Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Latest From Napo 138

Thanks go to the reader for forwarding the following from London Branch:-

JNCC Report Back 17th February 2017


Since the last branch meeting on the 18th November there have been several scheduled JNCC meetings with LondonCRC (LCRC) although one was cancelled on 3rd January. The frequency of meetings reflects the rapid pace of change and reorganisation within London CRC as well as a willingness on MTCnovo’s part to recognise consultation with the unions at a local level as a high priority. All meetings apart from the last one were Chaired by Helga Swidenbank with the last one being chaired by John Biggin who is a newly appointed Director.

Estates Moves and associated developments

One thing you can rely on in LCRC is constant change with offices closing and staff relocating whilst trying to get the work done. Napo was active, for instance, in intervening in the case of the Hackney office closure and the then proposed move to St John Street (this has happened and we are monitoring progress) to try to minimise the impact on staff, for instance by suggesting that some staff could have been relocated to Cambridge Heath Road, and highlighting ongoing concerns and unanticipated issues.

The LCRC SMT recently visited Birmingham for a model office workshop with a company called Kinnarps who’s tagline is ‘We believe in making life better at work’ Napo has no issue with that particular aspiration. Feel free to check them out at 

The SMT were inspired to do something similar in London and the unions were invited to a presentation Kinnarps. The initial idea is to create a model office at Huntingdon House and then use the learning from this throughout LCRC – watch this space. Early plans include a cafĂ© style reception with free Wi-Fi and modern interviewing facilities. The plans for office space looks modern and of a good standard with different areas to work, meet, have a break and a chat, and even facilities to make a private phone call. We will of course be keen to promote staff welfare and ensure the planned good facilities do not suddenly decrease or mysteriously drop off the plans. Fingers crossed.

Equality and Diversity

Concerns were raised regarding the restructuring of the E&D team that appeared to disappear overnight. The SMT assured unions that they are taking E&D seriously and a new Inclusion Manager is being recruited with union input into the JD – appointment imminent at time of writing.

Napo have continued to work with senior managers in the PDL department regarding the Reasonable Adjustment Policy. SMT recognised in response to concerns raised by Napo and other unions that reassessment of all RA is needed and acknowledged this is a large piece of work involving HR and H&S. LCRC H&S department despite having few administrative resources has somehow managed to complete the Herculean task of completing all the online DSE assessments that identified many staff who require new RAPs. The publication of the new policy is now overdue but we are hope to have this shortly.

HMIP Inspection

Clearly the big news for LCRC was the anticipated critical inspection report from HMI. The themes of concern were caseloads, unseen cases, leadership and management. No real surprises.

To an extent LCRC has already begun to address these concerns by bringing in outside help and listening to employee representatives regarding modifying their operating model and taking other actions as part of a comprehensive Change Plan to try to form an organisation that is more likely to succeed in reducing reoffending (or at the very least capable of carrying out our core work well) in London. Dealing with the aftermath of critical inspections can be difficult for staff who may feel unfairly blamed for faults that might be traced to the decisions of others further up the line.

Change Plan

Whilst there have been concerns about how performance management has been managed other changes such as the return to a more geographical based organisation with local managers, caseload smoothing, staff training, and clearer lines of management and accountability have broadly been welcomed across LCRC. Local and national Napo and other union colleagues have been working with Paul McDowell and his team in respect of what is considered necessary reorganisation and change to advise them and hopefully help ease the impact, on those at the frontline. We welcome the recruitment of more frontline staff.

Concerns were raised at our last branch meeting, regarding both the execution and the perceived transparency of the performance and talent management process, and Napo requested information and an explanation of process. We will continue to pursue the promised information regarding this that was apparently circulated to middle managers but for some reason no one appears to be able to find it or access it. IT glitch? As always, Napo continues to keep the dialogue going, hold senior managers to account for their decisions, and we are seeing some evidence that those in positions to improve matters are now listening and even, in some unexpected cases, showing signs of being positively influenced by probation culture.

Consultations regarding ACOs and Coordinators are concluding with several ACOs opting for early retirement and some failing to get through the process. Therefore, fewer ACO colleagues are left at the end of the process than was anticipated i.e. 7 out of 15 as opposed to an anticipated 10. This potentially leaves 3 vacancies that need to be filled to populate the new structure. Missing information and JD confusion a legacy from LPT did delay matters but has now been resolved. It is anticipated that middle managers are next to experience change as part of the plan. We have been informed that Investors in People has been approved for 2018 as part of LCRCs drive to improve and be the best at reducing reoffending. Another consultation regarding receptionists is ongoing.


Substantial work was done in respect of a new whistle blowing policy was undertaken only for this policy to be abandoned at the last JNCC and replaced by an MTCnovo policy that was presented at the meeting for comment. This was also the case regarding an acceptable usage policy though this is perhaps less controversial. Napo reminded LCRC SMT that whilst we understand that it suits MTCnovo to have a policy that covers all three of its businesses local consultation should still take place with the recognised trade unions. We would like to see an improvement from LCRC in this regard in future particularly if time and effort has been expended to produce a local policy only for this to be abandoned at the 11th hour on advice from MTCnovo. On the other hand, the policies have not benefited from our involvement -that would normally include consideration from experience of practical matters such as how policies might function in real world use. This is of course a lesson the MoJ, and others who have decided not to consult with staff representatives, have sometimes ultimately found costly.

MTCnovo proposed future framework

Last year members attending the Napo’s national AGM voted for a motion to attempt to preserve the agreement made with all employers to continue with collective bargaining arrangements made for a National Negotiating Council post TR. As far as can be gathered most interested parties have now served notice and withdrawn from this national framework agreement (for commercial and other reasons) rendering it effectively obsolete. It is perhaps regrettably indicative of the times that we are in that there appeared to be little appetite for action, other than by a minority of Napo activists. These activists subsequently campaigned for an AGM resolution to preserve the NNC at all costs whilst Napo’s own negotiating committee, National Co- chair, and others campaigned for another motion that had to be withdrawn when the other motion was passed - in accordance with Napo’s national constitution. 

Unfortunately, this motion was not heard by those attending the AGM. It recognised that there was little or no commitment from employers to continue with the NNC arrangements and effectively proposed a distributed model of collective bargaining that was apparently acceptable to most employers. To attempt to reverse the direction of travel of most employers was a highly principled course of action by Napo activists - whose motives were undoubtedly honourable. However, as anticipated employers decided to leave the NNC including the NPS, who had previously walked out, and the other two recognised unions and all parties have now effectively abandoned national negotiations under the NNC in favour of local arrangements.

MTCnovo the owners of our employing company LCRC and Thames Valley CRC (TVCRC) have decided to withdraw from the NNC and this will be effective before their next joint meeting with unions. The JNCC on 07/02/17 was therefore the last under the national agreement and as Napo London Branch has yet to sign a draft local partnership agreement we are effectively in a state of limbo regarding consultation and negotiation with our employers. This means that we are now potentially at risk of being excluded from a position of influence regarding ongoing consultation and negotiation on behalf of members. LCRC/ MTCnovo have made it clear to us that they will not return to the NNC or similar but would prefer to continue to consult with Napo on local matters and are also willing to negotiate matters such as leave, pay, terms and conditions across CRC’s with both Napo London Branch and Thames Valley Branch including the involvement of our national reps with matters that they would normally expect to be involved in negotiating under the previous NNC arrangements - in accordance with a new partnership agreement.

IT Issues

Napo continues to actively engage with employers in respect of IT issues particularly issues with the supply of new kit (a two-week delay!!) and the prompt return of used kit (including AT equipment) when staff leave that can help others. The SMT have taken steps to improve rebuild turnaround and do appear to be making some headway towards improving matters generally by focussing on the bottle necks. The recent phone upgrade seems to have been a smoother process than previous upgrades.

AT Users

Napo continues to highlight the plight of AT users and voice concerns regarding this group who have suffered additional IT hardship and lack of support on top of that suffered by all. Getting AT users recognised/registered is ongoing.

Long service awards

We are hopeful that employers will continue with the policy of recognising those who have stuck with it over the years dedicated to the work we do through thick and thin as part of the new staff engagement plan. Every little bit of recognition counts and more experienced staff can often feel that they are like invisible glue holding things together because that is what you do but receiving little recognition from the organisation for doing so.

Probation Training

London CRC made a shock decision not to continue to participate in the professional training of new and existing probation staff under PQIP. Although we fully understand that LCRC is under pressure because of recent events many staff saw the possibility of training as a probation officer as evidence that working for a CRC offered similar opportunities for career development and enhancement as working in the NPS. After all, at the time leading up to the split CRC staff were told that if anything the CRC would potentially offer increased opportunities for advancement and assured us that we would not be at all disadvantaged regarding training and career development. We were therefore disappointed to see the CRC effectively cancel PQIP training without something tangible in place to replace it. Now, there is no pathway that existing staff in the CRC can take to train as probation officers without leaving LCRC and working for another organisation such as the NPS. Napo believes that LCRC should have persisted with the PQIP until such time that they are able to reassure staff that there was a suitable equivalent training pathway available to them. Discussion is ongoing.

Facility Time

Discussions are ongoing and we are hopeful that a suitable arrangement can be agreed shortly that suits all parties.

David Raho Co-Chair London Branch (CRC)
Karen Malan Vice Chair London Branch (CRC)


  1. I don't mean to detract from this post but has anyone received a cheap A4 paper as your payslip. Not very confidential when compared to previous payslip.

  2. London Napo capitulation now complete weakest acceptance of novo domination. Proud of your breakaway no marks.

    1. 08:03 you are angry but not in touch with reality. Napo in London are acting responsibly to preserve frontline jobs and you would see an altogether different response should they be threatened.. what we don't do in is bandy words around like capitulation. We were fighting privatisation and warning about what was coming long before people woke up and David Raho saw what was coming a lot sooner than most. What are you thinking of fighting MTCnovo with from your armchair in the sticks?

    2. No anger clear vision London are the real losers a union without a clue.

    3. 'The sticks' - daft twat

    4. Who's angry here ? Weakened all areas of napo London branch joke. No sticks fool just watching the union slip off the relevance map. Idiots like you helping the wrong direction.

    5. Dont let the stix comment distract from the debate. Under David Raho Napo Greater London Branch are utterly destroyed. He has colluded with mtc senior managemen speaks writes and acts like a manager and members are boycotting branch meetings.

  3. The only CRC to date to admit that the NPS roles are deemed to be the only "serious" probation roles. As a qualified PO - or a PSO wanting to progress their career - being shafted to a CRC against one's will in 2013 now proves to be the constructive dismissal we always thought it was as there is no professional PO role in the CRC structure.

  4. From article by Richard Johnson, 8/2/14. Sound familiar?

    "When coupled with price competition, it is highly likely that the organisations winning some of these probation contracts will be those that offer the worst terms and conditions for their staff... It is always the case when cost becomes the overriding consideration – when the procurement of a service like offender rehabilitation is treated like the procurement of paperclips.

    Incoming contractors should be required to:
    - Accept nationally set terms and conditions for staff, including the living wage as a minimum (crucial in London);
    - Demonstrate a resourcing strategy that recruits positively (including from disadvantaged groups), grows skills, develops people;
    - Evidence their active participation in development and promotion of professional standards in the sector/industry;
    - Demonstrate proactive, positive partnership with local communities, including recruitment and development of local people.

    Failure to take proper account of the people and communities caught up in public contracting means:
    - Erosion of employment quality, with a loss of motivation and increased turnover;
    - The draining away of experience and skills;
    - More services delivered by staff on lower grades;
    - Reduced investment in staff development;
    - A service that de-professionalises;
    - Disconnection of services from local needs;
    - Deepening of disadvantage in the labour market, such as that experienced by people with disabilities.

    These all in turn mean an erosion of service impact. With a reduction in impact of something like probation, the real value of the service is eroded, so that what seems cheap in the short-term represents a long-term cost."

    1. What's the source for the article please?

    2. I found it Jim. I googled 'Richard Johnson', and the date 8 Feb 2014 and the reference to probation contracts, and a whole load of stuff came up on one site -Richard Johnson Guerilla Wire.(have I spelled that wrong?) There are a series of posts dating from May '13 to June 2016 - all about probation and most interesting, the little I have read. There are 2 articles with that date, both the same, with reference to Chris G, and the added pleasure of his photo! I have forgotten the title and don't want to go back in case I lose this reply!

    3. Jim, url link below. Apologies for delayed reply, been on barista duty painting dragons onto hot frothy milk.

    4. Jim, the post title is 'Grayling's Secret Revolution'.

      (and I didn't spell Guerilla wrong. - if you look at a word long enough, it often looks wrong!) But you don't need to look at CG very long to know he is wrong, very wrong!

  5. "....NAPO's AGM motion to preserve the agreement made with all employers to continue with collective bargaining arrangements made for a NNC post TR"

    ".....little appetite for action other than by a minority of NAPO activists..."

    "However, as anticipated employees decided to leave the favour of local arrangements"

    The principle of continuing collective bargaining (plus other rights that have also been given away or abused) was enshrined in the agreement made by the MoJ when the Probation Trusts were sold to the private companies. This was a binding agreement for the protection of Probation staff.

    At the first sign of the privateers going back on the agreement NAPO should have been straight in there with lawyers to prevent this agreement being broken. It was pretty cast iron and drawn up by the MoJ! To blame members for having little appetite for action is not really applicable. Members had every right to expect NAPO to go for the jugular of the privateers with all lawyers blazing to prevent them blatantly breaking the agreement.

    How NAPO dare call themselves a Union acting on behalf of their membership is outrageous; they should be taking the lead, flexing their union muscles and not crying because the members won't take action. What the heck are union subscriptions for if not to enable the union to do the work of a union?

    Written from my armchair in the sticks as discarded after ten years of service as being surplus to requirements of the CRC. The fact that the CRC is struggling like hell now to cope seems to be immaterial.

    1. Good post many of us understand this position except London branch Napo leader that's a laugh and his pathetic side kick.

    2. When a union as big as Unison voted at their delegate conference to leave NNC Napo were sunk. After Unison, CRC and NPS gave notice and at Napo AGM members were asked to support/ fight to remain in a structure that didn't exist.

    3. Daft ! Unison always get it wrong Napo are the lead union so need to learn to get things right and get unison onside properly no one around skilled enough left to do that these days. The staff protections makes it contractual so where is the napo court action. Saving your money for their pay outs ? How can a union claim to protect yet to date we have not heard of a case being brought? What does that say. Its a collusion nothing else and London are biggest turncoats.

    4. Napo are the lead Union and should get Unison on side properly. Can you expand on this please and tell us how Napo would achieve this? Also Unison have a million members in comparison to Napo six thousand hmmmm suggests Unison & GMB have far more clout

  6. All quiet about the pay balls up where hundreds of NPS staff haven't been paid due to a 'systems issue'

  7. Anonymous @07:28 your pay slip would look even cheaper if they had also buggered your payup and paid you nothing, but never mind, as shared services told me, it's not just happened to me.

  8. Collective bargaining with employers is not ending but rather it is continuing locally. Napo London supported the NNC up until it effectively ceased to exist. The AGM motion last year was already too late as the NNC had already disintegrated as those proposing it knew all too well. Napo members were subsequently asked to participate in an indicative ballot and did not vote in sufficient numbers to take industrial action. We are where we are.

    1. "We are where we are."
      "It is what it is."
      "Let's just deal with what's in front of us."

      And whilst collaborators have been distracting & delaying & misinforming with similar nonsensical garbage the real damage has been happening just around the corner, in the background, out of sight & away from scrutiny.

      The damage is irrepairable in many respects because too many have, whether actively or passively, let it happen. What is important is that we don't just roll over & take it BUT that we identify who, how, when & where - even if it is just a matter of historical clarity when someone reads this blog in the British Museum Reading Rooms in twenty years' time.

      MoJ & the unions drew up a nationally agreed set of terms & conditions. There were some weird clauses & timescales [which I despair at the unions for] but it was nevertheless agreed. It stated that national collective bargaining was part of that agreement. Read Section 9 of the legal document lodged with Parliament by Grayling, with his signature from May 2014. For those who might not realise it, National collective bargaining is not just about what happens in London.

    2. Great post your supported here London pathetic colusion in stupidity. Not one able trade unionist a lot of weak and naieve clingy pos though. useless bunch

  9. Worst day ever in bgsw crc! New laptops are causing mayhem. The working links helpdesk person in Glasgow said 'isnt there an IT person in your office to help you' my reply 'no, working links have got rid of them all'. What a bloody joke!

  10. " we are where we are " ?
    " it is what it is " ?
    " let's just deal with what's in front of us " ? !!!!!
    I think that there are a great many of us that have balloted and battled for greater strength in numbers with regards affirmative action against the travesty of, as Jim puts it quite eloquently as the " omnishambles " of TR !! Unfortunately most were too scared to " rock the boat " others thought that being owned by a " private company " would be better than what " we " had at the time !!!!! what we had at that time were 35 trusts that were performing from good to excellent in reducing re offending and protecting the public - unfortunately a lot of others saw this as an opportunity to sell us up the swanny and make a few quick bucks ( in order to reduce the countries massive financial deficit ) - how wrong they were as most CRC's appear to be significantly failing resulting in bad publicity and lack of public confidence ( highlighted by the reporting of the victims of SFO's by supervised offenders - a prison officer being charged with manslaughter , however we have little detail on this matter , but still a sorry state of affairs ).
    Whenever " we " in Probation / CRC have taken any action in order to stamp our feet a litle it has been planned with management heading to know who was doing what and when - which given my militant days within a strong Union instantly smacks of defeat - it is understood that people have families and are scared of the financial repercussions ( I too have dependents ) but because of this we have been rail roaded from all sides and as far as I can see and are experiencing continue to be - I totally agree that one way or another we have to stand supportive together and prove that TR has been quite possibly one of the biggest political mistakes a Gov ( Mr Grayling et al ) could have made and is actually going to cost the public and this country a great deal of money and reputation.

  11. yawn yawn yawn yawn

    1. Trouble is, we see things using a different criteria - professionalism, genuine efficiency etc. However as far as these corrupt regimes are concerned, the more it costs the better - that's free money straight into the pockets of gangsters and criminals.