POA Circulars

60 | 01.06.2012

Local Market Facing Pay

In December 2011, the Chancellor instructed all independent Pay Review Bodies to consider how public sector pay could be made more responsive to local labour markets (regional pay). In accordance with the unions’ policy and as a result of this directive, the POA provided a written submission and on the 31st of May members of the Executive gave oral evidence to the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) opposing regional pay.

During the oral evidence members of the PSPRB focused on the following key areas:

•    Fair and Sustainable
•    Recruitment and Retention
•    Total Reward Package
•    Mobility
•    Equality and Equal Pay
•    Competition Policy; and
•    The Day to Day Operation of the Service

The National Chairman provided the PSPRB with an overview as to why the POA are strongly opposed to regional pay. I must also report that NOMS and other stakeholders from within the remit group hold similar views to the POA. The TUC also provided written evidence to the PSPRB opposing regional pay for public sector workers.

It was apparent from the line of questioning that the PSPRB believe that regional pay within the Prison Service may be appropriate and something the Government may wish to consider for the Service in the future. As part of the Governments evidence to the PSPRB they focused on the myth that there is an 8% pay premium for public sector pay compared to the private sector. The Executive and TUC provided robust evidence to dismiss this myth.

In response to questions on Fair and Sustainable, members of the Executive reinforced the fact that this now formed a collective agreement between the POA and NOMS and that Treasury had endorsed these changes in 2011. We believe the introduction of Fair and Sustainable and the changes to working practices in HM Prison Service will be critical in avoiding regional pay being imposed on the service.

All of the Executive present responded to the questions posed by the PSPRB in a positive manner, justifying why regional pay was not appropriate for the Prison Service and would create serious day to day operating difficulties if introduced.
Whilst you can never pre-judge the outcome of any discussions, the general feeling from those members of the Executive who attended the oral evidence session was that it had gone as well as could be expected.

All other stakeholders from within the remit group will also provide oral evidence.

The PSPRB will submit their findings to the Government on or around the 17th of July 2012 and it will then be a decision of Ministers as to whether local pay is to be considered for each section of the public sector workforce.

The Executive will keep you updated on this issue as they receive further information in due course.

I would be grateful if you could draw the contents of this circular to your members and a copy of the POAs’ written submission can be viewed on our website at www.poauk.org.uk

Thanking you in anticipation of your support and co-operation.


Yours sincerely


General Secretary


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