At the time of writing we are just ending week three since the C-19 Social Distancing policy was announced by Government. Napo members can be proud of the vital contribution they have made in maintaining vital public services across all of the 23 employers where we are represented during what is an unprecedented emergency.
The nature of the C19 Pandemic means that the death in service of employees in any of these areas will understandably cause consternation amongst their immediate colleagues, along with the profound sense of loss and condolences that I know will be shared by all of our members. The announcement of four such losses in just over a 7 day period in late March/early April brings the scale of the danger that we are all facing into very sharp focus.
Our families and communities across the UK are showing astonishing unity in the national campaign to defeat this brutal foe. It’s also the case that some of our members have volunteered to support the NHS or are offering help to vulnerable people in their locality. It’s just as I would have expected.
Whilst it’s welcome to see the Government, the CBI and the TUC working together, there will be many of our members who hold strong views about the adequacy and timing of certain aspects of the Governments response to the impending threat back at the turn of the year. Over these last few weeks the failure to have a testing regime in place for essential international travel has been laid bare when examining the startling infection and subsequent death rates, and the decision to allow the Cheltenham Racing Festival to go ahead now looks just plain stupid. Moreover, the pitiful stories of workers struggling to secure adequate Personal Protection Equipment to care for people in Hospitals and Care Homes mean that serious questions need answering. Next week sees the first remotely run meeting of the TUC, and as a member of the General Council I will be adding our tribute to the astonishing bravery of all NHS workers and other employees in a range of professions who have been providing essential services in the midst of the crisis.
I will be reminding the TUC that our members in Probation (NPS and CRC) Cafcass and PB Northern Ireland, are also in that category. Thats why the Napo Officers and the HQ team have been focussing our efforts to do all that we can to help ensure that our members are afforded the necessary social distancing protections, equipment and support from your employers that you rightly demand. We are listening carefully to what you are telling us and we are keeping members up to date on what Napo is doing and what is happening across Probation and Family Courts with almost daily bulletins. We will continue to do so and members are also directed to the dedicated webpage to find out more.
At Napo HQ itself, we are observing PHE guidelines with regard to our own staff and we are still very much there for members – contact us at info@napo. org.uk or leave a message on the voice mail. Both these points of contact are being monitored continually during the day and we will get back to members as quickly as we can.
Hopefully it will not be too long before we some normality restored to the way in which we live and work. Meanwhile, I wanted to convey my personal best wishes to all of our members and your loved ones in these testing times.