A few people have tweeted me and asked what they can be doing to help save Probation, so I thought I would just write a brief post with some simple steps that we can all do. Remember, we are strong in numbers!
1. Sign the petition!
Click the above link and please sign. Also get all your family and friends to sign the petition. I have taken my laptop into work and asked clients to sign the petition, and many have!
2. Talk to your MP
If you don’t know who your MP is or how to get in contact with them you can use the - write to them - website to make contact. I think that the best letters are the personal ones but if you are struggling to write one, or just need some structure to the letter, NAPO have designed a letter which can be found - here -.
Fortunately my MP is labour and we have exchanged several letters and I have also met with him once. Although he says there is good right to be concerned, I don’t think he has grasped the dangers of Transforming Rehabilitation, so we continue to exchange letters.
Take your letters into work and pin them up on the noticeboard. It will give your colleagues motivation to write to their own MP’s.
I would also encourage you to have a face to face meeting with your MP. This can often be a lot more powerful than just a letter…. so do both!
You will be surprised how powerful twitter is at reaching a lot of people and also a lot of like minded people. I have spent the past weekend tweeting the link to the petition to several celebrities, MP’s, Journalists and anybody with a lot of followers. I have had several tweets re-tweeted and they have now reached about 50,000 people this weekend. Granted this has not resulted in the same amount of signatures on the petition, but at least it has got some people talking.
A union is only as strong as its members, so make sure you go to union meetings. If you are not in one, please join! I recommend NAPO.
You can also follow NAPO on twitter and many trusts now have their own NAPO branch twitter accounts. Search for them on twitter and follow them. Tweet them and interact with others. It’s good to get involved in active debates and you never know who is watching, a journalist may see and write an article about it.
NAPO have recently announced lunchtime campaigns (not a strike) to get the message out there and spread the word that Transforming Rehabilitation is dangerous. Try and get involved with these, set your own one up in the office. Have a bake sale and raise money for NAPO / charity and insist that anybody who buys a cake must sign the petition. Put up posters in the office, tell your clients whats happening and encourage them to write to MP’s and Chief Officers. Also encourage clients to sign the petition.
When I have been going to child protection meetings, or any other meetings that involve other agencies, I have been taking leaflets with me and spreading the word about what this Government are doing to Probation. Colleagues from other agencies are shocked and rightly nervous that the Government will soon be doing the same to their services
6. Talk to your chief
Many chiefs now actively engaging on twitter and I know some that would welcome your tweets. Also my chief does the rounds of visiting each office and has made themselves available to talk to staff. If yours does not do this then send them an email or write them a letter.
If you are a member of the public and want to express your concerns please visit your local Probation Trusts website. You will find details of how to make contact there. Get your voice heard.
7. Keep well informed
It is evident from my twitter colleagues that each Probation Trust varies greatly in what information they share with staff. Twitter is great for collecting information and also asking questions. I do find Jim Browns blog a good read and it is always up to date so go and give him a follow. His twitter can also be found - here -.
Joe Kuipers, Chair of Avon and Somerset Probation Trust also keeps us well informed from the Board perspective and he is well worth a follow on twitter.
If you can think of anymore steps that people can follow please let me know and I will be happy to add them. Remember, its not over yet folks.
Courtesy of the Probation Officer