Our first Court network meeting was held on 4 July 2023 and in total there were 33 members who signed up for the network, although some had provided advanced apologies due to work commitments and annual leave.
It became apparent that all areas within England and Wales work differently and there were several discrepancies, which are being raised at a National level.
One of the issues raised is the National Gatekeeping Form where members advise what is happening in their region.
Firstly, no timings have been indicated to complete this form, and one area was told this task would only take 7 minutes. Members’ views were that this is a much longer task and across the England and Wales this has been implemented differently.
In some areas only POs gate-keep all the reports, including PQUIPs. In other areas this varies so clarification needs to be sought. Members had concerns whether gatekeepers would interviewed if there was an SFO.
Members also had issue with the timings of the reports (eg Oral. FDR etc). This question will be raised nationally, and feedback will be provided.
Working over your hours
Overtime to complete reports was felt to be disproportionate since you claim on SOP for the extra hours, which is paid at a “Plain rate”, not an overtime rate. If an SPO or PO is tasked to complete a PSO report, their rate of pay will be more than a PSO.
Concerns regarding working over your hours on a regular basis was discussed and particularly working over 48 hours per week. The employer is responsible for the Health and Safety of employees, and it was advised that a Foreseeability notice should be completed. Working over 48 hours per week is in breach of working time rules.
South Central area has been selected as a pilot area for the “Pathfinder” project. Thames Valley and Southampton Courts have been identified and this will commence in September 2023.
The Lead on this is Alex Hyslop. The process is to try and sentence as many PoPs on the day by completing a Verification Report and no Oral, or FDR reports will be done. To date we do not know what this report looks like. Dully is to attend a Central Court team meeting next week and will seek some clarification regarding this.
Low-Level DV Reports
PSOs in some areas are being asked to complete low-level DV reports. The Network questioned what low level DV reports were. It was also indicated that there is insufficient training for them, a workbook and e-learning only; no classroom training. This was felt to be inadequate.
Report support groups
One area Westminster Court had a system in place where 2 times a week members can attend a group discussion regarding any concerns of completion of their reports. Although, this was considered good practice members felt they did not have time to do this.
Discussions were had about the number of reports members are being asked to complete weekly which varied in nature. This is to be discussed nationally at the Work Force Sub Committee.
A member suggested the possibility of creating a Court network on teams as a support group. One issue may be that some members use their personal email account for Napo emails and that they may not have teams on their email account. Other members use their Justice account. Dully to see if there is a way to facilitate this.
Members were advised if there has been a change of practice within their area, they should contact their local reps who then take the issue to their Branch Meeting.
If necessary, the Branch Executive Officer will take the concern to the local Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) with the Regional Probation Director (RPD) Head to see if the issue can be resolved locally. If this is still an issue, then the Branch Executive Officer can raise this nationally to their Link Officer in their area.
The Network felt that a monthly meeting would be helpful. Members to contact Pippa Wood email@example.com regarding any questions that are happening in their area, i.e. PSO completing DV reports etc so that we can try and get an answer before the next meeting. Also, to contact Pippa Wood if you would like to join the Court Network.
Dully Gill – Napo – National Vice-Chair, Tania Bassett – Napo Official Officer