Saturday, 15 July 2017

Latest From Napo 155

Here we have edited highlights from the latest offering by Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence. Regular readers will be aware that we covered the topic of Napo's future some weeks ago when I published the 'discussion' document 'Pride in Napo' written by Napo Assistant General Secretary Dean Rogers. To put it bluntly, a somewhat dense document, it generated zero discussion here, so it's to be hoped some effort is put into explaining the proposals rather more succinctly. However, the following disclosure by the incumbent General Secretary might generate a greater degree of interest and hope:-
"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.

The alternative?

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.


  1. Any leader worth their salt would have been talking to other unions about merger and/or alliances for the last three years!

  2. A merger will see the dissolution of NAPO, it won't retain its identity and all monies absorbed by that union after NAPO staff are paid high rates of redundancy. NAPO is too small to have any say in another union so a merger means NAPO will no longer exist and you won't have any say in what happens to your money.

  3. Arhha well is he worth any salt? Mr Lawrence has achieved nothing in the years we have tolerated loss terms abuse in our roles lost jobs lost skills no professional identity yet he is banging on about never running from a challenge. He never led a challenge? What is his record of his other unions which he references I bet they would be quite revealing as to what we have been stuffed with.

    Wake up there is no longer a professional identity as we all do the same roles and what does mean by this anyway he lacks real vision any vision and demonstrates no foresight. The selling out of national bargaining reflect a backward and foolish inability to understand the central bargaining was all that should have been protected at his level. To maintain any role for a Union. When that went Napo top jobs all became redundant and this is just the swansong to their departure. However he sold us out on that, just as he sold as quickly Chivalry RD and naively we let him. The cashing in on funding to do what exactly with? NPS agreement frittered away mere consultation is what led to the demise of the reps and more besides, yet he blunders on lost and now looking to find jobs for the napo national elite a new doorway into working as the new regional and local branch officials what a joke if there are no roles for them then someone at the top needs to reorganise and that means redundancies . Perhaps NAPO might understand that is what their failures led us to. Unfortunately this situation has demonstrated they have done nothing of their job title descriptions and have lost their roles. Has anyone ever really seen the parliamentary press officer ever and or any regular questions beiong drafted for members ? The nettle is do we need any of them let alone reading this blog as Mr Lawrence uses it as his personal platform to make his bid for the next 5 years as NAPO general secretary.

    Well we need to check on Mickey Mouse's availability as he would do a much better job as could and would almost anyone else ? As long as we get a new invigorated much needed and intelligent leadership which is so absent in the top table. Not a word on the elections or thanks to others in this diatribe of its all about me me me me.

    Reorganisation may be a necessary discussion but terming it Pride ? Was it deliberate? This an established political movement trade mark Pride in napo just confusing rubbish. Called it what it is a reorganisation plan for survival. It was not that far back Mr Lawrence was espousing a churcillian beach fighting front line any battle we will be surviving yet here are the predictable truth a general secretary who has delivered us to enemy a man who has never understood how to fight a battle let alone understand the value of any one victory which is why he has conceded and wittered away at every pressure point. Resign now go quickly don't stand again do us all favour on the current record. So is he worth his salt? Not 1 grain !

  4. 8.37. We don't have a say now. Some would say we don't have a union, let alone an identity.
    A skilled leadership negotiates about the terms of merger, including what's in it for us and what we can bring to the table.

  5. It'll be okay. After a difficult period of evolution post-Benny Hill (aka Jonathan Ledger) NAPO will complete its Metamorphosis under Ian 'Gregor' Lawrence. It will formally become that bit of sellotape you can't find the end of, the ring-pull that snaps before the can opens, the lid of the take-away coffee cup that isn't properly fitted, the Poundland of Unions.

    Or, it will merge with the PI & the Tory Party - they're the only beneficiaries of NAPO HQ activity over the last few years, e.g. give back leave, don't have a pay rise, give away travel allowance, dissolve role boundaries, dilute professional standards, facilitate privatisation, lose EVR...

    nb: its important to state that local branches have tried valiantly to make a difference, but without the support of HQ.

    1. Excellent comedy and sadly serious and true. However in the saw branch our officials are second to none and continue the fight to rights and terms. I attended the AGM in Devon recently and whatever you our chair will not sell us out. In CRC they want longer working days and all sorts. We remain in disputes and our branch members are stayin with Napo local as you say because that's all we can rely on having seen the Napo leader waffle about himself and not what he is supposed to be doing for us we pay him.

  6. Sadly for NAPO I think it's future is becoming more and more enevitable.
    It has falling membership for a variety of reasons. Historically it's been a very non confrontational union, which was OK when it was solely located within the public sector, but it's a very different game dealing with issues within the private sector.
    No doubt there are many excellent reps pulling their tripe out daily, but the overall picture looks glum I feel.
    Personal observation only, but I think NAPO can't remain as a stand alone union for a great deal longer, and I don't think focus on direction of travel is an option. It's merge or fold.
    Claiming to be HMPPS's second biggest union isn't a great claim at all I feel. Who's the biggest - the POA? And I can't even think who the third biggest might be.
    I think NAPO's membership will continue to fall, and it's options for survival will continue to deplete.
    It might be time to grasp the nettle and look for a merger before its membership depletes much more.

    ' Getafix

    1. Yes a good analysis indeed but the leadership of Napo and many of the following top table have been and remain weak because they lack all the skills and experience required. It shows in the lack of interest for the elections and the stunted reshuffle of stokeld or berry my vote is neither. Berry clutching on for more as his time is to end and the other limping back to sink our declining resources like they were well managed before I doubt.

  7. I am just a bean counter.