Pay reform is long overdue. The current probation pay system is broken. Addressing these problems is complicated and expensive, which is why negotiations have been difficult and protracted. However, Napo believe the offer recognises and addresses the fault-lines in the current system in a fair and sustainable way. The Treasury is finally allowing the MoJ to make an offer to NPS staff in line with what you deserve. If the offer is rejected, we go back to the start line with little realistic prospect of a similar offer being made again. At a critical time for probation, with CRC contracts under review, we believe this is an opportunity that is too good to pass up. If it is accepted, the timing supports us pushing for Pay Unity for CRC members during these on-going Treasury and CRC negotiations about sustaining the existing contracts through to 2020.
The offer does not address all of the weaknesses in the current pay and grading system. Napo believe it would be almost impossible to do this in one hit. However, these are identified in the offer. For example:
- unions are finally being invited into the heart of the debate around setting professional standards via the Competency Based Pay Progression Framework (CBBPF) negotiations, aligned to establishing common, probation wide professional standards set out as an aim in the Government’s recent consultation on the future of probation. Napo members would have a direct input into defining and setting your own standards and ensuring probation gets the professional recognition it deserves.
- the review of Management Grades, which will start as soon as the ballot period concludes (see below for more details) is an opportunity to address the overloading and undervaluing of line management since TR which has a negative impact on all staff. It is also critical if any CBPPF is going to work. Napo will be inviting Manager members to play a leading part in supporting this review.
- Ironing out anomalies and inconsistencies in local allowances will help to reduce the painful errors arising from the SOP system, as will the creation of an NPS Pay Manual…potentially a small step towards the MoJ recognising the NPS needs to be uncoupled from the SSCL system.
The offer is not perfect – no negotiations ever give you everything you want, whatever Boris Johnson might say on your TV. The NPS wanted to add a long list of additional policies for harmonisation but your union negotiators successfully managed to resist the vast majority of these. Of the 4 elements the employers insisted on including we are broadly supportive of 3 (introducing a Detached Duty Scheme, a 1st Deployment Scheme and harmonising to civil service redundancy terms), although there is detailed work still to be done to agree a final policies and strongly oppose the fourth, (around reducing sickness benefits for new starters from an as yet unspecified date) – although we not think that the inclusion of this proposal is enough to reject or delay the implementation of the offer.