If you celebrated Christmas but were not on duty over the festive period, the first Monday of the "New Year" brings that traditional challenge in the form of all those unopened mince pies, cakes and chocolates that your colleagues have thoughtfully deposited in the tearoom. They of course having confidently embarked on their personal weight loss campaigns that, in most cases, will be in total shreds by the end of the month just as you predicted.
If only this were the most engaging issue in what is shaping up to be an especially politically charged January where, unless we see another volte-face from this Government, the "meaningful vote" on Brexit will at last take place.
Irrespective of the historic decisions that lie ahead, our members will of course crack on, doing their bit to sustain a creaking and woefully underfunded criminal and family justice system, as they to help clients and families get their lives back into some semblance of order.
As we have explained over the past few weeks there has been a variety of activity on pay across some of the CRCs. Interserve members are being balloted on a pay offer as I write, and DTV members have agreed an offer but won't exactly be dancing in the streets about it. Sodexo have done what they always tend to do and imposed a rubbish offer and all we have had from Working Links is the usual inertia and incredible denial of some facts.
We will shortly be publicising all these letters and the responses received so far on the website.
Just before the recess, I also had reason to send over a letter to Cafcass Chief Anthony Douglas following the decision to implement a pay award without prior notification. Anthony has sent me a detailed response in which he apologises for this and where he commits to maintaining the positive working relationship between Napo and Cafcass.
Whist I am sure our FCS members will appreciate the reassurances about future dialogue, I am concerned to see that Anthony still apparently believes that there is the potential for performance related pay (our policy is totally against it) and that he is not altogether convinced about the extent of the workload problems in the organisation. You can see the exchanges here
Cafcass members can rest assured that your section representatives and AGS Dean Rogers, will be taking up these issues at the earliest opportunity.
One of the many farcical aspects of the disastrous outsourcing of Double Waking Night Cover in Approved Premises to Sodexo and OCS was the refusal of the new employers to let the trade unions have the names of staff who transferred across to them on TUPE terms.
If you moved under these terms and are reading this, then our membership team would appreciate it if you could drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Confirmation of your name and workplace and contact details will help us to assign you to the right place on our database. This will also allow us to start sending targeted communications to members and prospective members who are working for these providers.
One of the features of Napo membership is the access to the superb Probation Journal and the insightful contributions on a range of seriously important issues.
In Volume 65 Number 4 of December 2018 you will find a commentary on the consultation paper "Strengthening Probation, Building Confidence". Entitled: "Travelling in the wrong direction?" it has been written by Lol Burke and Steve Collet, two of the most prolific and knowledgeable contributors on current Probation issues. One quote especially stands out: “if there was a prize for 21st Century organisational meddling and ineptitude …then the MoJ would certainly make the shortlist for their treatment of the Probation Service”.
The Journal continues grow from strength to strength and ought to be compulsory reading for those politicians and MoJ mandarins who think that it's a great idea to simply make the same dreadful mistakes yet again.
Preparations for the launch of the new training programme for Napo representatives and prospective reps are being finalised. The first courses for South Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire are commencing next month, and we are identifying dates for the second stage of the programme.
Members should look out for specific communications from Napo HQ as to the next wave of courses and how to apply.