Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A New Mandate

I see that Napo's newly-elected General Secretary has found time to pen a cheeky blog whilst busy in Warsaw and before tonight's England match:-

Honoured to serve again

I have always believed that it’s a privilege to be employed by a trade union, and especially in the role as the senior elected employee of the organisation.

News of my re-election to remain as your General Secretary for a second term, after a testing process that seemed to span months rather than weeks, was of course hugely appreciated by me, but I won’t be affording myself the indulgence of a long celebration. Just in the same way that I am not one to wallow perpetually in the bitter aftermath of defeat, or use it as an excuse to apportion blame on others, I have over the years learned to accept victory with humility.

So I want to record thanks and future best wishes to Mike Rolfe for stepping up to be part of the GS election contest and offering members a choice. I am sure that his name will feature again when or if other similar opportunities arise elsewhere in the future

Unfortunately, it’s an unpalatable truth that General Secretary elections rarely engage huge interest among union members, although a 16.4% turnout is proportionately much higher than other and bigger unions manage to achieve.

During the balloting period much debate was taking place about the Election Guidelines and the opportunities for member engagement. I have long been of the view that our democratic processes ought to reflect the times we live in, but General Secretaries whoever they are, don’t make the rules, you do; via your Branch meetings and the Napo AGM.

There’s time enough between now and the next GS Election for a review, which will hopefully spare future candidates from attempts to move the goalposts at the last minute.

Work to do

We (that’s as in ‘we’ in the collective) have serious work to do from here on in to build our campaign to reunify the Probation Service and see it restored to public ownership. We will soon be commencing what I already know will be difficult pay negotiations in the NPS. All our CRC members will be watching developments keenly to ensure they won’t be left behind and I intend to make sure that you will not be. Then there is the not inconsiderable matter of growing this union back to something near to the level of density that we had before Grayling’s failed attempts wipe us out of existence. He failed on that one of course and one day he will be brought to account for his incompetency, but it’s taking longer than we would all like.

Meanwhile, following the election result I have been absolutely overwhelmed and very moved by the scores and scores of supportive messages from Napo members and former colleagues who I have worked with over many years. I also appreciate that there are some members who wanted a change in leadership. To them I simply say, I will be a General Secretary for all of our members, and will seek to carry out the fresh mandate I have been given.

We cannot afford the luxury of division in the landscape we are stepping into. It’s one that is becoming more welcoming and receptive to our values and beliefs and we must work together to defeat our common enemies, because victory is not only in sight but it’s also in reach. We must hasten the day when it will arrive.

Ian Lawrence


Of course a number of Napo members remain sceptical:-

"There’s time enough between now and the next GS Election for a review, which will hopefully spare future candidates from attempts to move the goalposts at the last minute." Taken from Ian's blog which does NOT accord with his earlier comments about "humility" and not wanting to find any "excuse to apportion blame on others". What proof is there of the other candidate trying to move goalposts? More a case of members trying to hear more from MR themselves but being hamstrung by terms&conditions that favour the incumbent.

We can only imagine the steady stream of nausea inducing emails pouring into ILs inbox following a convincing victory over a candidate who back in the day would never have made it onto the ballot paper but was the best that the left wingers on the NEC could find in the absence of a credible candidate.

There are many challenges that face IL. He has sorted his major priority which was his income (running two homes and sports cars doesn’t come cheap plebs) and will insist he is employed on the old contract that guarantees him a payoff - so two years pay in the bag no matter what.

IL has long been able to prove that being competent is not an essential skill for his post but because he does little it hardly matters. But what we do need is a functioning NEC. The sort of NEC that should have determined that both MR and IL were unappointable and readvertised. Despite strong words in private their actions in dealing with IL are spineless. After he has outlined his plans (give him 10 days) as his employer they should be scrutinising his every move and all the work he says he is doing and if he doesn’t like it he can complain to his own union. 

If he doesn’t buck up his ideas then there should be an emergency motion at AGM calling for a vote of no confidence. Members should not fear being leaderless as that is exactly the position we have been in since IL stumbled on Napo as a cash cow after retiring from PCS. Nice work if you can get it where the only qualification is a rhino thick skin.


  1. "Don't follow leaders" wise words and apt for out time. As a nation, let alone a teeny weeny if noble Union and profession, we would have been lucky to get a Mandela. Struggle on, comrades

  2. Turnout down 5% on the last GS election. What 'testing process'? If only there had been one.

    1. 'testing process' - I think he's referring to having a contender willing to engage with members via this blog :-) I gather IL was very unhappy.

  3. IL is right to say the arguments re TR are being won. What follows TR is not. A small Union with collective voice can make a difference in concert with others who are like minded. Regarding TR and ethos of involving Private Sector and Voluntary Sector, there were and remain so many opportunities for both, alongside a Public Sector Probation Service, to make difference and if you want, a profit. Setting creativity and innovation in that context is potentially a win win for all concerned. I do not see a central place for corporate outsourcing behemoths managing important state functions. Not even convinced that this even applies to changing lightbulbs but would be open to being proved wrong on that one. There is a window of opportunity to do something important here. I hope the Government listens and has learnt from the maladventure of TR.

    1. P.S. Come on England, bring it home.

  4. Jim, can you run a sweepstake on what % our next pay rise will be?

    Whilst you're on, can you put me down for £10 on 0%?

    WTF has he been doing since 2008 when we had our last actually rise? Additionally, CRC's are now classed as private companies so are not bound by Government restrictions on pay rises.