Organising for Probation Reunification

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2019 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
7 June 2019

Conference notes the Government’s announcement that all offender management work currently undertaken by the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) in England will transfer to the National Probation Service (NPS) in spring 2021 and in Wales by the end of 2019. This is likely to involve the transfer not only of approximately 7,000 staff from the CRCs to NPS Wales/NPS, but also the re-tendering of unpaid work, programmes and other rehabilitative services to the private or voluntary sectors.

Conference also notes that the transfer of work and UNISON members from the CRCs to NPS Wales/NPS represents both opportunities and threats to UNISON from an organising point of view. On the positive side, the transfer is an opportunity to recruit and organise those CRC staff not in any trade union. On the negative side, under the current government, the civil service and therefore the NPS is a hostile environment for trade unions in relation to restrictions on facility time and the removal of the ability of members to pay their subscriptions by check-off.

The need to also organise existing NPS staff who are not in any trade union, as well as the CRC staff who are not due to transfer to NPS Wales/NPS is also a priority for UNISON.

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive to:

1)Draw up a comprehensive organising strategy to cover the transfer of staff from the CRCs to NPS Wales/NPS and the transfer of staff from the CRCs to other private/voluntary sector providers. This strategy should seek to mobilise UNISON at branch, regional and at England and Wales level;

2)Seek to maximise UNISON membership in the CRCs and in the NPS in the run up to the transfers in 2021.