Napo members voted to accept the NPS pay offer by an overwhelming 98% (with over a 60% turnout). Since the offer was made Napo has engaged with all the CRCs to establish their position.
It is clear that none are in a position to match the offer although at least one CRC has improved its original pay offer as a result. However, a number of common themes have emerged that are a positive step moving forward.
Napo has found common ground with CRCs in that we all agree that the pay reform should have been completed prior to contracts being signed so that it was included in the original bids.
Moving forward all CRCs would like to see pay included in future contracts so that they can be budgeted accordingly. There is a real fear amongst CRCs that splitting the workforce by pay will result in a migration of talent from CRCs to the NPS.
There is currently a large number of vacancies in the NPS that would put CRCs at a real disadvantage for future recruitment and to meet their targets on delivery. As such the majority seem keen to work with Napo to lobby the Ministry of Justice to pay the CRCs the additional funding needed to match the pay claim.
So what next?
Ian Lawrence has written to the Secretary of State David Gauke to insist that the Ministry of Justice pays the CRCs to enable them to match the NPS pay offer and to prevent a two-tier workforce from being created. This letter will be published on the Napo website.
We are currently working on a postcard campaign focusing on reasons to reunify the probation service and linking the pay issue to the wider need for one publically owned probation service. Pay is intrinsic to a healthy organisation and disparity will only hamper the delivery of a quality of service. Terms and conditions must be equal for all probation staff in NPS, CRC and PBNI. Members will be asked to complete the back of their postcard and send it to their MP.
Napo nationally has already issued parliamentary questions on this issue and will continue to do so to gain political support. We will also be informing members shortly of how they can give direct support to a wider Parliamentary engagement strategy, which is looking to capitalise on current political divisions and uncertainty. This will also look at focussed messages to MPs on key committees and in Constituencies where contract upheaval has specific angles (e.g. Wales, areas where the proposal involves merging CRCs, etc.).
Napo will also be urging people working in the CRCs, who are not union members, to join us. The more we are, the stronger we are and the louder our voice!
We will also be writing to members inviting them to get involved directly in helping shape the professional standards, pay competencies and the outcomes of the Managers’ Review. This will extend to members across CRCs, NPS and PBNI as it is both critical, and government policy, that common professional standards must apply and all probation managers will be impacted by policies such as the new competencies, OMiC and contract restructuring.