POA Circulars

114 | 17.07.2013

Memorandum of understanding (MoU)

On the 26th June, the National Executive Committee determined to conduct a workplace ballot and Recommend Acceptance of the attached Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) following clarification of certain points by the Employer. These points having been clarified the NEC are in a position to forward all relevant information, which is attached to this Circular, and to ballot the membership.

The NEC have also determined to set out a summary of events, which led up to this proposal.

History F&S and Competition Benchmarking

In 2011 and 2012, the NEC engaged in negotiations with NOMS on Workplace Modernisation in line with Conference policy. This was under the framework of Fair and Sustainable. Fair and Sustainable has a number of strands which impact on the terms and conditions and working policies of establishments.

Following detailed negotiations the Executive determined to conduct a workplace ballot on the Fair and Sustainable document and this was accepted by the membership.

The Fair and Sustainable document was published on the Prison Service Intranet on the 9th February 2012, and negotiations continued with NOMS to seek improvements and clarification on a number of issues.

Throughout 2012, meetings took place between NOMS and the NEC to discuss the implementation of F&S in all establishments. At these meetings, concerns were raised on a number of issues including ACCT reviews and chairing ACCT reviews. No resolution was achieved in respect of ACCTs and whilst the NEC remained of the opinion that the chairing of ACCT reviews should be a Custodial Manager or above, NOMS held the view that this work could be dealt with by Band 4s under JES.

On the 8th November 2012 the Secretary of State announced that there would be no “Wholesale Privatisation of Prisons in this Parliament”, dependent on the introduction of Benchmarking. This announcement clearly had significant ramifications for the Union as a whole and the NEC determined to engage with NOMS on the Benchmark Project.

 

 


On the 28th February 2013 at the Special Delegates Conference the NEC placed six motions before delegates.

Motion One - called for a debate on the implications of Efficiency Benchmarking.

Motion Two – mandated the POA to continue their involvement in Competition Benchmarking. This was carried.

Motion Three – called for the NEC to resist the implementation of benchmarking. This motion fell.

Motion Four – called for a debate on prison closures.

Motion Five – sought to engage the union in “continuous strike action” if any prison which had been through efficiency benchmarking was then privatised. This was lost.

Motion Six – asked Conference to accept the need to seek continued clarification and agreement on the introduction of F&S. This was carried.

All of these motions were placed by the NEC and can be accessed with the verbatim report on the POA website (www.poauk.org.uk) for further information.

Following the conclusion of the SDC on the 28th February, members of the NEC continued to progress Conference policy in respect of F&S and Competition Benchmarking.

The NEC were dealing with the different strands of F&S and the outcomes for prisons following visits by the BDG and stage 5 reports.

In February, NOMS issued a Notice to Staff on the Assignment of Prison Officers and Specialist Unified Staff. This NTS was a complete change in policy and had been issued by NOMS as a result of legal advice. The POA disputed the NTS and insisted that each case in which TUPE was a possibility should be dealt with on a case by case basis. The approach from NOMS in this NTS would result in staff being contracted out with no right to remain in the public service.

As a result of this policy, a number of prison officers in the North West working in substance misuse units/drug work were advised that they would be contracted out when the new provider took over the contract to deliver the service. Whilst the NEC advised the local branches and members to take the appropriate steps to try and protect their members, NOMS were adamant these staff would be subject to TUPE.

Further discussions with NOMS on the issue of TUPE, chairing of ACCT reviews, JES and other issues took place. During these early negotiations the 18 staff in the North West were removed from the TUPE/Competition by NOMS as part of the negotiations. This was a significant victory for the affected staff and the Union but did not give any future protection to POA members as the terms of the NTS remained in place.

At Annual Conference Emergency Motion 5b and the original MoU was fully discussed and rejected. Conference accepted that further discussions/negotiations were necessary.

The Director of Public Sector prisons attended a fringe meeting for phase one prisons under Benchmarking and following that meeting he recognised the problems that local officials were facing due to a lack of engagement and appropriate consultation at local level.

The NEC secured facility time to hold two one-day meetings for phase one and two prisons. At these meetings a presentation on how the process for Benchmarking works was given to local POA officials by the DDG team and Phil Copple gave an overview of where he saw the public sector prison service in the future and how it was vital for the new ways of working under Benchmarking to be introduced under the safe, secure and decent model. At these meetings, the NEC secured an agreement on paid facility time to ensure that appropriate engagement at local level takes place. The work identified in the original MoU continued as the NEC sought to secure an agreement which had significant benefits to the Union, whilst clarifying issues in respect of ACCTs and the chairing of ACCT reviews.

On the 26th June, the NEC considered the final MoU, This is attached at Annex A. The NEC are Recommending Acceptance of the MoU.

Annex A
If you look at Annex A. it sets out nine management commitments. The first commitment refers to engagement. The second refers to TUPE and as stated those members in the North West who were due to transfer to new providers remain as NOMS employees. If the MoU is accepted, the same approach to assessment of TUPE transfer cases will apply. This has a significant impact on OSGs as a result of the facilities management announcement in June, and on Band 3s and 4s who could be subject to outsource arrangements. This is again covered in the management commitments 3 and 4.

Bullet points 5 and 6 again give protection to Custodial Managers and the work of prison officers. Bullet point 7 deals with the detailing of OSGs to minimise the risk of TUPE transfers. Bullet points 8 and 9 give further commitment to protect staff from the risk of TUPE transfers. The new ways of working and outcomes overview set out the benefits to the members and the protection that can be provided due to the letter of intent for future TUPE transfers, which will form an Annex to the original NTS. It is important that all members consider the ramifications of accepting or rejecting this MoU.

The NEC understands that the proposal in respect of “chairing ACCT reviews” has caused concern amongst some Band 4 members. However, the Executive have had to take onto account issues which impact on all members and which are contained within the MoU.

At Annex B is the letter from Ian Mulholland dated 4th July 2013 to the General Secretary which clarifies the issues raised by the Executive at their meeting on the 26th June. There is also an excerpt from Chapter 5 of PSI 64/2011 as well as Chapters 8 and 9 which identify how and when the ACCT reviews are dealt with. Again this letter of clarification underpins the work that has been dealt with by the NEC and should be read in conjunction with Annex A.

At Annex C is a letter from Phil Copple dated the 14th June which deals with the agreement on Trade Union Engagement Benchmark project.

Process
Local committees should ensure that all of the above information is available to members so that they can make an informed choice when using their vote.

A branch meeting should be convened to allow an informed debate (facility time has been approved). The committee should conduct a workplace ballot as set out in POA Circular 113/2013 (facility time has been approved).

If any branch would like further advice and guidance on the MoU, they should contact their NEC representative and/or Cronin House.

Conclusion
Whilst the Union face difficult and challenging times with Fair and Sustainable and Benchmarking they must be dealt with appropriately and it is vital that we seek agreements which give the best possible protections to our members. The MoU has brought about clarification in respect of ACCTs and the chairing of ACCT reviews and whilst this work will now be dealt with by Band 4s and 5s, or above, the overall benefits contained within the MoU are significant. It is for these reasons that the NEC are Recommending Acceptance and placing the matter before the membership through a workplace ballot. It is POA policy to retain our prisons within the public sector.
 

 

Yours sincerely

  

STEVE GILLAN
General Secretary

POA Circular 114-2013 ANNEX A.PDF

pdf, 318.7K, 17/07/13, 410 downloads

POA Circular 114-2013 ANNEX B.PDF

pdf, 767.1K, 17/07/13, 240 downloads

POA Circular 114-2013 ANNEX C.PDF

pdf, 208K, 17/07/13, 230 downloads

114 | 17.07.2013

Memorandum of understanding (MoU)

On the 26th June, the National Executive Committee determined to conduct a workplace ballot and Recommend Acceptance of the attached Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) following clarification of certain points by the Employer. These points having been clarified the NEC are in a position to forward all relevant information, which is attached to this Circular, and to ballot the membership.

The NEC have also determined to set out a summary of events, which led up to this proposal.

History F&S and Competition Benchmarking

In 2011 and 2012, the NEC engaged in negotiations with NOMS on Workplace Modernisation in line with Conference policy. This was under the framework of Fair and Sustainable. Fair and Sustainable has a number of strands which impact on the terms and conditions and working policies of establishments.

Following detailed negotiations the Executive determined to conduct a workplace ballot on the Fair and Sustainable document and this was accepted by the membership.

The Fair and Sustainable document was published on the Prison Service Intranet on the 9th February 2012, and negotiations continued with NOMS to seek improvements and clarification on a number of issues.

Throughout 2012, meetings took place between NOMS and the NEC to discuss the implementation of F&S in all establishments. At these meetings, concerns were raised on a number of issues including ACCT reviews and chairing ACCT reviews. No resolution was achieved in respect of ACCTs and whilst the NEC remained of the opinion that the chairing of ACCT reviews should be a Custodial Manager or above, NOMS held the view that this work could be dealt with by Band 4s under JES.

On the 8th November 2012 the Secretary of State announced that there would be no “Wholesale Privatisation of Prisons in this Parliament”, dependent on the introduction of Benchmarking. This announcement clearly had significant ramifications for the Union as a whole and the NEC determined to engage with NOMS on the Benchmark Project.

 

 


On the 28th February 2013 at the Special Delegates Conference the NEC placed six motions before delegates.

Motion One - called for a debate on the implications of Efficiency Benchmarking.

Motion Two – mandated the POA to continue their involvement in Competition Benchmarking. This was carried.

Motion Three – called for the NEC to resist the implementation of benchmarking. This motion fell.

Motion Four – called for a debate on prison closures.

Motion Five – sought to engage the union in “continuous strike action” if any prison which had been through efficiency benchmarking was then privatised. This was lost.

Motion Six – asked Conference to accept the need to seek continued clarification and agreement on the introduction of F&S. This was carried.

All of these motions were placed by the NEC and can be accessed with the verbatim report on the POA website (www.poauk.org.uk) for further information.

Following the conclusion of the SDC on the 28th February, members of the NEC continued to progress Conference policy in respect of F&S and Competition Benchmarking.

The NEC were dealing with the different strands of F&S and the outcomes for prisons following visits by the BDG and stage 5 reports.

In February, NOMS issued a Notice to Staff on the Assignment of Prison Officers and Specialist Unified Staff. This NTS was a complete change in policy and had been issued by NOMS as a result of legal advice. The POA disputed the NTS and insisted that each case in which TUPE was a possibility should be dealt with on a case by case basis. The approach from NOMS in this NTS would result in staff being contracted out with no right to remain in the public service.

As a result of this policy, a number of prison officers in the North West working in substance misuse units/drug work were advised that they would be contracted out when the new provider took over the contract to deliver the service. Whilst the NEC advised the local branches and members to take the appropriate steps to try and protect their members, NOMS were adamant these staff would be subject to TUPE.

Further discussions with NOMS on the issue of TUPE, chairing of ACCT reviews, JES and other issues took place. During these early negotiations the 18 staff in the North West were removed from the TUPE/Competition by NOMS as part of the negotiations. This was a significant victory for the affected staff and the Union but did not give any future protection to POA members as the terms of the NTS remained in place.

At Annual Conference Emergency Motion 5b and the original MoU was fully discussed and rejected. Conference accepted that further discussions/negotiations were necessary.

The Director of Public Sector prisons attended a fringe meeting for phase one prisons under Benchmarking and following that meeting he recognised the problems that local officials were facing due to a lack of engagement and appropriate consultation at local level.

The NEC secured facility time to hold two one-day meetings for phase one and two prisons. At these meetings a presentation on how the process for Benchmarking works was given to local POA officials by the DDG team and Phil Copple gave an overview of where he saw the public sector prison service in the future and how it was vital for the new ways of working under Benchmarking to be introduced under the safe, secure and decent model. At these meetings, the NEC secured an agreement on paid facility time to ensure that appropriate engagement at local level takes place. The work identified in the original MoU continued as the NEC sought to secure an agreement which had significant benefits to the Union, whilst clarifying issues in respect of ACCTs and the chairing of ACCT reviews.

On the 26th June, the NEC considered the final MoU, This is attached at Annex A. The NEC are Recommending Acceptance of the MoU.

Annex A
If you look at Annex A. it sets out nine management commitments. The first commitment refers to engagement. The second refers to TUPE and as stated those members in the North West who were due to transfer to new providers remain as NOMS employees. If the MoU is accepted, the same approach to assessment of TUPE transfer cases will apply. This has a significant impact on OSGs as a result of the facilities management announcement in June, and on Band 3s and 4s who could be subject to outsource arrangements. This is again covered in the management commitments 3 and 4.

Bullet points 5 and 6 again give protection to Custodial Managers and the work of prison officers. Bullet point 7 deals with the detailing of OSGs to minimise the risk of TUPE transfers. Bullet points 8 and 9 give further commitment to protect staff from the risk of TUPE transfers. The new ways of working and outcomes overview set out the benefits to the members and the protection that can be provided due to the letter of intent for future TUPE transfers, which will form an Annex to the original NTS. It is important that all members consider the ramifications of accepting or rejecting this MoU.

The NEC understands that the proposal in respect of “chairing ACCT reviews” has caused concern amongst some Band 4 members. However, the Executive have had to take onto account issues which impact on all members and which are contained within the MoU.

At Annex B is the letter from Ian Mulholland dated 4th July 2013 to the General Secretary which clarifies the issues raised by the Executive at their meeting on the 26th June. There is also an excerpt from Chapter 5 of PSI 64/2011 as well as Chapters 8 and 9 which identify how and when the ACCT reviews are dealt with. Again this letter of clarification underpins the work that has been dealt with by the NEC and should be read in conjunction with Annex A.

At Annex C is a letter from Phil Copple dated the 14th June which deals with the agreement on Trade Union Engagement Benchmark project.

Process
Local committees should ensure that all of the above information is available to members so that they can make an informed choice when using their vote.

A branch meeting should be convened to allow an informed debate (facility time has been approved). The committee should conduct a workplace ballot as set out in POA Circular 113/2013 (facility time has been approved).

If any branch would like further advice and guidance on the MoU, they should contact their NEC representative and/or Cronin House.

Conclusion
Whilst the Union face difficult and challenging times with Fair and Sustainable and Benchmarking they must be dealt with appropriately and it is vital that we seek agreements which give the best possible protections to our members. The MoU has brought about clarification in respect of ACCTs and the chairing of ACCT reviews and whilst this work will now be dealt with by Band 4s and 5s, or above, the overall benefits contained within the MoU are significant. It is for these reasons that the NEC are Recommending Acceptance and placing the matter before the membership through a workplace ballot. It is POA policy to retain our prisons within the public sector.
 

 

Yours sincerely

  

STEVE GILLAN
General Secretary

POA Circular 114-2013 ANNEX A.PDF

pdf, 318.7K, 17/07/13, 410 downloads

POA Circular 114-2013 ANNEX B.PDF

pdf, 767.1K, 17/07/13, 240 downloads

POA Circular 114-2013 ANNEX C.PDF

pdf, 208K, 17/07/13, 230 downloads