Christmas in Probation

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Christmas in Probation

Postby tabbycat » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:18 am

Looking back on my many years in Probation, I recall only too vividly how stress levels used to rise as December advanced: short weeks because of 3 Bank Holidays within a few days of each other, and how to fit in all that work when we couldn't do it in a normal 5-day week? We worked in a top-down one-way Command & Control organisation which interpreted heterodoxy as heresy, quelled dissent, treated staff as liabilities rather than assets, targeting frontline staff and Napo Branch Officers with Discipline Procedures and suspensions as though archery practice. Appraisals were an oppressive process and often moved into Managing Underperformance measures etc. The neo-stalinism with which we were faced was relentless. Staff were melodramatically marched off office premises without warning. Trumped-up charges prevailed and letters advising same and continuing suspensions were sent to people's homes causing in many cases horrible ripple effects on other family members. So-called "Investigations" were common and lacked due process and natural justice. At one stage our HQ applied for the Investors in People Award at the same time as having a growing practice extant that male staff (regardless of qualifications or experience) were not allowed to deal with female offenders but female staff (regardless of qualifications or experience) could deal with male and female offenders. We took this to unions-management meetings and to our JNC to no avail, protesting at the inconsistency and arrogance of applying for the IiP Award whilst treating male staff so cheaply. We declared a Grievance, only to see it set aside as our HQ suspended the figureheads of our action and launched Gross Misconduct actions against them; which they found proved and sanctioned accordingly, saying we shouldn't have told the County Tech conducting the IiP process - even though our HQ had brought them in, introduced them to staff and thereby an evidence pathway on which the Area would be judged for the Award. We suffered this siege for years and at times had to ask other areas to supply Reps as we didn't have enough to cope with the onslaught. Routinely, any motions passed concerning our Area were proposed and seconded in our multi-Area Branch by Napo members of the other Area in the Branch to prevent targeting; the Chatham House Rule was used in the minutes. As for policies drafted for proposal or revision in Consultation or Negotiation, we used to submit detailed and constructive papers in response which were then ignored. Now, I think, we should have made an approach to the CAC (Central Arbitration Committee) but we didn't think of this at the time.

I reflect on these things as I begin to shred papers and prepare to leave Napo. I did want to copy and paste something here from my Documents file but my IT skills are limited and, so far, copy and paste doesn't seem to do it.
I do hope that staff in CRCs and Probation as well as Napo Officers and Reps are not having to deal with anything to this degree nowadays.
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