Monday, 31 July 2017

News From London Napo

London Napo Branch had their AGM recently and I understand it was not quorate. This will be of concern to many and to me only serves to highlight the pressing need for change and a reinvigoration of the union before it's too late. 

Ironically, one of the main items on the agenda was discussion of the paper 'Pride in Napo' which outlines just such a change programme that would see some of the proceeds from the Chivalry Road sale being used as part of an 'investment for growth' strategy. 

Sadly, such is the degree of dysfunctionality and morale that this could be in danger of suffering a still birth. I hope not because things can't go on as they are and it deserves careful consideration. Maybe an executive summary would help get the message across rather more quickly and stimulate some constructive debate? 

Dare I also suggest that there really isn't time or capacity for a self-indulgent internal wrangle over issues of 'cultural misappropriation' with the title when the very survival of the union is at stake? For heaven's sake, lets not get side-tracked down another side alley at this critical time. 

As always, thanks go to the branch member for sharing the following which contains important information that will of interest to many.        

Branch Meeting

1. Minutes of Branch Meeting held on Friday 26th May 2017.As the Branch meeting held on 26th May 2017 was inquorate, there are no Minutes.

2. Motions for National AGM

a) Ill Health Retirement

This AGM understands members going through various ill health retirement processes have experienced unacceptable delays and barriers. Many have to agree to leave their organisation without knowing what their pension payments will be. In some cases this process has taken a year which negatively impacts on final payments which are based on pay at time of leaving.

This AGM believes members who are already struggling with ill health should not have to be subject to further stress in this way. We believe the process needs to be reviewed urgently.

This AGM calls for ill health retirement policies to be reviewed and for NAPO to bring them to the agenda as part of national and local negotiations as a a priority.

b) Outside Contractors

Since privatisation Probation and Family Court Services are seeing more 'outsourcing' of HR services. The Shared Services in NPS are not fit for purpose. Occupational Health is also not delivering services in accordance with Organisational policies and timescales.

This AGM understands many members bringing grievances are being stymied by Organisational senior managers not having any control over 'so called' external agencies.

This AGM believes this is unacceptable and more needs to be done to ensure accountability.

This AGM calls on National NAPO to bring a test case to show the HMPPS and MoJ we have teeth and they are accountable to our members for the failings of their sub contractors.

c) Short Format Reports

This AGM has seen the lowering of standards regarding the quality and accuracy of Pre Sentence Reports since the push to on the day delivery.

This AGM believes report writers are being de skilled and placed in untenable situations when they have to produce reports without access to salient information. We also believe this devalues our professional reputation and places our staff and the public at risk.

This AGM calls for our National Officers and Officials to campaign vigorously for on the day reports to be reviewed and a return to quality and accuracy.


This AGM believes that language evolves and changes. The word PRIDE is now firmly associated with the LGBTIQ community and their campaigns.

This AGM feels that using the word PRIDE for a major NAPO restructuring process is regressive, confusing and divisive. NAPO is known for being in the front line supporting and fighting for Equality so using this title goes contrary to our core beliefs.

This AGM calls for National to rename this Campaign to reflect we are going forwards not backwards.

e) Outside work

The PI 38/2014 concerning Outside Activities, includes political campaigning and trade union activities. We have recently seen members subjected to disciplinary action under this PI which demonstrates enforcement is draconian. Many members are not aware of the existence of this PI or the existence of the Services declaration form.

We call on National to run an awareness raising campaign on how members can stay safe whilst undertaking Union and other work. 


NEC REPORT 22/06/17
London Branch NAPO.



( Urfan Amar) Added that the new location of NAPO HQ Falcon road received large numbers of positive comments namely around accessibility, it being a modern and comfortable place to hold the NEC. Only issues were audio regarding lack of working microphones.

3. MINUTES of NEC 29.11.16 & 6.6.17 (NEC49/16(a) & NEC28/17 and MATTERS ARISING

(All passed no issues).

Matters arising: Indicative ballot for industrial action. NEC will be supplied with an exact turn out of voters and a breakdown of which branches voted. Voting turnout was low 20% of membership. Officers group voted not to take industrial action 5/2. (Chris Pearson and Chas Berry voted for industrial action) although I was personally disappointed with this and the officers were challenged on this I believe the reasons why industrial action were not taken were valid reasons.

New (anti) Trade Union legislations requires a 50% turn out. We failed to even come close to the 50% threshold and this negatively impacted on the mandate.

Ian Lawrence also added that he has ran more ballots (both indicative and actual) than any other NAPO General Secretary in our history and is not shy to fight via industrial action, he felt now was not the time and that the pay campaign is likely to generate more enthusiasm and potential for industrial action.

4. CORRESPONDENCE (requiring NEC attention)

None raised at this time other than regarding the indicative ballot which are outlined briefly above.

5. DISPUTES (requiring NEC attention)

South Yorkshire is still in dispute with CRC regarding Sodexo Booths and workloads.
East Anglia is in disputes regarding workloads.
South West Midlands CRC dispute as they have requested an Equality Impact Assessment for the new ways of working.


Membership has grown but we are not healthy, I did not catch the full figures but can obtain this if needed. Same issue we have faced since privatisation for every new member we sign up, someone else resigns. Most reason for leaving NAPO are leaving the service.


a) Legal Assistance Appeals Panel
Any further nominations

(To hear any appeals against refusal of legal assistance by the General Secretary). Nominations will be invited to ensure a sufficient pool which reflects the diversity of Napo's membership. Nominees do not have to be NEC members).

b) Grievance and Disciplinary Panel
There are two remaining vacancies on the Panel

(To elect members from whom panels can be drawn to hear any grievances lodged by Napo staff and not resolved at earlier stages to the grievance procedure or disciplinary appeals. The agreed procedures require Napo to seek a gender balance on this panel. Nominees need to be NEC Branch Reps)

c) Employers' Sub-Committee
There is one vacancy remaining

(To elect members of the NEC to this committee which will also include the Chair and the second national officer acting as the employer representative on the JNC. There is also the facility for the General Secretary to be an ex-officio member. As previously agreed, in recognition of the high proportion of women employees at Napo office, two of the three NEC members should be women. A copy of NEC Members: Responsibilities as Employers (NEC33-2016) has been previously circulated. )

Jan Pill also added there are now 2 vacancies for Edridge Trustees. Katie Lomas stressed that although panels are short staffed they are fully functioning. These vacancies are still vacant.


Issued raised by the NEC on this were Diversity Black History Month, NAPO in discussion with ABPO (now known as RISE the BAME staff network) and will work together to have either a BHM display and speakers with a theme of the Black experience in the CJS. Katie Lomas added that all staff networks are across NPS/CRC and Rise.

In terms of recruitment NAPO has noted a rise in recruitment of Black females aged 26-34 years old. NEC members feel this is not reflected in their experience of new recruits, so NAPO will request hard data.

NPS can provide this data but shared services are in a mess, CRC should provide this data as well but have not been asked, Branches to request this at meetings. CRC is a private company but is still duty bound by the public sector equality duty.

Issues on H&S were raised in the report. For the NPS there is such a thing as sick leave excusals on shared services for work related stress.

There is no such remit in the policy for CRCs/Rise but staff should record staff stress via A&I forms, supervision meetings etc. and if they end up off work with work related stress there is an argument to have this under a work place injury and possible exclusion similarly to disability sickness.

Politically Tanya Bassett reported back that we are in no man’s land. Progress has been made with ITV Wales set to interview Ian Lawrence and some campaigns are going to come up which will create media interest. Our manifesto was taken by the Labour Party in its entirety and this is a massive achievement for NAPO. Summer recess kicks in on 23/07/17 which means progress we made will be put back due to election and summer recess. In September parliament opens for 2 weeks so this could be October. Tania Bassett was thanked by the NEC for explaining the difficult parliamentary time frames.

Ian Lawrence stated that he has been approached by media regarding workloads and staff sickness the CRC average is 25 days remember LPT average was 11. IL attended, spoke at and networked at the Public Policy Exchange (CJS) and held a platform with Jonathon Atkins and Norman Lamb (good contacts to have on side). IL also spoke with current justice minister David Linington, he added Liz Truss being moved was a loss as she was beginning to listen to the unions and all the work NAPO had achieved with her is now gone and they have to start from scratch again.

IL called on the minister to listen to staff and meet them rather than listening to civil servants who are also to blame for the mess of TR and the issues we currently face today. This did not go down too well with Michael Spurr. IL took issue with the open letter the justice minister had written which failed to mention probation and stated that they are too prison centric. IL raised that the bargaining machinery with the NPS was poor and that according to National Office of Statistics pay was decreased by 22% due to inflation. IL is working with Justice Minister and TB is working with shadow justice minister but she believes he may be moving posts.


This is a well written and detailed plan (albeit uncosted) that Dean Rogers has put together to use the reserve money from the sale of Chivalry Road to modernise NAPO. Due to the significance of this paper and the impact this could have (for better or for worse) on NAPO several things had to be agreed and discussed.

PLEASE NOTE: Closing date for NEC motions is 18th July 2017.

We voted to bring the September NEC forward to August 15th so any constitutional amendments can be passed.

(There were passionate speeches about moving the date to August high annual leave season) David Masterson asked that the debate on Pride be debated first then the vote for changing NEC date come second although this was seconded no one apart from London Branch voted in favour of this. It was explained to the NEC if we did not change the NEC date Deans PRIDE plan could not be acted upon until AGM 2018 which would be too late.

Issues raised by NEC regarding Pride were…

  • That NAPO does best when it is current and TR proved that we got 32,000 signatures and everyone worked together and started to become activist especially online. 
  • No matter how much you spend on IT people still won’t read their emails, too many emails are seen as junk mail and that PRIDE does not seem to focus on that. 
  • PRIDE is wrong that we are in the political spotlight NEC feels we are not, 
  • We need to be more niche as focus recruitment and support around probation staff in prisons/specialist roles. 
  • We should look at streamlining the journal to save money. 
As this paper talks about new job roles/functions the potential death of NAPO are NAPO employees being consulted properly and supported. (We were told that redundancies are a reserve that cannot be touched and there is no plans for redundancies at this stage).

Dean Rogers was challenged on the term PRIDE as this felt it could be seen as cultural appropriation. DR stated he is happy to reclaim the work PRIDE as it is a positive word that is in the English language but happy for others to think up a different word.

Concerns were raised about us being brought into another union, Katie Lomas stated that if this did happen we would lose our assets by being taken over from another union so PRIDE is a practical step forward what do we have to lose?

An email was read out from an NEC member who was unable to attend but that a union merger should be given the same detailed thought and discussion.

The NEC will not write a blank cheque for DR to spend on PRIDE.

My view is the ship is at risk of sinking, PRIDE is a positive move forward but that the NEC need to scrutinise everything and hold Dean to account and members need to scrutinise the NEC and hold us to account. If this goes wrong….

It was agreed to have subcommittee meeting to oversee PRIDE. Some controversy as some officials were against this idea but constitutionally we can do this and have done it. It will include 5 NEC members (for which I volunteered to sit on the panel but agreed if any NEC member who was not at that meeting would like to sit on this panel I would leave).

The officer’s report was voted for by the NEC. Please note this does not mean PRIDE was voted for what was in essence changing the infrastructure to allow it to be voted on at 2017 AGM by members.


Financial update
We are still at a deficit according to the report. We need to recruit recruit recruit.


a) Negotiating Committee:
b) Trade Union Organising:
c) Steering Committee:

AGM 2018 will be at Southport.

Votes from members regarding motions are very low and were low last AGM. This is bad for democracy Jan Pill has told us that motions this year will be voted on via survey monkey can branches please big this up and get votes up.

d) Campaigning Committee:
e) H&S Committee:

Sarah Friday reported back on NPS OMU prison model. She has escalated this to NPS H&S committee to explore who will have jurisdiction over staff in a custodial setting.


A motion was passed to reduce quoroacy of NEC from 2/3 to 15. This was passed. Again conerns were raised that this might be too South East focused etc but business is needed to be done this means 9 branches would need to attend and 6 officers to hit quoracy. London voted in favour of this motion as it means more NEC members are likely to attend if they think we will be quoroate and it will like AGM reduction get business done. The motion came from TUO committee.

None was raised.

13. DATE OF NEXT Meeting: Thursday 7th September 2017: PLEASE NOTE: Officers are recommending this to be brought forward to 15.8.17 – NEC members have recently been emailed to enquire if this date is possible. If so, the 7th September meeting would not take place.

Report by David Masterson NEC Rep CRC and Charron Culnane NEC Rep NPS. 23rd July 2017.


  1. London branch meeting not quorate. We must recruit recruit recruit.
    I agree we should not now look back and cast aspersions but forward to try to create a 2017 version . My own view is:
    1 Much of what people don't get about the union is that we are strong when we act together. This was second nature years ago. No need to explain, no need for demonstration. Now people have forgotten history and they have never experienced strength in unity themselves.
    2 For me union should not just be about members' own wellbeing, pay, holidays, etc. It should also be about the service we provide. This blog is full of examples of the nonsense which now passes for probation work. Having to sit there and put in irrelevant data whilst ignoring the real issues our service users face. That is what causes me the most stress.
    I understand that both CRC and NPS are now having to input HETE data on delius for all cases and back date as well. (HETE is data on housing and employment/ training).But there is no move from officialdom to actually provide any housing or ETE for actual service users. Of course not. I suggest that as a union activity and to demonstrate to potential new union members that said strength in numbers we all refuse to input that data . What are the powers that be going to do? Sack us all ? Doc our pay? Sounds like shared services would not be up to that little task anyway. We will start inputting the data again when the government open a nationwide effective initiative to house service users on release from prison. My own manager's argument that the government need the figures in order to gauge the need for accommodation and ETE services should be dismissed outright by the union. Managers should know what we all know already that even our own kids will be unable to afford living independently. Service users likewise. The government do not need that proof. They just need to roll their sleeves up and provide something useful for a change.
    Once we have proved to ourselves and the government that we can act together we then take on a slightly bigger task: don't recall anyone with mental health diagnosis to prison till the suicide and sefharming rate in prisons are down to single figure percentages.

  2. Apathy is widespread across trade unions. In 2013 Unite members elected their general secretary on a turnout of 15%, four years later they re-elected Len McCluskey on a turnout of 12%, despite that contentious election receiving a lot of media coverage. Napo's turnout when it elected its general secretary was less than 20% and I expect it will be lower still when the position is up for election again. Other unions in the public sector cannot get their members to actively participate.

    Napo is kidding itself in thinking that it can revive members' level of participation. It will prove to be a waste of time and money. The branch participatory model is broken and it's time to drop the 'member-led' rhetoric and radically restructure the union's operating model. That the largest branch in the country cannot achieve quoracy at its AGM was not a fluke – but an embarrassing sign of the times.

  3. Says a lot without saying anything

  4. It's all kicking off at the Mount Prison, I hear. Even the BBC have heard about this one!!

    I get the feeling that Prison riots in 2017 are going to be like the Spycatcher thing in the 1980s. Government seeks to repress the bad news whilst everyone already knows about it. 'HEY, MR GRAYLING!! IT'S THE MAHHOSIVE REDUCTIONS IN STAFFING LEVELS WOT DONE IT AND NOTHING TO DO WITH 'LEGAL HIGHS'.

    1. Riot-trained prison staff have been sent to a prison in Hertfordshire after a serious disturbance.
      Sources have told the BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw that one wing of Mount Prison, in Bovingdon village near Hemel Hempstead, and half of another wing have been "lost".
      A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "The prison is completely secure and there is no risk to the public."
      The Mount opened in 1987 and is classed as a category C male prison.
      The Prison Reform Trust calls this type of institution one where "prison staff think [inmates] will not escape," while acknowledging they "cannot be trusted in an open prison".
      It is built on a former RAF station site and has more than 1,000 prisoners, according to the Ministry of Justice.
      It is described as a "hybrid training and resettlement prison" for prisoners in the final six months of their sentences.
      A 2015 inspection of the prison found The Mount was "reasonably safe and felt calm and well ordered", but chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick added that there was "room for improvement".
      It is understood a command suite to co-ordinate emergency action was set up at 14:00 BST.

  5. Let's try and take that word apathy apart. What does it consist of? Fear? A cost benefit analysis that says the effort is not worth the bother? The risk is not worth the potential gains?

  6. Relationship between NAPO SW branch and working links/ John Wiseman appear to be at an all time low since JW issued an all staff notice last week saying he was ' disturbed and dissapointed' by South West branch position in their branch message dated 26th July. NAPO SW respond: ' well we continue to be disturbed and disappointed on an almost daily basis when listening to member's reports of bullying from management, excessive workloads and innapropriately allicated cases'.Members will continue to reject these failing policies and will keep you posted. This message has been sent openly to all members given John's choice to do so ( in his open letter to all staff last week that drew gasps of surprise from staff who read it.) If you have read this and are nit a member then come along and join your local branch. We are stronger together.

    1. No one should give a toss for a manager who is promoting an agenda that shows contempt for the terms and conditions of staff. Being 'disturbed and disappointed' sums up the corporate personality of Working Links and its enforcers. When management attack a Branch in this way, it's because they cannot counter the message, so they attack the messengers. They make it personal and hope their intimidating attack will discourage the faint-hearted.

  7. The reason London isn't hitting quoracy is because Raho is a bore. Self serving and self promoting. No guest speakers of interest, no passion and the absence of localised aims and direction.

    1. Something is afoot with Napo London Branch. All motions were from the NPS, it appears that NPS trade unionist are holding London Branch together. It is likely to be a mixture of reasons (TR, staff leaving the service and frustration with Napo) but David Raho fails to wow and although he is not to blame for the current situation he needs to do something to galvanise membership and attendance. Any ideas?

    2. Stop blaming individuals. Can't you see the problem of apathy is endemic in trade unions. Sheep will be sheep.

  8. David Raho is not to blame fools, he has 0 facility time, he works full time in the field and still runs London Branch as Chair, negotiates policies, represents members to a high standard and on top of that he does his H&S role. Membership is to blame. Apathy equals our current situation. David Raho is highly regarded in the journalist and academic world. Keep whining and we will lose the greatest person Napo has ever had.

    1. This illustrates he cannot do the job required. Able reps who know the issues will have secured or taken action over facility time. The problem is that Napo sold out negotiations and he was part of that he is only there to consult. Toothless but but no Tiger more tickle.

  9. Idea for London branch: a pilot project as suggested above. Not Raho's fault. He is a union leader not an entertainer.

    1. He is not a leader nor entertaining, admittedly he took up the poison chalice but what will become of his legacy? Last one to turn the lights off as the ship sinks. Sad really.

  10. Heard this evening on Facebook that Raho has decided to quit for health reasons. I'm told that this leaves their NEC Rep David Masterson as the only other elected official on the CRC side as Chair. Raho was performing a number of other specialist roles prior to his departure and basically keeping the show on the road single-handed. I don't suppose there will be a flood of volunteers to fill his shoes.

    1. I have taken the trouble to check the accuracy of this statement with David Raho and he says:-

      "I'm fine and well and not quitting unless a better candidate in London comes forward and I'm able to train them up first."

    2. This from Facebook:-

      Just wanted to let folks know that rumours that I am quitting as CRC London Chair are false. It is also false that our CRC NEC Rep is taking over the Chair or has any ambitions in that respect. It is however true that I was recently the victim of an identity theft by someone I know however the mischief has been managed. Apologies to anyone who was concerned or cheered by the rumours but I am around to bore or entertain for a while longer unless there are a flood of volunteers who wish to take on the job.

      David Raho

    3. Train them up first to do what send your branch attendance to inquorate ? To assign the terms and of the national collective bargaining to the bin? Operate without negotiating facility time. Really no one could do any worse and have the benefit of avoiding any training from him. Quit do us all a favour. London controversial because they don't seem to manage anything well.

    4. 20:21 You are not from the SW by any chance?

  11. I'm not from anywhere near London, but I have always admired Mr Raho. He isn't fireworks and rhetoric like his predecessor, that is just a matter of style. He has been intelligent, hardworking, articulate, diligent. To call that self-serving is insulting and inaccurate. He is not at fault, as the dispirited beaten-up staff are not at fault. Keen as I am on this blog, it hasn't spared itself getting the boot into NAPO either. Grayling and the Tory government are to blame for the appalling state of Probation and staff morale and situations. Focus, focus.

  12. Attacking union reps simply plays into the hands of those who would see unions diminished and fail. Mr Raho has a different style to his predecessor but he is not to blame for member apathy. Where do the reps of the future come from? All those young people in probation who voted for Corbyn and yet aren't even a member of a union and think paying thei subs is insurance rather than actually doing something. I despair when I see all these cheap shots against someone who has done their bit ten times over. Easy to take a pop but harder to get off your ass

  13. I'm in CGM CRC and have been a staunch union memeber for as far back as I can remember way before I joined Probation I have took part in many rallies and strike action as a NALGO memeber and having joined Probation some 19yrs ago was taken aback by the apathy of staff - I understand why people were scared to be " militant " as no one really wants to " rock the boat " or to be seen as troublesome - however this is what our now " over lords " enjoy and along with the Gov appear to relish as we don't fight back - WE cannot blame one individual but have to question ourselves in what parts WE play in supporting our Unions and what WE can do to show WE are resolute and as 0948 stated stick together.

  14. Thanks to Charon for a report at least something of the NEC message is coming out. It should not viewed that the Rogers report is actually well written? Is it ? how so then. He could not even get the opening title right which has now immersed itself in outrageous controversy and exposes the poor immature thinking of a policy proposal without genuine direction that is now doomed to fail. Pride is a brand title for the gay community as ownership of empowerment. In the centre of London and across the country anyone would recognise pride as it has become known. Perhaps Mr Rogers need some educating on current events and functions of unions than his own personal brand of what he thinks language is should be about. Perhaps he might learn the value of the word humility when he grows up.