Friday, 19 August 2016

Latest From Napo 115

Today's blog from Napo's General Secretary:-

NNC Reform? Members to decide

Some time ago NOMS, and a number of CRC employers, signalled their wish to reform the current National Negotiating Council (NNC) and Standing Committee for Chief Officer Grades (SCCOG) machinery.

Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee and your National Executive Committee have received reports from the two meetings that have taken place this year between the employers and the three probation unions involved, and a set of proposals have now been presented by the employers which I will be issuing in full to members next week in the hope that you will decide to debate them at the forthcoming AGM in (Cardiff 29th September to 1st October). The AGM motions list contains a motion supporting reform and one seeking no change to national collective bargaining. It is also intended that a pre-AGM discussion document will be issued which presents the pros and cons of NNC reform.

The intention is that the proposed new arrangements for single table bargaining between employers and unions will commence from this November. I do need to make it clear that these have not been agreed by the unions, as it’s become apparent this week that there is some duff intelligence circulating about the actual position that we have reached.

What’s on offer?

The proposals suggest reforming the current national collective bargaining arrangements for probation members working for the National Probation Service and the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies.

Presently the pay and conditions of NPS and CRC staff are decided by national negotiations which take place at the NNC for staff on pay bands 1 to 6 and at SCCOG for senior managerial grades. The current negotiating machinery was protected in the NNC/SCCOG Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement which governed the transfer of staff to the NPS and the CRCs prior to the introduction of Transforming Rehabilitation in 2014.

It is no secret that NPS and the CRC owners wish to see changes because:

  • The NPS is a civil service employer which is bound by the Treasury and by civil service policy and procedure.
  • The CRCs are now privately owned separate bodies which want to develop their own approaches to future pay and conditions.
  • The CRC owners do not want to sit around the same negotiating table and have to share commercially sensitive information with their competitors during pay talks.
As a result, the NPS and the CRC owners have been exploring with the unions the possibility of reforming the current negotiating machinery. In essence, they want to move away from the NNC/SCCOG and allow each employer to set up its own local negotiating body with the unions to negotiate pay and conditions, including the annual pay award.

The Joint Union Response

In response, and after debate by Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee, the probation unions put forward a counter proposal to protect the NNC/SCCOG. At the same time, the unions recognised that the role and remit of both these negotiating bodies would have to change to reflect the post TR environment for both NPS and the CRCs.

In summary, we suggested that: 
  • The NNC/SCCOG remain as national bodies with jurisdiction over NNC/SCCOG handbooks and national collective agreements.
  • CRC participation at NNC/SCCOG be refreshed in line with the post share sale environment.
  • NPS to create a Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee (JNCC) to enable formal national negotiations and collective agreements to be reached between NPS and NPS trade unions. This will mirror the existing arrangements that exist within each of the CRCs.
  • NPS JNCC and CRC JNCCs to be given latitude to amend NNC/SCCOG terms and conditions by local collective agreement, with minimum standards being the National Staff Transfer and Protections agreement.
  • NNC/SCCOG Joint Secretaries to remain available to arbitrate over NNC/SCCOG agreements, management of change procedures.
  • New local dispute and arbitration machinery involving the use of ACAS.
  • Probation Consultative Forum (PCF) which is a non negotiating body dealing with professional and practice issues across probation to be opened up to the CRCs as full participating members.
Last April the unions followed this up with confirmation that any change to the NNC/SCCOG negotiating machinery would have to be put to members for approval. We also pointed out that there would be significant resource implications for employers in reforming the existing negotiating machinery. In particular, we highlighted our expectation that employers would have to put the following measures in place first:
  • Effective employer level joint negotiating and consultative committees (JNCCs) to enable proper local negotiation to take place and reach agreements. Where appropriate, agreed Cross-CRC Forums for issues that span a block of CRCs owned by one company (this is already existing practice in many areas).
  • Trade union side representation on new JNCCs/Cross CRC Forums to enable all recognised unions to be fully represented across all NPS Divisions and CRC employer areas.
  • Sufficient facility time to enable the trade unions to play a full role in local bargaining.
  • Training for sufficient trade union representatives to play a new expanded role in the new landscape.
  • Travel and subsistence to be available at the employer’s cost for trade union representatives to attend meetings.
The point we made here was that the NNC/SCCOG machinery traditionally saved local employers a lot of money by conducting single table bargaining. This would change in any proposed new system and would lead to cost implications that employers would need to give the unions assurances over, prior to us putting any proposals to members for their agreement.

The employers responded by asking the unions to confirm if we were prepared to allow individual employers to negotiate the annual pay rise with the unions locally. The unions indicated that we would have to put this to members as part of the eventual proposals that emerge to reform the negotiating machinery.

Napo’s position

Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee met recently to consider the latest developments and agreed to submit a motion to the AGM which supports reforms to the NNC provided that a number of important principles are enshrined in a new collective agreement. These are:
  • That any change to the national collective bargaining machinery will require a national collective agreement at the NNC
  • The NNC Handbook will need to be updated in advance of any changes in line with recent agreements since 2014 to form the baseline for any local negotiations going forward
  • The NNC/SCCOG bargaining bodies to merge to form a single table bargaining machinery at NPS level
  • Any local change to the NNC Handbook must be by local collective agreement only
Pay negotiations

Given the foregoing, it’s no surprise that the NPS and CRCs want to move away from a single national pay deal for NPS and CRCs during 2016 and allow the 2016 pay rise to be negotiated at local level.

Napo has not agreed to this because this would first need our members to agree in the draft national collective agreement which we are proposing as the means of reforming the negotiating machinery.

NPS has already started talks with the unions over reforming the NNC pay and grading structure for NPS only. Napo believes that these talks could potentially be widened to include the CRCs as well to ensure that we have a level playing field on pay going forward.


Until Napo members have voted for whatever reforms emerge from the on-going national talks on pay reform, CRCs should be reminded that the current national pay arrangements will continue.

The employers’ side would like any new arrangements in place by 1 November, which is the very earliest that any changes could take place, but as these would have to have been agreed by the unions in advance of this date, this timetable may be aspirational.

Please look out for more detailed information about this important issue over the next week or so.

Unions seek urgent meeting on AP issues

I am grateful for the feedback from branches and members about the problems being experienced as a result of the implementation of E3 and we will take this into our upcoming meeting with NOMS next week. Meanwhile, the unions have asked for a specific and urgent meeting to discuss the specific difficulties in Approved Premises notably around: the inflexible approach being adopted towards staffing Rotas, the privatisation of night waking cover, TUPE arrangements, the matching and slotting process and pay protection.

As always, trying to find a slot for a meeting is a task in itself, but we will get more news to you as soon as we can.


  1. Funny, I thought NAPO only represented the managers in AP's. All other staff are Unison members.

    1. That is quite simply incorrect. Anyone who is paid by a provider of probation services can join NAPO.

  2. To 17:02 the Unions that AP staff have joined varies as in offices etc. In my area there are some APstaff in Napo and some in Unison

  3. "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.

  4. What exactly has Napo done? 70% sold off, of which 40% then joined the jobless. E3 continues at speed in the NPS. Colleagues relocating to the next county. Unsuitable venues to meet with clients. What has Napo done?

  5. I wish people would remember that NAPO are not the only Union involved in this.

  6. Unions are the members. If your union is failing the members are not doing enough for it to succeed.

    1. Oh give over. You Don't hear Mick Cash blaming the fortunes of the RMT on its members. He is clear about his mandate and sticks to it.

  7. 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 Ive 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.

  8. 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.

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

    2. Not 2 separate providers but 2 in each area, about 8 in total. All of whom will have their own systems, their own (lower) pay and conditions. This will be the last straw for more of us. Find a lifeboat.

    3. 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.

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