Thursday, 5 January 2017

Latest From Napo 132

Here we have the latest blog post from the Napo General Secretary:- 

Defend National Bargaining!

Welcome back for the start of a year that surely can be no worse than the last in terms of social discord, incredible turn ups for the political book, and further reductions in the living standards of millions of working people.

In terms of Napo’s huge bargaining agenda we have our fair share of immediate challenges, not least the intention of NOMS and a number of CRC’s to abandon the National Negotiating Council in order to introduce separate employer specific negotiating arrangements.

Since the Napo AGM decision was made to defend national collective bargaining your leadership group have been engaged in numerous exchanges with senior NOMS management where we have maintained our argument that these arrangements were underwritten by the previous Secretary of State before he took the fateful decision to sell of probation. We were hopeful that the new Probation Minister would be sympathetic but the letter from Sonia Crozier before Christmas demonstrates otherwise.

Following some at times fierce verbal exchanges we have decided to ask members to give us a steer in terms of going forward and your reps have received further guidance notes and a presentation to support consultative meetings.

The bottom line is that we need you to vote ‘YES’ to the questions to strengthen our hand. Meanwhile, we are engaging with ACAS next week to explore how they may be able to assist us.

Is Working Links really working?

As members will already be aware, the unions are in a serious dispute with Aurelius/Working Links over staff reductions across their CRC’s and their operational model. We have been engaging through ACAS to try and find a way through, but it’s been tough going to say the least.

Under such circumstances it would be reasonable to expect the employers to be sensitive to the need for new opportunities to be made available to existing staff, yet I hear that a corporate decision has been made to offer current Innovation Wessex (IW) employees the opportunity to be employed by the Working Links group and to work within their Innovation Unit.

The accompanying blurb in the company’s new year message to staff talks about how Innovation Wessex has been a key delivery partner working closely with WL since November 2014 across the 3 CRCs, helping to design the new operating model and also independently quality assessing products and services. It gets scarcely more believable when it is claimed that IW have successfully delivered on their objectives and key performance indicators to help WL deliver their transformation plans.

Like I said earlier, 2017 cannot get any worse than 2016, or can it? If the operational model being introduced by Aurelius/Working Links is a success, then please don’t show our hard pressed members what failure looks like?

Sessionals and the settling of back pay

Further to the discussion between the unions and NOMS at the last NNC meeting I have attached some slides which members may find useful in terms of explaining the approach that has been agreed in order to tackle this long outstanding issue.

TU Engagement Meeting Slides

Below are some further answers from NOMS to a number of questions that Napo raised after feedback from members.

Q: What information has been shared with individual members of staff to explain the settlement?

A: Staff were written to explaining if they were in scope or not, with the formula that would be used to settle (an example attached below). Where staff have queried the settlement we have provided an explanation and a copy of the claim data it was based on - any queries to with full name / employee or NI number

Q: Was the money paid taxable and pensionable?

A: The settlement was subject to tax and NI. (We have raised the question of whether it was pensionable with NOMS and await confirmation).

Q: Have we now settled with all of those eligible?

A: Nearly, but not quite: NOMS are still assessing some employment benefits owed; we understand that there are a few queries to be resolved with a small number of staff; again anyone one who wants to query their entitlement to or the settlement received should use the email above

Q: What QA process if any have we got to check that SSCL have calculated the payments correctly (raised off the back of a broader conversation about TU concerns re SSCL pay accuracy)

A: SSCL did not do these calculations HR Division did - where there are queries we have been told that these have been reviewed and double checked.

Q: Will NOMS release the details of individual settlements?

A: No as this is personal information

Hello to 160 Falcon Road

A slightly earlier (and shorter) blog this week on account of the move from Chivalry Road to our new workplace.

Just like any major relocation I expect there will be some teething problems, but the way in which Napo staff have embraced the whole project and worked so hard to make the best use of space is a great credit to everyone.

Since you will not all be able to come and visit us in the new place we are exploring how we can show you around virtually, and more news will follow, but I expect the move to be a success and it is one that will hopefully be a major boost to our developing recruitment strategy.


Here's that bit about Innovation Wessex referred to above and published as part of WL's latest Justice News:-

Innovation Wessex 

As you are aware, Innovation Wessex (IW) is a key delivery partner for us and they have been working closely with us since November 2014, and across all our CRCs, helping in designing our new operating model and also independently quality assessing our products and services. And over the past two years IW have successfully delivered on their objectives and Key Performance Indicators to help us deliver our transformation plans. 

Now that we are coming to the end of our transformation process we have decided we would like this level of quality, review and innovation within the organisation so will be bringing the services delivered by IW in-house, via a newly formed Innovation Unit. We will be offering current IW employees the opportunity to be employed by the Working Links group and to work within our Innovation Unit. This change will take effect from the beginning of January.


  1. Can someone explain the attraction of Innovation Wessex and why their personnel are being offered jobs by Working Links when WL is cutting its own workforce. Is Innovation Wessex a trojan horse with different conditions of service and do they rely heavily on volunteers?

    1. They are just corrupting process and abusing the terms of the employment of staff as all private companies do better get used to it and the old idea of equalities has long gone.

  2. I admit to finding much of the debate around terms and conditions, new working models, the various actors and players in the fall out of TR confusing. I am sure I am not alone. Maybe someone could do a plain language take on the various perspectives and what each of the different end states might be for all concerned.

    1. You ought to keep up then !

  3. Am at a loss as to why NAPO need to ask members to give them a steer as to how to proceed on the national negotiating issue. Surely it is Crystal clear - we voted at the AGM to continue with national negotiations and surely any trade union GS worth his/her salt ( and who has a proper grasp of trade union history) will have no problem defending this position.This apparent crisis of confidence art the top table is both transparent and alarming and signals a Union that has lost its way. If the current set up isn't fit for purpose; make it work Its what I expect 'my' trade union to do, and what I pay my (not inconsiderable) subs for.

    1. A completely unrealistic and idealist stance which is why Napo is in decline lets see what interest the ballot brings and don't hold your breath for any industrial action It's time probation staff acknowledged their position and looked for the best way forward

    2. Yes Deb but look at the top table what can we expect Mr Berry has obviously abandoned his AGM laurels and has no real capacity just another loud mouthed misplaced politic trot. He knows just enough to strike a match but could never enjoy a real fire. It was his claim to challenge yet nowhere to be seen in the aftermath. London is bleeding this fiasco out which is endorsed by the centre. Any indicative ballot is a back covering tactic no real impetus. Sad.

  4. I disagree this is about Raho, his ego and Sadly him selling out to the pay masters. When was the last time London Chair held a caseload?

  5. I want to know what quality Innovation Wessex has brought to Working Links. We've never seen the operating model and they are still playing about with pilots.