Saturday, 5 November 2016

CRC Dispute Latest 10

Thanks go to the reader for supplying the following from Working Links management and published on their intranet:-

Questions and Answers

Early Retirement

We have had numerous questions relating to the Early Retirement option and have captured the answers to these collectively below. To mitigate the need for compulsory redundancies, in areas where we have identified the need for fewer employees, we have put forward two offers for those who may choose to leave the organisation. One is a voluntary severance type of offer which is 3 weeks’ salary, capped at 52 weeks, paid as a lump sum – and the other one is an opportunity to consider early retirement. These two proposals are offered as an alternative.

If you are in an age group that qualifies for early retirement (individuals aged between 55 and 64) you have the option of early retirement as an alternative to the severance offer we have put forward. Early retirement taken now would enable you to access your unreduced pension (subject to the scheme rules). Where strain costs arise, these are calculated by the Pension Fund, and in order to allow you immediate access to your pension, are met by us. We do though take on board their value before accepting applications. This is because we do take affordability into account in connection with every individual application. If we do not agree to your application for early retirement, you will not be able to access your pension immediately.

All applications for the voluntary severance package that we have put forward are subject to affordability, and we don’t have funds to cover both voluntary severance and early retirement for any one individual. We will therefore look at applications we receive in the round, and will take affordability into account.

Voluntary Severance Scheme

When will I get to know if I have been accepted? 

Wales CRC: All applicants will be advised of the decision on their application by 21 October.
BGSW CRC: All applicants will be advised of the decision on their application by 9th November
DDC CRC: All applicants will be advised of the decision on their application by 9th November

What is the selection process for applications? 

The following factors will be taken into account when considering applications: the number of people in the employee’s area of work, business continuity, retention of skills and expertise, organisational and business needs of the future operating model, maximisation of effectiveness and efficiency and affordability and cost.

Why is this scheme not as generous as previous schemes that have been run? 

We believe that by offering a revised voluntary exit scheme for the remainder of our transformation programme we can continue to manage any exits from the business on a voluntary basis, mitigating the need for any compulsory redundancies.

If I am accepted for voluntary severance can I change my mind? 

Wales CRC: Employees who have been offered a voluntary exit will need to decide whether they want to accept this offer by 26 October. Anytime up to 26 October employees can change their mind. However, once an offer has been formally accepted the decision becomes binding.

BGSW CRC: Employees who have been offered a voluntary exit will need to decide whether they want to accept this offer by 16 November. Anytime up to 16 November employees can change their mind. However, once an offer has been formally accepted the decision becomes binding.

DDC CRC: Employees who have been offered a voluntary exit will need to decide whether they want to accept this offer by 16th November. Anytime up to 16th November employees can change their mind. However, once an offer has been formally accepted the decision becomes binding.

If I apply for voluntary severance and are not offered it, what role will I then have? 

You will remain in your substantive role.

Are voluntary severance decisions going to be based on local area needs? 

Yes, any decisions will be based on local staffing requirements and area needs.

Can I apply for a voluntary exit if I am on maternity leave? If I do, will I need to repay the half maternity pay as I would not be returning for three months? 

Yes, people on maternity can apply for this voluntary severance scheme. We would not expect the half pay element of maternity pay to be repaid 


Is the Change Policy a contractual requirement that cannot be changed without agreement from the NNC? 

The Change Policy is not a contractual requirement.

If I take a lower grade post will my pay be protected? 

Yes, your pay will be protected in line with your local CRC policy. Please review this for more information.

What rationale has been used to map people into roles? 

Individuals will have been mapped into a role if their current substantive role is contained within the new structure and there is no significant change in the duties and responsibilities of the role following restructuring. Where roles are not an exact match but are broadly similar based on the job content, competencies and qualifications if applicable, people will be matched to roles.

How much opportunity is there for me to move from my role to another job variation? 

Once we have completed this transformation process, where vacancies exist going forward these will be advertised and employees will be able to apply in the usual way.
Can I apply for a reduction in hours? 

 Any individual can apply for a reduction in hours in the usual way via your local CRC policy


Probation union updates

As we move forward with our transformation plans we are continuing to consult with the probation unions about our proposed changes and new ways of working – and ultimately what impact this will have on people. We’re sharing this information with you too, and earlier this year you will have attended a briefing where our proposals were discussed and you also had the opportunity to have your say to help shape and influence the changes. More recently you have had the opportunity to dial into regular calls where each area of our proposed new model has been discussed in greater detail, and we’ve continued to share information through Justice News and our management teams.

Because of the changes we need to make to the business to ensure our future success, you will be aware that we feel we have more people than we need in certain areas of the business and this is something we are discussing with the unions. We are keen to ensure everyone is kept informed on these discussions as we work to try and minimise this impact. And as we have the group intranet in place, and a platform that is accessible to all people working across the business, we have created this area which is dedicated to our ongoing dialogue with the unions to ensure you are up to date.

The below table outlines the current concerns the unions have raised and how we are addressing them. In the table opposite you can view the supporting correspondence.

Voluntary Severance scheme

The unions have requested that we put the Voluntary Severance scheme we have recently opened in the CRCs on hold and refrain from agreeing to any of the existing Voluntary Severance applications until further dialogue has taken place.

We feel that this scheme is in the interests of our people, who have already responded on a voluntary basis and in good numbers, and we will continue with the scheme as per the proposed timescale that has been shared locally. We do not feel it is fair or reasonable for the unions to prevent our people being able to take up this voluntary scheme, which has ultimately been put in place to mitigate the need for any compulsory redundancies.

Work with the Arbitration and Conciliation Advisory Service

At a recent Joint Secretaries meeting, which was held to try and resolve our ongoing dispute, it was suggested that our consultation activity would benefit from the intervention of a third party in the form of the Arbitration and Conciliation Advisory Service (ACAS). We are fully supportive of this and welcome the approach.

We are currently arranging a meeting with ACAS and hope that this intervention will allow us to end the ongoing dispute and continue with our national, and local, union meetings as normal so that we can continue to consult on our proposals.

The unions requested we withdraw the Section 188 notification we submitted to them in January advising of the proposed employee reductions

We are concerned that the removal of the Section 188 could give a confusing message to our people in that headcount reductions are not being considered, when they are. However, we recognise that the information in the Section 188 is now out of date and needs to be refreshed. We also recognise that we are not actively considering compulsory redundancies. We wish to continue to mitigate the risk of making any compulsory redundancies by seeking volunteers to exit in line with our headcount reductions.

Proposed headcount reductions and revised Voluntary Redundancy Scheme 

We have recently undertaken a further session with the unions to ensure they fully understand our proposals and the reasons for them. We have discussed a revised Voluntary Redundancy (VR) scheme and it is our intention to use this revised scheme for the remainder of our transformation programme, when offering VR in certain parts of the business where we know we have more people than we need. By doing this it means we can continue to manage any exits from the business on a voluntary basis, mitigating the need for any compulsory redundancies, which is something we are really keen to do.

We are disappointed that the unions have asked us not to progress with this revised VR scheme but instead continue to offer the EVR scheme which would mean we would have no other option but to move to a compulsory redundancy situation at this point, due to affordability of the current scheme. We do not agree with this request and our intention has always been to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever we can. We have now submitted our plans to the NNC Joint Secretaries for consideration. While this process is running we will be discussing with our people across the three CRCs the proposed VR scheme, including what the scheme is, who is currently eligible for it and how to apply.

Commencement of consultation if Compulsory Redundancy happens

We have confirmed with the unions that should compulsory redundancies become necessary then we would undertake a 45 day formal consultation period and would wish to engage with them in accordance with the CRC local redundancy policies.

Halt the process of transformation to enable reflection

We have made clear that we cannot alter our end point of March 2017 and we believe our people are extremely keen to move ahead so that they can resolve their own positions, whatever that might be. We do not think it is in our employees’ interests to delay our plans and we are very keen to offer certainty and clarity. However, we have reviewed our timetable and have built in added time for reflection.

Announce an early retirement scheme

We already have an early retirement scheme in place and, as it always has been, information is available on our local intranets. If people would like to discuss the scheme in more detail please contact your local HR lead.

Use of temporary and agency employee

We have committed to avoiding using temporary and agency employees, subject to maintaining business effectiveness. We have an enormous geographical area to cover and have shortages in some parts of the geography that we cannot cover by redeploying people from other areas. Nevertheless, we are already reducing our use of agency personnel where operationally this is feasible.

Introduce a recruitment freeze

This is something we introduced a while ago, and we will continue a freeze on all permanent recruitment where the role may provide opportunities for redeployment. Only business critical roles, approved by a member of the Executive Team, can be recruited for. Our preference is to recruit to these roles using internal people where possible.

Consider secondment opportunities

Secondment opportunities will be pursued where appropriate as a way of reducing job losses. We are also sharing all opportunities across the wider Working Links group and a number of employees have taken up permanent and secondment roles through this route.


  1. So after her tawdry effort to revolutionise the prisons system & impose no fly zones for drones we have Justice Secretary & Lord Chancellor Truss who is happy to sit back in silence (dreaming of past good times when she was opening up new pork markets?) allowing the judiciary be vilified by the gutter press & the privatised probation services to disappear up their own business model.

  2. WL clearly regard the dispute with the unions and referral to ACAS as a sideshow that will have no influence on their plans. They are not interested in a collective agreement and if indivudals are applying for exit packages, it would seem staff are marching to the WL music, not the unions. It's a replay of the Sodexo approach which also sidelined the unions, ably assisted by the union membership.

    1. Staff not marching to WL music. Most totally disillusioned and consider that things will be so dire soon that the VS money is worth going out on, rather than wait to see how it pans out with the union negotiations. It's down to the individual's decision around their self preservation. Good luck to all those who leave, and particularly for those who stay.

    2. It is each to their own! No one looking out for us so just have to get on with it and follow our instincts!

    3. If staff were marching to WL's music they would be staying, having listened to all the corporate horse shit about "changing a million lives" and claims that the all-singing, all-dancing new operating model will transform probation work as we know it.

      Given that we can all see through the lies, and have barely even seen any details of the operating model beyond the rehashed tiering model that is the BRAG system, the majority of staff know it can't possibly work, and realise that getting out now is the safest option.

    4. If I apply for voluntary severance and are not offered it, what role will I then have? 

      You will remain in your substantive role.

      Of course you will hahaha they are telling us we have new roles and jobs to come while we wait for the privilege of lower pay for the shafting. While the management retain all previous rewards with far less responsibilities and half the staff. I am waiting for the union to advise us properly. I am confident th ebest thing to do as they want so many of us out is to wait until the redundancies have to be made. Before compulsory I am told they have to offer all the EVR terms including early redundancy and the same for compulsory as long as we don't all rush out the unsafe and appalling new ways. Sit tight then taking severance is a self destruct button. I going let them do their worse to me and them for expose it.

    5. It's not over till the fat lady sings. ACAS talks not over yet so BGSW and DDC staff can still afford to wait before making final decision on VS. Why let WL shaft you.

    6. I quite agree! They have misled people enough!

    7. The union leadership in these situations is undermined by its members. There is no discipline, no solidarity. If staff are in unions they should follow union advice and not go their own sweet way, because by doing so they undermine their union and undermine those other members who seek to hold a union line. Whether it's crossing picket lines or applying for offers, this individual behaviour betrays the collective.

    8. If I think 3 x weekly is worth saving my sanity then I'm not going to wait for my union who made sweet fa difference in stopping me being shafted into BGSW. Me and 80% of my colleagues are looking to go.

    9. 20.54. It's in the 'I' not the 'we' where your betrayal of unity lies.

  3. WL are breaking the law! Great role models! I am on maternity leave abd only found out about the volunrary severance scheme because one of my colleages * not a manager texted me and asked what i thought! I have had no letter from HR, nothing, and would have been oblivious if my colleague hadn't mentioned it! This is absolutely disgusting from a company setting itself up to work in Justice! I wonder how many other staff on maternity or sick leave haven't been consulted by working links?

    1. So what are you going to do about it

    2. I am making a point as there may be others in similar situation. I have put in a complaint. No need to be petulant whoever you are!

    3. Wasn't being petulant just asking a question. So many times people complain but then don't complain to the people/organisation responsible. I share your frustration with WL. If you are in a union have you informed your reps.

  4. On Liz Truss..

    "She won’t resign, of course. It’s obvious now what her plan is. It’s the same as Chris Grayling’s. Stick around for 18 months, do the bidding of others who care not for quaint notions of justice and the Rule of Law, and slide quietly up the ladder to the next portfolio. Her Oath to protect the founding principles of our civilisation means less to her than the emergence of Chinese pork markets."

    1. Liz Truss has finally made a mealy mouthed vacuous non statement which very carefully gives no steering or indication this is the 'Lord Chancellor' speaking. I doubted when Ms Truss was sworn in, that she really understood the gravitas of the role and what were her responsibilities. And now I'm convinced. Maybe the Govt will see finally sense and put a legally trained person in the post next time.

    2. Good idea! ' a trained person' to do Justice Secretary job, and trained probation officers to do their job! What a brilliant idea! Sadly the government may not agree!

  5. So now she has lost the confidance of the whole justice system, prisons, Courts and Probation! It would seem that the only people who support her outside of government are the private company profiteers!oh, and maybe some civil service pen pushers who are gagged anyway or paid to shut up!

  6. I must lead a sheltered life because i didn't know what 'thesecretbarrister' meant by 'pork markets' and 'cheese'! Just googled it and nearly wet my calvin klein's laughing! Liz Truss with an innane grin, obviously very pleased about her involvement in the chinese pork industry and berating the public for their love of brie, edam and manchego cheese! How disgraceful! I'm sure she turns down any non U.K food at the banquets she attends and never wears clothes that are made outside of the U.K! I'm off to eat some olives now, made in U.K of course!

  7. Sit tight, don't go for voluntary severance. Better wait for WL to be pushed to their limits. They have no consideration for our legacy - don't walk to their tune. Stand up for yourself, ask questions ....... I'm standing firm for so long as I'm here, they have to pay me. Can't get any worse, so sticking it out til ACAS + Unions do their work.

  8. 19.57 good advice. Stick it out and support your colleages as best you can. WL are not making any profit so will lose interest soon.

    1. Yes stick it out as we can ask for our money they want my future they can F****** pay for it. I earned my career from hard work and several years study and poverty. They may see hundreds apply but no one with sense will take the penny when we are owed a pound and they have to go to bank or government with the keys Pay up Sharks.

  9. We need a proper chief probation officer, bring back Sally Lewis..she would wipe the floor with Paul Hindson.

    1. Comedy gold where is she selling herself back as a Child protection consultant hardly after walking out with a bag of swag and happy to sign us off to the sacking vultures Working links.

    2. Fingers on lips, took the money and ran, exactly what all the CPO's did! A stark comparison to the Headteachers that recently stood up to the government.

  10. Probation Officer5 November 2016 at 20:42

    As I recall, no CPO's made a sustained stand for probation and all complied with the Grayling-gag and either left with pensions, payouts and thirty pieces of silver, or moved over to follow orders in decimating the NPS and CRC's.

    I think the only CPO that left without taking a redundancy package was Kent's Sarah Billard. For somebody that wasn't even a qualified probation officer she spoke out against TR on the news and her credibility shone brighter that the rest.

  11. What would you expect? SL was social work trained and devoted 20 years to the service. Would anyone expect her to leave with nothing? I would want recompense if I had to leave so no different. At least she followed her conscience and was always clear that she wouldn't work for the privatised service. Avon and somerset probation trust was well managed with SL. Now it is a shambles. She is working for howard league and in safeguarding now which is certainly a sign of a moral compass. I am ashamed of the situation as it is but just plow on and do the best I can and still love working with people, that is all that keeps me going , that and the resilience of my colleages and service users. Many of the service users are very grateful for the support they get from myself, and other agencies, they are not stupid and know the service is struggling, as is mental health, nhs, social services's human empathy that will get us through this not the commercial attitudes of WL's et al.

    1. Yes SL wouldn't work for a privatised probation but her silence and inaction means that the rest of us have to!!

  12. I doubt anyone is "devoted" to probation. We joined for a career and soon realised it wasn't as expected. Too late to change career we drew our salaries to pay the bills. Sally Lewis was no different from the rest of us except that she was in a position to speak up and out. The CPO's failed to do this individually or collectively and so deserve no respect. Unlike the heads of many services and organisations that do speak out, the probation CPO's did not and so were never fit to be leaders.

  13. I find it confusing that the dispute has been referred to ACAS yet WL can (1) ignore the ACAS procedures & (2) pursue their actions with deadlines that compromise the ACAS process. Makes a mockery of the whole thing & despite WL's weasel words about "our people", its really about "our profits", "getting our own way" and a very blatant "fuck you" to everyone else.

    1. You are not confused, never read a clearer summary.