Friday, 2 December 2016

Latest From Napo 127

Edited highlights from the General Secretary's latest blog post:-

Guardian responds positively to Napo Concerns

It was great news to see the initiative by the Guardian this week in seeking the views of the public as to their opinions on the current state of the probation service. We constantly send them our media releases and other information and it was good to see that they feel it’s an important enough subject to add to their online survey features.

We have separately mailed the link out to members to try and give it maximum promotion, and it is hoped that it can be recycled via social media links to wherever and whomever you can.

Meanwhile, we await more news from the Probation System Review which is taking an in depth look at the state of play in terms of operational performance within the CRC estate. At this stage it’s just speculation about what may emerge from the review but it seems likely that it will, like all these things, need to go through a number of hoops including final Ministerial sign off before we see something tangible appear in the public arena.

It’s an easy guess to say that it will have to start to address the lamentable track record of ‘Through the Gate’ provision; and the fact that the project managers were asked to obtain additional data to better inform their interim report to Sam Gyimah is significant, in that it looks as if the issue about the payment mechanisms being out of kilter with actual activity has been taken seriously at last.

But It’s doubtful that this will result in a miraculous cash injection for the CRCs, although it might mean them being asked to do things differently and maybe free up the availability of some of the resources that have already been set aside for payment by results which was not due to kick in until late 2017.

We will monitor progress and report further when we can.

I was at the House of Lords yesterday afternoon for a reception organised by the POA on safety in Prisons and hosted by the indefatigable Lord David Ramsbotham, who continues to be the scourge of officialdom, and who I had the pleasure of renewing acquaintance with at a keynote legal seminar on probation that I addressed alongside him just over a week ago.

It was clear after having spoken to a number of cross party politicians, members of the Justice Select Committee and the new Labour Shadow Secretary for Justice Yasmin Qureshi, that they have a pretty dim view of the great Transforming Rehabilitation experiment. We will be using all avenues to keep up the pressure against this background, and just a few minutes spent in completing the Guardian survey and/or contacting your constituency MP will certainly not be wasted.

Your NEC is back in business

A really positive and quorate meeting of Napo’s National Executive Committee took place earlier this week, where consideration was given to a host of big ticket issues including the sale (subject to contract) of Chivalry Road, our temporary relocation to new premises at nearby Falcon Road, Napo’s estimated budget for 2017, our developing recruitment strategy and a range of negotiating issues such as the future of the NNC, pay system reform, our operational plan for next year and the development of a strategy with other stakeholders to secure a Licence to Practice for Probation practitioners.

The NEC asked that I arrange to issue a more detailed note of what was discussed and I will be happy to do as soon as current pressures allow.

It is well worth mentioning how appreciative the Officers and Officials were of the collectivism and support shown by the NEC, and the seriousness with which they treated these and other issues.

It portends well, and it was another demonstration of the synergy and enthusiasm that has continued since we all came away from that fabulous AGM in Cardiff.


In other news, thanks to regular contributor 'getafix' for spotting this:-
Rise CIC Rising Star of the Year

RISE CIC has developed a culture of regular employee communications and consultation, establishing working groups as well as offering financial benefits and employee development to help employees in their role or gain promotion within the company as it grows. In its first 18 months the mutual, which delivers a range of programmes designed to facilitate change in behaviour for prisoners, has seen rapid growth which looks set to continue.

RISE Mutual CIC awarded Rising Star of the Year in UK EO awards

RISE Mutual Community Interest Company, headquartered in Camden is one of five winner at the UK Employee Ownership Awards 2016

RISE Mutual CIC awarded the title of Rising Star of the Year at last night’s UK Employee Ownership Awards. The awards, delivered by the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), celebrate the success of the employee ownership sector, and in 2016 are sponsored by leading EOA member, Baxendale.

Presented as part of the EOA Annual Conference, the award recognises the achievements of businesses that have recently made the transition to the employee ownership model, and are already celebrating the success of the structure.

The award, endorsed by the championed retail giant, the John Lewis Partnership, recognises the success of an organisation that has become employee owned no more than 3 years ago. The judges recognised that, even these first three years, RISE is thriving within its sector, and has engendered a strong, successful culture of employee ownership.

Deb Oxley, Chief Executive of the EOA said

“I’m delighted to declare RISE the winners of this year’s Rising Star Award. It is fantastic to see the immediate and significant benefits that RISE are experiencing through the new company structure. They are an excellent example of the better business that can be achieved through employee ownership, even in the early days of adopting the model.”
RISE is proud to own the status of the first employee owned mutual in the UK delivering probation services, and has seen a 3% increase in operating profit, retained and increased its staff by 43 employees with 7% progressing into more senior roles since making the transition to employee owned. The company has won 65% of the contracts that it has bid for, and gained an 85% satisfaction rate on the programmes it runs.

Kuljit Sandhu of RISE Mutual CIC said: 
“We’re just thrilled because this has been two years in the making and is a testament to the hard work of all our staff, we can’t wait to go back and tell them. It’s a really challenging environment working in criminal justice so this is great recognition of our team’s achievements, which will encourage them to find new and innovative ways of working.”
Ewan Hall, Director of Legal, Baxendale, said: 
“Congratulations to Rising Star of the Year, Rise Mutual CIC, which celebrates its drive to engage its staff and harness their knowledge to innovate services for the rehabilitation of prisoners. Employee ownership is at the core of what we do so we’re proud to sponsor the UK Employee Ownership Awards, run by the EOA, for a second year and delighted to celebrate the stories of success. The awards hold a special significance as the successor to the Philip Baxendale Awards, which grew over 10 years from our internal celebration of success into a national celebration of the UK’s employee owned sector.”


  1. These rising stars are only climbing upon the piled corpses of the thousands of seasoned professionals lost to the industry as a result of the carnage of the 2015 nights of the long knives when the old guard was disguarded by the pretenders. Enjoy your time in the limelight, kids. Your day of doom will come.

    1. I'm not against success if it translates to a culture that delivers something positive for us all. The concept of a Mutual where success is invested in us all is not unappealing. I always thought that Mutuals were at a competitive disadvantage, hence most in the field of banking, mortgages and investments demutualised in order to progress and avoid becoming marginalised by their competition. There has been a lack of good news in CRC land, I am happy to hear some. The test of time will tell but I hope that this Mutual can succeed. Rather TR had not fragmented Probation Services but maybe give some cautious consideration to success where it is apparent!?

    2. In one of the rooms in my office there is a whole load of those glass award thingys gathering dust. Some of the teams they were awarded to don't even exist now. All a bit too showbizzy for me, and I'm sorry but that photo is a bit too 'yahaaaaaay' also - this is about people's lives, after all.

  2. When I read these words of the general secretary, 'The NEC asked that I arrange to issue a more detailed note of what was discussed and I will be happy to do as soon as current pressures allow.' , I saw what a different world he inhabits. He will do what the NEC desires in his own time. No deadlines, of any time-based targets for him, not even his 'earliest convenience'. Imagine saying to your line manager, 'Yes, I will do this important work when current pressures allow'.

    It sounds like 'sofa government'. The NEC were not asking for details of his Christmas shopping list, but a written account of matters relating to important union matters, including the sale of the union's head office.

    As expected, undervalued and underpaid.

  4. If he had enough time to write that self serving pompous bag of shite then he had enough time to do the bidding of HIS employer, the NEC. If my boss told me to do something and I replied with; "I'll do it in my own time" I'd expect and deserve a bollocking. I suspect he's been told to report that the union officials have at last been held to account for their glaring ineptitude. But then again, maybe not. Maybe he himself has been told to apologise to the membership for his pisspoor performance on Putin's mouthpiece, Russia Today? Or maybe his right hand man has been pulled up for telling London Branch that some of their members deserve the sack for being shit and not buying into the CRC's vision. Or maybe we'll never know because he'll collect his redundancy from the sale of Chivalry Road and fuck off to con another union into thinking he knowd what he's doing. On another matter, his obvious reference to being in bed with the supine and discredited PI over the licence to practice is another disgrace. It will inevitably result in the CRC's buying some sort of apparent credibility for their new underqualified and inexperienced workforce. Another example of the GS's staggering inabilty to think and act strategically. And another reason to believe that he has the tactical nouse of an England football manager is his unqualified praise of RISE. Aren't they lovely. Fostering innovation, employing more staff, smiling cheesily in their funky photo. They're also waiting patiently to be held up by another grinning idiot concerned with Probation, Sam Gymah, as a shining example of how TR is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We're very good at evidence based risk assessment in this business Ian and not all intimidated by your bluster and bullying. Please just go quietly now and let NAPO find someone who knows what he or she is doing.

  5. Yet again no mention of a pay rise or a contractual incremental increase. What a load of rubbish Napo has become can't see any evidence of looking after their members interests. POs have all but been destroyed but TR it's appalling! I can't believe the syncophantic followers of Ian Lawrence continue to remain silent

    1. What did you expect? The property sale is on course and that's all that matter. Golden handshakes all round the Napo exec table!

    2. What followers who exactly what do you mean ?

    3. The ones who attend his successful NEC but when asked haven't got a clue what action is going to be taken on members behalf!

  6. Anyone working in London knows that RISE is a bloody mess. It was slammed in a recent inspection and is still picking up the peices. It's paying so many former programme staff to deliver programmes on a sessional basis I don't know how it's making any money. Not enough starts, not enough completions. It's overstretched by bidding for programme contracts with Caffcass.

    1. Nice award though. I can hear the acceptance speech now. "We thank Chris Grayling for making it possible!"

  7. "We deliver specialist offender rehabilitation services in London as part of our contract with MTCnovo, ... We have also won contracts with a number of London Boroughs delivering programmes tailored to complex local needs."

    And yet they can never respond to emails to explain why programmes have not started or or have been cancelled.

    1. Congrats on the award though

  8. Wow that's a blast from the past. It's good to see Kuljit Sandhu, she was an exceptional line manager and cared greatly about her staff. I learnt a lot from her. I know awards can seem to belittle the mess going on in probation at the moment but we have to remember nobody asked for this and most are just doing their best.