Thursday, 8 October 2015

Latest From Napo 81

Dear Colleague,

Napo Annual General Meeting 2015 Eastbourne 15th - 17th October

The Napo Officer Group and myself are conscious that members will have received regular mail outs from Chivalry Road alerting you to next weeks AGM and the fact that the reduced affiliation fee of £45 will remain valid for registrations received by close of play next Monday 12th October.

Your Union needs you

Whilst we apologise for contacting you once again we felt it important to urge all Napo members to do all they can to attend so that you can play a direct part in making a number of critical decisions about Napo's future subscription rates which (subject to AGM agreement) will see substantial reductions for all members switching to Direct Debit, and major debates about the direction of travel for Napo in what are undoubtedly hugely difficult times not only for our members in the NPS,CRC's and PBNI, but every trade union. This has been brought into stark contrast by the Governments intention to introduce new legislation by way of the Trade Union Bill to restrict our lawful activities and freedoms on which there will be an Emergency Motion submitted by the Officer Group.

Facing the challenges in the NPS and CRC

The AGM provides an important opportunity for members to hold your leadership group to account, and hear about the hard work that your union is putting in to try and defend your jobs, terms and conditions against some very serious threats. It also provides an opportunity to take part in a wide variety of debates and votes for policies that will direct our forward work programme for the next 12 months.

The key theme for AGM this year is 'Professionalism' and a comprehensive range of speakers has been secured to enhance the various vocational sessions that have been organised for all of our members and we are sure that you will find these of interest whether you work in the NPS, a CRC, or PBNI.

Finally, despite every effort by Napo, the Government has refused to grant time off for members to attend AGM, but the Secretary of State has said that he expects all requests for TOIL and Annual Leave to be treated sympathetically by management. A number of CRC employers have granted some time off, but we are now in a much harsher climate in terms of the support that we can expect from employers in this regard.

A link to the AGM registration form can be found here

We look forward to seeing as many members as possible in Eastbourne for what we expect to be a lively and absorbing AGM.

Ian Lawrence           Chris Winters          Yvonne Pattison
General Secretary   National Co-Chair    National Co-Chair


  1. They seem to have forgotten members in Cafcass?

    1. I think they are very few.

      I presume gradually the "probation office/court welfare officer" generalists who were working in the specialised Family Court Welfare Teams when CAFCASSS was set up amidst probably about as much administrative muddle as has occurred since the 31/5/14 split have diminished with retirements and little recruitment.

      Napo did not effectively deal with the role boundaries issue before or after PSOs became full members either, it has been a sorry decline. There is little point rehearsing it now.

      Maybe the turning point was when we decided we would no longer be called the National Association of Probation Officers and would not - as I wanted choose a whole new inclusive name for ALL our then members - including at one time (maybe still today) workers in a small London supportive housing scheme - but would make Napo - the actual name with a strapline* to long to use in most circumstances and probably not known by the majority of members.

      I genuinely believed Family Court Welfare work fitted squarely in the middle of generic probation work and was happy to simultaneously hold both sorts of cases despite the administrative complexities. Obviously there was a need for some specialisation but society, I firmly believe would have been better for CAFCASS never to have been formed even if a very small State organisation was needed to control the work of Guardian Ad Litems and the work of the "Official Solicitor" (does that department still exist) in children's law cases.

      Both needed also to acknowledge that Social Work was the professional stance of their work.

      It is interesting that Michael Gove has talked of needing social work to be practised in prisons - maybe he did not mention probation because he does not see probation workers overall as capable of delivering social work in prison, which they did from 1967. (some who joined probation from NADPASS in 1967 were already engaging in social work in Prisons)

      Now we just need an anonymous responder to say I am living in the past and have nothing to add to the discussion!

      * The Trade Union, Professional Association and campaigning organisation for Probation and Family Court staff

    2. CORRECTION - NADPAS not NADPASS - National Association of Discharged Prisoners Aid Societies

      SOME maybe be interested to read an obituary that I chanced upon, by one former London probation officer of George Pratt who was working for NADPAS at the time of amalgamation into the probation and after-care services: -

      Scoffers will no doubt also add their insights into the relevance of such meanderings back into our collective histories!

      Equally Jim Brown may consider none of this belongs in his blog - sobeit.

  2. I won't be going. I was shafted into the CRC despite opting for the NPS way back when. I challenged this but received a threat from the employing Trust Chief that by pursuing my challenge I would effectively be resigning. Napo did nothing, the Chief left with an eye-watering golden goodbye. I accepted my CRC fate whilst the fanfare of a consolation prize, EVR - agreed by Napo - rang out. The CRC CEO spoke of teamwork, commitment & opportunities for all. I applied for EVR within the initial timeframe. I was told I did not qualify for the scheme. The "totally committed" CEO left with a generous package. Six months later I was told that a vast chunk of jobs were to be axed BUT without any redundancy scheme, just an alternative voluntary scheme at a vastly reduced level of compensation. I no longer work for the CRC. If I go to Conference, even at the subsidised unemployed rate, I will probably punch someone on the snout. Still, it might get Napo some media time.

  3. If this one isn't quorate, future conferences are going to need to be delegate-based, though how that can be achieved in the absence of quoracy is a riddle. It's a disappointing situation and as more older members leave probation, levels of activism are likely to diminish. Perhaps a member-based AGM was always more professional association than trade union.

    The leadership could have done some things differently, but they should not be scapegoated for trends, such outsourcing and political hostility to trade unionism. Only a fool would see anything progressively reformist about the Tories and with regard to the unions they are positively vindictive, they are pursuing a scorched earth policy. I don't know why Napo members cannot be bothered to vote in ballots or why there was no collective will to oppose TR. The beneficiaries are the employers who must increasingly see an atomised workforce incapable of collectively asserting their interests. Sodexo have shown how easy it is to divide and rule – and get rid of staff on the cheap.

  4. At this point all staff know we have all been individually shafted and they must know that it is not the end, we will be shafted some more. This process will not stop until we fight back and take them on, we will be work slaves and economic paupers unless we do.

    Too few were ready to fight during the TR process, are things bad enough yet to get people to get their heads out of the sand and become active citizens. Society will continue to deteriorate until we get to the point when we understand that if we give a damn and start organize we can beat the barstewards. Actually fighting may lift the spirit and bring vigour to the struggle. Is the Corbyn factor a sign that the young are at that point? Probation staff really should feel this moral outrage and join the fight, isn't this why most of us joined the service?


    1. Sad, sad, sad - probation as a profession & a concept is being deleted from history. My 24 year career was finished by the CRC. Other long time colleagues are allso gone. In one office alone, 5 staff leaving meant 90+ years of knowledge, skill & ecperience has been lost. NPS are next, most likely becoming swallowed up by the NOMS "brand" with the loss of NPS identity. And staff are complicit with it because their jobs, livelihoods & futures are at stake. The nation has gone bonkers. 15M people watched people baking cakes & cried whilst the critical, vital unseen professional services are being eroded - probation, mental health, primary health, teaching, housing. I don't see 15M people being remotely bothered about that. In fact at our office only 4 out of 21 staff eligible to strike did so.

      Every other advert on the TV is by a charity requesting "just £5 a month" to care for those with cancer, to care for the elderly & sick - basically to right the wrongs committed by uncaring politicians.

      Sadly due to FORESEEN but badly managed &/or ignored circumstances, i.e. CRC job cuts, all my direct debits to charitable causes have had to be cancelled. So that's a total of £100 each month that various charities won't benefit from, excluding the benefit of giftaid.

      Dave claimed this is The Great British Take Off. More like the Great British Rake Off, with a nation crying into their soggy pastry while the priveleged & friends stuff their faces & their pockets.

  5. You should all be ashamed. Napo works hard for you miserable shites!! The AGM should be a time for celebration. Members can't even be bothered go. Disgrace!!


    Tory Party Conference 2015: The Ministry of Justice will face job cuts, Michael Gove says

  7. London branch will be there in full force as usual not just because we are still the biggest branch but because we are the most active, strongly led, and best organised branch in napo and without us the AGM just wouldn't be the same. Even though we will have a great time no matter what we need you others to come along and make it quorate and fill up the seats and debate with us because even though we are always right and clearly the most wonderful branch in napo we can't do everything by ourselves. So stop whinging and whining and get registering. I bet some of you haven't even booked yourselves hotels or got the cheap deals on the trains - come on.

    1. Aye, and its £75 per night b&b (x3), £170 cheapest return for 16 hours on a train each way. So £400 minimum with all day Thursday & Sunday travelling. BARGAIN! No assistance available from the branch and, as with many others in Sodexo CRC areas, find my miserable shitey self not currently in employment, nor living or working in the greatest city in the world. I'm sure you'll have a great time though, no matter what.

    2. London asking for a comment then on how the rest of the country view them. First of all this mess started in your branch. Your chairs took no action when the UW was privatised. We ask where were your fantastic campaigns and well organised response then? They never said a word as we were sold . That started the bell for the rest of the privatisation because napo and London said and did nothing for those members. Where was your loud abuse hurling then. The NEC reps heard nothing that London branch did not support the sell of the staff or role. There was the ideological UNION gross error. Who was the London chair and the supporters ? London branch as usual will over vote the wrong issue as they do with their block vote in the NEC get it wrong then have to find a way to back track. We saw the London branch in action over Palestine and they were aggressive and outrageous. The normally mistake laden and pathetic monitoring was too scared to make a peep at the vulgar display from the shouting and heckling the Chair screamed about. London politics are as ever confused misguided brow beaten and lost . The poster is an example of the lackey lickspittles that Napo has in abundance usually hovering the top table or your branch. Grow up. Poster 621 well said they are well used in London to have a cheap ticket to everywhere and especially south. They are naïve and bordering stupid to suggest to anyone traversing the country its easy to get to the AGM. London carry on make yourselves even further unpopular.