The annual briefing with the MOJ Permanent Secretary Richard Heaton and his senior HMPPS management team last week was a fairly depressing 60 minutes. The response to my description of the probation pay situation as being ‘a disgrace’ when set against the clear bias being shown on the prioratisation of pay for prison staff resulted in the usual platitudes about how the department recognises the hard work and vital contribution of probation staff but that it is simply not yet in a position to reward it appropriately.
I don’t doubt that a case has been made to Ministers about the importance of them grasping the nettle here, and I will obviously be following up on what I have said to Ministers about the pay of our probation and family court section members; but frankly I see no sign of light at the end of the pay cap tunnel with a government that is fighting for its very political survival and is hugely divided on a whole range of issues. In short, I believe they may need to be pushed and many other union’s General Secretaries are of the same view.
It was therefore encouraging (for once) to emerge from last weeks meeting of the TUC General Council with a real feeling that some serious planning is getting underway about a joined up approach to bringing the pay cap to an end.
I will be issuing more news as soon as I can once the prospective date of 17th October to launch the campaign has been confirmed.
All of Graylings failings
News of the Supreme Court ruling that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful, was naturally well received at this weeks meeting of the TUC General Council. Credit to Unison who had the means to bankroll this campaign for achieving a major result for working people.
This arrived at the same time as TUC leaders were debating two key issues in the form of the ongoing Public Sector pay cap and the UK Government’s strategy during the Brexit negotiations which as I write, have taken another turn for the worse with Irish politicians (intriguingly that includes the 10 DUP MP’s) rejecting the bizarre sea border proposals.
The thing is with politics is that everone is capable of making a mistake in their career but the decision by Chris Grayling when SoSf Justice, to implement a fee regime for submitting an ET application was seen at the time as being right up there, as monumental blunders go.
Members often remark that they can’t understand how he got away with that one, let alone the heinous act of implementing Transforming Rehabilitation against a tidal wave of contradictory advice. So I was hugely impressed to see the Daily Mirrors expose of the other carve up’s that have occurred on Mr Graylings watch over these past few years
Yes, its astonishing for sure; and one has to wonder how it comes to pass that any politician can be given responsibility for managing so many key projects with such a track record of abject failure.
The latest revelation about the costs of the HS2 project being redacted from published Government papers should come as no surprise to those who tried and failed to secure similar information about the cost of CRC contracts. Same old tricks, same Chris Grayling, it would seem.
It must be time for the Justice Select and Public Accounts Committees once they are fully constituted and return to duty to think about their future invitation list.
Important reseach shows why children are still at risk
This is a quite shocking and harrowing piece of research into child abuse which has occuried during parental contact. It has been carried jointly by Cafcass and Womens Aid and features 19 cases of child homicides, some of which occured during unsupervised and court ordered contact.
It would appear that Cafcass investigations have confirmed that all reasonable risk assessments were undertaken by the Agency which, while obviously reassuring to our members, nevertheless leaves many questions unanswered. Here’s one for starters: how do such disgusting incidents happen in a so called enlightened and child conscious society?
Edridge have a new website
Here is some news about the revamped Edridge web site with a narrative from Edridge business officer David Cox. Some really good work has obviously gone into this project and it is hoped that it will improve the links between Edridge and staff and supporters in and outside of probation and Cafcass.
Here is the link
‘We have pleasure in confirming that since Monday 17/7/17 the new Edridge Website
has been up and running. There are still a few pages we need to complete, but the most important sections are finished, in particular information about Edridge, ways in which we can help, and donations. There is also full information about our Trustees and staff, including a section seeking applications for new Trustees.
The site has a bright modern design, and the Trustees have followed the example of many other charities in terms of its graphic design. We have also stripped the site down to make it less complicated, and navigation is easy. The site is also now compatible with smartphones and tablets. There are also separate donation “buttons” for one off donations or regular payments. A great deal has been done by our web designers to include images of diversity, though that is still work in progress.
However, one of the most advanced features of the site is that it is now possible for applicants to make on line applications, which means that applicants can now make an application using a smartphone or tablet, in addition to using a laptop or desktop computer. When people make an online application they get a pdf copy of their application emailed back to them, for their own records. In fact we have already received two applications using this system. Applicants can still download our “traditional” application form if they prefer.’