In response to significant concerns from members we sought legal advice on the NPS plans to broaden the use of ViSOR and require members to undergo Police vetting to directly access the system.
When our representations to the employers failed to secure the protections that members were seeking Napo registered a trade dispute in relation to this.
High level discussions are now happening with the aim of reaching a resolution that will provide protection for members who have to undergo Police vetting in order to access the ViSOR system directly. A further update will be given to members as soon as we have a conclusion to the discussions.
Data security concerns highlighted by the request for proof of Qualifications
When the employers began asking Probation staff to provide proof of their qualifications many members were confused as they had previously provided this information to their former employer and they were transferred to the new employer on this basis.
Questions were asked about why the employer did not simply check the files that were transferred with staff from their former Trust employer and find the proof there.
Other concerns were expressed about the way that the requests were being made and the inference (intended or not) that they were somehow misrepresenting their level of qualification. Some members qualified some time ago and some received certificates from awarding bodies no longer in existence (such as CQSW).
If, over the passage of time, a member has misplaced their original certificates the process to obtain a copy is likely to be time consuming and potentially costly. Members who qualified under the DipPS scheme were awarded the Diploma part of their qualification by the Home Office which raises further questions about why the employee and not the employer is expected to find the information required – you might assume that the Home Office kept some record of the award of the DipPS?
Napo previously issued advice to members who are struggling to find their proof of qualification and the employers have expressed concern about the capacity of Shared Services to fulfil such requests.
Our National Chair elect submitted their own access request and received a response which indicates that Shared Services are waiting for information from the former Probation Trust. As we all know, Trusts ceased to exist in 2014 so further investigations are needed to find out what exactly is happening with the personal data relating to members and we are again addressing this at a high level.
We will provide more information to members as soon as we have it, in the meantime please contact your local Napo rep if you are experiencing difficulties with this.