Wednesday, 13 February 2013

There is Trouble Ahead

NAPO members discovered last week that their General Secretary had departed. The following short announcement was clearly designed to say as little as possible, but with hindsight was just a tad naive:- 

Following the end of a difficult employment tribunal, Jonathan Ledger has decided not to re-apply for his job as Napo’s General Secretary and has now ceased his employment with Napo.  

Jonathan has had a long career with Napo and we thank him for all the work he has done for members and wish him well for the future.

The National Officers and Employer’s Sub-Committee have conducted a recruitment and selection exercise and we are very pleased to announce that Ian Lawrence has been appointed as Acting General Secretary.  He started in his new role as of Monday 4th February 2013.

Members are quite understandably wanting to know more, especially as they and their union are currently engaged in a fight with the government over their jobs and the very existence of the Probation Service. 

As we all know, nature abhors a vacuum and in the absence of any further information the internet has provided us with some truly shocking allegations via the Barac website and concerning individuals within the union. Some of it may be true, I don't know, But we do know there has been an Industrial Tribunal and we are told that the written conclusion will be available shortly. 

When an organisation is facing trouble like this, there is only one sensible thing to do - announce that there will be a full enquiry to be conducted by someone with impeccable credentials. Only then can the matter be 'put to bed' for a period so that we can all get on with the job in hand of mobilising opposition to the government's ridiculous plans for privatisation of probation. 

The profession cannot afford to be distracted at the present time. I have no idea what the mechanics are, and I suspect most union members and indeed the wider public don't really care, just get it sorted and we can have the inevitable and painful post mortem at some future date.  

The No 10 petition now stands at 18,451. Sign here.

38 Degree campaign sign here.

PS - Since publishing the above today, I'm aware that NAPO have made the following statement and in view of the content, I have also decided to remove the link to the mentioned website:-

Allegations against Napo and its former employee Mr Jonathan Ledger 

We refer to the various tweets, postings and blogs on the BARAC website from Mr Lee Jasper. 

There is a reporting restriction order on the Employment Tribunal proceedings that have been mentioned in the various postings. This means that the parties cannot be named. To breach this is to potentially be in contempt of Court. For that reason, legal proceedings have now been issued against Lee Jasper. Our advice to members is to not re-tweet or otherwise promote defamatory statements or other information relating to the Tribunal. 

Napo is legally bound by this Order and it is not possible to issue the type of statement that some members have called for. Meanwhile the Napo Officer Group can confirm that these serious allegations were denied strenuously at the time of the Tribunal proceedings and this position remains unchanged. We have therefore decided to remove the link that previously appeared on the Napo forum page as we do not believe that a Napo forum should be associated with this. 

Napo takes any issue relating to racism and sexism extremely seriously and we are committed to a zero tolerance approach to oppression and discrimination. In accordance with natural justice, we would ask members to suspend judgment until the findings of the Employment Tribunal are made. 

A full statement on the situation relating to the employment status of the former General Secretary was made to the National Executive Committee in closed session on 4th February 2013. 

Tom Rendon and Lisa Robinson 
Napo Co-Chairs


  1. It is beyond belief that NAPO officers continues to deny the racism that was involved in this case. NAPO Chairs are complicit in an attempt to cover up the truth. Don't let them hide behind legalities and procedures NAPO members have been let down and a full investigation must be announced immediately otherwise the anti racist policy of NAPO will be reduced to rhetoric. NAPO has a fine anti racist history that has been tarnished and despoiled by a group of renegade officer. Its up to the members to demand their accountability and restore the reputation of NAPO

    1. Lee,

      I think we need to wait for the decision of the Industrial Tribunal, whereupon I'm sure NAPO will consider what the next appropriate steps are in relation to an enquiry. Rest assured many people will be watching and a cover-up will be difficult in my view.

      As I think there are still restrictions in place in relation to reporting the Industrial Tribunal, I've taken the liberty of removing the link to your website. I hope you understand.



  2. I agree there needs to be an independent inquiry once the tribunal findings are known. Members should be told the details of what's been going on and how much shared knowledge there was; whether any disciplinary or conduct codes were breached. And how much all this has cost the union financially. I would not trust existing union structures to carry out an inquiry. What a way to bring Napo's centenary year to an end with an employment tribunal and the demise of the general secretary. What a mess!

    1. I agree - the allegations are so serious and there is such an unpleasant smell about it all that any enquiry has to be conducted by someone outside present union structures and of impeccable credentials.

    2. The Liberal Democrats are the latest to launch an enquiry due to allegations against Lord Rennard . Napo in my view will have to have an enquiry who will head it will be the big question.

    3. Absolutely! There will be many thinking the same I'm sure.