Saturday, 1 April 2017

Morale in the CRCs

On top of everything else, it's difficult to imagine what it must feel like not to get paid on time, but this is the nightmare currently being suffered by colleagues working for the London CRC. I gather feelings ran so high yesterday that there was widespread talk of a mass walk-out and certainly there was much anger expressed on Facebook:-
"No pay for me either. They work us like dogs each month meeting this target and that target and don't even have the decency to pay us. Shameful disgusting."
"I can't even tell you how angry I am. Every month this year I have been fighting with payroll. If not for me, for my staff."
"Oh shit, I went out and did weekly shop and bought xxxxxx today...... that means I'm overdrawn. I'm sending the overdraft fee to CRC. No way I'm paying when it wasn't my fault."


Napo has been notified by MTC Novo that wage payments have been delayed. We understand they are still seeking to identify the source of the problem and get this addressed and have undertaken to notify staff later today with an update.

Napo has formally responded to MTC Novo via Amanda Jackson. Our response has asked MTC to afford reassurance to staff as soon as possible that full support will be given to anyone who suffers any detriment as a consequence of the late payment, such as meeting any additional bank charges.

Napo’s experience from supporting members in similar situations elsewhere has been that banks and building societies are much more understanding if organisations fail to pay staff than may have historically been the case. We would also expect the situation to be resolved reasonably quickly.

Once the payments have been made we will of course be seeking a full explanation from MTC Novo and reassurance that this is not going to be repeated.

We hope this offers reassurance. Look out for further Napo updates.

Yours sincerely,

Dean Rogers
Assistant General Secretary, Napo


From: Xxxxx, Xxxxx On Behalf Of Swidenbank, Helga
Sent: 31 March 2017 14:24
Subject: March payroll - important update
Importance: High

Dear colleagues 

March 2017 Payroll 

It came to my attention early this morning that London CRC staff did not receive salary payments today as anticipated. Due to a technical error, the timing of London CRC’s March salary payments are now one working day late; that is Monday 3 April 2017. 

I am very aware of the strain this places on individuals and your personal finances. My priority has been to minimise this and to ensure that your salaries land into your accounts today. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, it is now clear will not be able to achieve that outcome. 

To this end, I have had an assurance from MTCnovo that any direct debit charges or such like will be reimbursed. Further information about how to do this will be provided to you on Monday. 

We recognise that some colleagues may need emergency loans to bridge financial commitments, therefore, we are providing a facility to allow for this. If you would like to use this facility, please contact the HR helpdesk on 01XXX XXXXXX before 4.30 pm today. They are standing by to help and offer advice. If you call the HR helpdesk after this time, you will be given an alternative number to call until 8pm today. 

Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience or anxiety this may have caused you or your families.


David Raho writing on Facebook:-

Thank you Xxxxxx there were a lot of Napo people working together today to advise members, negotiate a support, and to explain to employers difficulties that have been caused and impress upon them the urgency of sorting matters out as expeditiously as possible. I understand that the problem is being addressed and every effort is being made by the employers to ensure that pay will only be one working day late.

Obviously this situation was unanticipated and National Napo responded swiftly when contacted escalating matters appropriately as did members of the branch executive who sprang into action doing their bit. Both myself and Dean Rogers are on annual leave (I'm in Scotland) however the matter received our full attention as an urgent priority and everything else was put to one side no matter what else we were doing or had planned.

In situations like this I am very glad that I am in a union and I have such reliable union colleagues to call upon who I know will step in and support their colleagues (whether members or not) but of course members will get ongoing assistance and support whereas non member colleagues cannot expect union assistance.

There are actually lots of things that might go wrong that usually happen fairly reliably such as payment. As union representatives we work with employers to try to head them off before they become a bigger problem.


What about other CRCs?

Apologies, but I need to comment on Rob Allen's piece yesterday and I want him to provide evidence to support the 'ray of light' coming from DTV CRC, particularly the high level of staff morale. 

He shouldn't believe the myth peddled by senior management to NOMs and our board of directors, that the operational model was developed by staff. I took part in a workstream and although some of the suggestions and solutions were carried forward, this was mainly a patronising exercise for the benefit of the NOMS commissioning team. 

The Trust introduced community hubs in 2011, our clients reported there when they were deemed ready to do so. Due to a refusal to recruit and an agenda to undermine staff, the hubs were virtually run by volunteers with a checklist and did not deliver the one-stop service which was planned. As a result of TR, the CRC withdrew from all of the offices almost immediately and all of our clients report to hubs, whatever the need or risk. They are based in churches and community centres, some are OK, but the fundamental basis of rehabilitation assisted by the one to one relationship that is supported in desistence theory, is not possible. Conversations are restricted, when you are sat a couple of feet away from another client. 

The HMIP report last August indicated serious concerns about the effectiveness of the model and the lack of supervision of staff due to the reduction in line managers, only four for the whole area. Morale was thought to be high, but staff were briefed well and only a small number were spoken to. We are managed by self-serving directors and staff stay at home and work on their laptops, teams are fragmented and line managers are struggling to cope. Fear has been engendered by the underhand way managers who care about staff and the service we deliver are being gradually picked off. 

Worryingly, factual evidence from the NPS court team reports embarrassing moments in court when they have to try and explain to magistrates why there is no record of attendance for months and they cannot get hold of the OMs. Why is this not being picked up by managers, staff are clearly struggling or perhaps have given up.

We have a 'fun committee' and you can measure exactly how high staff morale is when you consider that an event organised for the summer was abandoned due to lack of interest. A recent event was threatened by cancellation until it was opened up to partners. Very few staff apart from those under pressure, actually attended. How do you justify an expensive event with wine on the table, where did the money come from, when we are allegedly 'cash-strapped'?

Our plight is no worse than other areas, what we do has changed beyond recognition, our service has been destroyed, staff try their best to deliver effective interventions in difficult circumstances, those who still care, support each other. Tell me Rob Allen, where your evidence comes from? You have clearly believed the hype our highly paid directors are pushing to anyone who will listen, perhaps to save their own necks.

Dear Working Links,

Please may we cordially request that you get your shit together! You have got rid of 40% of staff and even more have left since, of their own accord with no pay out because of shambolic mis-management. If you can't keep young, fairly newly qualified PO's, then something is going badly wrong! You appear to be cutting staffing to the bone by playing a game of 'let's see how much they can tolerate of our crap before they quit'. Soon it will be like the prisons, with only the offenders left in charge. 

You have moved us all from office to office and now continue to move to wherever you can get as cheap a rent as possible, frequently in places that are not fit for purpose and that exclude staff who have or may develop mobility issues..we are walking out into dark alleyways in dangerous areas because there is no longer allocated parking. IT is crap and can't even do the basics. One office in SW has no working computers or phones and staff need to find another broom cupboard to work from in a hurry. Offenders don't know who is supervising them because staff keep leaving or going off sick. 

JW Director has the cheek to reprimand us for going to the press and says there is a perfectly good system in place for reporting concerns! Bollocks...that is a blatant lie. Staff only do this when they have no where else to turn. The system is groaning and creaking at the seams as we struggle to cope. We get no encouragement or thanks for the work we do, no acknowledgement that we are trying our best in the most challenging situation our profession has ever faced. 

Offenders are dying in prison and dying in the community because services are overstretched. We have become the dumping ground for the poor wretches that Society doesn't want..Victorian language for Victorian times. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel to find the last flea infested pit to house someone in because housing is in crisis. Most of our cases have significant mental health problems and complex issues such as being survivors of abuse. We are in way above our heads now and need support from our managers and someone to steer the ship, yet there is no one to be seen, just the spectre of Working Links with their carrot and stick approach..or maybe just the stick as I can't think what the carrot is!

Please get your shit together Working Links and save yourselves a massive fine!
Yours Truly

'Your People' LOL


  1. Hahaha - MoJ sleight of hand yet again exposed, this time regarding the additional payments to prisons staff announced recently by Lizzie Dripping. Payments much more limited than implied, plus existing additional payments are withdrawn. Many pairs of pants on fire at MoJ.

    1. Only 5% of existing prison staff in England and Wales will receive new pay allowances of up to £5,000, BBC News has discovered.

      Internal documents also reveal that many of the officers who will receive the increase were already receiving allowances of £4,000.

      The details were not included when the pay rise was announced by Justice Secretary Liz Truss. Officials deny they have given out any inaccurate or misleading information.

      When the announcement of the new allowances was made, the Ministry of Justice said it would apply to "Band 3" front-line prison officers in 31 jails where it had been hard to recruit and retain staff.

      The jails are in London and south-east England, and include Bedford, Belmarsh, Brixton, Chelmsford, Feltham, Pentonville, Wandsworth, Whitemoor and Wormwood Scrubs.

      The Prison Officers Association said at the time that although it welcomed any additional pay for its members, it was a "divisive" decision because it "ignored" many other grades of staff. The department said "thousands" would get an "immediate" pay boost. But an internal briefing note seen by the BBC reveals that the number benefiting immediately is 1,617 prison officers out of more than 30,742 staff working in public-sector prisons - 5.26% of the workforce.

      The document also reveals that the new allowances, worth £3,000 in some jails and £5,000 in others, replace existing payments of £2,500 and £4,000.
      When the rises were announced, the Ministry of Justice did not disclose how much the current payments were worth, saying only that the new allowances replaced "existing pay increments". Its decision to leave out important details may have led to the impression that the pay increase was more widespread and substantial than it really was.

      In March, Ms Truss's department was heavily criticised by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, for its handling of an announcement to extend a programme to allow vulnerable witnesses to be cross-examined before a trial.

      Lord Thomas said there had been a "complete failure" by the ministry to understand the practical difficulties of extending the scheme, saying judges had to correct a "serious misapprehension" about the roll-out. The Ministry of Justice has not issued an official statement in response to the latest disclosures, but officials said its February press release did not contain anything that was factually incorrect or misleading, and pointed out that staff joining the 31 prisons would also be entitled to the payments.

      The document said about 2,400 new prison officers, who are expected to join the selected jails during 2017-18, would be eligible to receive the allowances which will be available annually at least until March 2021.

      As part of other changes, Band 3 prison officers at the jails will be paid from the "midpoint" of their pay range. It means they can expect to earn between £26,456 to £31,453, including the allowances, as a "minimum".

    2. We knew it was all a con! Pardon the pun!

  2. No pay = surely it's an April fool. And contrary to what David Raho asserts, the joke affects union and non-union members alike - so hardly a recruitment opportunity.

    1. 07:09 You are very quick to turn what was a positive comment into a criticism and a bit of union bashing.

      Speaking as Co-Chair CRC of Napo London Branch David Raho in fact said

      'In situations like this I am very glad that I am in a union and I have such reliable union colleagues to call upon who I know will step in and support their colleagues (whether members or not) but of course members will get ongoing assistance and support whereas non member colleagues cannot expect union assistance.'

      He definitely does not say the problem did not affect all staff as you inaccurately assert.

      He was writing in response to a ex-napo member who had requested assistance and advice.

      Advice and support was given generously however this was a reminder that only napo members can expect to get ongoing union assistance when things go wrong wheras non-members must rely on themselves and employers for assistance. Why wouldn't he say that? It is factual and branch policy. Even after joining napo (and most other unions) you are restricted to advice and support for the first 3 months to stop the practice of people waiting until they have a problem before joining.

      Criticising a branch chair for prioritising resources for the support of members over non-members seems a bit odd. Unions will as David rightly says give limited assistance to non-members to remind them what they could have if they joined/rejoined and yes this is to aid recruitment. So yes when things go wrong and non-union members are asking unions for help then it is a very obvious recruitment opportunity.

  3. NPS are complaining that they can't get hold of OM's in CRC!!!What do the Magistrates /NPS expect? They want fast-track reports on day of hearing. It may amaze them to know that most of us are not sat glued to our desk all day to take their calls. On an average day I have maybe 5 appointments and am with that person for up to an hour, also child protection/ MARAC and the odd home visit..the fault is with the fast-track system and not CRC. Also some NPS who I know for a fact don't even bother to try and speak to me, even if I e mail them before a full PSR and ask them to call. Why should we take the blame for everything?

    1. The MoJ are trying to make courts operate between 8am and 8:30pm. It's outraged the lawyers. But it's also going to impact severely on all aspects of the CJS.
      Who can you contact that time of the morning or that late in the evening for information? Social services? Mental health services? NPS to CRC or vice versa? Don't think so.
      Will prison staff having to process a wagon load of prisoners (not getting the money they thought they were getting) through reception at 10 or 11pm at night be willing to do so?
      Surely witnesses will fail to turn up, and the professional experts being paid to provide evidence will want a lot more money.
      Admin staff preparing paperwork and legal documents for those sentenced or given court orders may be required to work until midnight.
      The list is endless.
      The MoJ and the whole CJS is in meltdown, not because the people that work within its collective parts can't do a good job, but because people like Liz Truss keep dreaming up idiotic policy and reforms.


    2. Whatever the real reason is for not paying staff, I'd lay a bet that the excuse given will be a glitch occurred while our payroll departments were making changes to our systems to facilitate the changes to the new national living wage.

  4. Drove past the building which used to house the local Probation Team 10 years ago. Happy memories of a group of staff - all grades working together, everyone talked over early morning coffee about cases and we could cover absent staff with a sound understanding of each others' workload.

    Court Duty and PSR's covered by experienced staff who were familiar with the Team's workload. No communication barriers and if required, OM's could be in Court in 10 minutes.

    Things did move on pre-split, but the basics of good communication continued. Now don't know names of NPS staff in our shared building. CRC staff sitting in call centre lines and look depressed and dis-engaged.

    What will be the next stage of this fragmentation and demoralisation? Looks as if things are close to 'rock bottom' .........

  5. Just popping in to say "Birthday, Mr Grayling". PS You are making the mistake Anon at 07:09 of confusing collectivism with a short term transaction. Join the Union not to get a monthly return for your investment, but a) in recognition of the benefits that all get when a Union takes action as it did yesterday b) to increase the ability of your Union to win those benefits c) to fund what is obvs going to be a long and persistent call for TR to be completely overhauled

    1. When the general secretary can't answer a question at the Justice Committee about the pay spine for POs...classing it as a curveball, then I do wonder about effective representation. But, of course, only through the collective can the individual worker progress terms an conditions.

  6. I looked at my bank account, it has listed my salary as paid on 03/04/2017, i.e a future date. Do banks normally list future payments ? My old man thinks it is some kind of end of year scam to make MTC novo look like they have done better this year than is really the case, be deferring a month's salary. To the next financial year. Will we ever know the truth as to why staff was severely inconvenienced?

    1. Maybe so. The non payment of ALL staff is not a "glitch" or "error". They were aware staff were not going to be paid on the usual payday, the question is whether they did it intentionally.

    2. Consider the total Salary costs for MTCNovo, then defer it for 72 hours over the end of tax year into the new tax year. 09:11's old man might have a point:

      interest on the salaries shows as income + delayed salaries do not impact upon expenditure = report on figures for 2016/17 year end impresses shareholders.

      Impact upon staff is merely collateral damage.

    3. Your Father makes absolute sense , the corrupt bastards

    4. I hope the journalists and parliamentarians with resources and authority to investigate that do, it is a very believable scenario in my opinion.

      If it is true that it was planned the Employers had a duty of care to staff to advise them sufficiently in advance so they could postpone regular payments that were to be made automatically and to adjust other financial arrangements.

  7. London staff are the best paid in the UK so now I've got to feel sorry for them for being paid a day late. .... boo hoo

    1. "Best paid" in comparison to what? You're an idiot if you think £70 a week extra in London weighting makes much of a dent in Londons extortionate travel, rental and living costs. I feel sorry for all those punched into the red yesterday because of London CRC's ploy to balance the accounts and show end of year profits. Something they'd only do if they were on the verge of going bust. I doubt MTCNovo will be around this time next year.

    2. London staff also have the most expensive out goings in the UK.

    3. I find your comment unfair, regardless of what they get paid it should be on time. Have you seen the cost of living in London. These sort of comments do not help at a time when we all need to stick together.

    4. Off side 11:32 - not sure whom you work for but hearing about the poor staff in London not getting paid made me in CGM CRC ( Interswerve ) rather nervous as I wouldn't put a trick like this past them or any of the other private companies in order to keep money in their own accounts !!!!

    5. 11:32 Hang your head in shame! Any member of staff should expect to get paid on time regardless of who they work for. Absolutely shocking and TUs should look at a legal case against the company in question regarding illegally withholding wages?.

  8. Is anyone going to the HMPPS Launch on Mon 3 April 2017 at HMP/YOI Isis? I've heard our great leader Liz Truss will be there.

    1. Only if heckling and throwing rotten fruit is allowed.

  9. Thoughts are with CRC colleagues. The way these companies treat their staff is nothing short of abuse. Morale is also extremely low in NPS, previously committed staff and managers continue to leave in droves . Current senior management have no thought for staff who are merely seen as target hitting machines. The attitude is if you don't like it you know what to do. It's all so very sad :(

    1. Which NPS do you work for, because Manchester colleagues haven't spoken a word about any low morale and the staff certainly seem to have more of a voice than the inflicted CRC staff.

    2. There is just one person left in my last team and they're off sick. I managed to move to another team to avoid bullying - that person has now been promoted to SPO. A truly unprofessional, unpleasant and miserable culture in team which once had good management and an excellent reputation.

    3. Im in the NPS and morale is the lowest in Manchester than Ive seen it in 20 years

  10. Changing the topic slightly. I recently applied for a job as a PSO for London CRC at the beginning of March. We were told that we would hear the outcome in a weeks time. However it's now been a month and haven't heard whether I am successful or not. The recruitment team have emailed us with delayed feedback dates. It seems that each week the date keeps getting delayed. We were told that the start date would be 10/4. Is this normal? End of the tax year is looming is this why there is a delay? It's been very stressful not knowing

  11. How convenience that the first of the month falls on a weekend, therefore any standing orders or direct debit's will be leaving staff accounts on Monday the third which is the day we are supposedly been paid, therefore minimising the collateral damage.

  12. What about other CRCs? - I think you need to have some balance
    Rob Allen's piece yesterday states good morale and does not mention about high level of staff morale. I interact with DTV and other areas and by and large the morale in DTV is good compared to other areas. Even so the management there are trying to get people involved and asking for input.
    When it comes to workstreams I've never expected all my suggestion to be taken on board by management. Having some is surely better than never being asked.
    Also you speak to people in DTV and the model was designed by staff. There was a mutual involved in the bid and still involved now. They are facts that can't be disputed. We also know from lots of research that one of the best ways to reduce offending is to work with someone in their community. One to one work is possible anywhere people find it comfortable for them - maybe it's different and it makes us feel uneasy but if I recall correctly the old "office" way of working hadn't exactly delivered a low rate of re-offending for the DTV area - was it over 50% back in the glory days?!?!
    I’ve heard there has also been a number of improvements there and things that from an outside view I would love to have. Staff parties, recognition schemes, high street vouchers and long service awards to name a few. And of course agile working and the ability to work to suit me and my offenders. Something you clearly don’t like but maybe you need to ask yourself some searching questions….
    If all you are going to do is see the empty side of a business trying then perhaps you need to think is it me…..? but hey it’s not fashionable to be pro-success in a climate of doom is it