Friday, 3 June 2016

Time For Change?

Seen recently on Facebook, an interesting exchange:-

"But nothing will change"

I'm not so sure but please say 'told you so' if I am wrong. What I can tell you is that I have spoken informally to a fair number of people who might be in positions (including the odd CEO and front bench politician, senior political analyst etc) to change or indeed heavily influence the way things are currently organised. There appears to be a growing realisation in different quarters that Grayling's overly ambitious plans (that were not carefully prepared or considered) should have been formally curtailed and reined in to a greater extent than they were. 

When the proverbial hits the fan (a high profile offence etc) then that may well be the time that you will see some major policy reversals (dressed up as decisive action to address organisational weaknesses) and resulting organisational changes (a lot depends on the political climate and perceived damage to political careers and election prospects). This may result in short term chaos but we may find ourselves reunited a little more than at present. 

There are politicians looking for a smarter way out that saves face and doesn't cost too much and actually delivers something that might work for us too. There is also now some degree of genuine agreement across the political spectrum that hasn't previously existed (and this is important) and a narrative that probation was an ideologically driven privatisation too far - on a par with privatising the police or fire service (who need to be held responsible if matters go wrong) - and that there was no discernible benefit to be derived but quite a lot of risk created for virtually all MPs of the party responsible. 

There is also the faint but growing whiff of funny handshakes/back room dealing surrounding the bidding process which could well prove to be as devastating to corporate interests - in terms of reputational damage and lost contracts - as the Serco G4S Tagging Scandal which incidentally has not finished as the Serious Fraud Office are still investigating. Anyone with information that might assist would be failing in their duty as a citizen not to assist them. So I would not be overly pessimistic as TR may well become a significant battleground in a much larger war that could potentially lead to a change in government. Watch this space.

David A Raho


The probation service has been described as the oil on the wheels and the glue that keeps the whole criminal justice system together. When Grayling started dismantling and selling off the probation service like it was a used car in need of repair and could be run with little investment or maintenance on the cheap to any company who showed any interest, we knew that not only the probation service was doomed to inefficiency and chaos (let's remember it was previously a comparatively well run and award winning service) but the entire criminal justice system, including devastating impacts on the needs of victims and witnesses in trials. 

Politicians need to listen to the majority of experts and advisors (not just those who sit in right wing think tank bubbles) and realise that you can't run justice like a business. MPs were warned and many of them foolishly voted for Grayling's 'reforms' paving the way for this catastrophe, only to later realise their mistakes and appear not to have been part of the problem. Perhaps they should now be named and shamed for their stupidity and people like the Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP seriously questioned about their previous incompetence in office. 

In the wake of recent developments there should be a full independent inquiry into the state of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and I would certainly like to see Napo campaigning for one. [Just to clarify Yes I am calling on Napo to initiate a campaign for a full public inquiry. Yes I would be prepared to meet with politicians including Jeremy and Sadiq who are friends of Napo London Branch to help make this happen.]

David A Raho


All this reminds me that Napo members have the opportunity of considering who they might like to lead their union. I understand there will be a chance to voice a view in relation to the General Secretary next year.

BR 25/2016

23 May 2016
To: Branch Chairs, Vice-Chairs, Secretaries & Convenors
Family Court SEC
Cc: NEC Representatives

Dear Colleague,

Nominations for Napo Officers 2016-2018
Nominations for Black Representatives to NEC 2016-18
Nominations for Steering Committee 2017-2020

Nominations are sought for the following Officer posts to take effect from AGM in October 2016:- 

  • Chair 
  • Two Vice-Chair (Probation) 
All posts receive 50% facility time.

Black Representatives to the NEC
Nominations are also sought for two Black Representatives to the NEC, at least one of whom must be a woman. There is no facility time for these posts.

Steering Committee
This Committee is responsible for the ordering of business at General Meetings.
Nominations are invited for the 2 vacancies which occur this year - those elected will serve for three years, the posts taking effect from January 2017.

Branches/Family Court Section may make one nomination only.
There is no facility time for these posts.


Section 9 of the Constitution contains the detail of the arrangements for Officers and is attached as Appendix 1 on page 4 of this paper.

At the 2014 SGM, the Constitution was amended with the effect of extending the terms of office for black representatives from one to two years and for no more than four years in succession. Section 16 contains the detail of these arrangements and is attached as Appendix 2 on page 5 of this paper.

Section 13d of the Constitution contains the details of the arrangements for Steering Committee and is attached as Appendix 3 on page 6 of this paper.

Nomination Process

Attached are the forms for completion by branches and candidates for election. The closing date for nominations is noon on Wednesday 29 June 2016. If an election is necessary there will be a postal ballot of all full members and the results of the election will be available by late August.

Candidates for election of Officers and NEC Black Representatives must be full members of the Association as per Clause 4a(i) and must be nominated by branches. Candidates for election for Steering Committee do not need to be full members.

Branch officers must complete and forward the attached form BR 25a/2016 so that the form is in the hands of the General Secretary (see procedural checklist and forms for details to email/fax/post) no later than noon on Wednesday 29 June 2016. Candidates must also forward their written consent by the same date using the attached form BR 25b/2016.

If a ballot is required we will circulate a statement to members from each candidate (see BR 25b/2016). Statements from candidates contain two sections:

Section (a) should cover career details, Napo/staff associations/other union roles and posts held. This section should provide only factual information.
Section (b) should include the aims and views that candidates wish to communicate, addressing Napo's objects as far as possible.
Please ensure that Section (b) is no more than 250 words in length. If this section exceeds 250 words it will be edited without consultation.

Candidates are required to sign a statement verifying the information they have provided (see BR 25b/2016) and should also complete and return Napo’s Monitoring Form, which is attached to BR 25b/2016.

Napo will be appointing Electoral Reform Services to act as Independent Scrutineer if an election is necessary.

Yours sincerely

General Secretary



Nominating Branches must:-

1. Ensure branch members are aware of date of branch meeting at which the vote will be taken on nominations.

2. If any nominations are endorsed, complete and return branch nomination form (BR 25a/2016 attached) by stated deadline.

3. Supply nominated candidates with a copy of both the candidate’s declaration/statement form (BR 25b/2016 attached) and Napo’s monitoring form (attached).

4. Ensure that candidates know of their responsibility for completing and returning the candidate’s forms and are aware of the deadline for return of these forms to Napo head office.

5. Forms can be posted to head office or faxed (020 7095 0963) or emailed to

NB: The branch is responsible for returning to Napo head office the branch endorsement of all nominations (BR 25a/2016) by the deadline, noon on Wednesday 29 June 2016.

Candidates seeking nomination must:-

1. Ensure branch officers know of your wish to stand in time for a vote to be taken on the nomination at a branch meeting prior to the nomination deadline.

2. If successful in the branch ballot, obtain from branch officers the candidate’s forms (BR 25b/2016) with monitoring form attached, and return the completed forms by the stated deadline.

3. Note that Section (a) of the election statement should be only a factual statement of career details giving roles and posts held in Napo/staff associations/other unions.

4. Note that Section (b) of the election statement must not exceed 250 words. If this section exceeds 250 words it will be edited without consultation.

5. Ensure that the branch has the personal details required to enable branch officers to complete the branch nomination form for Napo head office.

6. Forms can be posted to head office or faxed (020 7095 0963) or emailed to

NB: The candidate is responsible for returning to Napo head office the completed candidate’s declaration/statement form (BR 25b/2016) together with Napo’s monitoring form by the deadline, noon on Wednesday 29 June 2016.

Appendix 1

9. Officers

(a) The officers of the Association shall be full members of the Association as per Clause 4(a)(i) and consist of the Chair and five Vice-Chairs; of the five Vice-Chairs one will be an employee of Cafcass.

(b) The officers shall be elected by a secret ballot of full members, to be held at a convenient time prior to the AGM. They shall take office at the AGM following the election. They shall hold office until the AGM two years after they took office. They shall be eligible for re-election. The Chair and Vice-Chairs may serve a maximum of two terms (four years) successively in the same office.

(c) Candidates for election as an officer shall be nominated in writing by branches with the consent of the nominee. Nominations shall be delivered to the General Secretary not less than three calendar months before the date of the AGM.

(d) Should an officer for any reason cease to hold the office to which she or he has been elected before the period of office expires, the NEC shall be empowered to fill the vacancy by:

(i) the appointment of an acting Chair or Vice-Chair, or;

(ii) inviting nominations for the vacant post and conducting an election by secret ballot of all full members.

(e) An officer acting or elected in accordance with clause 9(d) shall serve until the completion of the term originally to be served by the officer they have replaced. The period of office shall be deemed to be a full term if it exceeds twelve months; any shorter period shall be disregarded for the purposes of clause 9(b).

(f) The Chair shall preside at General Meetings and NEC meetings at which she or he is present. The Chair shall have discretion to invite a Vice-Chair to preside.

(g) The officers shall have the power to act between meetings of the NEC in the interests of the Association. They shall report to the next meeting of the NEC on all such actions and decisions taken.

(h) The officers shall act as employers on behalf of the NEC. They shall report to the next NEC on all such actions and decisions taken.

(i) The officers shall act as trustees on behalf of the Association in accordance with Section 10. They shall report to the next NEC on all such actions and decisions taken.

Appendix 2 

16. National Executive Committee

(a) The National Executive Committee shall have responsibility for the furtherance of the objects of the Association. It shall carry out the policy of the Association as determined by General Meetings. It shall also have power to act on behalf of the Association and to formulate interim policy between General Meetings. It shall transact and oversee the general business of the Association and have responsibility for its financial affairs. It shall report to the next AGM upon all actions and decisions taken during the year.

(b) The NEC shall consist of the Chair, Vice-Chairs, a representative of each branch of the Association and two black members elected in accordance with clause 16(c).

(c) The Association will elect bi-annually by secret ballot two black representatives to the NEC. Where two people are elected at least one shall be a woman. Neither may hold the post for more than four years in succession. Candidates for election as a black representative to the NEC shall be nominated in writing by branches with the consent of the nominee. Nominations shall be delivered to the General Secretary not less than three calendar months before the date of the AGM.

(e) Except as otherwise provided for in this constitution every member of the NEC shall have power to vote at its meetings as follows: the Chair, Vice-Chairs, Treasurer and black representatives elected in accordance with clause 16(c) shall each have one vote; each branch representative shall have one vote for each 50 full members or part thereof in the branch.

NB: The NEC meets in London on five occasions throughout the year unless otherwise agreed.

Appendix 3

13. General Meetings – 13(d) Steering Committee

(d) There shall be a Steering Committee for General Meetings comprising six members who shall serve for three years, two retiring each year. Vacancies shall be filled annually from branch nominees elected by a secret ballot of full members. Retiring members of the committee shall be eligible for re-election. A maximum of three men may be elected to the committee. The NEC shall fill any casual vacancies by appointment for the remainder of that term. The General Secretary, the Chair and the immediate past Chair shall be members of the Steering Committee ex-officio. The immediate past Chair shall remain a member until the AGM following that at which she or he ceases to hold office.


  1. From BBC website:-

    Failure to deport 13,000 foreign criminals - equivalent to a "small town" - will lead people to "question the point" of the UK remaining in the EU, the Home Affairs Committee says.
    It was "deeply concerning" that 5,789 overseas criminals were free in the UK, more than anytime since 2012, MPs said.
    The top three nationalities among the offenders were Polish, Irish and Romanian - all EU nations - they said.

    The Home Office said it deported record numbers of EU criminals last year. However, the cross-party committee said progress has been "too slow".

    The total number of foreign national offenders currently in the UK - both in detention and living in the community - was over 13,000, or "the size of a small town", it said. MPs criticised the Home Office for consistently failing to remove convicts, despite their home nations being part of the 28-member bloc. Polish criminals accounted for 983 offenders, while 764 were from Ireland, and 635 from Romania, their report said.

    The issue would undermine the public's confidence in the UK's immigration system, and faith in Britain's EU membership, they warned. "The clear inefficiencies demonstrated by this process will lead the public to question the point of the UK remaining a member of the EU," the report said.

    Home Secretary Theresa May was "unconvincing in suggesting that remaining a member of the EU will make it easier to remove these individuals from the UK", it said. They called on the government to take urgent action to "significantly" reduce the 13,000 overall number of foreign convicts in the country.

  2. And given the various investigations into Tory election fraud we may well have a general election sooner rather than later if a load of Tory MP's end up being prosecuted and by elections forced which leads to the slim Tory majority vanishing (won't that be fun supervising the disgraced MP's and making them do offender behaviour work??) so maybe probation should start getting Labour on board to undo Grayling's damage

    1. You'd find pleasure in 'making' someone do Offending Behavioyr Programmes? Unedifying stuff.

  3. Oh not David Raho again! The last time he was here he was promoting electronic tagging, which we now know is Theresa May's pet CJS project to get rid of probation.

    1. What an ill informed comment. David Raho has tried to encourage a reasoned argument about tagging and has suggested that it might be better to bring it under probations umbrella (however distasteful this might at first appear to oldtimers) than leave it to the private sector to profit from and exclude probation from unlike our EU neighbours. This is a view shared by many experts.

  4. Have I missed something?, for the two Black Representatives to the NEC, why must at least one be a woman? It's not as if women are underrepresented in probation!

  5. The starting point for 'putting probation back together' is getting London Mayor Sadiq Khan to express his views on it. Do that and the ball will start rolling!

    1. Seems more interested in sharing platform with dodgy Dave. Not wasted much time becoming one of the boys.

  6. I would like to think that David Raho is right, and I will happily admit that he has better contacts than I do (I have none at all, so it's not exactly difficult to be better connected than me) - but I see precious little evidence of any current Tory politician even contemplating the possibility of such a concept as "privatisation gone too far". I think the recent think tank report that suggested breaking up the NPS and giving that work to CRCs as the direction of travel that they are most interested in.

    I hope that I am wrong on this - and I am also fervently hoping that I am wrong when I say that the forces ranged against Jeremy Corbyn are such (even The Guardian appears to hate him, FFS) that I don't see a change of government in the offing, either.

    Mind you, it's now less than three weeks until the start of some very public recriminations about the referendum vote, whatever the result - and at least it'll be enjoyable watching the Tories try to decide whether their love for power is greater than their loathing for differing views over Europe.

    1. Whilst I agree it is utterly wrong for a nation State to privatise almost any aspect of its criminal justice provision, I nonetheless believe that the bigger problem with the Transforming Rehabilitation programme is the split of probation, although the method of privatisation seems to have made matters worse I do not believe the fact of privatisation itself make the operation of probation practices impossible.

      There is also a major problem with the centralised Ministerial governance, rather than local democratic oversight. Probation was never completely democratically managed at a local level, because the initial control remained with the State appointed Justices of the Peace, no doubt because they remained in charge of the Magistrates Courts beyond the late 19th century introduction of democratic local authorities, who were at one time required to pay - I think - at least 80% of the cost of probation.

  7. Martin Bullivant3 June 2016 at 12:25

    Andrew I don't agree re: privatisation. I am no enemy of private enterprise, and indeed private firms can often run a public service (e.g. utilities, waste management) but Some things are inherently inappropriate for the private sector to run. The armed forces would be an example, also police, and Courts. Probation sits firmly with Police and Courts. I argue that this is primarily an requirement for essential public neutrality but also (at a lesser level) avoidance of undue attention being paid to dividends and shareholders rather than service delivery objectives.

    1. I sometimes get the impression that our detractors think we are hot headed Marxists, which for the most part is plainly wrong, your point Martin is one I strongly subscribe to.

    2. Sorry Martin Bullivant - I did not make myself clear - I completely agree with you, that probation, for the reasons you state, and more is totally unsuited for private ownership.

      The point I was trying to make was that the Split as part of Transforming Rehabilitation was EVEN worse than the privatisation and it is best not given less attention than the subsequent privatisation.

      I am not explaining myself well, maybe another commenter will clarify more succinctly and explain why the split is in the long run probably the worst aspect of the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme that was instituted by Lord McNally and Chris Grayling.

  8. How am i supposed to function and retain my morale when everything seems to be crumbling around me? Sitting in increasingly empty offices that are echoing because so many staff have been given the boot over the past 6 months.( CRC) what is left of our small team are soon moving out of entirely suitable offices to save private company money. No idea where we are going or what to tell the service users! Too busy doing oasys and breaches to respond to service users as i used to. Starting to harden and go into self protection mode. Still priotitise the higher risk and service users who are motivated and really want to change but really flagging now and exaustion is taking over. Can't see how i can do same quality of work with the cuts we are facing! is it just me?

    1. Don't know whether you will ever get to read this. Hope so. It certainly isn't just you. Thank you for this candid and heartfelt share. Words are easy I know but, there are many out here that do care and daily think, pray and indeed take steps to share concerns/experiences to a wider audience. Having retired early I can relate to some of what you have shared and know how difficult it is to stay strong and positive when facing so much adversity. However, as I often say @iangould5 you owe it to yourself and those that you work alongside to be very KIND to yourself and just do the best that you can. That's ALL anybody can reasonably ask. Stay true to your values and beliefs and acknowledge that it was not you that created this situation. You are taking positive steps and prioritising what you can do and Yes everyone will understand that a degree of self preservation is essential to survive. I do hope that you are able to get support from you Manager and that you continue to find ways that reduce the impact of all these changes on your health and well-being. Including, being kind to yourself. Today is Sunday and off shortly to church alongside ALL things Probation you will be in MY thoughts and Prayers Simple words I know but take great care 19.02

  9. Chris Grayling is in Folkestone next week 9/6/16 on question time to book tickets 03301239988. Questions have to relate to the EU referendum.I'm sure someone would be clever enough to link a question about the decimation of the probation service and the future of public services if we leave the EU.

  10. Don't worry folks - the EU referendum will put Dodgy Dave & Gorgeous George out of office, the Tory election fraud will generate by elections, the Other Milliband will be parachuted in by Labour to usurp Corbyn, Labour will win the early General Election, winter will end in Narnia and the world will return to normal.