Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Latest From Napo 51

This is the latest e-mail from Napo HQ sent earlier this evening:-

Dear Member,

Further update for Napo members

We promised to provide further information to members as soon as we were able to following on from yesterday's news about the decision to discontinue the Judicial Review.

Firstly we can confirm that we will be convening a meeting of Napo Branch Chairs in London next Thursday 18th December (full information will follow by way of a separate circular).

The information vacuum

We appreciate the anger and frustration that some members have expressed. We are seeking the Court’s confirmation on what we can disclose, but regrettably, we are still bound by the rules of the Court and the confidentiality restrictions that the Court has imposed on material documents.

At a hearing scheduled to take place this Friday we will be seeking our costs in this case, and permission to disclose to you details of the steps that Chris Grayling (SofS) says he will take to address our concerns. This means we are still not in a position fully to answer all of the understandable questions that members have raised with us.

We intend to provide members with as much detailed information as we can after the hearing on Friday, but meanwhile we hope that the following will be of assistance.

Why did we take the action that we did?

Napo is opposed to the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda and the destruction of our gold-standard probation service. We have been doing all we can to stop the MOJ endangering our members’ safety through its mindless division of the service, making it harder for us to work together to protect the public.

Alongside the political campaign, we have gone to Court to try to get the SofS to say what safety testing he has undertaken, to force him to face up publicly to the dangers, and so we could challenge him if he did not admit to them or say what he is going to do to stop them. We hoped that if he had to admit publicly to the chaos and danger he had caused, even he might see sense and reverse the disastrous TR mess he has created.

Throughout the judicial review your Officers have sought legal opinion about our position, in light of the MOJ's responses at different stages. It is now public knowledge that Chris Grayling and his officials refused to reveal key information about the results of his safety testing processes (TG4 and TG5), which he argued must stay secret to avoid de-railing sensitive commercial negotiations. By going to Court, Napo got a court order which forced him to disclose the results of the testgates and other additional information. Napo also sent evidence and examples from members to the SofS about how the dangers are playing out in practice, and he was asked questions in Parliament about why he had not responded. On 1 December, the General Secretary sent him an 18-page letter of representations based on the testgates (a redacted version of which is available on the Napo website). Grayling has had to read that letter and respond to Napo’s concerns.

Once we had seen the result of MOJ safety tests, the key areas on which our claim would have been based, centred on the ICT systems, Case Allocation and Staffing.

Napo's efforts have forced the concessions from the Minister that we told you about yesterday. It is clear that the steps that he told the court he would take are a response by the MOJ to the 18 page letter from the General Secretary last Monday and the evidence we submitted to him on your behalf.

As has been the case on a regular basis over the last few weeks, the Officers have met with leading counsel to review the position. Last Wednesday 3rd December the Officers unanimously decided to continue with the legal challenge.

It was agreed however, that the position would be reviewed with our counsel again on Monday 8th December once we had considered the decision of the Secretary of State as to whether to proceed, and the further MOJ evidence explaining his decision, which were served on us on the afternoon of Thursday 4th December. Having spent the weekend analysing this response, we met again in conference on Monday when Napo’s lawyers were unequivocal that we had achieved all we could through the proceedings.

Chris Grayling’s assertion is that risks and weaknesses will be adequately addressed in the CRC’s and the NPS by the time the contracts become operational in February. We are not yet in a position to tell you what the MOJ has said it will do; we are not convinced it can do it. But we will be holding the SofS to his promises, and demanding that CRC’s keep them too.

We will continue to demand transparency from the MOJ and bidders and monitor their progress. The fight against TR is not over yet.

Ian Lawrence General Secretary
Chris Winters National Co-Chair
Yvonne Pattison National Co-Chair
Dave Adams National Vice Chair
Katie Lomas National Vice Chair
Chas Berry National Vice Chair
Keith Stokeld National Treasurer
Jay Barlow FCS National Vice Chair

36 comments:

  1. It looks as if NAPO had very little choice but to conclude things. I don't think they deserve the vilification that has come their way, but recognise that feelings are running very high.

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  2. For me the dismissive, passive aggressive response to the JR withdrawal from the MOJ says it all.....F*** Off the the staff we will do whatever we want.

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  3. If however we, as NAPO made gains, and got admissions from SoS, so much so that we believe our legal costs will be met by MoJ - then why would we have failed in Court? We either have a case or not. I suspect the legal advice NAPO received in based on a naive belief that an MP, a SoS would of course fulfill his promise...sadly, I doubt that he will and we cannot now force his hand! If, by share sale, the problems have not been ironed out, what then? I am not convinced by NAPO's response above and just think they have scored an own goal, and the MoJ/SoS as the winner will take it all...............and, as the statement released yesterday - rub our noses in it!

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    1. I'm inclined to agree but hope that if (but probably when) Grayling reneges on his promises then we go back to Court.

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    2. to my view, this makes Grayling and NOMS more accountable...remember vicarious liability! They are admitting that they have to do more and what we have now is not good enough so watch this space...

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    3. I am not reassured. I suspect Grayling et al will now respond by altering their strategy and tactics from the full frontal attack to the more subtle slower process of attrition. We have backed down, now he can literally bide his time, and grind us into total submission, whilst ensuring TR is fully implemented. Sorry to be so negative, but this is how I feel about the entire sorry situation we now find ourselves in. We need to get up and fight back, but right now I am now sure how we do this. I dread to think what Grayling's concessions will look like, but I suspect they will be tokenistic and meaningless.

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  4. So where was PROBATION?
    I am incandescent with rage - have just watched Channel 4 News tonight interviewing Simon Bailey ACPO child protection chief asserting that many sex offenders convicted of downloading should be treated on NHS..".as many will not commit contact offences" and should be managed differently. Who works with convicted sex offenders? That'll be PROBATION but was anyone from Probation interviewed? No, but a former Chair of the Social Work Council was.
    FFS DOES ANYONE IN THE MEDIA KNOW WHAT PROBATION ACTUALLY DOES??????
    AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH

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  5. The reality is that NAPO were never going to win the JR if, by win, you mean stop the TR process. The court was simply never going to strike down a whole policy, it would be a massive encroachment by the judicial system into the pursuit of a policy for which the Government has a democratic mandate (by virtue of it being in the manifesto). The best NAPO was ever going to do was get the court to require the SofS to meet some conditions, and this is what they appear to have achieved.

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    1. No, the SofS SAID he would make changes, at present unspecified. Personally I think he's telling lies and the best we can hope for is promises and half truths. As my old gran used to say: Fucking lying bastard MP's, strangle the fucking lot of them.

      She was a Yorkshire lass and could be blunt :)

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    2. stereotyping or what ?
      A Yorkshire PO

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  6. "we will be convening a meeting of Napo Branch Chairs in London next Thursday 18th December" - fuck off you bastards. I don't want these fucking corrupted branch chairs attending secret meetings. call a fucking full members meeting you clowns.

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    1. i don't want you in my Union.

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    2. That is a downright scandalous statement to make. I assume this was made by a person who has never held a branch role. Branch reps continually get slated and the majority undertake the role because they are committed to the union cause and want support members. What happened to you 20:15 to make you so bitter towards committed activists.

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    3. If you believe in democratic processes have confidence in your Branch Chair. If you don't believe in democracy you can always move to North Korea!

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  7. Not all branch chairs are corrupt

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  8. 'Chris Grayling’s assertion is that risks and weaknesses will be adequately addressed in the CRC’s and the NPS by the time the contracts become operational in February. We are not yet in a position to tell you what the MOJ has said it will do; we are not convinced it can do it. But we will be holding the SofS to his promises, and demanding that CRC’s keep them too.'

    Well of course he says risks and weaknesses will be 'adequately addressed'. If he doesn't accept the premise of our allegations - which we know he doesn't, given the MoJs insistence that all is going to plan and that there are no problems - then he needn't change a thing to address the risks that he doesn't accept are present. As for 'not being convinced it can do it', what kind of basis is that for throwing our opportunity for a Judicial Review? 'We have decided not to proceed to judicial review because we are not convinced the MoJ can do what it says it will do to alleviate our concerns'? Is it just me or does that sound rather more like a reason to proceed to Judicial Review rather than to abandon proceedings? 'We are not convinced it can do it' - we have stopped proceedings because they've given an undertaking that we don't believe they can honour. Brilliant... though wait a minute. Things are going to be okay because our leaders are going to 'hold the SoS to his promises'! Great! Or rather it would be great if it wasn't completely fucking meaningless - We're going to 'hold the SoS to his promises'..How? How are NAPO's leaders going to hold the SoS to his promises - promises which incidentally were described as public yesterday, but remain a secret today.. are they going to send him a strongly worded letter? Encourage members to take photos of themselves frowning? How will they hold him to his promises? and 'demand that CRCs keep them too'? I imagine Sodexo are desperately trying to escape their contract s we speak, with such a stern warning from NAPOS leaders.... NAPO: PISSING ON YOUR HEAD AND TELLING YOU THAT IT'S RAINING

    Simon Garden

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  9. Time is Grayling biggest danger and by agreeing we have give a barrel load. Did the lawyers really give this advise, can we ask them?

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  10. “We promised to provide further information to members” –----This information should have been provided beforehand. And not after the event.

    “Firstly we can confirm that we will be convening a meeting of Napo Branch Chairs in London next Thursday 18th December” –---- I have to agree with Anonymous 20:15 (not sure about the swearing though) that this meeting should be open to the full membership and not just chairs.

    “We appreciate the anger and frustration that some members have expressed”.---- I don’t think you have any idea of the feeling generated on the front line. If you did then this decision would not have been made the way it was made and the reason for it.

    “we will be seeking our costs in this case, and permission to disclose to you details of the steps that Chris Grayling (SofS) says he will take to address our concerns”----- Very naïve if NAPO considers that Grayling will address our concerns. TR has been the concerns from day one. What did he do? Treated staff with complete disregard and shited them into CRC and NPS.

    “Napo is opposed to the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda” ---- if NAPO was serious about opposing then we wouldn’t have supported Probation Institute and oppressed any voices of resistance or challenge. Our strategy was weak and our focus was collusive with those in power. When you oppose something you do everything possible to fight for what you believe in. It’s a conviction based on sound principles and value.

    “We hoped that if he had to admit publicly to the chaos and danger he had caused, even he might see sense and reverse the disastrous TR mess he has created”.-------- ‘Hoping’ is the key word here. You can’t hope against someone who is bent on destroying probation values. It shocks me to read that NAPO were hoping for Grayling to see sense!!

    “On 1 December, the General Secretary sent him an 18-page letter of representations based on the testgates (a redacted version of which is available on the Napo website). Grayling has had to read that letter and respond to Napo’s concerns”. ----- When did he read it, How do we know that. His recent appearance at the Select Committee Grayling stated that PSO’s do risk assessment for DV. The man doesn’t know what he is talking about. To suggest and make us believe that he has read it is only self-delusionary.

    “Napo's efforts have forced the concessions from the Minister that we told you about yesterday”.----- Secret concessions which not a single member has approved, understood or agreed to.

    “Napo’s lawyers were unequivocal that we had achieved all we could through the proceedings”. ---- I’m assuming there was a record of this meeting. Was there a letter from the solicitor to confirm the position? If not why not? If there is why was this not circulated to members?

    “Chris Grayling’s assertion is that risks and weaknesses will be adequately addressed in the CRC’s and the NPS by the time the contracts become operational in February. We are not yet in a position to tell you what the MOJ has said it will do; we are not convinced it can do it. But we will be holding the SofS to his promises, and demanding that CRC’s keep them too.” ----- makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. We will address issues before signing of contract but we don’t know what steps will be taken. It took NAPO to initiate a JR to get Testgate 4 and 5 and if we think Grayling is just going to give us the information we must be fooling ourselves.

    “We will continue to demand transparency from the MOJ and bidders and monitor their progress”. -------- you can demand but that does not equal getting it. So far we have not seen a single shred of evidence of transparency from Grayling, the MOJ or the bidders.

    “The fight against TR is not over yet” ----- I think that’s the most accurate statement made. The fight is now to save NAPO from its own destruction.

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  11. The HR advice seems sound. If you are unwell don't be a hero. Perhaps retired PO temps should withdraw their labour to help a just cause.

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  12. Attack on Death Star Concludes

    The Rebel Alliance - the alliance to restore the republic – has finally forced Lord Vader of the Galactic Empire to recognise the serious safety risks in the construction of the Death Star , and provide details of the steps he will take to address the Rebels' long-standing concerns before the Death Star is deployed.

    As a result, the Rebel Alliance has today concluded its attack on the Death Star and is satisfied it has achieved everything it was possible to secure through preparing for such an attack. It will ask the High Court to order Lord Vader to pay the legal fees it has been forced to incur to make him face up to the safety issues posed by the Death Star

    Since July, the Rebels have presented Lord Vader with compelling evidence that the construction of the Death Star created unacceptable risks to the safety of rebel public and staff. But Lord Vader has refused to meet personally with Rebel officials, and has therefore refused to tell them if he even understood the problems he has created by constructing the Death Star.

    After months of trying to make the Lord Vader co-operate and respond to the safety issues, the Rebel Alliance brought the matter to court.

    On 26 November , the High Court ordered him to hand over the safety evidence and the Rebels made detailed representations to Lord Vader on the outstanding safety concerns on 1 December. Documents handed over by him on the afternoon of 4 December show that he has recognised and is addressing all of the safety concerns raised by the Rebel Alliance.

    The Rebel Alliance remains committed to ensuring its members and the public are protected, as far as possible, from the Death Star. It will closely monitor Lord Vader's implementation of the amendments he says will make it safer and will hold him to his promises. The Rebel Alliance will also bring private law proceedings for any of its members injured as a result of Lord Vader's Death Star Project

    Ends

    Simon Garden

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    1. Sorry but I had to put my phone at an angle and slowly scroll your comment Simon. Just couldn't help myself.

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    2. Simon, you have just earned yourself my first ever "LOL".

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  13. Anyone else having problems getting onto the NAPO site?

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    1. i can get onto the site - it just doesn't seem to say anything when i get there.....

      Simon Garden

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  14. Napo left it and left it until the clamour became so loud, they were forced into JR. Now they are playing the same game with their own members. This silly, we'll show you our hand when we are good and ready attitude. Er, they seem to have forgotten who they are representing. They let you down at every turn. Form a new Union. They make Arthur Scargill look like a smooth operater.

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  15. I may be reading too much into things, but doesn't this mean that if Grayling fails to deliver the promised reforms (as he has finally accepted the concerns raised publicly) , he would therefore be personally liable for negligence claims if he fails to deliver.

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    1. No, because Grayling is not acting personally he is acting as SofS for Justice, so any legal action would be against the the SofS for Justice

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  16. With regards to NOM's/MoJ officials reading this blog and having a good old giggle....

    Watch this space my friends.

    We are watching closely and will hold you accountable.

    Spurr/ Selous & others: Doesn't it worry you when you are wheeled out to justify Grayling publicly?

    It would me.

    Your cards are marked.

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  17. Vicarious Liability.......when you read this comment MOJ officials be afraid! For Grayling will be gone but you will remain accountable and the wheels are coming off but you are racing to complete this mess before the train actually derails...it is coming ....
    And to the proposed CPA "winners" I would urge you to consider fully the level of honesty and disclosure by those selling probation to you....read the testament on this blog from practitioners who will not be silenced and are telling the truth.
    We can purchase a small number of shares in your companies to give us the right to attend your AGMs - we will do so and will speak up.

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    1. Two points. One, vicarious liability has no application in these circumstances. Vicarious liability holds an employer accountable for the actions of an employee. The accountability in this case is clear. It is HMG that are pursuing TR and HMG will be accountable for any problems.

      Two - beAr in mind that not all TR winners are publicly listed companies.

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  18. The more I think about it "Crucial Concessions" from Grayling et al is a contradiction in terms. Vacuous. The timing of this is not without its significance either - Xmas. Remember last December?? How could we ever forget it.

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  19. This is the same govt that is content of its citizens to go hungry, lose their homes, work hard for years without a. pay rise while they gorge themselves on a champagne lifestyle - courtesy of the tax payer - as if they own our money. Would you believe the words of a psycopath? They are not afraid of anything, least of all the law. Even a Tory back bencher argued logically and eloquently in favour of the Lords' amendments to judicial review and the unique role of Judges. When you have someone in power who talks about "unelected Judge's" you're in trouble. I feel very scared - 'austerity' is the cover story for an extremist right wing ideology where it seems the more brutal the better - let them starve, let them drown, let them commit suicide. Let them die.

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  20. There's historical precedent for how to deal with extreme right wing ideology. Ostracise them utterly. If any of your friends/relatives vote tory, time to "show them the fucking hand".

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  21. Sadly, CRC contracts will be signed on 19 December. That's the reality of the situation we find ourselves in, and nothing can stop it. We can only continue to be professional in our roles until such time that the PO/PSO qualified roles are abolished. Welcome to the era of offender managers/supervisors, in the full sense of the word.

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  22. Prime Ministers Questions today and so a small chance of some national attention. I hope practitioners are keeping MPs informed of the consequences of the implementation of TR.

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