POA Circulars

131 | 15.08.2013

Benchmarking: Phase One Prisons

Following the decision of the membership for the Union to remain engaged in the Benchmark process, the National Executive Committee have looked to develop strategies and procedures to assist local branch officials.

The National Executive Committee arranged a fringe meeting at Annual Conference for all Phase One Prisons and took stock of issues. As a result the National Executive Committee arranged two meetings at Daventry to allow the presentation from the BDG on Phase One and Two of Benchmarking. Following these meetings an engagement protocol was agreed with NOMS to “ensure” all branches had the opportunity to challenge Stage 5 Reports, produce an issues log and work through the Stage 6 Report.

On the 24th July 2013, POA Circular 120/2013 was promulgated but the responses from branches has not been as positive as the National Executive had anticipated. As a result it is proving very difficult for the National Executive Committee to provide general advice.

The National Executive Committee have also arranged for profile training in an attempt to assist officials and members understand the process. Whilst the National Executive Committee accept that not every branch is competent in reading profiles, assistance is available if required.

The National Executive Committee have consistently reminded members that challenges and issues should relate to Safe, Decent, Secure, Operating Levels (SDSOL). Whilst the National Executive Committee accept that this process is difficult, it is vital that evidence based disputes are submitted at Stage 7 if necessary. It is also vital that changes and processes are introduced following appropriate consultation and approval of the NOMS Assurance Board.

At Stage 7, a date to implement the Benchmark will be established. If a date is proposed and a dispute is to be raised at local level it is imperative that the local committee can evidence their arguments, otherwise it will be very difficult to defend and win any dispute. The National Executive Committee are also aware that some branches have agreed and want to sign off the benchmark and profiles. The National Executive Committee do not believe it is the Unions position to sign off any reports, but this is a matter for the local branch.

In conclusion, local branches must engage and challenge Stage 6 Reports to ensure all prisons remain Safe, Secure and Decent. It is vital that the provision of up to date Risk Assessments, Safe Systems of Work and Contingency plans are in place to support proposed profiles and new ways of working. Therefore, any committee who needs assistance on challenging Stage 6 Reports, reading or understanding profiles please contact Debbie by email setting out the areas of concern and challenges to date, and a member of the National Executive Committee will be deployed to assist. All requests should be sent by email to debbie@poauk.org.uk

Please draw the contents of this circular to your member’s attention.

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

Yours sincerely

  

STEVE GILLAN
General Secretary

131 | 15.08.2013

Benchmarking: Phase One Prisons

Following the decision of the membership for the Union to remain engaged in the Benchmark process, the National Executive Committee have looked to develop strategies and procedures to assist local branch officials.

The National Executive Committee arranged a fringe meeting at Annual Conference for all Phase One Prisons and took stock of issues. As a result the National Executive Committee arranged two meetings at Daventry to allow the presentation from the BDG on Phase One and Two of Benchmarking. Following these meetings an engagement protocol was agreed with NOMS to “ensure” all branches had the opportunity to challenge Stage 5 Reports, produce an issues log and work through the Stage 6 Report.

On the 24th July 2013, POA Circular 120/2013 was promulgated but the responses from branches has not been as positive as the National Executive had anticipated. As a result it is proving very difficult for the National Executive Committee to provide general advice.

The National Executive Committee have also arranged for profile training in an attempt to assist officials and members understand the process. Whilst the National Executive Committee accept that not every branch is competent in reading profiles, assistance is available if required.

The National Executive Committee have consistently reminded members that challenges and issues should relate to Safe, Decent, Secure, Operating Levels (SDSOL). Whilst the National Executive Committee accept that this process is difficult, it is vital that evidence based disputes are submitted at Stage 7 if necessary. It is also vital that changes and processes are introduced following appropriate consultation and approval of the NOMS Assurance Board.

At Stage 7, a date to implement the Benchmark will be established. If a date is proposed and a dispute is to be raised at local level it is imperative that the local committee can evidence their arguments, otherwise it will be very difficult to defend and win any dispute. The National Executive Committee are also aware that some branches have agreed and want to sign off the benchmark and profiles. The National Executive Committee do not believe it is the Unions position to sign off any reports, but this is a matter for the local branch.

In conclusion, local branches must engage and challenge Stage 6 Reports to ensure all prisons remain Safe, Secure and Decent. It is vital that the provision of up to date Risk Assessments, Safe Systems of Work and Contingency plans are in place to support proposed profiles and new ways of working. Therefore, any committee who needs assistance on challenging Stage 6 Reports, reading or understanding profiles please contact Debbie by email setting out the areas of concern and challenges to date, and a member of the National Executive Committee will be deployed to assist. All requests should be sent by email to debbie@poauk.org.uk

Please draw the contents of this circular to your member’s attention.

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

Yours sincerely

  

STEVE GILLAN
General Secretary