Friday, 7 October 2016

General Secretary and the AGM

Here we have Napo's General Secretary and his take on the AGM from his latest blog:-  

An incredibly successful AGM but still much work to do for Napo

Your new Officers Group convene next week alongside Napo Officials for our first meeting after what was by anyone’s standards, an absolutely fabulous Annual General Meeting in Cardiff.

Given that there will be a detailed report to members of the proceedings and the excellent debates that took place, and that the leadership group have yet to fully analyse the implications of some of the decisions, I just wanted at this stage to thank all those members from NPS, Probation Northern Ireland, the 21 CRCs and Cafcass for being there and making such a huge contribution to the event which your Chivalry Road team organised so brilliantly.

For those who could not attend, there is always next year (October 13/14 Nottingham) and I will be posting my speech to conference on the website on Monday. This presented the work of the year and covered some other important issues as well and it will hopefully provide you with an insight into the huge range of challenges that all Napo members face over the coming months wherever you work.

I have not seen anyone who failed to come away from Cardiff last weekend, refreshed and invigorated (notwithstanding the culinary delights and evening entertainment that was on offer). I have had many members contact me since to say how enthused they were about the AGM itself, but just as importantly, the positivity that emerged and the sense that this could be the start of a turnaround in Napo’s fortunes.

Using the synergy

For that to happen, we now need to focus on developing our engagement strategy which is based on the tenets of workplace trade unionism, organisation and local activism, by supporting and training new representatives and looking carefully at our central resources to make sure that we do all we can to support members and their elected branch officers.

As I said to the AGM, it will take all of us working together to realise that aim. But we could achieve it quicker by engaging and persuading those colleagues who have decided to leave the Napo fold in recent times. Tell them: It’s time to come back to Napo.

More Job Evaluation outcomes

We obviously recognise that some members holding on of the following roles will be disappointed at the outcomes from the E3 job evaluation:

Senior admin officer – NPS pay band 3
Quality development officer – NPS pay band 4
Senior operational support manager – NPS pay band 6
Business manager – NPS pay band 4
Enforcement Officer (Trials) and Enforcement Officer (EO) - NPS Pay Band 3

Napo has already indicated that we will be exercising collective appeals where members have asked us to do so and members who wish to be involved in this process should contact Katie Lomas and myself urgently as this can only be done via the above process.

We have written out to members this week to say that the job evaluation was completed on new E3 job descriptions and JDQs created by the employers and not on current roles. This means that any appeal cannot be based on an interpretation of current job roles but only on the new job description and JDQ.

No redundancies

It was good to receive some appreciation at the AGM for the protections we have helped to achieve for members under E3. There will be no redundancies as a result of E3 and all staff will be matched to one or more roles in the new structure and this will be discussed during the 1:1 process. Anyone who finds themselves matched to a role which is at a lower grade will have their pay protected for three years during which they will receive support to move to a role at their former grade. 

Work Measurement back on the priority agenda

We have had some early feedback from NPS members on the workload activity sampling that is being launched by NOMS

We are seeking an urgent meeting to look at the early findings but also to discuss the myriad issues that are in (or absent from) the questionnaire (see page 5 of the tasks list) which are causing issues as this feedback shows:

‘Court reports - this needs to break down the task ie Short format, oral or standard. One of the issues for many years is that we have never been allocated enough time for court reports and essentially had to do the risk assessment (was oasys, now CAS) for free.

OASys - not all oasys are the same, I have just done one that I had previously done an SDR on, so only had to update a few bits. If you get a new case on someone who was sentenced following an oral or short format report, then your oasys will take much longer. An oasys review is also quicker than starting from scratch.

Office duty - this only wants you to record contact with offenders, what about all the phone calls and other c*** we have to deal with on office duty?

Other assessment - again this needs to break it down as they all take different amounts of time and we do them with differing frequency. In addition, SARA is part of the oasys, not a separate task and ARMS is listed separately anyway.

Referrals- same issue, it needs to specify as they all take different amounts of time and are done with varying frequency

Things that aren't there at all:

Liaison with Police - I spend at least 30 minutes a day on the phone to the police about sex offenders.

Oral hearings - it mentions lifer panels in section 14 (Meetings) but most oral hearings don't relate to lifers.

This really feels like a very long winded but not very accurate way of ascertaining how long we spend doing our job - I think this will give a snapshot of an average working day for an offender manager but it needs to be followed up by specific timings for specific pieces of work for the WMT to be accurate. For example it asks 20 people to record how long the next 5 ARMS/start OASys/SDR's take. There are some positive aspects of it in that it is taking into account all the other rubbish we have to do: read endless emails, policies, etc. but I don't think it goes far enough. If there is a way of feeding this back I would appreciate it.’

There is, and it will be.

Electoral Reform is a Trade Union issue

In my address to last week’s AGM I suggested that Electoral Reform is an issue that needs to be debated amongst Britain’s six million trade unionists. You will see from the following link that the campaign is moving up the list of big ticket issues and that it is (especially post-Brexit) attracting attention from politicians of all persuasions.

Perhaps we can see some proposals for change as one of the subjects up for debate at next year’s AGM? Meanwhile if you have a view why not share it by writing to me c/o or put it on the agenda for your next Branch meeting?


As an aside, I notice that Unison have been holding their police and justice AGM in Stockport with, amongst others, Paul Senior from the Probation Institute talking about the need for a regulatory body. The subject of Collective Bargaining came up:- 

Delegates highlight changes to probation service negotiation

Negotiation in the probation service is changing, UNISON’s police and justice conference heard during a lively debate today. Neil Brookes from North West probation and The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) branch moved a motion to retain the primacy of the National Negotiations Council (NNC) in future bargaining arrangements.

Speaking against the motion, Jenny Martin from the Staffordshire and West Midlands probation branch pointed out that the motion was in conflict with the policy of the national probation committee. “We have a national negotiating council that isn’t working,” she told delegates.

Frank Radcliff from the Eastern region probation branch said that the council was “past its sell by date,” adding that, “if we insist on retaining the primacy of the NNC, we will potentially be de-recognised as a negotiating union.” Mr Radcliff went on to say that “a one-size-fits-all system does not reflect the needs of members.”

After an eloquent and passionate debate, the motion was not carried.

Delegates highlight danger of further privatisation in probation

Delegates to the UNISON police and justice conference in Southport highlighted the problems caused by increasing privatisation in the probation sector. The National Probation Service has proposed extending the use of private providers in approved premises for accommodation for prisoners who have recently left custody. This proposal would see night shifts contracted out to private providers.

Neil Brookes from North West probation and The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) branch told conference that approved premises staff were trained to manage risk and rehabilitate people back into the community. Noting that night-time is “when our real work begins,” because that is when dangerous situations are most likely to occur, he explained that having two properly trained staff is therefore vital.

Another member who has worked in assisted premises for three years said that she had been kicked and punched during the night shift, and emphasised the importance of having a trained colleague to work with during the night. The police and justice service group executive will work to highlight the importance of properly trained, permanent staff in assisted premises.


  1. Does anyone know if you are put down a band doing the same job where do you start on the lower pay band? and is your pay protected for 3 years n this scenario?

    1. I believe so but you need to put into a lower band and I think that only applies to staff where Job Evaluations have come out as lower for some in post; for example, Victim Liaison Officers or where you are deemed surplus and a job at your grade cannot be found. If you volunteer to take job at a lower grade then, as I understand it, you would lose any entitlement to protected pay.

  2. Ah, I see the real issue here, its not the effectiveness of what probation does for offenders, its how much they pay for you to do it.

    1. A| ridiculous sanctimonious comment if ever I saw one....Bobbyjoe

    2. Can someone please clarify? Have the probation wing of UNISON just voted to abandon the primacy of the NNC? Why did Jenny Martin say the motion was in conflict with probation committee, when NAPO have just voted to retain the current structure? Are the Unions not paying attention to each other?
      This is serious and I am worried.

    3. NNC – past its sell-by date, not fit for purpose...yet only two years ago it was the bedrock of the framework agreement. The employers and the unions now want rid of it. I note the general secretary does not mention the defeat at AGM, but I think the Napo leadership will look for other ways of ditching it. There has probably been an agreement between the unions to abandon NNC arrangement. The unions are more likely to be preoccupied with members' subscriptions rather than their conditions of service.

      In dispassionate terms, what is the point of the NNC? National collective bargaining has been singularly ineffective for a decade or more in advancing pay. Would things be any worse under devolved arrangements? The CRCs need staff, there is a market rate, as shown by the payment of market supplements, so local bargaining will be bounded by the realities of recruitment and retention. There may be regional differences in pay – but they already exist anyway through the payment of supplements.

    4. Reply to Deb at 22.57. As I read it the Unison delegates (it's not a conference for all members like in Napo)voted not to support continuation of national collective bargaining. The Committee referred to I think is the national NNC.Not being in Unison I don't know if their conference considered how Napo AGM voted but the 2 Unions have differed in their approaches before.If the issue had been put to Unison members as ballot there could well have been a different outcome.