POA Circulars

168 | 12.11.2013


As you are aware, all Prisons within Phase 1 of Efficiency Benchmarking have now gone to “Transition” stage of the “Mobilisation Transition and Transformation” (MTT) process and as such, are now working the “New Ways of Working” profiles.

In the early stages of Benchmarking it was clear that engagement was not consistent and as a result the national engagement process was agreed. The NEC has been working hard to ensure that these new “Benchmark” profiles meet the necessary individual demands of our prisons.

In instances where evidence gathered by local branch officials substantiates their claims that the new profiles are not fit for purpose, the NEC have generally been successful in securing additional resources for those individual establishments.

It is also clear that a number of establishments are encountering similar difficulties in delivering the required regime with their profiled resources. An example of this is NOMS adherence to the Benchmarking approach to Night Staffing.

NOMS have not created a new Benchmark for night staffing levels but instead, have applied the SBC operating model for night staffing levels. The NEC have consistently challenged this approach and have again been generally successful in forcing variations to staffing levels on night state at a number of sites as part of the stage 6 process (Mobilisation).

The NEC have also been successful in convincing NOMS to invite submissions of ‘Notice of Change’ to the Business Development Team (BDG) which request either a variation of night staffing compliment or increase in staffing numbers.

Should branch officials within phase 1 sites wish to challenge the nights staffing levels, the NEC suggest the following action:

  • Gather the relevant and required evidence demonstrating the failing in the ‘New Ways of Working’ profiles
  • Contact the relevant NEC official for that area and inform them of your intention to challenge the ‘New Ways of Working’ profiles and regime
  • Submit a ‘Suggestion for Change’ to the establishment Governor stipulating the justification for the suggestion and what the proposal for change would be
  • Seek to agree alternative provision with the establishment Governor: and
  • Request that the establishment Governor submit the suggestion for change using the 'Notice of Change' process to BDG

If in the event where the establishment Governor refuses to exercise the 'Notice of Change' process to BDG, the ‘Suggestion for Change’ should be escalated to a national dispute by the local branch.

Branch officials within phase 2 sites, should note the content of this circular and consider whether a challenge is made to the Benchmark proposals for that establishment and variations sought at stage 5 or 6 of the process.

The NEC recognise that NOMS approach to the Benchmarking of Night Staffing is not the only area of contention resulting from the imposition of ‘New Ways of Working’ profiles. It is therefore advisable that this suggested approach be used by local POA branch officials for all areas of concern following the introduction of Benchmarking.

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


Yours sincerely


General Secretary