Tuesday, 19 June 2018

General Secretary Election 23

Now call me an old cynic, but the MoJ must be so worried about the chances of Mick Rolfe, late of the POA, winning the Napo election that they've suddenly decided to help the incumbent's campaign! This just published on Napo news:- 

HM Treasury agree that pay talks can get underway 

Following months of prevarication,and the disappointment of undelivered promises from Ministers, I have received news from HMPPS this afternoon to confirm that the Treasury has now authorised the commencement of formal negotiations with the unions on Probation pay reform.

NPS Pay Reform – letter from HMPPS

Whilst it is too early to forecast the prospects for a successful outcome to the formal talks with the NPS (which we will seek to get started as soon as possible), the fact that we will soon be back around the negotiating table once again represents some positive news.

It’s been a desperately frustrating time for our members in the Probation service over the last few years. In addition to the impact of privatisation through the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, the failure to honour the terms of the 2008 probation pay settlement combined with the public sector pay freeze has resulted in no consolidated pay rises for those members at the maximum of their pay bands and inadequate incremental progression for others, many of whom are stranded well below the pay point that they expected to be at by now.

Tough agenda ahead

Your pay team will now be prioritising dates so that maximum attention can be given to the pay reform negotiations. Make no mistake, we have a potentially testing agenda ahead of us. If an acceptable offer is secured it is likely to have a significant impact down the line for the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies whose owners and staff will also be taking a keen interest in what happens on NPS Pay.

Napo policy is to see a return to National Collective Bargaining, and while we no longer have that machinery in place because of the ill-judged decision to scrap it, I am able to confirm that Napo will be demanding that all of our CRC members must find themselves on an equal footing with their colleagues in the NPS following any pay settlement that may be reached. This means we will need to know soon whether the pay envelope will be of sufficient scope to match these aspirations, and whether it has kept pace with inflation and is big enough to allow for meaningful discussions to take place between the employer and the Probation Unions.

Remember, that our members will ultimately decide on whether a pay offer is acceptable or not.

Meanwhile, there are some other serious and still unresolved issues that will need to be addressed as part of the negotiations. These include trying to rectify potential discrimination in the pay system and the appalling way in which the Market Forces Supplement payments have been operated.

Next steps

I have made it clear to Ministers and senior HMPPS management that while Napo is prepared to find solutions to the above problems through negotiation, we will continue to plan for the possibility that legal action may be necessary in respect of equal pay claims.

Preparation is also underway to hold a Parliamentary event in September should that be necessary and consideration is being given to ways in which we can keep members informed of how the pay talks are progressing, whilst obviously maintaining our negotiating position.

Whilst we have a long road still ahead of us, the news that pay negotiations are to start again has come about as a result of the combined pressure that has been applied on politicians and senior HMPPS leaders by the Napo HQ Team and our wider membership.

We will need that unity going forward into these crucial negotiations more than ever before.

Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary


  1. MOJ are also cynically writing on Facebook about the HMPPS best prison and probation workers of the year and posting write ups from last year's champions.

    It seems like a PR initiative aimed at frontier staff is under way. Maybe they realise recruitment will remain a problem unless existing staff feel they are being at least half respected.

  2. It always felt that MoJ/NOMS(now HMPPS) owned IL from the start of his tenure & that 'something' happened around the Ledger incident that left IL indebted to someone. Napo handled the whole Ledger thing in such an appalling manner. Here's a brief reminder of the news from 2014:

    "The union’s 9,000 members have been kept almost completely in the dark over the case. It tried to hush up giving Mr Ledger a rumoured £135,000 pay-off, initially saying only that he had ‘decided not to re-apply for his job’ as general secretary following ‘a difficult employment tribunal’."

    Yet Napo always denied it was culpable:

    "Both the union and Mr Ledger – whose expertise as a probation officer was working with sex offenders – were found liable over the proven sexual harassment claims, and the burden of paying the £15,000 damages rests upon them equally.

    But after the damning judgment was made public this week, the union said: ‘As an organisation Napo has been cleared of all allegations of institutional racism, sexism, discrimination and victimisation... the judgment makes it clear that neither Napo or its staff were collusive with this.’"

    Doesn't a finding of joint liability & shared burden of paying damages sounds like some element of collusion was found?

    In Aug 2013 IL wrote in the Annual Report:

    "...the announcements on May 9th (2013) under the Government’s social experiment known as ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’(TR), left nobody who actually knows anything about Probation in any doubt that this Union and its members, were about to enter into the struggle of our lives.

    By comparison with the last, the first few months of this year were something of an ‘Annus Horriblis’, with the departure of Jonathan Ledger (which I am unable to comment on beyond the statements that we issued to members and your National Executive at the time and afterwards)...

    Such is the transient nature of leadership; presenting gaps to be filled and opportunities for others."

    In Dec 2017 (in NQ) IL said:

    "After being elected as general secretary I was headlong into our campaign against Chris Grayling’s disastrous Transforming Rehabilitation proposals. This involved industrial action, in which Napo stood alone you will remember, and an attempt in the High Court to overturn Chris Grayling’s idealism which cost a lot of money and could have bankrupted Napo had we not taken the legal advice that we were given just days before the Judicial Review hearing.

    That latter decision was amongst the hardest I have ever been part of at any time in my career, but it was the right one despite it being obviously unpopular."

    *** Perhaps that was the 'something'? ***

    Then in that 2017 interview he states:

    "The split of the Probation service in the run up to TR was a pretty grim time for members as it was deliberately engineered by Government and senior MoJ people who saw our collectivism as a serious threat, to sap away the resolve of members.

    Soon after TR implementation came Graylings cynical attempt to ruin Napo financially by the removal of subscriptions at source (check-off) where we had to invest huge amounts of time (and more money of course) to run the direct debit campaign. More recently we have had the introduction of E3 in the NPS to contend with, where we have struck a ‘no redundancy’ agreement; one of very few unions to achieve that in the current climate."

    Yes, it WAS 'grim' - failing to stop Grayling meant the the CRCs implemented the loss of almost a thousand probation jobs (with more to come), which I would guess meant a greater loss to the union's income than 'check-off'. But at least the NPS got a 'no redundancy' agreement!!