Saturday, 20 August 2016

Decision Time

"it’s become apparent this week that there is some duff intelligence" I wonder if he is referring to himself here? I am shocked to discover so much has been advanced across this agenda? Have the chair and vice chairs been endorsing such advanced planning and does the NEC give it the thumbs up? If we get to AGM on this debate with many potentials for the implications to be unclear, I can see a voting disaster and if the arrangements whatever they become will be as useless as aspects of the previous staff transfer agreement. We can all work out this is good for the privateers, nothing in there for the memberships rights. These are grave revelations and when was it first known and to who? Does not look transparent from here.

Does this mean CRC staff being sold further down the river? CRC staff definitely seem to be the poor relations. Why have our terms and conditions been eroded? I agree that members are not doing enough, however, we did expect there to be a judicial review, there could have been a test case put through the court. NPS staff may make comments about how awful it is following the split, but I've yet to hear one person say they would rather be in a CRC. The government split us, why is Napo hell bent on helping them finish it?

The end to national collective bargaining is the holy grail for the CRCs. This is not being sought to enhance conditions of service and however much Napo harps on about benchmarking minimum standards, these will have no traction with the employers. We saw how in probation trusts conditions of service – car allowances, subsistence, and a range of other policies were all amended despite the NNC handbook. And when the Joint Secretaries were brought into disputes, they were ineffective guardians of conditions of service, because the employers always played the card of affordability and protecting jobs! The only thing they could not touch was salaries – now these will be attacked if negotiations are devolved locally.


When Napo signed the agreement formalising TR, the members were not asked to vote on it, they also never thought to seek the views of members when a whole year sailed by with no action on a judicial review. But when it comes to national collective bargaining they want the members to sign the death warrant.

The TR agreement was supposed to guarantee good redundancy terms, national collective bargaining and Napo confidently expressed the view at the time of signing that compulsory redundancy were unlikely.

As TR split the probation, so the end of national collective bargaining will signal the end of Napo representing both sectors. We have heard recently that there are insufficient resources to represent members because of the withdrawal of facility time, so it's pure fantasy to think that there will be sufficiently experienced local reps able to negotiate on pay and conditions.

Probation will be a two tier service and in the CRCs there will be more losers than winners. It's all over because essentially the probation workforce was too atomised and divided to stand together. The so-called TR split is leading to the creation of two separate services and Napo is delusional if it thinks it can hold the ring with its pragmatism.

Good post time up for the leadership no confidence motion instead and this debate will destroy AGM.

NAPO's Brexit!

Divide and conquer! Don't vote for it, FFS!


Here are the two motions referred to by the General Secretary in his blog yesterday:-

10. NNC reform - collective bargaining arrangements in probation 

This AGM recognises the complexities around the provision of probation services since the TR split. All employers have stated that they want independent negotiating arrangements with the unions. 

AGM agrees that Napo must offer a proactive and consistent approach to future negotiations with employers to protect and promote the professional and industrial concerns of members. 

This AGM endorses the proposed new national collective arrangements, transitioning local single table bargaining, on condition of the following: 
  • all employers provide adequate facility time, rights for local representatives, sufficient time for training, and opportunities for access to members and potential members; 
  • an updated NNC Handbook, which will be recognised as a ‘national benchmark’ for pay, terms and conditions; 
  • proposed local agreements must be referred to Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee for guidance, to ensure accountability, consistency and coherent strategic direction; 
  • the retention of the NNC Joint Secretaries for the referral of ‘legacy’ issues and the availability of local dispute and arbitration machinery which includes the involvement of ACAS; 
  • all employers to support a Probation Professional Practice Forum (3PF); 
  • The Probation Negotiating Committee are to provide regular reports to members on the effectiveness of the new arrangements. 
Proposer: Probation Negotiating Committee 

11. Defend national collective bargaining 

The National Agreement On Staff Transfer and Protections signed 28th January 2014 gives a specific undertaking to protect national collective bargaining. This is summarised in paragraph 21 where it states: 

“It is agreed that the existing national collective bargaining arrangements will continue in the CRCs and NPS on 1 June 2014 by means of the Staff Transfer Scheme. The NNC and SCCOG machinery will also continue to apply to new staff.” 

Post share sale a number of CRC owners are threatening replace national collective bargaining with completely local arrangements. While a few staff may benefit from locally competitive local pay and conditions, in all likelihood this will result in a ‘race to the bottom’ in most areas. More importantly, it will torpedo Napo’s stated aim of achieving a nationally agreed, fair and equitable pay structure.

Officers and Officials are instructed to oppose any attempt to break up national collective bargaining and to launch a campaign amongst members in any CRC that threatens to withdraw from current NNC/SCCOG arrangements. 

Proposer: Chas Berry 
Seconder: Alec Price


  1. JIM BROWN JIM BROWN JIM BROWN clever ! Very Clever! Sorry for the repeats here but it warrants a clear direction. JB has identified for all readers that the motions being offered are clear. Anyone and that means everyone of those elected officials except 1 is voting on the break up of NAPO. That means the National negotiating Committee is clearly dysfunctional. Why because officers at all grades and all organisations are in there to represent all members. Yet ironically the salesman of Double glazing Napo extra (this is Napo Less) Ian Lawrence has them all around this narrow low intellect decision be definition of this vote out motion. For Chas Berry he has done nothing inside the group to tell us about this dilemma he faces and yet has kept silence until the motion and his election campaign. TOO LATE for membership. Still have to support him now though, as he sees the train off the rails here. It means not one of the remaining NNC officer group are fit to be in positions for Napo. Now lets all ask is this reason the big wide loud Pat Waterman left the NNC with a view of no confidence in that leadership. Now will she or anyone stand up and tell us the truth.

    Clever blog Jim Brown !!!!

    1. What a load of drivel! We've seen this style before and not hard to guess who

    2. was it you?

    3. No someone on the NNC more likely.

    4. Probably Ian Lawrence ?

    5. I recognise the style and agree with the sentiment.

  2. Ian Lawrence & co now show their true hand on the flop, i.e. the surrender of one of the key features of trade unionism that kept employees protected from unscrupulous, divisive employers. Since the retirement of a weary Judy McKnight we've been cursed wih a succession of patsies at the top of Napo. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that post-Benny Hill (aka Ledger) the union was so compromised that systemic collapse was inevitable. Goodness only knows what other dark secrets the NOMS/MoJ bullies have at their disposal, primed & ready for release to the press should Napo fail to comply with the TR project. I can't think of any other explanation for the woeful catalogue of incompetence, silence & inaction. Perhaps this was the poisoned chalice handed to Mr Lawrence? I don't know the answer but if it were so, presumably he had a choice - £75k salary to steer Napo into the iceberg, or try to find something else whilst we're briefing against the PCS refugee.

  3. JB - I don't know how you do it, keeping up with all that is going on and not being completely dejected and depressed by it continue to provide information and debate, where Napo fail to uphold what they have been voted into do. Approaching 4 million hits, and counting.

    1. Anyone who knows me will appreciate how dejected and depressed I regularly get, just like many colleagues and friends stuck in this utter fucking shambles created by inept and deluded politicians. But I've been around a long time, am 'old skool' and have always believed in never giving up on a client, so for as long as body and soul permit, I'm certainly never giving up on trying to fight for something I believe passionately in.

    2. This blog keeps me informed and up to date with things that are going on in nps and the various crc's. Whilst we may gain some information via napo it does not offer the strength of feeling that is about. The continuous crap we have put up with over the last few years and still no end in sight.

  4. The motion proposed by the leadership asks the AGM to endorse the 'new national collective arrangements' The missing word here is 'bargaining' The so-called 'national collective arrangements' basically rubber stamp the disintegration of national collective bargaining on pay and conditions. This is apparently an example of Napo being 'proactive' and 'protecting the professional and industrial concerns of members'. Only two years ago Napo signed the framework agreement which guaranteed retention of national collective bargaining – but no fury in the leadership motion about yet another breach of the framework agreement. In fact, it's more than another breach – it marks the end of a useless 'peace in our time' agreement. I think this wartime allusion is apt because since the outset Napo has pursued a policy of appeasement, hoping perhaps that their reasonableness would be reciprocated. It has not worked and has only added to perceptions of weakness. This motion now seeks to give the employers a green light for independent negotiations and Napo's conditions – wish list - for acceptance will not amount to a hill of beans – and they know it. The Napo leadership feel powerless, they sense no militancy in the workforce. The loss of national collective bargaining would be a historic reversal – but I am not sure that even this would disturb the sleep of many in the workforce.

    In contrast the competing motion reminds us of the earlier undertakings given by the employers' side and spells out the likely consequences – a race to the bottom – if national collective bargaining is abandoned. Getting this truth lodged in the minds of the wider workforce would be a major challenge. Given the past form of Napo's campaigns in engaging with, and mobilising, a docile workforce, it requires a lot of optimism to believe that such a campaign will create any industrial muscle, because without far-reaching solidarity the employers will just go ahead and impose new pay negotiating arrangements.

    Motion 1 wants to sign another surrender agreement; Motion 2 wants to fight. It truly is decision time. At the moment, to misquote, it looks like a choice between either dying on your feet or dying on your knees.

  5. Personally, I despair of this announcement from the General Secretary. From the little I know, other unions have spent the last 20 years fighting to protect national bargaining. The details provided are ominous and I see no reason to celebrate this departure. Why would any of us want this? If the employers want it, there must be something in it for them surely?

    1. Exactly 15:32. This is nothing less than a sell out.
      NAPO 115 Blog starts with 'Some time ago NOMs and ...CRC employers signalled their wish to reform the current NNC and SCCOG' (OK they can wish what they like but the ball remains in our court).
      Proposed new arrangements for single table bargaining (arrangements put forward by whom - the ball is still in our court - we have protected negotiating machinery as per the Staff Transfer Agreement - IL says so himself)
      'Whats on offer?' Offered by whom - we dont have to accept any 'offer' from NOMS or the CRC, or put any offer forward - the ball still remains with us.
      'The proposals suggest' - proposals that came from whom?
      The NPS and CRC have been 'exploring' with the Unions......hello? Exploring?
      In the Joint union response we 'suggested'... hello?. Why are we 'suggesting' anything? As a Trade Union we dont 'suggest' to employers - we make clear and considered demands - if you want XYZ you have to agree to ABC UP FRONT and then we'll decide if we accept. Sod all this 'we have expectations the employers will put the following measures in place first' Noooooo. Measures in place - then we talk further.
      And then they have the cheek to push a tentatively worded proposal on the membership 'to support....provided principles are enshrined....
      Noooooo, employers- agree to these principles and then we'll talk again....
      This is not negotiation and I cant believe we are putting forward such a weak spirited performance when the ADVANTAGE LIES WITH US. We have the power to call the shots on this bit of negotiation, so why arent we?
      We also have the option not to negotiate at all and just to sit tight - the ultimate position and bargaining chip.
      What was it said on a post a few weeks back about the sharks? Well they are circling on this and we have all the markings of an easy meal.

    2. I agree. We don't have to agree. NAPO members have to go to AGM to vote against this.

  6. Its interestting that Chas is coming out now to stand against the supposed leadership, that is IL and DR, there is no other leadership other than these two the rest just follow. Chas has been vice chair where has his voice been, it hasn't been heard at NEC thats for sure. These plans have been going on in secret meetings at the probation consultative forum and outside where Il has suggetsed there has been no negotiation yet a propsal has arisien from these very meetings. CRC attendees have been told to keep quiet about these meetings which were questioned at NEC. Minutes from last NEC: Ian explained Napo’s participation in the Probation Consultative Forum. This is not a negotiating forum but is a chance for issues of practical and technical significance in probation to be fed into government circles. It is a good area for influence to grow. An example recently had been Mercia CRC serving redundancy notices with no consultation: because NOMS Contract Section are concerned about the public image of renegade contractors, a relationship existed where Napo were able to persuade Contract Management to intervene over some key HR issues within one of the CRC’s. Reports from these meetings have been presented with claims of CRC attendance. When questined on who has attended and how many meetings Il has been a closed shop. Come on Chas now is the time to let us know what all this secrecy is about. Clearly you are challenging the leadership but you had your chance as vice chair. Dino CRC thats what we need to get this sorted.

  7. If you vote away your collective bargaining rights on pay and conditions there is no hope for you.

  8. Come on what do folk expect the union is only as good as its members and Napo members have proved to be useless which is why we're in this mess! The bottom line is strike action but most members would not support that or even bother to respond to any ballot. We can't keep blaming Napo leadership we need to look to ourselves I know what happened in my area and it wasn't good!