POA Circulars

145 | 14.10.2011

Mutual Aid Bed Watch Agreement

In POA Circulars 135 and 136/2011, we informed the membership that NOMS and G4S had entered into a mutual aid agreement to cover bed watches at HMP Birmingham.

You will recall that following intervention by the NEC the agreement was withdrawn. Members of the Executive met with Steve Wagstaffe the Director of Public Sector Prisons on the 6th October 2011, in order to clarify a number of points. The NEC have also sought to ensure that the health and safety of our members at HMP Birmingham will be protected.

Bed watch cover for private sector prisons does not form part of public sector terms and conditions. For the avoidance of doubt public sector prison grades do not have to cover a bed watch for G4S.

NOMS are clear that no one will be ordered to cover these duties.
NOMS have further informed us that they have emphasised to G4S the importance of covering their own bed watches.  Nevertheless if between now and 3rd January 2012 - the planned introduction of G4S deployment systems - G4S are unable to cover a bed watch, it is their intention to provide cover on a voluntary basis i.e. they will seek volunteers. According to NOMS such a scenario is unlikely.

The NEC will now seek clarification and legal advice on the status of mutual aid agreements within competition policy. We must ensure a level playing field within competition policy.

Please do not volunteer for bed watches within the private sector. Support your Union and protect employment within the public sector.

Yours sincerely


Mark Freeman
Acting General Secretary