Recent media releases from Napo
2 February 2018
The leading union in the Probation service Napo, are launching a national conversation on the future structure of probation delivery and accountability at a panel discussion to be held at the Welsh Assembly on Wednesday 7th February.
Napo claim that Chris Grayling’s “Transforming Rehabilitation” (TR) revolution has been an unmitigated disaster – the subject of hugely critical reports by the NAO and HMI Probation at the end of 2017 and now the subject of parallel investigations by the Public Accounts Committee and the Justice Select Committee.
On-going risks identified by staff include:
- Huge shortages of staff across privatised Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), largely due to job cuts due to loss making contracts;
- A staff morale crisis in the National Probation Service (NPS), run by the MoJ, arising from staff shortages, low staff morale, high workloads and payroll problems due to systemic failures in managing different pay and pension systems after the staff transfer;
- Knowledge gaps between staff working for the different organisations about offenders when cases are transferred between the two separate organisations;
- Fears about contract stability, especially following the recent collapse of Carillion.
Dean Rogers, Napo’s Assistant General Secretary who will be one of the panel members on 7th February said: “The current probation model is unsustainable so we need to start building a consensus for change now. That means promoting the debate and listening, as well as putting forward our own initial ideas, drawing from the lessons of Grayling’s failed experiment.”
At the Welsh Assembly Panel event, sponsored by Jayne Bryant AM, Mr Rogers will be joined by author Darren McGarvey; Dr Jill Annison from the University of Plymouth; Safer wales CEO, Bernie Bowen-Thomas and Clinks CEO, Anne Fox. The event takes place at the Media Briefing Room between 12 and 1.30pm.
Napo are campaigning across Wales and England saying that a new delivery model will need to reunite probation locally; increase local accountability and co-operation between local stakeholders; and remove the profit motive which skews commissioning and stifles local innovation.
Dean Rogers added: “Privatisation hasn’t worked in large part because there was never a market and no profit to be made to start with. Local CRC’s commissioning local providers isn’t working because CRC’s are making a loss and need to keep everything for themselves. But the nationalised bit doesn’t work either, because this is a local service that needs to be locally accountable and respond to local needs. Napo’s role is not to have all the answers but we should be generating debate and asking all of the right questions”
Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence, who provided Oral evidence to the Justice Select Committee inquiry this week: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/039b795a-b5d4-46f6-bcf9-1c4aa0b04c5c said: “This is an exciting initiative and Wales seems like the right place to start the national debate because people know about devolution and are well placed to explore possible options. Urgent consideration needs to be given to the key issues of probation funding and the impact on public safety of a fragmented service.”
Specific briefing note to Editors: With an emerging political consensus that the TR model will not survive past the current contracts which run until 2022, Napo is eager to move the debate from simply identifying what is accepted to not be working and towards what a new model could look like. In this they recognise that part of Chris Grayling’s problem was a failure to properly engage with professionals and stakeholders and build a consensus around reforms that could genuinely work.
30 January 2018
The leader of the largest trade union representing Probation staff in England and Wales (Napo) told the Justice Select Committee today, that the probation service is in serious difficulty and that taxpayers are continuing to fund systemic failure especially across the 21 outsourced Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). (click here to read more)
19 December 2017
The general secretary of probation union Napo says its members have been “vindicated” by a National Audit Investigation into the changes to Community Rehabilitation contracts across England and Wales.
The report published today reveals the MoJ has handed over an additional £342m of the public purse due to “unforeseen challenges” and “to reflect more accurately the cost of providing critical frontline services”. (Click here to read more)
14 December 2017
HMI Probation’s annual report was published today revealing a series of “deep-rooted” problems that still prevail since the service was split in 2013.
This report comes after a year of other scathing reports in which the lack of IT, faults in the financial and operational models and unreasonable workloads have been highlighted as areas for major concern. (Click here to read more)
15 September 2017
Due to ongoing security concerns in Northern Ireland Napo has been informed that the threat level posed to the probation Service in Northern Ireland has been increased. This is deeply concerning given the current climate and Napo calls for a cross party approach to respond to this raised threat. (Click here to read more)
31 August 2017
The leader of the largest trade union representing Probation staff in England and Wales today claimed that service provision in Gloucestershire, part of the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) owned by Aurelius/Working Links is in a state of chaos and represents a danger to public safety. (click here to read more)
22 August 2017
Napo is asking the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate the National Probation Service after uncovering systematic failures affecting hundreds of staff across the organisation. Click here to read more
1 August 2017
The leader of the largest trade union in the Probation service today questioned the rationale behind a £21 million government bail-out to private providers of probation across England and Wales. The decision was revealed in an answer to a Parliamentary question from Liz Saville Roberts MP. (Click here to read more)
20 July 2017
Responding to last night’s Ministerial statements on probation reform, the leader of the largest probation union accused the Government of misleading the public over the true impact of reforms to the probation service. (click here to read more)
23 June 2017
Today Her Majesties Inspectorate for Probation published the third Inspection report this week, this time looking at probation work in courts. Compared to earlier reports this is relatively positive in that it shows there has been some improvement in probation court work in the last year. However, it still raises concerns about how the probation service is functioning post-privatisation and that pre-sentence reports are not providing adequate risk assessments in many cases. (Click here to read more)
21 June 2017
A joint inspection report published today by Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Prisons and Probation on Through the Gate services for prisoners has revealed enormous failings.
The report, An Inspection of Through the Gate Resettlement Services for Prisoners Serving 12 Months or More, echoes the serious concerns Napo has voiced since Community Rehabilitation Companies were tasked with running the scheme designed to help prisoners transition from prison to communities. (Click here to read more)
19 June 2017
Today Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Probation published yet another damning report of probation services.
Following an inspection in Suffolk earlier this year HMIP have found that both the public and privately run probation providers are not doing enough good work in the delivery of probation services. The Inspector said that due to failings by the Ministry of Justice to deliver key IT systems and tight funding issues for the Sodexo run Community Rehabilitation Company has led to a delay in the company implementing its full operating model. (Click here to read more)
19 April 2017
HMI Probation have published yet another damning report of private probation providers, this time for the area of Gwent owned by Working Links which last year was purchased by the German based venture capitalists Aurelius. (click here to read more)
12 April 2017
A private company running probation services across Devon, Dorset and Cornwall failed to renew the insurance policy covering the fleet of vehicles used to transport offenders to community service activities. (Click here to read more)
7 March 2017
National Probation Service plans to offer improved maternity leave in exchange for staff giving up some of their annual leave has been branded unacceptable and potentially discriminatory by probation union Napo. (Click here to read more)
23 February 2017
Today the Secretary of State for Justice will outline and present the Prison and Courts Bill in the House of Commons. The main theme of the Bill is a greater focus on rehabilitation and modernising the Courts to ensure victims are at the heart of the justice system. Despite this however, there is no mention of the Probation Service which is currently in chaos and failing to provide even the basic supervision of offenders in the community. Yesterday saw the publication of yet another damning report by Her Majesty's Inspection for Probation.(Click here to read more)
13 February 2017
The largest trade union in the probation service has accused the government of “blame transference” following today’s speech by the Secretary of State for Justice which called for a greater effort by prison and probation staff to bring about improvements to reoffending. (Click here to read more).
14 December 2016
Napo warned the government that its reckless privatisation of probation services would lead to greater public risk. This has now been confirmed by the Inspectorate with its most damning report to date. Whilst recognising that providing outstanding probation services in London have long been challenging, this report makes it clear that there has been a significant deterioration since 2014. (click here to read more)
21 November 2016
Napo calls for urgent action on the probation service to assist the Government’s prison reform plans
Key figures in the criminal justice sector and probation services will meet today to discuss the future of probation. The Westminster Policy Forum are hosting the event where Ian Lawrence, General Secretary of Napo will address the forum and call for urgent action from the government to protect the probation service before it’s too late. (click here to read more)
03 November 2016
The increase in violence and self-harm in prisons can no longer be ignored by this government and Napo welcomes the government’s commitment to reform. It is vitally important that prisons are safe places for both prisoners and staff. Nevertheless, we have reservations about the approach the government is intending to take and are disappointed that a reduction in the prison population is secondary to the key measures likely to be announced by the Secretary of State for Justice today. (click here to read more)
4 October 2016
The largest union in the probation service in England and Wales has responded to the joint report by HM Chief Inspectors of Probation and Prisons on Through the Gate resettlement services for short-term prisoners, published today (Tuesday 4 October). (Click here to read more)
23 September 2016
The Public Accounts Committee has raised real concerns about the quality of probation services in England and Wales in a report published today.
Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Committee, said: "There is a real danger the Ministry of Justice has bitten off more than it can chew." (click here to read more)
22 September 2016
The HMIP report on Derbyshire Probation Services is damning of the service being provided by the Community Rehabilitation Company owned by RRP.
The report highlights that there has been a significant reduction in the quality of the service being provided in comparison to the previous Probation Trust which was dissolved in 2014. (Click here to read more)
26 May 2016
Napo, the largest trade union in the England and Wales probation service, today warned of its continuing concerns around offender management and public safety following the release of the fifth report by HM Inspector of Probation following the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation. (Click here to read more)
18 May 2016
Napo the trade union for probation and family court workers has welcomed the general direction of the prison reforms that featured in today’s Queen’s Speech. (Click here to read more)
28 April 2016
Napo welcomes the publication of today’s report and the findings highlighted. The implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation has created significant challenges for our members over the last 18 months and this report confirms our ongoing concerns about sustainability and service delivery. The report highlights concerns in both the National Probation Service (NPS) and the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). Click to download
11 February 2016
Napo welcomes the review of sentencing and the drive to make justice more efficient for both defendants and victims by pushing for a speedier Court process. However, we have real concerns about how this principle will be applied in practice in a Court system that is currently under funded under staffed and lacks the infrastructure needed for these proposals.
8 February 2016
Napo the trade union for Probation and Family Court workers agrees with the Prime Minister that there are too many people in the UK's overcrowded and unsafe prison estate and that rehabilitation and reintegration must be the primary objective.
For this policy to be successful Napo believes that urgent action is also needed to repair the serious damage that has been done to the Probation Service following the Transforming Rehabilitation programme and that staff need to be able to properly assist with supervision and rehabilitative programmes. Click to download
28 June 2015
Napo, Unison and GMB today issued a joint union statement calling on Sodexo to honour the Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy scheme that was underwritten by the Secretary of State prior to the privatisation programme. The unions strongly oppose Sodexo’s plans to reduce their workforce by over 400 staff which we believe will result in poor community supervision and pose a risk to the public. However, their refusal to honour the EVR scheme is yet another blow to staff struggling to cope with workloads and job insecurity.
11 June 2015
Napo is the Trade Union and Professional Association for Probation and Family Court Staff and its biannual women’s conference will this year be held in York at the Park Inn on Friday 12th June 2015. This is the first Napo conference since the privatisation of 70% of the Probation Service. With 100 delegates arriving in the city, the event promises a wide range of female speakers covering a variety of topics that affect women workers in Probation and Cafcass... click to download
1 May 2015
A national online survey of Black, Asian and Minority-Ethnic (BAME) Probation Service staff has revealed an alarming fall in confidence levels and morale following the introduction of the Coalition Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ (TR) policies. Click to download.
17 April 2015
On 16th April, the Probation trade unions, Napo, Unison and GMB warned the permanent secretary Ursula Brennan that members may be forced to ballot for strike action if she did not intervene over plans by the French multinational Sodexo to axe up to 46% of its staff in the 6 Community Rehabilitation Companies it took over on the 1st February 2015. Sodexo announced recently that 500+ jobs are at risk across its contract as it plans to replace highly skilled staff with biometric machines and mass call centres to supervise offenders in the community. Click to download
30 March 2015
On Friday 27th March 2015 Napo was informed that Sodexo, one of the private companies running 6 of the Community Rehabilitation Companies, will be making massive cuts to staff over the next 12 months. This is extremely worrying given the current staffing crisis in probation and the reasons behind them pose a significant risk to public safety. Click to download
24 March 2015
HMI Prisons today published a report investigating three prisoners released on temporary licence in 2013 that led to at least one murder and an armed robbery. The Chief Inspector’s report identifies significant failings that led to the inappropriate release of three high risk of harm prisoners that could have been prevented. In the report’s findings and recommendations the inspectorate highlights the need for greater involvement of probation officers in deciding on temporary licence as they have the knowledge and skill base to manage risk. It also identifies a lack of staff in prison to ensure each case is adequately reviewed.
But Napo, Trade Union for Probation and Family Court Staff has raised their concerns that the current staff shortages in both probation and prison will lead to an increase in unsuitable releases. Click to download.
18 February 2015
Unions representing probation staff say that Government plans to offer rehabilitation support to the estimated 45,000 prisoners released every year from short term sentences are in danger of failing to be delivered on time. The claim follows the receipt of information that a number of the providers of ‘Through the Gate’ (TTG) support services are short of key staff just weeks away from the contractually required 1st May launch date. Click to download
23 December 2014
The Probation Board for Northern Ireland has been told it faces a 12% budget cut in 2015. This is in addition to the in-year budget cuts of 2014. As a result jobs are at risk for a board that already has an 18% shortfall in front line staff.. Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary, said: “this is a huge budget cut that will leave the Board no option but cut back on staff. It is short sighted as it will take the focus away from rehabilitation and reducing re-offending in the long term and more money will be spent housing prisoners instead of effective community supervision.” Click to download.
18 December 2014
Probation Union Anger as Justice Secretary Ignores Safety Concerns and Signs Probation Outsourcing Contracts
Napo the Trade Union and Professional Association for Probation and Family Court Staff are angry at the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling as he presses ahead with his Probation Service outsourcing despite evidence that it is unsafe to do so. The Union, which has been campaigning against the Governments reforms since 2013, have documented evidence provided by the Ministry of Justice that there are still significant failures with the new system that they believe seriously undermine service delivery and public safety. But despite this contracts for the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies have been signed by the new providers and Grayling, tying the government and future governments to 10 years. Click to download
12 December 2014
Napo – the probation officers’ union and professional association – was today forced to stay silent on the safety concerns and proposed amendments to the privatised probation service that were revealed by its court proceedings against the Ministry of Justice. Click to download
8 December 2014
Vapo – the probation officers’ union and professional organisation – has finally forced the Justice Secretary to recognise the serious safety risks in the re-organised probation service, and provide details of the steps he will take to address Napo’s long-standing concerns before Community Rehabilitation Companies are sold into private ownership.
As a result, Napo has today concluded its legal action and is satisfied it has achieved everything it was possible to secure through its court case. It will ask the High Court to order the Justice Secretary to pay the legal fees it has been forced to incur to make him face up to the safety issues in the system. Click to download
4 December 2014
Probation Union Anger as Secretary of State Ignores Dangers
Today Chris Grayling the Secretary of State for Justice has announced that he will proceed to the award of contracts for the Probation Service despite evidence that it is unsafe to do so. Napo, the trade union and professional association for probation staff has repeatedly provided evidence to the Secretary of State that his newly tested reforms are placing the public at risk and believes he is ignoring the unions concerns to pursue an ideological plan that is running to an election timetable rather than in the public interest. Read more
2 December 2014
Secretary of State tells parliament he will proceed to a decision on selling the probation service despite being unaware of serious safety concerns
The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, was questioned by the Justice Select Committee (JSC) this morning about the safety of his proposal to sell off parts of the probation service to private companies – a decision he is due to make tomorrow. Having spent £15million on private consultants, Mr Grayling insisted that he would proceed to make the decision tomorrow, before the High Court considers the safety of the proposal (at a hearing on 10-12 December 2014) and despite serious risks to public safety raised by Napo (including two recent murders committed whilst offenders were inadequately supervised). Napo, the Union for Probation Officers, has four important concerns about Mr Grayling’s evidence to the JSC. Read more
1 December 2014
Napo has this evening written to Chris Grayling in advance of tomorrow's Justice Select Committee to highlight its concerns about the serious risks to public safety posed by Mr Grayling's proposal to sell off 70% of the probation service, in light of evidence collected by Napo and the Ministry of Justice's own tests, which were disclosed to Napo late on Friday 28 November 2014 following a High Court order compelling Mr Grayling to disclose the test results. The Ministry of Justice has claimed that the test results must be kept secret. Napo is currently contesting this on the grounds that it is in the public interest that the safety of the proposed sale is known. Click to dowload
Attached is a letter from Napo to the Secretary of State. This has had to be redacted due to confidentiality clauses insisted upon by the Secretary of State which Napo is also challenging. Click to download redacted letter
30 October 2014
On Wednesday 29th October 2014 Napo, the Trade Union and Professional Association for probation and family court workers, issued instructions to our lawyers Slater and Gordon to move to an application for a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State's plans to sell off 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) formed under the governments Transforming Rehabilitation programme. Click to download
29 October 2014
Probation Union outraged as Secretary of State announces preferred bidders for the Probation Service despite evidence that it’s not safe to sell off
Napo is outraged today that Chris Grayling Secretary of State for Justice has gone ahead with his announcement of who his preferred bidders are for the Probation Service despite increasing evidence that it is not safe to sell off. The 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) which will deal with low – medium risk of harm offenders are still in utter chaos following the decision to split the Probation Service up on 1st June this year. Click to download
3 September 2014
Napo and UNISON survey reveals a stressed and demoralised workforce that has no confidence in government privatisation proposals
A survey of more than 1,000 probation workers has delivered a damning verdict on the government's decision to break up the probation service and sell-off half to profit making private companies.
99% of respondents revealed they do not support the government's probation reforms, while 93% do not believe that the changes will provide value for the money for the taxpayer. 98% said they have no confidence in Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling. Click to download. FULL SURVEY RESULTS
6 August 2014
Napo, the Trade Union and Professional Association for Probation and Family Court Staff has today again challenged Chris Grayling to pilot his plans to privatise the Probation Service in England and Wales. The Secretary of State split the Probation service on the 1st June to facilitate the intended sell off of 70% of the services work to bidders representing the third and private sectors. The union says Ministers have told Parliament that the rationale behind the ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ agenda has been based on the two prison based ‘Payment by Results’ pilots operating in HMP Peterborough and HMP Doncaster. The final results for cohorts 1 for these pilots are expected to be published by the MoJ in a press notice at 09:30 on Thursday 7th August 2014. - Click to download
5 August 2014
Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence said:' The Judges remarks, although made in a private capacity, were extremely unfortunate and do not reflect the views of Probation Officers who work tirelessly with offenders, victim's families and other agencies within the criminal justice system to ensure that the parole process is as robust and transparent as it can be.' Adding: 'We agree that it's important that families are given an opportunity to better understand the parole system and to move towards peace and closure wherever possible. This might involve them being able to tell the offender (as well as a Court and/or Parole Board) what impact their actions had. There is a critical role for Probation here, especially via Victim Liaison Officers who support those who have suffered all types of crime and their families.' - Click to download
31 July 2014
Reacting to the launch of the Transdermal tagging pilots in South London, which were announced by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, this morning, Napo, the union for probation and family court workers, claimed that the scheme would not solve the problem of binge drinking in the longer term.
Speaking on Sky News earlier today, General Secretary of Napo, Ian Lawrence, said: 'whilst the scheme is at least to be trialled first to allow for analysis, this will be seen in some quarters as a bit of a gimmick in terms of the wider issues. It is a pity that the plans to sell off the Probation Service are not also being piloted; but instead are being rushed through within a dangerously tight timetable for ideological reasons.' Click to download
20 June 2014
On 20th June the Shadow Lord Chancellor paid a visit to Napo Cymru Branch to get a better understanding of how Grayling’s madcap reforms of the Probation Service are impacting on frontline staff and service delivery. Napo members welcomed the opportunity to tell Sadiq Khan just how bad things are following the dissolution of the Wales Probation Trust and the implementation of the new National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Company. Napo has been campaigning fiercely to highlight that these reforms will undermine risk management and put the public at risk; and these concerns are now becoming a reality. Staff in Wales are struggling with inadequate IT systems, restricted access to offenders records and significantly increased workloads since 1 June. Click to download.
5 June 2014
Following the implementation of the Secretary of State Chris Grayling’s Transforming Rehabilitation agenda, which came into practice on 1 June, the Probation Service is now split into a National Probation Service (NPS) and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). However, both organisations are in chaosThe situation is exacerbated by serious staff shortages, 500 vacancies across England and Wales, leading to unallocated cases and staff having to bridge the gap across the two organisations. In an attempt to resolve the issue the Ministry of Justice is desperately trying to recruit new staff. This week an advert was placed in the Guardian looking to recruit Probation Officers from New Zealand and Australia currently living in the UK. Click to download
30 May 2014
Today is the last working day of the 35 Probation Trusts of England and Wales as they are being closed down by the Secretary of State despite significant concerns that it is dangerous to do so. Chris Grayling's "Transforming Rehabilitation" programme will see the Trusts replaced with a National Probation Service dealing with Court work and high risk of harm offenders and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies working with low to medium risk of harm offenders which will be then sold off to the private sector in October this year. The reforms have been widely criticised since they were first announced. Click to download
20 May 2014
Today the Public Accounts Committee published their first report scrutinising the Secretary of State's, Chris Graylings plans to privatise up to 70% of the Probation Service. Napo welcomes the Committee's conclusions and recommendations which echo the concerns raised by Napo and other stakeholders. Napo has continued to raise our concerns over the plans with the government which we believe will undermine public protection, place the public at risk and allow private companies to profit from working with offenders... - Click to download
30 March 2014
At 12 noon on 31st March thousands of Probation staff across England and Wales will walk out on strike and stay out until 12 midnight on 1st April. Napo, the Trade Union for Probation and Family Court staff, are still in a formal dispute over the government plans to privatise 70% of the probation service which they say will have a significant impact on public safety and public protection. This is the union’s 5th strike in its 103 year history and its second in relation to this issue. – click to download
9 March 2014
The government’s plans to privatise probation are flawed, dangerous, expensive and will put the public at risk. Napo has drafted over 70 questions for politicians which remain unanswered about the proposed model; yet ministers want the private contract signed off and shares sold by the late autumn. This is an impossible timetable. – click to download
9 March 2014
In January 2013, the Coalition announced that it was intending to privatise up to 70% of the Probation Service’s core work. In June 2013, a risk register compiled by Ministry of Justice officials was leaked. It stated quite clearly that there were severe risks that the project would not meet its objectives and that would lead to reputational damage. – click to download
26 February 2014
A 10 Minute Rule Bill will be introduced in the House of Commons today, 26 February, to make domestic violence and coercive control crimes. The Bill has all party support and has been spearheaded by Elfyn Llwyd MP (Plaid Cymru). – click to download
4 February 2014
On 1 April 2013 the government introduced large scale cuts to the provision of legal aid in both civil and criminal proceedings. The impact in just one year on the administration has been astonishing. Figures, which are attached, show that 12 months ago the majority (some 80%) of parties to family court proceedings, in particular those dealing with child contact, were represented by lawyers. The situation now, in spring 2014, is a virtual reversal, with seven out of 10 parties appearing as Litigants in Person (LIPs). This is having a major adverse effect on child welfare. – click to download
22 January 2014
The Justice Committee today published its report that scrutinises the Offender Rehabilitation Bill and the Secretary of State’s plans to privatise 70% of the Probation Service. The report highlights concerns that Napo itself has been raising with the Government since its announcement last year for radical reforms to Probation. – click to download