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I’m Richard Clark and have been a Napo member for over 15 years. During this time I have taken on a variety of branch roles, including my current role, members with disability representative.
I am also the London area lead for the Disability Advocacy and Wellbeing Network (DAWN), the staff network supporting probation and prison staff with disabilities.
My role involves me going around offices and publicising the network, recruiting members (which is where I need you all), meeting staff with disabilities and their line managers to ensure that appropriate reasonable adjustments are put in place, and offer support and guidance to DAWN members with any issues related to their disability.
One of my main aims is to put in place whatever can be done to reduce the impact of disabilities for our members.
DAWN has two styles of membership. You can be a full member if you have any disability. This gives you access to support from your local DAWN lead. The second style of membership is an advocate member where you can join if you support the ethos of the network, which is where I need you all to sign up! As a network we ask nothing of our members other than to pass on our message to your colleagues because like Napo we are stronger together. Being a member of DAWN is also free!
In my role for DAWN I have worked alongside my Napo branch and have been passed many members who have disability related issues. Because I am able to intervene and provide solutions at an early stage, I have been able to help reduce the workload of my branch by preventing situations escalating to grievances or tribunals.
Every Napo branch is exceptionally busy and by resolving problems early they have been able to focus their resources more appropriately. As a staff network we work closely alongside unions to assist our members.
Email DAWN@noms.gsi.gov.uk and they will send you an application form. Within the application form you can also join the other staff networks, Pride in Prisons and Probation (PiPP) which is for all our LGBTQ+ colleagues and Racial Inclusion and Striving for Equality (RiSE) which is for all our colleagues from a BAME background.
You can also be an advocate for all of the networks so for example I am a full member of DAWN because of my disabilities and an advocate member of PiPP and RiSE because I support the work they do for their members.
If you have any queries you can email DAWN@noms.gsi.gov.uk and they will be able to assist you. Thank you for your time taken to read this and most of all for being a Napo member and hopefully a DAWN, PiPP and RiSE member as well.
Custodial probation officer