Judicial Review update - Napo secures important disclosure ruling
Following our initial directions hearing at the High Court to apply for a Judicial Review, Napo yesterday attended a disclosure hearing. For quite some time, Napo has been seeking to secure a copy of the Test Gate 4 report but to date the Secretary of State had only provided summaries, but not the report itself. Because of this, and as the Secretary of State had provided so little other accompanying documentary evidence with their witness statements, an application for specific disclosure was made on behalf of Napo, and late yesterday afternoon the Secretary of State was ordered to provide significant documentary evidence, including - importantly - the Test Gate 4 and Test Gate 5 reports. Whilst not all of our requests were accepted by the Judge a significant proportion were, and the documentation that will be released is highly significant in relation to our case against the Secretary of State.
The documentation which will be provided will be subject to an implied duty of confidentiality until such time that they are referred to in open Court. Napo’s Officers and Officials will not therefore be able to disclose any information regarding specific documents to members.
Whilst we still have a long way to go in our legal challenge which is set to commence on 10th December, this is a significant step for Napo and one we hope will provide a boost to members as they continue to work within the chaos of probation on a day to day basis.
Further news via the Napo website and direct mail outs to members will be issued in due course.
Ian Lawrence (General Secretary) and the Napo Officer Group
Clearly good news, and as a contributor commented yesterday, forcing Grayling to do anything against his will leaves one feeling quite good. I'm told he's due before the Justice Affairs Commitee again next Tuesday 2nd December at 11.15, so lets hope Sir Allen Beith and his compatriots give him a hard time over the compromised 70% Chief Inspector of Probation, amongst other things. Michael Spurr will be giving evidence also.
There must be quite a few CRC CEO's feeling quite uncomfortable at the moment as they begin to realise exactly what the preferred bidders have in mind and eye them up trying to decide whether they have a future in the brave new world order or not. I predict quite a few will be gone in short order as, despite their best endeavours at demonstrating innovation and commercial savvy, it will count for nothing with the big boys.
A dickie bird tells me that 'letters of comfort' are hastily being prepared as the CEO's face all kinds of possible legal problems as the omnishambles moves into the next phase. According to wikipedia:-
A letter of comfort is a communication from a party to a contract to the other party that indicates an initial willingness to enter into a contractual obligation absent the elements of a legally enforceable contract. The objective is to create a morally binding but not legally binding assurance.
Generally, a letter of comfort is drafted only in vague terms, to avoid creating enforceable contract terms. Few nations regulate letters of comfort by statute; whether a letter of comfort creates legally enforceable contractual terms is often determined only by courts of law, based solely on the wording of the document. Despite their nonbinding status, letters of comfort nonetheless provide risk mitigation because the parent company is putting its own reputation in jeopardy.Completely unused to the harsh realities of the commercial world, they may yet rue the day they decided to get or stay involved.
News also reaches me that the MoJ will shortly be landed with a new headache in the form of a stack of crap and very second-rate real estate all over the country as the big boys make it clear they have no intention of taking on such liabilities. In short order CRC's will find they will be considerably down-sized into less offices, forced to 'hotdesk' and effectively kill off Graylings nonsense about co-locating with NPS. When this happens, the true chaos that will flow from separation will become fully evident.
According to the Huffington Post, poetic justice for sealing the fate of the Probation Service looks like it's in store for Nick Clegg in Sheffield:-
Nick Clegg Is Dangerously Close To Losing His Seat
Nick Clegg is perilously close to losing his parliamentary seat as a new poll indicates that he enjoys a poll lead of just 3% points among voters in his Sheffield Hallam constituency. In response to a survey by Tory pollster Lord Ashcroft, just 31% of voters said they would back the Liberal Democrat leader at the next election, with 28% saying they would vote for Labour. Such a finding is potentially dangerous for Clegg as it is within the margin of error.
Labour's parliamentary candidate Oliver Coppard told HuffPostUK that the poll "won't come as a surprise to anyone who's actually spent any time speaking to people in Sheffield Hallam". He added: "It's obviously a two horse race here now and has been ever since Nick Clegg betrayed so many of the people who voted for him in 2010. The momentum is only going one way.
"No one here will forget his decisions on tuition fees, Forgemasters or the huge cuts he's inflicted on Sheffield. It's obvious that Nick Clegg's priority is keeping the Lib Dems in government with the Tories, not what's best for the people who live here in Hallam."
Voters in Clegg's own backyard also issued a withering verdict about his suitability to lead Britain, with only 11% saying he would make the best prime minister, just narrowly ahead of Ukip leader Nigel Farage at 9%. The findings will be deeply unwelcome for Clegg in his bid to survive next year's general election, as other polls have shed light on the Liberal Democrats' nationwide plunge in popularity.
A previous poll by Lord Ashcroft found that the Greens have overtaken the Lib Dems for the first time in a decade, placing them at 8%, just ahead of Clegg's party at 7%. The data suggests an astonishing number of young people, 28% of 18-24 year olds, are planning to vote Green, though the poll only surveyed around 1,000 people.Finally, here's the link to the BBC i-player featuring Napo Cymru.