NPS fails to submit pay increases before 2020 deadline

Unions in England and Wales have requested talks with the National Probation Service (NPS) after it confirmed that it will not be paying employees their expected wage increases for this year in April.

On 12 March 2020, members of trade unions Unison, Napo and GMB submitted a two-year pay claim for 2020-21 for employees working at the NPS in England and Wales, noting that for most employees, pay and allowances have risen by only 1% since 2009.

The claim included a request to increase the value of all pay points above the retail price index (RPI) of inflation on 1 April this year and 1 April 2021, an increase in the value of NPS allowances, automatic pay progression aligned with the two-year pay modernisation award, deletion of pay band one, and removal of pay band overlaps.

Union members met Lucy Frazer, prisons and probation minister earlier this year to draft the 2020-2021 pay claim, and emphasise the importance to submit the pay increase before the deadline.

However, the NPS did not obtain the necessary sign-off to pay the increment before the deadline of 7 February 2020.

Ben Priestley, national officer at Unison, said: “The failure of the NPS to pay its staff their 2020 increments on time in April sends all the wrong messages to members.

“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation told the service it has got to raise its game on staffing matters, so this is a setback which it could ill-afford.

“Unison will work with the NPS on the improvement programme, which everyone agrees needs to be put in place, but paying staff correctly and on time is pretty basic stuff. Our members deserve better.”

The NPS was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.