As I previously reported the TUC public sector pay campaign is being launched on 17th October with a Parliamentary Lobby (2:00)  followed by an evening Rally in Parliament Square (6:30).

National Vice-Chair Tina Williams will be amongst those addressing the rally which seeks to bring together senior union officials as well as practitioners from across the public sector to highlight the damage done by several years of austerity pay policies.

It is hoped that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will also be amongst the speakers which should help to ensure a worthwhile turnout, and although this event directly follows Napo’s AGM I hope that members in and near to London may feel able to attend at both the Lobby and the rally.

I will be issuing a full briefing on Monday to show the arrangements for those participating. The Lobby is being targeted at Conservative MP’s who have shown some interest in public sector pay as well as those who hold seats in marginal constituencies.

If any Napo members intend to get along to the Lobby please would you copy Tania Bassett and myself as well as the TUC so that we know who you are. You will then receive written briefings nearer the time.

Did you see?

The speech by Justice Secretary David Liddington to the Tory party conference which didn't exactly bring the house (or the backdrop letters) down.

As always we avidly checked his delivery against script and low and behold it was the word Probation that only got mentioned once in his attempt to grab bigger headlines.

Don’t worry David, you were in good company of those delivering eminently forgettable speeches; I will of course be writing to him in the following terms to point out what he might usefully have said.

I write to you to express Napo's disappointment at your speech. Whilst Napo welcomes the idea of a task force to oversee and ensure that HMIP recommendations are implemented within prisons, you did not appear to suggest that this would also apply to Probation Services. Given the very damming reports by Dame Glenys Stacey over the last year, such a taskforce across both prisons and probation may restore some level of trust and accountability. Given the, again welcomed, mention of a wider support network for prisoners on release such as mental health and employment, it seemed odd that you gave what was seen by many members as a cursory mention of role of the Probation service as follows:

"I want more intensive rehabilitation to take place in the community, particularly to tackle offenders with substance misuse and mental health needs. We also need probation to work better, so we have tough community sentences that command the confidence of the Courts and public"

Napo members had hoped for far more from you in relation to probation given its current state of chaos; with failing CRC's and an unsustainable NPS. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to consider the urgent need for action to prevent Probation collapsing under it’s own weight. Etc Etc.

I will keep you all posted.

Quality & Impact inspection Cumbria – ditch the booths!

So, a generally positive report on a CRC from Dame Glenys Stacey and her team. This week’s publication of the Q&I report into service provision by Sodexo in Cumbria had some good things to say, especially about the tremendous efforts of staff.

Before taking part in yesterday’s BBC Cumbria Radio interview I was thankfully able to check with our local reps about their take on what was being said, and whilst they appreciated the plaudits, it was pointed out that these results are in spite of a number of issues including high sickness levels, geographical challenges and the dreadful interview booths that have been heavily criticised by the inspectorate. Here is what the BBC made of it. It starts at about 1:19

Here is the summary of conclusions from the Inspectorate:


Quality & Impact inspection
The effectiveness of probation work in Cumbria


The Community Rehabilitation Company in Cumbria showed the best probation work HM Inspectors had seen in a private company since started inspecting the reshaped system three years ago, according to a report published today.  The work of the public National Probation Service (NPS) in Cumbria was also good though inconsistent in 'pockets', said Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation.



“The quality of the work within Cumbria is good overall. The NPS (its North West division) is providing a good-quality service for the most part but, as elsewhere, there are pockets of inconsistency. Staff are working hard with complex cases and are appropriately focused on protecting the public. However, more needs to be done to realise the full potential of the service so as to make a bigger difference to people’s life chances.”

The inspectorate, she added, “found exceptional practice at the CRC, the best we have seen in a CRC since we began inspecting CRCs and the NPS on a regular basis following Transforming Rehabilitation. The enduring values of probation and evidence-based professional practice shone through, case after case, in our inspection.
“Not all is well, though. Poor working conditions in some offices and the open-plan booths we have found in Sodexo-owned CRCs elsewhere made things difficult for service users and staff alike.”

Dame Glenys Stacey
HM Chief Inspector of Probation





Click here for the full report and news release


LIP figures show huge increase – it’s time for action Minister

Very timely this, just a few days away from the Napo FCS Annual General Meeting..

The article points out the huge rise in cases involving Litigants in Person and the utter shambles that all too often occurs as the parties to family law proceedings, many of whom are already in a state of heightened emotion, struggle to make sense of the legal complexities before them.

It’s absolutely reflective of what our colleagues in Cafcass have been saying for years of course but we still await some meaningful remedial action by the Government and the new Minister Dominic Raab in particular.

We will not be seeing Dominic in Nottingham unfortunately, but he has extended an invitation to the section to meet with him and I will be arranging that as soon as possible.

Litigant-in-person figures expose family courts crisis

Liberating the Arts

Here are details of the event that has been organised by the GFTU. It takes place in Exeter on November 3/4/5 and is being launched as a major new trade union cultural initiative.

Doug Nicholls tells me: ‘Liberating Arts is a celebration of contemporary creative activism and political art aimed at exploring how the arts can best help trade unions in our campaigning and political education work. Securing bookings within the next two weeks would greatly assist.’

The full programme and ticket arrangements can be accessed on these links here  and here LIBERATING ARTS

Its AGM time!

Well here we go again as we make final preparations for this year’s Annual General meeting at Nottingham University.

We expect a healthy attendance and for anyone who has yet to register try this link:

If you can it would be helpful if late registrations could be made online as far as possible to help out the Napo team who will be mega busy on the opening morning of conference.

I am really looking forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

Blog type: 
General Secretary's Blog