unions jointly would want to ensure all members under the Working Links areas have an agreed best of terms redundancy arrangements. This is in line with national protections of staff.

Napo remain concerned at the management of Working Links who continue to place inappropriate duties on middle managers through their consultation exercise it has ordered.

1. Making managers accountable for a process they have no appropriate training
2. Requiring them to ensure all staff appropriate information whilst not having been given anywhere near enough.
3. Provide adequate time to ensure absent staff are properly informed.
4. Have made it clear to managers this is a selection process yet deny this to the unions and staff. This leaves managers in an invidious position.
5. Managers are being required to undertake what is essentially an HR function.
6. Managers being told to undertake a task that is noted to them as a requirement under employment law and their actions should be legally compliant yet the process is in dispute.

Napo middle manager members will be conflicted by this situation as they have been placed by Working Links. It is their failure to consult properly meaningfully or have demonstrated any sincere intention to reach agreement or to actually follow clearly laid out terms that our local procedure provides. Claiming this is a scoping exercise whilst their management briefing documents are loaded with advice and guidance from HR principles none of which have been consulted properly or have any real prospect of being agreeable as these contradict in parts our redundancy collective agreement. Worse they have no formal process or any properly described management process for an appeals mechanism. In short a disaster and we have been alerting Working Links to this yet they continue to ignore the issues that will have a consequence. I would also draw your attention to the branch report I wrote on the 2 10 15 and will re release it if required. This covered the requirements incumbent upon Working Links then and as they still are today.

As members start to attend these meetings (and I have spoken to many of you today) clarify the position of your role as being secure at the outset. If this is not confirmed and recorded in writing for you then terminate the discussion on the basis you require your right to be accompanied by an appropriately skilled and qualified TU representative.

In moving away from the intensity of this consultation NAPO DDC and possibly the region are still waiting for Mr Wiseman to respond on his proposals to promote an open invitation to all staff over 55 years to apply and leave on their pensions at flat rate. This has not surprisingly gone silent. I did write to him on this subject with regard to having the concept extended. Also I have read more widely criticisms of named people. For our part workers in any role could not justify inappropriate and just plain negative opinions that I have seen. Please keep in mind we are all workers no matter the role or grade and that while we may well dispute the positions and roles that some have take I would like to think we at least manage the tensions in a way that is reflective and assertive to ensure we are listened to and respected. I am sure this will travel onto media websites. I hope in reply to readership we do not attack individuals. Make sure our antagonism is managed through the process. At the moment we are in good credit and will continue this fight on our members behalf’s.

Finally as at the last Branch AGM I was touched by the unanimous support of the branch to nominate me from the floor to stand as Napo National Chair in this years elections. At no point do I feel that there has been any let up given our situation in DDC However, in deciding to stand, is because I genuinely feel I still have the energy required and the scope to fulfil many of NAPO’s objectives as well as continuing to manage all of our local needs as your Chair. I want to say Thank you for that to our members and remind you to vote for me as I believe I have the reserves serve effectively.


Dino Peros
Napo South South Western Branch Chair.

5 July 2016


  1. It seems appropriate to place the following two comments left this morning, here:-

    Anonymous 7 July 2016 at 07:14
    Whether the unions are in dispute or not here in the SW working links/aurelius are moving fast now! Staff are already coping with sudden moves to inferior offices and having to see service users in public spaces. IT / delius being unavailable much of the time. Now suddenly the timescale for these one to one interviews is about 7 weeks, just when many will be on holidays! Looks more like 50% cuts to band 3, 4 and 5. Senior staff have at least stopped pretending everything is 'positive change' now they are also going to be reduced by 50%! So suddenly we have gone from 'cuts won't be as bad as expected because many have already gone to another 50%'.

    Never mind the unions, why are the MOJ sat on their not unsubstantial sterns and allowing this to happen? We might as well scrap the whole notion of community sentences and just ask NPS court staff to give people SSO's in all cases without supervision!

    Anonymous 7 July 2016 at 07:28
    MoJ knew this was coming in all CRCs so they're not bothered. The MoJ/NOMS 'CRC police' are not interested. Gove is distracted by his own vainglorious ambition. NOMS are also rudderless vis-a-vis probation with Allars' jumping ship.

  2. These redundancies are no surprise to NOMS/MoJ as they would have been in the original bids. The arguments being put forward are the same as those that were presented in the Sodexo areas. They don't understand the issues and don't have the slightest interest in the concerns of NAPO or of staff in general. They want their money. That is the only real consideration and everything else is secondary to that. Maintain the illusion and keep the criticism away from the Minister. That is the only mantra. Good practice and effectiveness are entirely peripheral.

  3. With job loss inevitable thank you to Dino for the advice, at least we will know what to say when I have the 1:1

    1. Yes I agree. Having spoken to members today they have fond Dino's advice extremely helpful given the fact that at least one member of Dorset Management has booked in appts. for 1-1 sessions without consulting with their staff first as they have a "deadline to work to" and conveniently both local reps have not been available.

  4. The tribulations in the South West are typical of what's going on elsewhere: a refusal by management to engage in collective discussions with the unions and an insistence on one-to-one meetings with individuals. In effect this removes one of the workers' protections: that afforded by collective agreements. The union still has its voice: it can issue advice to members about what to say in meetings, etc, but we all know that in such meeting the power lies with the management representative.

    The unions can still bark and talk up their role, but there is no bite and so management have an unrestrained hand to do whatever they wish. The CRCs are making it abundantly clear that the unions are no longer relevant to their plans. In the CRCs you are on your own - 1 to 1 - and that's how it is in every workplace when individuals fail to act in solidarity.

    1. Your naïve 1-1 unfairly and innapropriatly conducted outside of a recognised collective agreement that results in dismissals will automatically become an unfair dismissal claim. Legal process contract of employment. It is not all management owned. The trade unions in this arena seem to be carefully playing their hand and from what I understand the General secretary and his team are doing a skilled job. Your post smacks of management support are you pro this destructive attempt to rid skilled staff.

    2. I am afraid 15:56 that you are the naive one. Sodexo easily bypassed collective agreements and chose to deal with individuals and not the unions. This talk of tribunals is hot air. I am not aware of a single tribunal thus far despite all the shenanigans over the past 12 months or so. Stop telling us how Napo is skillfully playing its hand - we have heard all this before as well and all I see is a losing hand. The CRCs don't give a toss about collective agreements.

    3. Well done you have confirmed you know something but not enough the situations are not the same.

    4. The above replies seem to suggest there is no point in continuing to fight the CRC's despite the fact that the three branches in WL have now come together to lodge a dispute. I think it is great that this has happened and shows that some are still attempting to act in solidarity to beat this.

  5. Is there a reason why this, with Gove's fingerprints all over it, is not in the news? Given his situation one would imagine he'd mive fast to resolve anything that negativity impacts on his role.

    NAPO going all 'Project Fear' may also be useful.

    1. Gove is a loser now and he knows he is finished. May wont put back the snide after he stabbed Buffoon Boris and Gove is in an election to seed him off . What we will get from May is new leadership and most likely harder cuts to come in NPS. Gove is already yesterdays man. May will win easily.

    2. Gove is gone as predicted well done.

    3. Why doesn't NAPO make press and media releases. We always had Harry being interviewed about any changes to the cjs which impacted on Probation. Are the Officials camera shy?

  6. Facebook post informs Mr May is high up in G4S. Is this true?

    1. Been vigorously denied in recent past according to Google search on the subject.

  7. 'In moving away from the intensity of this consultation NAPO DDC and possibly the region are still waiting for Mr Wiseman to respond on his proposals to promote an open invitation to all staff over 55 years to apply and leave on their pensions at flat rate. This has not surprisingly gone silent. I did write to him on this subject with regard to having the concept extended'.
    Does anyone have any more information on this was it Mr Wiseman's proposal or the unions?

    1. As I read it states his proposals so thats clear then!

  8. Mr Wiseman is a puppet dependant on what he is told by WL Management and their Lawyers. The fact is whatever has gone before there is now a dispute in place and yes WL are going ahead with their plans, BUT NAPO/UNISON & GMB SCCOP are in this together.

  9. Theresa May's husband Phillip John May owns shares in G4S

  10. I wrote this a year ago and it is only just coming to roost, therefore worth re publishing, NPS needs to wake up

    E3 Efficiency, Effectiveness and Excellence - Focus on the new OM Custody Model

    Whilst there is merit harmonisation, the work being done on E3 is not just about 'after the door has bolted' This spells out C3 Cuts, Cuts, Cuts for the NPS,

    With harmonisation of processes as well as job roles, coupled with 'estates strategy' where NPS are finding themselves rattling around buildings that previously held all Probation staff, workforce planning as well as the 'OM Custody Model' the time is approaching where the anticipated cuts within NPS will be hitting home.

    The new custody model talks of 'greater continuity between court, prison and community OM work'. A principle with the new OM Custody Model is 'the responsibility for custodial OM should sit with the prison', therefore there is going to be a shift of staffing resource from the community into the prison, with case management responsibility firmly sitting with the prison. The role for SPOs within the prison looks to diminish unless the Head of OMU is competed for and ultimately reporting to the prison governor.

    Reading between the lines this smells of further reduced roles for NPS staff in prisons (we have already seen programme tutors in prison as well as PSOs roles in the prison going) specifically the New OM Model implies loss of senior NPS roles in prison and potentially staff transferring over to the Prison Service. The proposed development will be out for consultation with Probation, Prison Unions and staff to design and plan this new 'specialised service'; is it any wonder that previous prison Governors are being drafted in to CRCs particularly where there is a private prison nearby. Watch this space, the next few months could be crucial, hopefully NAPO will not sleep walk into collusion on this one, this isn't just about about roles/responsibilities/harmonisation, it's about C3 Cuts, Cuts, Cuts.

    As I wave goodbye to colleagues in the CRC who are lost their jobs, it strikes me this is the start of a long road of goodbyes which will cover CRCs, NPS, YOS and Prison staff without taking into consideration cutbacks due for the Civil Service in general. We need to keep a close eye on what is happening in all the respective unions if we are to be one step ahead of these changes and be United, when you read E3 look behind the rhetoric and you will see 3C Cuts!

  11. Cherish your SPO for they are a dying plans under discussions to replace them with the social service model of the Senior practitioner-therefore getting all the SPO tasks done on the cheap whilst still holding a caseload....ACE's are also in the firing line as their salaries are equivalent to 1.5 POs

    1. Not worth it having read it.

  12. Probation used to have Senior Pracs at Band 5 around 10yrs ago. Was one until role disbanded in favour of more SPO's and Band 6 Managers. Later, in 2011 was down-banded to Band 4! Whatever suits the day and no real rationale for pay bands. Suppose these new SP's will be at Band 4 and supervising PSO's, along with own caseload of higher risk CRC cases? SPO roles at risk.

  13. Can someone explain what leaving on flat rate pension means please?

  14. Reductions if taken before 60.