Negotiations between the unions and HMPPS to reach agreement on the terms for transfer of Offender Management work and CRC staff to the NPS in Wales in December this year, and the NPS in England, and other future probation providers in 2021 (should new contracts emerge) have stalled. It was hoped to finalise a staff transfer and protections agreement last week to provide the best possible terms for members to move from their CRCs to the NPS/other providers.
However, we have not been able to reach agreement on some key elements of the transfer arrangements. As a result, HMPPS has indicated that it will need to refer these outstanding issues for further consideration within government.
UNIONS ASK FOR TRANSFER DELAY IN WALES
The outstanding matters will take a number of weeks to resolve. In the meantime, and despite our strong objections, HMPPS has confirmed that it intends to proceed with the transfer of offender management staff from the Wales CRC to NPS Wales on 1 December 2019 as planned. We have therefore written to the Welsh Government and to the Justice Minister Lucy Frazer to urge them to intervene. The unions want the transfer delayed to at least 1 February 2020 to enable the transfer negotiations to be satisfactorily concluded.
Another reason for demanding a delay is that, until the negotiations have been completed and CRC members have voted on the final package, the option for CRC staff in Wales to transfer onto NPS pay and conditions at the time of the intended transfer (1 December 2019) and 2021 for CRC staff in England, will not be available. This will mean that Wales CRC staff will transfer on their existing CRC pay and conditions to NPS Wales until such time as we have balloted CRC members on a package of measures that we want to see retrospectively applied for staff in Wales to 1st December 2019.
This situation is regrettable and certainly not the fault of the unions. We have prioritised and applied ourselves to the negotiations in good faith and have not been able to close the gap between us and HMPPS in relation to the full package of measures that will be needed to underpin the overall transfer of OM staff to the NPS.
Unions agree employment protections for non-transferring staff in KSS (Wales) CRC
Meanwhile our union reps in Wales have worked to secure an agreement that staff who are not transferring with OM work to NPS Wales, and who are remaining with the above employer, will be matched to jobs in the new operating model being introduced across the whole of that CRC until the end of its contract in 2021. This is a significant achievement, but it does not give the longer term protection that the unions are seeking for all of our members who remain with their CRC until these contracts end in Wales and England in 2021, and who will then transfer to new providers of Probation as per the government’s plans.
Consultation with members
The unions are now considering how and when we should consult with our CRC members in terms of the ballot on the outcome of national negotiations. Please look out for further updates as soon as more news becomes available.