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

Operation Protect – Workloads Campaign update

We have always said from the launch of Operation Protect that we won’t get a resolve to acute and extreme workloads overnight and we need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul but we continue vigorously on and at every level possible

Thanks are extended to all members who were able to join the probation trade unions’ online Operation Protect meeting last Friday. Well over 90 were in attendance, many from Napo.

A further update was given on where the Campaign is at and what has happened since the start of the campaign: the Probation joint trade unions have held several meetings with Amy Rees and Phil Copple, Director Generals at HMPPS, with further meetings planned; more intensive talks are due to start with HMPPS officials; several parliamentary questions have been submitted and we’re looking to submit more; we have met with the Secretary of State for Justice on 13 November 2023 and the Probation Minister on 17 January 2024; and we have had good press coverage around the extreme workloads that members are facing.

We’re looking to concretely start focusing on the following strands/issues as discussed in general briefly at the meeting:

  • Workload Data and the recording of time – we believe the employer are currently hugely benefiting from members basically working unpaid overtime so we need to find a way of having a record of this so we could start having discussions on how this could be remunerated
  • Mitigation of Excess Workload linked to above and working to protected contractual hours
  • Unpaid Work Supervisor/Group ratio – what is acceptable and safe
  • Workload Measurement Tool Extension – we will be asking the employer to look at extending the tool to roles where it is currently lacking
  • Get a commitment from the employer not to breach PO/PSO/PQiP Role Boundaries
  • Workload Caps for various roles to be negotiated
  • Span Of Control – workable spans of control for certain roles with line management responsibility

 

“Again, we want to thank all members for providing us with further information and the horrendous situation members are faced with day-to-day ‘at the coalface’.”

The wider impact of other issues/introductions of work were also touched upon (such as the Early Release scheme, known officially as the “End of Custody Supervised License – ECSL, the Home Detention Curfew – HDC scheme and the Fixed-Term Recall scheme) increasing again already extreme workloads.

Again, we want to thank all members feeding back on the above and providing us with further information and the horrendous situation members are faced with day-to-day ‘at the coalface’.

We have always said from the launch of Operation Protect that we won’t get a resolve to acute and extreme workloads overnight and we need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul but we continue vigorously on and at every level possible.

Further updates will be circulated as soon as available, and we will be sending out details soon with a template letter to write to your MPs.

We will also hold another (more regular ones to follow as several members requested at the last meeting) online joint Probation trade unions’ meeting soon and details (including joining links) for this will follow too.

A joint Probation trade unions’ small working group consisting of Annoesjka Valent for Napo, Ben Priestley for UNISON and Peter Brandt for GMB/SCOOP meet at regular intervals when required/possible to work out any next concrete steps for our campaign and how members can get and stay involved. The next meeting of this small working group is scheduled for 11th March, and we hope to get more details out in a joint bulletin following this.

We need all of you to stay or get involved and also ask your colleagues not yet in any of the recognised trade unions to join us and also get involved in Operation Protect.

Please continue to:

  • Wear Yellow at Work, especially on a Friday, to show solidarity with the Campaign, this could be even something little as a yellow tie, jewellery, scarf, anything yellow really; get in touch with Annoesjka at avalent@napo.org.uk if you would like Napo Yellow Lanyards sent to you for yourself and to give to colleagues;
  • Use the Operation Protect Logo on internal Teams calls (can be downloaded at https://www.napo.org.uk/operation-protect) or just pick a plain yellow background for any other meetings; and
  • Ask for Operation Protect to be on all meeting agendas, make sure excessive workloads for all staff/grades are being discussed.

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