UNISON Probation News November 2023

PROBATION NEWS November 2023


The crisis of prison overcrowding has led to the government’s announcement last month of an early release scheme for some prisoners. This will have major workload implications for the Probation Service which is already struggling with unmanageable workloads. UNISON will be meeting with HMPPS to discuss members’ concerns over risk management and staffing overload. If you have any concerns, please contact your UNISON probation branch in the first instance.


The joint union ‘Operation Protect’ campaign against unmanageable workloads is having an impact. On the back of the prisoner early release scheme, HMPPS has asked to meet the unions urgently to discuss our ideas about workload reduction. These meetings are on-going.

At UNISON’s Police & Justice Conference in Edinburgh earlier this month delegates voted to seek the repeal of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014. It was this Act which introduced post sentence supervision for those serving short term sentences. UNISON now wants this legislation repealed to allow probation staff more time to manage people on probation with a higher risk of re-offending.


The probation unions have lodged a dispute with HMPPS over the implementation of One HMPPS. The dispute centres on concerns over the potential impact of One HMPPS on pay and conditions, the lack of any implementation agreement to protect staff and the overload which the One HMPPS programme has caused to the trade unions’. A dispute hearing will be held shortly. More news to follow.


UNISON’s long-standing policy is that probation should come out of the civil service and be returned to local management and democratic control. This was how probation worked, and worked well, before the disaster of Transforming Rehabilitation.

We are pleased that the out-going Chief Inspector of Probation shares our views. In his last Annual Report, published in September this year, he said:

Many in the service hark back to the days… when probation was a genuinely local service – locally accountable rather than run from Whitehall, focused on local partnerships and able to act autonomously within them. I have to say I have increasing sympathy with this view.’

The Labour Party has also recognised the failings of civil service management of probation. UNISON has been in dialogue with the Party via the union’s Labour Link to make the case for moving probation back to local control.

Labour’s National Policy Forum document agreed at its party conference in October says:

The Conservatives’ centralising approach to running services from Whitehall is failing badly. We will ensure that the Probation Service is run effectively in local areas so that probation staff can focus on rehabilitating people in their communities. We will positively explore options for more locally delivered and responsive services, and the devolution of powers over youth justice and the probation services to the Senedd and Welsh Government.’


Back in June of this year, the three probation unions submitted a claim to HMPPS to re-open the three-year pay award to improve the pay deal which only gave on average a 3.2% pay increase to probation staff each year. Since June, HMPPS has failed to respond to the claim. The unions are due to meet the Justice Secretary later this month to discuss the claim among other issues.

Another claim from the unions is to introduce geographical payments to help staff in very high cost of living areas outside London.


Ex-CRC staff can now find out whether they are eligible to claim for increments which should have been paid by their CRC if they were appointed, promoted, or regraded between 1 October and 31 March at any time between 2014 and 2021. The Probation Service has now published the process for doing this. It is quite a complex process, but UNISON encourages all ex-CRC members who were appointed, promoted, or regraded by a CRC between 1 October and 31 March at any time between 2014 and 2021 to follow the process to see if they are eligible.


UNISON speaks up on behalf of Probation Service staff. We are campaigning for better pay and conditions for you and your colleagues. If you are not already a member of a trade union, join UNISON now to add your voice to our campaigns.

Call FREE on 0800 171 2193

Or visit: www.joinunison.org

Are you 30 or under, if so read on

As UNISON members aged 30 and under, you are invited to UNISON North West’s Annual General Meeting at 7pm on Thursday 7th of September, Arena Point – 1 Hunts Bank, Manchester, M3 1UN. 

We will hear from Guest speaker Nigel Flanagan- who authors his book ‘Our Trade Unions.’ He is a long-time trade union organiser whose career has taken him as a union militant strike leader, full time organiser and activist to diverse corners of the global labour market brings his experience to bear on the new possibilities that exist for strengthening the trade union movement.

We will also be electing the following positions:

  • Co-Chairs,
  • Membership Officer
  • Communications Officer
  • Political Officer
  • Regional Council Delegates (x2)
  • Regional Committee Delegate
  • National Youth Forum representatives (x2)

For more information on the positions please see the Document attached.

There will be Pizza & refreshments there and we really look forward to seeing everyone! If you would like to run for any of the above positions please contact K.Doyle@UNISON.co.uk with a brief statement on why you would like to run by the 04.09.2023-

If you want any further information please contact smhp44@gmail.com,  m.tracey-ramos@unison.co.uk & K.Doyle@Unison.co.uk.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!!

Micaela & Sam


VLO JE Outcome: UNISON Actions

E 33 – 2023

Dear Colleagues

UNISON is aware that the announcement on Wednesday this week of a pay band 3 outcome to the recent VLO JE panel will have come as a major disappointment to our VLO members and we know that this has caused huge upset. None of the unions was notified of the JE outcome prior to its publication to the workforce.

In response to the announcement, UNISON will be:

  1. Discussing our approach to the JE outcome with our sister trade unions when we meet at our regular catch up next week
  1. Attending the meeting which Jim Barton has called for VLOs on Friday 1 September next week
  1. Preparing to assist and support UNISON VLO members to appeal the JE outcome.

Further information will be sent out following the meetings next week. Please cascade this message to all VLO members.

This e-mail has been sent to all branches with probation members and UNISON’s probation committee.


Ben Priestley
National Officer


Nelson Mandella Award Nominations

Dear Unison Member

Nelson Mandella Award Nominations

Many members will be aware that Nelson Mandela was an honorary member of UNISON. In his lifetime
he received over 260 awards including the Nobel Peace Prize.
To honour his achievements, the National Black Members’ Committee (NBMC) present the Nelson
Mandela Award each year to a Black member who has gone above and beyond.
If you know someone who goes the extra mile to support members, who is passionate about racial
equality and who champions fairer workplaces, please nominate them now.


The deadline for submission is 5pm, Friday 1 September.

The award will be presented at the National Black Members’ Conference, 19th – 21st January 2024

Year of the Black Worker 2023—Training event October 2023

Dear Unison Member
Year of the Black Worker 2023—Training event October 2023

“In UNISON, ‘Black’ – with a capital B – is used to indicate people with a shared history.
‘Black’ is used in a broad political and inclusive sense to describe people in the UK who
have suffered from colonialism and enslavement in the past and continue to experience
racism and diminished opportunities in today’s society”.
North West Black Members Activist Training – Saturday 14th October to Sunday 15th
Starts 10 am on Saturday 14th of October and runs until 2 pm on Sunday 15th October.
The weekend residential training will take place in Liverpool. Venue tbc
The training will be a mixture of guest speakers and interactive sessions which will help
develop you and strengthen Black activism within our union. We welcome applications
from new and old members and the weekend will also allow us the time to both socialise
and learn. The training is limited to 25 people.

If you wish to register your interest, please email Jane Warburton
j.warburton@unison.co.uk by 29th August if you haven’t yet registered.

If you would like more information, please contact Ameen at

With love & solidarity,
Ameen Hadi


JTU 43-2023                                                                                 24 August 2023


As part of the three-year pay award starting in 2022, the employer insisted on removing Market Forces Supplements, that were in place for certain grades in some areas. The Probation unions warned this was a bad idea that would exacerbate the already high staff shortages in those areas and, not surprisingly, this is exactly what has happened.

As we could see the impact of the loss of market pay supplements on members and the worsening crisis, Napo, UNISON and GMB/Scoop, submitted a claim earlier this year for pay supplements. The claim covers all Probation Service staff working in Kent, Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes), Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Essex, Hampshire / Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

We know how huge increases in the cost of living, with wages that have nowhere near come close to keeping up, have caused a big impact on Probation staff’s living standards.

We have been pleased that the employer has accepted that there is a real issue and has responded positively, in principle, to our claim, although we obviously share our members frustration on the progress being made towards remedial action. 

We all accept that high living costs and staff shortage ‘hot spots’ occur in other parts of the country. We are working with the employer to progress our claim and will provide further evidence as it develops which suggests that additional areas should be considered for receipt of geographical supplements.

As part of the response to our claim, the Probation Service has agreed to set up regional meetings with the unions to hear the views of staff to examine the case for these. We will keep members updated as this work progresses.

RE: Probation £1500 – SSCL Issue – Message from Unison National Officer


You will be aware by now I imagine that SSCL have not been able to pay some staff the £1500 payment in the July payroll. It is not clear how many staff have not had the payment as promised?

Please see below from Employee Relations, which I presume has now been circulated by RPDs.

The workaround is that there will be a separate one-off salary advance paid on 31 July to staff who have not been paid the £1500 this week.

Any questions, just let me know.

This e-mail has been sent to branches with Probation members and to Probation Committee members.



Dear all,

Pay and Reward colleagues have asked me to share the below communication which will shortly go out to RPDs. We are conscious that many of you have been fielding queries from members during the course of the day. On behalf of HMPPS, my apologies for the inconvenience this will have caused you and our thanks for bringing the concerns to our attention.

If there are any queries regarding the below, my colleague Steve Mornington, will be happy to answer them,

The below refers,

Kind regards, Francis

Re: £1,500 payment to eligible Probation staff

The £1,500 payments have been made to Probation Service staff in July in salary, however, there have been a number of staff who have not received the payment as planned. Emergency calls have taken place with SSCL to understand the issue and who is affected. SSCL have given assurance that all eligible staff will receive the payment and all of those affected will be contacted by SSCL by close of business today.

The payment will be issued on Monday 31st July, this is the communication that staff will receive from SSCL:

Subject: Cost of Living Payment – YOUR JULY 2023 PAY Employee Number: XXXXX Dear XXXXX, I am writing to advise you that an error has been identified in your August pay regarding the Cost of Living Payment. We can confirm you are eligible for payment however payment was not applied to your record and therefore will not appear on your July 2023 payslip. We have now correctly applied the Cost of Living payment to your record and issued a separate payment on 31st July 2023; you will see this payment in your bank account in addition to your standard payment. This payment will be made as an off system advance therefore the amount paid will be 65% of the full amount due to account for estimated deduction of Tax, National Insurance, Pension etc. This secondary payment may not appear in your bank account until close of business on 31st July . Your August Pay will contain the full payment with the advance recovering against that value. You will therefore see both negative and positive values on you August payslip due to the advance being recovered and the actual arrears paid. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience or confusion this may cause. Kind regards, Employee Services Transformation & Change Team 

Francis Stuart,

HMPPS Head of Employee Relations

Operation Protect Joint Union Bulletin #1

Probation Pay Award Re-opener Claim Joint Trade Union Bulletin

Launch of Operation Protect: Joint Union Workloads Campaign


It has been recognised by the Trade Unions that workloads are increasing and are becoming unmanageable; this is having a detrimental effect on our members mental health and well-being.

UNISON, Napo and GMB/SCOOP have launched a major new joint union workloads campaign. Senior Lay Representatives and Union Officials will formally launch the campaign outside MOJ HQ at 13.00 today (26th June 2023). The campaign aims to tackle the unacceptably high workloads being faced by our members in the Probation Service.

This will be a long term campaign which we will be looking to involve members, branches and regions in going forward.

Attached is the campaign leaflet, setting out the campaign objectives.



Branch Secretary

Joint Trade Union Bulletin – £1500 one-off payment

JTU23-2023                                                                        7 June 2023


On Friday 2 June the Head of the Civil Service e-mailed all civil servants, including Probation Service staff, with the message that:

‘…ministers have agreed to allow departments to make a fixed payment of £1,500 to civil servants in delegated grades in recognition of your public service and the challenges of the cost of living.’

Later that afternoon around 5pm it was confirmed by the MOJ Permanent Secretary that staff working for the Probation Service would receive the one-off payment of £1500.

The Government has also confirmed that the payment covers last year – the 2022/23 pay year which ended on 31 March 2023.

The trade unions were not informed prior to these announcements and since Friday there has been no formal communication with us from the Probation Service about the payment. As a result, we have very little information to give to members.


In the absence of any information from the Probation Service, MOJ or the Government we assume (subject to confirmation) that the payment:

  • is a one-off, non-consolidated payment, which means that it is not added to the value of your salary going forward
  • will be paid to all Probation Service staff on pay bands 2 – 6 and A – D (staff on Senior Civil Service grades are excluded)
  • will attract tax, national insurance and pension contributions

We don’t know when the payment will be made, or if it will be paid as a single lump sum or paid out monthly. We have asked the Probation Service for urgent talks to enable us to provide you with more information.


Last year when we were negotiating the three-year pay award, we were told that there was no more money to improve the offer!

The £1500 payment announced last week shows very clearly that the Government has the money to improve the pay of Probation Service staff.

The unions have served notice on the Probation Service that we want to re-open talks on the three-year pay award which was agreed last year. With inflation still running at 11.4% in April, the three-year pay award is not keeping pace with the rising cost of living. Probation staff deserve better.

Ian Lawrence                   Ben Priestley                             George Georgiou

General Secretary            National Officer                         National Officer

Napo                                UNISON                                     GMB/SCOOOP

School Uniform Grants

Get help with school uniform costs. There for You – supporting UNISON members when life gets tough. Eight primary school children in uniform smile at the camera.

School Uniform Grant

The 2023 School Uniform Grant Programme will open twice on 1 June 2023 at the following times:

1000 applications at 8.30am  

1000 applications at 5pm 

Applications will be made online.  You cannot apply before these times. 

A link to apply online will be added to the bottom of this webpage when the grant is live. 

Please ensure you read the below information to see if you are eligible before making an application.    

School Uniform Grant 2023 eligibility:

Applicants must:   

  • Be a UNISON member   
  • Have paid at least four weeks subscriptions at the time of applying. Subscriptions must be up to date.   
  • Not have received a grant through our main applications since 01 December 2022    
  • Not have received more than £750 in total if within the first year of membership   
  • Have savings (including the total rolling balance on current accounts) below £1,000 to qualify.     
  • Be financially responsible for school aged child(ren) and receiving Child Benefit for them. By school aged we mean children aged between 4-17 years old who will be returning to school in the autumn. 

Only one application per household will be considered.   

And EITHER:   

  • you are on a low income:   
  • Net household income* of no more than £26,000/year (£2,166.67/month)   


In receipt of means-tested benefits. This includes:   

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child and/or Working Tax Credits
  • Pension Credit
  • Means-tested Jobseekers Allowance
  • Means-tested Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

 *by household income, we mean income from: salary payments, student finance payments, state retirement pension, occupational or private pensions, child maintenance.   

What can I get help with?   

We can help with a one-off grant of £50 per school aged child, up to a maximum of £150. We want to make this fund go as far as possible and help as many members as we can.  Please only apply if you are in financial difficulty. There is a limited amount in the School Uniform Grant Fund.  

What if I don’t know my membership number?   

We cannot accept applications without a membership number. This can often be found at the bottom of any emails you have received from UNISON.   
Alternatively, please contact UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.   

How will you contact me?   


Successful online submissions will receive an automated message confirming your application has been received. If this doesn’t show in your ‘inbox’, please check your ‘junk/spam’ folders.      

Processing time   

You should not expect to receive an immediate decision. It could take up to 8 weeks before you hear from us. We will require further evidence to support your application and we will be in touch via email to request this. Please do not send chasing emails as we will be unable to respond.   

If I have recently received a grant can I apply?   

If you have received a grant from UNISON Welfare since 01 December 2022, excluding the Energy Support Fund and Winter Fuel Grant, you will not be eligible to apply for a School Uniform Grant.   

How do I apply?   

All applications should be made online. Make sure you have your membership number to hand.   

Applications are currently not open

If you are unable to complete the application due to an accessibility issue, please email: sug@unison.co.uk or call UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.  
Any questions?  
Contact us via email: sug@unison.co.uk 


Joint Napo/UNISON Courts Staff Member Survey

Please find attached a joint Napo/UNISON bulletin setting out the results of a joint union survey of courts staff members carried out earlier this spring. The survey results make very clear that courts staff members do not support the proposal from the Probation Service that court duty officers/court PSOs/enforcement officers should prosecute contested breach trials.

UNISON is taking up the results of the survey with the Probation Service with the aim of removing this proposal and creating a Senior Enforcement Officer role at pay band 4, or above, to do this work instead.

Unison Dental Plan

Shepherds Friendly

UNISON Living’s saving provider Shepherds Friendly, have a limited time offer for
UNISON members ending on the 18th June 2023. Get up to £105* Love2shop
vouchers when you open a Shepherds Friendly Junior ISA.
Junior ISA
Save for a child you love’s future from just £10 per month, or with one-off deposits to
fit your personal circumstances. Friends and family and pay in too.
This is a tax-efficient child savings plan with the option to invest sustainably in a
diverse range of companies and bonds that are deemed to make a positive contrition
to society. When you invest your capital is at risk.
Founded in 1826, as a mutual society, Shepherds Friendly is wholly owned and run
for its members, bringing you a variety of tax-efficient savings plans.
You can open a plan online or over the phone, quote “UNISON” to receive your
exclusive welcome gift.
Head over to shepherdsfriendly.co.uk/UNISON-JISAoffer
or ring their Member Services team on 0800 526 249 to find out more.
*Value of the voucher depends on how much you save see shepherdsfriendly.co.uk/unison-l2s-termsand-conditions/ for full terms and conditions
Capital at risk. All references to taxation are to UK taxation and are based on Shepherds Friendly
Society’s understanding of current legislation and H M Revenue and Customs practice which may
change in the future.
Shepherds Friendly is a trading name of The Shepherds Friendly Society Limited which is an
incorporated Friendly Society under the 1992 Friendly Societies Act No. 240F. Authorised by the
Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential
Regulation Authority. FS Registration Number 109997

Workers Memorial Day 28th April Events

Cardiff – Workers’ Memorial Day / Caerdydd – Diwrnod Cofiant y Gweithwyr
Friday 28 April, 10:00
Wales’ National Workers’ Memorial Day event
Unite House, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, Wales, CF11 9SD, United Kingdom

Join us for refreshments followed by a short ceremony to lay wreaths at the National Workers’ Memorial Stone with dignitaries including trade union leaders.

London Building Worker International Workers’ Memorial Day rally
Friday 28 April, 10:30
Building Workers Statue, Tower Hill, London EC3N 4DR (Nearest tube Tower Hill)
Further details contact: Mark Soave 07894 414599

Wreaths are laid here each year on April 28, International Workers Memorial Day, and a two minute silence is observed in memory of those who have suffered fatal injuries in accidents at work.

Manchester Workers Memorial Day Event
Friday 28 April, from 11:45
Abraham Lincoln Statue, Manchester, England, M2 5LF

Meeting at Lincoln Square at 11.45am. Music with Claire Mooney, speakers from the trade union and labour movement, street theatre, reading of names and laying of wreaths followed by refreshments and reflection at the Peoples History Museum.

Coventry Trades Union Council event
28 April, 12:00-13:00
Coventry Cathedral Ruins, Priory St, Coventry CV1 5RN

Remember the dead and fighting for the living. Invited speakers include Frank Keogh, Unite; Amanda Gearing, GMB; Amazon worker; and other union speakers. Please stand with us. More details email Coventry TUC.

JLR Worker’s Memorial Day, Solihull
28 April, 12:00
Brueton Garden Solihull, Please note it is not the park, but the garden across from O’Neill’s, Solihull, England, B91 3EN

The event will start at noon on the 28 April, there will be a number of speakers from JLR works’ committee and safety committee.

Worker’s Memorial Day, Birmingham
28 April, 12:30
St Phillips Cathedral (in the grounds) Colmore Row, B3 2QB in Birmingham City Centre

The event will start at 12.30 on 28 April, there will be a number of speakers including Annemarie Kilcline West Midlands regional secretary from Unite, and Families Against Corporate Killing. Banners and wreaths welcome. 

Sheffield TUC International Workers Memorial Day event
Friday 28 April, from 12:30-13:15
Pinstone Street, Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield, England, S1 2HH

Wreath-laying ceremony and speeches by the memorial tree outside Sheffield Town Hall.

South Kirkby and Moorthorpe town council commemoration
Friday 28 April, 18:30 onwards
Address: The Grove, Stockingate, South Kirkby, WF9 3QF

South Kirkby and Moorthorpe town council commemorate IWMD annually. This is an old mining area with the ceremony including the laying of wreaths at the miners’ statue dedicated to workers killed in the local pits. This year a plaque to David Jones a local lad killed on the picket line in the miners’ strike is being unveiled. Speakers include local MP Jon Trickett. After this the organisers are holding an event with a band and free food and people are encouraged to bring their banners.
Further details contact: Charlie Robinson 07841 202344

Preston Workers Memorial Day event
Saturday 29 April 11:45-13:30
Preston Flag Market, 4 Cheapside, Preston, England, PR1 2AP

Meet on the Preston Flag market at 11.45 – there will be a welcome from the mayor, speakers from the local trade union and labour movement, a march to the Corn Exchange statue, the laying of wreaths, and then refreshments.


 North West Climate Emergency Group online meeting Thursday, 13th April 2023 6.00 – 7.30pm

Please use the Teams link to access the meeting:  Click here to join the meeting


2.0Minutes of the Previous Meeting and Matters Arising 
3.0Main items (organised around UNISON objectives):   Discussion: ACTIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN A COST OF LIVING CRISIS     Issues under discussion, organised around UNISON priorities, will include:        i    ORGANISING AROUND CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUES UNISON Annual Delegate Conference  motion 48 : “The Climate Emergency Post COP 27 and decarbonising UK public services”.CLIMATE JUSTICE CONFERENCE – SATURDAY 20TH MAY 2023.Report back on National Webinar 23rd March 2023 – Survey of UNISON members. Induction Pack.Web Site Progress. Possible event, to be organised with our Learning and Organising Services (LAOS) later in 2023Green Rep Courses – 25th May and 16th November 2023Facilities Time for green RepsGreen Reps needed at AGMs. Updating of Branch Rules to incorporate Conference Rule ChangeTUC guidance for Green Reps   
 ii. BARGAINING AROUND CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUES  Report back and next steps from Divest UK Day of Action – Friday 24th March 2023 – Pension Fund divestment from fossil fuels including; draft motions for GM Branches and report back from GM Pensions Meeting. Negotiating cost of livingGreening the workplace  – local activityLocal initiatives to press carbon reduction – Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Cumbria e.g. North East Lancs Trades Council event focussing on Climate Change next year   

Probation Joint Union Bulletin – Opposing ‘One HMPPS’


Please find attached a link to enable you to join the Unison North west and CAFCASS Annual General Meeting via Microsoft Teams.  The two events will be taking place to enable members who wish to join the AGM in person to attend.  Virtual links to both meeting are included below.

To join the meeting, please copy the link in to your browser which should then allow you to join the meeting via a web browser.

29th March 2023 (17:30-19:30)


30th March 2023 (17:30-19:30)