Here's the latest email to all members of Napo London Branch from Chair Pat Waterman:-
So how was it for you in Eastbourne?
This year’s Annual General Meeting was held in Eastbourne from 15th to 17th October.
National AGM is many things. It’s a chance to meet former colleagues and old friends from around the country. It’s a chance to make new friends. It’s a chance to listen to a variety of different speakers. It’s a chance to engage in lively debate about professional issues. It is also an opportunity to find out what your National Officers and Officials have been doing during the past year on your behalf and to make policy for the coming year.
As always London Branch was present at this year’s AGM in strength. We sent a total of 75 members to Eastbourne. I am always very proud when London Branch walks in to a national NAPO meeting because, not only are we there in force, but it seems to me that the diversity within the room changes markedly. I was particularly pleased to see that this year, in addition to our stalwart retired members, we had a number of new younger new members.
I do hope that those members, for whom this was their first time, had as much fun as the photographs that I have seen suggest but maybe someone should tell them that it is not compulsory to take a dip in the sea on the last morning.
It is no easy task organising for AGM. I am, as always, indebted to Beverley Cole, the Branch Administrator, for making sure that everyone was satisfactorily accommodated and well fed at the Curry evening that followed our Branch meeting.
London Branch had a fully quorate Branch Meeting on Friday evening and the minutes of the last Branch Meeting were adopted following a debate over a matter arising from them. I was pleased that we were able to endorse the nominations of Paulette Ranger and Joanna Yusef to the posts of Black Staff Liason Representative and SW Regional Organiser (CRC) respectively.
The AGM this year had difficulty achieving quoracy i.e. the number of members it needs to be present before it can make decisions. The meeting was only ruled to be quorate for the afternoon of the second day.
The Annual Report is the vehicle through which the AGM is able to hold the National Officers and Officials to account for its actions and work over the past year. The Branch Officers Group met before the start of the AGM to go through the Annual Report and submit a number of questions that we thought would be of interest to members. It is open to any member to do the same. The questions we asked concerned issues of diversity, health and safety and the use of technologies.
It is also open to any member to mount a challenge to any section of the report and for the meeting to vote as to whether or not that section should be referred back to the National Executive Committee (NEC) which acts on behalf of the union in between AGM’s.
In our pre-AGM meeting the Branch Officers sought to ensure that all the motions submitted in the name of London Branch were being appropriately proposed and seconded. In the quorate session of the AGM our motion entitled “Unreasonable Adjustments” was passed.
Members in London should not be overly concerned that the other motions submitted in the name of this branch were not debated by a fully quorate AGM. Anticipating that quoracy might be a problem this year we sought advice from our National Office before going to Eastbourne. We were advised that motions on the order paper not debated at the AGM need to then go through a branch meeting and will then be passed to the NEC as a branch motion for debate.
All the motions from London Branch, except the one entitled “Unreasonable Adjustments” will be on the Agenda for the next Branch Meeting on Friday 20th November.
Some particular concerns have been expressed concerning the fact that the motion from this branch entitled “Drug Testing” was not debated at AGM in any form.
As soon as this branch was made aware that this part of the Offender Rehabilitation Act was to be operationalised we were in touch with both the NPS and CRC asking what their plans were and how these would impact upon the Health & Safety of staff. Both NPS (London Division) and CRC have engaged in consultation. Although it is true to say that there were initially significant differences in the risk assessments in respect of both organisations, as a result of the considerable amount of work done by David Raho, Branch H&S Convenor, important safeguards and protections have been agreed for all staff in London.
The purpose in bringing the motion was to task National H&S Committee with coming up with a model risk assessment and guidance for all branches and to ask the National Officer Group to include the drug testing task in their national negotiations when discussing job re-evaluation to recognise operational changes on the frontline as a result of legislation.
I have been made aware of a number of personally abusive and indeed anti-Semitic comments being made about me on social media forums following the AGM. Can I remind members of the motion passed at last year’s November Branch Meeting about the use of Social Media and ask that if anyone has any comments or concerns about my leadership or conduct in office that they make their views known to me directly or to other members of the Branch Executive.
Pat Waterman: Branch Chair