Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Latest From Napo 180

Here we have an edited extract from the latest blog post by the Napo General Secretary:-  


As I have reported in previous weeks, the so-called consultation on ‘strengthening Probation and building confidence’ is nothing but a sham, and won’t change the intended direction of travel which is to create a false market and merely sell off the whole shambles under a different regional structure.

This is what I have been saying at any number of events, including meetings of the Justice and Family Court Unions Parliamentary Group and last week’s gathering of Labour Police and Crime Commissioners which was also attended by Lord Ramsbotham who is heading up the Labour Party’s own review of the future of Probation which we are obviously linked into.

Meanwhile, the unions have made their position clear in the initial exchanges with senior MoJ and HMPPS leaders where we are in the process of ensuring clear conduits are up and running about the Government’s plans for Probation and how we are going to handle the transition of work in Wales back to the NPS.

I will be issuing more details about all of this as soon as we have more substantive news, but meanwhile I thought you should see the agreed statement that the unions have insisted will be included in all minutes of meetings around the intended ‘remarketisation’ exercise.

"Napo/ UNISON/GMB request that the following statement appear at the start of the minutes of this and all subsequent meetings of the ‘Strengthening probation, building confidence,’ Engagement Forum.

That whilst Napo/UNISON/GMB are prepared to take part in the Engagement Forum meetings, Napo/UNISON/GMB wish to make it explicitly clear that we are in total opposition to the ‘re-marketisation’ of the CRC contracts as proposed in the ‘Strengthening Probation, building confidence consultation launched by the Secretary of State for Justice. Moreover, we reserve our rights to take such steps as we deem appropriate (including the possibility of legal action), in support of our policy to achieve the reunification of a Probation service under public control and ownership."


  1. Reunification under public control? Unlikely with Tory ideology.


    1. Two new jails announced by the government are to be privately run, it has emerged, as the role of profit-making prisons comes under increased scrutiny after the crisis at the formerly G4S-operated HMP Birmingham.

      In a parliamentary written answer, the prisons minister, Rory Stewart, confirmed that HMP Glen Parva in Leicestershire will be privately run.

      The MoJ previously said a new jail – HMP Wellingborough – would be privately run. Both prisons will be built using public capital.

      In August, ministers were forced to take the operation of HMP Birmingham away from G4S while public sector officials attempted to restore order to the prison. High levels of violence, drug use and self-harm had prompted the chief inspector of prisons to issue an urgent notification process to the justice secretary. This is the most severe course of action available to the inspector.

      The shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, who tabled a written question asking if the new prisons would be privately run, said: “Just how bad does it have to get until the government ends its obsession with the private sector running huge swathes of our justice system in order to make a quick profit?

      “This summer two flagship justice privatisations ran aground, with HMP Birmingham brought back under public control and the government forced to end the private probation contracts early. But the Tories refuse to learn the lessons.

      “There are very real fears that corners will be cut to as the private contractors running these new prisons put profits first. Public accountability is also likely to be undermined as the private companies, hiding behind the cloak of commercial confidentiality, have no requirement to publish staffing levels for example.

      “Labour in office will put an end to the scandal of our prisons being run for private profit.”

      In his response, Stewart said: “As set out on the 26 June at the justice select committee and in the 2017 manifesto, we remain committed to building up to 10,000 modern and decent prison places to replace old, expensive and unsuitable accommodation.

      “As the chancellor set out in the budget on 30 October, we intend to build the first two prisons through public capital at Wellingborough, which is due to open in 2021, and Glen Parva, which we expect to open in 2022. We are planning to launch a competition later this year to establish a framework from which the operators of the new prisons will be chosen.

      “HM Prison and Probation Service will not take part in the prison competition. We will provide a ‘public sector benchmark’ against which operators’ bids can be assessed and will take on the provider role if bids do not meet quality or value for money thresholds.”

      There were 32,559 assault incidents in the 12 months to June, up 20% from the previous year, and 3,951 serious assaults, up 7%. Both of these figures are the highest on record.

      Among assaults, there were 9,485 attacks on staff in prisons, up 27%.

      In July, the MoJ announced a £30m investment, including £16m to improve conditions for prisoners and staff and £7m on security measures such as airport-style scanners, improved searching techniques and phone-blocking technology.

  2. this blog clearly doesnt represent public opinion. 97% in favour of pay offer. funny how the blog author makes no note of this. clearly an anti napo blog - MoJ/NOMS/HMPPS stooge

    1. That 97% might be seen as a ringing endorsement. But what do you think of the fact that only 60% of eligible members, that already dwindling proportion of those motivated enough to pay subs, bothered to vote on something quite so fundamental despite it only requiring a few clicks?

      My view is the outcome belies the sad reality that apathy amongst this professional group has never been more profound. As if there was any doubt, this pitiful turnout means the employers will never have any fear of industrial action again.

    2. From previous blog:

      "Anonymous 6 November 2018 at 18:31

      60% of NPS members, not members.
      60% a good turn out.
      Napo could of course force people to vote. you'd whinge about that then. 97% is pretty overwhelming. but if you want to side step democracy......"

      They make a good point in that 97% of 60% is a positive democratic indicator. So far, so good.

      But I'd go back to the more fundamental root question of who is this pay offer for & what is it all about? My view, its for NPS staff & there will be no impact upon or precedent set for members/staff in CRCs.

      Ian Lawrence says it will send Govt a message that they need to pay CRC staff. The point is made (also on previous blog) that Govt are NOT responsible for CRC staff wages, so its a false flag.

      Probation has been ripped asunder and this pay arrangement will merely fix that position in history.

      I'm minded to agree with a previous post that suggests Napo has, to its shame & in spite of any pre-meeting protestations to the contrary, once again done the ideological dirty-work of the employer in expediting the TR model beyond repair.

      Ledger, Lawrence & their oppo's have sold the probation profession down the river.

    3. yes one was caught up in his antics around the office the other have similar taints but grossly incompetent is more likely the analysis.

    4. @18:54
      Nope, 60% of those for whom this deal applies is a woeful turnout

    5. I'd be interested to see what the voting figures are for NPS members in GMB and Unison. Unless NPS Branch Officers are kept well informed and employers doing their job right there are potentially a lot of votes lost if Union members are off on maternity/paternity/ sickness absence etc.

  3. why edit extract?

  4. https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/rehab-prog/competition/target-operating-model.pdf

    If you're ever unsure about how you ended up where you are, feel free to refer to the above document at anytime.

  5. https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/domestic-abuse-northumbria-probation-inspection-15380783

  6. On the pay vote, why are the actual voting figures not published?

  7. Probably because legislation requires that at least 51% of those placing a vote per Union are in favour for the vote to be accepted as valid

    1. That's got nothing to do with it, as that legislation relates to ballots for strike action, not a mere pay ballot which is an internal matter for the union. I thinks perhaps to publish the raw figures would disclose the actual membership number and show whether the alleged 'surge' actually happened.

    2. Trade unions are not within the remit of FOI. Mind you, why would we need such leverage in an open and transparent, member-led union

    3. Because they tell us lies the truth is coming and they will be running in time no doubt.

  8. Keeping people uninformed or misinformed is a strategy employed to suppress discontent or redirect scrutiny from bigger issues.



    1. The inspectors are not gagged, I think they may be putting a gloss on a few things but last 4 CRC reports are disastrous for public protection, fundamental failings. For all the grief that NAPO get, they were right to campaign with the banner, 'Public Protection not Private Profit!' How long will this fiasco carry on? The fragmentation and outsourcing of Probation Services puts the public at risk. The problem is one of system design not a matter of a drawn out transitional period.

    2. it will go on and on

    3. https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/ncvo-chief-writes-prime-minister-seeking-clarity-gagging-clauses/policy-and-politics/article/1498319

  9. https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/we-got-it-wrong-on-spending-moj-mandarin-tells-mps

  10. The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has told MPs that two of its main spending assumptions have turned out to be “fundamentally unrealistic”.

    Richard Heaton said the MoJ was seeking additional funds from the Treasury after it wrongly assumed that demand for services would go down and fee income would go up.

    Mr Heaton said demand for legal aid had risen, particularly in family law cases, and the prison population had gone up.

    He told yesterday’s meeting of the justice select committee that the assumptions were made “way before” his time as permanent secretary, and he could not say how they were arrived at.

    Looking surprised and disappointed, Bob Neill, chair of the committee, said: “The principal cost that drives demand for services is prison places.

    “Given that the demand for prison places has gone up year on year for a considerable amount of time, what on earth was the basis for saying demand would fall?”

    Mr Heaton said that, since in some years the prison population was flat, it was assumed that “a level of flatness would continue and it didn’t”.

    Mr Neill replied: “It’s before your time, I appreciate, but it seems a bit optimistic to say the least.”

    Labour MP David Hanson, prisons minister in 2009, said the assumption at that time was that the prison population would rise, and that he believed this had been “baked into” planning assumptions in 2009 and “baked out” in 2010, when the Conservatives took over.

    Mr Heaton said the MoJ was currently putting its “evidence-based” case to the Treasury for a new approach to spending.

    “Why do we need new prisons? Why do we need more investment in the courts? We are hoping it will result in a proper baseline and a decent multi-year settlement we can live with and plan with confidence in.”

    Mr Heaton said that, since 2010, the MoJ had been an unprotected department on spending, which the Treasury recognised was under “considerable strain”, while not being a “black hole department”.

    While refusing to describe the 40% cut in the department’s budget over the last decade as “unsustainable”, Mr Heaton said the MoJ had been forced to abandon its criminal court enforcement reforms as it “simply couldn’t afford the up-front costs”.

    A leading think tank predicted last week that the MoJ was among those departments “facing further large budget cuts over the next five years” on the basis of the Budget.

    Mr Neill said the department was under further pressure from Brexit, and had received £17.4m in funding from the Treasury.

    Mr Heaton said two-thirds of the money had been allocated to staff, whether in the Courts Service to cope with a rise in volume of cases or to help in trade negotiations.

    Also giving evidence Mike Driver, chief financial officer at the MoJ, said no resources had been switched from the MoJ’s “global Britain” campaign in Asia and Africa, which had probably cost “in the low millions”.

    Mr Heaton said he was “nervous” about banking too much on the MoJ’s income from fees, currently over £700m, as access to justice had to be protected.

    “We need to achieve a fees strategy that protects access to justice, and asks users to pay where they can,” he said. “We are not seeking to squeeze as much money out of every litigant as we possibly can.”

    Mr Heaton said 42,000 people who were entitled to refunds on employment tribunal fees following the Supreme Court ruling had received letters from the MoJ. Mr Driver said £15.8m had been paid out in refunds this year.

    He said a failure to review fees at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) regularly enough had led to a £89m overspend.

    Mr Driver added that by the end of September this year, £10.6m in fees had been repaid to members of the public for OPG matters.

    1. And £6m more.
      Anything that prevents rough sleeping must be welcomed, but if its only being rolled out in 3 regions, I'm sure it won't be long before services in other areas start to demand their piece of the pie?



  11. Parole Board: No black panel members a 'significant concern'


    'Unconscious bias'

    However, only 13 - or 5% - of Parole Board members are from an ethnic minority, none of whom is black. "At the moment we have no black Parole Board members and that's of significant concern to me," said Mrs Corby.

    A campaign to recruit 100 Parole Board members in 2016 and 2017 tried to address the shortfall, she said, but it had not attracted enough ethnic minority candidates and a disproportionate number of those who did apply failed to get through the selection procedures. A new recruitment drive is being launched next year.

    1. It’s not unconscious bias, it’s Institutional racism.

    2. No black staff either in the HMI Probation Chief Inspector and Senior Management Team. Can’t recall seeing many black HMIP inspectors either.


  12. Is what I'm reading right? The new chair of the patole board spent her career working in "the city" then sat on lots of different boards including london probation trust, wjich she was chair of from 2012-2014 just in time dir TR?

    Why her? Should we be worried?

  13. Check out Interserves share price! And they're not paying their bills.


    1. Not sure why their share price is plummeting so quickly, but they seem to be making a few bob from their unpaid work.