POA Circulars

154 | 09.10.2013


You will be aware, that the majority of the establishments included within Phase 1 of the Efficiency Benchmarking Programme have now moved onto the New Ways of Working (NWoW) profiles. The remainder of the Phase 1 establishments will implement their new profiles during October.

The Efficiency Benchmarking Programme operates in three stages; Mobilisation, Transition and Transformation (MTT). It is anticipated that by the end of October 2013, all Phase 1 establishments will have moved from the Mobilisation stage to the Transition stage. The national engagement protocol should have allowed for local discussions and consultation.

The National Executive Committee have been informed that a number of prisons have moved to their new profiles immediately, without transition, and some Governors and their Senior Management Teams are trying to achieve “Steady State” prematurely. This position is not acceptable and should be challenged.

To ensure the safety of POA members at work, it is essential that POA branch committees initiate a local dispute and inform the NEC representative for their region, if the 3 stages of the Benchmark Process are not adhered to.

For the purposes of clarity, the following is a brief description of what each MTT stage entails;


Members of the Business Development Group (BDG) visit each establishment and then design the “New Ways of Working” (NWoW) profiles for those establishments. This is a 7 stage process and should include extensive consultation with local POA committees. All challenges to the BDGs NWoW proposals should be made via the “issues log”.

At stage 7, a Management Proposal for Change (MPC) should be issued to the local POA committee by the local Senior Management Team. Once the MPC is issued, a date is set for the “Transition” stage to commence.

Whilst it is anticipated that most disputes will be resolved locally, some may need to be resolved via the National Disputes policy (PSO 8525).


The Prison begins to work the NWoW profiles. However, each establishment is allocated an extra resource, the “MTT Resource”. The amount of MTT resource will vary from establishment to establishment. This additional money is over and above the establishments’ budget.

This additional resource is provided to enable a smooth transition/tapering from existing working practices to the required NWoW practices.

For example, NWoW profiles are largely dependent upon sending prisoners to work and other off-wing activities. As a result, NWoW profiles reduce residential staffing numbers during the times that prisoners are at work. However, if there are insufficient off-wing activities for prisoners to go to, then they have to remain on the residential units and additional resources will be required to provide a safe, secure and decent workplace. Staff (MTT) resources over and above the BDG profiles should then be allocated to such areas on a targeted basis.

The MTT resource, can be in 2 forms, surplus staff or money to pay for Payment Plus, both are intended to ensure that the required number of staff are in place to maintain Safe, Decent and Secure operating levels at the prison.


The final stage of NWoW, is what is otherwise known as “Steady State”.
Steady state should only be reached once the full criteria of the NWoW requirements and

BDG profiles are being met i.e. there are the required off wing activities for prisoners to attend and that the prison Regime is operating effectively.

NOMS would determine that there would no longer be a need to allocate the MTT Resource to any prison in Steady State.

In most Phase 1 establishments, NOMS plan to reach Steady state by the end of March 2014, but if this is not possible the MTT resource must remain in place.

It is to be expected that local Senior Management Teams will fully engage and consult with POA committees throughout this process. If the Senior Management Team fail to uphold the principles of the Benchmark process at any time, a local dispute should be raised.

In instances where consultation has taken place and no resolution achieved, a local dispute should be raised. In each instance, the National Executive Committee member for that establishment must be advised as soon as possible.

The Executive recognise that the process is time consuming for branch committees and that is why we have demanded local engagement protocols and appropriate facility time. If the Union is to remain engaged in the process and avoid wholesale privatisation, local officials must follow the procedures set out above and raise any issues as soon as possible.

Please draw the contents of this circular to your member’s attention and discuss with your management team to ensure compliance.

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


Yours sincerely



General Secretary