Members may be aware of an article published in ‘The Times’ Newspaper yesterday in relation to the CRC contracts and the possibility that they may be terminated two years ahead of schedule by Ministers due to the ongoing failure of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme. As you would expect, I was able to establish contact yesterday morning with the author of the article Richard Ford, to check out the degree of certainty behind the report.
At this stage, Napo is not able to verify a story that in some respects is encouraging, but which is also highly speculative. Napo has a responsibility to ascertain the facts before raising members’ expectations unreasonably. I aim to use our close connections in the MoJ and in CRCs to establish the full picture as we approach the summer Parliamentary recess.
What is clear is that this story not only reflects the fact that Napo members in the NPS and CRCs have suffered the abject failure of the whole TR project, but also highlights one of many options we ourselves have been campaigning for, in what we obviously all hope is the beginning of the end of privatisation.
I will update members as soon as we know more about whether what has been reported becomes a certainty. What I can confirm is that many CRC members have been in touch to say how some providers have been falling over themselves to publically deny the scenario in the Times article while it is common knowledge that they are engaged in critical talks with the MoJ!
Napo working in Parliament
Meanwhile Napo will continue the campaign in parliament. The following and somewhat timely questions have been tabled on our behalf by Liz Saville-Roberts MP Plaid Cymru for next week’s Justice Questions session.
As pressure mounts on CRCs and with the possibility of an early end to the contracts, Napo will be briefing parliamentarians and the Justice Unions and Family Court Parliamentary Group to put further pressure on the Government. I have already written to the Probation Minister, Rory Stewart, demanding to know what is going on behind the scenes and seeking an urgent meeting. We will also be re-establishing our contact with the senior leadership in the Labour Party and Richard Burgon’s Justice team, who have pledged to work with us and other partners in mapping out the new vision for Probation.
Members will not pay the price for TR
Most importantly, Napo will defend our members and their jobs, despite whatever may emerge from the current Probation System Review and the Justice Select Committee’s awaited report. It is our member’s (and that includes manager members) in the CRCs and the NPS who have worked so hard to maintain professional standards in the face of adversity and to keep Probation from collapsing entirely. That is why I am reminding NPS leaders daily that we must see a start to meaningful pay negotiations before we commence legal action over a pay system that is inherently gender discriminatory.
This union remains ready to work with everyone to rebuild the service and shape the future, but we will not hesitate to expose a deeply flawed social experiment. Napo will ensure that our members are not blamed or used as scapegoats for what is a systematic failure based on political ideology that has wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
Napo General Secretary