Saturday, 18 September 2021

Latest From Napo 226

Here we have yesterday's mailout from Napo:-

Dear Xxxxxxx

Reject the Public Sector Pay Freeze - Have you voted in the Indicative Ballot?

Napo members in the Probation Service are being asked to vote in an indicative ballot to reject the insulting pay offer from their employer and send a strong protest against the governments public sector pay freeze.

At this week’s Trade Union Congress, it was made clear by many speakers that the only way to defeat the vindictive pay freeze for key public service workers is likely to be through industrial action. Napo’s ballot is an opportunity for of our Probation members to say that they have had enough of being treated with disrespect by this government, enough of 10 years of austerity and the wanton destruction of our public services and enough of low pay, and the impact on your families living standards.

Why It’s not just about pay

While reunification is obviously welcomed, not a day passes without us receiving reports from your local Napo activists, members of your National Executive Committee and elected officers, about unsustainable workloads, staff shortages and the massive pressures being faced by on our members and manager members. There is a long way to go before these problems are resolved and the longer that the Probation service is starved of serious investment then this situation will simply get worse.

It’s a plain fact that until something is done to improve the pay of probation workers the service will fail to recruit and retain the staff that it desperately needs and fail to achieve the plans to rebuild following the disastrous effects of privatisation.

Given the chaos that our members in Probation are experiencing it ought to be an obvious choice to demonstrate your anger and frustration by way of casting your vote to reject the pay freeze in the indicative ballot. By doing so you can directly help to force the employer back into sensible negotiations, but we need our members to support their union and maintain pressure on your employer by taking part in this ballot.

Vote to reject the pay freeze

If you have not already voted, the link to the current indicative ballot is here.

UNISON members in Probation are also being asked to vote against the pay freeze and support industrial action.

Say no to the pay freeze
Say no to the disgraceful 2021 pay offer
Say no to unsustainable workloads, high stress levels and staff shortages

Please support your negotiators in our attempts to secure a decent pay rise for Probation staff

AGM – a chance to come together – in person or virtually!

Napo’s AGM will this year be a hybrid event. We look forward to welcoming as many members as possible to Newcastle. We have a large venue that will allow for social distancing and we are taking steps to ensure that the format supports us all in keeping safe. For members who cannot attend in person we are offering the chance to participate virtually, you will be able to speak and vote on motions and to listen to speakers and participate in the professional sessions. We know that some may be prevented from travelling or being in groups of people due to COVID vulnerability or for any other reason and it is important that we do what we can to avoid excluding people from AGM.

Members employed by the Probation Service will be allowed one day work time to attend AGM on the basis that it contributes to professional development

Pay, workloads, professional issues and COVID recovery are important to all of our members and we know you need a place to talk about them and to find ways to do something about them. AGM gives you that opportunity – don’t miss it, contact your branch for details of the support they are offering and register today!

Plus, in more news:
Napo Stress Survey
SPO Forum 29 September, 1pm

Best Wishes
Napo HQ


  1. Oh nafo shut up your hypocrisy is overwhelming. Vlo pay is at national twin pay bands 3 and 4 for the same job. Nafo agreed the disjointed pay difference. Ow pay exploitation has never been challenged if I want to save money it's should be in wasted subs to nafo. If nafo are serious on these known issues going to a conference to talk about won't help . The frustration of this know issue is grossly ignored by both management and backed up by the pathetic general secretary and the useless Napo band wagon same old song and always out of tune.

  2. I note that Napo have embraced the new nomenclature:

    "Napo members in the Probation Service"

    Its been asked before, I haven't seen any response to date - was there any kind of announcement about rebranding the service by anyone? Or was this another example of imposing change by stealth?

  3. We've been there many times before...

    Home office plans to rename the probation service as the community punishment and rehabilitation service produced dismay and derision last night as critics predicted its customers would call it "Craps".

  4. Somepne with no grasp of the English language has clearly been updating Wiki:

    "The Probation Service (formally the National Probation Service)"

    'Formally'/official or 'formerly'/previously ???

    Here's another example of name changes & what it does/doesn't mean to anyone:

    Rees offers her views here in Inside Time, wherein she briefly mentions what might be the *only* official acknowledgement of the name change:

    "On the 26th June, CRCs and the NPS came together to become one new public organisation called the Probation Service."

    Lawyers - what does this mean for the law? Has the law been amended to incorporate this name change?

  5. And here is Hansard evidence (from April 2000; yes, over 21 years ago) of the circular up-its-own-arse roadtrip probation has been forced to endure for years now:

    Mr. Hawkins: "does not the Minister recognise that, in the past 20 or 25 years let us go back to the time of the Labour Government before last or even the past 50 years, the biggest concern raised by the probation service has been the Government's proposal to change its name and make it a figure of ridicule."

    Mr. Boateng: "That is quite absurd. That is over-egging the pudding, even by the hon. Gentleman's standards. He is entitled to his little bit of fun about the name, but we listened, we consulted and we now move forward with a new national probation service for England and Wales.

    ... the [Criminal Justice & Court Services] Bill has a modernising agenda. It will restructure the probation service to make it yet more effective, and to allow it to focus on its key tasks of enforcement and public protection.

    Clause 1 is important. It sets out the reasons for the service's existence; establishes the National Probation Service as a single unified organisation; and brings together the present fragmented arrangements, under which there are 54 separate area services with no national accountability."

  6. Other voices in that 2000 committee about the CJCS Bill:

    "Undoubtedly the Government were forced belatedly to realise that the Opposition were correct in arguing that the title they originally intended to adopt would have made the probation service a subject for mockery." [reference to the CRAPS acronym]

    "The fact that the Government take probation seriously is undoubtedly to be welcomed. All of us who have worked in the courts know its vital role. During my own practice at the Bar in the midlands I met several probation officers who played a significant role in ensuring that those who had fallen foul of the law received support and advice. Undoubtedly, the probation service has many successes to its credit. It is often forgotten, in the concern about reoffending"

    "When I practised at the Bar, I used to be angered by a sort of trade union rule in the probation service subsequently it learned more sense that did not allow any probation officer to write a report to any court recommending a custodial sentence. The problem for the circuit judges in those days was that they could not be sure whether to trust what the probation officers said."

    "it is vital that the National Probation Service and individual probation officers feel sure of the support of any Government in respect of the provision of assistance to the courts. I hope that the Committee and the House as a whole will not be divided in our support for the work of probation officers. The supervision of people released from prison on licence is a vital function of probation officers. The arrangement of accommodation in approved premises for people on probation and the regulations that are needed are also crucial."

    "The Minister and most hon. Members know that a feature of public belief in the criminal justice system is that almost all community penalties are weak and inadequate they let evildoers get away with crime and fail to give proper punishment or to protect the public against future crimes."

    "The key to rehabilitation, whether one is talking about non-custodial penalties or prison regimes, is the readiness of the criminal to co-operate with those who are offering him rehabilitation and a way forward."

    And this from Jackie Ballard, then a LibDem MP:

    "In many ways, the prevention of offending or reoffending is not about what punishment is meted out. It is about examining the causes of criminality and ways in which social and economic structures can be changed and in which educational opportunities and aspirations can be improved to ensure that people do not end up in a cycle of criminality. It is much more complicated than just punishment... My particular difficulty with the clause is that I do not believe that it is the role of the probation service to impose punishment. It is up to the courts to decide on punishment and up to the probation service to enforce it. The probation service does not punish and is not a punishment service. The sentence is the punishment; the role of the probation service should be to enforce the sentence and to supervise, assist, monitor and educate offenders."

    Which, of course, went down well with Boateng: "We are an enforcement agency. It is who we are. It is what we do."

  7. Two final thoughts from 2000:

    Mr. Hawkins: "While the Minister is talking about a culture shift, will he address the concern of a number of probation committee members about centralised control, which I know has been raised with him and with those on the Front Benches?" [Nick Hawkins, Tory]


    Jackie Ballard: "The Minister accepts that there will need to be a culture shift for those who already work in the probation service. I am sure that he would accept that, if there were a spectrum from social worker to prison officer, the move along the spectrum is closer to the way in which prison officers see themselves, rather than the way in which social workers see themselves. Given, therefore, that for many people who already work in the probation service it might be a difficult shift to make it may not be what they were taken into the service to do can the Minister say what extra resources will be put into training those officers, so that they can make the necessary culture shift?"

    Boateng was not impressed this time:

    "I do not accept that characterisation of a spectrum between the work of a social worker and a prison officer. We are developing a new concept for prisons and probation"

    None of the above will help you get the pay you're owed, or any future pay rise, but it might help illustrate the futility & frustrations surrounding probation service provision where Tory & Labour ideals are eminently interchangeable depending on who is in power on any given day.

  8. 21st Century work with sex offenders HMPPS-style

    After between 15 & 21 months of training you’ll gain a Level 5 vocational qualification diploma in Probation Practice as well as an honours degree.

    A biopsychosocial model promotes the idea that whilst the biological, psychological and social circumstances that shape us are not necessarily chosen, we are nevertheless responsible for leading non-harmful lives that respect other peoples’ rights.

    • We can strengthen a person’s biological capability to desist by:
    - Recognising people’s brains can change throughout their lives.
    - Teaching people new skills and have them repeat those skills, where possible in real life situations. Some examples are given below.
    - Teaching skills such as being more mindful.

    • We can strengthen a person’s psychological capability by:
    - Constructively challenging offence-related thinking, attitudes and beliefs, using motivational techniques, exposing people to alternative views and encouraging them to challenge their own thinking.
    - Teaching psychological skills such as problem solving, managing feelings and so on.
    - Where necessary, helping people to learn ways to manage offence-related sexual interests.

    • We can strengthen people’s social capability by:
    - Teaching them relationship skills such as assertiveness, negotiation, problem solving and intimacy.
    - Encouraging them to consider their current relationships, and whether they are helpful or not.
    - Helping them develop new relationships – perhaps through expanding opportunities for social activities, work, education and so on (where it is safe to do so).
    - Helping them find meaningful but safe employment or other activities.

    The probation element of the training involves:

    1) Revised materials for Module 4 of PQIP training
    2) Mandatory e-learning followed by a multi-component learning package for experienced probation officers who have at least 2 years’ experience

    The first line of support for staff comes through the normal supervision processes that should be in place throughout the organisation.

    In addition, access to Structured Professional Support (SPS) has been arranged through PAM Assist, the HMPPS Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider.

    Just a thought...

    A Biology hons degree course takes 3 years full-time
    A Psychology hons degree course takes 3 years f/t
    A Sociology hons degree course takes 3 years f/t
    A Social Work hons degree takes 3 years f/t

    Probation? 21 months tops & you’ll gain a Level 5 vocational qualification diploma in Probation Practice as well as an honours degree.

    How? Full-time course (37 hours per week) completed while part of a Probation Delivery Unit (PDU), prison establishment, court team. (Uh?)

    Does anyone find this alarming?

    1. Not really there are several arguments on qualifying periods. Not trying to offensive but a bad po is as dangerous as a careless surgeon. That said the surgeon's are highly trained really skilled and likely far more intelligent. The sad reality in reading the blog despite decades of service they are still trying to do things we pointed out and worked to for years. The truth is they don't want a skilled able workforce just a that will do team so the social unfairness continues. Too many probation leaders have liked life like this. Glad I'm out .

    2. It can take up to 16 years to be a qualified surgeon in the UK. Jus' sayin'


    “Instead of hitting working people and businesses with tax rises, we should be spreading the burden and creating a fairer system. It’s absurd that the current regime around carried interest means tax breaks for fund managers averaging £170,000 per person.

    “It’s not right that working people and ordinary businesses have been hit by a jobs tax, while private equity fund managers don’t have to pay a penny more on their income, and are in fact handed a tax break by this government as they asset strip some of our most valued businesses.”

  10. A bit tame from HMIP, but at least someone's raising their voice a bit. One might have expected HMPPS to have a go, but presumably their too tight with the politial agenda to want to risk stepping out of line. Might Napo have had something to say? Probably not - too busy trying to secure subs from new members to fund existing officials.

    Spending Review representation

    Summary (maximum 200 words)

    HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of probation services. We have found probation services under severe strain after many years of under-investment. We estimate real-term spending per person on probation fell almost 40 per cent (2003-2019).

    Additional investment of over £150m per annum since then has been welcome, but funding must be sustained over the Spending Review period and incorporated into the Probation Service budget baseline going forwards.

    Investment will help to fill vacancies, reduce the
    average caseload per practitioner, and ensure individuals can access support services. In addition, extra funding is required to address the very significant unmet needs, revealed by our recent inspections:

    • Too many people on probation do not have stable housing, which is linked to higher recall rates to prison. We would welcome a national roll-out of the pilot scheme to improve accommodation for prison leavers.

    • We have found a huge gap between the number of people on probation with a drugs problem and the proportion referred for treatment. Recent additional funding falls far short of the amount needed. People on probation should be prioritised for drug treatment and we endorse Dame Carol Black’s call for additional ring-fenced funding to tackle drugs misuse.

  11. The stars are aligning

    priti patel's criminal justice statement to HoC - erm, where's raab?

    1. seems it was a ministerial statement about the salisbury poisonings of the Skripaals & not 'criminal justice' per se; raab off the hook, high alert removed.

  12. Observation by Prof Alice Roberts just seen on twitter:

    "More than 200 people recorded as dying from COVID today. When did this get normalised? As COVID rips through schools, why are we not doing more to protect children and prevent spread? We could be doing much more but a decision has been made that it's not (financially) worth it."

    And from Prof Christina Pagel:

    "Tell me again that govt policy is not mass infection of kids.
    No masks, no bubbles, no isolation of contacts, late CO2 monitors, late vaccination... Record numbers of kids off school with Covid just two weeks into term.

    In Scotland, where school term started earlier, more children have tested positive for Covid in the last *month* than in year before that." (40,000 recorded cases between Feb'20 & July'21; 40,000 cases in Aug'21).

    Johnson & co have to answer for this. The elderly, the frail, the young, the vulnerable, professionals in health & social care, those who work the frontline on public transport, and many others - all sacrificed for the Tory obsession with 'the economy'.

    But they're all still there, stuffing their pockets & lying through their teeth.

  13. Just to reinforce the reality & depth of Tories' contempt for ordinary people & their children:

    “At the moment, the government has no strategy and no measurable objectives against which it can be held to account,” said the committee chair Stephen Timms. “How can it hope to reduce child poverty when it doesn’t have a plan?”

  14. I find this truly shocking. Sodexo should have its contract stripped, no questions, the incident itself is enough explanation.


  15. Sodexo, our favourite caterer turnkeys & cooks-of-the-books, should be facing corporate manslaughter charges & removed from holding any public contracts, not a tap on the wrist & "please implement what you should have already implemented".

  16. And you thought your wages were a problem?

    "More than £1bn of UK state pensions – an average of £8,900 for each of the 134,000 pensioners affected – has been underpaid due to repeated human errors that were almost inevitable amid complex rules and outdated IT systems, [the NAO] has said."

    "Steve Webb has said the same conditions affect many millions of other payments made to people across the UK. “Pension underpayments could well be the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There must be other systemic errors in government systems that are similarly complicated and necessitate actions being taken when someone’s personal circumstances change."