Thursday, 14 June 2018

General Secretary Election 19

Hi Jim,

Thank you once again for posting my responses and thoughts during this campaign and also finding my video via facebook. I realise not everyone will be supportive of this medium for interaction and that outsiders will also be able to view everything that is written. To be honest I want those employers that Napo members work for to read these jottings as they will be clear about what will happen next if I am successfully elected as your GS and I’m pretty sure that they will be hoping that is not the case, especially those that have had to deal with me across the table previously. 

They will know and understand that when I set deadlines then I am a man of my word and expect a realistic and fair deadline to be achieved. For instance I will not be fobbed off with the continued promise of “future talks on pay”, often with a carrot held on a fishing line just in front of our noses, continually keeping us from the prize but with the promise of “constructive talks shortly once we have ministerial approval”. If trade union leaders have not spotted this annual trick by employers, especially NPS, to avoid addressing the issues then we really are in trouble. 

The senior leaders of any organisation are put there as a ‘buffer’, in NPS’s case they are the ‘buffer’ between you (members) and the minster in charge, and you must step out of the cosy talks mentality believing that these senior leaders are really trying their best to resolve our issues on pay, workloads etc…unfortunately you are playing right into their hands, that is their job, to make you believe they are responsible and listening to your concerns with care and compassion whilst taking their bonuses and bumper salaries annually without fluttering an eyelid.

My comments on seeking clarity with regards to financial information has been questioned, especially about being able to obtain information from Napo with regards to the General Secretary remuneration package and some have suggested that I have shown my inexperience or made an error as only a public body need to respond to such requests and that I am somehow not paying attention to detail. 

I would urge those who believe this to perhaps spend a little more time reading TULCRA 1992, the legislation that applies to trade unions in the UK. If you read TULCRA you will realise that Trade Unions have statutory duties to supply financial information to members annually, explicitly with regards to remuneration packages of General Secretaries, and upon request must allow members sight of financial information. Please see extracts from TULCRA below to assist those members better in understanding;

30 Right of access to accounting records.

(1) A member of a trade union has a right to request access to any accounting records of the union which are available for inspection and relate to periods including a time when he was a member of the union.
In the case of records relating to a branch or section of the union, it is immaterial whether he was a member of that branch or section.

(2) Where such access is requested the union shall—

(a) make arrangements with the member for him to be allowed to inspect the records requested before the end of the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the day the request was made,
(b) allow him and any accountant accompanying him for the purpose to inspect the records at the time and place arranged, and
(c) secure that at the time of the inspection he is allowed to take, or is supplied with, any copies of, or of extracts from, records inspected by him which he requires.

(3) The inspection shall be at a reasonable hour and at the place where the records are normally kept, unless the parties to the arrangements agree otherwise.

(4) An “accountant” means a person who is eligible for appointment as a [F1 statutory auditor under Part 42 of the Companies Act 2006].

(5) The union need not allow the member to be accompanied by an accountant if the accountant fails to enter into such agreement as the union may reasonably require for protecting the confidentiality of the records.

32 A Statement to members following annual return.

(1) A trade union shall take all reasonable steps to secure that, not later than the end of the period of eight weeks beginning with the day on which the annual return of the union is sent to the Certification Officer, all the members of the union are provided with the statement required by this section by any of the methods allowed by subsection (2).

(2) Those methods are—

(a) the sending of individual copies of the statement to members; or
(b) any other means (whether by including the statement in a publication of the union or otherwise) which it is the practice of the union to use when information of general interest to all its members needs to be provided to them.

(3) The statement required by this section shall specify—

(a) the total income and expenditure of the trade union for the period to which the return relates,
(b) how much of the income of the union for that period consisted of payments in respect of membership,
(c) the total income and expenditure for that period of any political fund of the union, and
(d) the salary paid to and other benefits provided to or in respect of—

(i) each member of the executive,
(ii) the president, and
(iii) the general secretary,
by the trade union during that period.

In respect of specific questions with regards to my qualifications as a trade union rep I have completed stage 1 TUC representative, Stage 2 TUC representative ”stepping up”, POA Branch Official Training (TUC accredited), TUC Leading change, first part (didn’t complete this course as instead of going to Boston in the USA October/November 2016 I was in urgent talks with the Secretary of State and HMPPS hierarchy over health and safety in Prisons which resulted in industrial action). 

Qualifications are important as is continued education but working in the role is where the true experience sets in. I have obviously not previously worked for Napo and will need to learn Napo’s rules and constitution inside out as I have learnt the rules of my previous trade union inside out. Using the policies that are specific to the individual organisation based around primary legislation is the key to having a firm grip on understand and organising the functioning of the trade union, as is knowledge of relevant legislation with regards to Trade Union activities.

Whilst I have always accepted that I will need to learn more if successful in this role I am certainly not inexperienced, neither am I lacking in knowledge of the relevant legislation's and rules appertaining to Trade Unions, their legal and statutory responsibilities to members and in making returns to such bodies as the Certification Officer.

Kind Regards

Mike Rolfe


  1. Read TULCRA again Mike. If you think that is going to tell you in advance what the GS will get if you win the election, then you will be disappointed.

    1. C'mon clever clogs, if you know so much don't bury it under a bushel. Tell us something authoritative instead of making snide remarks.

  2. Sorry Jim all this MR airtime is becoming tedious. Let's hear more about the momentous cutting of the CRC contracts and the humiliation of a certain Christopher Grayling. There were whoops of joy that are rarely heard in my office today.

    1. Wow so he is bombarded on these blogs with posts questioning his credibility, asking for his trade union qualifications - then you quote 'all this MR airtime is becoming tedious' - I suggest a new activity if you jump into the heat and cannot take the fire :-)

  3. In my office there is more immediate interest in who will be the next GS. Any whoops of joy are necessarily vicarious as it not as though any decline in the fortunes of CRCs can be credited to Napo which has been led a merry dance by CRCs. Napo needs a new cutting edge and considering there is almost a news blackout within the Napo organisation, the more awareness there is of an alternative needs as much airtime as possible. I remember IL at an AGM saying the letter was in the post for the judicial review - received with whoops of joy. Yet 12 months later we find out it wasn't posted. That was tedious.

  4. If the reports are true we need to now focus on the cost of this monumental cock up. I feel for staff in CRCs right now, what must they be thinking of their futures. It is clear that the exodus of experienced staff continues and those that remain await a retendering process. In other words the dogma of outsourcing and privatisation of important public services remains on track. Bigger areas, fewer contracts is surely phase 2 and not a victory as some would claim.

  5. That is a really important point to make. A bit of sensitivity is in order. These are our colleagues who - not so very long ago - we all sat next to and worked with. And through no fault of there own were drafted into the CRC’s. Redundancy payments arent what they once were. This can’t be easy for them.

  6. I like this guy he has gusto...every time the IL belittling team jump on him he comes back with a professional, tactful and appropriate response!

  7. Interserve staff received this email today:
    'dear all'
    an article has been published in todays Times which is about the national CRC contractual discussions that are currently ongoing between CRC providers and the MOJ.
    Cathy James, senior contract manager with the Directorate of Community Intervention at HMPPS has asked Interserve to share the following lines with all probation staff. She is also sharing the same correspondence with all NPS and CRC staff.
    1. the article is based on a leak and does not reflect agreed Govt policy
    2. The MOJ is in commercial discussions with CRC parent organisations. Those discussions are ongoing and no final decisions have yet been taken on our future plans for probation.
    3. Our priority is to ensure operational stability for the probation system so that staff can continue to focus on the important work they do to protect the public, rehabilitate offenders and deliver the sentences of the court.
    4.As and when ministers develop proposals about future changes to the probation system, there will of course be proper engagement with staff, trade unions and stakeholders.

    If you receive any questions from the media or other sources about the future of CRC contracts and the probation system, you should direct them to Stephen Hallmark, Interserve Comms Manager.

    I'd like to know, why, when there's still 4yrs of the contract left that discussions are ongoing already? The writing's on the wall, Interserve have the HMIP in at the moment and feedback is not looking good. Share price has again plummeted to 69p. Despite all this why are MOJ going ahead with Interserve re-building Glen Parva at £170m ?

    1. Not good enough, these organisations are not fit to run important public services, they are opportunists whose credentials are well and truly besmirched. Failed, failed, failed ... Reassurances to staff need to come from the government not PR slick business executives. The single message should be, 'this adventure was ill conceived and poorly implemented and we will work with all to ensure a transition back to public ownership as the basis for Probation services but utilising the private and voluntary sectors to support that base.' Fees up, you fxxked up, now put it right and recover our respect and your integrity.

  8. How can important public services be at the mercy of the long and short trading practices of people whose only aim is to make money. The answer surely is that the good old deep pocketed tax payer will pick up the pieces. A few hundred million scattered here and there looks small fry against a 1.7 trillion pound national debt and kicks the proverbial can along the road a while longer. Time for carrion to be picked over and the vultures to be away and circling with an eye to their next meal. Very public spirited!