Latest e-mail from Napo HQ sent earlier this afternoon:-
NAPO SECURES CRUCIAL CONCESSIONS ON SAFETY FROM GRAYLING
Napo has finally forced Grayling to recognise the serious safety risks in the re-organised probation service, and provide details of the steps he will take to address Napo’s long-standing concerns before Community Rehabilitation Companies are sold into private ownership. As a result, the Napo officers have unanimously agreed that the proceedings should conclude as we are satisfied we have achieved all that we could accomplish through the court case.
As you know, Napo took legal action to force Grayling to address publicly the dangers generated by the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda. On 26 November, the High Court forced him to hand over the test results he had tried to keep secret. Those results showed that Napo had been right about the risks in the re-organised system. On the basis of that evidence, on 1 December, the General Secretary wrote detailed submissions to Grayling, highlighting all the problems that officers are still facing. These led to questions in Parliament. Grayling gave us more evidence on 4 December which showed that the Ministry of Justice are now – finally - taking steps to improve the safety of the system.
We are advised that we have secured everything possible through these legal proceedings, and the Napo Officers have instructed its lawyers to conclude the proceedings. We will be applying for an order that Grayling must pay the legal fees we incurred as we struggled, and finally succeeded, in getting him to face up to the safety issues you told us about.
We started the legal proceedings after months of writing to Grayling asking to see the results of his safety testing, and asking him to take notice of the safety issues that front line staff were encountering. We demanded:
(1) Disclosure of his evidence and test results on the safety of the system;
(2) That he should take account of Napo’s evidence and representations about the risks he had created;
(3) Recognition that the system was currently not operating safely and that a number of steps must be taken before it is safe to transfer it to the private sector.
Grayling has now recognised the risks and set out publicly what he says he is going to do to solve these problems. We will hold him to these promises. We know many of you, like us, will be sceptical about whether Grayling’s promises are achievable. We will be seeking meetings with CRC chief executives and NPS deputy directors prior to contract signature to ask them to spell out how they plan to implement the amendments and ensure improved safety. We will continue to fight for our members’ health and safety in the workplace.
Napo will maintain the political pressure on Grayling to make sure he does what he says he will and makes the flawed system he has created work as safely as it possibly can. If he doesn’t, and if any Napo members are harmed as a result, we will be bringing individual court cases on their behalf to sue Grayling for negligence.
We will be sending members a briefing about what to do if the promises made by Grayling are not kept. In the meantime, if you want any further information, please contact the Link Officer at Napo, through your branch.
Ian Lawrence (General Secretary) and the Napo Officer Group