Thursday, 29 May 2014

Latest From Napo 29

Here's the latest from Napo HQ sent to all members 20 minutes ago:-

Dear all,

A dark day

Tomorrow represents a dark day in the history of the Probation Service. The fragmentation of a public institution that, over the course of 106 years, has helped to turn lives around and safeguarded local communities in a way that your predecessors originally intended and would have been proud of.

I hope that you will feel able to join in the planned Friday lunchtime leafleting demonstrations alongside Unison members to tell the public just what this all means

The cynical destruction of evidence based practice on the high altar of privatisation by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is symptomatic of the values of a Conservative Party that thinks it knows the price of everything but in truth has no idea about the value of anything. It has also been aided and abetted by a Libdem Party that has now lost all sense of direction and moral fibre.

Down but not out

Since the announcement in May 2013 of the so called Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) agenda, your Union has led the way in the fight to defend your jobs and profession. Over the course of the last 12 months Napo members have taken two sets of strike action, worked to contracted hours, interacted with the local communities in which they live and work and have helped us massively in our efforts to engage the wider media and to try and change the minds of politicians and opinion formers within and beyond the Criminal Justice System.

I appreciate that there are Napo members who have questioned whether we should have done more. In an open and transparent organisation like ours that’s understandable and we should rightly be accountable to those whom you elect to undertake that role. It’s always difficult to strike a balance in ensuring that all members feel represented. Over the next few months it’s more important than ever that we present ourselves as the inclusive union that we are, where all members stand together in solidarity. The government rhetoric about the great divide that they have created in probation will not divide us.

No, we were not able to prevent the staff split, but let’s not forget that Grayling wanted this implemented last autumn. No, the industrial action and massive sacrifices made by so many of you has not caused the collapse of TR – and it was never claimed that it would do so; but it has helped to keep this reckless social experiment in the public eye and has helped Napo to negotiate and secure important safeguards to protect your terms and conditions whether you find yourself in the NPS or a CRC. And forget the myth being peddled by some outsiders that Napo cannot represent our members in the CRC’s. We will be there for you now and in the future that I can promise you.

Nevertheless, TR has been (and is) a dreadful and demoralising experience for our members and it is entirely understandable that some of you feel like venting your anger. Napo stands for positive trade union and professional values, and that’s why Napo will continue to defend them.

We will continue to issue guidance to you to try and help whenever we can as evidenced by the Branch Circular we have issued today about working across the NPS/CRC divide.

The way ahead

The ‘train crash’ that you are seeing unfold before you is every bit as bad (and as we can see from the campaign inbox) even worse than Napo predicted. That’s why the National Executive Committee at its last meeting gave its unanimous backing for our robust and updated Campaign plan that comprises five key areas of strategic activity:

Legal (Where the NEC has given its authority to keep the door open for the possibility of a new route for a judicial review. I will let you know more when I can)

Parliamentary (As we increase our contacts with MP’s as a result of the excellent Napo Parliamentary Bulletins that we are issuing weekly).

Media (Where we are seeking to exploit all possibilities in what is a tremendously competitive environment in terms of opportunities to get our message across and issue weekly campaign bulletins to let you know what has been going on)

Industrial (As we consider the next steps and renewed and very real prospect of a combined Napo/Unison/GMB national dispute on which I am currently engaged in talks with our sister unions)

Negotiations (Where we continue to challenge the corrupt share sale process and expose the real Omni shambles of TR to prospective bidders.)

Progress will, as always, be reported to the NEC and the wider membership through regular mail outs and we will be as open as we can about what we have done and what we have tried to do.

Compared to this time last year, Napo is much better equipped to step up our campaign as we approach the next two critical phases ahead of us, namely the period from 1st June to the intended CRC share sale (if or when that happens), and beyond that the run up to next year’s General Election.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that Napo has never had to face such a challenge at any time in our illustrious history; so there is no ‘kite mark’ to measure ourselves against, and no magic formula to simply make this tremendous threat to our future just simply disappear.

Whatever else happens over the next 12 months, we will all need to pull together, to recognise the different skills that all of us will bring to the struggle ahead and continue to work collectively just as we have done in all the years that Napo has existed. We will do so with courage and resolve in the face of a Coalition Government that has totally lost whatever remained of its moral compass, and those who want to buy your jobs and destroy your terms and conditions.

Napo members have proven that they have what it takes, and that’s why this fight will continue.

Best wishes to you all


General Secretary


  1. I just want to cry.

  2. So who sanctioned the idea that to make a protest about TR staff should not eat the sandwiches provided at end of Trust events? Radical!

    CRC corporate mobilisation is now at fever pitch.

    My despair is almost complete - not helped by hearing the BlairWeasel pontificating about Europe and Chilcott this week. Can't they just keep him locked and gagged in a luxury hotel in Israel?

    Its nearly June 2014 - Bring on the shitstorm.

    Maybe they'll be raising a glass or two in the Strangers Bar?

  3. What utter bollocks. ' Led the way in the fight'? What fight?! 'the industrial action... has not caused the collapse of TR – and it was never claimed that it would do so' - yes, because it was never fucking meant to! Why didn't we take action that WAS aimed at toppling TR? and as for 'I appreciate that there are Napo members who have questioned whether we should have done more. In an open and transparent organisation like ours that’s understandable and we should rightly be accountable' well, I guess that's why EVERYTHING I wrote on the NAPO forums was deleted, and why we don't have the faintest fucking idea why Tom Rendon resigned - the same Tom Rendon who was also happy to tell us that his conduct as NAPO chair was none of our business. NAPO's leaders have not organised, not agitated, not campaigned in any meaningful fashion. they have colluded in establishing the Probation institute, funded and Launched by Grayling as central to the success of TR, and allowed us all to be 'sifted' with barely a whimper. They have failed us yes, lets all spend tomorrows lunchtime handing out leaflets like it means a fucking thing. and right on Unison for joining some collective action...for fuck's sake!

    Simon Garden

    1. And it's why I will never pay that union subs. It's useless. I cAn cause more disruption on my own frankly

    2. So what did you do?

    3. I did nothing effective, what about Anons at 06.34 and 01.15?

      In a time of such turmoil it is foolhardy to be in employment without membership of a union especially if that trades union has negotiating rights.

      Were it not for Napo's skilful representation of me in 2003, I would probably be dead and almost certainly would have not secured the terms of retirement that I reluctantly accepted.

      I would suggest rejoining immediately or joining for the first time, the value of my pension, paid from when I was 54 far outweighs all my union subscriptions paid since I was 24. I have been waiting for Napo to make a financial appeal from non full member supporters to fund a legal action, or for something specific, so I can make a tangible contribution to the resistance to TR, but no such appeal has come, maybe we are too proud to ask for help, perhaps that is part of our (Napo's) problems.

  4. I don't want to cry.......I'm too angry at this patronising, diminishing apology of a union that has cost me money and lost my respect. I resign from it!
    I will continue to uphold the values of Probation under whatever 'they' deem to be the 'new system'.
    The people I care most about are the 'Service Users' and they will get my priority in terms of risk management, time (a much diminished resource), and involvement as a professional (should be involved to know about all the complex issues that contribute to reoffending). The people I work with, whoever they are, are human beings with needs, stressors, and triggers.......who value another human being who understands and can help, contain, restrain, explain.
    This is a very qualified individual, both in professional experience and life experience.
    This highly qualified status is being dismissed in this arbitrary 'split'.
    I abhor this Government.

  5. Having resigned from NAPO sometime ago - I read Mr Lawrence's statement with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach - what the F? His words are lame regarding the dark day - lots then about how wonderful NAPO have been to members (NOT) and then a way ahead, too little too late - too general as to suggest nothing new is on the horizon and what does it actually say..not a lot. I couldn't help but sense this was a plea, not to leave napo, to give them another chance and a load of political type spin, which is little more than an attempt to appease people...if I hadn't already left, I'd leave immediately. The only bit Mr Lawrence left out was to draw a ludicrous analogy with moving house.

    Good Luck everyone in the coming weeks and months ahead...we're on our own!

  6. He really could do with keeping it short and simple otherwise it just comes across as meaningless insincere self indulgent bullshit.

  7. This is a sad day, the end of my beloved Public Probation Service. I can not tell you how proud I am to be a Probation Officer it has never been a job it has always been so much more. This should have been the day we we all united as members of the new National Probation Service serving society rehabilitating offenders and preventing more victims.
    Instead we are cast to the winds of political whim and market forces. Justice for Profit, shame on this Government.

  8. A big thank you to Jim Brown for keeping this blog going through the last 12 months or so-the blog has allowed us to realise that senior managers are very similar throughout the country ie spineless....that the only board chair to openly resist the onslaught was Mr Kuipers, that good practice is good practice is good practice whether it is big or small......good men stood by and did nothing...evil has triumphed.....yet there is always hope that the tide will eventually turn...good luck to all probation front line staff whether in CRC or NPS, I've a feeling we'll need it...

    1. Agreed, it is considerably longer than 12 months.

      I see Napo have issued a Press release, that only seems to have found the light of the day, as far as I can tell via Facebook but it does not say anything 'new' or salacious so no doubt it has been ignored by any conventional media organisations who have received it - it is also rather cumbersome, but no doubt the writer wanted to give an overall picture.