C19 CRISIS - UNIONS DEMAND AN END TO FACE TO FACE CONTACT
Further to Friday's mail out explaining the work that the unions had undertaken across all employers to in respect of the current C19 crisis, this mailing brings you up to date with the demands that the Probation Unions made at this morning’s strategic discussion with the HMPPS Director General Probation. As you would expect, we have also maintained contact with senior employer leads over the course of the weekend. Cafcass members should know that your elected Officers are also in regular touch with senior Cafcass management and their latest advice appears on the employer’s intranet.
Our aim is to issue regular updates to members following these high level representations which are currently taking place twice weekly, or as circumstances dictate.
EXCEPTIONAL DELIVERY MODELS
The NPS has drawn up exceptional delivery models (EDM) for all aspects of service delivery and staffing. These have been shared with the unions on a confidential basis and are forming the subject matter for on-going discussions between the unions and NPS on how to keep staff and service users safe. During the call with Amy Rees this morning, the unions made the following demands
- the closure of all NPS offices to service users with similar instructions to be issued to CRC providers
- London Service Hub plans to be withdrawn
- home working for all staff who can work from home
- special leave for staff with health vulnerability who should be self-isolating for their own protection, but who cannot work from home
- provision for proper social distancing for operational staff who remain at work
- supervision to be carried out by phone or off-site face to face with social distancing for high risk service users and those assessed at medium risk where the current crisis potentially increases risk to others or self for example DA perpetrators or victims or those with specific health or mental health issues that could be exacerbated by social distancing / isolation.
- the provision of soap and hot water in any offices which remain open for staff along with appropriate cleaning of workplaces
- closure of any offices which cannot provide basic hand washing facilities or appropriate cleaning
- appropriate PPE for all staff who come into close contact with service users, e.g. in approved premises
- At the time of writing we are awaiting a response to these reasonable demands and will keep members posted at the earliest opportunity.
EMERGENCY MEETING OF NPS HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE
To discuss the above protection measures requested by the unions, the NPS are to convene an emergency meeting of the NPS Health and Safety Committee which will take place on 24 March. If you have any health and safety concerns about Covid 19 and your work, speak with your local Napo representative, Napo Branch or e-mail your Link Officer who will feed in concerns to the Napo team.
EXCEPTIONAL PAY PACKAGE
The NPS wishes to introduce a package of exceptional pay arrangements to pay staff extra money in certain circumstances arising from the Covid 19 crisis. This package has been shared with the unions and whilst we have been able to improve them around the edges we have not reached formal agreement. These will be published later today and will appear on the staff intranet. .
Please note, this is a voluntary package – i.e. members are free to choose to take up the opportunities, or not. It is up to members to decide whether the offer is one they wish to accept in relation to their own individual circumstances. You cannot be compelled to undertake any of the additional work responsibilities set out in the exceptional pay package. A number of members have made valid observations about the fact that the employer is seeking the goodwill of staff despite the delay in implementing the agreed Pay Progression arrangements under the 2018 NPS Pay Agreement.
LAST WEEK'S MEETING OF THE NEC
As also explained in last week’s member’s mail out, Napo’s National Executive Committee met last Thursday. Whilst the C19 crisis (and two related Emergency Motions) provided the main focal point, there was an important opportunity to discuss the decision to delay the NPS pay progression arrangements. The meeting heard NEC representatives register their abject anger and disgust that members had asked them to convey, about the interference by HM Treasury which had delayed the payout of the expected remuneration.
The General Secretary advised the NEC that the Napo leadership shared this anger and had made it clear to the Director General and Ministers some time ago that members would be livid if there was a delay in paying out the expected pay progression. The unions had been invited to engage with Pay and Reward and senior NPS leaders as soon as possible to discuss the next steps.
The NEC also heard that further representations were being made to the NPS in terms of the employer’s failure to apply the necessary training and support for staff who were downgraded as a result of the E3 Project. Should the union’s latest representations be rejected, members would be advised to submit grievances using material prepared by Napo and our sister unions.
On a brighter note, the NEC heard from the Napo Co-Vice Chairs that along with the General Secretary, they had met with the new CEO Cafcass Jacky Tiotto. There had been a very positive response to Napo’s concerns around Workloads and how the current partnership working arrangements could be improved. It was also noted that the employer had also responded quickly and in consultation with the unions on the advice that it was issuing to staff on the C19 crisis.
Ian Lawrence Katie Lomas
General Secretary National Chair