Since the MoJ announcement last week regarding reunification, it's rapidly become apparent that we have once more descended into a fog of confusion, misinformation, mistrust and misunderstanding. Somewhat alarmingly, it's already beginning to look and feel like a re-run of TR.
Just like the first time around, we all have a choice, either remain passive and await information and instruction from official sources, or by individual effort and action share information, news, thoughts and expertise as a way of trying to 'own' this fucking mess, as opposed to just being somewhat of a helpless bystander in something that acutely affects everyone in the profession.
Whilst ever it is possible, this platform will remain as a means by which all those who care for 'probation' as a worthwhile endeavour can share information for mutual benefit and the protection of a vital public service. However, it can only be as good as the information it garners and therefore the onus falls primarily on you, the reader. Which leads nicely into warmly thanking the individuals who regularly forward news from Napo at work in the South West with not one, but two branch communications that discuss matters that will be of relevance to staff in all CRCs. (It would be useful if someone could kindly forward the employers Q and A referred to in the second report - thanks).
Branch information important 16 5 19
Dear Napo Members
Good news !!! Its is official. The Government has finally, after much pressure, including the NAO, HMIP, and several evidence inquiries have relented and managed to accept the “U” turn on their appalling damaging and flawed probation revolution.
Sadly only part of the Service in case management is to be taken into the NPS. It is reported that CP and programmes interventions will likely be retendered into another privatised fiasco. I won’t spell out what a waste of an opportunity that will be when their chance to repair public services to what they were is now. However, if taking back case management reduces the risk of the increase in murders and domestic violence then there can be no argument to these ends.
Despite the latest management information from Seetec who quite obviously do not appear to have any grasp of the politics surrounding the scandalous approach to privatised probation they actually think expansion was a good idea in February! Really? The past few weeks of these drip fed weekly propaganda bulletins were so off the mark they are not worth challenging. Many of us already knew this news was coming and it is well overdue. In relation to Seetec most likely not wanting to generate any fears, they appear to believe it themselves. The reality is the bulk of the operating contracts value will now plummet. Finally to end by spring 2021. Whatever tendering that takes in the future, the reliance on their development unit will not convince anyone case management is better in private control. Whatever generates this sort of thinking does make me ask some questions about the experience and knowledge base. Arguing against the intelligence of the national information reports and audits the HMIP inspections all pointed to the very real car crash TR has been. The double speak we have been subjected locally has no further place in DDC. Colleagues should look forwards to restoring their public sector status.
Most likely April 2021 is a new vesting day that terms and conditions as well as staffing arrangements will take priority in the form of national collective bargaining and your national terms. While NPS may not be the best home for probation given what we have experienced from their ways. NPS developed and too often avoid or bend any policy colluding with privatised HR services. Marginally better than the private companies.
What is of paramount importance is to ensure all staff are transferred wherever there is inclusion for the appropriate roles and all grades that deliver case management. All parts of the split services are understaffed and the NPS need skills held in the CRC. All POs will certainly need a lot of information as things develop and the NAPO branch AGM is to be held on the 27th June in Plymouth make sure as many of you attend this important meeting which will have the general secretary speaking on all developments with a lively Q and A with our link official. Book your diaries now. Locally and with the link official Napo will be organising all grade meetings as we discover the renationalised process to be agreed.
In all cases enjoy this major news Napo will continue the campaign call to ensure CP and programmes are returned to public services because we all realise there will not be a valuable contract to anyone who is serious about delivering the best services. Taking a Profit from probation in case they have not understood the NAO report simply does not work.
Celebrate this news and look out for national Napo bulletins coming out today.
If you are reading this and not in a union Join Napo today. This news makes fairly clear all staff should think carefully on the next 20 months.
Napo SSW Branch Chair
Branch information 2 important 21 May 2019
Dear Napo members,
Apologies for yet another fast-moving branch update but in some regards it is important to keep as many issues in context wherever we can.
20 5 19 saw the release of Seetec’s amalgamated type of Q and A similarly fashioned from the MOJ release. At no point have we in NAPO been consulted or seen any canvassing of members or staff for the questions posed and we presume this is the Seetec company’s view. Therefore it is probably more about how they want you to see the situation developing and most importantly perhaps try to keep some control over the next few months as we all await the blueprint to be produced for any new transfer arrangements for staff to NPS. There is no obvious expectation that outsourcing of case management will continue beyond the announcement.
Given the confirmation that MOJ only passed this situation to Seetec with just a day’s notice, incredible as it sounds they then silenced contractors before the public announcement. It sort of says it all really. They have effectively been told their contractual period is to end yet cannot say or do anything about it. As Chair of the Napo SSW branch I have not been able to appreciate how this is any sort of a surprise when the contract terminated 2 years early had already been announced a while back. Unless, private companies just appear to bank on the current TR fiasco being blindly continued. Not to mention here in the real world of reporting from the PAC report the NAO report and the HMIP final inspection report all culminating in the publication of the MOJ results of the September 2018 survey. Interested parties have overwhelmingly influenced the range of directions from the publication some four months later than expected. This final piece of the jigsaw makes it obvious all current wisdom could not condone the continuation of case management in private control. The idea that it could continue post all the official condemnation to date coupled with the factual evidence base with the conclusions we have seen. It is incomprehensible that some would think otherwise.
There remains some nonsense or fantasy which is not an effective public protection position, seeking to encourage a belief that things could be better in private hands. The comprehensive evidence is a resounding rejection of such a position and yet it does not appear to registered properly or seem understood by the current Seetec contract holder.
It is appreciated that many staff are speculating on the mixed views about the wider staffing situation questioning whether “is this really re-nationalisation or something sort of but not really”? The bottom line is, it is too early to speculate beyond what has been stated to be the MOJ plan. The notice of intention to end the privatised delivery of case management is a great outcome long overdue. It does not go far enough. We want to see all probation work back into public services. It will make sense that there will need to be a transfer process and new arrangements. When the national Unions are convened there will be no doubt full scale consultations on that process for agreement will take place. That said the timescales are not fixed points. We all know of the previous transfer fiasco periods slipped and were then hurried into being. There are many newer staff since that time and arrangements will have to cater for legacy protected staff and recent CRC contracted employees who are also subject to entitlements under existing collective agreements.
Spring in the public services is the end of March and the notion nothing will change in the next two years is almost laughable. As a bare minimum there will be notice periods for change to staff contracts with ongoing consultations and arrangements for staff selections and a criterion for such transfers. I doubt Seetec really expect staff our members to believe this will happen post their contract period having ended. Seetec suggest they will be seeking to continue a competitive bid and the of prospect might see another new employer wandering around offices doing an inventory. Further, the idea of the range of different posts being divided across employers is not clear how this will be developed. Save to say we continue to hold better protective terms and conditions in DDC than many areas and we will be ensuring all the agreements are properly complied with subject to any unilateral national collective agreements taking precedence.
Unfortunately, there will likely continue to be a range contractor led responses to such MOJ bulletins and from this point going forward NAPO locally are acutely aware of the bulk of staff desire is to get back into the public or the civil services. Seen as a better place to be appointed than any form of the continued and flawed privatisation contractors, it has to be understood the mixed economy on probation services remains damaged and is limping with the promise of more contracts, yet nothing can be guaranteed. There may be the intention now but a change in government fortunes will break the cycle. Working Links was supported in and never had the required money in the first place sold out to Aurelius and in no time left to operate probation case management. Look what happened - the single worst ever HMIP report on record. The CPO gone, the contractor gone and yet staff continue to suffer carrying extreme workloads due to the complete and continued failure of the leadership which remain wed-locked to a failed model. Sadly to date continued by Seetec.
Finally, the Seetec Q and A issued 20 5 19 does not answer many questions in depth and leaves way too much in the we don’t know category of answer box. In that sense a little more patience would help us all reduce the over speculations and whatever it takes the Unions will continue the campaign for complete reunification of probation services to protect interventions from the discontinuation of the privatised fiasco.
If your reading this and not a member of NAPO then join the branch now www Napo membership follow the links. Our next meeting is the AGM and Paul Sabulis Branch secretary will be posting out the list of members discussion topics shortly and with details during this challenging time.
Napo SSW Branch Chair
Napo SSW Branch Chair