Thursday, 14 June 2018

Napo at Work in the South West 15

We must briefly move away from the General Secretary election debate as other important matters need covering, such as the ongoing Working Links dispute. As usual thanks to the reader for sending me the latest news and watch out for another response from Mike Rolfe which I intend publishing later today.  

NAPO SSW Branch report update June 2018 

Dear Napo members and Unison,

Firstly a quick thanks to all those members attending this years very successful and enjoyable AGM. The brief annual report from AGM is attached although I will not be circulating the Branch Chairs opening address. You can draw your own conclusions.

In the news and attached is a document submitted to Companies House by an undisclosed name on behalf of Aurelius. Using their full name for the first time Sigma and the usual Limited. What is interesting about the notification registration is that it was lodged on the 8th of June. We all know it has been reported that ongoing talks with MOJ and Working Links are due to settle in June according to the chief financial officer incidentally named on the final declarations pages. The fact the document has been lodged is a clear signal (some might call it a bonfire) in the middle of the Working Links way arrangements.

This debenture is loaded with legal jargon and what looks like a classic “Yes Minister" mouthful but it lays out a clear ownership entitlement and money claiming legality that effectively reads like the shirts and probably all the rest of the clothing of Working Links could be coming off. The only debtors protected in the process or I should say given priority is those on wages. The rest is fully controlled by the Aurelius clutch on the remaining monies and everything else. Working Links way is to drag out some spokesperson and may well offer it is usual practice nothing to worry about and customary for these sorts of things. We wait to see. However the terms Chargors being Working Links places them as :-

A company or person who grants a charge or right in security in favour of some other person or company known as a chargee

The charge is effectively the Lender and that is Aurelius. They are a long way from being described as the helpful profit investing supporting friend that has helped reshape the Working Links Way portfolio. In fact it looks more the prediction of the end of the line will fast approach as the investors relentless drive for their cash driven profiteering end will drive any small limping company under sooner or later. We hope for the sooner and that scenario is well catered for in the document termed the Debenture. There are many interesting sections and in particular my old favourite the ARSA has a place in the Service Agreement top of page 4.

The implications to my mind at least is the MOJ will most likely have to be asking along with the Parliamentary accounts committee where did the excess of 4 Million disappear to last summer? We all know not 1 penny found its way to any section of the services. We know this as we were officially told that all that monies was to sustain the spending already made. It was a different story when we read the 2017 accounts of Working Links hiding under clauses to not declare actual profits. Whatever the issues become which are starting to unfold none of this paints a happy picture for Working Links. I know many of our members will be reaching out extending their sympathies for the Company and the Working Links way wont we all?

Anyway for this brief publication and the debenture report let me have your views. My thanks go to our usual sources for citing us early on this development.

The one reassurance I can give is that wages are at the top of any list as debtors before the Aurelius creditors earmark everything else.

On the NAPO General Secretary Elections the ballot is out and you have your chance to make a difference to providing a mandate please ensure your vote is not left in the office as leave approaches fill them in now.

Dino Peros Napo SSw branch Chair. 


Chairs AGM Report SSW Branch June 2018

Welcome Members, 

To your AGM South South West Branch with what continues to be the most intransigent of employers Working Links and Aurelius. 

⦁ Backward in all staff related matters.
⦁ Backward in terms and conditions
⦁ Backwards in fair to staff practices
⦁ Backwards in policies procedures and justice.
⦁ Backwards in delivering best services. 

We can tell you what they are not backwards at, looking constantly for more money seeking to reduce any costs irrespective of the damage to anyone else. Clamouring for more cash from the MOJ. Being secretive about their real profits and most of all great at misinformation, blaming everyone else for the delays in your entitlements to a percentage pay increase and while claiming the unions hold up your rewards. This is simply just another Working Links lie we have endured this year. Not the first time and certainly it won’t be the last. 

A few years back 2016 we talked of their desire to make more money from crime than any bank robbers in history. Sadly the government agenda has facilitated public funds for Working Links to cash in on. Inferior services calculated targets and real loss of genuine quality public services has seen the growth in a false market place that has the contractors now crying foul as they realise the public monies gravy train is stalling as the Parliamentary accounts committee has said this free flow of cash has to end. 

The recent cuts to travel overheads bill paying has seen this years Working Links claims of being a progressive company into a local contract of farce and crisis. 

Poorest IT still not centrally linked a contract requirement and far too many drives up a Working Links cul-de-sacs none of this was declared in the their 2017 roads map rubbish. Sadly this year has seen the Working Links way cut their own staffing and urgently redefine exactly where the government funds actually go and to start to ensure that the money actually pays for CRC staff. Something NAPO SSW branch has well reported its concerns over the years.

We have continued to see the decline in the published Thematic reports on many CRCs activity and we have now heard of plans to seek to put back into Wales at least public ownership of case management at some point soon we hope. We have the news that all offender based case management is now to return to some period of time whereby cases are actually seen. Face to face, this work will cost time and money. The Working Links stripped back case management model, using just call centres will likely now have to go south. We all hope Working Links and their ways, will subsequently follow. 

SSW Branch remains strong committed to working with Ian Lawrence the national General Secretary of NAPO. Congratulations to him having won the NEC nomination to move forwards on his campaign for re–election this summer. In combination with Ian Lawrence GS we have our support in the region from Wales and BGSW and to Unison all areas in the ongoing dispute for your 

⦁ Workloads weightings employee care
⦁ Terms and Conditions
⦁ Health and Safety
⦁ Pay
⦁ Accommodation
⦁ Seeking negotiations on Work case management model.
⦁ Job security 

Members will have seen the Branch reports that we provide as soon as we can as issues come light and to some point of reporting. However with Working Links constantly changing its senior managerial line up it is difficult not to wonder who they are going to field next as all their people seem to disappear rather quickly. 

Recently being announced that the new leader for all the CRCs has a probation background we see this as a signal that they may have understood the government concerns and placed a better skilled leader than we have experienced so far. Though it is too early to call in truth I suspect they will have their hands tied to the continued rubbish we have experienced to date. 

The continual brain drain of skilled experienced knowledgeable Probation Officers has seen too many exodus Working Links and their way. In 10 months we understood that as many as 10 POs had left the Working Links regime and more recent news, another two have joined in that flight. 

I would have hoped, as many of our members tell us, the Government should have taken hold of these failing contracts well before now, sadly the collusion to keep the CRCs limping home to end of the unlikely to be renewed contract period might be the only way to save their remaining reputation for what is increasingly becoming another government public services negligent farce. By the way has anyone ever seen a real contract manager who knows what that actually means? 

The indication from Working Links themselves this year is worth noting again and their desire to quit before contract time ends is welcome news and we have reported on this, the only difficulty is that WL are not able to quit their toxic contract. Foolish arrangement to be in really and they have to fund the costs to get out should they try. All said I cannot see the government bailing them out this early even though the remainder of the contract is now on a declining curve. NAPO looks forward to assisting in the acceleration of the contract ending should this become a real potential. 

On some positive news Napo has a lot to look forwards to. Plenty going on nationally although I have mixed views on the real state of the union our GS is here to tell us some of the important developments for both CRCs and NPS. On NPS issues the branch NPS Vice Chair will be reporting all progress on those arrangements for the last 12 months. 

The local Branch NAPO SSW has seen our media campaign continue with reports In local newspapers TV and in particular our Local Plymouth campaign to see a council motion passed on Public safety about the Working Links failing Model which is part of our dispute. Gladly we look forwards to the returning face to face case management but have yet to engage Senior management on discussions of a less risky supervision model. Despite the motion being lost by a few votes. 

The branch supporters continue to fight for your terms indeed many of our members have been abused and constantly face the attacks from the management using policy and procedures to bully harass and victimise staff into forms of compliance to new task and more work without adequate agreements or protections. This NAPO branch support all its members who have been strong and resisted this adversarial management doctrine and send this continued message to them. We will defend our member’s terms and conditions despite their inappropriate tactics and not before too long, we’ll be there ready to open the door as they both exit and take their shoddy employment practices with them.

As the Chair of the NAPO SSW branch I remain proud to lead NAPO members. Proud of our members’ ability to remain in post and resist the management pressures. Proud of all those members coming forwards to take part in the branch and I am grateful that our memberships continue to challenge and defend your terms and conditions whatever it takes!

We remain a credible strong branch proud to continue our dispute as long as we continue to receive the fantastic support we have had in our well attended branch meetings over the last year. Members, we thank you for that and long shall we continue to work together to protect our terms our Union and continue to try and save and restore what was once our great service. 

NAPO thanks the executive and activists for their sterling work this year they all know who they are and what they do. In solidarity we look forwards because together we are stronger. If your not in a union and reading this Join Napo now!

Dino Peros NAPO SSW Branch Chair.


  1. "Recently being announced that the new leader for all the CRCs has a probation background"

    Who would that be?

    1. Spencer Draper - Deputy Director, CRC Contract Management at Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service(HMPPS)?

      Jim Barton - Executive Director Community Intervention?

  2. Here's a snippet from a report in todays Times. Paywall, so can't lift the whole article.

    "Contracts for the part-privatisation of the probation service are set to be cut short after a barrage of criticism over the way companies monitor offenders.

    Ministers are looking to terminate the contracts in 2020, two years early, after concluding that they are unlikely to work. The decision was made after it was disclosed that some offenders were monitored with one brief telephone call every six weeks.

    Chris Grayling launched the scheme as justice secretary in 2015 to encourage innovation and to reduce re-offending. The state-run probation service was split into 21 community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) that were given seven-year contracts worth £3.7 billion to monitor low to medium-risk offenders.

    The 21 services run by CRCs will be reduced to about 14 and new tenders will…"


    1. Hence the recent activities at Companies House?

    2. Doubt it very much they are going under without a bail out in June by the reading.

    3. Taxpayers will face a £300m-£400m penalty if controversial probation privatisation contracts are cancelled after next May's general election under an "unprecedented" clause that guarantees bidders their expected profits over the 10-year life of the contract.

      Labour is already committed to unpicking the justice ministry contracts to outsource probation services but will not now be able to do so without incurring the multimillion pound bill because of "poison pill" clauses written in by Chris Grayling's department.

    4. Whether its now or 2020 its the first real admission that TR is a disaster.

    5. "Probation firms’ contracts will be ripped up

      Under some probation contracts, offenders are monitored with one phone call every six weeks

      Richard Ford, Home Correspondent
      June 14 2018, 12:01am,
      The Times


      Contracts for the part-privatisation of the probation service are set to be cut short after a barrage of criticism over the way companies monitor offenders.

      Ministers are looking to terminate the contracts in 2020, two years early, after concluding that they are unlikely to work. The decision was made after it was disclosed that some offenders were monitored with one brief telephone call every six weeks.

      Chris Grayling launched the scheme as justice secretary in 2015 to encourage innovation and to reduce re-offending. The state-run probation service was split into 21 community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) that were given seven-year contracts worth £3.7 billion to monitor low to medium-risk offenders.

      The 21 services run by CRCs will be reduced to about 14 and new tenders will be issued to run the bigger probation areas, The Times understands.

      The Ministry of Justice said: “All options remain on the table.”

      It comes as Dame Glenys Stacey, the chief inspector of probation, has decided she will stand down next year at the end of her three year contract. It had been hoped she would seek an extension of her contract.

      Dame Glenys, 64, was at the centre of controversy earlier this year when she agreed to take on a review of farm inspection expected to take up to two days a week from March to December this year. Her departure is not linked to the impending shake-up of the probation service.

    6. My Comment on the Times website

      " That is a very thin report looking like a couple of bits of information sellotaped together.

      What is needed is much more explanation and investigation about this significant change in policy from HM Government.

      Policy that some front-line probation practitioners predicted would fail when they were first announced in early 2013.

      For me the biggest question is why has HM UK Parliament seemed to have abrogated responsibility for all management of policy for the English and Welsh Probation system. Probation has been incrementally removed from the control of local magistrates, then after centralisation, split into parts. The changes introduced in 2014 make it impossible to operate so as to maximise safety for the public and rehabilitation for those for whom it is charged to report about to the criminal courts and then oversee when they are subject to Orders of the Court.

      This diminishment of the probation system can be dated to at least 1992 when the Criminal Justice act 1991 was introduced which among other things changed the status of the probation order as it had been instituted in the 1907 Probation of Offenders Act.

      Interestingly the Irish probation service continues to operate its probation service with that 1907 Act of parliament

      I hope there are some leads for journalists to pursue - mostly - parliament needs to be held accountable - not just a few rogue Ministers."

      MOJ looking to give Interserve Justice the nod before the end of the year to begin rebuilding Glen Parva prison in Leicestershire.

  3. Great information from getafix. Good news. The southwest may not need to do much then? Napo should have branch leaders of the strength of this guy.

  4. Question is what would come in its place. Reduce 21 to 14 does that mean g4s and serco get a try.

    1. Why would the departure of Dame Glenys bring about such a change?

    2. The 21 services run by CRCs will be reduced to about 14 and new tenders will be issued to run the bigger probation areas, The Times understands.

    3. I wonder if per chance the reduction to 14 contracts means co-terminous boundaries with NPS regions or possibly PCC and elected Mayoral boundaries?

      Shame about Dame Glenys, but she shot herself in the foot over inspecting bloody farms part time. But she'd clearly lost the argument over SFO investigations and the suspicion must be that the new probation inspection regime was likely to mean less damning reports. She's been got at?

    4. I think it may mean a much greater role for third sector involvement and that perhaps being achieved by devolving services to, as you say, PCCs and Mayors.
      There may be a clue to be found in these recent Non Exec appointments by the MoJ.
      I know Nick Campsie for example is big on Third Sector and Social Enterprise involvement.


    5. Our Non-Executive Board Members are senior figures from outside government, appointed to provide challenge to government departments. As set out in the government’s Code of Practice, Non-Executive Board Members should be appointed directly by the Secretary of State and are not civil servants. Their role is to:

      # give advice to ministers and officials on the operational and delivery implications of policy proposals

      # provide independent support, guidance and challenge on the progress and implementation of the department’s strategic direction

      # on performance and monitor implementation of the department’s business plans

      Mark Rawlinson joins as the Lead Non-Executive. He is currently Chairman of UK Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley after a distinguished 35-year career at leading international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

      Shirley Cooper brings over 30 years’ experience in finance and procurement to the role. She spent 13 years as Procurement and Supply Chain Director at Computacenter where she was responsible for an annual spend of over £2 billion, and now holds a number of non-executive positions.

      Nick Campsie brings a range of project and risk management skills from his time as a partner at asset management firm Eton Park Capital Management between 2004 and March this year. He has considerable experience of performance monitoring, auditing and corporate governance and is also a member of the criminal justice advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice.

    6. MEANWHILE: -

      "News story

      More police and crime commissioners to be given fire authority voting rights
      The Home Office has today announced it will bring forward legislation which will enable more areas to access the benefits of emergency service collaboration."

      Seems as if PCCs really are going to take on more work for Central Governement in the localities - that is fairly soon after Justice of the Peace committees seem to have been reduced in authority.

      Maybe probation really is next Mrs May as Home Secretary and Mr Gove were considering it when he was at MOJ and announced a plan to comment more after local elections - I think in 2015 - but I maybe a year out.

  5. sounds about right. they want a yes person who says the right things to cover up the dangerous farce that is crc.

  6. The branch reporting and the news of the hawks closing in on Working links finances is all very interesting as it may mean the union activity is now a waste of time? What happens if the company are bust in a few weeks then? Who or what will take over the offender provisions. Will Napo be happy ? Will anyone have some idea on what plan B will be and who will pay employees and who will manage the accommodations phones and administration. Will this be averted or will a crash cause a complete failure. Is Dino Peros Chair mindful of what the implications are? Will he comment here?

    1. More to the point when will a Devon or Cornwall MP get this issue on to the floor of the House of Commons demanding answers from Ministers? - is Carl Eve on to this from the Plymouth press? - it is for local Napo folk to contact their MPs and every news outlet possible.

      I see ex Labour probation Minister David Hanson and Ian Lawrence are Tweeting about this in a we told you so way - rather than suggesting action to protect jobs and lives.

    2. It is known in some closed SSW napo branch clique circles they have already arranged several parliamentary meetings.

    3. 12:25 some of those issues are well understood by that chair I would bet my mortgage. I would venture they have assessed that outcome is more desirable than retaining Working Links which sounds like a key first hand back area given the notice described.

  7. As and when WLinks pull out of the contract, or go bust,If you are owed money by one of thier CRCs (not wages) where would you go? who would you apply to?

  8. The snidey aside about staff bolting with enhanced pensions by one Richard Rhodes on twitter surely can't be ignored here. He was, I believe, one-time headmaster of a fee-paying school, a chair of Cumbria probation trust & the first PCC in Cumbria (who allegedly got into hot water about being chauffeur driven to & from drinking - sorry, speaking - engagements on expenses).

    I know of no-one in any trust being awarded enhanced pensions - or any other generosity - aside from trust senior managers, e.g. the ex-chiefs who pocketed an indecent whack, or those selected (by themselves) to take EVR (at its FULL rate) who then accepted well-paid, strikingly similar jobs with the new CRC owners.

    The implied slur upon experienced, dedicated professionals who will have earned considerably less in a decade than Rhodes was paid out of taxpayer funds during his tenure as PCC is unnecessary, cheap & shoddy.

    1. 00:45 - it wasn't simply alleged, it was true. And he was so pissed off about it being leaked he sought out those responsible for disclosing how he had misused public funds...

    2. A woman arrested over the alleged leaking of expenses claims by Cumbria's police and crime commissioner (PCC) will face no criminal action.

      The 50-year-old woman, who works for Cumbria Police, was arrested in April after PCC Richard Rhodes used a chauffeur-driven car costing £700.

      Two men aged 47 and 59 who also worked for the force were told they would face no further action in May.

      Details of Mr Rhodes' expenses were leaked to a local newspaper.

      He apologised for "mistakes" in failing to check costs before hiring a chauffeur-driven Mercedes to go to two evening engagements.

      The 50-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of data protection offences and misconduct in a public office. She remains suspended and the force said a misconduct investigation will now take place in relation to any internal breach of the code of conduct.

      "Cumbria Constabulary's staff and police officers have a duty to protect and manage the information they have privileged access to," the force said in a statement.

      "Any allegations relating to a breach of this position need to be investigated to ensure our communities can have trust and confidence in the way we deliver policing in the county."

      Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said questions needed to be asked about the use of resources on the investigation.

      The Liberal Democrat MP said: "This is good news and vindicates what I and others have been saying for months - that these people are whistleblowers and not criminals."

      Mr Rhodes said: "The chief constable is in charge of operational matters. "The PCC has no authority to intervene."