Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Latest From Napo 145

Thanks go to the reader for forwarding the following circulated to all London Branch Napo members:-


All NPS members should shortly be receiving an e-consultation on proposals to harmonise several MoJ/NOMS policies, including maternity leave and annual leave for new starters. The proposals are a vast improvement on initial offers and reflect prolonged and difficult negotiations at national level. Napo are recommending the package as a whole. Members are asked to indicate their view by no later than 19th April.

Napo is the only party who have consistently pressed for urgent harmonisation of maternity leave since at split but at various stages this has been prevented. In recent months the hold-up involved the NPS insisting that any improvement in maternity leave should be linked to a cut in annual leave. Napo very forcefully opposed a move we considered to be discriminatory. Our campaign on International Women’s Day highlighted members’ frustration with the NPS, with hundreds posting pictures online saying #maternitymatters. This helped persuade the NPS to drop the link to leave, although the proposals do harmonise leave for new starters.

NPS still had great concerns about their capacity to actually pay staff on maternity leave without several months lead in. This reflects the chaos and fundamental failings in the SSCL arrangements (see more below). Napo however proposed a compromise which was accepted. This means the package takes effect from 3rdSeptember, except for maternity leave which will apply for members with an EWC of 30th April, albeit with NPS stating that they may have difficulty paying people impacted properly. This is an honest, albeit shocking admission fro a major government department but Napo’s view was, unless there are major changes to the SSCL contract, we couldn’t be confident they’d be any better placed to pay people accurately in September. An earlier or backdated application of maternity pay however would have been too chaotic.

Members not receiving an e-consultation should contact Napo directly. New members in the NPS joining between now and 19th April can also join in the consultation.


Hot on the back of the consultation about the NPS harmonisation package, Napo are also submitting their National Probation Pay Claim in the next few days. All members will be sent a copy of the claim so look out for it in your inbox over the coming week.

The claim is the same for all Employers, recognising the same challenges having transferred with a broken pay and grading model. The claim highlights how uncompetitive probation pay has become as a result of both the government’s prolonged pay freeze and the negative impact on pay progression this has disproportionately had in probation. Napo’s view is that these problems must be urgently addressed if probation employers are to have any chance of competing for staff or avoiding huge recruitment and retention challenges.

The recognised unions have been involved in pay reform negotiations with the NPS for some months are Napo remain hopeful that reform supporting the aims of the claim will be possible. The creation of HMPPS (HM Prison and Probation Service), adds further pressure on the NPS, as staff being expected to move into a custodial setting, could be asked to mentor and supervise prison staff in a lower equivalent grade, but who currently earn more than PO’s. We are also conscious however of the huge risk to MTCnovo’s capacity to compete for staff if NPS unilaterally introduces a significant pay gap. The same principle applies regarding softer terms such as maternity leave. For this reason Napo are lobbying government to make sure that the Probation Services Review (which is reviewing CRC contracts) recognises this risk and allows for a price adjustment so that CRCs can compete and members working in CRCs are protected.

To support the claim and the campaign, we will be holding a series of meetings and briefings for members.


Following negotiations involving Representatives from London and Thames Valley Branches and Napo Deputy General Secretary, Dean Rogers, principled agreement has been reached with MTCnovo regarding a new local negotiation and consultation framework.

The model replicates the existing local Joint Consultative Committees for matters subject to local consultation - such as re-organisations, local office matters, etc. Contractual issues, such as pay and leave, will be negotiated across both MTCnovo Contracts via a pan-CRC committee with representatives from both London and MTCnovo unions. Representatives will have support from Napo HQ – in MTCnovo this will be Deputy General Secretary, Dean Rogers (who also directly supports members in RISE).

All of the key concerns about a joint agreement have been covered in the draft and the branch has now been informed that the agreement has been approved by Napo’s Officers and Officials Group – including agreement around legacy contract terms and a dispute mechanism that demonstrates a commitment to resolving disputes before any contractual changes are imposed. Confirmation that the agreement has been approved by Napo’s Officers and Officials Group was sought by local Chairs prior to agreeing to sign. Having now had formal notification that the agreement has been approved we are now ready to go ahead and sign the partnership agreement.


Members in the CRC will be conscious that a payroll error meant that their March pay was delayed. This caused obvious distress and worry to members. Napo were able to make early contact with MTC Novo and we remained in regular contact throughout Friday. MTC Novo who were quick to both recognise the error and start to try and correct it. They also quickly agreed to meet any financial losses (e.g. bank charges, etc) and we will be talking to them further this week to clarify that all payments have been made and to see how any losses can easily and quickly be recovered for members.


Napo has had less success trying to resolve the many different processing failures in NPS HR. These currently include new starters not being paid at all; continuing problems with staff not having the correct PAYE amounts deducted leading to tax issues; staff changing their working pattern (e.g. maternity leave; going part time; increasing their hours) not being paid or taxed correctly; pensions contributions not being correctly collected; staff moving roles being issued with the wrong contracts; etc. We are extremely conscious of the increased risks arising from more staff being moved towards working in HMPPS.

The SSCL contract is clearly another example of the failed, rushed TR sell off. Put bluntly, any shared-service model can only work if all those covered are on shared terms and conditions. The insistence from HM Treasury that the split was dependent upon probation staff remaining in the local government pension scheme alone means this isn’t possible. Failures to address pay issues just exaggerate the differences whilst differences in maternity and leave have further highlighted the problem. Napo has been willing to address harmonisation to try and solve member’s problems but as we close the gaps the scale of the problem becomes ever clearer.

Napo is now of the view that this cannot be fixed without starting over. We are now lobbying Ministers and the Justice Select Committee to call for an enquiry into TR and asking them to call in the SSCL contract.


National Napo suggests……….

‘With so much going on and so much negativity around probation, prisons and the Justice Sector, it is important that we remember why we do what we do, and find new ways of getting together to talk about what our work should be about. Staying positive about probation has never been more important.

With people working so hard finding time to get together isn’t easy and attending old style union meetings can be difficult. Napo recognise this, which is why we are launching a series of informal, social get together after work where people can come with the specific task of saying why they still love probation, share successes and talk about what and how they want to see probation work in the future.’

National Napo wants to pilot these get together type meetings in London and Thames Valley.

We think National Napo’s aspiration is admirable, however, times are tough and the branch execs view at this time is that………

We recognise that London Branch has a diverse membership and many of our members have child care and other spare time commitments (not least recovering from work pressures) that make meeting after work etc difficult. What we suggest, as a first step, is that members start small by getting together with Napo colleagues for lunch (instead of eating at your desks) in order to talk about the issues that most concern you over a cup of tea/coffee and a sandwich etc. As a suggestion you could make this the last Friday of the month and advertise it to colleagues. Recent events have been experienced as disruptive and impacted on staff in many different ways not least with regard to the availability of local office union reps and access to experienced union members who have either moved elsewhere or left probation altogether.

In many work places we now need to rebuild the union networks from the bottom up and we need your help to do so. Getting together in small groups with other Napo members is the start of union activity at a grass roots level (it’s how unions started) and from your activity we hope to build a stronger union. You might, for example, decide to take small but significant decisions to kick-start things in your office such as agreeing re-establish a union notice board to provide a visible union presence or decide to participate in a Napo campaign or discuss professional issues such as training or the IT system. We know that once you get started then there will be no stopping you as there is a lot of energy and ideas out there and by meeting regularly you will gain invaluable support from your union colleagues and know you are doing something constructive.

If you need any advice and support regarding this, please get in touch. The idea is to get together, to get something started, please contact Mail London NAPO, or. nps.LondonNAPO

DEAN ROGERS (Assistant General Secretary)
PATRICIA JOHNSON (NPS Co Chair) David A Raho (CRC Co Chair)


  1. "The proposals are a vast improvement on initial offers and reflect prolonged and difficult negotiations at national level. Napo are recommending the package as a whole... Napo very forcefully opposed a move we considered to be discriminatory... This helped persuade the NPS to drop the link to leave, although the proposals do harmonise leave for new starters... Napo however proposed a compromise which was accepted."

    So napo are victorious. In my world a "victory" would be no loss of any terms & conditions for employees. A compromise is a compromise, which means a loss, a reduction, a change of terms & conditions. Most negotiations involve employers' starting point being several degrees away from their intended goal to allow for compromise.

    Meanwhile CRCs continue to treat staff like shit & I don't hear or see any union appetite to take them on. On the contrary, I watched napo GS tell the JSC that the CRCs need more money. Ian, the CRCs have taken your members' money (EVR), their jobs & their professional status from under your nose.

    1. You are right because the cronies surrounding him have assisted the cull its not him alone.

    2. Its strange that most comments on this blog appear to come from CRC staff, the NPS staff hardly have anything which concerns them at such a basic level as dignity, but they still get full union support. Totally unfair, is it because they are now civil servants. There will be no change to CRC's in the future only that staff will leave and the CRC's can then employ cheaper staff. They would have achieved their goal without paying out a penny.

  2. An ex PO but still following Probation. I must admit claims of success have similarly concerned me too, granted a bit of happy PR is fair enough. When I started as a PO at the start of the century (not that long ago) I was glad of 36 days annual leave plus bank hols. I was glad because the work was very challenging (no need to be explicit here but let's say the content was not your average job) and a regular week or two every few months was a chance to recharge and recover. The salary at the time low by comparison so some trade off having good holiday entitlement seemed fair. I forget when but we all traded 3 days annual leave for a decent pay rise and significantly improved starting salary for newly qualified POs and others such as PSO. It is clear that pay freezes and halting rate of incremental progression has negated the salary increased we traded for. Now new starters get to lose another 3 days annual leave for improved maternity benefits. I am seeing the story more as Lose - Win - Lose - Win - Lose. I can see that in a here and now frame, however, that this is a success. Longer term though?

    1. As an afterthought image if we did not support our Unions then likely lose - lose - lose etc.

    2. Further more concerned that CRCs are becoming the raggedy lower division and neglected as previous comment seems to allude to. Although note the progress highlighted in some quarters. NAPO / Unison need to keep developing this aspect of their member representation but equally employees need to join a Union so that progress can be enhanced.

  3. NB Napo members have until 17th April to vote on the harmonisation package according to Napo website NOT the 19th as per London's letter above

  4. ruition. The covering material explains the reasons why and no doubt you will From Ian's blog "following the recommendation by Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee, members are being asked to accept the package and get your responses in to us by mid-day on 17th April please."

  5. I heard from a source close to Napo in London that they have negotiated a realistic local collective bargaining agreement with the employers MTCnovo. It is said that this is as good if not better than the NNC agreement -that all parties agree wasn't up to the job post TR. There are still a few individuals who would still like to resurrect the failed NNC framework but none of the key players and realists consider this practical or feasible (including all the trade unions involved). As usual it remains to be seen if all parties stick to the new agreement and remain true to its spirit. In LondonCRC this is unlikely to mean a spiral to the bottom (or a significant gap appearing between NPS and CRC pay in the capital) but instead if what is wanted is a professional well motivated probation service provider then it is more likely to result in pay increases to both retain existing staff and attract the best staff from the NPS to current and expected vacancies. Despite what is said by those who make accusations of London-centrism etc it does actually matter what happens regarding probation in London as that is ultimately where those in power do not want to be seen to be failing.

    1. Total rubbish and management propoganda a dogs breakfast for Napo and unison reps selling out.

    2. 00:50 What possible reason would have for seeing the companies that employ probation staff fail? Good people have done their best in difficult circumstances to do what they can for the staff they represent and you dismiss the whole effort as selling out.

    3. 00:50 This is is not rubbish it is in fact a very accurate summary. Unions need to have agreements and a realistic framework to get things done. The only thing parties on both side of the table could agree about the NNC was that it was past its sell by date and no longer fit for the new probation landscape. Only extremely naive persons continue to fight for what is long gone.

      What worries me most at present are NPS who are behaving like subjects in Jane Elliot's Blue eyes brown eyes exercise i.e. they are being told they are now superior to their CRC colleagues because they manage high risk cases. The only way this can be addressed is to pay CRC staff more and insist on higher qualifications for jobs equivalent jobs in the NPS. Only when CRCs are attracting staff from the NPS to join the CRCs will they be treated as equals. If the CRCs continue to pay peanuts and overwork diminishing numbers of staff they will simply be seen as the grunts whilst the NPS will increasingly see themselves as some kind of elite not subject to the hire and fire culture in the CRCs

    4. Totally agree nps forget that it so easily could have been them. Crc staff were on a hiding to nothing from the start when different terms and conditions were agreed. Never have I been so demoralised.

    5. Staff in CRCs have done well to contain their anger regarding being shafted by TR and forced by circumstances to work for the private sector and companies they would never have applied to work for. I remember at the very start staff transferred to the NPS were being described as 'top' probation staff whilst those transferred to the CRC were presumably the dross. CRC staff have faced far more change and upheaval than those who by happen stance were transferred to the public sector. Some in the NPS have the gall to say that they have in some way suffered in similar ways to CRC staff. You don't see anyone in a hurry to leave NPS for CRCs though and those managers who chose the CRC saying it would provide opportunities for innovation have mostly now left often with lucrative packages and found jobs elsewhere on the back of their probation Trust experience rather than their career damaging experience in the CRC. CRC staff do not feel like 2nd Class probation staff but rather like those booted from 2nd Class to a newly created 3rd Class on the orders of thugs in 1st Class to make room for their new best mates in the prison probation empire. Meanwhile in 3rd Class we are forced to stand or crawl in our own waste in cattle trucks knowing that our former colleagues are getting the best of everything whilst we are on our way to a sticky end. We did not choose this and if the NPS cared they would be taking industrial action to protest at our treatment instead of thanking their lucky stars that they landed the right side of the fence. More than any other factor it has been the passive acceptance and consistent complacency of our former colleagues that made TR a reality and sealed our fate within the CRC.

    6. What was it they said at Nuremburg? 'We were only following orders. No one could have stopped them and if we had tried we might have ended up in the CRC too'

    7. Agree with both of you.I was shafted into CRC out of spite from the the chief.I left before the French caterers took over-No package involved-and left after 38 years in Probation to take up another job.For me it was about taking back some control.The chief?I believe she is hidden in an MOJ backroom having been promised the Earth for being a good girl.

    8. Anon 12:35 what an excellent post, I have always been vocal in saying that those who were shafted into CRC's were doomed, at the time I asked staff from NPS for support to stop this carnage but no one wanted to stand up and be counted. And now you hear from non of them on this blog, they care nothing for their colleagues who they had worked with for years. I always thought that people who worked for the probation service were those that stood up to injustices but I was wrong.

  6. What about paternity leave? This is sexist!

  7. If the current pay and pay scales are so disproportionate, why do bloody NAPO keep colluding with the paymasters? Why don't you get some backbone and start standing up them. They continually breach the contracts they have provided us with. What do NAPO do? Allow them to do it!! FFS... When will the members start saying NO to the proposals that give on one hand and TAKE AWAY TERMS AND CONDITIONS with the other. Why should they take away more leave days?

    Remember they took 3 days leave before, negotiated as part of a pay deal. The pay deal was shelved and 3 days lost. Charlatans the lot of em

    1. NPS member of staff here. Just wanted to make a couple of comments on the post made by 12:35 & 01:01. In our area NPS staff did strike following the split, unfortunately many members CRC and NPS decided that losing a couple of days pay wasn't worth it and the strike was not well supported or effective. Agree the formula for deciding where staff went was seriously flawed and made up on the back of a fag packet. It certainly wasn't a 70/30 split more like 60/40 and NPS still haven't got enough staff. I seem to recall as a Napo member being asked to vote on whether I would be prepared to surrender 3-days leave for £1000 I voted no but other members said yes please and leave was reduced. Probation staff should join a union and start standing up for what they want! We are stronger United.