… there has been a tsunami of coverage in the press reporting on the sorry state of affairs in prisons and probation. There is so little satisfaction to be had from mouthing "We told you so" when every day sees valued and valuable colleagues leaving on crappy terms. How absolutely depressing that this argument is being wrung out in the language of the market, in the disgruntlement of investors and shareholders. "The market" will be the final arbiter in this tragedy, and the privatisation model will crash and burn, but while I will welcome the demise of the Grayling experiment, I mourn the personal cost to so many.
For many probation people, the feeling is that it’s all over, and in some ways it is, with a sense of nostalgia amongst the activists who fought the fight. But when we were told to “get over it” we didn’t. The predicted acceptance phase of our bereavement/change hasn’t happened. And that is because we are right. This -TR- is wrong, it doesn’t work, it’s a mess. So here we are a year on, decimated and demoralised. And yet: and yet, maybe this isn’t the end of the road. Inevitably after the event, the establishment is waking up to the mess of Grayling’s creation. And yet, and yet, there may be fight still left in us.
We have Probation to fight for: a crucial public institution that will never have the kudos of the NHS, but which enshrines all that is good about the UK, and which serves the public by protecting it from harm, and embracing those of its members who fall through the cracks. If reminded forcibly, the minister and the government will recognise the urgency of the situation.
Which brings me to the blog of the General Secretary of my Union NAPO.
“We have also been notified of the following Early Day Motion (EDM) which, if it secures enough signatories, will force a full Parliamentary debate. This means that some pressure on your constituency MP to support the EDM would be very timely.”
I will leave you to google the blog and the details of the motion. The nub of it is that our General Secretary is to speak to the Justice Select Committee on 1st November. That it in itself speaks volumes. Then there is a proposed Early Day Motion which will need the signatures of MPs to go ahead. This: the committee, early day motions, is where stuff happens. So my message is
Write to your MP now. You can find them at http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/contacting-your-mp/
The motion (which is wordy) ends “urgently calls on the Government to rescind the CRC contracts immediately and launch a review into the Transforming Rehabilitation Agenda and its impact on offenders, victims, the public and staff."
Do your bit. Write to your MP, and just say it like it is. You don’t need to research or be an expert in policy or legislation. You don’t need to be a member of a Union (much as I recommend it) Just say it like it is for you, and that this (TR) absolutely must be reviewed.