Ian Lawrence Writes: Sisterhood around the world

A big conversation
Telling the Justice Select Committee like it is

Ian Lawrence Writes: Sisterhood around the world

In the two months that have passed since the last magazine was published, so much has happened and continues to unfold for Napo and its members.

Sisterhood around the world
International Women’s Day (IWD) in March continued the great tradition of shining a spotlight on the issues faced by women, as well as celebrating their many successes. This year, the theme couldn’t have been more aligned with Napo’s current campaign efforts as it was focussed on pay. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings reveal that gender parity is over 200 years away, which means we need to keep pressing the agenda with employers and governments to try to narrow the gap sooner.

Our challenge as a union is to not only ensure that men and women receive equal pay, but that all employees across probation and family courts are justly rewarded for the work they undertake, and that a pay gulf between employers doesn’t start to emerge. We will be having meetings with ministers imminently to make sure that this issue stays firmly on everyone’s agenda.
Keeping with the celebration of women

theme, the TUC’s Women’s Conference also took place in March and was attended by our Napo vice-chair Katie Lomas and West Yorkshire branch’s Ikki Bhogal. I am told Ikki delivered an excellent speech seconding a motion on menopause in the workplace, and it is good to see a Napo resolution from last year’s AGM gathering so much momentum in the wider trade union movement.

When the media comes knocking

Generating media interest is probably just as important for Napo as captivating the attention of politicians. The press are our conduit to the public; the voters who have the ability to lobby their MPs for laws that keep the community safe and to invest in services that help make as many people as possible productive members of society. Over the past couple of months, the level of media interest we have been able to generate has helped shape the conversation taking place in the public sphere.
In February while we were holding the phenomenal Big Conversation event at the Welsh Assembly Government, we received hourly news coverage on Sky News, ahead of the airing of the probation feature put together by home affairs editor Mark White.

More recently, our ongoing media work has brought us some further useful coverage on the Victoria Derbyshire live show. I gave a perspective on the role of probation in the parole process and the dangers of trial by media. I also offered some perspective to the (often short of a few facts debate) that has been raging around the so-called Worboys case.

Farewell Margaret

Finally I want to let members know about the retirement of Margaret Pearce from our administration team and to say a huge thank you to her for all her dedicated work and commitment to Napo over the past 15 years.

Many Napo members will know Margaret from her work with national committees and most recently the NEC. But many more of you will have spoken to her if you have had occasion to phone Napo head office as Margaret has for many years been the first contact point for members seeking information, advice and support from our union. If this is you, you will be sure to remember the calm, reassuring and helpful way she dealt with whatever issue you were raising. Napo will sorely miss Margaret for this and also for her positive, ‘can do’ approach to all the changes the union has undergone over those 15 years – from the setting up to NOMS the year after she joined us, to the present testing times.

Margaret is a committed trade unionist and supporter of social causes. She tells me she plans to now take the gap year she never had, to travel and visit friends abroad, before deciding how to use her time to continue this commitment and to spend more time with young grandson Ronnie.

I am sure that all of our members will join with the officers and staff in expressing our appreciation for her work and wishing Margaret all the very best for a long and happy retirement. Thanks Margaret, there will always be a warm welcome for you at Napo.


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