- 1. Introduction
Attached to this briefing you will find the next instalment of the draft NNC National Agreement on Staff Transfers and Protections.
This is Annex B of Appendix B, which was missing from the original bundle of documents and relates to the all important sifting criteria which will be used by Trusts to split staff into the NPS or CRCs on 1 April next year.
The Ministry of Justice has refused to grant 28 days for this document to be consulted on, so UNISON has less time than we expected to take views on the proposals. These additional proposals should be read in conjunction with the earlier UNISON consultation pack on the draft National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections issued w/c 23 September 2013.
- 2. Explanation
In the first UNISON consultation pack we explained the proposal for staff to be split between the NPS and the CRCs via a process of either automatic assignment or expression of interest. The sifting criteria which are attached to this briefing are the proposed mechanism for sifting those expressions of interest which result in jobs, or locations, being oversubscribed once all the expressions of interest have been received.
Sifting will be carried out by a panel in each Trust, appointed by the Trust. The outcome of the sifting exercise will decide which organisation each member of staff who has expressed an interest will transfer to.
The proposal set out in the attached NNC circular is really high level and does not include the detailed process which has been drawn up for NOMS/MOJ by PA Consulting. It was originally the intention of NOMS/MOJ to release this detailed process for consultation, but this has now been withdrawn for reasons that remain unclear. So you are still only seeing a partial picture, which is not acceptable during a formal consultation exercise.
- 3. UNISON’s View
- UNISON is concerned that we have been forced to consult on only a partial proposal in relation to the sifting criteria.
- The sifting criteria rely on a much more detailed matrix, designed by PA Consulting, which you are being denied access to, and without which you are unlikely to be able to make an informed judgement
- The way the sifting criteria are drafted, suggests wrongly that staff will only be able to exercise a preference to work for the NPS; it does not set out what will happen if staff exercise a preference to work for the CRC
- UNISON believes that if members are to have confidence in the sifting criteria, then the trade unions must be allowed to observe the operation of the sifting panels in each Probation Trust and also sit on the appeals panels for members to lodge appeals against sifting panel outcomes. At present, neither NOMS/MOJ, nor the Probation Association is willing to concede these demands.
- If the Employers Side of the National Negotiating Council continues to object, in this way, to full transparency in the operation of the sifting process, it raises a big question as to whether there should even be trade union agreement to the sifting process?
- 4. Next Steps?
Firstly we make this NNC circular 7/2013 available to all members and seek views on the content through a program of consultations. Views will then be collated by the branch and returned to the national Probation Committee
UNISON makes the point that even with the release of these latest documents, we are still awaiting the publication of the voluntary redundancy proposals which form a key part of the draft National Agreement on Staff Transfer and Protections; and we have no idea when these are going to see the light of day!