Probation employers recognise 3 trade unions – Napo, who double as a professional association as well as a union; the GMB / Scoop who represent only members in the old Chief Officer Grades; and Unison. All three unions will have their own specific priorities. Napo would have welcomed a unified front in support of the offer but Unison’s lead negotiators did not feel able to make a recommendation.
Napo respects their right to do so and understand the main issue of contention is that progression payments in 2021-22 are not guaranteed unless the CBPPF is completed and in place. Despite the employers indicating that if agreement or negotiations hadn’t been completed they would expect to make progression payments Unison’s lead negotiators did not think this was enough to recommend the offer.
Napo’s view, as a professional association is that we are fully committed to reaching an agreement in the year and half available to meet the implementation timetable. A risk that this may not be achievable isn’t enough to risk the whole deal, especially with the employer conceding progression in 2020-21 and them indicating that they would seek to honour progression in these circumstances.
As a professional association and union, Napo also recognise and welcome the opportunity to develop the content of the CBPPF aligned to national professional standards. We believe that these can only safely be defined with direct input from practitioners, which Napo can facilitate. We would be concerned that a stronger statement from the NPS saying they would pay progression in 2021 without an agreement being reached would signal an uncompromising approach to these professional discussion.
In the last pay deal in 2008, probation staff were miss-sold promises of jam tomorrow. Napo’s negotiators were determined there would be not such miss-selling this time. The progression payments for staff not yet at the maxima are 100% guaranteed for three years and the NPS have said this is what they expect to do in the fourth. If we secure agreement on the content of the CBPPF they’ll be secured permanently. We see no reason that this should undermine a positive recommendation for this offer.