Family Court FoCuS

Jay Barlow 1I have recently been giving thought to motions and annual committee reports from the Family Court Section to Napo AGM. As I was doing this, it occurred to me that nearly a year has passed since I became vice-chair and I decided that I would reflect briefly on this experience.

I was quite nervous at taking office and I have not been surprised that it has been, and continues to be, a steep learning curve. I have at times felt quite dependent for support, advice and information from my Napo colleagues, both in the Family Court Section and in the Officers and Officials group and the other staff at Napo head office. Nicki Kenney and Steve Hornby, co-chairs of the Family Court Section Executive Committee, have been an invaluable source of support.

My role has involved me sitting on the Cafcass Negotiating Committee, the Section Executive Committee and the Family Court Committee. On occasion the three committees have joined forces and met together. I have also been involved in Partnership and Strategic Partnership meetings with Cafcass management. Information about this years work will be available to you within the annual reports from each committee.

One very positive development this year has been the appointment of co-editors for the Family Court Journal. They have advised me that an editorial board is in place and it is now anticipated that there will be an edition of the Journal by the end of the year. Ideas for articles are always welcome. As I notified you in the last article, the Family Court Section held a very well received professional conference in June. I was also pleased to be invited to take part in the Women in Napo conference which was also in June. This was another enjoyable and interesting event.

The last year has been a very difficult one for our Probation members with the privatisation of a large area of the work, the refusal of the powers that be to continue to deduct Napo subscriptions from National Probation Service salaries and the redundancy situation so soon for those working in the Sodexo CRC’s. These issues have caused the Officers and Officials group a massive amount of work and concern. I have done my very best to make sure that the Family Court Section does not ‘get lost’ within such a difficult political climate.

The SEC have nominated me to stand again as vice-chair and, feeling less nervous than last year, I am looking forward to another committee year for Napo. I am hoping to see lots of Family Court Section members at the Section AGM on 15th October and also at Napo AGM directly following that.

Jay Barlow

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