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

Seasons Greetings from Napo

As the year draws to a close, Napo General Secretary, Ian Lawrence, and National Chair, Helen Banner, wish members a restful festive season and update them on the latest news from HQ.

Festive greetings from Napo to all of our members

2022 has been hugely challenging for our members across Cafcass, Probation England and Wales and Probation Northern Ireland, but once again your efforts have made a real difference to the communities you serve and have impacted positively on so many individuals as well as families and children.

Ian Lawrence, Napo General Secretary

The current industrial unrest around pay, terms and conditions across various sectors of the economy is unparalleled since the 1970’s. Despite the efforts of current Government Ministers and Rishi Sunak himself to describe striking workers as ’Lunatics’ during recent exchanges in the House of Commons, public support for those union members, many of whom are taking action for the first time at a significant financial cost, remains very high. The cost of living crisis and energy prices have obviously been compounded by the impact of Putin’s disgusting, neo-imperialist war in Ukraine, but the inept stewardship of the UK finances especially during the short tenure of the previous Prime Minister and Chancellor, has put the UK economy in a tailspin.

Don’t believe what they say about inflation

This recognition of the right of working people to fight for what they justly demand, would suggest that the Government ought to be spending more time trying to find a resolution to these disputes, rather than spending massive amounts of public money to develop anti-strike legislation while the £32 billion tax gap (*HMRC report 2020/21) between assessed and uncollected taxes shows little sign of reducing. Whilst there is serious public debate about the cost of ‘Brexit’, some commentators on social media estimate that there is £40 billion p.a. in lost taxes to the UK economy, adding that this could easily fund a decent above inflation pay rise for public sector workers with money to spare. Irrespective of where our members stand on this still divisive issue, there is clearly money out there that could be put to better use in our education system, railways and hospitals rather than lining the pockets of Non-Doms, Multi-National Corporations along with vast amounts of evaded taxes squirreled away in offshore banks. Napo, as part of the General Federation of Trade Unions, has endorsed the attached publication  which posits alternative theories to the myths constantly peddled by Government Ministers about the causes of inflation.

Napo’s priorities

Napo is an apolitical union, but that does not prevent us from asking H.M. Opposition what their policies will be on a range of issues affecting our members in the next General Election should they be successful. We are already seeking acknowledgement of our campaigns to halt the de-professionalism of Probation England and Wales and the dangers of the service being subsumed into the Prison management regime by way of the ‘One HMPPS’ project. We will be stepping up our calls for Probation to be moved out of HMPPS under a Labour Government and restored to its former place as a gold standard service working with, and for, our local communities. We will be pressing for a commitment by the Labour Party’ to provide respectable pay for our members and their ideas about future Programmes and Intervention strategies in Probation, and how they propose to tackle the unsustainable workloads being suffered by our members.

Similar issues pertain in Cafcass; where the clammy hand of the MoJ continues to stifle attempts to secure decent pay awards resulting in highly skilled practitioners leaving the organisation for Local Authorities who are able to offer superior rates of remuneration.

In Northern Ireland Probation, despite the progress that has been made on modernisation of the pay structure on which we await final approval, we need to see a restoration of the Assembly so that our members, as part of the wider community, can have some certainty about who governs them going forward.

“We want to wish our members everywhere as much rest and happiness as possible over the festive season, and hope that the year ahead will bring peace and optimism”

Our Operational Plan

The above issues are just a part of the wider agenda for your union and professional association as we seek to promote and protect your interests across the employers where are represented. That’s why we have attached the Napo Operational Plan 2023  to demonstrate what we are doing now, and what we want to achieve in the course of the next 12 months. Please feel free to share this with colleagues who you know are not currently a member of Napo to show them how our work impacts collectively on all.

Napo here for you

Helen Banner, Napo National Chair

Helen Banner particularly wanted to express appreciation for the support shown to her by many members during the first three months since becoming National Chair, adding that: ‘Napo members make life changing decisions, always trying to be there for their clients. My first few months as National Chair has shown me just how much work is put in by your elected officers and employed Napo HQ staff in being there for our members, trying to support them in so many ways. I am so proud to be working with all of you’

We want to wish our members everywhere as much rest and happiness as possible over the festive season, and hope that the year ahead will bring peace and optimism that we are ever closer to the opportunity for the public to decide on the type of Government that they want to see in power.

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