22nd August 2017 - Immediate Release
National Probation Service reported to Pensions Ombudsman following systematic failings
Napo is asking the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate the National Probation Service after uncovering systematic failures affecting hundreds of staff across the organisation.
The huge blunders were discovered when staff checking their payslips saw that incorrect pension contributions had affected the amount they were subsequently paid and taxed.
It is thought the errors are linked to the Shared Services Connect Limited (SSCL) contract and its introduction of a Single Operating Platform (SOP) in February designed to modernise the way the service handles payroll and Human Resources transactions.
The full number of staff affected is unknown but the NPS have confirmed that anyone who has had changes to their salary since February is likely to be affected. This includes staff on maternity leave, sick leave, working overtime and those who had just joined the service and were auto-enrolled into the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).
Napo Assistant General Secretary, Dean Rogers, says: “We can’t be certain if SSCL lied to us, the NPS and Ministers about testing SOP prior to implementation or if the problems are more fundamental. We strongly suspect these are systematic failures linked to probation staff being in a different pension scheme. Either way it is ridiculous and alarming that a government department can’t meet its pension obligations and manage a PAYE system for probation staff.”
The union expects that an investigation conducted by the Ombudsman or Greater Manchester Pension Fund (who administers the Local Government Pension Scheme) will confirm whether failures around the collection of contributions and auto-enrolment have broken the law and if the NPS should be fined and the SSCL contract terminated.
This is just the latest in other well documented issues relating to pay and HR in the NPS. In April, Napo contacted Probation and Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah to raise its concerns about new starters having to wait up to three months before being paid; wrong sick pay formulas; and pay errors taking months to be resolved because of inadequate computer systems. The response from the Minister said: “The appropriate performance, audit and contractual reviews are already in place at both an Agency, Ministry and cross-government level which shows that the contract is delivering against its objectives.”
For further information and possible media opportunities please contact Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence on 07788 118005 or the Napo Press Office on 0207 223 4887.