Friday, 14 November 2014

Latest From Napo 49

Latest e-mail from Napo HQ sent to all members this afternoon:-

Subject: Judicial Review update: proceedings to get underway next week


Napo heard this week that the Hon Mr Justice OUSELEY of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court has ordered the Treasury Solicitor (TSoL) to file its grounds of defence to Napo's application for Judicial Review by this Monday 17th November.

We await notification of a time for a Directions hearing which the parties are required to attend on Tuesday 18th November. This will be a session for technical and preliminary issues, so it will be inappropriate at this stage for Napo members who would wish to show their support to attend. We will issue guidance about this once details of the timetable are clearer.

Last week we advised you of what Napo is looking to achieve by way of the application for interim relief to prevent the CRC share sale taking place, a request for full disclosure of the Testgate processes 1-4 (we have also written to TSoL asking if a Testgate 5 is underway), and a sufficient period for us to review the results of disclosure, if it is ordered, prior to share sale taking place. We are also arguing that the staff split has created what is currently an unsafe operational environment and that it is therefore also unsafe to effect a share sale of the 21 CRC’s.

As we also made clear last week, Mr Grayling’s legal representatives have been arguing for swift expedition of the JR application. However, the Judge has indicated that he remains to be convinced why the case needs to be heard this term and that the sheer logistics mean that it is unlikely that a hearing can be convened until week commencing 8th December and more likely the week commencing 15th December.

Impact on the share sale timetable

Whilst the Directions hearing is obviously crucial in terms of how the JR process will be structured, and the timeline in which it will be dealt with, Napo members can be pleased that we have scored an early blow against the SofS who will in practice be unable to award any contracts to preferred bidders before a final judgement is provided.

Providers of evidence - please be on standby?

As previously stated, the Officers and I are tremendously grateful for the hard work that many members have put into the evidence gathering process. Now that the Defendants have been instructed to submit their evidence by early next week, this will mean that it is likely that we will need to rebut this or (where necessary) corroborate certain aspects of our own evidence very quickly in response.

This means that it is highly likely that we may need some of those individual members who provided material to respond to direct contact which may come from Napo or our lawyers on the private e-mail addresses that you supplied us with. If so, we would be very grateful if you could give any such communication your full and urgent attention?

We will aim to issue another mailout as early as we possibly can, but bear in mind that we may not get into the Directions hearing until late Tuesday, in which case please look out for social media alerts by way of the General Secretary’s Twitter account: @ilawrencel and the Napo website.

The developments this week are encouraging, but there is still a long way to go.

Ian Lawrence General Secretary and the Napo Officer Group

34 comments:

  1. Having been very critical of NAPO over the past 12 months ( and I feel I was being fair), I'd just like to say that being updated on things, and being keept in the loop so to speak, has made a very positive impact on my wellbeing.
    So thank you for the recent approach of communicating with the shop floor, it really is helpful and reassuring.

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    1. Could'nt agree more, communication has significantly improved which is really important, not only to keep members informed, but to keep them on board with the biggest fight the Probation Service and NAPO have ever endured.

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  2. It is good to be kept in the loop and I understand how we need to be cautious but YIPEEEE it is great to feel that something is being done to support our honourable profession.

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    1. I agree that things appear to have turned a corner with regard to NAPO, however... a direction from them not to go into prisons would be hugely embarrassing for Grayling and quite possibly the final nail in his coffin. I cannot help but feel that it would strengthen their TR argument too.

      Come on Ian, lets do it.

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    2. A direction would be positive. However, with or without it I for one will not be going into a prison. A few years back it would have been an option especially as things were actually moving forward. Now absolutely not, alongside the staffing issues it is clearly not safe.

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    3. again i say what about our staff seconded to prisons. Surely we need support of POA and other unions also.

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    4. Those seconded are in all probability NAPO or Unison. Given the silence from the latter I'm not sure we can count on their support at any stage in the future (the best predictor of future behaviour...). I'm actually all in favour of NAPO issuing some form of instruction advising staff about going into Prisons. I can just imagine our local Judges face (and he's not one who minces his words) when I tell him that I am unable to complete a report of Mr XYZ as the local prison is just too dangerous to go into. Knowing him as I do, I would not be at all surprised if he summed CG into Court and aske him to explain just what the merry hell was going on! As much as I now applaud NAPO for what they are doing, I feel that we need to capitalise on this emerging viewpoint and start playing as dirty as CG.

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    5. I know of one Judge who would just, quite simply, hit the roof. I think the Prison Governor would be called into Court to explain himself and give a reason why probation staff were not allowed into his/her prison. I really cannot think of any downsides to such a stance by NAPO.

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  3. Yes, A big well done to NAPO and those brave colleagues willing to stand up and be counted

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  4. Lets show those tossers at MOJ what we are about.

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  5. Wow, I can't believe we are here absolutely fantastic. Greatest news I have heard after a long time.

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  6. I've certainly been critical of Napo in the past but feel that they're really doing well at the moment in terms of keeping us in the loop and pursuing the legal challenge and actually feel proud of my union. I'm pretty optimistic for the first time in ages. I also would like to thank those people giving evidence - we owe you a great deal.

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  7. It will be interesting to see how things develop from here. Whatever the outcome, NAPO had to do this and will be applauded for trying. Good luck to all who are putting themselves forward as case studies.

    Rob Palmer
    Chair
    Napo East Anglia Branch

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    1. Well said Rob Palmer, this would not be happening had individuals not come forward and been prepared to take this stance.

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  8. Work related stress absence through the roof in Northumbria. We have been advised to download an app to help.

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    1. If that app can complete OASys and reports pass it on to me please!

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    2. If the app can get rid of some of the Chiefs that would be even better

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    3. Or do Delius entries.

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    4. Hilarity in our open plan office today. Every ten minutes when things got stressful or frustrating someone shouted "Download the app!"

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    5. I was there. It was as funny as it was sad that our once great trust has descended into this chaos. Still, we had some brief camaraderie and no recalls which is always good for a Friday.

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    6. I was in a little office with three of us, we were shouting "Download the app" too! It must be the new mantra for Northumbria CRC!

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    7. Less catchier than Sodexo is shit' imo.

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    8. I prefer "I'm a Nacroette" sung to the the tune of "I'm a Marionette by the pop group Abba. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/abba/imamarionette.html

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  9. Thank you Rob. It's an honour

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  10. I'm preparing for a job interview and am pretty sure there will be questions about managing change. So many of the change management theories out there suggest how important it is to motivate staff by staying focused on the reason for change, suggesting you repeat your 'reason for change' messages whenever you can to help staff understand and engage with each stage of the change process.

    Therein lies your difficulty Mr. Grayling, no-one in the probation service has any faith in your reason for change!

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  11. I am so pleased with this news, and proud of those who have brought it to be, I feel teary- I have followed this battle since the idea was mooted over 2 years ago, and tried to do my bit as a retired officer, while observing my colleagues increasingly suffer, and the Probation which I knew become painfully smashed to bits.

    I left the union when I retired, although still read the NAPO News which a friend in Probation would save for me; but through my involvement with members and officials I am considering re-joining, if it would serve any useful purpose.

    Alongside this battle against TR, there is another major issue, which is CG himself, who I believe to be a dangerous megalomaniac across the whole justice system, who will lie through his teeth and stop at nothing to gain total power. And for those who did not read Wed's comments 'chaos in prison 7' I would refer you to my comment at 11 02, and a direct response at 2017, suggesting the NAPO withdrawal of probation from entering prisons on H&S grounds, followed by several further comments to and fro after that.

    My point was, that the risk to staff is not just in prisons, although these have become almost no-go areas for prison employees and prisoners themselves, (2 more dead this week), thanks to one man. And then there is the building of a super secure unit to be built for young people, and the forthcoming closure of Hassockfield, a small caring secure centre, with the young people potentially being moved to the increasingly harsh YOI's. CG seems to be out to remove anything that is caring, compassionate and rehabilitative.

    Demoralised Probation staff are also now being placed at increasing risk in their own offices, and with stretched staff and angry users who will have less support and control, no matter how hard staff work, this will ultimately have a knock on effect on the public. And I know this has been said all before, over and over, by everyone who has half a brain, including me (!) and I know we have to stop, or at least deter TR, but can we not do something collectively to get CG, restrained, or better still, kicked out.

    Let us argue that not only is TR unsafe and unfit for purpose, but so is its master. Angry collective communities brought down the Berlin Wall, can we not bring down one man?

    (and I haven't even mentioned how much he has cost the country on legal advice alone! .... er. are these legal advisors legally qualified? They've not come up with very bright ideas yet!)



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  12. I am currently working in a local prison, in the past 24 hrs I have personally witnessed two incidents in which prisoners have been involved in physical confrontations. While these incidents were dealt with by prison staff, I really feel that my prison is just spirralling out of control. I felt scared for the second time in my 31 years of being a Probation Officer. I love my job but I really think it is time to leave as no-one obviously gives a shit about my mental or physical health.

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    1. If you are 31 years in one would assume that you have 'been round the block' and seen some things that you wish you could unsee! For you to be frightened and indeed stressed is not a positive sign :( Stay safe and I hope things turn out all right.

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  13. H&S is everyone's responsibility and so I would not await permission from NAPO to not enter a prison establishment particularly if I didn't feel saf. I cant understand why individuals who know its not safe are still going in and will only cease doing so if NAPO issue a direction. Take the initiative - speak to your line manager and put things in writing spelling out your concerns.

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  14. “I am considering re-joining, if it would serve any useful purpose” – I think you should. Every membership counts more now than ever before. Everyone behind JR.

    “NAPO withdrawal of probation from entering prisons on H&S grounds” – I have already started to liaise with colleagues and have asked them to consider withdrawing due to unsafe environment.

    “CG seems to be out to remove anything that is caring, compassionate and rehabilitative” – I completely agree the man is incredibly dangerous.

    “Demoralised Probation staff are also now being placed at increasing risk in their own offices” – recently we had a situation when two gang members were invited to the office at the same time. A fight broke out in reception with both gang members ending up taking this outside. Staff quickly locked the front doors. The situation in probation offices is reaching critical point, with management with their heads buried deep in the sand.

    ” can we not do something collectively to get CG, restrained, or better still, kicked out” – personally I would have him sectioned under the mental health act.

    “can we not bring down one man”- he’s on track to bring himself down. Ppl like him don’t last very long.

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  15. thanks 22 45 - I totally agree - the man is psychotic, piling on the restrictions in prisons, piling on the harsh treatment in YOI's, and piling on the pressure in probation. He is revelling in people's pain. He doesn't care - believing he is omnipotent- he knows we know that he is lying to the point of incredulity and still spouts tripe and mantras, and other people in powerful positions know he is lying, and are doing nowt. To paraphrase Burke- 'all that is needed for bad people to prosper is for 'frightened' or 'weak' or 'politically and financially profiting' people to do nothing.'

    Yes, I agree again, he won't last long, but just how much damage can he still do if he is to be allowed to stay until his wick burns out?

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  16. Test gate 5 is definitely underway.

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    1. Being conducted by people with big brains, no common sense and no understanding of probation work.

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    2. Do we know where?

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