Friday, 23 March 2018

Pay, Laptops and Leave

I thought it was time to have another look at Facebook and see what issues have been concerning probation staff of late:-

I've recently heard that NPS staff in Kent, Surrey and Sussex are now receiving London weighting. Is anyone able to confirm if that is correct? Thanks!

Definitely not in Surrey, unless I've missed the memo!

I could be completely wrong or it may be a red site status payment that is equivalent in value to the London weighting amount.

Yep what Xxxxxx says. It's a market forces supplement as Kent is a red site and only paid to new staff to help recruit. Not brilliant as it's put a lot of noses out of joint especially older staff who now earn only a fraction more than new and some staff getting it and others not. It's a right cock up to be honest.

New POs start on £32k. Existing POs get a market forces supplement to make them up to the same amount from wherever they were on the pay scale. So experienced staff get nothing. New PSOs get paid more than existing staff and although it was said that they would also get the market forces supplement it was later retracted. New SPOs were recruited according to an advertisement and then have been paid significantly less on appointment. It's bullshit. Apparently it's going to be reviewed in the 2018/9 pay review but no promises to resolve. And those that did receive the supplement can have it taken away at any point.

Thanks. I couldn't work it out. Basically it's a joke!

Is it the same amount as London weighting?

Not sure. Think it's around £3500 but only for a certain amount of time and not a permanent arrangement.

Thanks - that's helpful. Is it for all of the areas I mentioned?

Definitely Kent. Can't answer for Surrey and Sussex I'm afraid.

Not here in Brighton...

Surrey don't have red site status and from what we've been told it isn't being considered. Didn't realise Kent only got it for new starters, not entirely fair!

It will be in Herts too. Red payment area I mean x.

Ha. Not in Surrey. Just no staff and same pay as always.

I believe the red site status payment is a 15% uplift.

But for those at entry level only.

Indeed new starters and dependant on status of red site PO or PSO.

Thank you for the info!


Any NPS got any definite info on our, apparently, impending laptop distribution?

What you mean the one they have been talking about for the last seven years at least??

My understanding is Kent have theirs, Dorset are just about to receive and the roll out goes on.

I have been told West Yorkshire are getting theirs in April, north Yorkshire have been told summer which probably means autumn!

I’m in Birmingham! Get ours in May.

Am in London. September.

Kent have it but is not compatible with some AT software.

Surrey next month.

Kent have them, however, system on laptop is split. Having to use part new system and part old!

Have them and using them?

Yeah we've had them in Kent for a couple of months now, they work fine. We won't be using old/new systems forever, it's all gradually being moved over onto our laptops.

Very interesting. We've been told "they have arrived" in the Midlands but no one has said anything about how it will work in terms of systems, home working, training etc.

At first, to access delius and oasys you have to use "reachback" where it accesses all the old systems via your laptop. But they're on our laptops now and the other stuff like SOP etc is coming over bit by bit. You can connect to your own wifi at home or even your wifi hotspot on your phone because your laptop will then connect securely to the work network from there :)

In theory! I'm CRC and my laptop refuses to connect to either my personal phone or my work one. X

Our NPS ones seem to work fine!

Snigger snigger.

Herts in May x

Plymouth in May.

Hull in September.

Hampshire in June.


Do any of the NPS bods know how we have just lost a days leave without anyone mentioning it? When we split I had 33 days, then as NPS we got the Queens birthday which even with my crap maths is 34! New annual leave calculator I only have 33.

It will be because the QBD is not annual leave but a form of special leave. Still should be recorded. 

No, the 33 includes the QBD. My manager said everyone was losing a day.

What !!?? 

Yep found out today as well lol x apparently there's a PI from October.

Hi guys, I think there was something about those of us that had been in post 7 years or more lost one of our service days. I guess the argument would be that we've gained the Queen's birthday so overall we haven't lost anything, or that we had the best of both worlds since 2014 by having the extra service day and the Queen's birthday

How come we weren’t informed and have NAPO been involved?

Just went back through some old emails I sent to HR about this, basically the old LPT policy had 2 service days and then you got a 3rd one after 7 years, so the top of the leave scale was 33 days I think. Then we joined NPS and got the Queen's birthday on top, taking us to 34 days. However, we've now been harmonised with the rest of the civil service and so lost the 3rd service day we used to get after 7 years service. So although it feels like we've lost a day, it actually just leaves us back where we were in the LPT days, although that may not be true for some people because my understanding is back in the days before LPT each probation area had different leave policies! But this is it in a nutshell as far as I understand it.

In terms of not being informed, you really should have been so this is something you'd have to take up with your management. I presented the information to my team back when the PI came out and obviously it went down like a lead balloon but better for people to be told up front than find out after its already happened..

Yes, they removed a service day.

It came out as part of the civil service HR harmonisation policy stuff which brings things like maternity leave in line with the rest of the civil service.

How is that allowed to happen? We get no pay rise and lose leave. When do we get the benefits of being a civil servant?

Katie Lomas - Check back to your Napo emails from last year, it was all explained. The QBD should never have been given to NPS staff (and wasn’t to all) as the transfer protected our leave from increase as well as decrease unless part of a negotiated change to NNC. Napo negotiated to prevent NPS from trying to claw back the additional days that had been given in error in previous years. Now we have exactly what we had at transfer, max 33 days. Instead of the 31 days that NPS wanted. The only loss is the extra day that some had been given in error.

It's still rubbish tho' - remember when we had 36 days.

Yup and travel allowances and provision for banked leave meaning that after a certain length of service you could take an extended break, to which the employers added some days, that allowed some time to recharge the batteries. Also had a decent range of training and development days. All of that went in my time in service - every restructure meant losing some other benefit - particularly after TR so the overall loss to pay and conditions over the last 10 years has been horrendous with none of the promised payoffs in terms of shortening pay scales etc really materialising and workloads increasing exponentially. By the time I left, despite reaching top of the scale, I was not much better off after 18 years than I was after qualifying and paying off my student loan. Living costs however.......

Very sneaky.

The extra day is honoured outside normal leave allowance. Civil Service and all that. You still have it.

We don't....check out the HR harmonisation policy. At very most we get 33 days. Technically we have lost annual leave. Start on 25 days annual leave. We work up to a max 30 days annual leave. We all get Queens birthday. 1 service day after 5 years service, 1 service day after 7 years service. Changed from us long service people have 33 days annual leave plus Queens birthday. x


  1. Looks like IT is still not an Moj strong point:-

    "Major incident in Interserve, oasys is down meaning admin cannot start a new oasys meaning staff can't do electronic risk plans and thus the 15 day target is at risk and to top it all off - we've been told to revert back to paper assessments. It's one thing after another. No news on any paydeal either."

    "Major IT malfunction today - not only has OASys stopped linking to C-NOMIS and N-Delius but the Prison I work in has been without C-NOMIS all day. God knows what has been missed in the prison today as all info and processes like receptions and discharges go through C-NOMIS. All we have had is a screen saying server not available. No idea if it will be back tomorrow or what the issue is - all IT is now based in ‘the cloud’....."

    "I am aware through a colleague that the telephone system at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court probation has been down for 5 weeks, beyond belief."

  2. All these complaints! Think about MPs having to endure wretched conditions:

    * a 30 week working year
    * only 22 weeks recess
    * expenses that are policed by IPSA
    * rules restricting costs to two homes
    * rules governing travel to/from work
    * rules for subsidised food & drink
    * a miserly £76,000 salary
    * measly supplements for membership of committees
    * additional payments to chair committees
    * further scale of salary uplifts for ministerial duties
    * a requirement to disclose other income

    I hope you feel guilty now!

    1. MP salary shifts £

      1997 - 43,860
      2007 - 61,181
      2010 - 65,738
      2014 - 67,060
      2015 - 74,000
      2016 - 74,962
      2017 - 76,011 - & as of 1 Apr 2018 a new 1.8% increase...
      2018 - 77,379

      Chair of a committee = + £15,000 then + annual bonus of £8,000 a year if a Chair for 1-3 yrs...

      CabMinister = + £70,000 (so ~£147,000 for Gauke)
      Minister = +£33,000 (~ £110,000 for Stewart)

    2. I seem to recall starting as a newly qualified PO in 1996 on around £19,000, and my last year's salary in 2016 was about £35,000.

    3. Works out at av. £800 increase in pay each year over those 20 years - to include annual increment AND pay awards... and following 2008 revalorisation I never made top of Scale 4 after 20 years' service.

      My brother works in IT industry & gets two bonuses a year - one in April linked directly to company performance (last year's was £5,000), and a 'Xmas box' (which has been £1,000 for the last 5 years).

    4. Perhaps ought to add that his basic salary is £55,000 plus overtime, extraordinary hours & professional development enhancements. He's been there 9 years & pockets around £70,000 gross) - & he gets 40 days' leave incl of staty days.

      He thinks I'm an idiot!

  3. Probation is such a shitty organisation yet it’s workers are concerned with when they receive laptops!! Forget the laptops, instead demand better pay and conditions. Most other public sectors are now getting pay increases and bonuses. Probation, “you leave with nothing” well except for a laptop so you can be forced to hotdesk and work in your home time.

    1. Management must love it when their workers are agitating about laptops: at least they are not becoming bolshie and seething with resentment over their deteriorating pay. Can you imagine the nurses agreeing to 0.5% in year 1 and then 0.5% in year 2? If you didn't know otherwise, you would think I was making up these percentages. But it's true and it tells you how low expectations have fallen in probation. Probation unions say it's the best deal available and that's what the NHS unions are telling their members about their 6.5% pay rise, granted a loftier figure than 1%, but even 6.5% will be swallowed up by inflation over the next three years, leaving nurses probably worse off, but far better off than probation staff – reminiscent of the man who falls off a building and as he passes each floor, he reassures himself, 'So far so good, so far so good, so far so good...'

    2. I sold my laptop. It compensated me a little for my lack of pay. No one seems to have noticed!

  4. Laptops so you work from home using your own electricity and WiFi. That’s on the day they “allow” you to work from home if you ask nicely. They’ve already stolen a days leave, essential car user allowance, geographical supplements, 10 years of pay increments, and new staff receive London weighting even though they don’t live or work in London and existing staff get nothing!! If you’re really unlucky, for the pleasure of being employed by such a shit organisation you’ll be vetted and blacklisted by the police as 3000 construction workers have!!

    1. Scotland Yard has admitted Special Branch officers passed information to a controversial network that blacklisted construction workers. It follows a six-year battle to find out if the Metropolitan Police supplied the intelligence on trade unionists. The force says its investigation had "proven" the allegation, which will be investigated by a public inquiry.

      Workers who say they were unfairly barred from jobs have already received millions of pounds in compensation. In 2016, the union Unite reached a settlement with construction firms that resulted in 256 workers sharing more than £10m in compensation. At the heart of the claims, which were made by hundreds of workers, was evidence that firms accessed a "blacklist" that logged workers' trade union activities. The list was used by dozens of construction firms to vet those applying for work on building sites.

      When the files were found to contain details of individual's political activities, the workers demanded that Scotland Yard disclose whether undercover police had colluded in supplying intelligence.

      In a letter to the workers' lawyers, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin said the findings of the Metropolitan Police's internal investigation, completed two years ago, were so sensitive that they were sent directly to the then commissioner.

      The letter states: "Allegation: Police, including Special Branches, supplied information that appeared on the Blacklist, funded by the country's major construction firms. The report concludes that, on the balance of probabilities, the allegation that the police or Special Branches supplied information is 'proven'. Material revealed a potentially improper flow of information from Special Branch to external organisations, which ultimately appeared on the blacklist."

      Dave Smith, of the Blacklist Support Group, says a 36-page file on him - disclosed to him during the original investigation by the information commissioner - included details of his trade union work and information that appeared to have come from undercover monitoring of his political campaigning.

      "When we first talked about police collusion in blacklisting, people thought we were conspiracy theorists," he said.

      "We were told, things like that don't happen here. With this admission from the Met Police, our quest for the truth has been vindicated."

      Evidence given to Parliament suggested that one undercover officer who infiltrated Mr Smith's union was Mark "Cassidy" Jenner, a member of Scotland Yard's now disbanded Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).

      The SDS's activities are at the heart of the long-delayed public inquiry into alleged abuses by undercover police.

      While Scotland Yard's letter says there is no evidence that SDS officers passed information to the blacklist network, a separate document published by the inquiry has revealed the existence of a unit called the "Industrial Intelligence Section".

      In a statement, Scotland Yard said it had apologised for the delay in releasing the outcome of its blacklist the investigation.

      "Allegations about police involvement with the 'Blacklist' will be fully explored during the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry," it said.

      "At this stage the MPS will await the conclusions of the UCPI before considering what steps should be taken next."

    2. I do wonder about the working definition of a police state. I know we don't go about 'disappearing' or poisoning people – our state has other ways of destroying it's 'enemies of the state' who just happen, in the vast majority of cases, to be engaging in lawful activities. Likewise with the thousands infiltrations into political and campaigning groups – including the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence – our state subverts the law. The cock-up theories as to why things happen are discredited, as there is ample evidence that the state conspires to make things happen.

    3. And meanwhile over at the DWP

    4. Tens of thousands of sick and disabled people have missed out on large sums of government money that they were legally entitled to due to “shoddy administration”, a report has found.

      An investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) reveals the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has underpaid an estimated 70,000 people who transferred to employment and support allowance (ESA) from other benefits over the past seven years.

      The average underpayment for each claimant is estimated to be around £5,000, but some people will be owed significantly more, with approximately 20,000 having been underpaid around £11,500 and a small number owed as much as £20,000.

      The DWP will pay £340m back in underpayments, but estimates there may be up to £150m more which cannot be paid back because arrears will only be accounted for as far back as 21 October 2014, the date of a legal tribunal ruling.

      The Government has been accused of being “unacceptably slow” to act on the error, which saw people who may have been entitled to income-related ESA instead only awarded contribution-based ESA, causing them to miss out on premium payments.

      The mistake means people who are unable to work due to their disability will have lose out on up to £75 a week on the payments, which are designed to help them pay for basic living costs.

      Senior politicians and campaigners have deemed the findings “damning“, saying that while the DWP was quick to act in cases of overpayments and sanction claimants for any breach of its rules, it has taken “years to recognise and get to grips with its own mistakes”.

      The DWP identified that errors were being made as early as 2013, but despite two key Upper Tribunal cases which helped clarify the law on ESA claims from June 2014 and throughout 2015, the department did not begin identifying the people affected until July last year, the NAO found.

      The Government has now committed to correcting its error and paying arrears by April 2019, and is reviewing around 300,000 cases, at a cost of around £14m, to identify people affected and pay arrears where due. The team undertaking the work will grow from 50 to 400 members of staff from April.

      The DWP estimates it will need to pay a total of between £570m and £830m more ESA than it previously expected by the end of the 2022-23 financial year.

      A spokesperson said the department had already reviewed 4,000 cases, of which 1,500 were found to have been incorrect leading to repayments of £9m so far, the first payment being in September 2017.

      Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “The facts of this case are that tens of thousands of people, most of whom have severely limiting disabilities and illnesses, have been underpaid by thousands of pounds each, while the department for several years failed to get a proper grip on the problem.

      “The department has now committed to fixing this error by April 2019, but not everyone will be repaid all the money they have missed out on.”

    5. Why do these mistakes all seem to me made in favour of the deep rather than in favour of the claimant I wonder

  5. Interesting reading here

    1. Thanks very much for unearthing this policy document - I'd always wondered what the position was regarding probation and archiving of records. Maybe a topic to delve into at some time.

  6. NHS payrise,, what about the rest of the public sector?

  7. Teaching union calls for 5% pay rise with possible strike backing. National Union of Teachers asks for staff pay increase after NHS announces 6.5% settlement

    ... but probation are more interested in work laptops! Even with the best laptops in the world the IT systems will still be crap. Tell your managers, to keep the laptops and give better pay and conditions instead.

  8. I'm not interested in the least about the laptop fiasco our manager keeps on about it trying to enthuse us ! It will just be another hindrance to my job as s proper probation Officer !

  9. I couldn’t give a monkeys about laptops. I live in a rural outpost and broadband is poor. Perhaps they want to pay for some sort of signal relay system and then reimburse the cost of my electricity.
    What happens when their laptops are used to download unauthorised material or when they are stolen? Guess who will be held to account.
    Stick your laptop!

    1. “What happens when their laptops are used to download unauthorised material or when they are stolen?”

      There’ll be a news report “PO from rural outpost loses thousands of offender records”. You’ll probably read it while queuing at your local job centre!

      And they won’t reimburse broadband or leccy, but they will monitor you remotely and pop up on your screen. This is to make sure when you’re at home you’re working on OASYS and not “unauthorised material” or watching This Morning and Jeremy Kyle!!

      Laptops are just another bit of shite probation IT. Mine won’t leave the office, I’m happy with my 9-5.

  10. Long thought that IT is driven by accountants and managers, it allows for comfort information / spreadsheet fodder. I think it could more usefully be driven by practitioner and client needs and then as a secondary consideration feed the needs of others.

  11. My father in law (no longer with us), when in the early stages of dementia, was persuaded by a scurrilous sales man to purchase an overpriced electronic bed with a fancy tilt action. He was very pleased with the ridiculous number of free gifts he received as well - one of which was a laptop. Rogue Companies do seem to like fobbing people off with laptops as 'gifts'- they usefully divert attention from what is really going on.

    1. Probation workers are treated by their employers as if they have dementia. Really I think they have Stockholm syndrome. No other workforce puts up with this level of ill-treatment and abuse from their employer. Tell them to shove their laptops bought with the stolen leave, the years of frozen pay rises and the £300 million handed to CRC’s.

    2. When you put it into perspective, the MoJ gave CRC Probation £300 million to line it’s pockets, but gave NPS Probation cheap laptops so it can reduce office space. The CRC’s already reduced its workforce and office space so we all know what’s coming next to the NPS. The current agenda is OMiC and custody probation officers holding all custody’s cases until release. The elephant in the room is what happens to all the community Probation Officers and their laptops when there aren’t enough cases in the community to supervise?

    3. I don’t give a shit about laptops. I work my hours and take them back at my convenience when I work more. I’m not suffering from Stockholm syndrome thank you. I do the best job I can in the limited time I have available. If the public are harmed as a result that is on the Tories heads not mine!