NAPO WORKING FOR ALL OF OUR MEMBERS
This week sees an important meeting of Napo’s NEC (National Executive Committee). On the agenda are some huge issues that are directly impacting on our members within Probation and the FCS, here is a selection.
The TR Campaign - Napo secures great publicity
The ongoing campaign against Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) and the intention to ‘sell off’ Probation, is now intensifying as we enter into a critical three-month period after which the Secretary of State intends to announce the names of the preferred bidders for the 21 Community Rehabilitation Company contract packages.
Napo has been leading the way in the campaign of resistance to this political and ideological folly, and while we are working with our sister unions Unison and GMB on joint campaigning initiatives to persuade politicians to support our call to halt the share sale, and get growing support from Parliamentarians, we continue to develop our contacts with the media. This has seen us involved in some excellent recent coverage (The Times, Independent and Independent on Sunday as well as ‘Insider Times’ - the national newspaper for the prisoners and detainees- along with scores of weekly regional ‘mentions’).
Here is a link to yesterday’s piece in the Independent, which gives an illustration of the work we are putting in to get the threats to our member’s jobs and profession to the forefront of public attention.
Why are we not in the press every day?
We share member’s frustration at the refusal of the media and TV to regularly pick up on the clear public interest stories around probation privatisation (as well as those of interest to the work of the Family Courts). This has to be seen in the context of the wider difficulty of competing with the myriad of stories that are around and which get coverage as the programme producer’s new priority, very often at the last minute. This means that a particular piece of work or lead that Napo has spent considerable time on falls by the wayside. It is especially difficult to secure what is known as prime time coverage in evening and morning slots simply because rarely a day goes by without two or three major political or international events dominating those slots and setting the scene for the rest of the day’s coverage.
Nevertheless, just because you may not have seen or heard it, does not mean that nothing is happening, and it is a fact that Napo’s coverage across press, radio and TV over the last 12 to 15 months including prime time coverage surpasses just about any that has been achieved by other unions, but we intend to keep up the pressure. All records of Napo’s media involvement appear on the Napo website along with all our campaign briefings which let you know what we are doing. Please take the opportunity to click in from time to time and keep up to date, and remember that your local Napo Officers can also be of assistance here.
The NEC will be hearing from our legal advisers Slater and Gordon, who have been acting for us since last year in our efforts to fully exhaust our options to seek an injunction against the Secretary of State’s TR agenda. It is evident that some misinformation has been put around about Napo’s efforts in this regard, so here is a summary of the facts.
The Officers and I have been working under the direction of the NEC to test out three strands of possible challenges to Graylings plans. These have entailed the gathering of masses of evidence and the whole process has been necessarily complex.
Firstly, we explored (between last autumn and the spring), whether the Secretary of State could split the service under the powers that he was claiming he had as a result of the Offender Management Act 2007. Answer: following a second opinion from our Counsel, was that sadly he could. After that we looked at a second possible route, which was that in moving to split the service had Grayling adequately consulted with staff?
The eventual response contained enough for us to reach a conclusion (again after advice from leading Counsel) that there was insufficient mileage in us approaching a judge to seek JR and risking the substantial costs that it would have taken to get to Court, and those we would have to pay if we had lost..
This was disappointing but not entirely unexpected given the lies that have been peddled by Ministers and the MoJ in general about TR. This leaves us looking at the third option, which is that now the split has occurred, we are arguing that the current operational state of chaos means that there must be a new test (Test Gate 4) applied with effect from 1st June through to the period immediately before it is decided to award CRC contracts to bidders. We have asked to see all the results of the previous ‘fit for purpose’ tests that we have been told have given TR a clean bill of health (‘Testgates’ 1,2 and 3) and despite Napo submitting Freedom of Information requests, this has been refused. We are now arguing that it is unsafe to proceed to a share sale unless this test is opened to public and parliamentary scrutiny and that it would not represent value for money to the taxpayer.
The possibility of incurring substantial costs in the event of a JR application is still a factor, but is one of a number of considerations that will need to be taken into account in terms of whether we should proceed or not.
Meanwhile, we await a reply to our third ‘Pre-Action Protocol’ letter from the Treasury Solicitor, and news of what this new ‘Testgate 4’ will entail, we will keep you informed about what the NEC decides we ought to do following this.
New stop the sell off e-petition launched by Probation Unions
A new government e-petition was launched last week calling for a halt of the CRC share sale due to a lack of infrastructure and the risk to public safety.
Please encourage your work colleagues, friends and families to sign up to the new online e-petition using the following link:
IN THE FAMILY COURT SECTION
(Editor's note - The Family Court Section has been omitted)
Napo subscription problems
The last week or so has been a nightmare for Napo’s membership section as they try to cope with the database changes arising from the probation staff split.
Unfortunately, and through no fault of Napo, we have discovered that there are a high number of individual problems relating to errors for union and other deductions made by Noms for NPS staff. Anne and Tay are working flat out to try and rectify the issues but we ask that you bear with the membership team as they work their way through your enquiries. If you haven’t done so already, please check your pay slip for accuracy and report any issues to Shared Services and cc: email@example.com.
Our members in Probation and the Family Court Service face huge challenges of different complexity, and we wanted to reinforce the message that Napo as a trade union and professional association is committed to promoting and protecting the interests of all of our members irrespective of your employer or grade. In the FCS there has been a vacancy for the position of National - Vice Chair for some time now. This is an important position that ensures that the FCS has a direct input into the union’s strategic and operational activities and that FCS members’ have a voice in Napo’s leadership structure. Is there someone out there who is interested? If so please contact Dean Rogers at Napo HQ: firstname.lastname@example.org
Napo remains the union of choice within Probation and the FCS and is taking a firm and principled stand on the key vocational and professional issues that affect you at work. Your continued support for Napo in these difficult times is massively appreciated.
Ian Lawrence - General Secretary
Napo Officer Group (Yvonne Pattison, Chris Winters, Keith Stokeld, Megan Elliott)
9th July 2014
As an aside, my re-publishing Pat Waterman's annual report to members of Napo Greater London Branch seems to have touched some raw nerves, judging by some of the comments:-
I heard that the guy who standing against Pat thinks that his experience as an SPO will help him to make friends with senior managers and herald in a new era of peace and harmonious cooperation - what planet is he on? They are apparently not that opposed to TR and think that appeasement is course most likely to succeed - more like caving in and selling us down the line. I and many other members of Napo want a strong leader with principles who senior managers respect and listen to precisely because they reflect the views of those at the front line even if this makes them a bit uncomfortable and wakes them up to reality.
I will be voting for straight talking Pat without any hesitation.
I will be voting for straight talking Pat without any hesitation.
We need Pat to help restore credibility, reputation of NAPO & to have a proper fight. Enough of the previous wishy washy fighting which sold us out.
If Pat had been National Chair then there wouldn't have been any nonsense. Every NAPO member in London worth their salt should be at the Napo Greater London Branch AGM on Friday at 2pm showing their support. Anyone can find an excuse not to go and leave matters to others but that's the kind of attitude that helps Grayling an makes him think no one will oppose him. Be there and let's have the biggest meeting ever as you can bet Graylings spies will be telling him how many people were there.
I think Hull is a friend of Tom 'CRC ACO hopeful' Rendon. Just make sure Rendon doesn't catch the branch cold again like he did when he got elected by getting a load of cronies to turn up who then disappeared from future NAPO meetings!
That's exactly whats going on! The "rendonistas" are enraged by PW telling her members the truth about his ill-fated career move.
Whatever, the members of Napo GLB will have a clear choice at their AGM on July 18th:-
Proposer: Liz Dixon
Seconder: Kevin Hall
I am currently an SPO with over 10 years experience as a branch, regional and national officer in the Communication Workers Union. A priority for me is maximising membership and organisation. We need better attendance at meetings, and stronger support for any industrial action the Union takes. To build an effective relationship with Employers you have to be understood and respected. Criticism of them should be coherent and not personal. Members need to feel the Union is inclusive; too often meetings are a hostile environment lacking in reasoned debate. We need an agenda we can all feel a part of.
Proposer: Patricia Johnson
Seconder: David Masterson
Main grade probation officer/ member of NAPO for over thirty years.
Founder member of National Equal Opportunities Committee and Women in NAPO.
TUC courses: Representation/Negotiation, Press & PR, Equalities, Redundancy and H&S. Diploma in Employment Law.
Accredited H&S Representative/Job Evaluator
Experienced TU representative in individual ER cases and collective consultations.
Coordinator of Branch Representation Panel
Member of National Negotiating Committee
Branch ARO/ERO 2010/11
Branch Vice-Chair 2011/12
Branch Chair 2012/2014
I have the experience and knowledge to provide this branch with the leadership it needs in these difficult times and to ensure that the interests of ALL members are properly represented.