This week saw the return of terrorism to Britain in the horrendous atrocity at the Manchester Arena. At the time of writing it appears that no Napo members or their families were caught up in this terrible event, but nevertheless I expect that all of us will have shared the usual range of emotions that follow such senseless acts of futile violence in a variety of forms which we have seen take place regularly across Europe, America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the pan-Pacific region..

This week the focus is on the many families whose lives have been plunged into despair at the loss of their loved ones who were doing nothing other than enjoying a music concert. It’s entirely understandable that the murder of 22 people and the manner of their passing has attracted massive media attention, and our hearts go out to the people of Manchester and the first responders who probably saved the lives of many more victims. Yet it may not be well known to Napo members outside of London that over the past three weeks there have been 13 deaths (of mainly young people) here as a result of knife attacks, and something like 25 over the last six months.

I remember an interesting discussion with the Editor of the London Evening Standard Martin Bentham a few months ago which, while obviously focusing on the state of probation services after the damning HMI Probation report, touched on this subject. I made a mental note to cover this in the future and now would seem as good a time as any especially given the ‘Standards’ current campaign on this subject.

Terrorism is a huge problem no question; but knife crime in London (and in some other UK cities as well) is endemic.  The first issue results in huge amounts of state  resources being marshalled against it to try and keep us safe, but sadly the response by society to this other form of mass carnage –  albeit of a more incremental nature – pales by comparison.

The Police Federation often point to the fact that police numbers have been drastically reduced in London and it’s also a fact that there has been a marked reduction in the use of the controversial ‘stop and search’ policy by the Metropolitan Police. Whatever your take on this is, the issues involved in encouraging young people not to be part of a gang culture and carry a knife as a ‘must have’ status symbol, won’t be solved by the police and judiciary alone. It’s a problem that everyone who believes in the need for a more peaceful and tolerant society ought to be interested in.

So if you think that Napo might have something to say here then I would welcome the views of our members about any community initiatives that you happen to be involved in around knife crime prevention, as well as the experiences of VLO members who have come into contact with those families who have seen their lives blighted by another senseless act of violence. 

E3 and role boundaries (again)

We will once again be taking up the issue of pressure on PSO members who are being expected to deliver Pre-Sentence Reports to Courts that are above the level of complexity for which they have been trained. The basic issue seems to be a push for speed and performance targets over quality and safety.

One of the things that Napo raised in our original response to the E3 blueprint was the need for the allocation of reports to PO/PSO members to be based on the tiering framework. The employers response to this was to say that if during the process the PSO realised there were risk issues or complicating factors, then the delivery of the report in Court could be delayed (i.e. an adjournment) to allow the report to be reallocated to a PO.

No surprise to hear that in some areas this is not happening, as pressure is on local teams to deliver performance targets regardless. Some PSOs are rightly concerned that they are being forced to do things outside of their grade and that they are being put at risk due to pressure to complete reports in the shortest time possible.

We intend to raise this at Divisional and National Level but evidence of this should be provided to your Napo Link Officer to help us build up a picture as to what is going on and where.

Napo Family Court Professional Conference

As I have been posting this regularly and it’s an important event in the Napo calendar as well as being pretty topical, here again are the details for the Napo Family Court Professional Conference with the theme of ‘Modern Day Challenges’ on 15th June, in Stone, Staffordshire.

Below is the copy that appeared on the CAFCASS intranet and I am most grateful to the employer for doing this and assisting with travel on the basis of the professional development aspects of the conference.

Speakers include:

Leicestershire Crime Directorate – Complex Investigation Team - (Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking)

Penny Logan, Principal Lawyer, Cafcass Legal - (Radicalisation)

Workshops will be hosted by:

1.     Leethen Bartholomew & Tracey Thomas  - (Radicalisation, looking at thresholds and Prevent agenda)

2.     Sheila Mosely, FCA & Alison Burch, Manager of After18+ - (Asylum Seekers and Young People)

3.     Bally Raju – CSE Co-ordinator - (Child Sexual Exploitation) TBC

While there is a charge for non-members, Napo extends the invitation to all staff, and this charge would be refunded to any person who joins Napo before or on the day.

 Attendance at the conference is accepted by the HCPC as a training day.

Sharing learning with colleagues

This year Cafcass will cover reasonable travel for any staff attending (see below for further information). This is done on the basis that those attending (Napo members or those doing in their own professional development capacity) will bring back relevant practice learning to their teams, to be shared in team meetings or other learning opportunities, such as providing situational advice on topics covered.

Further detail can be found in the registration form or you can contact Registration needs to be made by by Friday 26th May 2017.  

 Further information on travel and leave

  • Travel expenses: Cafcass will pay the costs of reasonable travel expenses only, to any colleague wanting to attend the event. Claims must be submitted in accordance with our normal Expense Reimbursement Policy and procedure via iTrent, with train travel being booked through Redfern in the normal way. 
  • Annual leave/TOIL: Colleagues attending will need to utilise annual leave or authorised accumulated TOIL.  Individuals will therefore need to seek and be granted prior approval from their line manager in order to take annual leave or TOIL for the purposes of attending the conference.  This is in line with the normal approach, to ensure that consideration has been given to service provision and business continuity in local areas.
  •  Other expenses: Any other expenses, e.g. subsistence and/or overnight accommodation cannot be reimbursed by Cafcass. 
  • Napo will take into consideration lengthy travel times for members. If you wish to travel the day before and be considered for overnight accommodation, please contact Jacqui Paryag on – Please note that rooms are limited and will be taken up on a first come first serve basis.  Food and drinks will be provided at the venue on the day of the conference

Followed by the Women in Napo conference

We have a limited number of free places available to Family Court women members - so please get your registration in as soon as possible.  If you want to stay on the night of 15th (after the Family Court conference) this will include dinner, B & B, and attendance at the WIN Conference.  Outside of this conference fees, travel and accommodation costs (24 hour rate - £90, the day rate is £25) must be met by the FCS (Family Court Section) or individual delegates.

You would need to take annual leave or accrued toil if you wish to attend but we hope that having the same venue on the following day as the Family Court Professional conference will be an incentive to attend both and only travel once.

Please see the following links:  and  as this is a link to the internal CAFCASS Intranet  for further information and the registration form please contact or

7 things that workers have lost under a Tory Government

As the election campaign recommences this weekend, its worth reminding you that  last week we published our account of the responses we have received from the parties contesting the General Election about things they claim that they will do for our members and their professions.

This link to the Institute of Employment Rights website makes for some interesting reading especially given the claims by Theresa May that the Conservative Party are now the friends of the workers etc.

No, I am not convinced either.

Blog type: 
General Secretary's Blog