N.A.G.T.O. (the National Association of Gypsy and Traveller Officers) was set up in 1997 to help Local Authority Gypsy Liaison Officers ("GLOs") share knowledge, compare best practice and improve standards of service.
Other professionals dealing with travelling communities, such as Traveller Education, had for some time established associations to work in and feed from. GLO's have often operated alone, and unsupported, in a wide variety of sometimes very difficult situations. Wherever such officers are based - and there are lots of possible Departments and Directorates - they need support and NAGTO is set up to provide that support.
Government used to organise regular national meetings of GLOs. But that all ended in 1994, leaving no natural lines of communication between services, even in neighbouring authorities.
NAGTO seeks to re-establish these, providing a central focus and at the same time harnessing the wide range of expertise these very different scenarios make available to its members and establishing contacts within the wider public arena.
This information is passed on to members through a regular newsletter, regional liaison meetings and topic groups and national events.
The Association has led the way in establishing BTec training in Gypsy Services (formal courses began in 2001) for which it provides tutors and assessors, and is constantly looking at ways in which it can encourage the continued professional development of its members.
So what does NAGTO provide you if you join?