Monday, 22 December 2014

Latest From Napo 54

The following is the text of an e-mail to all Napo Greater London Branch members sent earlier today:-

TO NAPO MEMBERS:

In the missive I sent to members on Friday I said that a further statement would be issued by the Officers Group. I did receive it on Friday afternoon but unfortunately, due to technical problems, I have not been able to circulate it to members until this morning.

From : Ian Lawrence ( General Secretary) and the Napo Officer Group

Following a very productive meeting with branch chairs/ representatives in London yesterday we wanted to send out a summary of the key issues discussed for circulation to branch members.

The meeting was held on a very sad day for us all given that the Secretary of State went ahead with the signing of the CRC contracts as per his timetable towards formal share sale and the intended go live operational date of 1st February. We all share a sense of disappointment that the JR process did not secure a delay of the contract award on the grounds of safety issues.

During the meeting Edward Cooper from Slater and Gordon gave an overview of the process to date including the legal advice given which resulted in the decision by the Napo Officers to discontinue the JR process on 8th December.

Accountability

For the avoidance of all doubt, decisions about the process were taken at each stage by the whole of the elected officers group plus the General Secretary by a secret ballot, with unanimous agreement on the basis of the legal advice. As you will be aware, some of the evidence disclosed to Napo from the MoJ was subject to a strict confidentiality order in addition to the usual restrictions placed on the use of evidence in public law proceedings. This order was made by the high court and any breach could lead to prosecution of individuals and/or Napo for contempt of Court. In some circumstances this could result in imprisonment and, for elected officers, loss of employment. All of the Officers were part of the decision making process, and were fully appraised of the legal advice at each stage.

Money

The eventual decision to discontinue our legal challenge was not financially driven, you will already know that we received some financial assistance from sister unions. This amounted to £23,000 in total and was aimed at assisting with the cost of lodging the Judicial Review application. Although there was no agreement for any further contributions from these or any other source, Napo was in a position to bear any costs associated with proceeding without jeopardising the future of our Union.

As advised previously, Napo attended a costs hearing on 12th December during which two orders for costs were made; disclosure costs are to be met by the MoJ and other costs to be met by Napo. The Officer group has subsequently decided to instruct Slater and Gordon to take this ruling to the Court of Appeal. Unfortunately the deliberately misleading missive from NOMs and MoJ earlier in the week omitted to include the fact that this option was available to us.

Communications on December 8th

It was acknowledged by the Napo Officers that the initial and necessarily quick communication from Napo last week had caused some confusion and frustration among many members and was open to misinterpretation. The Officers have apologised for this and pointed out that it was certainly not their intention. The aim was to get information to members as quickly as possible before the MoJ did; and, on legal instruction, Napo were limited in terms of what they could say. With hindsight the Officers recognised yesterday that this limited information caused a level of anxiety which they would have wanted to avoid. The meeting acknowledged that the subsequent communications from Napo around JR and a number of other important issues have included a great deal of additional information

Achievements during the JR campaign

Despite the disappointment about the eventual outcome of JR and the fact that Chris Grayling yesterday signed off the award of CRC contracts, we were still able to reflect at the Chairs meeting on our achievements to date in this leg of our ongoing campaign.

-We have been successful in securing disclosure of a number of key documents, including test gates 4 and 5 as well as other key information about staffing and sickness levels

- We were able to collate a substantial amount of evidence due to the fantastic response from members when requested which kept our challenge alive for as long as possible

- We are in no doubt that this evidence and our ongoing challenge has forced the MoJ to assess and act on the areas of concern we highlighted.

The next steps

It was agreed that moving forward we must focus on how best the Officers and Officials can work with Branches to promote and protect members interests in both the CRCs and the NPS. It was clarified at the meeting that any contractual terms and conditions can only be changed by agreement with the National Negotiating Council (NNC). Non-contractual terms and conditions will continue to be negotiated locally between CRCs and trade unions and nationally between the NPS and trade unions. It is worth remembering that irrespective of who the future CRC owners may be, the agreement on future negotiating structures was reached with all the probation unions at Ministerial level following the intervention by ACAS and that we Napo intends to defend this.

Everyone was aware that there are many challenges facing members currently. In order to hold the MoJ to account it is vital that we continue to collate evidence of systemic failures resulting in increased risk to staff, clients, and the public. These should be forwarded to campaigns@napo.org.uk. A copy of our campaign strategy will be forwarded to Branch Chairs shortly.

Contact with CRC providers 

The General Secretary has already written to the CRC owners to appraise them of our concerns and has offered to meet with them to discuss the issues that continue to concern us. This correspondence has been posted on the Napo website: https://www.napo.org.uk/news/napo-has-written-bidders-comprehensive-briefing. We understand that there has already been some positive responses and some initial meetings have been scheduled for early in the New Year. Chivalry Road will help to facilitate meetings between our local activists and the CRC owners in the New Year. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary campaign continues and we were told that briefings will be regularly prepared for politicians which will feature all of our concerns so that relevant questions can be asked in the House.

Sticking with Napo

The meeting yesterday ended on a positive note and reaffirmed the need for members to pull together during these difficult times and to stick with Napo. We need unity in the continuing fight against against unmanageable workloads and the expected further erosion of our pay, terms and conditions whether we are in a CRC or the NPS. It’s even more reason to stay with NAPO, the union that has been prepared to fight and lead from the front throughout the TR campaign. We thank you for your continued support.

Pat Waterman: Branch Chair

38 comments:

  1. The non-contractual list of employment policies is extensive. Napo will need strong branches.

    Equal opportunities
    Anti-harassment and bullying
    Capability
    Disciplinary and Grievance
    Whistleblowing
    Sickness absence
    Family rights (including maternity, paternity, parental leave, etc.)
    Health and safety
    No smoking
    Electronic information and communications systems
    Data protection
    Social media
    Redundancy
    Retirement



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  2. 100% of all PO's in my office cancelled their NAPO membership last week

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    1. 100% of POs in my office kept their NAPO membership going.

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    2. To 19.02 100% may represent 1 -100 staff..% on its own not madly significant. Good luck should s/he or they need a rep as most Unions require you to be signed up for 3mths b4 you'll get representation.

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    3. Here we go again, getting all defensive soon as you here a word against NAPO.

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    4. Touchy touchy. They mess the fuck up & then blame the ex/members for complaining. Typical

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    5. 'He apologized, promised it wouldn’t happen again... It doesn’t happen all the time...I know he loves me, and I love him...Nobody else wants me...I don’t have anywhere to go...'

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    6. If I didn't know better I would think MOJ/NOMS were here again, stirring up trouble. I'm not keen on Ian Lawrence but everyone knows NAPO (or another union) is more essential now than any time before.

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    7. Do you really think they need to 'stir up trouble'. I think NAPO have been doing a fine job of it without any help from MOJ/NOMS.

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  3. well, let us hope they do not need representation given the current chaos we all face,,,because IMO NAPO represents its members well...just saying

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  4. Off topic but worth noting.

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-30574435

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    1. About 150 prisoners have been temporarily moved from an overcrowded prison to "help provide a more stable environment".

      The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said extra officers had also been deployed at HMP Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey.

      In November, a damming report highlighted staff shortages and overcrowding at the jail in Kent.

      Nine people have died at Elmley in 2014, including four from suspected self-inflicted injuries.

      The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) said the prison was designed for 985 inmates but was holding 1,252 men.

      High-risk inmates were also not being properly assessed and managed, according to inspectors.

      A MoJ spokesman said it had "stepped up support for staff" at Elmley prison over the last six months. It confirmed about 150 inmates had been moved from the prison.

      "Additional officers have been deployed and a number of prisoners moved out on a temporary basis to help provide a more stable environment," he said.

      "Permanent recruitment is underway and the prison will continue to receive specialist support until vacancies are filled to maintain a safe and decent regime at HMP Elmley."

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    2. Interesting & informative info from Jim Brown @ 20.04. Remember, Napo members, let's not be drawn into the grubby MoJ trolls' and barstool gobsh*tes' slavver. No need to immerse ourselves in their anti-Napo cesspool.

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  5. 'It was acknowledged by the Napo Officers that the initial and necessarily quick communication from Napo last week had caused some confusion and frustration among many members and was open to misinterpretation. The Officers have apologised for this and pointed out that it was certainly not their intention.'

    Do you suppose by 'Open to misinterpretation' they mean 'We said things that aren't true'? I note that NOMS's assertion that 'no new commitments or undertakings were given' remains unchallenged. Also, I suppose I must have missed the 'apology' and explanation of intention - though I'm not sure how. Did anyone else catch it?

    I'm otherwise intrigued by the assertion that 'The Officer group has subsequently decided to instruct Slater and Gordon' to take the costs ruling to the court of appeal. The author notes 'Unfortunately the deliberately misleading missive from NOMs and MoJ earlier in the week omitted to include the fact that this option was available to us'. If NOMS were 'deliberately misleading' in saying this on the 14th what, then, was Ian Lawrence's intent when he stated on the 15th 'Whilst we were not given permission for an appeal on Friday against the costs order, it is the refusal that we are considering appealing against'? Was he wrong? Or is this new claim wrong? If I didn't know better I'd think NAPO's leadership was confused and uncertain

    Simon Garden

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    1. If the Napo leadership wish to restore some trust and confidence in their leadership, I agree they must stop spinning and using euphemisms. Was the stuff about 'concessions' mere spin? This stuff toys with the emotions of members and it patronises and it then backfires. Napo, review your communication policy and have 'telling the truth' as a principle.

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    2. Very well said Netnipper.

      A review of communication policy needs to be wide ranging and to focus on communication at every level, especially with local media and the internet and it needs to seek to create many more spokes people than at present - that would also be a way of not being cowed by the gagging policy, which some seem pleased to hide behind.

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  6. Napo aren't very good at negotiating with private companies and given that is where a lot of you are about to end up I would consider that point.
    Unison and Serco worked well together and aa a consequence serco staff got a higher pay rise than anyone else. Also unison have represented successfully far more members in meetings with Serco managers and got better results.
    Napo just refused to negotiate and as a consequence most serco staff transferred their membership to unison.

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    1. Unison are just as sold out then NAPO.

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  7. I can't believe how people are turning so nasty on this site at times. To my mind, as someone who has been a Napo member for the last thirty three years, the union has only ever been as good as its members, like any other union. There have certainly been some stupid incidents over the years like the covering up of images of cherubs at one conference venue 20+ years ago but I know plenty of people who have had decent representation for issues of work over the years. Don't slate Napo without walking in the shoes of colleagues who have needed the support of a Napo rep over the years.

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    1. Yes I agree completely with your comments. However, I don't think it is helpful to blame people for this. If people are angry and upset then we need to ask the question WHY. We need to understand and appreciate peoples feelings, because at the end of the day it is the workers who suffer. It would be very wise for NAPO to start to look internally, to see what has gone wrong and to gather views of members - if it is genuine to move forward.

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  8. The union that are prepared to 'fight and lead from the front'. Erm, does it count as leading from the front with thousands of screaming subscribers urging you to bl**dy do something! and then doing it when it was way too late?. There is something of the cell-like structure akin to 'teamthink' going on with Napo. They only speak to each other, so they only hear the opinions that reflect their own, however out of touch they are with the worried members. You know, the ones who pay the subs. If you really think they did us proud, I've got some magic beans you may be interested in.

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  9. You're absolutely right that plenty of people have had decent representation from local reps over the years. Without question there are people looking out for the interests of their colleagues at a local level and fighting for what's right on a day to day basis. Sadly however they too have been kicked in the teeth by the Charlatans running this union at a national level. NAPO nationally, with it's bogus 'crucial concessions' , and it's appeal against the costs decision, no sorry the refusal decision, no sorry the costs decision is a farce. Imagine deciding to renege on a key undertaking to the membership in abandoning JR proceedings and then having the temerity to say 'We all share a sense of disappointment that the JR process did not secure a delay of the contract award on the grounds of safety issues' - it never had a chance to because these people who say they 'share our sense of disappointment' made damned sure it never had a chance. They fucking stopped it!

    Simon Garden

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  10. I am 22:14. My main point being that most members have never been willing to put their heads over the parapet on anything. I stood ON MY OWN picketing during the last strike for at least an hour outside my place of work because of my opposition to the sell off before a few other colleagues joined me. A FEW being the operative word. Napo is more than just HQ.

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  11. And bear in mind: Simon Garden is an anagram of 'NOMS reading'...

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    1. What can I say? You've seen through me. You're right. I'm upset about the union letting us down because I'm secretly a NOMS spy. My plan to defeat the union was for the union to rally it's members and successfully head off TR, stopping privatisation in it's tracks. It wasn't a very well thought through plan to be honest but I would've gotten away with it if hadn't been for those middling union leaders

      Dreaming Son

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    2. That anagram must have taken a bit of time out of your day - what was the purpose of it?

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    3. Well it amused me. What's with this 'taking time out of your day' bollocks? That anagram could take 15 seconds to figure out whilst sitting on the bog. Self righteous suggestions that imply ' if you have time for that, you can't be THAT busy' are crass and dismissive of colleagues struggle with the developing difficulties.

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  12. Thanks I never was very good at cryptic crosswords.

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  13. 22;14 - that hour was about one eighth of the total of the 2 split days that were supposed to really kick the MOJ in the Jacobs not. I filmed my colleagues outside our office and in the town centre for posterity. It was irrelevant to observers and to MOJ because there was no disruption. We needed Napo to go for JR. The strikes were pointless. Napo was supposed to put all of our heads above the parapet. You talk about them as if they were some brave little band, sacrificing themselves. Napo is supposed to be a UNION.

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  14. We're in meltdown whichever way one looks at it. Let's see where we will be in 12 month's time.

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  15. Probation Institute expect to continue until at least June 2015 -

    VIA TWITTER:-

    " WLPF Events @WLPFEvents · 14h 14 hours ago

    Savas Hadjipavlou, Interim CEO, @probinstitute and CEO @probationchiefs has agreed to speak at the #Probation seminar http://bit.ly/15MA6al

    http://tinyurl.com/kp7bfqu "

    THEY SEEM THRILLED TO HAVE BEEN ASKED OUT -

    VIA TWITTER: -

    " Probation Institute ‏@ProbInstitute

    @WLPFEvents @ProbationChiefs thank you for the invitation, very much looking forward to it!

    http://tinyurl.com/nrzbash "

    IT IS £210.00 for this morning only shindig -

    "
    Event title

    The future of probation in England and Wales - assessing the impact of the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme

    Event date Tuesday, 9th June 2015

    Timing Morning

    Venue Central London

    Price per place £210 plus VAT

    http://tinyurl.com/nsd6ezw "

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  16. NAPO
    I believe most members now use their union as an insurance policy, thinking they may need representation at some point. It is true that local reps have never been so busy but spare a thought because those in NPS are having their time off for union duties restricted. Most reps both side of the TR divide give significant amounts of their own time. Sit on any committees ( meeting in London) and you can end up adding significant travelling time to your day eg from the South West, Wales or North East.
    Now, let's turn to the members (us), I have never seen a truly well attended branch meeting that can be said to be representative of the membership locally, with the exception of one - this was to discuss the removal of essential car user allowance.
    Branch meetings have always be quorate,just, largely because all of the branch executive attend to make it so. It is a desperate struggle to keep functioning because remember we all have the day job to do as well.
    I have been a rep ( and so called activist) for many years and am now giving up. It is exhausting and demoralising. As many who post here have pointed out, the union is its membership and yes, you can see the result of that now. A handful of people,however committed to look after the membership, can not carry the whole branch or, in times of punitive management, go on taking the toll of this.

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    1. Very well said Anon at 07.10.

      Thanks to you and all the local and National reps, you must have been busier than ever before.

      I realised Napo was in fact controlled by its members and not its central office staff and officers way back in the 1970s when I was a newish member. At that time the quorum for national meetings was (I am almost certain) 12½%) and the membership forced a special general meeting - it was held at Preston on a Saturday and over 1,000 folk turned up. Without going into the history the top table was out voted and new folk came in and at one point Donald Bell the General Secretary resigned because he was not prepared to be involved in a strike - I don't think we had one at that time but certainly threatened it.

      At branch meetings in Merseyside - I realised those on National Committees gave detailed reports and put in a lot more effort than the rest of us - sometimes they got little attention because of the desire to get to the pub before closing time - In Merseyside then we had branch meetings often in the evenings.

      I saw the commitment of others and having been involved nationally as a student probation activist before trainees had full membership - I did subsequently offer myself for branch positions when there was a shortage of others to do the job. Over my career, had various roles, but always struggled because - as a disabled person (though I did not realise it) doing the basic job was bound to take me longer than a non-disabled person. Eventually when I was overwhelmed and could not keep up with the IT changes because it was impossible for me to, self-administer, things reached a crisis for me, the employer was not compassionate, but Napo rescued me and I got out with early medical retirement rather than a capability battle - thanks to the persistence of one Napo rep - a former national vice chair - at a time my employer was in chaos after the Greater London amalgamation and split of CAFCASS in 2001.

      I have tried repeatedly in comments here & elsewhere to say that Napo is the responsibility of all members and if it is not doing its job - because almost uniquely amongst Trades Unions it still has a one member one vote policy at the national level, and EVERY full member is able to offer themselves for EVERY position at branch or local level - ANY failing in Napo's policy and or implementation ultimately reflects on the contribution of every member.

      Some bought up in a consumerist age, seem to have trouble understanding which I suspect is a legacy of the Thatcher and Blair Primeminsterships.

      …… TO BE CONTINUED

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    2. CONTINUED ….
      I feel the same about national and local politics and have some understanding having formerly stood for election - not for the Labour Party (I despise them because of they are not sufficiently democratic - with an electoral college and block votes) - and also taken a public service representative job - as a school governor - like others do as magistrates etc.. Somehow few folk seem to see such things as a duty, because they pay their taxes for others to provide and organise the community services we all need. I learned about that stuff in my CQSW course when we did social history and social administration (vital to my understanding to work as a probation officer/social worker) - though I did not understand why until many years after I got the qualification!

      So I am quite resilient to being ridiculed by posters - I have been balled out publicly by Judges - why would I bother about folk who lack the courage to publish their names!

      Of course pragmatically I understand reasons the Blog is pseudonymous - that it needs to be is one of the things I have been challenging about. END

      I will remain grateful to Napo and a believer in collaborative action, that others brag about resigning or never joining and leaving the responsibility of negotiation to others or not paying a share is for their consciences.

      I encourage all such folk to contribute to Edridge Benevolent Fund and as a contributor and former branch rep, I encourage any who are struggling financially to seek support from Edridge - that is why I and others contribute. I see they are short of Trustees and reps - again, like they were in the 1980s, when I did a stint as a rep! END

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  17. I've been to a couple of PI events & found them very good. Although I understand the scepticism over PI getting some MoJ start up many I think it's the best chance we have of holding on to and developing best practice & there seems to be a genuine attempt to make it independent. But that relies on front line staff putting themselves forward for the board etc elections next year!

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    1. It's very simple really PI is corrupt and it's part and parcel of the TR agenda i.e the break up of probation service. There is no good practice left and I you think this would be possible under CRC which only aiming for profits then you are deluded.

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    2. I despair - As far as I am aware the PI have not made a public statement about probation practice and work NOW being FAR MORE DANGEROUS for the public and equally importantly staff, than when probation was unified locally. (an Essex employee has allegedly been sexually assaulted as a consequence of the split).

      That Napo still are apparently actively currently part of PI, seems to reflect badly on all the members.

      I offer apologies that other than writing criticism of it in social media I have done nothing else to campaign against that.

      PI might have had something to offer, if it had come into being some years ago or if in the future after the newness of TR is past - the front-line practitioners want such an organisation - BUT NOT NOW, in the way it has been established.

      As it has been established - Napo need to be in consultation with it, but not actively involved with its very make up.

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