Monday, 11 April 2016

Trouble at Napo 2

TO: NAPO MEMBERS

LETTER OF COMPLAINT

We have today written to Yvonne Pattison and Chris Winters, National Co-Chairs. Here is what we said:

Dear Yvonne and Chris,

We write to you, on behalf of London Branch, to complain about a number of incidents that have happened in recent months.

We are very concerned to hear that several members of our branch made a complaint of Anti-Semitism to you last October after the National AGM. To the best of our knowledge they have yet to receive any sort of reply.

Following the resignation of both our NEC Representatives in November 2015 there was extensive correspondence between the Branch Chair and National Officers and Officials. We were very concerned as to how the branch could continue to be represented on the NEC given that we no longer have the power to conduct an election for these posts. After two months we were advised that the process had to be conducted nationally but, in the event of an election, the branch would have to bear the cost.

We were advised that, by the deadline set, only one nomination had been received at National Office and that person was duly appointed as London Branch’s NEC Representative.

Following that appointment there was correspondence between the Branch Chair and National Officers and Officials requesting clarification of the status of any observers we might wish to send to the next meeting of the NEC. It was confirmed that we would be able to send an observer and that they would be able to speak with the permission of the Chair. On 18th February the request of our Branch Chair to attend the NEC meeting on 22nd March was noted and accepted.

On the afternoon of Friday 18th March our Branch Chair was notified by email that she would not be granted permission to speak. Unfortunately, due to moving office premises, none of us had access to computers. National Office had been made aware previously that the Branch Officers were engaged in an office move.

We were dismayed and extremely disappointed when we heard that our Branch Chair, who attended the meeting in good faith, was publicly denied permission to speak especially as no mention had been made of this to her during the hour and half that the meeting was inquorate.


Although reference was made to the Standing Order 1(g) “that they shall not take part in the meeting” we are of the opinion that our Branch Chair could have been allowed to speak under 1(f) by which “the NEC may invite a representative of each of its Committees or any other persons to attend particular meetings of the NEC”. Nowhere does it state that they would not be allowed to speak.

Not only was this whole episode handled very badly but, by denying our Branch Chair permission to speak, she was unable to address the proposed Budget for the coming financial year and the impact that it would have on this branch. As our one representative had not been fully briefed on this matter (in the expectation that the Branch Chair would be allowed to speak) we feel that this branch was not assisted in participating fully in the deliberations of the NEC.

We are also concerned that at the NEC meeting in November the Chair of Steering Committee was asked to prepare a report for this meeting about issues arising from the 2015 AGM. This was to include issues arising from the handling of the Annual Report. Our Branch Chair had been in correspondence with the National Chair since 2014 about this issue and the extent to which it might conflict with the ballot for motions. It appeared that the Steering Committee Chair had only been asked to report on matters of quoracy. In any event, due to lack of time, the report from the Chair of the Steering Committee was not reached and therefore not discussed.

It is our understanding that, due to the mismanagement and chairing of the NEC, important matters such as the Finance Report were not discussed properly and, in our opinion, were rushed through. This is of particular concern to us as the current Treasurer has not responded to emails from our Branch Chair since December when she asked about the future financial implications for this Branch.

We trust that you will share this correspondence with all the other National Officers and Officials, and the other members of the National Executive Committee.

We shall be sharing this correspondence with members of London Branch.

London Branch Officers

48 comments:

  1. Perhaps Napo HQ would also like London Branch officers to cover their heads and walk 5 paces behind?

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    1. ...All the easier then to shoot someone in the back!

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    2. What are typically stupid insular probation comment

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  2. Who cares about London NAPO Branch? Typical cockneys thinking the world revolves around them.

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    1. Clearly NAPO HQ do not care enough about their biggest most influential branch but it is clearly self-defeating of them to act in the way that they have done as outlined in this complaint. Regular contributors to this blog often call for NAPO HQ to be held to account and London Branch has clearly been trying to do so and it is refreshing to see that they are keeping London members informed. It is a disgrace that they have treated an elected branch chair in this way whoever they are. To give her her due London's chair is fearless in challenging those who are effectively the employers of the paid officials. This is what needs to happen more not less and London's chair deserves to be heard by national officers who frankly did not know their own constitution as well as London's chair does. Anyone is free to have a pop at London Branch for being Londoners and stereotype them or in the case mentioned make deeply offensive and personal comments about a persons culture or race. However this is not right or justifiable.

      London Branch Officers are fairly representative of members in London and the fact is it remains a strong branch with a capable and experienced leadership team. There is even talk of London going it alone and forming LAPO.

      NAPO started in what is now a London borough and it may well end there too. Good luck with National negotiations if London are not part of the process then there will be a huge loss of credibility that can only be filled by someone from London branch pitching up.

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    2. You are the biggest branch by default because you have a larger pool to choose from. It makes you no more valuable or superior than the rest of us

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  3. Its not about London, its about the incompetence and mismanagement of Napo. No point in making this personal its unhelpful and misses the point.

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    1. It's all about Pat tho isn't it. I was at that AGM and happened to overhear a member of London verbally abusing Chris and being very aggressive towards her. he had to be removed from the building. They are her members , London is her branch, and woebetide anyone who challenges her authority,.

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  4. Shocking and disgusting disregard for fellow union members. That's nailed it for me... NAPO is no longer my union. I'm withdrawing my membership as this shows up that fundamental collective unity is not a NAPO value. Shameful comment.

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  5. This sounds a bit of london branch moaning and essentially just not being prepared. An observer is just that, they observe, and it's naive to assume they would/should have been given permission to speak. Better to take this as a lesson learnt, than making a public moan about 'poor me'!

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    1. My first thoughts too and not surprised either to see Antisemitism in the mix. When London Branch under its current leadership don't get what they want they have tantrums.

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    2. It is no secret that the present leadership of Napo London will change in July when the current chair comes to the end of her term. Napo London will no longer have a single leader. This is not an unusual situation in London as London used to consist of a number of probation services and each had a Napo Branch with its own chair etc. Some are still getting used to that change.

      In July the structure of Napo London will be effectively mirrored between CRC and NPS with respective chairs taking care of business in their respective organisations whilst pooling expertise. It is anticipated that the new chairs and their organisation specific teams, whoever they are, will work together for the good of all Napo members in London.
      I for one am quite optimistic that when fully populated this structure will work well for members wherever they happen to work and whoever they happen to work for.

      I am sorry to say that I have personally witnessed fellow Napo members expressing what might well be interpreted as anti-semitic views who were in disagreement with Pat Waterman, or some other members of London Branch. This is hurtful to all parties including those who are then accused of anti-semitism who may well feel they are justified in expressing their views as they were acting to defend those they consider to have been oppressed. This then results in residual anger and resentment that appears difficult to resolve particularly as all persons involved tend to be entrenched in their own positions and won't agree to disagree and argue without recourse to personal attacks etc. It is unfortunate when disagreements then find their expression more widely and are then misunderstood and misrepresented.

      I have previously expressed the view elsewhere that I feel that the priority for affiliations should be to probation related organisations in the first instance (Napo is still not a member of CEP !!!)to ensure Napo maintains its position as a professional association and then it is right to consider other trade union led organisations and federations. Members are of course free to pursue any other interests independently including human rights and other organisations and they might also consider doing so via the TUC who organise some excellent events that I have certainly enjoyed at my own expense. However, some continue to believe that they are entirely justified in spending much of the precious time available in branch meetings AGMs etc trying to sort out the middle east when there are some very pressing issues closer to home that need some attention and energy too but all too often struggle to get heard.

      It is especially important when times are tough that we hold on to the kinds of values that a lot of probation staff still hold linked to notions of decarceration (of all but the most serious and dangerous offenders) diversity, restorative justice, ideas of desistance and community safety. In my opinion if we treat each other with fairness and respect we can't go far wrong.

      Furthermore, I have always been of the opinion that trade union meetings should be safe and inclusive enough for a broad range of political and other views to be expressed relatively dispassionately without causing deliberate hurt and/or offense to others or for anyone to dominate the time available during proceedings despite the intervention of a chair. It is seriously worrying if there are complaints from any member of a union about their freedom to speak or express views particularly if their contribution may be of assistance to those elected to represent members or concerning matters that should be properly addressed.

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    3. Long winded rubbish as usual for Mr Raho. Your chair started this complaint referring to anti-semitism which otherwise needed not to be mentioned as had nothing to do with the matter at hand. What London Napo is past, present or future is irrelevant to the issue. If she wasn't permitted to speak as an observer then rules are rules, get over it already.

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    4. Plenty of observers have been permitted to speak previously. PW followed procedure and this was confirmed in advance. NAPO HQ were advised London branch were moving office and would not be able to read mails. They decided the best way of communicating urgently that they had changed their mind was by emailing to a mailbox they had been informed would not be accessed until after the meeting. The rules allow for observers that have previously sought permission to speak. Right back you and go figure good buddy.

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    5. 12:24 Mr Raho is one of the good guys at Napo so whilst I'll grant you he can be long winded what he says is not rubbish and usually proves to be well informed regarding London. At least he has the guts to post on here without hiding unlike cloak and dagger merchants like us.

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    6. It is rubbish, 6 paragraphs of nothing, and nothing to do with "guts"!!

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    7. Excellent rubbishing 23:11 Of course you had to read it all carefully and count the paragraphs twice. Please share with us how many words there are as well to add weight to your rubbishing. It is we of course who are rubbish hiding behind our anonymity and calling people who don't rubbish whilst only contributing rubbish and rubbish arguments. You and I are just a pair of angry gits rubbishing everyone including those who say its all rubbish. We just need to calm down have our cocoa and call it a night as the effort of rubbishing is quite tiring. So it's rubbish from him and rubbish from me. Good rubbishing.

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  6. As previously recommended, please think about joining Prospect. It's a very effective union.

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    1. I'm interested especially if Napo are at risk of losing negotiating rights How much is it ? I've heard you can get a gift voucher if you recommend new joiners ?

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    2. "I've heard you can get a gift voucher if you recommend new joiners?"

      I don't believe I'm reading this FFS

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    3. Prospect do not have negotiation rights. Napo need to get the top table in order. Pat Waterman ruled London Branch with a rod of iron and it was her way and that's it. She didn't want to go but has to because her tenure is up, there are a lot of London Branch will be happy to see her go. How have London only just split into CRC and NPS when other branches across the Country have been operating like this for almost two years! And please don't tell me it's because of Pat.

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    4. London reorganised and the this was the blueprint HQ used to advise other branches. Pat remained as full time chair and I heard on the grapevine that she works for both NPS and CRC. Every leader has their faults but she was democratically elected and if you don't like the candidate then don't vote for them. I think she was elected as Chair twice and has served two terms in London so they must like her.

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    5. She was the only branch chair allowed to continue with 100% facility time everywhere else in the Country it was cut. She was the only rep allowed to rep CRC cases as an NPS member of staff. Other NPS reps take leave to do it as there are no reps left in some CRC branches. Pat's election on both occasions was fiercely fought. She has divided her branch not united them.

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  7. Mismanagement, sounds more like entrenched corruption the more that is revealed about NAPO.

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    1. 07:39 you give the game away , your comments encapsulates exactly why London Branch sent the letter. There is an attitude in some quarters of NAPO that to complain of anti Semitism is merely a tantrum not to be taken seriously.

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  8. Napo HQ are bullies and it shows whenever they're asked to think outside the box. Whatever the rules were clearly something was lost in translation and should have been explained or remedied better.

    What annoys me is the anti-semitism claim and this is where London branch lets itself down. I remember the complaint, something about Napo supporting Palestine over Isreal and Pat didn't like it because she's Jewish. Methinks as a beach chair she has to leave her personal views aside, as to not do so is really unprofessional. There was no need to bring it up here as its a separate issue but she did which shows the real underlying motive.

    On the issue of who Napo supports or not I think it would have been very wrong to support Isreal over Palestine especially since Isreal tends to massacre many civilians and children for each IDF soldier killed. Nonetheless, unions need realise it's not 1970 any more, Che Guevara is long dead, and Cuba is now embracing the USA. Our union needs to keep its focus and funds on probation and related issues in the UK.

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  9. Probation Officer12 April 2016 at 14:01

    London's HMP Wormwood Scrubs is in the news again. As usual, Napo HQ and London Napo fail to use the opportunity to speak about the impact of government policy on prisons and probation. Instead Napo is silent, it's press officer Tania Basset is nowhere to be seen and the rest of the highly-strung personalities are bickering about the middle-east and "me, me, me"!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36016173

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    1. Wormwood Scrubs prison is rat-infested and overcrowded, with some prisoners too frightened to leave their cells, inspectors have said.

      A report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons found safety at the prison had deteriorated since a previous probe raised serious concerns. The jail had "levels of Dickensian squalor", the Prison Reform Trust said.
      The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) said the prison had "moved forward" since the inspection.
      HM Inspectorate of Prisons' report was carried out between 30 November and 4 December 2015. It was an announced inspection - which is unusual, the inspector said.

      Two inmates at the west London jail who were deemed to be at risk of suicide or self-harm were found to be in cells in which jagged glass remained in a broken window. Some prisoners used a torn sheet as a makeshift toilet screen, while others stuffed paper in to broken windows to "keep out the weather", the report found.

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    2. 15:02 As someone who has written regularly about probation as a journalist in national newspapers I can tell you that the media does not work like that. We know we can call on Napo as do all the major outlets and political journalists who have been provided with the contact details of both Napo HQ and Napo London both of whom are very professional in my experience. We all had the press release well in advance (a pre report summary) and had we wanted comment from a Napo spokeperson then this would have been arranged. Things do take a bit of setting up as the the MoJ NOMS and the NPS do not appreciate prison whistleblowers and Napo acts very responsibly with regard to its members. I think you are being a bit harsh on Napo who have actually been doing reasonably well with a story that is quite frankly of comparatively minor interest. I've brought probation items to the attention of editors and there is quite frankly too little of interest to run with. However, a trade union publicly self destructing may well capture the imagination of the right wing press who can smell blood at a great distance.

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    3. 23:18 if really a journalist why be anonymous here??

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    4. Judging by the disrespectful way any person who posts under their real name is treated on here by trolls I would say that the reason for preserving my identity is blatantly obvious. Treat people with a degree of common courtesy and they will no doubt be happy to contribute.

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  10. I certainly care about issues abroad and to some our problems here in the u.k may seem of little consequence. However, as a maingrade po this is my absolute priority. I am afraid to say that i would rather focus on addressing the needs of my service users and if i am to pay into a union i expect them to prioritise the needs and views of those paying thir subs and consider our concerns in relation to service users. We work with many vulnerable groups and the ongoing problems with homelessness, drugs and mental health provision as examples are real worries for us. We are also facing extinction as a profession. Who is going to fight for us and for the people we reprasent?

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    1. Not Napo or Unison !

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  11. NPS are in 28 day consultation. The end is nigh

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    1. Sorry to be particularly thick, but which end is nigh? What consultation? Thanks

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    2. The end of probation! We'll all be privatised.

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  12. Read E3 the writing is on the wall! The government wants the end of us. We are all time limited. The end is most assuredly nigh.

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    1. Reduced in size maybe, but not the end.

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    2. The consultation on the new operating model (E3) for the NPS may well have started yesterday but where is the detail? There is not that much different in what has been published now compared with the document sent out during the "engagement" phase. For staff in Approved Premises there is still scant detail on the staffing model and nothing about how rotas will change, which are arguably the things which will impact upon individuals the most.

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  13. There will be virtual admin hubs in the sky, pso court officers merrily churning out oral reports on dv and sex offence cases on the day while falling to their knees in gratitude for such a wonderful opportunity, and all dv and social services checks will miraculously materialise before cases are even heard. What a fucking nightmare as if it isn't bad enough already.

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    1. You can't blame PSO's for wanting a job. They may be naive but it's no different from PO's/SPO's merrily keeping the NPS afloat while falling to their knees in gratitude for such a wonderful opportunity!

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    2. It was a comment on how E3 is being sold to PSOs - as a 'wonderful opportunity' - whether we like it or not. None of us in the team I'm in like it or want it and are leaving because of it.

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    3. No different from how PO's get all bubbly and important feeling inside when they get to do a bit of the SPO's work, and SPO's when they get to do a bit of the ACO's work. I've not seen this PO exodus either but please do it quickly so I'm left with a job.

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    4. No, it's not a feeling of importance - this shit is being peddled as a FAKE opportunity. We don't want to do it. We are stressed and distressed. It is bullying.

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  14. NAPO has failed and continues to do so, along with Unison, the latter of which I expected no less. Despite the so called victory of EVS, every CRC has got away with paying a whole lot less than the so called negotiated protection. neither Napo or Unison will challenge this. They would claim members are not prepared to fight this but in reality it would seem that as each CRC have offered above the compulsory redundancy rate, there is no challenge to be made. CRC staff have not just be sold down the river, but down the waterfall into the bottom of the ocean. Seems our new NPS may follow. CRC culture now is put up, shut up or get out.

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  15. E3 is clearly a long term plan to replace qualified POs with super qualified PSOs whilst saving money and in doing so reduce the quality of the service.....but in terms of quality that went a long time ago so that won't be a problem the most amusing aspect of this us the way in which the whole thing has been embraced by managers who fail to see that their role will be one of the first to go in this less than brave new world

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  16. Yes, all part of the plan of destroying public service. PSOs won't be super qualified though. The training will be shabby and insufficient. We've been told capability will be applied. Bloody appalling. I feel sick about this.

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