Napo is exploring how we can amplify the professional voice of probation and family court professionals and grab the opportunity to shape the future structure and direction of our services.
As a professional association and trade union, Napo has a long and proud history of championing the value of the probation and family court services; the importance of recognising the professionalism of all staff; and the value of investing in professional development for all grades. This is reflected in our long-standing policies for a professional register, national professional standards and professional unity across probation.
This is a constant strand of Napo’s national work with employers and our political lobbying. However, local opportunities for members to get involved as Napo’s Professional Advocates are not always as well recognised or supported.
Through our Activist and Representative Training Programme we are identifying opportunities to open this up at local level on a number of fronts.
- Exploring if Napo Practice Surgeries can help recently qualified staff safely discuss how to manage tricky situations for the first time;
- Organising short talks at lunchtimes or the end of work to discuss specific articles in our professional journals or around professional themes;
- Rejuvenating the Trade Union Learning Reps concept to identify CPD needs;
- Becoming a local lead on professional issues and participating in collective negotiations and discussions at local and divisional level.
Other unions have successfully utilised meetings focussing on celebrating successes and why they still do what they do, for example NEU “Teacher Meets”. This is a model Napo are also looking to develop with “Probation Meets”. For example, in Thames Valley we’ve successfully piloted a “Proud of Probation” day combining meeting new and non-members’ with a workplace walk-around and surgery and an evening social event.
Looking outside the workplace, Napo’s also looking at how we can work with academia to talk to students about what probation really involves. A pilot with St Mary’s University in West London has already led to further discussions around potential research partnerships. We think employers may even support and sponsor such initiatives as they look to promote probation and social work and help ease long-standing recruitment difficulties.
These initiatives are explored further in our Activist and Representative Training programme. Branches are then supported in promoting and developing these ideas into strategic outcomes, with Napo’s link Officers and Officials coaching and mentoring local Reps to deliver their new Branch Plans.
Napo AGS Dean Rogers says: “Our members care so much about their professionalism. Helping Napo develop our professional engagement by becoming a Professional Advocate can be a really exciting and interesting way to contribute positively and to get more involved with Napo locally. With the pressures members are under and the chaos across their services, it’s vital we help members remain positive and continue to help celebrate and promote our members’ incredible work.”
Anyone interested in finding out more can contact their local Napo branch or email their details to firstname.lastname@example.org making the email “Professional Advocate Opportunities”.