Here's the latest blog from the Napo General Secretary. I don't usually comment, but I think most politicians would say they can recognise spin when they see it:-
News from the NEC
This week’s meeting of your National Executive Committee saw a number of important decisions which means we can all go into the bank holidays with some good news for members.
Following some excellent earlier work by the Finance-Sub Committee and the tenacious efforts of our Finance Official Theresa Boorman, the NEC were able to approve Napo's budget profile for 2016. It's no secret that the numbers of staff who have left the probation service in the last 18 months has had an impact on our membership density and income but this is a pattern that has impacted on nearly every trade union in the UK especially given this Governments austerity agenda.
Additionally, we have had to cope from scratch with the huge challenge of the cessation of 'Check Off' (Union subs deducted from pay) which as I have said before, is quite simply a move to spread disaffection amongst members about their trade union at a time when you are all too often facing the direct consequences of a disastrous privatisation exercise, increased pressures at work and government pay freezes.
The good news is that this obvious attempt to weaken us or send Napo into a terminal tailspin is palpably failing. I, as well as other colleagues who are out there engaging with members, have been encouraged with the feedback we have received about how our genuine efforts to try and assist you are appreciated. The NEC also heard that we have recently signed another 150 new members on top of the 400 I reported a few weeks back, and that we are seeing a steady increase in the numbers of Napo members making the still very important switch to Direct Debit (click here You Tube video) and benefit from the cheaper subscriptions that are on offer.
Obviously we are not out of the woods yet and that's why it's vital that existing members and those who are thinking of coming back to us, as well as potential new joiners, are urged to make that switch or join us today. In order to maintain and strengthen our efforts to help our members in the NPS/ CRCs/PBNI and CAFCASS who are facing a multitude of difficulties and in some cases potential redundancies, we need the financial resources to provide the levels of service that you and your elected leaders expect.
Napo to launch a new membership services package
It's some years since Napo launched additional services to members beyond the traditional, and although we were able to add the excellent credit union facility at AGM last year, the current portfolio is looking a little tired and in need of some refreshment.
The NEC wisely approved a fully costed proposal to launch a new and highly attractive package of exclusive benefits for Napo members following an update on the successful negotiations that have been taking place between Napo (in the form of Chris Pearson and myself), and Parliament Hill who are a specialist leading edge supplier of membership benefits to an impressive list of other trade unions and professional associations.
Essentially, this means that members will be able to easily link in from our website into a brand new member services portal that will be built for Napo by our new provider. This will bring a massive choice of offers ranging from top of the market home, travel and personal insurance, substantial discounts on purchases from leading supplier brands and health clubs as well as access to initial financial (and importantly, in what is a first for Napo members), personal pension advice. It will be seen that the analysis of the available discounts shows that members could easily cover the cost of their annual Napo membership.
I am already engaging with our existing providers to invite them to be part of this initiative and they will also have the opportunity to bring new things to the table. Meanwhile, let me make it clear to save the conspiracy theorists a fruitless search, that the NEC agreed that none of this will detract from our key objectives of trying to promote and protect the interests of our members at the work-place.
More news will follow on the expected formal launch once we have it.
Chivalry Road for sale?
After what was understandably a long and detailed debate the NEC approved a recommendation from the Officers Group to take the necessary steps to place our Chivalry Road premises on the market. As you would expect, this was an at times emotive discussion where all of the pros and cons as well as the serious rationale for Napo to seek to realise our asset within an optimum period in a favourable property climate were considered.
The NEC will be invited to send two representatives to join Staff and Officers on a working group who will ensure that all of the relevant information leading up to the final decision to sell the building (which itself will be subject to final NEC approval) is transparent and in the interests of our members.
The NEC also agreed that our imperative should be to reinvest the proceeds from a future sale into a purchase of new premises and that the working group should consider the possibilities for temporary relocation and possible future partners in terms of new premises in the medium to longer term, and where that might be in terms of the most suitable location.
At this juncture it's probably helpful to make it clear that the recommendation to move from our current location is driven by its unsuitability as a HQ base for Napo as a forward looking union, and not because we have to sell or that the idea is some sort of precursor towards merger with another union.
The accountability mechanism that has been established will mean that the project and the Agents that we will be appointing to act for us, will be properly managed and that we will be in a position to release information to the NEC and wider membership on a regular basis.
I hope that the foregoing gives yet another example of how your union has an eye on future devel-opments and is building for growth; a process which can be enhanced by our existing and prospective members sticking with us and helping to make us their union of choice.
More news about the NEC and other important developments that were on the agenda will be issued in due course.
Meanwhile have a great Easter.