"Also for the avoidance of doubt, and as a clear signal to our membership, I will be making my case for a second term as your General Secretary when the electoral cycle commences again early in the New Year. I have never been one to run away from difficult challenges and I certainly don’t intend to do so now."Napo members to decide our future
Between now and the October AGM, our members are being asked to consider the future direction of travel for Napo.
My experience of organisation and structure reviews in the three unions I have been privileged to work for prior to Napo, suggests that these are not exactly the key issues on members minds as they face the perennial problems of inadequate pay, increasing workloads and the privatisation agenda.
Unfortunately, we cannot put off the uncomfortable task of deciding on the long term viability of Napo any longer, and that’s why we are asking members to take a look at the “Pride in Napo" discussion document which is starting to be discussed within Napo branches and which is also being considered by a working group elected by your National Executive Committee.
There are a number of recommendations on which the elected leadership need a steer but essentially we are looking for endorsement of a strategy that will see us spend some of the proceeds from the sale of our former Chivalry Road premises and invest in new methods of communicating with you and assisting you at the workplace. We also need to equip and support our staff and your representatives to play a more integral role in the process of representation.
It’s not exactly rocket science, but we clearly need to take a long hard look at the way in which we operate and use our precious resources and consider new ways of working to make sure that we retain our position as the second largest union within HMPPS.
Locally, we know that many Napo branches are doing a sterling job trying to pursue numerous issues that impact on members and we need to see how we can offer additional support, possibly by introducing a new role that would see elected ‘regional ambassadors’ offer their knowledge and experience to work in partnership with branch activists and provide representative support if needed.
At the same time we have identified the need to encourage new activists to come through to replace the high number of long established Napo reps that have been difficult to replace since the introduction of Transforming Rehabilitation and the job losses that resulted from it.
The discussion paper also poses questions about the effectiveness of Napo’s ICT Systems and how we can reach our members (and importantly the prospective members who you work alongside) more effectively with specific news of the issues we are trying to resolve with the 24 employers that we engage with.
Again, it’s no secret that the triple whammy of TR, job losses and members leaving a service that they couldn’t envisage wanting to remain in, has had a huge impact on our finances. Add to this the cynical removal of ‘Check Off’, and it leaves us with three scenarios: grow, merge or fold.
To be absolutely clear, and to the disappointment of any conspiracy theorists, I have not been (and nor has anyone else) been party to any discussions with other unions about the possibility of merger. Moreover, this will simply not happen unless and until it is so instructed by our members. Anyone who has heard me at our Annual Conference or the many branch meetings that I have attended ought to be in no doubt of my belief that Napo can remain as a strong, independent and professional voice for our members in the NPS, CRCs PBNI and Cafcass.
For that to be the case, we need you to consider all the options in the run up to this year’s AGM where we will need our members to make some radical decisions to give your leadership group the flexibility they need to achieve this objective.
Also for the avoidance of doubt, and as a clear signal to our membership, I will be making my case for a second term as your General Secretary when the electoral cycle commences again early in the New Year. I have never been one to run away from difficult challenges and I certainly don’t intend to do so now.