Latest e-mail from Napo HQ sent this afternoon:-
Authorisation given to Lawyers to apply for Judicial Review
Last night on behalf of the Napo Officer Group, I was pleased to issue instructions to our lawyers Slater and Gordon to move to an application for a judicial review of the Secretary of State's plans to sell off 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) formed under the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme. This move, which followed receipt of an inadequate reply to our pre action protocol letter yesterday afternoon, also followed yesterday’s cynical announcement of Preferred Bidders by Chris Grayling, and has received excellent coverage today on the BBC TV News channel and BBC Radio 4, together with numerous regional and social media news outlets.
The application for a judicial review has two strands, a public law angle which includes a call upon the Secretary of State to publish the results of his testing processes so that he can evidence it is safe to proceed to a share sale of the CRCs, which he has thus far refused to do, and to ensure the new processes operate to protect the safety of the public and service users; and a potential private law angle which relates to a lack of duty of care by the employer to ensure the safety of staff.
Ministers in total self-denial
On Radio 4 this morning Justice Minister Simon Hughes wrongly claimed that ‘the TR programme had been piloted and that the government had taken its time with the TR reforms.’ We will of course be challenging this, but it is more vital than ever that members alert their Members of Parliament to the facts about the disastrous TR agenda, citing that from the outset how the splitting of the probation service into a National Probation Service and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies has had a seriously damaging impact on services, and that there had been no piloting of the new model prior to national roll out. The significant IT failures and the chaotic operational lack of infrastructure has undermined the supervision of offenders, placed staff at direct risk of harm and has significantly increased the risk to communities and the public at large.
This is a major step for Napo but given the MoJ’s refusal to listen or act on our concerns we have been left with no other option but to take legal action against the Secretary of State in order to try and prevent an irreversible disaster.
Finally, can I thank members for their tremendous messages of support for Napo they are much appreciated and we need to build on the unity that we have established even more in the coming weeks.
Ian Lawrence General Secretary and the Napo Officer Group