Rumours of our demise are very premature

A week after a strike that showed there is still considerable life in the Napo Campaign we are now planning the next stages which will help us to maintain pressure on the coalition.

This work crosses several strands of activity and anyone who mistakenly thinks (or claims) that we have run out of ideas or energy are seriously misinformed.
I have just returned from a very constructive strategy group meeting where we have had a detailed look at the hundreds of submissions that have been sent by members to the recently launched inbox. This is providing us with vital information as we develop our ideas across the parliamentary, industrial, legal and media landscape.

I have been especially impressed with the level of knowledge displayed in many of the contributions and the often principled positions that have been taken by our manager members to try and defend the PO's and PSO's that they manage in what is undoubtedly a TR horror show of the highest proportions. All the incoming evidence exposes the facts that the wheels are coming off already and that's even before the NPS and CRC's are formally created.

This evidence (and we want more of it please?) will also provide some juicy stuff for the media and we are already working hard to see how we might secure some exclusive programme coverage on the mainstream TV channels.

Industrial Action continues

We will be issuing more direct mail-outs in the next few days so I will keep this posting brief, but it's already clear that the action short of strike action is starting to have an operational impact, admittedly in some areas more than others but a big push by members throughout the remainder of this month will make a huge contribution to this part of the struggle. We will also need to meet with the industrial action sub-committee soon to consider the further ballot that we must organise in order to keep our dispute live after the 31st May and we will be putting proposals to the next NEC.

The search for JR

Tom and I have written quite a bit about the quest for Judicial Review and we announced this week that we have taken second opinion on whether Grayling is empowered to act under the authority of the Offender Management Act 2007 or not. Well he can; but that frankly was never the key issue in itself, and the early exchanges between us and the SoS which I first started running just after the last AGM were the first part of what was always going to be a process of attrition and that's why we have been carefully building evidence about what he has failed to do despite his powers in the months since.

We will soon be sending pre-protocol letters spanning a number of other areas of challenge and are already gathering statements from key individuals that we hope to use down the line. All our expert legal advice (and that includes two eminent QC's) has said that this is the crucial period for the JR campaign and that had we gone on a wild goose chase for JR at the first seemingly obvious opportunity and failed, then our whole campaign would have gone down with it. I call that good judgement on Napo's part.

In parliament  

Finally, the Parliamentary angle does not close down just because of their extended holiday and we are now building on the findings of the Justice Committee and the Public Accounts Committee whose excoriating criticism of Messrs Wright and Grayling will not be allowed to rest. Just because the government have won all the previous debates on the Offender Rehabilitation Bill by sheer weight of numbers does not mean that this part of the campaign is over. There will be a plethora of awkward questions coming the way of the government and more debates to come as this sad and sorry bunch try to defend the indefensible.

More to follow very soon. 

Blog type: 
General Secretary's Blog