On Tuesday Napo held an all programmes members briefing to update on both the Target Operating Model (TOM) and the Next Generation of Programmes (NG). It was clear that there is a lot of anger amongst members affected as well as amongst the wider membership. This was echoed on Wednesday when the employer held the Job Description Questionnaire (JDQ) Workshop. Members very articulately made their feelings known about a number of issues not least the way the whole process has been managed from the outset. Members feel utterly devalued and angry by these proposals.
The JDQ workshop did eventually go ahead. There is still a lot of work needed and as such representatives at that workshop have been given until the Close of Play on 21st April to get their submissions in. The biggest issue appears to be the employers refusal to acknowledge current aspects of the role such as consultation, learning and development. The employer has written to staff informing them that this aspect of their work is not part of the job and should not be carried out, further angering members.
Key areas of disagreement
Napo, alongside our sister unions, Unison and GMB, are in disagreement with the employer on their proposals in a number of key areas.
Horizon: The future of the work of the regional sex offender units, the proposal to disband them and the future role of those currently carrying out this work is a red line for Napo. We have made, and continue to make, very strong representations that disbanding this critical specialist work poses a risk of harm to the public and completely de-values the work of the staff.
All three unions believe that this is vital public protection work that supports people not only on the programme but also sentence management staff, Court advice and training of new staff.
The TOM proposal will see this work being carried out by all programmes staff irrelevant of previous experience and will very little training in this complex work. If the Job Evaluation for the new Job Description comes out at a Band 3, this will mean that staff will be expected to carry out work that would previously have been paid at Band 4.
No career progression: Despite one of the key drivers for the Tom being career progression, the proposed model does the exact opposite and will leave programmes staff unable to work in other areas of the business as they will have a specific job description for programmes and limited Treatment/Programme Manager roles to progress to.
The Unions have proposed a two grade model that will allow staff to progress through the different programmes as they develop the competencies and experience. Starting as a new starter with core competencies, moving on to general offender behaviour programmes before being able to develop their learning and progressing on to BBR and Horizon. These two latter programmes should, in our view be Band 4 to reflect the complexity and risk management needs of the groups and individuals.
Training: As stated the proposal offers limited and inadequate training for programmes staff. Under the TOM, new starters to the service could be delivering BBR and Horizon in just 7 months of service. In light of the recent SFO reviews and the complexities in this area of work, Napo do not believe that this is sufficient to protect staff or the public.
Napo is slightly more positive about the NG proposals having now attended a number of design workshops and presentations. Those leading on this project are very experienced in the development and delivery of programmes and have engaged well with unions. Most notably it has now been confirmed that any future programmes will not delivered to a mixed cohort of clients as was originally suggested. There are a series of design workshops planned over April and May that Napo will be attending to look at specific cohorts of offence types and how the programme can focus on the needs and participants.
Napo will be scheduling more briefings going forward and we are currently speaking with Unison and GMB with a view of holding joint meetings.
The three unions have written to Amy Rees asking for an urgent meeting on the future of programmes and will raise all of our concerns with them directly.