Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Latest From Napo 126

On the eve of an important NEC meeting (lets hope it's quorate), here we have edited highlights from the latest General Secretary's blog:-

Operational chaos means a greater focus on health, safety and wellbeing

Over the last week Napo has been seeking urgent action with different employers over a range of issues where the impact of excessive workloads on the health of our members has featured highly.

Firstly, the intention by NOMS to implement the appalling CSEP attendance management policy. This is another of those Cabinet Office driven policies that are written by people with absolutely no idea about the realities of life at the front face and how the continual pressure of unrealistic and downright unsafe caseloads lead to stress, anxiety and, by the way, a general breakdown in the individuals immune system which inexorably leads to the likelihood of absence from the workplace.

Whilst never forgetting that many manager members are under similar pressure themselves that does not excuse the small minority who compound matters by the overzealous use of such policies to berate and discipline some of our members as illustrated by the types of cases that are referred to our team of National Representatives.

In the NPS, despite the incremental introduction of 600 newly qualified Probation Officers, we are still seeing large numbers of vacancies and breathtaking allocations in some areas. We will shortly be signalling our opposition to the introduction of this policy so whilst it is correct to say it has been discussed with the unions, that’s a world away from it being agreed, which it most definitely is not, and will not be in its present form.

Wellbeing is an issue across CRC’s as well, as they struggle to deliver contractual requirements against a backdrop of some extremely dodgy data that was provided to them at the time of the share sale and, in some cases abject chaos as a result of the weighted annualised volumes and the extremely dodgy operating models that they have and are trying to implement.

Members will know that the probation unions are currently engaged through ACAS in a dispute with Aurelius /Working Links over staffing and operations in their three CRC’s, and whilst I will respect the fact that we cannot publish the exchanges that have been going on, it’s fair to say that during the most recent talks we have been pressing the issue of workload management and the health and wellbeing of our members against the demands being made of them.

Before anyone in the senior Aurelius/Working Links team throw their toys out, it’s hardly a surprise that Napo will want to raise these issues as it’s our obligation to do so and the least that our members would expect. For the problem goes well beyond the parameters of the above dispute and is something that local JNCC reps should be raising at CRC and NPS Divisional levels as part of the directive from our AGM to step up the workloads campaign.

As always, we cannot do everything from the centre; and while our members have quite understandably not yet shown their indignation in the same way as POA members recently have by walking off the job, I would caution senior management anywhere of complacency. Just so that I am clear, the law says that Napo must deprecate all forms of unofficial action, so I deprecate it in advance of it spontaneously happening somewhere, someday.

Meanwhile we will be factoring in the workload and wellbeing issue as part of our review of Napo’s draft strategic plan on which I am hoping that tomorrow’s meeting of your National Executive Committee will have some useful input to offer.

AP staffing shambles

E3 has been a tough ask for our NPS members in any number of work streams and despite the no redundancy agreement and 3 year pay protection, there has been and still is, considerable angst among many members about the impact of NOMS ‘more for less’ agenda.

Approved Premises is a clear example of how the race to outsource night waking cover possibly to the likes of trusty contenders such as SERCO and G4S has caused a huge problem in terms of more people than necessary being shoved into scope for TUPE, while Band 2 residential worker opportunities are posted on the Civil Service recruitment page.

While many staff prepare grievances we are trying very hard to engage with NOMS to stop this nonsense. As usual it will be hard to stave off the threat of privatisation without some industrial action, but as always we will respond to any demands for a legal ballot. Meanwhile perhaps a more constructive approach might be an additional annex to the E3 implementation agreement to deal with the unique situation of AP’s that the E3 blueprint failed to address despite the unions warning of problems ahead.


Last week Napo HQ drew members attention to this on the website:-

Contact your local MP with your concerns about the NPS or CRC

Napo East Midlands Branch members are running a campaign to contact their local MPs and raise the key issues for staff in both the NPS and the CRC. Other branches are urged to pick up the campaign in their local area and a model letter has been drafted to assist.

The letter can be used by all members and amended where appropriate. Please add your own personal testimony as this will ensure that you get your MP's attention. Make sure you use your home address, not your office and do not use headed paper. It will only take a few minutes but with enough members sending the letter you can make a real impact.

Dear ……..

I am currently employed by XXX Community Rehabilitation Company / National Probation Service (delete as appropriate) and I am based in the xxx office. I am writing to you to raise my concerns about the current state of probation services in your constituency and the negative impact this is having on me as a member of staff, the service users we work with and the community as a whole. I have outlined below a few of the key issues we are currently facing.

Workloads with the xxx (CRC or NPS) have now become unmanageable. My own caseload stands at xxxx (insert figure and/or hours of work). This is having a direct impact on the service I am able to provide and staff are being forced to cut corners and spend less time with service users as a result. I do not feel we as an organisation can provide the level of service required to actively reduce re-offending rates in our local area or protect the public from potential risk of harm. On a personal level (insert how it is impacting on you in terms of stress).

The ICT systems we have to work with are not fit for purpose and further hamper our attempts to deliver quality services and to work effectively. This is adding the high stress levels and low morale amongst staff and further impact on our workloads as we are forced to duplicate work that has been lost or are unable to work while the systems are inoperable.

Since the part privatisation of probation staff, myself included, have done our utmost to try to make the service work but we now feel that the systematic failures are such that we are reaching a crisis point. Whilst we have raised these issues with our employers, no solutions have yet been found, nearly two years later. A culture of blame is now endemic in the service and staff are expected to deliver a Gold Standard service without the infrastructure and support in place to do so.

I would be most grateful if you could raise this issue as a matter of urgency both in the House of Commons and with the Justice Select Committee who are currently investigating the Transforming Rehabilitation programme.

Yours Sincerely,


  1. Don't forget, the Justice Committee will be giving Sam Gyimah and Michael Spurr a grilling this morning from 9:30am.

    1. With regard to the justice committee, it seems C4 are already focusing on giving Liz Truss a hard day. That's where the buck stops isn't it?



    2. It is over - can be watched here - a transcript is to be published eventually


    3. I disagree 'Getafix' - The buck stops with a supine parliament frightened of media and public response if they do anything that even hints at being reasonable to prisoners and is not too bothered about staff beyond the meaningless platitudes many mouth but do not back up with constructive action.

  2. London MTCNOVO are begining negotiations with napo regarding yet another reorganisation.

    Cohort model is being abandoned and ACO'S will be restructured. 8 ACO'S getting the chop. Exciting isn't it especially as they told us worker bees to be happy of new opportunities TR brings. Wonder if they're remaining positive now?

  3. Hoist, meet petard!

    1. But it's still exciting new fresh opportunities the private sector offer. High case loads less staff and resources. Only light I see is less management.

  4. Sorry to get excited about this but my ACO who did everything possible to achieve the aims of TR pre split. Worship her new new owners post split, said to us at the one team meeting we ever had. It's exciting it's new we see them (service users) less sign post them more under defensible decision making.

    I hope they do not expect us to support them or feel for them. A private company was always going to replace the top with business people. ACO'S are irrelevant yester year sycophants.

  5. I read the above extracts from the GS in isolation & think 'hmmm, that sounds okay.' But placed in context (of long term inaction, protracted silences, flirtation, collusion & agreements with management of NPS, Noms & CRC) it means nowt. Furthermore the GS has the temerity to criticise local JNCC reps by implying they are not doing what they "should" whilst claiming "As always, we cannot do everything from the centre." Oh really!?

  6. I heard it's 7 ACO'S going. Na na na naah na na na naah hey hey good bye. To all those hungry career climbers the glass ceiling has turned to led. Do you feel the dread? No up for anyone anywhere just down. Down trodden into the coal face.

    1. Show some fucking respect. I earned my way to ACO and if I'm forced to go I'll go straight to the papers and business competitors to finally sink this sinking ship. From Angry Assistant Chief Officer

    2. Typical ACO I'm alright Jack. Do it now.

    3. No he is an AACO dont forget the angry

    4. I would be interested to know what you are angry about, 'Angry ACO'. Angry it hasn't worked out in your favour, angry you didn't see it coming, or angry that you have now been shafted the way many of your subordinates have been, and that actually you were never as 'safe' as you thought you were.I have no doubt you rose to ACO grade on merit, just the same as all your colleagues held their roles 'on merit' too.But the system you ushered in didn't protect them and now it isn't protecting you. And I am sorry about that; but surprised you didn't see it coming - the rest of us did.

    5. It would be interesting if Angry ACO did go to the papers now, as suggested by 09:21. The business model is screwed, the service provision is screwed... taking the story to the press would probably be the best response, highlighting all that is wrong & failing. But I suspect the potty-mouthed poster is not an ACO, just a social media monkey causing trouble.

    6. If you are truly an Angry ACO. Do it, disclose. You will feel a burden lifted.

  7. I wouldn't crow so loudly or quickly ! As the culling of ACO's will be just the start. Others will follow. What all need to remember is that if NAPO et al had opposed the sell off of London CP TR would not have happened. This is a fact. No one did anything as it was just CP!. The it will never happen to us ( IE the professional arm of Probation ) was an attitude that the powers to be at the time counted on and of course they were right. So why complain now.

    1. You are so right I have it on good knowledge and facts from the time only one officer of the top table called on the then chair and general secretary to launch a national campaign and fight against the sell off of unpaid London workers and the test of privatisation 2009 10 and was duly brushed off. Not helped because the London also failed to raise a dispute or murmur any dissent and the reason why London said nothing Because it only impacted on PSOs there you are !

  8. Government Minister implies youth justice system is failing next speech he will tell you how he will fix it. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/justice-minister-dr-phillip-lees-speech-at-youth-justice-convention