Monday, 22 August 2016

London News 2

Thanks to the reader for sending me that London Napo email regarding facility time, amongst other things:-

Hi Members

Those of you who were at our well attended AGM on the 22nd July, will be aware that Pat Waterman and David Masterson came to the end of their two terms in office as Chair and CRC Vice Chair of the Branch respectively. David Masterson went back to the field full time as from the 31st July and Pat had her last day in the Napo Office at the end of last week.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your warm wishes and good luck messages.

I wish to thank Pat Waterman for the service she has given to this branch and for her contribution to NAPO as a whole. I wish her well for the future. To David Masterson, you know what I think, so will live in hope!!....We miss you!!

Members please note that my union role accounts for two and a half days facilities time per week, which is in keeping with the Cabinet Office guidelines. NPS Vice Chair, Terry Wilson also has a similar arrangement. We now have a vacancy for my previous role, which we hope to fill at the next branch meeting, as an expression of interest has been made.

Turning to the CRC, members will of course be concerned that a number of branch positions remains unfilled at this time, including CRC Chair and Vice Chair. It is vital that Napo members are represented in the CRC and therefore my priority task as NPS Co-Chair is to ensure that temporary arrangements are in place, until these vacancies can be filled. David Raho is currently the only Branch Officer on the CRC side, but as of the 4th August at 5.30pm he was informed by LondonCRC that he is no longer to be granted any facility time to carry out essential work on behalf of the branch and our CRC members. Regrettably as things currently stand LondonCRC have decided to "cease" the facility time arrangement they had with London Napo, pending a "review". With this new situation, it will be increasingly difficult to offer representation to members in the CRC, in all but the most urgent cases.

We are in discussions with National Napo to plan a way forward and to agree in principle, the nature of support with the CRC JNCC meetings with LondonCRC. It is important to note that Terry and I as NPS employees, cannot undertake CRC casework as LondonCRC is a private limited company. They will only allow their employees, who are members of Napo to be involved in any formal HR proceedings. However, it is important to note that a National Representative will be allocated to any case where there is a possible outcome of dismissal. So this is the position on the CRC side, but we will do our best to facilitate support to our CRC members.

In terms of RISE, Assistance General Secretary Dean Rogers, already covers the RISE JNC and will continue to offer support to our two NAPO representatives, Debbie Scotland and Judith Granata.

We would encourage any CRC member that is interested in applying for any of the vacant branch posts to speak to me or one of the Branch Officers or alternatively, write into Mail London Napo for further details.

Terry, David and I are planning a new recruitment strategy for London, in conjunction with National. We have some exciting plans, which we want to introduce over the next 12 months. More details will follow in due course. It’s clear that we need new active members across all staff grades and especially in the CRC. All offers of support are welcomed.

To NPS members who have not made the switch to Direct Debit, please do so as soon as possible. You can call the membership department at National Napo on 0207-223-4887 to make the switch over the phone.

Lastly, please do not forget to use your vote in the Ballot for National Chair and Vice Chairs (Probation) and Steering Committee. Electoral Reform Services (ERS) has been appointed as the Independent Scrutineer for the elections and is overseeing the ballot of all full members. If you have not received a ballot paper by now you should contact ERS directly on 020 8365 8909. The closing date for return of the ballot papers to ERS is 12.00 noon on Thursday 25th August.

Remember, there has never been a more important time to belong to NAPO. YOUR UNION NEEDS YOU!!!

Stronger together

Patricia Johnson           Terry Wilson           David Raho
NPS Co Chair               NPS Vice Chair      LondonCRC Health & Safety Convenor


  1. So cynical of London CRC to hold a review of facility time after abruptly cancelling it.

    Does anyone know the numbers of Napo members in the NPS and the CRCs? As its the membership that resources Napo, it would be useful to know the respective contributions from NPS and CRC members. Is it sustainable for Napo to seek to represent both halves of probation services or would it be time to look at Napo and Unison addressing the issue of recognition agreements? As CRC members are being informed that they can only expect support in 'urgent' cases (which I interpret as risk of dismissal situations), which is not what members were promised when they joined Napo, would it not be in their interests to draw on the wider and deeper resources of Unison?

  2. Napo could become very busy with CRC cases. The abrupt withdrawal of the facility time of the last London CRC rep standing and some recent moves at the top of the London CRC suggest something is about to kick off. There has been a tendency for the term 'gross misconduct' to be used from the outset of an enquiry no matter how serious or otherwise an issue appears at the start. The HR has been whittled down to the bare bones so any reasoned and professional perspective on a staff issue would now be ever more elusive. The term 'gross misconduct' would normally be an alarm bell alerting us to potential loss of job. So yes, if Napo can't do any more for CRC perhaps then time to look elsewhere. Might have to be a member of Unison for a set time before they will help. Worth looking into .

  3. Wondering if someone could enlighten me please?
    WHAT role, (or duty) if any, has the probation institute to play in any of this?
    As an outsider, I would assume that not only have they an obligation to professional standards and good working practices, but also an obligation to comparable standards and care of employees whether CRC or NPS?


    1. On Probation Institute: It has no duties in any statutory sense. It would have no role whatsoever in issues around facility time.

      The PI would see itself as a promoter of professional standards and ethics - but it does not takes sides and would not openly criticise CRC's HR practices. It is not an organisation that campaigns. As it has personnel that span the spectrum, including management figures from CRCs, it avoids controversies and is effectively all things to all men and women. If it was a parrot, it would be a dead one!

    2. Really useful then.

  4. This represents a massive fail for LondonCRC and their corporate overlords in MTCnovo. NAPO in London have effectively been keeping a lid on some systemic problems but they have probably reached crisis point and no longer care about the infernal mess they have made of probation in London. A healthy union with fair agreed facility time working in partnership with employers is a sign that things are going well and that they are a caring employer that takes employee representation seriously.Bosses at LondonCRC prove they are not interested in probation as a profession and prove they are nothing but a bunch of opportunistic Cowboys making cuts to ensure they get the money no matter how crap they are.

  5. Liz Truss has finally got to work. Ignore TR, ignore overcrowded prisons, ignore the lack of resources, ignore the lack of rehabilitation, ignore the gangs, the racial divides, and the and the racial hatred towards ethnic minorities, ignore the corrupt prison officers bringing in the drugs. Instead divert away from the problems by blame it all on Muslims and create our own little Guantanamo Bay inside each prison.

    1. Extremist prisoners who "seek to poison the minds of others" will be put in special units in English and Welsh jails, the government has said. Justice Secretary Liz Truss also set out plans for the removal of extremist books from prison libraries and stronger vetting of prison chaplains.

      But the Prison Reform Trust warned many jails had been hit by staff cuts. It comes after a report found there was "complacency" at the "growing problem" of Islamist extremism in jails. The review into extremism in prisons, led by former prison governor Ian Acheson and published on Monday, found:

      A "Muslim gang culture" and consequent violence, drug trafficking and criminality inspired or directed by these particular groups

      Extremist prisoners advocating support for the so-called Islamic State, and threats against staff, other inmates and prison chaplains

      "Charismatic" prisoners acting as self-styled "emirs" - a title sometimes used for Muslim leaders or military commanders - exerting a radicalising influence

      Aggressive encouragement of conversions to Islam, and attempts by extremist prisoners to engineer segregation by landing, wing, or prison
      Islamist radicals trying to get prison staff to leave during Friday prayers, attempts to prevent staff searches by claiming dress is religious, and an exploitation of staff concerns that they may be labelled racist

      Prisons in England and Wales were at present "very far from being effective" in tackling extremism in prisons, Mr Acheson said.

      In response to the report, Ms Truss said the prison system "cannot continue" to allow some inmates to "peddle poisonous ideology across the mainstream prison population". The government will implement eight of the report's 11 recommendations, including creating a "small number" of specialist units to separate the "most subversive extremists". A similar "jail within a jail" system has been used in the Netherlands to tackle radicalisation.

      Ms Truss accepted there was a "risk" extremists could become more influential when kept together, but said authorities must keep apart those who might collaborate together to create more problems. The government will "take steps to remove extremist and offensive literature from prisons", and strengthen the vetting system for prison chaplains. Inmates "behaving subversively or promoting beliefs that run counter to fundamental British values" will be removed from Friday prayers.

    2. That's going to have implications on having a bar of "white" Windsor soap and a copy of the "bible" when a prisoner gets 7 block.
      Grouping together of like minded people, in prison or not, is just a recipe for shot loads of problems.


    3. Presumably the CSC estate needs to be reorganised yet again? First it was the IRA, then those with undiagnosed/untreated mental illness, then DSPD... now we're back to accommodating 'extremist' prisoners. The Magic Roundabout has nothing on the UK Government's penal policies, regardless of hue.

    4. You make a very good point 18:48 and it really is one to be very concerned about.
      Segregation of people (like IRA prisoners) creates a political status. It brings with it cultural and religious definitions, that in turn brings things like dietary requirements, specific worship requirements, and all that goes with that such as showers before prayers, clothing requirements and a shed load of other things that you might think of.
      It gives status. Status that non radical prisoners will aspire to.
      It's no different to the cons you've heard say to you "I don't give a duck, send me back to dispersal".
      There'll be people serving years for drug offences, burglary, or wounding, who's never had a political thought, but crave the status they believe will come on the "unit".
      I'll thougt out, and counter productive.


    5. This is Liz Truss' headline moment, and you could see her lip quivering in anticipation when she announced it. And how will they even fill the unit?, will the admission criteria be based on beard length, praying or reading the Quran? They can't have empty units in every prison just in case Anjem Choudhary and other nut-jobs get transferred. To make it all seem purposeful they'll be full of prisoners that mostly don't need to be there, a comfort blanket for some while others will ride high on the notoriety. Islam is not a threat to the prison system nor have I heard of Muslim prisoners threatening national security. Even if there were hoards of dangerous Muslim prison gangs the worst thing to do would be to put them all in one place. If there was an increase in prisoners attending the chapel or a wave of prisoners converting to Christianity I doubt we'd be having the same discussion.

  6. Probation Officer22 August 2016 at 12:53

    This is Napo's problem not ours. Members are entitled to representation, and this has already been paid for by our monthly subs of over £20 per month each!! Napo will need to put its hand in its pocket to employ reps.

    1. Napo promise workplace representation if you have a problem, a problem, not an urgent, threat of dismissal problem. So, I agree if representation is not available locally, then the responsibility passes to Napo HQ, who in taking subscriptions are contracted to supply services. But I do think Napo post-TR is spread too thin and it needs to think about what is sustainable in the longer term.