Last week ended with something of a flourish media wise, as the Government’s announcement on their ill-judged decision to ‘Carry on Regardless’ with their ‘Marketisation’ of the Probation Service was given full exposure by Napo and senior Labour Party representatives on a number of major broadcasting and radio channels.
Feedback from media contacts suggests that the MoJ have had much better days press wise, with confusion rather than clarity being the main outcome from the Secretary of State for Justice’s private briefing for Home Affairs correspondents last Thursday afternoon, some of whom rang me up asking which branch of the ‘Magic Money Tree’ I thought might have been given a good shake. A good question to which we will be seeking answers obviously.
All of this mystery was compounded by the avoidance by Ministers of so much as an: ‘Oh, and by the way’ parting announcement to Parliament prior to the recess. This of course avoided the inconvenience of fielding a range of questions and protests about the plans to cut short the CRC contracts (not before another scandalous bail out) and then to sell them all off again in bigger and very generous envelopes. I have had quite a bit to say already about last Fridays announcement in the two mail outs that we issued (CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 AND HERE FOR PART 2) hence a shorter than usual posting today.
Clearly our members will have mixed emotions about what all this means for them. Most especially those working in the CRCs who face a second generation transfer to an as yet unknown employer, but not forgetting NPS members who will be wondering how these latest proposals are going to make one jot of difference to the operational landscape.
All I really wanted to add today is that we are wasting no time in analysing the consultative paper. Our activities will be focussed on preparing to field evidence to the MoJ and the Labour Partys recently announced review into the future of probation and the next steps in our public campaign to press for reunification of the service as well as the key priority of trying to arrive at a pay deal that can be recommended to members. It means a massive amount of work ahead.
Just to cheer you up a little, here is a brilliant piece about Chris Graylings track record by Ian Dunt, one of the top online Journalists in the business.
Our work on the above, and a whole host of important professional issues means that there has never been a better time to join Napo. For new staff working in a CRC, last week’s announcements mean that there is a real and present threat to your future employment prospects and the terms and conditions that you would want your trade union to fight for, if you belonged to one. For NPS staff who want a breakthrough on pay to help Napo carry the fight on fair pay forward for all of our members, then it’s a plain fact that we will need more members to strengthen our density and our prospects for a struggle if that’s what is needed down the line.
It’s a stark message; but the Governments plans put the private sector and their own political survival first, and the welfare of staff very much second, won’t be finding support at this end.