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28/01/2012
  The love of mammon
I have to admit to having become quite addicted to Twitter this past week. Whilst I am very slowly figuring out who best to follow I have been struck by the opportunity it provides to pick up on a range of stories relevant to Napo's world and beyond. The Government's Health and Benefits 'reforms' are good examples.

The recent steep rise in prison numbers was one story doing the tweet rounds yesterday http://www.guardian.co.uk/soci...budget-cuts?CMP=twt_gu . The MoJ Permanent Secretary is right to highlight the impact of the cuts on the ability of the Service to cope and, by extension, that applies to Probation too.

In this context the announcement this week of the two Trusts chosen to run the Payment by Results pilots seems a little underwhelming http://www.justice.gov.uk/news...newsrelease250112a.htm . It seems their 'partners in crime' (works on a number of levels that!) are yet to be identified from the approved list. There is a rather more immediate problem facing criminal justice at this time and long term pilots touting financial incentives for doing your work properly are not an obvious priority. Just ask the staff, such as the large group of PSOs in London, currently facing the threat of redundancy if you are in any doubt.

NOMS has responded to our letter about re-tiering of cases in probation and is accepting the urgent need to discuss the proposals. Some form of progress, I guess.

The bonus payment to the RBS Chief Executive wins the award for biggest snout in the trough this week - I realise I've just made that award up http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16752358 . Call me old fashioned but I can't help thinking that a million pound salary should give him enough to get by on. His Chairman (sic) has been shamed into rejecting his bonus. The most laughable defence of it I heard was that he would have to pay tax and national insurance. Blimey, these top bankers have it tough!

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    Posted By: jonathanledger @ 28/01/2012 04:23 PM     General     Comments (0)  

23/01/2012
  Twitter ye not
It has taken me 4 years since registering but I am now active on Twitter! Finding my way around it has demonstrated its usefulness and I have already linked up with some interesting people in the CJS. I need to get some Family Court connections made now.

If you want to 'follow' me my user name is @Jonathan_Napo.

My first official tweet was confirmation that members in Probation had accepted the pay offer http://www.napo.org.uk/about/news/news.cfm/newsid/152 . Whilst the margin of acceptance was clear there were a good number of votes against. I have sympathy with this view even if the current reality was that this was as good as it was going to get. I do intend to remind the employers that members may have accepted the offer but remain concerned about pay equality and fairness now and in the future.

Gerard Horton, who spoke at last year's AGM, was featured in a powerful Guardian article today about the treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli juvenile justice system http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl...an-children?intcmp=239 . The film that accompanies it is very powerful.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Napo's concerns about the re-tiering proposals emerging from NOMS about which we have not been consulted. I have attached the letter I sent to NOMS on this subject last week.


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    Posted By: jonathanledger @ 23/01/2012 06:12 PM     General     Comments (0)  

18/01/2012
  Off with their Eds
Our latest pensions bulletin has just been released and can be seen here http://www.napo.org.uk/about/news/news.cfm/newsid/150 . As I indicated in my last entry there have been positive developments in the LGPS notably the removal of the 3% contribution rate increase until, at the earliest, 2014. Much work to be done still, of course, but we seem to be moving in the right direction.

I was disappointed by the contributions of the Eds, Balls and Miliband, at the weekend. The commitment to the cuts and pay freezes of this Government misjudged the mood of many of their natural supporters. No one is expecting them to set out spending plans at this point in time but a bit of solidarity with working people would have been welcome. The latest unemployment figures, showing a sharp increase, give the lie to the effectiveness of the Tory led austerity measures. There was a good response from Unite's leader, Len McCluskey, in the Guardian yesterday http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm...reatened-blairite-coup . In fairness Michael White did a fair case for the defence in response in the same paper.

I caught the end of a BBC radio series 'The Bishop and the Prisoner' on Monday and wished I had heard more. The Bishop of Liverpool has a sound record on criminal justice and it was a moving insight into the real lives of those imprisoned and the need to provide positive rehabilitation. His suggestion that the CJS is renamed the Restorative Justice System resonated powerfully for me.

As for Michael Gove.... in the week of the terrible Italian cruise ship tragedy his fawning suggestion of providing a new Royal Yacht was as foolish as it was ill timed. Given that he is said to be a part of the PM's inner circle you have to think he wasn't working alone. I saw one headline entitled 'To have or have yacht'. If only I had thought of that!

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    Posted By: jonathanledger @ 18/01/2012 05:44 PM     General     Comments (0)  

14/01/2012
  Tiers of a clown
Returned to work and a busy schedule this week. Napo has appointed a new National Official and information about her will be coming out to branches soon.

The latest meeting of the TUC's PSLG group took place on Thursday. There have been significant developments with the LGPS scheme and signs of movement by the Government not least in allowing the employers and unions to conduct the talks without direct Ministerial involvement. Napo, along with all but one of the many unions covered by the Scheme, has agreed to continue in negotiations but collectively reserved our right to take further action if talks do not produce improvements. Of course, members will have the final say on any offer that emerges.

In other Schemes the picture is more mixed. Talks are taking place but whether they will produce enough to resolve the disputes is not clear at the moment. It remains the case that the progress we have made was achieved off the back of the outstanding collective action on N30.

Napo has learned via a paper produced by the Probation Chiefs Association that NOMS plans to retier risk in cases are taking shape with a small pilot project to be run in a few Trusts. The PCA expresses a number of concerns about the implications of essentially lowering risk in a significant proportion of cases. No doubt the opportunity to cut costs appeals to NOMS which is in the envious position of devising this nonsense whilst carrying none of the responsibility for the consequences. So far it has not been deemed necessary by NOMS to discuss its plans with Napo. We will be taking this up with officials in the coming week and considering how we will respond to the risks posed by this threat to practice integrity and public safety.

This site has been revamped at the start of our centenary year including the new design of our logo. Worth a visit to the Learning and Development microsite http://www.napo.org.uk/learnin...ment/courses/index.cfm which has a lot of new information about courses for members.


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    Posted By: jonathanledger @ 14/01/2012 04:35 PM     General     Comments (0)  

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