Saturday, 21 January 2017

Latest From Napo 134

Here we have the latest blog post from Napo General Secretary, Ian Lawrence:-

Napo Launches our new recruitment campaign

‘What’s Napo doing about it?’

It’s about the most repeated, and certainly not unreasonable, question that you and the team here at Falcon Road hear from members. Given the daily challenges that you face at the workplace, be it as a result of staff reductions on the one hand or the implementation of plain daft policies such as the Attendance Management regime that I covered last week on the other; many members expect us to have all the answers or at least be posing the right questions.

None of this is just specific to Napo of course; it’s what any member of any trade union is entitled to ask. The democratic structures that Napo has in place allow the opportunity for our members, through their representatives, to hold the leadership to account for every decision we take and every penny that we spend of your hard earned subscriptions.

Unfortunately, such a relationship, while absolutely critical to what we do and how we go about it, cannot be seen in isolation from one inalienable fact. Unless we have sufficient numbers of members in place we are sometimes limited in delivering the type of response to your employer in the way that you and we would like.

At the time of writing we await the results of the indicative ballot that we have been running on the need to defend collective bargaining following the intention of the NPS and now nearly every CRC, to withdraw from the National Negotiating Council. This type of exercise tells us much about how members feel about issues of this type or conversely, whether members simply do not see it as their priority. Either way, the union will have to analyse the result and consider how we proceed, and either way it’s also a fact that the decision will find favour with some of our members and not so with others.

Time to rebuild

The point to all this is that we need to rebuild our membership base so that we can increase the amount of resourcing and campaigning that is needed to try and address the issues around your pay, terms and conditions and future employment prospects. That is why the Officers and Napo employees along with the National Executive Committee, have endorsed Napo’s operational plan which sets out our work for the coming months (NEC01/2017) and why we are soon to launch our recruitment strategy to which a great deal of planning and innovative thought has been invested.

We have written out as the first step in Napo’s drive to take Napo ‘out to the membership’, a programme of “Napo Roadshows”. The purpose of the Napo Roadshow will be to share with Branches Napo’s key priorities for 2017 and key actions we hope to achieve over the coming 12 months as detailed in the annual operational plan. These events will be an opportunity to help explain how we can work together with members to deliver a successful Workload Campaign as well as other national campaigns such as Pay. In addition, we will look at how these campaigns can help build a better and stronger Napo through local recruitment initiatives and get feedback from members and we aim to programme in the roadshows during the next 6 months (between Feb and July).

All of this builds on the energy that was apparent at the last AGM in Wales and the last meeting of your National Executive Committee. Members can help us by attending these events and engaging with non-members about the importance of being a member of a trade union and that Napo should be that union of choice wherever you work.

Much more next week


Napo's Objectives 2017

Objective 1: Promoting and protecting members' interests

Securing the promotion and protection of members’ interests at work. This objective includes the maintenance of Cafcass as a public sector service and campaign for the reinstatement of a national, amalgamated public Probation Service, with job security, decent and fair pay, pensions and conditions with national collective bargaining, fair and measurable workloads, equality, health and safety and representation. Ensuring the best use of Napo’s income via sound financial planning and regular monitoring of budgets.


  • Pursue equal pay issues as part of the 2016/17 Pay Claim (AGM Resolution 3) 
  • Secure national agreement with employers on a fair and uniform method of applying obligations for time off for trade union duties and ‘facility time’ across all areas (AGM Resolution 12) 
  • Oppose any attempt to break up national collective bargaining and launch a campaign amongst members in any CRC that threatens to withdraw from current NNC/SCCOG arrangements (AGM Resolution 15) 
  • Pursue a pay settlement in line with the union’s negotiating objectives 
  • Oppose the Children and Social Work Bill (AGM Resolution 8) 
Probation and Cafcass
  • Monitor Napo’s new Members’ Services package provided by Parliament Hill 
  • Revisit Napo’s funding to the Edridge Fund (AGM Resolution 1) 
Health and Safety
  • Highlight the issues of the menopause for women in the workplace; promote sickness absence procedures which can take account of menopause related sickness absence; encourage openness and discussion amongst women members; promote training/awareness raising about menopause within probation and Cafcass (AGM Resolution 9) 
  • Join the European wide campaign against the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) free trade treaty (AGM Resolution 10) 
  • Develop guidance for members advising on their rights and responsibilities if / when lone working (AGM Resolution 11) 
Objective 2: Formulating Professional, Training and Developmental Policies

Promoting the best professional policies, training and development, and qualifications in Probation and Cafcass, based on anti-discriminatory practice and a fundamental commitment to diversity. Providing advice and guidance to members and ensuring regular monitoring and evaluation of policy and practice. Promoting the professional association aspect of Napo.

  • Resist the proposed changes put forward through the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Excellence (E3) Programme for Probation Officers seconded into YOTs (AGM Resolution 14) 
  • Reassert the importance of high quality pre-sentence assessment as critical to sentencing and the safe allocation of cases (AGM Resolution 17) 
  • Continue to provide responses to NOMS’ draft Probation Instructions 
  • Correct the unfair termination process by the Probation Qualifications Advisory Board (PQAB) (AGM Resolution 13) 
  • Continue to support the work of the Union Learning project in Wales. 
Objective 3: Campaigning and Communicating

Maintaining Napo’s high profile in successfully campaigning, promoting and communicating Napo’s policies and values. Organise the re-instatement of a national, amalgamated public Probation service and keep Cafcass as a public service, both with sufficient resources to guarantee jobs and service delivery. To work with unions, relevant organisations, MPs, Assembly Members, peers, parliamentary groups and others as appropriate in relation to wider public service campaigns.

  • Join the ‘Together for Children’ Campaign to oppose the Children and Social Work Bill and to campaign with the Parliamentary Family Justice Committee to highlight the dangers inherent in this proposed Bill (AGM Resolution 8) 
  • Continue to expose the disastrous consequences of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme (AGM Resolution 4) 
  • Gather examples and widely publicise examples of deterioration in gathering, assessing and sharing information essential to risk management and safeguarding (AGM Resolution 16) 
  • Continue to campaign for the abolition of the Sodexo Booths (AGM Resolution 2) 
  • Continue to develop a unifying workloads campaign strategy, with the pursuit of accurate workload timings and development of a workload measurement tool that accurately reflects the work (AGM Resolution 5) 
  • Support the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, in any campaign which includes the re-instatement of a national, amalgamated public Probation service (AGM Resolution 6) 
  • Continue joint campaigning with other unions, including the TUC, GFTU and TUCG 
  • Continue the fight against the political threat posed by fascist and far right groups 
  • Continue to produce and revise the Napo Quarterly magazine, including widening use of the online Napo News site 
  • Provide regular briefings and statements to parliamentarians and the print and broadcast media; send regular e-bulletins to branches on campaigning issues 
  • Support and promote the Probation and Family Court Journals, and occasional monographs and improve accessibility 
  • Continued use of improved Napo website as a primary interface with members, utilise learning and development components, interactive elements such as the forums and continue to increase the use of new technology like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (NapoTV) 
Objective 4: Building a strong, accessible and inclusive union

Prioritising the organising and recruitment strategy to provide growth in membership representative of all staff in Probation and Cafcass. Promoting structural reform that improves efficiency, democracy and accessibility. Providing trade union education and lifelong learning which empowers members and engenders union activity and organising specialist conferences for members.

Implementing and reviewing progress in relation to policy and action to combat racism, homophobia and heterosexism, sexism, transphobia, ageism, oppression based on religion/beliefs and promoting the social model of disability to combat oppression and discrimination. Promoting full equality and opportunity for all members. Ensuring that Probation employers and Cafcass keep equality and diversity at the heart of their structures promoting best practice and policy.

Trade Union Organisation
  • Reform the functioning of the National Executive Committee (AGM Resolution 18) 
  • Amend the constitution and application process to permit agency staff to be full members of the union (Constitutional Amendment 1) 
  • Amend the constitution to change the quoracy for general meetings (Constitutional Amendment 2) 
  • Maintain and support the National Representation Panel and organise a recruitment process when necessary 
Equal Rights
  • Develop a campaign around hidden disabilities (AGM Resolution 7) 
  • Continue to develop the Napo Black Network and maintain close working relationship with remaining staff associations ABPO and NAAPS and build links with the newly developed NOMS’ staff networks 
  • Plan the next WiN conference 
  • Continue with monitoring statistics of speakers at the AGM 
Training Courses, Seminars, Conferences and Events
  • Organise AGM in Nottingham – 13 and 14 October 2017 
  • Provide a full range of trade union education/health and safety/union learning/equality and diversity courses which include accredited training 
  • Organise specialist/professional conferences and seminars (eg Family Court, The Forum, Managers) for members in Probation and Cafcass taking account of any review of current arrangements and financial savings 
  • Enable representation at TUC Congress and the TUC equality conferences 
  • Ensure that all events are accessible to all members to enable them to be representative of the diversity of membership 
Objective 5: Acting as an effective and responsible employer
committed to equal opportunities

Ensuring the maintenance of an efficient and modern Napo head office by promoting equality and trust and supporting and developing staff. Acting as a good equal opportunities employer committed to consultation, negotiation and collective bargaining, valuing diversity and the contribution of staff. Ensuring that the recruitment and selection of staff is based on these same principles.

Using all resources, including information databases and technology, finance and membership services, in the most effective way in support of Napo’s objectives.
  • Sale of Chivalry Road (Napo head office) and complete the move to 160 Falcon Road 
  • Follow up on actions identified from the Napo staff Training Programme in identified sub groups: Premises, ICT, ADR, Skills Audit and Stress Audit 
  • Review and develop a new Annual Development Review (ADR) process and identified training (as identified in the training programme and for the sub group to take forward)
  • Hold monthly staff meetings, monthly administrator, bi-monthly Officers’ and Officials’ and weekly administrator workloads meetings 
  • Maintain involvement of union shops in employment related issues 
  • Continue the review and update of all Red Book policies 
  • Provide equality and diversity, ADR (under review), Health & Safety, Dignity at Work, and Recruitment & Selection training to all staff as required 
  • Continue working to (currently under review) financial procedures to ensure sound financial planning and regular monitoring of budgets 
  • Continue to update the membership system and data 
  • Look at new ways of holding meetings via Skype


  1. Interesting to note the aspiration to use YouTube (NapoTV) Unfortunately the title seems to have already been appropriated:-

    Napo TV

    "This channel is for our cat Napoleon, he is a 3 year old Persian Male cat. What we want to show in his videos and in this channel is the intellegence, loving, and kind ways of cats. We are trying to show people of how to love cats, and how to understand them and their ways of living."

    1. Napo and NapoFilms are also taken. Seems to have been a lack of research from Napo. I note relates to Pizza!!

  2. Total poppycock from Napo. Drop to subscriptions to a £tenner a month for all and probation workers will join. Anything else will not work because the first thing everyone thinking about joining complains about is the cost. Napo is the most expensive union even though it does the least because it's so tiny.

  3. I agree about reducing subscriptions but in my experience you get the best representation from Napo. When I was in unison I couldn't get hold of anyone for advice. I ended up going to the Napo rep for assistance and they managed to get hold of someone from unison to help. So don't agree it does the least!

    1. That would be the strength of local NAPO not central. Central NAPO spend too much of their time trying to defend the defenseless because they won't take criticism. Napo has more strength than unison but they don't know how to use it, breaking up national bargaining is the worst move possible and will loos members. The leadership must go.

    2. Agree. NAPO leadership must go. Ineffective and the fact they want out of NNC says it all. UNISON are no better. The didn't back NAPO in striking against TR and look where we are now.

  4. I would suggest that Napo had an effective & loyal membership prepared to pay their subs until they engaged in serial screw-ups, i.e. the dodgy GS & his uncontrollable urges, Extraordinary Rendonition & the appointment of Mr Lawrence. Perhaps too cosy & complacent after soft years of BlueLabour? The vicious swingeing changes forced through by Grayling & his cronies exposed the soft underbelly of Napo, revealing a union totally unprepared for anything. Presumably the pisspoor performance during negotiations around CRC terms & conditions were just the nod & a wink Sodexo needed to play hardball. And Napo certainly weren't ready. And probation staff paid the price. And members got pissed off. And left in droves. And have Napo ever taken any responsibility for their part (i.e. lack of action) in probation's downfall? No. In fact they have now published their two fingered salute to wave off those who have lost careers because of their inaction:

    "Unless we have sufficient numbers of members in place we are sometimes limited in delivering the type of response to your employer in the way that you and we would like."

  5. Exactly. Astonishing, senseless statement. This would be like calling an emergency plumber and being told, sorry mate, maybe when I've got a few more customers I'll do that for you, otherwise I can't be arsed'. NAPO do the job and members will follow, surely.

  6. What has Napo actually done for us that would encourage people to join.

  7. Menopausal women against TR and Trump!

    1. Stick to morning telly, Piers.

  8. twenty quid a month plus for some one to moan and gripe on my behalf. Rather spend it on wine and I am perfectly capable of being as much a thorn in my employers side than they are. The worst union I have ever encountered and I have been in a few. A union begins with individuals taking action themselves. Solidarity, one by one!!!

  9. A few days old now, but this caught my eye (sorry if already noted).


      Interserve, the international support services and construction group, has been awarded a one-year contract extension to provide total facilities management services to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) worth £16 million.

      The account builds upon Interserve’s long-standing and wide-ranging relationship with the MoJ, which has seen the company provide facilities services to the department for eight years.

      Interserve also provides the MoJ with probation services for low and medium-risk offenders in five areas of England (Cheshire and Greater Manchester; Hampshire and the Isle of Wight; Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire; Merseyside; and West Yorkshire). Working in partnership with the National Probation Service, local charities and social enterprises, Interserve is responsible for supporting and rehabilitating about 40,000 offenders a year.

      The extended FM account will see Interserve continue to provide a wide range of services, including building maintenance, catering, cleaning, waste and utilities management, at more than 450 sites across the north and south-west of England, the Midlands and Wales.

  10. Increasing membership per se will not enable Napo to deliver the responses to employers that they would wish. The had the numbers before – what was lacking was activism.

    They must have a good idea of the result of the indicative ballot as they have immediate access to the numbers.

    It's novel to see the leadership showing adherence to AGM resolutions.

  11. BREAKING NEWS - NAPO awarded a lifetime scourge contract with MOJ and CRC to cause affliction and devastation to members. General Secretary comments on how pleased he is to cause such widespread suffering to his members and all for just 20 quid a month membership. Calamity Dean, NAPO's assistant tells reporters of his new disaster strategy that sets out his villainous and dastardly plan to break up national collective bargaining stating " yeah right I just think its really great that NAPO has this opportunity to really give our members a thorough beating by supporting our CRC employers with their piracy strategies. Our collective bargaining isn't really working says Calamity and in any case none of us at Ivory Tower HQ were really capable of causing as much damage with national bargaining so we're relishing the idea of this new scourge contract. Selling Ivory Tower in Falcon road will give us the swag we need for that last push to cause the worst destruction to our members terms and conditions. We're hoping they will give us the nod so we can get on with our NAPO demolition plan.

    1. Selling Napo HQ Chivalry Road is merely a way to guarantee golden handshakes for the GS Napo HQ exec members when the walk away from Napo when it breathes its last breath or is absorbed by a larger union. This is not far off.

  12. Unions work best when they go into negotiations knowing they have solid support of the workforce, prepared to strike as a last resort, if necessary. Don't let the employers walk all over you, get behind the union and stand tall. Then hold officials to account if they fall short.