Thursday, 3 September 2015

Trouble at the Top

Regular readers will be fully aware that one or two topics keep recurring, such as the ineffectiveness of the NEC in holding the General Secretary to account, along with the other officers of the union. Unfortunately, for a so-called 'member led' union, it seems particularly bad at transparency, but just occasionally one gets a whiff of things not being right at all.

Out of the blue last night, the following was posted on the blog that pretty much confirms to me that things aren't just dysfunctional at the top, there's something fundamentally rotten about the way this union has been operating for some time. What members can do about it I don't know, but as sure as hell, something has got to change and a bit of plain talking and change of personnel would seem a good place to start. This was posted last night by one of the candidates in the recently concluded election:-

Hi Jim, 

May I take this opportunity and use your Blog to thank you for providing this forum for our members to have "the debate" on issues that are not only important in the criminal justice system but very often directly effect members, their families, the Service user and the wider community. Sadly a forum and process not readily available to members outside of the limited NEC.

We have today received the 1st mail out for the next NEC meeting on 22 September and to demonstrate the point of limited, indeed restrictive practise I bring to members attention the Officers Report item 7 (National reps panel). I encourage members to ask NEC reps the question..... why when the Chair was challenged on a point of Order why was this challenge not supported by the NEC?

The rights and wrongs of any challenge are frankly irrelevant. If the challenge is supported we have the debate.......however by not supporting this challenge we grant the Chair permission to suppress the debate. We by default give permission to subvert the democratic process, stifling/restricting the debate and consequently reps fail in our responsibility to hold Officers and Officials to account.

The result of our Election of new VC will be known tomorrow, irrespective of who is elected, we have had "the debate" and that was important. I wish those who are elected well and hope that they will use the opportunity to bring about much needed change. If the rumour is true we may well be looking to appoint a new GS.

Finally I thank you again for providing the forum and opportunity, I thank all those members that contacted me with questions and statements of support. I have over my time with Napo been supported and guided by colleague and friends and to them all and the many others who supported and voted for me, I thank you. I have been encouraged by your generosity of advice, your kind words and of your time taken. Don't ignore necessary order.


Barry Adams

The following is an extract from the NEC minutes referred to and supplied by a reader:-

Item 7 National Reps Panel: 


Ian Lawrence informed NEC of the resignations of two longstanding Reps, Dave Rogan and Pete Robinson. He asked for Napo’s thanks to be recorded for their work over many years. Their departure points up the need to look forward on how to do the work. Pete and Dave would continue covering their current cases.

Dean Rogers spoke to NEC 26-2015 the full Notational Reps update paper appended to Officers Group report. A schedule had been drawn up setting out how to engage a new Panel and what the expectations would be. Future recruitment would now include written explanations of expectations.

Barry Adams raised a Point of Order about the notice required to bring items to the attention of NEC being 21 days and asked for a Chair’s ruling on whether the paper or proposals could be dealt with today.

Yvonne ruled that the matter was correctly brought before today’s NEC. In explanation she said it had been brought to the February NEC initially It had been referred back to be able to be discussed with fuller information, which was now being provided, and the notification was by way of the 2nd NEC send out which had the full paper included.

Challenging the Chair’s ruling, Barry said the matter had not been brought to the April NEC. Yvonne asked for 3 members to indicate they would wish to make up the required 4 members to challenge the Chair’s ruling. There being no indication, the challenge FELL.

Barry Adams asked  why the correspondence between himself and Dean Rogers had not been circulated; Chris Winters explained that the correspondence had not been seen by the Chairs, who prepare the NEC Agenda.


Postscript

This commentator had a go at filling in the background:-

In my experience Barry debates are discouraged at NEC, they are stamped on and NEC advised to move on because there isn't time to get through the business which has been fully determined by the officials and officers doing their biding. NEC are disempowered, made easy by the majority of reps who haven't got a clue about whats going on, don't talk to their exec and don't understand the consequences of top table decisions because they're given just enough information to bring it to the meetings, but not enough for the majority to get what it's about.

84 comments:

  1. It is disgraceful, dishonest even! I won't be filling in a direct debt, they can sit in their ivory tower, desperately trying to justify their salaries! Can an emergency motion be put to the AGM, sealing the union's bank accounts, so they can't award themselves huge serverence payments when the union collapses?

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  2. Oh no the NECs been rumbled and the Napo gravy train derailed!!!!! The NEC will not function as it should whilst there are Reps on it who are arrogant enough to feel it is beneath them to consult and communicate with their branch officials and members. I have always thought that NEC Reps are too elitist and drawn from too small a pool and are frankly a collection of misfits and oddballs who somewhat masochistically like meetings and are convinced of their own superiority. Its all a bit too incestuous and gossipy with the occasional whiff of sexual innuendo to spice things up and ease the tedium.

    If you really want change then NEC Reps should ideally not be for current elected branch officials and certainly not branch chairs but rather those who are mature experienced frontline practitioners who also have an excellent track record and knowledge of representing members in the workplace and are well known and trusted in their branch. Unfortunately if this criteria were to be strictly applied to present NEC members most of them would be found lacking and the the room would soon be virtually empty.

    For some an all expenses paid day out in London and an overnight stay with a chance to catch a show is the main attraction unless you are having a relationship with another NEC member where the attraction increases (if you listen to the anecdotes of those attending from the wilds of the far north and west) Unfortunately some cannot justify an overnighter and miss out on the fun but get their rail fare paid etc. The meeting itself is by all accounts a bit of a drag where a captive somewhat hungover gathering have to listen to the likes of Barry droning on endlessly and even some people who dont appear to know what day of the week it is and appear to talk nonsensically without pause like they have been on the happy pills or just be sleeping with their eyes open (well it was a fun filled evening). No wonder there are calls to move on.

    Perhaps Napo might publish the names of NEC members stating their current position in their branch, qualifications, and experience and perhaps a statement from each member why they are an NEC Rep and what they intend to do for members that would be a start. This may well highlight why there are accusations of ineffectiveness as no doubt all will say they are there to hold the paid officials firmly to account and reflect the views of the membership whereas the evidence on the ground would seem to suggest otherwise. It is up to all Napo members to hold their NEC Reps to account and attend their branch meetings and ask them questions.

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    1. How about using teleconferencing for NEC meetings? Seems crazy when everyone is tightening their belts that this is still going on. I agree we need to know more about what goes on. I don't think I have ever been asked anything by my NEC Rep who hasnt done the job in a while but I'm just a humble grunt at the sharp end so what do I know. Head down, same ol' same ol' whilst the higher ups play there games

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  3. Complicit colluding chairs winters then? what about the other. What does this correspondence say that they hid from the toe touching Nec?

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    1. Unfortunately since my belly is before me my days of toes touching neck are well and truly past

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    2. What have the chairs hidden from the NEC ? Is there any story or evidence what should we have been told is there something being covered up?

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    3. As an NEC reps I am accountable to members and as such I am happy to share my correspondence with Officers of Napo with the wider membership. The question to ask .........did the Officer share the correspondence with the Chair? If not why not?

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    4. Well why not ?? Is it some cover up of something what is the risk in telling us the truth please? What is so important they would be risking something that NEC should have access to ? Jim can you ask for the documents the chairs appeared to have been hiding and publish them?

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  4. For entertainment value it will be worth buying tickets for the NEC lol. We the membership, would appear to be taken for fools if Anonymous 3 September 2015 at 09:01is to be believed.

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    1. I think if proceedings were recorded and uploaded to the Napo website then we would all see how well our reps perform and perhaps make suggestions to them to help them raise their game.

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    2. or stay awake

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    3. NEC reps are amateurish and snob like nothing gets past for PSO grade and no recognition that we all pay the same for the same unionised support. NEC should be 50 \ 50 on grade then we might get some quality. The reality is the majority there are POs and look what they have supported well done.

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  5. 923 try yoga.926 sadly wholly believable.

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    1. I tried yogat but it didnt agree with me

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    2. I'm on the wood diet but I'm finding it hard to stick to it but I'll keep chipping away

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  6. By Barry's logic any point of order that is not supported by other NEC members is by default a suppression of debate and thus subverts the democratic process. Many points of order have fallen at AGMs but these have not been seen as suppression, merely as indicative of a lack of support for the point of order.

    It would be interesting if Barry could comment on the backstory of perhaps the two most experienced national reps – jointly or coincidentally – resigning.

    On the vice-chair election, it is suggested we have had 'the debate'. I read the various manifestos that featured on this blog, but there was not much evidence of an actual debate occurring elsewhere. Any debate had has been on the pages of this blog, where the demand has been for an examination of the governance of Napo past and present, but these demands were not reflected in the candidate's manifestos.

    As for the GS going. This was first rumoured on this blog last July. Napo may be dysfunctional at the top but it's dysfunctional right down to the bottom as well and so any wonder that the NEC has its flaws, too. Until there are some signs of an energised membership any new leader will have few followers. And as turnout figures tend to be closely guarded this suggests the membership remains passive and disengaged from workplace politics, never mind Napo's domestic politics. There is as much trouble at the bottom as there is at the top. It's too crude and simple to just scapegoat the leader. It is interesting how IL gets hammered but Ben Priestly of Unison isn't similarly traduced.

    What ground has Napo held in the past five years? It has been a story of defeat after defeat. This goes beyond who happens to be the GS. Napo is losing ground all the time, it's losing members, its capacity to collectively bargain has possibly been irreparably damaged by Sodexo ability to deal directly with individuals. Controversies around the NEC, elected and paid officials, are footnotes in the decline of effective union representation in the probation service. And whilst IL will be blamed, seasoned trade unionists looking in from the outside will see that IL was always on a hiding to nothing, because there was no supportive membership base. Across the country anyone with any knowledge of branch activities will tell you that member apathy is the problem.

















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    1. Some good points well made there Netnipper as always. I agree it is too simplistic and crude just to focus on the GS. Member apathy is a big problem and also the view that a top level legal solution is the only way. I didn't see thousands out there on the picket lines and a commitment to other industrial action when it would have made a real difference. Collective action from a position of strength is actually quite effective as the London Mayor and TFL have learned to their cost and actually what trade unionism is about. A patchy halfhearted protest can be dismissed. As any person who plays team sports knows you can have the most enthusiastic captain with a great strategy possible but if the rest of the players are apathetic, leave others to do the work and their heart isnt in it you will lose to a weaker team. My job takes me around to quite a few offices. There is lots of complaining going on but when you suggest that those complaining join the union and organise they say the union has done nothing for them (some saying this have actually never been members). Surely if you want something to change then you don't leave and abandon it. I mean who ever changed anything by resigning or not putting any effort in? In my view those who resign or leave the union are copping out and those who say they will only join if they get in trouble are foolish. What is needed is for collective action. Sodexo know they can appeal to individual interests and greed but if we are united and act as a group then even they cant ignore that. Unfortunately probation staff are an apathetic bunch more concerned with who pinched their stapler and a seat by the window to look at the bigger picture or further down the line. Its often a case of I'm alright Jack. Well here we are further down the line and it is still dog eat dog instead of organising from the ground floor up and in sufficient numbers that our voices cannot be silenced and our leaders can speak with the backing of sufficient numbers. We get the leaders we deserve if we don't get involved, stop whinging and whining, and take some collective interest in our profession and those who would destroy it entirely.

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    2. Never a truer word spoken.

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    3. Couldn't agree more.

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    4. True and agree with what ? I think Barry has made a point that the debate over elections is had in that process of statement that says it all really we put our futures in the hands of what we read and then expect them to know what they are doing. Newsflash they clearly don't know what to do and it reads clearly they have all joined a game of hide the truth supported by a few incredibly poor misjudged NEC reps and in crowd.

      It may not help recrimination or blame yet it cannot be ignored as a natural reaction to being deceived . If that is the case as being alluded to here. I would like to see the evidence if there is any as mentioned in the minutes of the NEC. If correspondence were received at Napo then why were the chairs not party to it. Clearly it would be a Chairs issue and clearly had dean Roger been sent it he is obliged to share it appropriately with the chairs for their decision. If dean Rogers is the game of sharp practices already he is most certainly not fit for a GS stand in role if there is any truth That Ian Lawrence has had enough failures and members resignations to give him a clue to leave. In all matters this is not a good open debate and the readers here will be the employers. I am perhaps open too but what else can we do. Censorship on the tumbleweed forum at napo is likely. If Ian Lawrence is to go Mr Rogers should think about his own position as he could not be number 2 to a new GS and we certainly do not need anymore of the likes or mates of Ian Lawrence they helped him make this mess after all.

      As for 11 48 where did you do your straw poll in the head office at sodexo . Ian Lawrence came under pressure from this blog and few members who had some idea that we need to take a legal case . Problem is he left it left it left it left it Oh too late have to use the slimmest and smallest bits now as he fell out of time. The story on what really happened is not really understood as its only him and the chairs telling us. No records checked no minutes no formal statements. No trust. The fact that this sort of commentary is taking place is an indication of the abscess top table have become under the leadership. One out all out as they get malignant.

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    5. The GS is and employee and his employers are the NEC. Has he breached his contract of employment? No Is he subject to a performance/capability process? No He turns up to work and does his bit.The NEC have not said they have no confidence in him and they have access to more info than we do. There has not been a motion calling for a vote of no confidence from members. You can't simply call for him to be sacked. You can't vote that he be removed if he hasn't done anything wrong. He is an employee and has rights. I doubt he takes that much notice of this blog as he is more interested in what comes to him through his discussions with his staff and communication with branch chairs and the reality of dealing with the reality. He may decide to resign because he has had enough or for other reasons. That is entirely a matter for him.

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    6. Hi Netnipper, your logic is fine is as far as it goes however you do not fully take into account the different function and responsibilities of the NEC to those of our AGM.

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    7. 1931 his popularity is in the drain ask any members in our region suffering and it will get worse as the employers quest for profits travel south. Then what do you think his reputation will look like. He cannot be that myopic he knows he has to go. Your support is misguided.

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  7. I would spend more time reflecting carefully on nipper comments usually. On this occasion I will keep it short what utter bol****..

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    1. Just took a quick straw poll round our office and Netnipper is spot on but we are quite active. All this focus on Lawro and calling for him to stomp all over the MoJ and Sodexo or whoever telling them this and that and demanding a judicial review to force a reverse in gov policy that's what's bol****s He can only do anything when he has the numbers backing him to do it. Focus your ire on those walking away, leaving, going it alone, cutting their own deals, or sticking their heads in the sand. It is those people who are the real problem.

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    2. What you and nipper systematically fail to grasp is that Barry is obviously making the point that no debate bo matter what is side lined by tactics of the officers and officials. Any defence of them for this is anti democratic. It is clear to me at least nipper wants to be the general secretaries defence but look at what sharp practices have been deployed to avoid accounting to membership. Just because they move on in Nec disinterested unread or under the influence is not taking the role properly. If barry is un popular at Nec that does not mean to say they should ignore what he is alert in members to and why. That is the sort of amazing ignorance that has seen this officers group lead us to catastrophe and there is more misery to come.

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    3. It remains to be seen 11.48 whether a new G.S will bread confidence and enthusiasm into the membership. Ian Lawrence has never been able to engage the masses, possibly due an aloof attitude or because he is too busy having his ego massaged rubbing shoulders with the elite and then discussing how best to make 600 staff unemployed. It is clear people have lost confidence and the catalogue of failures behind Mr Lawrence will not have helped the situation. He was always ambition over his ability and it is right that he should stand down. A new G.S will have mountains to climb but the job has never been easy, hence the vast salary paid. Looking forward with hope and the possibility of progress to come under new management. Perhaps the new G.S will also look at the NEC membership and take advice from the poster 9.01 where people are required to justify their role within it.

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    4. 12:42 Some good points well put the problem with NAPO is it is confused with wanting to be seen as a professional operation failing to grasp this is not what a trade union is about. Too many ingress staff doing all sorts of work has diluted the job to a sell off. Successive failures to defend all workers and all posts is what led to the split before it actually happened. POs only appear happy when they select a PO but that does not make them able trade unionists. Look at the incredible implosion of the untested and what is patently clear incapable Tom Rendon. It has not improved and the union has moved into a slide and anymore under Mr Lawrence a fall off the cliff. I think your right though activists should have a good honest pedigree too many of the people in power are there by luck and nothing to do with genuine trade union solidarity. I read the criticism of the Probation institute yet Napo are funding the treasurers attendance and the national official. We effectively support TR and therefore have helped and continue to see the Sodexo staff get dismissed.

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  8. Napo has long been an exclusive club which has exorcised & discouraged many 'ordinary' members in order to secure a 'cool' core of reps, officials & officers. My life in napo ended after I was vilified by others in positions of office whilst trying to debate the issue of clearly defined pso role boundaries. As a straight white male pso I was subjected to a level of abuse & humiliation that should not have been tolerated anywhere let alone in a union meeting, but ranks closed. I left the union. The alternative path I followed has been equally ineffective during the last few months of disgracefully poor representation of members' interests.

    I feel the Napo problem has been a 'perfect storm' of poor communication & disinformation, keeping members at arms length, relying on the myth of the GS having charisma & specialist union skills, the aftermath of LedgerGate & naivety about Grayling's capacity to see TR through.

    On this basis it is totally unsurprising that the unions have not been trusted, that members have defected or defied union guidance, and as a result have been left at the mercy of Sodexo & their ilk. Two years ago I'd have been incandescent about strike breakers or those balking, but now I can't point my finger at anyone other than those officials who were paid to but failed to represent our best interests & protect us to the best of their ability as Trades Unions.

    They were distracted by their own importance, blinded by pomp & led into the rose garden - where they were professionally neutralised. It was all over when the loopholes & caveats were agreed in the National Agreement on transfer. Sherries all round?

    Let people now salvage what they can for themselves.

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    1. Ledgergate certainly dealt a crippling blow that allowed seasoned opportunists like Lawro to take advantage of the chaos. Don't forget we had Rendongate too. And now we may have Anyexitgate as the stampede to get out picks up pace before the inevitable collapse.

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    2. Yes agree but do not forget the PO failure has dragged every PSO into the failure and loss. We have no voice in NAPO and are disregarded at every level. POs are in for a shock with so few in the CRCs and as some of us in the NPS are more marginalised than ever. Still I would like to see a union that has my money and treats me with equal weight in future . What has past is over and PO grade means nothing. I just want my rights and union to fight for them . Reading what this PSO reports is really bad and NAPO you need to wake up to the new reality we are all workers and the snobbery time to stow it.

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    3. Perhaps its time to have one main grade with qualification bars that mean you get more money the more relevant qualifications you have or acquire.

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  9. NAPO Cymru have been very quiet. CRC updates from them would be useful.

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  10. " Focus your ire on those walking away, leaving, going it alone, cutting their own deals, or sticking their heads in the sand. It is those people who are the real problem " says Anon at 11.48.

    That was my spontaneous reaction when I was first involved in a parliamentary election campaign in 1981.

    Those with more experience just nodded at such folk politely, or thanked them for listening or anything they had done previously and any encouragement offered. They might also have said if you change your mind and do want to be a bit more involved please let me know whenever the time is right for you.

    Then they quickly moved onto the next task.

    Our candidate received 49% of the votes in an election with nine candidates and gained a majority over the second placed candidate of 9% on a 69% turnout.

    At the preceding election the candidate who the second placed above replaced received 57% of the vote with four candidates and a 31% majority over the next candidate on a 75% turnout

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    1. Hardly relevant no wonder you weren't elected.

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  11. The bit I took from Barry's letter is that he perhaps gives a little more substance to the rumour that the GS is about to step down and get his miners lamp. Does anyone know if one has been ordered? There will then be vacancy and I understand Dean Rogers is currently being briefed to act up with a view to taking over the reins when his friend shuffles off stage left.

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    1. Thank you 13.38 if that rumour is true the plan should be exposed. The whole point about members lack of trust relates to this type of nepotism. NAPO needs someone NEW not another selected from the existing G.S supporters. What can be done to highlight this further mis-carriage of justice? What is going on here, this is NOT democratic process. Is there anyone courageous enough to bring the Dean Rogers issue to AGM

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    2. Very sorry to hear Peter and Dave will no longer be working as National Reps. I like and respect both immensely. Their experience,wit, and personal charm will be much missed. There have been calls to scrutinise more closely the expense of the National Reps however in my humble opinion they are excellent ambassadors for Napo who are worth the investment. There are rumblings from other National Reps about leaving so clearly something is up. It takes years of experience to be an effective National Rep so to lose two is a tragedy. As an aside arent National Reps one of Dean Rogers responsibilities. This does not bode well for the future GS if he is unable to retain people.

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    3. Well said 1409 I know from a range of sources how skilled Dave Rogan is. Incredible no national recognition or statement about their lifetimes contribution. No celebration about their combined years services. If they are leaving over Dean Rogers management then he should have gone in my view. In any case lets ensure where possible the new leader is from fresh cloth. Dean Rogers cannot just inherit this is incredible. Besides he is never in work hes doing an MA on Napo money.

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    4. Agreed Anon 14:43 This is big news and should have been better managed. People are never too busy to act decently towards those we owe a great deal. I am shocked to hear that Dean Rogers is doing a Masters on Napo time during a period when his full concentration is required. If he does not feel he is sufficiently qualified for his present job how will he cope as GS.

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    5. Why is Dave rogan leaving ? What a loss to us all

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    6. It will be he is worth a Hundred Dean Rogers. I hope he understands that . 100 Dean Rogers could not hold a candle to Dave Rogan . I don't know the other guy but the national reps are what you will need when the Sh** hits you. None of us will want another bureaucrat.

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  12. Is Tania basset going to make statement .......... No !

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    1. Who is Tania Basset?

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    2. No one knows for sure but like Sarah Friday she seems to draw a napo salary and does very little that we can see.

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    3. Only my view but when the dust settles one of the key failures recognised will be the dispensing with of media savy Harry and appointment of unknown and untested Tania.

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    4. Totally yet she is on atraining course I hear to learn how to do PR so how and why did they appoint her. Any experienced press person is available in London yet they went for her ? Why? Especially as she is unskilled in that role . Anyone think this normal let us know care of oldpals road nepotism lane. London.

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    5. Would like to know what her salary is and how her JD reads. Something along the lines of:
      1. To dress appropriately, anything that looks like your just about to wash the car is desirable.
      2. To attend NEC on occasions, when your not washing the car perhaps, look like you know what your doing and give a bit of waffle, an essential skill for this post.
      3. Entertaining the GS is an essential requirement of this job and there will be an expectation that you work outside of normal working hours to meet this requirement.
      4 An ability to work at high speed is an essential requirement to dodge the questions about what the fuck you actually do.
      5. Public relations skills would be desirable but if you haven't really got a clue, the ability to smile and look stupid whilst doing so would be both desirable and essential.
      6. Lastly, an ability to build effective working relations with the media on rare occasions would be useful when you can find the time in between doing all of the above.
      Congratulations Ms Bassett you get the job !

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  13. Rendongate . Whats that ?

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    1. In a nutshell.......Former Napo National Chair who after a meteoric rise through Napo as a relatively inexperienced PO who then went straight for an ACO post at the height of the campaign against TR to take advantage of surplus of vacancies being advertised as a result of the TR process he was supposed to be opposed to. Was also on Probation Institute Board and apparently refused to step down when asked to do so even when he was no longer Napo Chair. Resigned quite dramatically from National Napo Chair claiming foul play etc prompting a public rebuttle of his claims by a joint statement but in his case it seems his inexperience resulted in a few own goals Not sure what happened to him but for a while he disappeared and there were various sightings and rumours such as he changed his appearance (false moustache) name (Mr Tweed?) adding to the mystery and the unanswered questions surrounding the man etc

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    2. 1541 brilliant write more often please.

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  14. COPY OF EMAIL RECEIVED VIA NAPO GREATER LONDON BRANCH: -

    " Dear Colleague,

    Notice of Motions for 2015 AGM + Ballot for the Order of Business

    An email will be going out to all members to their preferred email address with the following:

    AGM 02/2015 – Notice of Motions for AGM
    AGM 03/2015 – Ballot Form

    The forms can also be downloaded on the Napo website at: https://www.napo.org.uk/agm

    Completed ballot forms need to be returned in an envelope marked ‘BALLOT’ to:

    STEERING COMMITTEE
    c/o Napo
    4 Chivalry Road
    London SW11 1HT

    To arrive not later than 12 NOON ON FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2015.

    And don’t forget to register for AGM at: https://www.napo.org.uk/Napo%20Courses%20%26%20Events/agm-2015

    Yours sincerely

    IAN LAWRENCE
    General Secretary "

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    1. Just as off message and topic as that crap from hatton again.

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  15. How the hell was that off topic - couldn't be more on topic if it had hazelnuts and chocolate in it.

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  16. At 1938 I was referring to Andrew's post - not the diet one - lol

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    1. 1938 splitting sides thanks !

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  17. Robbo leaving napo ? Huge loss not just to napo but also the service. Very difficult to replace. He deserves some recognition for his work over many years.

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    1. Fair enough who is Robbo ?

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    2. Peter Robinson.

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    3. I was represented by Peter he is a lovely man I cannot tell you the details risk of ID . he spoke up for me it was the worst time in my working career and screwed my life for months. He took a long slow protective route in my disciplinary case. No knockout blows no shuffling of papers or a hrm hrm throat clearing. Just coffee cigarettes and a forensic micro inspection path of cross checking. He bored them to tears in the end but he won my case on technical stuff still love him for that . Napo need their reps more than officials.

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    4. Sorry to hear Dave Rogan is leaving Napo he will be missed ! He is an excellent rep and advisor he is also a great trainer passing on valuable experience when I was a rep Best wishes for the future Dave
      Joan Woodhouse

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  18. NAPO's failure is down to all at HQ who have simply NOT been honest with members, hiding behind the guise of can't say, won't say on too many occasions. There are members who I trusted wholeheartedly when appointed that have taken the same party line. My subscriptions, my membership, my representation - I have a right to know as DO all paid up members. That is why I am not signing my direct debit - nothing to do with failed fight against TR or anything else - purely down to refusal to be honest and opening communicate with membership.

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    1. I think you've encapsulated the whole debacle. If you hired a legal representative who kept telling you that there was information they can't or won't share with you and your liberty was at stake, you'd drop them like a stone. The membership wound up sleepwalking into a catastrophe. Some day, in a couple of generations, people will wise up again. Unions will again be appreciated for what they can achieve.I fear though, that rehabilitation itself may be ultimately dismissed as a concept in the long haul. I really do. NAPO. RIP.

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    2. Wouldn't it be a more powerful gesture to actively resign from Napo, rather than simply not signing the direct debit form? How are Chivalry Road going to know that you're just not too lazy to do it?

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  19. 22.35 we were strung along and more than that they gave us hope, knowing full well we had not hope for TR and EVR. Amon Goeth: This is very cruel, Oskar. You're giving them hope. You shouldn't do that. *That's* cruel!

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  20. It's going to take some time to fully absorb the sheer range of issues covered by the comments above. They won't be addressed of course, they will just sit here as tumbleweed blows past. But at least they got aired and not liable to deletion from the now completely defunct Napo Forum pages.

    To be totally truthful I find it both staggering and incredibly sad that this once proud union that I've been a member of for my entire probation career and is made up of people used to dealing with bullshit and bollocks on a daily basis, seems completely incapable of understanding what's been going on and holding the top table to account. Plainly, it ain't going to happen and members will just keep voting with their feet.

    I see from the motions up for debate at the AGM there is nothing remotely aimed at some internal examination of a plainly dysfunctional organisation, no suggestion of internal enquiry or external advice being necessary - just three areas suggesting a merger with another union. I'm pretty sure such discussions have been going on behind the scenes anyway and at some appropriate point a rabbit will no doubt be pulled from a hat. In all honesty it's probably the only option now given the total unwillingness of the present leadership to face up to the obvious internal problems.

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  21. Jim, we are too scared to challenge that is the nature of the Probation employee. We talk behind our hands and grumble and are bright enough to see through whats been happening but we are scared for our mortgages and just hope for the best.

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  22. There's trouble at the bottom as well. The evidence of apathy is clear in turnout figures: IL elected on 19.6% and the current chairs, last August, elected on 15% - just over 1000 out of an electorate of 7500 bothered to vote.

    A truism is that nobody ever leaves Napo for a bad reason. They always resign on principle. It can be the failed fight against TR, lack of honesty and transparency from Napo, a dislike of IL...the list is endless, but everyone always comes with an honourable reason. After all it's such a personal decision and it's a rat race out there, isn't it? As Jimmy Reid said in his famous speech, 'Bang the bell, Jack, I'm on the bus.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/still-irresistible-a-workingclass-heros-finest-speech-2051285.html


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    1. Alienation is the precise and correctly applied word for describing the major social problem in Britain today. People feel alienated by society. In some intellectual circles it is treated almost as a new phenomenon. It has, however, been with us for years. What I believe is true is that today it is more widespread, more pervasive than ever before. Let me right at the outset define what I mean by alienation. It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It's the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies.

      Many may not have rationalised it. May not even understand, may not be able to articulate it. But they feel it. It therefore conditions and colours their social attitudes. Alienation expresses itself in different ways in different people. It is to be found in what our courts often describe as the criminal antisocial behaviour of a section of the community. It is expressed by those young people who want to opt out of society, by drop-outs, the so-called maladjusted, those who seek to escape permanently from the reality of society through intoxicants and narcotics. Of course, it would be wrong to say it was the sole reason for these things. But it is a much greater factor in all of them than is generally recognised.

      Society and its prevailing sense of values leads to another form of alienation. It alienates some from humanity. It partially de-humanises some people, makes them insensitive, ruthless in their handling of fellow human beings, self-centred and grasping. The irony is, they are often considered normal and well-adjusted. It is my sincere contention that anyone who can be totally adjusted to our society is in greater need of psychiatric analysis and treatment than anyone else. They remind me of the character in the novel, Catch 22, the father of Major Major. He was a farmer in the American Mid-West. He hated suggestions for things like medi-care, social services, unemployment benefits or civil rights. He was, however, an enthusiast for the agricultural policies that paid farmers for not bringing their fields under cultivation. From the money he got for not growing alfalfa he bought more land in order not to grow alfalfa. He became rich. Pilgrims came from all over the state to sit at his feet and learn how to be a successful non-grower of alfalfa. His philosophy was simple. The poor didn't work hard enough and so they were poor. He believed that the good Lord gave him two strong hands to grab as much as he could for himself. He is a comic figure. But think – have you not met his like here in Britain? Here in Scotland? I have.

      It is easy and tempting to hate such people. However, it is wrong. They are as much products of society, and of a consequence of that society, human alienation, as the poor drop-out. They are losers. They have lost the essential elements of our common humanity. Man is a social being. Real fulfilment for any person lies in service to his fellow men and women. The big challenge to our civilisation is not Oz, a magazine I haven't seen, let alone read. Nor is it permissiveness, although I agree our society is too permissive. Any society which, for example, permits over one million people to be unemployed is far too permissive for my liking. Nor is it moral laxity in the narrow sense that this word is generally employed – although in a sense here we come nearer to the problem. It does involve morality, ethics, and our concept of human values. The challenge we face is that of rooting out anything and everything that distorts and devalues human relations.

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    2. Let me give two examples from contemporary experience to illustrate the point.

      Recently on television I saw an advert. The scene is a banquet. A gentleman is on his feet proposing a toast. His speech is full of phrases like "this full-bodied specimen". Sitting beside him is a young, buxom woman. The image she projects is not pompous but foolish. She is visibly preening herself, believing that she is the object of the bloke's eulogy. Then he concludes – "and now I give...", then a brand name of what used to be described as Empire sherry. Then the laughter. Derisive and cruel laughter. The real point, of course, is this. In this charade, the viewers were obviously expected to identify not with the victim but with her tormentors.

      The other illustration is the widespread, implicit acceptance of the concept and term "the rat race". The picture it conjures up is one where we are scurrying around scrambling for position, trampling on others, back-stabbing, all in pursuit of personal success. Even genuinely intended, friendly advice can sometimes take the form of someone saying to you, "Listen, you look after number one." Or as they say in London, "Bang the bell, Jack, I'm on the bus."

      To the students [of Glasgow University] I address this appeal. Reject these attitudes. Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We're not rats. We're human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you're a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?"

      Profit is the sole criterion used by the establishment to evaluate economic activity. From the rat race to lame ducks. The vocabulary in vogue is a give-away. It's more reminiscent of a human menagerie than human society. The power structures that have inevitably emerged from this approach threaten and undermine our hard-won democratic rights. The whole process is towards the centralisation and concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands. The facts are there for all who want to see. Giant monopoly companies and consortia dominate almost every branch of our economy. The men who wield effective control within these giants exercise a power over their fellow men which is frightening and is a negation of democracy.

      Government by the people for the people becomes meaningless unless it includes major economic decision-making by the people for the people. This is not simply an economic matter. In essence it is an ethical and moral question, for whoever takes the important economic decisions in society ipso facto determines the social priorities of that society.

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    3. From the Olympian heights of an executive suite, in an atmosphere where your success is judged by the extent to which you can maximise profits, the overwhelming tendency must be to see people as units of production, as indices in your accountants' books. To appreciate fully the inhumanity of this situation, you have to see the hurt and despair in the eyes of a man suddenly told he is redundant, without provision made for suitable alternative employment, with the prospect in the West of Scotland, if he is in his late forties or fifties, of spending the rest of his life in the Labour Exchange. Someone, somewhere has decided he is unwanted, unneeded, and is to be thrown on the industrial scrap heap. From the very depth of my being, I challenge the right of any man or any group of men, in business or in government, to tell a fellow human being that he or she is expendable.

      The concentration of power in the economic field is matched by the centralisation of decision-making in the political institutions of society. The power of Parliament has undoubtedly been eroded over past decades, with more and more authority being invested in the Executive. The power of local authorities has been and is being systematically undermined. The only justification I can see for local government is as a counter- balance to the centralised character of national government.

      Local government is to be restructured. What an opportunity, one would think, for de-centralising as much power as possible back to the local communities. Instead, the proposals are for centralising local government. It's once again a blue-print for bureaucracy, not democracy. If these proposals are implemented, in a few years when asked "Where do you come from?" I can reply: "The Western Region." It even sounds like a hospital board.

      It stretches from Oban to Girvan and eastwards to include most of the Glasgow conurbation. As in other matters, I must ask the politicians who favour these proposals – where and how in your calculations did you quantify the value of a community? Of community life? Of a sense of belonging? Of the feeling of identification? These are rhetorical questions. I know the answer. Such human considerations do not feature in their thought processes.

      Everything that is proposed from the establishment seems almost calculated to minimise the role of the people, to miniaturise man. I can understand how attractive this prospect must be to those at the top. Those of us who refuse to be pawns in their power game can be picked up by their bureaucratic tweezers and dropped in a filing cabinet under "M" for malcontent or maladjusted. When you think of some of the high flats around us, it can hardly be an accident that they are as near as one could get to an architectural representation of a filing cabinet.

      If modern technology requires greater and larger productive units, let's make our wealth-producing resources and potential subject to public control and to social accountability. Let's gear our society to social need, not personal greed. Given such creative re-orientation of society, there is no doubt in my mind that in a few years we could eradicate in our country the scourge of poverty, the underprivileged, slums, and insecurity.

      Even this is not enough. To measure social progress purely by material advance is not enough. Our aim must be the enrichment of the whole quality of life. It requires a social and cultural, or if you wish, a spiritual transformation of our country. A necessary part of this must be the restructuring of the institutions of government and, where necessary, the evolution of additional structures so as to involve the people in the decision-making processes of our society. The so-called experts will tell you that this would be cumbersome or marginally inefficient. I am prepared to sacrifice a margin of efficiency for the value of the people's participation. Anyway, in the longer term, I reject this argument.

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    4. To unleash the latent potential of our people requires that we give them responsibility. The untapped resources of the North Sea are as nothing compared to the untapped resources of our people. I am convinced that the great mass of our people go through life without even a glimmer of what they could have contributed to their fellow human beings. This is a personal tragedy. It's a social crime. The flowering of each individual's personality and talents is the pre-condition for everyone's development.

      In this context education has a vital role to play. If automation and technology is accompanied as it must be with a full employment, then the leisure time available to man will be enormously increased. If that is so, then our whole concept of education must change. The whole object must be to equip and educate people for life, not solely for work or a profession. The creative use of leisure, in communion with and in service to our fellow human beings, can and must become an important element in self-fulfilment.

      Universities must be in the forefront of development, must meet social needs and not lag behind them. It is my earnest desire that this great University of Glasgow should be in the vanguard, initiating changes and setting the example for others to follow. Part of our educational process must be the involvement of all sections of the university on the governing bodies. The case for student representation is unanswerable. It is inevitable.

      My conclusion is to re-affirm what I hope and certainly intend to be the spirit permeating this address. It's an affirmation of faith in humanity. All that is good in man's heritage involves recognition of our common humanity, an unashamed acknowledgement that man is good by nature. Burns expressed it in a poem that technically was not his best, yet captured the spirit. In "Why should we idly waste our prime...":

      "The golden age, we'll then revive, each man shall be a brother,

      In harmony we all shall live and till the earth together,

      In virtue trained, enlightened youth shall move each fellow creature,

      And time shall surely prove the truth that man is good by nature."

      It's my belief that all the factors to make a practical reality of such a world are maturing now. I would like to think that our generation took mankind some way along the road towards this goal. It's a goal worth fighting for.

      Jimmy Reid 1972

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  23. Wow - what a speech - hadn't come across it before - thank you netnipper!

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  24. Replies
    1. But my main point is that membership of any outfit expects and requires inspiration from its leadership! Of course apathy is rife - so is it chicken or egg?

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    2. It is more than that Jim . Napo are supposed to lead members. Alert us to the issues as they see the horizon . I think Ian Lawrence is generally not capable of very much . A lot of blow hard and lack of doing. Almost forgivable but what is not is that he is unable to actually look at the longer term issues. A small misjudgement here has a disastrous outcome there. This is what happens when he joins the group who were designing the TR. IT has been said already. Once in the wrong camp he sealed our futures. Worst of all he has had to lie and wriggle to avoid the painful truths. Claiming all sorts of confidences with the officers who are weak and not able trade unionists. Buying into his schoolboy self protections. They fail to look at him objectively as you would a client. His rationalisations are similar to any behaviours that is seeking to hide the truth. A capable leader would be open honest and share at best his teams thoughts on the most hopeful future directions and seek regular mandates to go that way.

      In fact the NEC have been lied to. Papers letters hidden and obfuscated by the twin chairs who are now embroiled in what appears to be assisting a cover up. To avoid telling the truth to the NEC? They will have to face the AGM shortly and there should be some trouble as we discover the truth behind Dean Rogers smoke and mirrors proposals. These were rejected at NEC and now they are back hidden in the form of the officers group report. Lets see the evidence Barry Adams says is there. The other trouble for the Napo team is they are all inexperienced and so they look to Ian Lawrence and the whip Dean Rogers for support. There you have the perfect Clapham junction mess. Strawberry's all over the place none of them have any cream.

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    3. Ian Lawrence should have found his way to branches and talked quietly to members. He should have listened instead of chest beating. “ I am going to do this that and nothing. He could have tried to understand the real fears of all grades and united them as both workers and anti the ideology of a split. He should have ordered his staff and officers to assist in apolitical education of getting out to members to ensure they all had a feeling of support. He could have taken legal challenge over the attack on Trade union facilities time and asked an independent to decide how out kilter with industrial relations were with Cabinet office rubbish. The collapsible Mr Rendon should have been formally requested to substantiate his position or withdraw his slurs at Ian Lawrence for bullying him out. Citing professional difference is ridiculous as no one appeared to see through this. They were together for the same reasons anti cuts anti privatisation, workers protections and trade union common interests. Now what else in the relationship was more important than national collective bargaining? Ego and Ego no doubt. It is little surprise that Ian Lawrence would have knocked the little lad out for 10 count but neither of them able to focus on the reputational damage it did to Napo. Tom Rendon’s departure was no less scandalous than the last General Secretary. Yet surprisingly it was glossed over by the officers ? None of this is going to be a revelation but the readers of this blog, the employers the government officials cabinet office and the like. They could sense Napo disarray and the lack of militated court actions. The worry over cash flow and the declining membership based on the scandal hit union. They only had to count check off and work out an approximate outgoing for our finances and could see the attrition rate gave Napo a costed shelf life of a few years. NO prospects of a long campaign and zero chance of funding a decent legal battle. It is arguable had Ian Lawrence put in the groundwork personally on a branches rank and file tour he would have garnered supporters who would have stayed in NAPO . Instead as many have gone to NPS and some consumed by the status of public service and now Civil Servants they left the trapping of the Union behind as it was failing to represent them. Any sensible general Secretary should have been able to see through the Governments seduction of promised land and alerted members. Instead we had a lot poorly considered advice about lodging grievances and wasting our time than actually stopping work.

      Enough of the retrospective what now? It is rumoured Ian has a Job and is set to tell us next month at the AGM . Congratulations might be in order then and lets hope so , he will be going and now is the right time given where we are. No one else could make it any worse, so long as they are new .independent and not connected to the total failure of this leadership. Dean Rogers could not be the next general secretary as he has played his part in this mess and is inextricably linked to Ian Lawrence’s failed strategy.
      If Ian Lawrence really is to go then lets hope he announces now and starts the process of election for a new GS. Napo can start fresh. A competition by all means , no gap in leadership. We should avoid acting up incumbents in NAPO they have an advantage at election as we have seen.

      Cynically we should all be alert to the tactic that Ian Lawrence may be banking on. “Back me or sack me” rubbish. If he looks to sympathetic views from the AGM and raises a few arhhs then he might try and play a line out. Next there will be a speech "well if the members want me to stay who am I to refuse their generous care and sympathy for my position" Well lets hope not on this occasion it is time to see the end of this GS on this watch once and for all.

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  25. Carillion using subsidiary who uses blacklist to ban workers from employment on a public hospital Royal Liverpool. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/traffic-reduced-standstill-construction-workers-9988799

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  26. If IS, is to go will he get a bumper pay pack ?If so, it might suit him to ride in to the sunset and hence forth to a private consultancy or senior management job within a charity or criminal Justice post. Betcha if he does get cash it will more favorable than my VS............. Win , win for him

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  27. More trouble - this posted on Facebook today:-

    EMAIL SENT BY NAPO GREATER LONDON BRANCH CHAIR PAT WATERMAN TO NAPO GENERAL SECRETARY IAN LAWRENCE REGARDING YESTERDAYS EMAIL

    'Notice of Motions for 2015 AGM + Ballot for the Order of Business'
    'As requested, the email below was sent out to all members of Greater London Branch yesterday.

    Like many members, because the NAPO website cannot be accessed from work, when I went home I downloaded AGM 02/2015 Notice of Motions for AGM and AGM 03/2015 Ballot Form.

    The website can be accessed by anybody and anybody can also download the ballot form. There seems to be no way of ensuring that the integrity of the balloting process is not compromised.

    Can you please tell me what procedures have been put in place to ensure:
    > that ONLY members vote in this ballot
    > that multiple ballot papers cannot be submitted
    Unless there are procedures to ensure that the ballot process is not abused , the process itself is compromised.

    I suggest that this matter be discussed as a matter of urgency by NAPO's Officers and Officials and referred to the Steering Committee and National Executive Committee if need be.

    On behalf of my branch I would like a response as soon as possible and certainly before Friday 25th September when the ballot for motions is due to close.'

    Pat Waterman
    Chair
    Greater London Branch NAPO

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