Napo brought members’ many, serious, concerns about problems with the NPS’s flawed Shared Services setup to the attention of politicians last month. In January the union reported to the Justice Unions and Family Courts Parliamentary Group on the many HR and payroll problems created by the new single operating system (SOP) introduced supposedly to address the problems with the SSCL.
The union told MPs that the many problems with the shared service system related to two main factors:
Staff and the unions were promised that SOP would address all of the weaknesses up to this point. The tragic reality however is that it has instead increased the problems and amplified the depth and danger of the key structural and systematic flaw.
Napo supplied the Group with many examples of particular problems, including:
SSCL has also failed to collect pension contributions from any staff who have ‘atypical’ or changes to their monthly pay since the introduction of SOP. There are regular miscalculations of length of service. These failures mean the pension provider cannot issue annual pension statements with any confidence and staff approaching retirement are also not being issued with estimates or quotes until after their leave date.
There are also concerns about potential failure to auto-enroll recent new starters in the LGPS.
In addition there have been large scale problems with contracts:
In addition assisted technology users have had a nightmare as the processes were not matched and occupational health recommendations are routinely unmet.
Parliamentarians In Group were told that in early 2017 Napo wrote to the Minister about the concerns only for him to write back saying that the SOP system had sorted the problems out – clearly he had been misinformed.
Napo has argued that it is impossible to see how the problem can be rectified until the NPS is withdrawn from the SSCL process. This could easily be achieved by deeming the NPS to be a Next-Steps Agency (the same status afforded Cafcass by the MoJ – largely because it too is aligned to the LGPS). However, politicians within the MoJ are resistant to this as it would embarrass them by exposing the nudity of the HMPPS.
The alternative escape would be terminating the SSCL contract. However, Napo’s understanding is that SSCL is partly owned by the Cabinet Office and so the economic and political stakes seem to make this unlikely.
Read the full briefing here www.napo.org.uk/sscl-update-jan-2018