Napo working to resolve unification problems

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Napo activists along with our National Officers and Officials have been inundated this month with members enquiries around the shambles that has emerged on a range of pre-unification issues.

Job Evaluation outcomes

HMPPS have written new job descriptions for roles which are new to the Probation Service, even though they may not be new to members doing them. There have been some failures to follow process in this, and some of the job descriptions have not been properly consulted on with Trade Unions but more importantly with the people who are doing the roles (or similar roles or roles in the same job family) prior to going to the job evaluation panels. We have also discovered that in many cases the people leading what consultation there was did not have experience of the job functions or the job evaluation scheme so it should be no surprise that the JE panel members felt the information presented in the JD and JDQ was not sufficiently detailed and in some cases did not present the information in a way that enabled reference to the scoring guidance for the JE scheme.

Several of the jobs have been evaluated at lower bands than expected, by both Napo and the Employer. We have been in discussions with HMPPS about this for some time and have made it clear that the process needs to re-start with more time and less pressure on staff to enable them to engage properly with consultation. This consultation is a crucial part of the process of job evaluation and is a responsibility of the employer. It is perhaps no surprise that it has not been effective to do justice to the process in the context of the understandable distraction of assignment and the measures consultation, and the pressures of workloads and the pandemic.

Following our discussions, we received the attached letter from Amy Rees detailing a plan to pause the process of JE and set aside the appeal outcome for the Performance Manager role while we have a review of what has gone wrong. You will see from our response that we do not see this as a failing of the JE scheme in itself (although we do accept that the scheme could do with a review in the longer term) but rather a failing in the operation of the scheme – specifically around the process of consultation on job descriptions and job description questionnaires.

What this means for members

This means that the JE process for Unpaid Work Manager, Programme Manager and Treatment Manager roles will be paused. The Performance Manager JE appeal outcome with be set aside. For now, the original outcome stands but all staff transferring from the CRCs will receive pay protection to ensure they face no detriment. We will work with HMPPS to identify the specific issues with the process and put in place a plan to ensure that the JE scheme can be operated properly including the JD and JDQ drafting process and the consultation processes. Once we have established that all of this is in place we will return to the appeals for these roles.  

Role Alignment Appeals

Another emerging issue relates to Role Alignment Appeals, especially where the full details of the role, including its’ pay band, aren’t known at the time of the alignment. We have urgent meetings on the issues relating to this today and next week, please keep in touch with your branch reps for updates.

Transfer letters

It should again be no surprise that some of the transfer letters being issued have contained errors. This is another feature of our urgent twice-weekly meetings with HMPPS and another example of the failings of the Shared Service approach to HR. Anyone in receipt of a letter with incorrect information should raise it with their Line Manager and HRBP and ensure that your local rep is aware so that our Officials are fully informed for their discussions with HMPPS.

Interventions and forgotten Programmes teams

For months Napo have been warning HMPPS that they are forgetting the NPS based Programmes teams when discussing the future of Interventions. It is right to give focus and priority to those transferring from the CRC to the Probation Service, but that should not be at the expense of basic decency and communication with the NPS teams. DSOU (Divisional Sex Offender Unit) staff found out in a generic communication that their jobs would no longer exist and Napo have had to fight to get the most basic of communications in place for them. So called “all staff” meetings for interventions staff about the future delivery of programmes excluded NPS staff and this disrespectful approach has only served to entrench division and ill-will between staff.

The flawed implementation of the job evaluation scheme has compounded the problems, and the lack of meaningful consultation has led to more apologies to the teams than we can count.

Huge concerns about the delivery model for programmes have not been answered and when HMPPS finally accepted they needed to consult on their plans Napo submitted a 24-page paper full of feedback from practitioners.

We have now been told that the full consultation on the delivery model for programmes will begin after transfer, and that measures are in place for dealing with the JE issues as detailed above. We remain in discussion with HMPPS on their approach to these issues and we are very clear – members involved in delivering programmes and other group interventions in both CRCs and NPS are highly skilled, they deserve to be properly valued for their work and to be properly consulted on future delivery plans.