POA Circulars

92 | 14.08.2014

Negotiations Update

Following on from POA Circulars 87 and 9O/2O14, further negotiations have taken place between the NEC and the Employer. These negotiations have been conducted on a “without prejudice” basis.

Whilst these discussions are at an advanced stage, they are yet to be concluded and would be subject to ratification by the NEC and the CEO of NOMS prior to full disclosure to the membership.

As explained in POA Circulars 87 and 90/2014 the membership will have the final decision on the outcome of these negotiations. However, for the purposes of transparency, the Executive are now able to report to the membership that there has been further and significant progress on a number of issues. The following is a breakdown of these developments:

Core day

Following a desk top exercise and prolonged negotiations, the Executive and NOMS have agreed a revision to the weekday and weekend core day in Local prisons, Cat B, and Cat C trainers and a new weekend core day for YOI’s (described below). The revised timings are as follows: 

Saturday, Sundays and Bank holidays 08-30 to 17-00
Monday to Thursday 07-30 to 18-00 excluding Bank holidays and
Friday's 07-30 to 17-30 excluding Bank holidays.

The re -profiling to accommodate these changes will provide extra hours which will be reinvested into the core day. Guidance will be issued to local management as to the type of work that can be profiled into the regime.

Increase in staffing to the original Benchmark

NOMS have agreed to the POA's demand for extra staffing above the original benchmark numbers and have identified the additional 45O extra operational posts. Work continues with those prisons in order to still engage in the Benchmark process and to ensure the resources match the work and provide Safe and Secure prisons.

Recruitment

NOMS has also agreed to an overall complement of 17OO additional prison officers to be recruited by March 2O15. These staff will be in post 18 months earlier than originally envisaged by the employer and will bring prisons to their full staffing compliment. This has not been achieved in 30 years.

As part of the wider workforce reform programme and following consultation with NOMS, the POA has been successful in providing opportunities for OSG’s to apply for Prison Officer vacancy’s locally or within region. The Executive has also been successful in extending the current POELT course to 10 weeks from January 2015. Both of these changes will benefit existing and potential members of the POA.

Regime Management Guidance Plan

The RMGP, the subject of negotiations since before Annual Conference, was published on the 6th August and familiarisation days for branch officials and managerial grades will take place on 1st and 29th September (further information in POA Circular 91/2014).

NOMS have written to all prison Governors advising them of the venue, dates and requirement for the Governor, Deputy Governor and POA Branch Chair and Secretary to attend one of the 2 events. The Executive urge all committee's to discuss these events with Governors to ensure appropriate representatives attend.

The RMP Guidance sets out clear instructions to Governors. It provides a protocol of engagement under project work to enable local committee's to establish local agreements and MSL's. It also underpins the provision of Bulletin 8 and PSI 42/97.

Pay and Reward

During these negotiations extensive work has been done to agree the realignment of F&S and Benchmarking. As a result, the significant changes to pay and reward will be introduced in March 2015. The agreed changes will provide protection to existing staff, facilitate mapping into F&S without detriment and give members a choice.

In addition to these changes more protection and choice has been agreed for all non-rotational staff.

All hospital officers will be written to setting out their options to protect them from the risk of TUPE. Furthermore instructional officers and other Band 4 staff will be provided with details of how they will be able to remain in their current post and or return to other operational roles in the service. Again, this is a significant move away from the original Benchmark model.

As part of the wider workforce reform, the Executive has had positive engagement to develop changes to pay and allowances for this year's submissions to the PSPRB. It is anticipated that a joint submission will be put forward to bring about these changes. Again, this will be a first for the POA.

Overview

Notwithstanding the above, the NEC and POA members will recognise that there is much still to be done to maintain and improve terms and conditions, ensure a safe and secure working environment alongside our pension campaigns and improved pay and reward.

In the spirit of partnership working the NEC do recognise the constructive approach of the CEO of NOMS and his senior management team in response to the issues raised by the POA National Executive and their willingness to depart from old practices and embark on a policy of constructive engagement and true collective bargaining with the POA.

In order to ensure the viability of a public sector prison service and in accordance with Conference Policy, the Executive will continue to engage with the employer and the Secretary of State Mr Chris Grayling. POA policy is clear that we must prevent further privatisation and outsourcing of core custodial services.

As previously stated and for the avoidance of doubt the membership will have the final decision on the outcome of these negotiations once they have reached conclusion.

Please ensure that the membership are appraised of the contents of this circular, further information will be sent out as soon as possible.

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

 

Yours sincerely

  

STEVE GILLAN
General Secretary

 

Yours sincerely

 

PJ MCPARLIN
National Chairman