Napo’s National Executive have given its in principle support to a new strategy for growth which aims to secure Napo’s future as an independent union and professional association for all those working across probation and the family court services.
Probation and family courts have been hit by earthquakes and remain uncertain and unstable environments. With this level of change and instability there has never been a greater need for a strong and effective Napo at local and national level. However, if everything around us has changed Napo needs to review everything we do to make sure we are as effective and efficient as possible. The strategy starts with recognising that Napo can, and must, do better and work differently. Napo has also been damaged in the earthquakes – many experienced local representatives have left and our organising structures have been weakened, whilst the demands upon us arising from the need to negotiate with far more employers around huge numbers of issues means we have to review how we do things.
What hasn’t changed and cannot change are Napo’s aims and values – the “why and what we do” things. The strategy recognises this by anchoring and testing the proposed changes against “tests” based upon our aims and values – namely, involving as many members as possible as often as possible; delivering high quality member support through local representatives, coached and mentored by HQ leaders; further supported by a network of Napo champions and advocates all still accountable to each other and members through transparent, simple and supportive structures. All elements should be able to respond to challenges quickly and in unity as whilst aiming to lead the agenda on professional issues.
These principles will be tested against Napo’s behaviours and values, consistently captured as Positive, Relevant, Inclusive, Demanding and Ethical (PRIDE). These values will be developed and defined in partnership and incorporated into our new coaching and development programme which will be extended to all relevant groups for the first time in Napo – i.e. National Officers and Officials will discuss and agree with local activists priorities, support, training needs, resources etc., and then work together to deliver these local plans, assessing and measuring success against the PRIDE values – then using the outcomes to inform Napo’s national planning, resource allocation and priorities – creating an inclusive virtuous cycle with greater accountability and flexibility.
A number of early initiatives aim to support this shift and establish some positive momentum – for example, improved recording of what local activists do will give us a better central record of local successes, numbers we’ve helped, “live” information about issues to better inform campaigning and negotiations, and support more effective member recruitment. Monies from the sale of Napo’s HQ can be utilised to target existing training and resource gaps, and to invest in improved ICT to better support direct member engagement – freeing activists locally to use their Napo time more effectively. We also intend to run a Napo wide members’ survey and pilot a non-members’ survey, to test ideas and existing priorities and impressions of Napo. This will inform our planning and inform assessments around value for money.
The initial strategy includes 25 specific change proposals. These won’t all happen at once and when tested some of them may not meet our own principles and values tests, whilst other ideas will emerge out of the increased engagement with members – the Strategy for Growth is seen as an emerging four year project. No one in Napo thinks we have all the answers but it is our duty to have all the questions and that starts with testing ourselves to do the best we can for members.
To find out more detail on the Strategy for Growth, or to contribute ideas and thoughts on how Napo can do things differently please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the email heading “Strategy for Growth”.
Assistant General Secretary