Twitter aficionado’s (@ilawrenceL) and Napo web page visitors will hopefully have seen what I said on Tuesday at the conference organised by the excellent ‘NO Offence’ organisation where the star guests included Paul Wilson HM Inspector of Probation.
Paul offered a very interesting insight into his post TR findings and surprise, surprise, they mirrored what you are telling us every day about this unmitigated disaster. I have massive respect for Paul and the work that his team undertakes as they try to bring a rational perspective to what they encounter. But unless I wrote this down incorrectly, the suggestion that he offered to the effect that it (TR) isn’t broken yet, and that a judgement could only be made about the effectiveness of Graylings grandiose social experiment after the next two to three years was frankly, just too much to accept. 
You know and I know, that we just don’t have that luxury; and unless things turn around sharpish on ICT, workloads, staff shortages, poor communications between the CRC’s and NPS and the not unimportant matter of actual delivery of the contracts by the CRC owners - especially given the seemingly perpetual ‘advantage’ (rugby analogy) that they are still enjoying, then there will be no way back.
I am delighted that a special debate on TR has been secured in the Commons for next Wednesday at 9:30 (check it out on Parliament TV LIVE) and we are being inundated with requests from MP’s for information and potential questions to be asked of Ministers. As always are happy to oblige, and having read the latest letter from Andrew Selous to the Justice Select Committee about how well TR is bedding in under the circumstances etc. and how the formula for PbR is sound despite less than glowing results from the HMP pilots it ought to be lively.
AGM gives green light to Subs reduction and re-engagement strategy
We are working on a comprehensive mail out to members next week giving more details of what was decided at Eastbourne. Meanwhile, I want to thank everyone who made the effort to get there, along with massive appreciation for your input into the conference and the fringe events. Despite the difficulty in achieving the required quoracy for all of the sessions we got the recommendation to reduce Napo subs through; and this week we have been working on the re-engagement project that I talked about in my address as we seek to encourage all our members to make that switch to Direct Debit and where we intend to meet with you at your workplaces in a way that Napo has never done before. 
​​​Napo National Reps 
Whilst at Eastbourne we bade farewell to two of our long serving stalwart National Representaives Dave Rogan and Peter Robinson. They desreved the plaudits that were showered upon them. Here is what Jeremy Cameron has subsequently sent me about the role of our National Reps andthe value of being in Napo and I am very happy to reproduce it in full. as further evidec robinson
People join a trade union for a number of reasons.  Some are activists, most are not.   Some go to branch meetings, most do not.  Some read every sentence of union communication, most do not.
Some people even read the disciplinary, capability and health procedures; but they are one in a hundred.  Most people read procedures only when they suddenly become affected by them.   Then, when they find themselves in trouble, members quite rightly call on the trade union they have been paying their subs to.   Everyone who joins the union does so as an insurance policy.   It is sometimes said that "I can't afford to join the union".    Actually you can't afford not to.  When in trouble, you need representation.
Most representations in NAPO are done locally.   They are done efficiently and sympathetically by local NAPO post holders and there is no need for national involvement.   However, the threshold is whether or not a member is faced with termination of employment:  disciplinary, capability or health.   If their job is at risk, they must have national representation.  
National reps have one insuperable advantage over local reps:  they are not local.  They are not employed by the people on the other side of the table.  "Oh, I didn't know you could say that," is a frequent comment by a member or a local rep.   Sometimes things get nasty; sometimes the rep has to give the presenting officer or a witness a hard time.  When that person is your manager, your colleague or your friend, it can be impossible to do.   You need someone from outside.  
It is also inarguable that the outsider is taken more seriously.  The national rep may say exactly the same as the local rep but it will have more effect.   NAPO has a fearsome reputation in many areas; so have the reps.   Where they are unknown, things will very soon change.
Finally, NAPO national reps have the time which local reps don't.   They have the experience and they have the skills.  Details of the case will be examined mercilessly; so will the management side.
National reps deal almost entirely with people who are in danger of losing their livelihood.   Stress levels are enormous.   Everyone is in crisis. Reps have to deal with this as well as with the technicalities of the case.  In general, they deal with crises sympathetically, empathetically and professionally.   They also handle the hearings with skill, experience and expertise.  It is almost unheard of for any member to complain about a national rep; very common is a letter of fulsome thanks.  
Through national representation you give yourself the best possible chance of survival.
Oppose the Trade Union Bill
If you were at the AGM then you will already know that on November the 2nd a major rally organised by the TUC will be taking place in London followed by a lobby of Parliament as trade union members from all over the UK turn up to tell this Government what they think of this pernicious and plain stupid legislation.
Please make every effort to get there if you can, write to your MP if you cannot and attend any other events that are taking place locally. We will get more details of these on the website early next week. 
Public order situation avoided following AGM swim brigade event 
One of the traditional bouts of hysteria that has become a feature at AGM is the early morning swim/paddle/thrash about in the sea event on the Saturday morning, where the hardy Napo swim brigade and their supporters with obviously nothing better to do, turn out in their droves whatever the conditions.
I have a number of damning photographs featuring people in their ‘swimwear’ for want of a better word. These show men of a certain age (who really ought to know better) wearing apparel in which one might usefully hide a bird or place your car key, and which if published might attract the attention of the authorities.
Concern was expressed after everyone had cleared the water, when reports were received that a thirty something male (believed to reside in the London area) was allegedly seen walking home without any trunks on.
Fortunately the police never turned up to investigate, but if said Napo member would like to make arrangements for the return of their kit then total anonymity will be guaranteed until next year at least.
Blog type: 
General Secretary's Blog