Currently there are four Probation Staff Associations – ABPO, LAGIP, NAAPS, and NDSN.
The Association of Black Probation Staff was formed in 1982. It was born as a professional association whose aims include ensuring that its members, as well as the wider BME staff constituency receive support and development in relation to career progression, equal opportunities and enhancing services to Black offenders. NOMS and Probation Trusts are able to consult with ABPO with regard to policies and guidelines. This has helped to improve service delivery, with a positive impact on BME service users. ABPO prides itself as being a professional hub for development.
ABPO has also provided a mediation service between members and the employer, which has resulted in reducing grievance procedures and tribunal cases. ABPO has been approached by Probation trusts to provide advice and guidance on dealing with racist incidents and on how to avoid and address issues such as isolation and racism affecting BME staff.
Throughout its 30 years, ABPO has undertaken various projects: consultation regarding the Criminal Justice Act 1992, Equality Impact Assessments, and implementing the equality legislation 2010. More information can be found on the ABPO website
LAGIP (Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgendered people working in the National Probation Service and Family Courts) is the support group for LGB&T staff. It has been operating for over 25 years and receives funding from NOMS.
LAGIP provides a formal and informal support network to members and other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGB&T) probation and CAFCASS staff through our regional coordinators and online presence (our Facebook page) in order to increase awareness of LGB&T issues, make sure these are addressed at national and local levels and ensure that no LGB&T staff or service users are disadvantaged due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. We work with the three other staff associations, Napo and Unison to support our members.We also work closely with NOMS to take forward diversity policies and strategies.
In addition we hold an annual conference and AGM where issues and experiences raised by or affecting our members can be discussed and explored in order to educate and share good practice.
As a professional Staff Association, the overall aim of NAAPS (the National Association of Asian Probation Staff) is to promote an Asian perspective in the work of the Probation Service.
NAAPS works to increase awareness and understanding of probation staff about issues pertinent to Asian offenders, to influence policy and training in this direction and to promote the monitoring and evaluation of services offered to Asian offenders.
NAAPS works with the other Staff Associations, to promote, lead and influence the race and diversity agenda and assist NOMS and the Probation Trust in connecting with Asian Communities and improving the national employment targets.
Thirdly, NAAPS supports to Asian staff in the Probation Service and offers support, assistance and formal representation to its membership. It aims to ensure that the service provides facilities to Asian staff in terms of cultural need, dietary requirements and religious practices.
The youngest of the staff associations, NDSN was formed in 2005 following an inaugural conference. The network strives to remove institutional barriers, empower disabled staff and service users in the Probation Service, Cafcass, NOMS and the MoJ and to help them move closer to equality of outcomes.
The Network is about informing and campaigning for best practice in disability equality for staff, victims and supervisees both in custody and in the community. It also provides ongoing support, information and advice to its members, and to management, in areas such as reasonable adjustments, assistive technology, and employment issues.
Some of NDSN’s key achievements include:
- Assisting employers, unions, service users, members and colleagues to comply with the disability provisions of the Equality Act and the Public Sector Equality Duties.
- Introducing best practice thresholds within the Trusts and NOMS such as inclusive design, user testing and the genuine and influential involvement of disabled people.
- Raising awareness of the social model of disability and encouraging its application within policy and practice.
We hope the above information has helped increase awareness of the work and the purpose of the PSAs. It is important to note that although we are different, we all work collaboratively in order to voice the views of our members and our wider constituencies within the Probation Service and Cafcass. This work has been effective, and we have managed to gain the support of NOMS and the Trusts.