Katie Lomas: no two-tier probation service

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Katie Lomas: no two-tier probation service

Picture credit: Stefano Cagnoni

I know that for some the NPS pay award is divisive, and that at heart all members who work in Probation see themselves as part of one service.

I also know that most members believe, as I do, that there are fundamental systemic problems with the way Probation works (or doesn’t work) at the moment. This isn’t due to any failings on the part of our members who are largely frontline and middle management level staff desperately trying to navigate the mess that has been created, and provide anything close to the former award winning level of service despite the chaos around them.

At the 2018 AGM we announced a campaign for pay unity, so that all members, regardless of their employer, benefit from the type of pay reform we have seen in the NPS. We also committed to a campaign around reunifying Probation, and in fact reunification is a good way to achieve pay equity across NPS and CRCs – if we all work for a unified service there is no reason for differing pay rates!

We don’t seek reunification because the CRCs are inherently bad and the NPS is inherently good, and reunification doesn’t necessarily mean moving all staff into the NPS. We must acknowledge that some aspects of the CRC operating models and some of the approaches to managing their workforce are severely lacking but we also know that some CRC members rightly feel proud of what they are achieving for their clients. Feedback from NPS members also illustrates what a disaster the accidental nationalisation of that part of Probation has been.

Our fundamental opposition is to the split in Probation, and our aim is to have a reunified service, with local responsivity and public accountability. We want to see commissioning and partnership working in those areas of work that genuinely benefit from such an approach such as specialist interventions and support. We want to see an end to the split in Offender Management work based on risk and an end to duplication and bureaucracy. We want to see an end to a two-tier workforce and a two-tier pay system.

The campaign will include various activities and members will have a chance to get directly involved in December when we will be sending out resources for a postcard campaign. If you have any ideas or are planning local activity please contact campaigns@napo.org.uk so that we can work with you.

Yours in solidarity

Katie Lomas, National Chair

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