Monday, 27 October 2014

Latest From Napo 42

Latest blog from Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary:-

Preferred bidders asking what's going on?

The news that we gave out late on Friday that we had decided to allow Mr Grayling a very short extension to our ‘cease and desist’ request as part of our legal challenge seems to have ruffled his feathers.

Whilst it has not yet elicited a promise to postpone the expected announcement of preferred bidders for the 21 CRC's tomorrow, (maybe it will happen but then again maybe it won’t) it did cause the Secretary of State to confirm that he "does not intend to award contracts before 24th November" earliest. This seems to clarify the situation in respect of the information we have received from some very useful sources that some bidders have been putting it about that they would be permanently handed the CRC keys in the next week or so. I also hear that a number of would be CRC owners are now asking awkward questions in high places about the possibility of a legal challenge and what the timetable actually is; and, not unreasonably, why they are being sold something that has not yet been proven to be safe or fit for purpose? Damn good questions if you ask me.

This suggests at least three possibilities, one: that some of the privateers have totally grasped the wrong end of the stick about the practicalities of the contract process or the original timetable; two: that Grayling really thought he could cut and run with a truncated sell off without anyone noticing: and/or three: that the bidders have unwittingly been set up as bit players in an MoJ sponsored misinformation campaign designed to stymie Napo's legal strategy. Our view, and that of people we have regularly spoken to at Noms and the MoJ, has always been that it is difficult to see how such a ridiculously short period of due diligence from an announcement of preferred bidders in October to an early November award of CRC contracts could even be contemplated, and that the timetable for completion of this whole grubby and corrupt process was always likely to be mid to late December.

Being ready for anything

That said we have always held the view that the Secretary of State is capable of attempting anything, as has been continually demonstrated by his disastrous ‘Eddie the Eagle’ type forays into the world of Prisons, Probation and Legal aid. See
This is why our Judicial Review strategy has been designed to maximise our chances of a successful challenge at the most opportune moment, and why your elected leadership has had to collectively keep a cool head, whilst totally understanding and appreciating the calls from some quarters to press the JR button earlier. If it does not work it will be because the judiciary have a different view of our evidence, and not because we were too slow or too quick to launch it.

‘Sell off is none of your business’

Whilst the share sale shenanigans mentioned above (and any other combination of possibilities), makes no difference to our next steps on Judicial Review, it did help us to pile more pressure on the TR programme to at last say something definitive about the sell off timetable. Although you ought to know that during a somewhat feisty discussion I had with a ‘big cheese’ last week, the view of the Ministers and their advisers seems to be that "it's really no business of the staff to know when they are being sold off!" Thought I would share that little gem with you.

Such consideration for a workforce that has been driven to the point of despair through no fault of its own, speaks volumes in itself; it also exposes the (by now odious) mantra from Ministers that they really appreciate your efforts on TR. Such patronage is reminiscent of that ancient TV series: Are you being served? Where Mr Grace would occasionally appear via the back stairs to tell the beleaguered sales staff who were bravely coping with the disorganised chaos around them, that: "You've all done very well!"

Universal scorecard 

Among the many unedifying exchanges that took place when we last had an encounter with that endangered species known as a Justice Minister was the one about how unrepresentative they thought the Napo/Unison staff survey was compared to the thousands of probation staff who they said had told them that TR was such a jolly wheeze. You will recall that shortly afterwards I invited all you faithful ‘blog watchers’ to send me your positive responses about TR; just so that I could help validate the Ministers claims.

Anyway, before I close for the day let me give you an update of the latest scorecard which is: Respondents to Napo/Unison staff survey (98% against) =1,000. Messages/letters/abusive phone calls or tweets in favour of TR received from anyone across the world (or anywhere within the wider galaxy)=0.

Keeping in touch

I expect that we will be issuing more news tomorrow evening (Tuesday) by way of the ‘all members’ e-mail route. Please make sure that the Napo Membership team have your preferred e-mail address and best make that a private one? This is to help you avoid the team of MoJ spooks who we know are being paid public money to spy on their own employees. All very sinister, but then should we really be surprised?


  1. there's a bit of spin in there especially about holding back to the last minute for JR.

    1. Yes I agree - but I don't care as long as he gets on and does it!

  2. Update 17:32

    Lords roundly defeated the government's reforms. An amendment rejecting the changes to judicial review was supported by 247 votes to 181 - a majority of 66.

    Update 18:21

    The government was defeated again, by 228 to 195.

    Update 18:59

    A third amdnment victory over the government, this time by 219 votes to 186. That's the lot. A comprehensive defeat for Chris Grayling.

  3. It's all hotting up now, isn't it?


    1. The comments are all negative about Grayling. BTW, where can We get a list of the MP's who voted in favour of this. It might be something to hit them over the head with when the come canvassing next year.

  5. Can we please have the name of the 'big cheese' who made such a crass statement? I for one will take him to task on this. If he us an elected MP then I'm sure NAPO staff in his constituancy will also raise his actions with the local electorate.

    I'm not a happy bunny!

  6. Another Tweet from an imformant who seeks anonymity


    Me also hears that they are going to start discipline / competency against staff who don't get eoasys ISPs up2date by Dec - 100's are o/s
    2m "

    1. Tell them, from me, to fuck right off. I've had enough of both the clueless fuckers who run Probation and these born to rule pony fuckers who run the country.

    2. Can we start discipline/competency proceedings against the MOJ who did not provide us with tools that work properly?

  7. Is this info from a trusted source or is there a MoJ misinformation campaign underway? First warnings of MoJ snooping, now this.

    @Anon 21:26 Yes, I agree. They can fuck right off. :)

  8. I was flaming when I read that it's nine of our business about the sell off . !!
    I can't believe that areas are going start disciplinary re late ISPS .. Talk about kicking is when we are down!
    I also think NPs management are clamping down on what napo activists may be saying in various forums . I can't say what it was or who took me to task but at the meeting I merely posed the difficulties with the particular project given the split and resorcesing being an issue and not knowing who may buy the area .. And it's been fed back that I was making negative comments about TR

  9. Bidders would do well to watch tonight's programme about Baby P on BBC1. I'm a CRC PO with around 30 children on Child Protection Plans or Child in Need status. Not a chance of home visiting, keeping up with Social Workers or even reading all the individual reports. Steer well clear, I know from experience that the death of a child whose parent you are supervising is a harrowing event that doesn't go away.

  10. If they start disciplining people who make negative comments about TR, I am going to be a very busy NAPO rep.. Starting with my CEO, SMT, Board Chair......

  11. Morale in my CRC is low and I can see it getting lower when the winning bidder is announced.

  12. I would rather the announcement of the preferred bidder be known sooner rather than later. Being in a CRC and not knowing who.I work for or if I need to look for another job is stressful and worrying.