Napo Magazine - The Trade Union, Professional Association and campaigning organisation for Probation and Family Court staff news.

Chesterfield Inquest conclusion

The Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of Terri Harris, Lacey Bennett, John Paul Bennett, and Connie Gent – who were all tragically murdered in September 2021 – concluded on 23 October 2023.

Helen Banner and Ian Lawrence write

The Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of Terri Harris, Lacey Bennett, John Paul Bennett, and Connie Gent – who were all tragically murdered in September 2021 – concluded on 23 October 2023.

Staff may have read the information provided by Kim Thorden-Edwards, Chief Probation Officer on the Probation Service intranet site.  It references the Coroner identifying a number of failings that were made by the Probation Service.  As Napo has done in the past, we are committed to supporting any of our members who may find themselves involved in legal proceedings of this nature and this was the case before, during (and will continue to be the case) following this inquest.

At the recent Napo Annual General Meeting in Nottingham a motion from London Branch was carried as follows:

SFOs – Corporate Responsibility Not Scapegoating

This AGM supports the Napo Workloads campaign but feels it does not go far enough. AGM notes Serious Further Offence investigations are increasing in number and we are seeing more result in disciplinary action.

While increased workloads due to serious staff shortages are noted as a mitigating factor there is a noticeable lack of the Organisation being willing to accept Corporate Responsibility. This is leading to front line staff being scapegoated in the name of accountability.

This AGM believes it is almost impossible for staff to undertake all of the duties required to safely manage or assess people in the community with the current workloads and staff shortages.

This AGM calls on Napo to:

  • raise awareness of the impact of staff shortages on serious further offences, highlighting this is increasingly through unsafe working practices;
  • negotiate with the employer the circumstances in which Corporate Responsibility will be applied.

AGM further calls on Officers and Officials to take action up to and including industrial action to achieve this.

This is work that is already in hand, and we will continue to press our campaigning activities at national level and via the media and Parliament as evidenced in numerous examples that have been highlighted to our members. We will also maintain pressure on the employer to support their staff and we stand together in solidarity with any member who finds themselves in such a position following a serious case review.

In such circumstances you are urged to contact your local branch for support in the first instance who will seek appropriate advice from Napo HQ.

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