Napo Magazine - The Trade Union, Professional Association and campaigning organisation for Probation and Family Court staff news.

Operation Protect Progress Update

Since the launch of Operation Protect (the joint Napo/UNISON/GMB trade union initiative to explore ways of reducing excessive workloads), your National Officers and HQ Officials have been involved in a range of meetings which have included the Secretary of State for Justice along with senior Probation management over last few months.

Since the launch of Operation Protect (the joint Napo/UNISON/GMB trade union initiative to explore ways of reducing excessive workloads), your National Officers and HQ Officials have been involved in a range of meetings which have included the Secretary of State for Justice along with senior Probation management over last few months.

This activity includes detailed work under the auspices of the existing Joint Management and Unions Workforce sub-committee where a series of task groups are reviewing specific areas  as follows:

  • Developing the Prioritising Framework
  • Recruitment
  • Learning products

In other areas of the organisation, we have also had engagement with senior leaders in the National Security Division to review the outcomes from their recently completed climate assessment. This identified some positive ideas by participants, and it  is felt that a joint approach between unions and management can bring about positive results in helping staff to cope with caseload pressures.

While the task and finish groups referred to above will need more time before we see tangible results, we are also taking part in high level engagement in the form of the ‘Probation Reset’ exercise.

Here we are trying to identify how any changes to sentencing and rehabilitation policy enacted by the Government, can bring about substantial decreases in the quantum caseload across the Probation service.

Such a development will obviously be reliant on a combination of legislative and policy initiatives that are hoped to come into effect early next year, and in the work undertaken so far, we have had some very constructive exchanges at several meetings following our positive engagement with the Lord Chancellor last month.

Members expect recognition

As can be seen, these are key issues which impact on existing experienced staff, as well as those who have recently joined the service. They sit alongside the joint unions ongoing efforts to secure a reopening of pay negotiations following the claim we made in the summer on behalf of our hard-pressed members.  At our meeting with the Secretary of State we made it very clear that you will expect recognition for delivering the additional caseloads that will come the way of Probation should the Governments presumption against the use of short-term Prison sentences become established practice.

Future campaign activities which you can help with

As part of the joint unions review of the campaign, further central and local initiatives are being planned.

Early into 2024 invites will be issued for all member meetings, where will be reporting back on the above activities and our future aims. Members will also be asked to take part in a ‘letter writing’ campaign to MPs. Here we will reference the ‘Probation Reset’ talks as being very much linked to Workloads, as we seek to ramp up the pressure on Government to respond to our agenda in what is very likely going to be a General Election year. Please look out for more news and a draft letter that you can easily personalise and send on to the appropriate representative in Parliament.

  • Local lunchtime Operation Protect events(and contact with regional media) during TUC  ‘Heart Unions’ week, to promote  the useful work undertaken by trade unions.
  • A joint union meeting with the new Chief Inspector of Probation once that appointment has been confirmed.
  • Meeting with Amy Rees and Phil Copple in January where the Employee Care Agreement will be on the agenda.
  • Contact with the Health and Safety Executive to explore how we might be able to use their existing guidance to aid our campaign.
  • Ongoing Parliamentary Questions around the Workload crisis
  • Exploring the possibility of a Parliamentary Lobby.

We will also be seeking an invitation to  the senior Probation leaders event in the New Year.

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