A couple of weeks have passed since many of us were at Eastbourne for the AGM and now seems a good opportunity to reflect upon it. Firstly, we would like to thank those of you who attended and participated especially in light of the NPS refusal to grant time off. We have again raised this situation with the Secretary of State and NOMS HR, especially given the number of professional sessions and supporting speakers where the time spent was clearly identifiable as a Professional development opportunity. We will follow this up by writing to CRC Chiefs to also seek their support in this respect. From our point of view, we had to plan in advance for a considerable amount of flexibility in terms of the structure of the planned sessions and we thank you for your patience and hope that members enjoyed the event overall.
AGM was addressed by a number of speakers and was formally opened by our good friend Elfyn LLwyd who having stood down as a Plaid Cymru MP at the election has returned to practice as a Barrister. We also heard from Lord Falconer, the shadow Justice Secretary who addressed conference on Saturday morning as did Phyll Opoko, founder of Black Pride. Both gave positive and uplifting speeches which were really appreciated by those attending. During conference we also heard Steve Gillan General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association and Simeon Andrews who provided a report on the work of the Justice and Family Court Unions Parliamentary Groups. The FCS Professional Session featured Sian Hawkins and for the Probation Session there was a panel featuring Professor Anthony Goodman, Bridget Robb, General Secretary of The British Association of Social Workers, PJ McParlin, Chair of the Prison Officers Association and Sonia Crozier NPS Deputy Director for South East Division.
AGM also saw a change in the National Officer Group where Keith Stokeld stood down as Treasurer. We thank him for all his hard work and commitment over the last six years. We also welcome Chris Pearson to the new role of Vice Chair with the responsibility for finance.
Given the lack of facility time, AGM was quorate for a limited amount of time during which we agreed the change of subscriptions rates as detailed in the members’ mail out on 29 October 2015. We would like to remind members to switch to Direct Debit as this is the only way to take advantage of the lower subscription rates that are effective from 1 January 2016.
In terms of motions, a number were passed during quorate time, however the AGM took the view that it was worthwhile debating additional motions on the order paper where indicative votes were taken. Those agreed in this manner will be taken to the November NEC for ratification.
Despite the obvious challenges for this year’s AGM, we hope members left feeling positive about Napo’s future, especially as the indicative vote on a motion suggesting merger with another trade union was resoundingly against. We are now finalising plans to visit as many workplaces as possible over the next few months to engage with our members in the biggest consultative exercise in Napo’s history as we explain our negotiating strategy and how we are working on your behalf, and how we must stick together to defend our members in the NPS/PBNI and Cafcass from the impact of the austerity agenda and for our members working in the CRC’s, the challenges posed by privatisation.
Have you switched to Direct Debit yet?
We were delighted to announce last week that members can now switch online to pay their subscriptions by direct debit. This facility is now live on the website www.napo.org.uk. This has taken a little while to achieve due to the legal strictures of the Bank Automated Credit System (BACS) and we would especially like to thank the staff at Napo who have been progressing this. An on line system will make it significantly easier for members to make the switch and not only would we encourage people to do so, but it also makes the recruitment of new members a lot easier for branches. We cannot stress enough how important it is for Napo to ensure that existing members make the switch but also to help us grow as a union. We are asking all our members, whether you are an activist or not, to engage with your work colleagues about why you are in Napo and encourage them to join as well. They can now do it online via the Napo website or as before through your local membership Secretary.
This is a major development for Napo members and new members and our subscription rates from 1st January (especially after Tax relief is claimed), makes our subscription rates very competitive.
At a time when the Government is seeking to weaken the union movement by way of further legislation, it is as important as it has ever been to have the protection of a trade union behind you. We believe that Napo is the logical choice
Chris Winters, National Co-Chair
Yvonne Pattison, National Co-Chair
Ian Lawrence, General Secretary