Please find attached a copy of a letter to the NPS unions regarding the suspension of the normal performance management process for 2020/21.
The letter confirms:
‘As you will be aware, the pragmatic decision was taken to remove the current arrangements for performance management and to operate an exceptionally simplified process during our COVID response to reduce the operational pressures on line managers at this time. Given the continuing pressures, the decision has now been taken to maintain these new arrangements (without the conventional box marking system) for the full appraisal year 2020/21.’
Any questions, please let me know.
This e-mail has been sent to all probation branches and the NPS Sector Committee.
Police and Justice Service Group
130, Euston Road
We are hoping to be in a position to ballot Interserve CRC Members on a pay offer, possibly from week commencing 29 June. There are still some points on the offer that require clarification so its possible the timetable will slip. The ballot is being run digitally and those members we have an email address (currently 204 out of 325) will receive an email with a link to vote. Other members will need to go to a designated page on the website.to vote which branches can promote with members.
Unison members can go online and amend/register personal details on the main Unison website (see below) or alternatively email in confidence to email@example.com
My UNISON allows you to manage and update your personal details with UNISON.
Already have a My UNISON username and password?
Registration for UNISON members
Members will need their UNISON membership number to register with My UNISON. You can find this in the welcome pack you received when you joined UNISON or on your membership card or you can contact us online to find out.
Please find attached a letter from Amy Rees which sets out assurances on health and safety in line with the NPS Road Map to Recovery and which reinforces her and the NPS’s commitment to working together with the trade unions on the probation recovery phase of the COVID pandemic. The letter restates the commitment which NPS has made to fund additional project time for trade union representatives to undertake covid19 recovery work and the to the principle of working in partnership with the unions on the recovery:
In respect of facility and project time, I wanted to confirm that at a National Level, it is agreed that exceptionally for the duration of the COVID recovery planning phase sufficient project time (additional to current facility time) will be made available to those elected National Officials who you wish to nominate to support this important work. I understand that you are making your nominations and requests for this time to Francis Stuart, Head of Employee Relations, who will write out to the relevant managers on my behalf. This project time is provided on the understanding that this will enable you to better structure your representation to engage fully with this important work and be aligned to what will be challenging timescales which continue to reflect the operational urgency and unique circumstances that we are all working under. This allocation will be reviewed every three months. At a local level, I will be writing out to Directors to ask that they also provide sufficient additional local trade union facility time to local trade union representatives to ensure that full engagement is able to take place on local COVID recovery plans and safe systems of work.
The NPS has approved a number of bids from UNISON for additional project time for representatives to undertake covid19 project work. Branches or reps wishing to make bids can contact me directly to discuss.
This e-mail has gone to NPS Committee members and all branches with probation members.
Police and Justice Service Group
130, Euston Road
The following advice is provided to assist branches and representatives with involvement in the NPS covid19 recovery work in courts, hubs and contact centres.
Stephen Monsarratt, who is one of the UNISON representatives on the NPS Health and Safety Committee, is available to assist any branch, or reps, who have any questions or need additional advice. Stephen’s contact details can be found at the end of this e-mail.
The UNISON overview on covid19 recovery work is: GET INVOLVED, IT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK, IT’S ALL ABOUT SAFETY, IT’S NOT THAT DIFFICULT, ADVICE IS AVAILABLE.
- Things to Do
- Amy Rees’ request that Regions provide a Recovery Review of Regional EDP’s has created a need for Risk assessments (Ras) to be carried out at short notice. It is very important that UNISON engages in this process. This is positive despite the short notice.
- NPS is required to involve TU’s in all Risk Assessments for premises which are due to re-open or re-admit probation staff. They may need informing/reminding of this at Regional level of this requirement. Amy Rees was contacting Regional Directors to ensure they must involve Unions and that Risk Assessments shouldn’t be signed off without Union involvement.
- Obtain the schedule of the reopening of locations in your Division and also confirm those that have remained open. Regional Directors should be asked to provide a written schedule showing which premises are due to re-open, when, and whether a risk assessment has been undertaken for each premises.
- Check that there has been union involvement (either UNISON or Napo) in approving the risk assessment for each premises prior to NPS signing it off.
- Don’t assume that all SPO’s and Business Managers have Risk Assessment experience, as they may not have. This is a learning curve for everyone.
- Ensure NPS H&S leads in your Division are engaged in the risk assessment process.
- Liaise with Napo to spread the two unions’ health and safety resources across your Division, as it is unlikely that UNISON/Napo will be able to cover all risk assessments for all premises, and we will need to pool our resources
- Priority should be given to those locations which are due to reopen imminently (courts appear to be the most likely), with physical inspections where possible. You can under H&S legislation insist on inspecting. If inspections are not possible due to lack of H&S Reps then ensure dialogue takes place with members who know the buildings to inform your approach to the risk assessment.
- Make sure RA’s are also done for those locations that have remained open. These may not have not been done previously and can be done in a meeting.
- Ensure RA’s are done for those locations not yet scheduled to open. These can be a desk top process via meetings at this stage.
- The RA templates are well constructed, but if you spot a risk not identified include it.
- Risk Assessments are live documents you can and should go back as circumstances change. This may mean that you need to continue a dialogue with your Division into next week and beyond.
- Remember the big issues for covid-19 are HAND HYGIENE, SOCIAL DISTANCING, VENTILATION, and you are looking for how these can be assured in every location, and if they cannot THEN PPE must be issued and worn by staff, or structural alterations put in place (e.g. screens). Otherwise, if there are risks which have not been addressed – THE PREMISES SHOULD NOT RE-OPEN.
- Filling in the Risk Assessment template
- The Risk Assessment templates are simple. Activity – Risk – Control Measure – Reviewed Risk. *Ignore/remove prepopulated risks, they serve to confuse
- Generally anything that involves people behaviour/compliance is a Significant risk initially and whatever control measure is used it will always remain Moderate. Inanimate things can be often reduced to Minimal
- Rate each element not just headings
- Put detail in the Control, e.g. Number of staff allowed in an office. See the real live example of Control Measures on the template attached.
I’m happy to answer queries, prior to and during the process if anyone needs help.
NPS Unison Steward and H&S Rep
Unison NPS Sector National Committee – Northern Region Representative, National H&S Lead & Approved Premises Lead
Community Interventions Residential and Accommodation Support Services
Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
Mob: 07955 874246
NPS ANNUAL LEAVE BUY-BACK SCHEME
THINGS UNISON MEMBERS SHOULD KNOW
UNISON understands that some members may be deciding whether to sell annual leave back to the NPS under the Annual Leave Buy-Back Scheme. The decision whether to sell leave is a personal one depending on each individual’s circumstances.
But before deciding whether to sell leave back to the NPS, members are advised as follows:
- The NPS annual leave buy-back scheme has not been agreed with the NPS trade unions
- UNISON made extensive comments on the proposed buy-back scheme last week, but our concerns were not taken on board.
- The following things are wrong with the buy-back scheme:
- Depending on the annual leave entitlement of individual staff and the amount of leave already taken in the leave year, NPS is at risk of unlawfully inducing staff to sell some of their 20 days statutory leave under the Working Time Regulations. 20 days of all employees’ annual leave entitlement in the UK is protected under these regulations and this statutory leave cannot be sold.
- For example, staff with say 26 days annual leave entitlement are only able to sell up to 6 days annual leave in the leave year, because selling any more would eat into their 20 days statutory leave which cannot be sold.
- The NPS has confirmed that the rate of pay for the buy-back of leave will not take into account the outcome of the 2020 pay award, so although NPS claims that it will buy-back leave at the rate of x1.2 daily pay, once the pay award is agreed for 2020 any leave sold after 1 April 2020 will be paid at less than x1.2/daily pay, because it will be paid at 2019 pay rates, not 2020 pay rates.
UNISON hopes that these issues can be resolved so that the NPS remains within the law and that staff get the proper rate of pay for each day sold. If you have any questions please speak to your local UNISON representative in the first instance.
Please find attached a letter to the probation unions from the Prisons and Probation Minister Lucy Frazer, which was sent on the day that the government announced that UPW and Programmes were to be transferred into the NPS in June next year.
The letter acknowledges the many changes which Probation staff have experienced in the last few years as well as the work of the unions in representing members during this time of unprecedented change and sets out this specific commitment on the part of the Minister:
‘I recognise that staff across the probation service have experienced significant changes over recent years. The extraordinary response to Covid-19 within both the NPS and CRCs is testament to the professionalism, commitment and expertise of our staff group. I am determined that we will prioritise the interests of staff over the next year in the way that we manage the transition to new structures.’
UNISON continues to negotiate with HMPPS over the transfer terms for staff moving from the CRCs into the NPS and from the CRCs to Dynamic Framework Providers. We are waiting for the NPS to open negotiations on this year’s pay rise for NPS staff.
UNISON’s aim is to see the commitments from the Minister translate into tangible financial gains for staff this year, whether you work for NPS, or one of the CRCs.
Please send on this message and the letter from the Minister to all members.
Police and Justice Service Group
130, Euston Road
Members experiencing financial and emotional difficulties can contact our welfare charity, There for You, which provides a confidential advice and support service for members and their dependants.
COVID-19 Response Fund
There for You has set up a special response fund to help UNISON members in immediate financial difficulty due to coronavirus. We may be able to provide a one-off grant of £250 to help with essential expenses such as food and bills.
Can you make a donation to support UNISON members who really need our help now? Every donation makes a huge difference.
If you are a member and you are experiencing financial difficulties, whatever the circumstances, There for You can offer you support.
Make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to with the UNISON Benefits Calculator, and see what help is available from benefits if you’re affected by coronavirus.
Wellbeing breaks can provide welcome relief from stress and respite from difficult circumstances. We can help you towards the costs of a break, depending on your financial situation.
There for You provides a confidential service for members over the phone or in person if you are experiencing personal difficulties.
Peace of mind is closer than you might think. Turn to UNISON Debtline, a debt advice service for UNISON members offering free and confidential advice to help you clear your debts and manage your money for the future.
There for You relies on the help and support of volunteers like you to give vital assistance to people in need in the form of debt advice, listening and support, financial assistance, breaks and holidays, and personal advice.
There for You Credit Union Service offers UNISON members access to low interest loans and a range of savings products through our UK network of partner credit unions.
Significant changes are being made to the welfare system. These will eventually lead to many means-tested benefits being abolished and replaced by the universal credit. The government has also introduced a cap on the total amount of benefit that claimants can receive.
Worried about money?
If you’re worried about money you can talk to an adviser at UNISON Debtline on 0800 389 3302. Lines are open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 3pm on Saturday.
I understand that the first three attached documents have been circulated to Regional Management for cascading to managers and trade union representatives in relation to on-going covid19 recovery work. Two additional UNISON documents are also attached.
I can confirm that UNISON has been consulted on the recovery checklists for Courts and Offices, but also that some outstanding issues remain. Please find UNISON advice and guidance on the Courts and Offices Recovery process below:
- Black Staff
UNISON has been calling on NPS to undertake an individual covid19 risk assessment with every Black member of staff in recognition of the higher risk posed by covid19 to Black staff. These risk assessments must take place well before Black staff are asked to return to a court or office working environment. Other public services have put these risk assessments in place for their Black staff many weeks ago, but there have been unaccountable delays in HMPPS taking action. We were promised an action plan by HMPPS by close of play today, but it has not arrived yet. Suffice to say that these risk assessments will form an integral part of any proposal for Black staff to return to court or other probation premises.
- Courts Recovery Risk Assessment
- Each of the risks set out in this document has a RAG (red/amber/green) rating for how serious it is. UNISON took issue with the fact that most of the risks, the RAG assessments are shown as being green with very few highlighted as amber or red. UNISON does not believe that this is realistic. In response, HMPPS confirmed that the RAG ratings in the risk assessment template are for illustration only, and that it is up to local managers and trade union representatives to populate the RAG ratings for each risk in each court. So if you believe that a risk should be rated as amber or red, you can make appropriate representations to the relevant manager undertaking the risk assessment.
- A trade union health and safety representative must be involved in approving the risk assessment for every single court building. This will require a physical visit to the court in most cases by the representative with the appropriate manager undertaking the risk assessment. This must be done well in advance of NPS staff being expected to return to the court.
- As part of the risk assessment, NPS must provide the trade union representative with a copy of the HMCTS risk assessment of the court building. NPS and HMCTS have a legal responsibility to co-operate and co-ordinate in relation to their respective risk assessments of each court.
Regulation 11 of MHSWR states that two or more employers sharing a workplace (on a temporary or permanent basis) must:
- co-operate with each other so far as is necessary to enable them to comply with their own obligations regarding health and safety at work
- take all reasonable steps to co-ordinate the measures they take to comply with their obligations with the measures other employers are taking to comply with their own obligations
- take all reasonable steps to inform other employers of risks to the health and safety of their employees as a result of their own undertaking.
NPS has not yet confirmed with UNISON that it will provide the unions with a copy of the HMCTS risk assessment for each court, which is obviously extremely problematic. Register a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations if this is not provided and do not sign off the court risk assessment until you have seen it.
- Health and Safety Covid Courts Recovery Checklist
- Please find attached the UNISON track changed version of the Courts Recovery Checklist – UNISON Tracked – which shows which of our comments on the checklist were not taken into account by NPS. You can press these points at local level.
- Also attached to this e-mail you will find the original UNISON response to the courts recovery programme which sets out our view of the critical issues which will need to be taken into account by NPS before any staff re-enter Court. Please use this as part of your local consultation with management
- HMCTS Courts Recovery Checklist
- You will need to ask to see a copy of the HMCTS Courts Recovery Checklist to see if you are content that this is being complied with at each individual court. Nb. UNISON does not endorse the HMCTS checklist as we have not been consulted on this and it may be deficient in some respects, however you will at the very least need to see it in order to sign off the NPS risk assessment for every court.
- HMCTS checklist issues already highlighted by UNISON include:
- Is there a one in one out rule for the lifts: NPS agreed to check this out with HMCTS, but we need to insist on this
- Will there be a minimum of two hourly cleaning by FM contractors is required? Check this at local level, but we need to insist on this being in place.
- We need to include ventilation in the HMPPS risk assessment, because we cannot just rely on the HMCTS assessment. (HMPPS is producing updated guidance on ventilation – so you should ask to see this)
- Other Court Issues
- HMPPS will ask HMCTS to ensure that security guards wear face masks. Register a breach of health and safety if this is not put into practice.
- HMPPS is asking HMCTS to allow NPS staff to forgo security checks and use court staff entrances. This needs to be guaranteed prior to NPS staff returning to courts.
- If the plumbing goes down, then NPS has confirmed that staff will have to be taken out of the court if there is no running water for hand washing. Discuss this potential scenario with your management.
- NPS has made the decision to not allow NPS staff to wear masks and gloves in court, but UNISON has asked for this to be reviewed where there are circumstances in which staff cannot socially distance, and we are awaiting a response from NPS. If your members believe that they cannot socially distance in the court, you should formally request that they be issued with fluid resistant surgical masks and gloves.
- Masks will be available in NPS court first aid kits, but not issued as a matter of course. If social distancing not possible, over a sustained period of time, NPS has confirmed that staff will not be required to continue working in the court and will be withdrawn. This issue has been referred to the NPS National health and safety committee for an agreed position.
- Sneeze Guards: NPS will be making them available, but not mandating them. The guards are being made available via the FM contract. The lead time is going to be quite long. A bulk order has been put in for these screens. UNISON recommends that UNISON/members ask for these to be provided as a matter of course in every court in-case they are needed. Suggest that reps put the orders in as a matter of course for each court as part of the risk assessment process.
- Checklist for Existing and Receiving NPS Offices in the event of opening
- Trade union health and safety reps must sign off risk assessment for each office prior to re-opening/staff returning.
- If the office building is shared with other tenants (e.g. CRC) then you will need to see the risk assessment of the other tenant employer – they are required under law to share this with the NPS, who will then make it available to trade union reps
- Offices with inadequate/broken toilet/washing facilities should not be re-opened. This should come up in any risk assessment. Many NPS offices had poorly maintained toilet and washing facilities prior to covid19 and should not re-open if these have not been fixed to UNISON’s satisfaction.
- Where interviews are taking place with service users, if there are no fixed screens installed, then sneeze guards can be ordered for the office. This is the same provision which is available in courts and supplies have already been ordered for the NPS.
I appreciate that this is a lot of information to take in. It is really important that the risk assessment process is fully supported by NPS Regional management and that health and safety reps are provided with sufficient facility time to undertake their duties.
Representatives should request whatever additional time they need to undertake these duties, which are going to be extensive and lengthy in duration, and also ask for workload relief for the extra time out of the day job.
Any questions or problems, just let me know.
Police and Justice Service Group
130, Euston Road
Care workers are on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. Caring for those most vulnerable to the virus, care workers must be able to self-isolate if they show symptoms. Yet care workers cannot afford to do this. This puts public health at risk. Help us to demand #FullPayForCarers to #StopTheSpread.
The government are putting public health and the lives of the vulnerable at risk. Care workers are paid less than supermarket workers and when they go off sick they only get £96 a week. Forced to make the choice between their family’s survival and the people they care for, carers are going into work, even when they have symptoms of the virus. They simply cannot afford to self-isolate. This is reckless and the government must put public safety first.
The government are putting public health and the lives of the vulnerable at risk. Care workers are often paid less than supermarket workers and when they go off sick, they only get £96 a week. Forced to make the choice between their family’s survival and the people they care for, many carers are being forced to go into work, when they should be following public health advice and staying at home. Most simply cannot afford to self-isolate ir shield. This is reckless and the government must put public safety first.
👊Speak up for #FullPayForCarers
The government have provided £600 million emergency funding for care homes, in part “to ensure that when social care staff need to be away from work for infection control purposes, they are not penalised for doing so.” `This is a step in the right direction.
But if this money doesn’t reach care workers pockets, it will do nothing to contain the virus.
“Funding must go to care workers in need, not employers’ bank accounts,” says UNISON. Read our call to government here
The government is currently planning to dump the money into cowboy care companies bank accounts and use oversretched local authorities as a middle man. This is not the time for half hearted gestures.
We have written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and asked him to put the right plan in place.
Our General Secretary is asking you to help #StopTheSpread.
We are pushing the governmentto do the right thing but we need you behind us, telling them you’re with us. Please tell the government that public safety rests on care workers being able to self isolate and shield. We need #FullPayForCarers to #StopTheSpread.
👊Speak up for #FullPayForCarers
This week, years of UNISON campaigning and lobbying brought about a massive change for many of our members. UNISON has opposed the Immigration Health Surcharge since its inception in 2015, for a simple reason – it’s fundamentally unfair. Migrant workers already contribute to the NHS the same way we all do – by paying their taxes.
Not only do migrant workers make a “fair contribution” and then pay extra with the surcharge, those working in the NHS, social care and other health roles make a third contribution with their work. They provide care for others, day in day out, knowing that they have to pay extra to access healthcare for themselves and their families.
During the pandemic, they’ve done this knowing they are risking their lives at the same time.
Back in 2018, one nurse told us that she was already trying to save £150 every month, by working more overtime, to pay the health surcharge before her visa renewal in 2020. She calculated that it would cost her almost £2,000 altogether. This was money that couldn’t be used to buy food, pay rent or bills.
This is a clear injustice, and one UNISON is determined to reverse. We have lobbied ministers, civil servants and employers. We have campaigned with health and migrant rights charities against the charge. We have worked with opposition politicians to consistently raise the concerns of UNISON members.
So yesterday’s announcement that the government would be scrapping the charge for health and social care workers was a real victory for our union, and forced the government into a screeching u-turn. It means that many UNISON members, migrants working in health and social care, looking after our communities, will be spared this deeply unfair charge. But UNISON won’t stop there. We will continue to campaign for the surcharge to be scrapped for everyone. So that no UNISON member – no migrant whatsoever – is expected to pay extra to access the NHS that exists for all of us, an NHS so many of them have helped to build, an NHS that relies on their contributions.
Please complete the attached questionnaire , the link to the survey below
Please find below some additional guidance received from the NPS which confirms that there is no rigid minimum for the number of days/weeks which staff have to undertake an offender facing role to qualify for the covid19 special circumstances payment of £150/month. If you have any questions regarding this or other matters please contact the branch via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We had tried to address this issue as part of the FAQs – but we have set no central limit or minimum, for the number of days or weeks for which staff would be working in the circumstances described on paragraphs 46 and 47. We do pro rata if staff are absent.
There is an expectation that it is paid to staff who are “undertaking offender-facing work as part of their day-to-day work” (see FAQ question 8)
We have intended that managers will have some flexibility and we are monitoring the application at Divisional level.
COVID19 Special Circumstances Payment
46. This payment is available to all staff working in NPS sites across the country during the COVID19 period in recognition of the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves working in and reflects that some aspects of the role will be temporarily more challenging, which staff will need to manage flexibly to help manage probation services.
47. ACOs/Heads of Units may pay a COVID19 Special Circumstances payment to any staff working in an offender facing role and should apply the payment flexibly. For example, this may also be used, for staff who are not normally in offender facing roles, but volunteer to do additional duties to support the operational line.
We have also provided guidance via the FAQs
7. How do I pro rata the £150 Special Circumstances Payment?
These bonuses have been implemented to provide recognition for the exceptional circumstances people are working under. If an individual is not at work, for any reason, they are not considered to be experiencing the challenging circumstances.
NTS 2020-03 states that if staff complete a part month due to absence (e.g. annual leave, sickness, self-isolation etc.), their bonus payment will be applied to the nearest full week (Paragraph 23 and 28).
A full week is considered to be made up of 5 days (regardless of shift pattern, as per current policy) therefore if there is less than 2.5 days of absence, it can be treated as a full week and they are entitled to the bonus. If there is more than 2.5 days of absence, it cannot be treated as a full week so will not be entitled to the bonus. Therefore the pro-rata payment in the case of absence should be calculated based on the number of full weeks (based on whether they have been absent for 2.5 days or less) completed in that month. The bonus should not be reduced due to Bank Holidays or for days when staff are not due to be at work, i.e. scheduled absences such as working from home as a result of restricted working arrangements due to the COVID-19 situation.
For part-time staff, in the same way as for rest days, we cannot count days upon which a member of staff was not scheduled to work anyway as non-attendance. The exception to this is where scheduled rest days etc. fall within a block of other absence (e.g. sickness, self-isolation or leave) where clearly the member of staff would not have attended had those days been scheduled working days.
4 weeks (Full month): £150
3 weeks: £112.50
2 weeks: £75
1 Week: £37.50
It is long standing pay policy that the working week, regardless of actual days worked for those who are on shift patterns, for contracted hours to be averaged out across 5 working days. This is so that the approach for such purposes as calculating unauthorised absence deductions etc. can be applied equally to both operational and not-operational staff. 2.5 days is therefore half of a working week. The same methodology is to be applied to other payments
Payments are to be pro-rated by individual weeks, you cannot carry days over or count days cumulatively across the weeks.
8. How do I sign up for the Special Circumstances Payment?
With the COVID19 Extra Hours Special Bonus Scheme, staff need to sign up to agree to undertake the additional hours.
However the Special Circumstances Payment is paid to staff who are undertaking offender-facing work as part of their day-to-day work, including those who have been redeployed to undertake offender facing work.
9. Can you clarify which staff are entitled to the special circumstances payment?
The Special Circumstances Payment was included within the suite of COVID 19 Special Payments Scheme measures to acknowledge the challenging environmental circumstances staff in offender facing roles would experience.
All staff, across all grades who are offender facing can claim this payment for the duration that their duties fulfil these criteria.
Staff whose substantive role is not offender-facing, are able to claim for a full/part month (as appropriate) if they volunteer to do offender facing work, they are suitably trained AND there is a resourcing requirement to allocate them to these tasks instead of staff who substantively would be detailed.
Probation Managers should not allocate usually non-offender facing staff to offender facing work based simply on them volunteering to do so – there needs to be a resourcing gap to be filled
I hope this answers your question – but please let me know if you have any further issues arising
|Russell SwabyActing Deputy HR Divisional Director (NPS, HQ & Wales)People Group|