Where you work - Probation

Stop probation privatisation

Probation Staff in South Yorkshire are members of the Sheffield local gov branch, they are represented by the Probation shop stewards committee:

Jacquie Flintham             Norfolk Park, Sheffield A.P H&S           03000470900
Catherine Cramm            Acorn House, Barnsley H&S                03000470000
Helen Cottam                  Rotherham, Main St, Joint Convenor     03000470424
Vicki Speed                    Rotherham, Main St,                           03000470400
Brenda Doyle                  Doncaster, Bentley, & C.P                   03000470300
Steve Carroll                   Townmoor, Doncaster  A.P rep             03000470920
Neil Richardson               National Probation Chair                      07739448815

Facebook logo UNISON Probation Staff Facebook

Latest news

Probation - Vote YES to protect your T&Cs and Pension (02/01/14)

Download the full bulletin here... pdf


We are close to a deal to protect your terms and conditions, if you transfer to the new national probation service (NPS) or one of the commu-nity rehabilitation companies (CRCs) in April.

However, the Ministry of Justice has blocked two very important protections from the proposed staff transfer agreement. That is why UNISON will be balloting you for strike action early in the new year.


UNISON has been negotiating since the sum-mer of 2013 to reach an agreement to protect you in the staff transfer. We do not ask you to take strike action lightly, but we need to persuade the Ministry of Justice that UNISON, and its probation members, are serious about protect-ing pay, conditions and pensions.

On 10 January you will be sent a UNISON ballot paper which will ask you whether you are pre-pared to take strike action to defend your terms and conditions and pension. UNISON is urging you to vote YES, to get the Ministry of Justice to do the decent thing and properly protect your terms and conditions and pension after you have transferred to the NPS or a CRC. A strong YES vote is vital to getting success in the negotiations.

If members vote to support strike action, we will call members out on strike from mid-February 2014. Your UNISON branch/representatives will be consulting you shortly on what you think would be the most effective form of strike action. Please make sure that you take part in the consultation. Your views are important.

Download the full bulletin here... pdf

Ballot for Industrial Action: Check membership details today (09/12/13)

Ballot for Industrial Action: please check your membership details today

UNISON will be balloting members employed by Probation Trusts on industrial action in early January 2014.  This is part of our strategy to get the Ministry of Justice to re-open negotiations on the Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement, which will protect you in the staff transfers that are planned for next year. This week, UNISON has lodged a trade dispute with every Probation Trust in response to Trusts imposing the staff assignment and transfer process without the agreement of the Probation Service National Negotiating Council and without sufficient guarantees regarding your terms and conditions. Your UNISON branch or representative can give you more details on the trade dispute/industrial action ballot.

To ensure you are included in the ballot, please check your membership details are accurate by going online, and by doing so you will be entered  into a prize draw to win one of 2 Wi-fi Kindles.

You can check your details today at

If you've not updated your details on the UNISON website before you will be asked to register. You need is your membership number.  If you do not know your number, please email Helen Cottam and she can provide you with this.   To register:-

-     Go to My UNISON,
-     Scroll down and click on 'register now'
-     Follow the steps

Once you have registered to look at your details:-

-     Go to My UNISON,
-     Click on my details
-     Edit details.

Once you've registered, or if you've used the site before, simply sign in to check your details.

Using the UNISON website is a secure way to keep your membership record up to date. But if you've not got computer access you can call 0845 355 0845 to get one entry into the prize draw. The next draw takes place in January, winners will be contacted directly.

Opposition Day debate in House of Lords (31/10/13)
On 30 October 2013 in the House of Commons an Opposition Day debate took place on the probation service.
Opening the debate Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan said that the Opposition welcome the Government’s moves to introduce supervision for those serving less than 12 months and that the debate “is not about status quo versus change” but about “good, evidence-based, tested change versus ideologically driven, untested, reckless change.” He argued that the Government’s “half-baked plans” are “a gamble with public safety” and argued that any changes should be “tested first to see what works and what does not work.”
He drew parallels between the Government’s probation reforms and the Work Programme, arguing that the Justice Secretary cannot be trusted to implement a payment-by-results programme in probation because when he did so in welfare to work it “led to billions being spent on a Work programme that performed so badly that someone who was unemployed stood a better chance of being in work after six months if they had not been on it.” He also argued that in the Work Programme “the big boys cherry-picked those who were easy to get into work” and raised concerns that the hardest to help offenders, those who “have problems with mental health, alcohol and drug-dependency, or with numeracy and literacy”, will not be adequately supported by “the big boys that the Justice Secretary wants to give the contracts to.” Other MPs who compared the Government’s probation reforms to the Work Programme included Shadow Small Business Minister Toby Perkins who argued that the Justice Secretary, as the Minister who “was responsible for the shambolic Work programme”, should “show a little caution before ripping up a service on which so many people depend.”
Responding to the Shadow Justice Secretary’s criticism of the Work Programme and its parallels with the probation reforms, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling argued that his “comments about the Work programme were complete nonsense” and highlighted that under the Work Programme the voluntary sector was supporting about 150,000 people” into work, making it “by far the biggest voluntary sector programme of its kind ever seen in this country.”
There were also a number of MPs during the debate who spoke about the impact of the Government’s reforms on existing probation service staff. Gavin Shuker (Lab, Luton South) raised concerns about staff retention and the ability of the remaining staff in the new National Probation Service to manage the case load of high risk offenders. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan also raised concerns about retaining experienced staff and suggested that under the reforms there is no obligation for private provider to ensure their staff are trained or experienced in dealing with offenders. Elfyn Llwyd (PC, Dwyfor Meirionnydd) also spoke about the impact of the reforms on existing probation staff, highlighting that “currently 18,000 staff face uncertainty about their future.”
Responding, the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling stressed that existing probation staff “are not prohibited from bidding” for contracts under the new system and argued that the Ministry of Justice “are hoping to see members of our current team take this opportunity, win contracts, and go on to make a real difference.”
The Opposition motion was put to a vote and defeated by 289 votes against to 223 in favour.

Probation - Don't sell it off: Sign the Petition (18/10/13)

The government’s plans for the probation service:-

The government is planning to abolish the 35 existing local Probation Trusts; replacing them with one small National Public Probation Service and 21 government companies which will be sold off to the private sector. The government will prevent Probation Trusts from competing with the private sector for the services they currently run and pay for the contracts with an untested payment-by-results system.

The union is concerned that plans to sell off Probation Services to the private sector and introduce a payment by results system have not been properly tested, and that the new set up will be complicated and bureaucratic. As this ballot proves, the reforms do not have the support of probation workers, and this concern is shared by the wider justice community.

If we get 10,000 responses we will get a Ministerial reply and if 100,000 then there will be a debate in Parliament.  Currently the petition has around 25,000 signatures.

This is the direct link for the petition:-  


Response to proposed sell off of the Probation Service (20/9/13)

The 19th of September saw the Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling sticking a big 'For sale' sign on the Probation Service by making an announcement in Parliament and the European Journal.

UNISON members around the country rallied against the ministers announcement and held coordinated lunchtime demonstrations.

Neil Richardson the UNISON national probation chair attended the demo in Sheffield leafleting members of the public.

Keep Probation public leafleting

Neil also spoke against the ministers actions later in the day on Radio 5 live "The probation service is not broken, we are world leaders in our field. Chris Grayling's intentions for the probation service are untried, untested and unsafe" said Neil.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Justice Sadiq Khan also chose the 19th of September to formally challenge the legality of Chris Grayling's plans to sell off the probation service.
Neil plans to meet Sadiq and members of the opposition front bench in early October to further UNISON's "keep probation public" campaign.

Probation: Keep it public and local - letter to your MP and PCC (25/07/13)

UNISON has produced two model letters which members in Probation can use to write to their MP and Police and Crime Commissioner. Members can access the letters by following this link http://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/police-and-justice-staff/key-issues/probation-keep-it-public-and-local/take-action/
The link also takes members to the Government e-petition web-site where they, and their friends and families, can sign the petition against Probation privatisation.
Please can members write both letters and to sign up to the e-petition. This should be done in members’ own time, away from the workplace.

Latest Sheffield UNISON Probation Bulletin published (27/06/13)

You can read the bulletin here...

House of Lords Briefing on the Offender Rehabilitation Bill (27/06/13)

UNISON is the largest public sector trade union in the UK representing around 1.4 million
members, of which 4,500 work for the 35 Probation Trusts in England and Wales.

This briefing sets out the key concerns that our members have about the Government’s
proposals to reform the Probation Service, as first set out in the Ministry of Justice
‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ Strategy published in May 2013 and subsequently in the
Offender Rehabilitation Bill [HL] 2013-14. UNISON requests your support for our
campaign to Keep Probation Public – Keep Probation Local as the Offender Rehabilitation
Bill is debated at Report Stage on 25 June.

Read the full briefing here...


Lords block plan to let private companies supervise ex-prisoners (27/06/13)

The Coalition's plans to let private companies supervise ex-prisoners have been blocked in the House of Lords. Read the full story in The Telegrapgh here...

Delivering Accountability in the Probation Service (20/05/13)

UNISON & LGiU Roundtable Meeting Note - Monday 22nd April 2013

You can find the meeting note here...

Probation Service under threat

Branch-wide news

Find the latest branch news here