Have faith in NAPO
Yesterday I attended a meeting of branch chairs from all around the country. The purpose of the meeting was to explain why the Judicial Review was discontinued and what happens now.
Let me start by saying that I am satisfied that, since Ian Lawrence announced at the AGM in Scarborough that NAPO was going to instigate a Judicial Review, the Officers and Officials of our union have at all times acted in the best interests of the members.
The officers appreciated that some of the communications that had been sent out to members had not perhaps been as clear and as helpful as they might have been. This was partly because of the speed with which events were happening and their wish to keep members as informed as quickly as possible.
The delays in getting information to members has also been because every e-mail had first to be checked by our solicitor and then by our barrister to avoid giving any possible grounds for contempt.
The opaqueness of the communications and the lack of information, is largely due to the processes of the court.
I do think that many members had an unreasonable expectation of what could be achieved by launching a Judicial Review. We believed that we had sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it was not safe for the Secretary of State to proceed to share sale. The MOJ has repeatedly refused to share the results of their testing with us while maintaining that everything was “hunky dory”.
The results of their testing procedures have now been provided to NAPO but the court ordered that it cannot be shared.
The issues surrounding the award of costs are also matters that cannot be shared by virtue of the order of the court.
So although this may be very frustrating for us all, I would ask members to appreciate that the hands of our Officers and Officials are tied. Were they to circulate the answers to many of the questions that members have been asking they would be in Contempt of Court and both they as individuals, and the union as a whole, would be subject to financial penalties. For our elected officers, who are probation service employees, they could also risk being made the subject of disciplinary procedures that could lead to their dismissal.
As a result of yesterday’s meeting a further statement will be issued by the Officers Group (hopefully later today).
But I ask all members to trust and respect the decisions of our elected officers. They have acted in good faith and with the interests of you all.
Why would you think otherwise? Do not believe all you read from the MOJ.
I would also advise any of you who are thinking about resigning from NAPO to think again.
Never has there been a more important time to be a member of a trade union.
Have faith in NAPO