Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Noms Plan to Steal Leave

This was part of last weeks blog by Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary:-
International Women's day

Is next Wednesday 8th March, and Katie Lomas and Sarah Friday have written out to Branches to encourage lunchtime gatherings of members with photo ops to highlight the disgraceful scenario in which NOMS are seeking to only implement the long outstanding Maternity policy in return for some other considerably detrimental policies, annual leave reduction being one.

We have made it inescapably clear that this is unacceptable. The fact is that members were mis-sold the 2008 pay deal by NOMS on the basis of giving up leave for faster pay progression and we all know how that fell foul of the coalition inspired pay freeze of 2010 which has continued up to now. This is one of those 'lines in the sand' that emerges from time to time, and which I would be pretty confident of securing an industrial action mandate on from members.

So lets get out in force on Wednesday and show what we think of this disingenuous tactic. Napo agreed the maternity policy ages ago and we say that it must be implemented as a 'stand alone' independent of anything else.

This is a Napo press release:-

Probation Union Challenges Employer Proposals for Maternity Leave on International Women’s Day

National Probation Service plans to offer improved maternity leave in exchange for staff giving up some of their annual leave has been branded unacceptable and potentially discriminatory by probation union Napo.

The proposal will see NPS staff – 70% of whom are women – forced to exchange three days annual leave in order for their maternity and other family friendly policies to be harmonised with other civil servants working for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

Sarah Friday, Napo National Official and lead for WiN (Women in Napo) said of the changes: “Proposing to harmonise this key policy under these terms is made all the more galling to staff working in the NPS as the senior leadership is predominantly women including the Director, Minister and Head of HR. The lack of progress on this issue is frustrating to staff who feel they are being treated unfairly in comparison with NOMS and other civil service colleagues.”

To press the issue with NOMS, on International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8 March) Napo will be asking its members and supporters to tweet their support for the Napo campaign for equal rights using the hashtag #MaternityRightsMatter

Notes to Editors:

In 2014 following the abolition of Probation Trusts all staff transferred to either the NPS (National Probation Service) or one of the CRCs (Community Rehabilitation Companies). Staff transferred to the NPS have had to adopt Civil Service policies, some which are more restrictive, but are not yet allowed to benefit from the more generous Civil Service Maternity/shared parental leave pay. Since the NPS was formed Napo negotiators have raised this issue - and perhaps not surprisingly NOMS haven’t been swift to act. The situation was made worse in 2015 when, shortly before the General Election, the Government launched improved paternity provisions and the right to shared maternity leave, saying they wanted to be standard bearers for better ways of working.

This is on Facebook:- 

Share parental leave pay with Probation!

Campaign on International Women’s Day – Wednesday 8 March

In 2014 following the abolition of Probation Trusts staff transferred to either the NPS (National Probation Service) or one of the CRCs (Community Rehabilitation Companies). Staff in the NPS have had to adopt Civil Service policies but are not yet allowed to benefit from the more generous Civil Service Maternity/shared parental leave pay. Since the NPS was formed Napo negotiators have raised this issue - and perhaps not surprisingly NOMS haven’t been swift to act.

What is Napo asking members to do to assist in getting this policy implemented?

On lunchtime of Wednesday 8th March we are asking members and supporters to go out at lunchtime and take a photo holding the attached hashtag sign. The more people the better. Post your pictures on Twitter using the following hashtag:


We will use this as part of Napo’s campaign to press the point with the employers - along with renewed negotiation efforts.

What is shared parental leave pay?

This is the pay that staff receive when they are sharing their parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. It is paid at the same rate as maternity pay but can now be shared between two parents. Civil Service staff (for example prison staff) are offered up to 26 weeks at their full pay rate (subject to length of service qualifications). For illustration the current NNC agreement that applies to Probation staff offers maternity pay at 9/10 salary for 6 weeks followed by ½ salary for 12 weeks (subject to length of service qualifications).

What about CRCs and PBNI?

The principle Napo is seeking to implement is that what applies to one Probation employer should be replicated by others. Napo will seek to negotiate the same with all Probation employers and we will have a better chance of success once NOMS applies the policy to the NPS as no other employer will wish to risk losing staff on the basis of better pay related conditions with another employer.

What is International Women’s Day?

Since the early 20th Century socialists and trade unionists have celebrated International Women’s Day, which takes place annually on 8 March.

The day is closely linked to women and work, so much so that it was originally known as International Working Women’s Day. Additionally the day was also closely linked with the demand of votes for women. In 1914 there was a march in London in support of women's suffrage and Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.

Celebrate International Women’s Day, 8 March, by campaigning for your rights!

A comment left earlier today:-

I am alerted via the NAPO site (surprisingly) that the latest NOMS wheeze is to go after my annual leave in return for better maternity/paternity leave. Apparently the two issues don't conform with other parts of the civil service. Well neither does the pension but that isn't mentioned. They stole a chunk of my leave in return for the last pay and reward review on the promise of reasonably paced pay progression. Yet here I sit nine years later having been a qualified PO for 13 years and only half way up Band 4. I am paid around £4000 a year (gross) less than I should be and have been for some time. Where are the efforts to "harmonise" that? Whilst I would be happy to see younger colleagues benefit from much better CS T&C's for parental leave, my childbearing years are long gone. Am I to be further discriminated against because of my age by having more precious leave taken from me? 

NAPO has some sort of grand plan to secure a new pay and reward deal from NOMS/HMPPS. There seems little chance of success there thanks to the ever tightening purse strings at the Treasury. The Tories need to save what they can to buy their way out of the EU and/or bribe those who continue to resist BREXIT. Truss doesn't seem to know we exist, or if she does she has no clue what we do. She will be happy therefore to go along with May's previously expressed desire to hand everything (including Probation) over to Police and Crime Commissioners. What price Terms and Conditions then. A patchwork of deals around the country depending on the priorities of the PCC? 

Whilst I lament the future for salaries, terms and conditions in the NPS, I weep for former colleagues shafted into the CRC's. The minute they can pay what they want they will. There will be headline grabbing rises for a small bunch of ex probation middle managers to run the show but the majority of practitioners will be young predominantly female psychology graduates happy to get a 20k gig straight out of university. The hollow words of Grayling and his minions about how professionalism within CRC's would be valued will be seen for the lies that they were. But will anyone take notice or even care? Probably not. In any other critical public service the outcry would be palpable. Look at the current coverage of prisons. 

But for us, a combination of a supine workforce and unions either led by egos or who see Probation as an irrelevance means that we bend over and take whatever is dished out to us time after time. Make the best out of what we're given I hear said over and over. Sadly, it increasingly looks like that's all we can do.


  1. I expect that Truss and Co will be collectively shitting themselves at the prospect of a couple of dozen photos on Twitter advising that Maternity Rights Matter. The prospect of an imminent capitulation by the employers are palpable. All bets are off. Perhaps we could also try photos with #impeachtrump or #renationaliseprobation to right the wrongs of the world. If only. Industrial action is an impossibility in the NPS. The turnout for the last indicative ballot was so low NAPO was too embarrassed to publish the results. How about a refocused campaign with a snappy title like "You can fuck off if you think you're stealing any more of my holidays you heartless bastards".

  2. The NPS are side lining Snr Probation Officers, last heard in Teams of 3/4 to investigate serious further offences. There are so many numbers of these to justify this shift since the privatisation of Probation Services. There is no transparency here and the Government will never admit the breakdown in supervision arrangements for offenders is due to the need to save money to pay shareholders of C.R.Cs. The rise in serious crime by known offenders committing S.F.Os will only increase while boxes are ticked instead of face to face contact, structured support mechanisms and strict monitoring. All of this provided pre 2014 by a Gold service by trained, vetted and qualified staff without profit target considerations. A savvy journalist would make a name for themselves and blow this filth wide open

  3. "But for us, a combination of a supine workforce and unions either led by egos or [those] who see Probation as an irrelevance means that we bend over and take whatever is dished out to us time after time. Make the best out of what we're given I hear said over and over. Sadly, it increasingly looks like that's all we can do."

    Ne'er a truer word was uttered.

    NPS & CRC - Grab yer ankles, bite down; here we go again!!!

    1. I work for the CRC and have no ankles left, all chewed up, the only way for me is to get out. The review in April will make no changes, all the truths will be covered up.

  4. And why are they doing this now ??? its no coincidence its as soon as they left the national collective bargaining table or I should say as soon as NAPO and UNISON agreed that was ok. So....members out there who wanted to give up national collective make your bed the rest is obvious

    1. Raho you twerp are you reading and learning and that sidekick of your the schoolboy.

    2. Shapeless as Napo and Unison are (and they clearly are) 18:41 the fact is that NOMS and the CRC's declared UDI from NNC so there was nothing they could do. The employers should know however, that they are on the train to shitsville by abandoning national collective bargaining. The quality of service(s) will inevitably decline to such a level that a further root and branch review will be needed to sort out the mess. The awful truth is that mess equals more unecessary victims and more ruined careers. And all to prove Grayling is an ideologically driven idiot. I could've told them that.

    3. 19:21 David Raho did make the decision to leave the NNC. As 20:56 states it was NOMS and the CRC's that declared UDI. Both GMB and UNISON were heading for the door before Napo. He subsequently pointed out that without a functioning negotiating mechanism for collective bargaining either national or local then what remained was essentially unfit for purpose. What was needed was a system of collective bargaining suited to dealing with the reality of the present rather fighting for a system that no longer existed or exists. He observed that the NNC had irretrievably collapsed (an unpopular truth) apparently long before anyone else considered this to be significant and accurately predicted the mess that could occur if no local negotiations took place in order for strong partnership agreements to be formulated. The fact is that the NNC was doomed to disintegrate as soon as the CRCs and NPS were created and this should have been realised rather than relying on an agreement that did not reflect the changed reality. No way were the unions ever capable of dealing with the different types of organisations, widely differing operational models and corporate DNA and interests concerned. Only a genuine Twerp would ignore reality and blame those who saw the writing on the wall whilst others were sitting back waiting for the ink to dry on an agreement that was doomed from the start.

    4. Another daft London centric load of WRONG . Raho and cronies in the weak and ineffective cowards branch of the Napo union for all POs in the NPS sod the rest but take their money . London should have obeyed the rules at AGM that we put forward to the supreme decision body. Colluding with Napo officials to creep out will have impacted on all others as the management follow the London naivety. Cowardly move from Raho not foresight at all. You should have fought to start then capitalised on the protections If you could not sustain a proper defence then at least you tried. However you never so no doubt some other branch will pick up that mantle as the time comes.

    5. 00:34 There was no mandate from the membership for the action you describe and until there is then its futile. In the areas outside London support for action to save the NNC was derisory with some of the lowest responses the farther you get from the capital. So let's not have all this London centric nonsense The battle such as it was was lost before matters reached AGM as outlined in the paper from the negotiating committee. The only Londoner involved in the negotiating committee was a former London Chair who resigned from it apparently recognising it was ineffective. The AGM resolution that was heard amounted to a waste of time and a lot of hot air. We would have been better served as a union by looking at the situation as it was rather than how we would have liked it to be in an ideal world where unions wielded real power and could call the shots. In the indicative ballot members gave a clear indication that they were not prepared to go to bat for the defunct and ineffective NNC and certainly not prepared to give up their hard earned cash. It is no secret that the NNC was so ineffective that most of the real business such as pay negotiation was mainly discussed and agreed by email rather than around the table, a single table that is often referred to but is as mythical as the one in Arthurian legend. At least in the legends the knights turn up unlike the NNC where all but a few diehards were even bothering to turn up to the meetings. These were described by most occasional participants, including those on the union side, as ineffectual and a complete and utter waste of everybody's time. Everyone supports collective bargaining but not on a national basis as this goes against the commercial reality for the CRCs and against government policy in the case of the NPS. No one wanted to sit in the same room as anybody else and it got so bad they weren't even bothering to book a next meeting room. This is what you say you want to re-establish? Are you having a laugh?

      Talk of supreme decision making body is also nonsense unless it has the support of the wider membership which we now know it did not.

      All the unions involved in the NNC had no real wish to defend it except a very vocal minority of hard core activists in Napo who like Don Quixote tilting at windmills attempting to turn back time to the 1970s sought unsuccessfully to put a spanner in the works in the name of high principles and campaign for something that no longer existed. They can be seen if you look hard enough waving flags and selling papers at every demo they can get to. They are all nice well meaning people but couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag in the boardroom where it really counts.

    6. Nice post means well but total crap. You clearly have a lot to say none of it relevant. Describing others in that way hopefuls of action indicates your own real lack of knowledge. It is painfully limited if you had real understanding of the issues then appropriate court action would have been so obvious. Raho took the easy cowardly side door and was helped by the schoolboy as if he did well. If you understood the contracts you would have campaigned for a fight. As I say you so obviously do not understand the bigger picture AT ALL. Knights and round tables don Quixote save all that crap for your evening wine chees and crackers literary classes snobs and dims meetings.

    7. 18:55 You clearly have zero understanding of the reality of corporate behaviour in action. we might not like it but it is here and we have to work for these companies and deal with it or leave. Unlike you I have actually read the agreements and as a legally trained person I understand them quite well thanks. They allow any party to serve notice to leave the NNC perfectly legitimately without breaking any law. Noone can force them to play the game one way and not another if that is what they choose to do. They are private companies and they can do whatever they like as long as it is legal even if we do not agree with it. What you are saying is we should have fought to reestablish a new NNC (the old one died some time ago) but your fellow members -not just one leader who appears to be in touch with reality- did not support you because you are living in the past. You call people you do not know cowards but it is ludicrous to bravely fight for something that no longer exists or functions. Do yourself a big favour and get over it and move on.

    8. Legally trained that is a hoot. If you had any real idea you would have made the links to a range of TUPE protections the Adjusted and restated contractual information and some how really understood the legal context of national collective agreements and their status. The COSOP agreement was also there to substitute for the TUPE and in case that failed the alternate better situation becomes applicable. No testing rigorously and to pre determine a cowardly surrender destroys all hope and faith in members needs and desires to see a union so called elected leader stand and fight for their terms. Clearly you are a management stooge foolish naïve ignorant and sold out at the first opportunity . get confidence get knowledge get an agenda and defend the terms . Your claims as you describe companies can do as they like ? Oh no they cant that's why skilful capable take cases and win because employers cant do what they like. Losers talk like you get lost as soon as you can, do our members a real favour management spokes person.

    9. TUPE reform 31/01/14 - totally in favour of the employers !! pretty much setting up private companies (CRC's in mind , however looks in a no one is safe ) to be able to ride rough shot over employees at some point due to varying " economic " reasons and other blah blah reasons to change employees terms and conditions

    10. Er no not even close.

      Just suppose as a thought experiment I was speaking as a senior manager from one of these companies you like to vilify.

      'This is all very entertaining but won't achieve anything of substance. Top corporate and government lawyers have looked at the national situation and informed us we can walk away with no serious risk or repercussions. Had probation employees not abandoned their unions in droves, educated themselves about the new arrangements, and supported their representatives solidly, then they would have had a chance of influencing some matters. Instead your infighting merely served our ends not yours and your feeble efforts were easily disrupted. In short we were able to run rings around you precisely because of your ignorance of what is now our business. You are the least of our worries. You had/have several good strategists but you have consistently ignored them or attacked them. Surely you can see that this was shortsighted. I had some sympathy initially, as did some of my colleagues in other CRCs, but not even we are sure what you are fighting for now. You say you are fighting against us but even if one of us fails you must realise some other company will simply replace us with a far more radical plan. Be careful what you wish for. There are those who would run probation who might see no value in existing staff and simply slash jobs until all they have left are those who agree with them then employ those from elsewhere. Nothing in any contract says we have to retain existing staff no matter what and prohibits recruiting those who want to do things our way. There is no professional body like the BMA for us to contend with. Your activists are charming but toothless. You have weakened and undermined those who might have been smart enough to play us at our own game and had any credibility. Thanks for that.' Now listen to yourself and consider whether or not I am taking what you say seriously.

    11. 23:10 This is as speculative and accepting you may well be a manger from the private structure. I do not think they have been attacked that much at all but if what you read hurts then there is some messaging getting through that crime is not for profit. In that why come into people management who ideologically could not share your profit driven goals. I agree with you over the strategy and delivery of the message Napo as the single most active union has elected the worst and least able people and they are not clear on what they had to do let alone what could have been early to slow the mess we are all in including greedy cooperation who have also felt shafted as the rates have fallen. No excuse you should have forecast properly. You are right though all the panic to accept Severence get around offers was a huge mistake by the foolish we in the unions are well support by cowards and the ignorant just look at London and their pull out both in one leadership. However, you will realise your not home by a long way nor threatening dismissals on mass and offering new contracts frightens many of us. We welcome your final few tactics as we in the know have plenty more left in the armoury just yet and its not all over by a long way. Your comments are respected here though at least you gave an insight and note to the weak and pathetic memberships who did exactly as you wanted severance themselves. Yes I get it you don't take the unions seriously nor do I these days.

    12. 21.10 you have no credibility. Legally trained? In what? Writing wills, house conveyancing? You clearly know nothing about employment law. You state that employers can do anything they like. If so, why do we have employment tribunals, county courts and employment appeal tribunals to name but a few.

    13. Better unions than NAPO with strong and informed leadership have dealt with these very same issues when parts of their membership have been faced with privatisation. I'm not aware of any trade union handing over hard won national collective bargaining on a plate for the employer to rub their hands with glee!
      So individuals didn't like meeting with each other? Then they needed to grow up and move over. No wonder the membership are confused. Where is the leadership in this? Do they care?

  5. "The fact is that members were mis-sold the 2008 pay deal by NOMS..."

    A deal recommended by the unions, I seem to recall. I can now apply for compensation over mis-selling of PPI, so maybe its time to make a claim for 9 years' worth of mis-sold leave?

  6. "NAPO the probation service union has agreed a two-year deal giving 2% in 2008-09 and 2.3% for 2009-10. The deal brings to an end two parallel pay disputes with the government over pay progression and conditions.

    “We stood our ground and got as good a deal as we could have hoped for,” said Jonathan Ledger, Napo general secretary. Individual rises will be 5% or above, because of a 3% increment this year as a result of modernised pay bands."

  7. 23 Apr 2008, John McDonnel in Hansard:

    "NAPO members are back in pay talks with their employers. The Government have set an overall 2 per cent. pay limit on public sector pay, but within the probation service the employers seem to want to go even further, by inflicting pay reductions. The employers are now looking, before any process of negotiation that will lead towards a pay offer, at undermining the conditions that NAPO workers have enjoyed regarding flexible working and harmonisation of working hours, and they are also looking at assaults on sickness and other forms of working condition agreements. That all impinges upon the morale of the probation officers themselves, who are struggling to do a good job in very difficult circumstances."

  8. "When one considers the reoffending rates, it is madness to keep on reinforcing the problem. It is essential that we devote more time to reducing the reoffending rate because if we do so, we can spend less money on prisons, rather than building our way out of a problem. We will not build our way out of the problem in the long term, and I urge the Government to try to think more strategically, instead of constantly backing and filling the early release from custody on licence system."

    Any thoughts on who said this & when?

    1. More from same person during same debate:

      "As a Member of Parliament, a part-time judge and the shadow Minister for Justice dealing with my party’s policies on prisons, I am acutely aware of the huge damage that is done to crime victims, both physically and economically. Criminals cost the country around £11 billion a year. I want to capture that money and reinvest it in better rehabilitation, and we will get that if we stop overcrowding in prisons. No one can be rehabilitated in an overcrowded prison. Prison officers... cannot work in overcrowded conditions."

      It was Tory MP Edward Garnier, barrister & occasional Recorder, in 2008 during the debate secured by Elffyn Llwydd.

      My point?

      Its the same earnest debate, year after year, regardless of government. Even now post-TR its the same debate, it just depends which side of the chamber you sit as to which polarity you have. The numbers aren't very different either.

    2. From the Lords, Hansard 21 Oct 1993 - same debate!

      "Lord Allen of Abbeydale - My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, made it clear that his Strangeways inquiry had persuaded him that overcrowding is the most corrosive influence on the prison system and that an overcrowded prison is an unstable637 prison. If the prison population continues to rise sharply—as the Government seem to wish—and the new prisons referred to by the Home Secretary are still years and years away, how will the Government cope with serious overcrowding, with all that that involves including, I am afraid, the possibility of further serious disturbances?

      Earl Ferrers - My Lords, I do not believe that anyone would disagree that overcrowding is bad, corrosive and destabilising. That is why we have opened 12 prisons and provided 8,788 extra places since 1991. It is also why we intend to build a further six prisons. The purpose is to try to avoid the very problems to which the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, referred.

      Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone - My Lords, should we not recall that overcrowding in prisons is not simply a function of the length of sentences imposed but of the conviction rate in contested cases? Is it not a fact that since about 1970 the conviction rate in contested cases in England and Wales has fallen from about 70 per cent. to about 40 per cent.?

      Earl Ferrers - My Lords, my noble and learned friend is quite right. These are not matters which are capable of easy solution. Nobody has to go to prison if they do not misbehave. Prison ought to be available to remove people from society when they have done particularly bad things in order to protect the ordinary individual. It is not the Government's job to send people to prison. That is the job of the courts. But to make sure that sufficient prison places are available when the courts decide to do so.

      Lord Harris of Greenwich - My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that the Prison Governors' Association has already drawn attention to its serious anxieties about overcrowding in the prison system? Is he aware that one consequence of overcrowding is likely to be once again sending prisoners to be housed in police cells? Does he accept that there is no point in Ministers saying that they want to have more policemen on the beat if hundreds of police officers are at risk of once again having to act as gaolers because of overcrowding in the prison system?..."

  9. I would be asking the fundamental question of whether it is even lawful for NPS to harmonise contracts. Is there a business case that fits the legal test under employment regs ? it is unlawful to harmonise contracts less favourably because of a TUPE transfer. I would be asking NPS to provide the reason.

    1. Was it a TUPE transfer to NPS? It certainly wasn't to CRCs.

  10. Whilst public sector workers continue to enjoy their pay freeze, good to hear that the struggling ex-chancellor George Osborne has just secured a £13,500 a day job with BlackRock (£650,00 a year for 4 days/month). That will nicely supplement his woeful £76,000 MP salary - and any other pocket money he might earn from delivering papers, washing cars, etc. Well done. Don't forget to pay your Nat Ins contributions!!

  11. Read the TUPE reform of 31/01/2014 !!!

  12. ACAS

    The new regulations now reflect a recent court decision about collective agreements which pass to the incoming employer. This is referred to as the “static approach” and the changes mean the incoming employer is:
    ● still bound by the collective agreement in force at the time of transfer, but
    ● no longer bound by changes negotiated and agreed by the outgoing employer after the date of transfer where the incoming employer is not a party to the process.

    For example -
    Carole’s Cleaning bought a part of John’s Cleaning. There is a collective agreement in place at John’s Cleaning under which a trade union is recognised and has bargaining rights for pay. Four months after the transfer, John’s Cleaning reach agreement with the trade union for a 3% pay increase.

    Under the old rules -
    Depending on the terms of the employees’ contracts, Carole’s Cleaning might have been obliged to increase the pay of the ex John’s Cleaning employees by 3%.

    Under the new rules -
    Carole’s cleaning was not a party to the process so will not be obliged to increase the pay of the ex John’s Cleaning employees.

    These changes apply to TUPE transfers which take place on or after 31 January 2014.

    But was transfer to NPS a TUPE transfer?

    1. Whichever is the better made clear in the staff transfer agreement so it does not matter