POA Circulars

106 | 19.09.2014

NOMS/POA 2014 Negotiated Agreement Without Prejudice

The National Executive Committee has been in detailed negotiations through the BDG working group to renegotiate the NOMS/POA 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). (see annex A).

These have been difficult and protracted ‘without prejudice’ negotiations as NOMS had their agenda and the POA had its own wish list.

It was apparent that there are a number of conference policies which the Executive had to take into account during the negotiations.

By direct consequence of Annual Conference motion 32/2014, NOMS’ proposals with regard to the management of the OASys backlog are in conflict with conference policy.

Despite the best efforts of the negotiating team acting on behalf of the National Executive Committee, NOMS were unwilling to remove the protocol for addressing OASys report backlogs from the bargaining table. They did however accede to the removal of all other bargaining requests including proposed alterations to PSO 8525 Disputes Procedure and the expansion of the reserve list leading to the introduction of a ‘staff bank’.

Some policies fell within pay and reward, workforce reform and the 2015/16 pay round, whilst others were primarily operational matters.

Further to this, the Regime Management Plan Guidance (RMPG) www.poauk.org.uk is a document created by NOMS’ BDG team and the NEC with the objective of setting clear guidance on regime management. This document stands separate from the proposed negotiated document and is being launched via two briefing events in September 2014.

Overview on Negotiations

It was clear throughout the negotiations that Benchmarking and F&S did not marry up. Benchmarking profiles are based on a 39 hour working week whilst F&S is structured on all new staff and those opting into F&S by promotion or choice eventually working 37 hours but with pay detriment.

The Executive accept that the union’s policy is to have a reduced working week without detriment and full staffing. Therefore it has been difficult to try and bring about change without impacting on one or more policies. In addition to this, the contractual changes which are due to come into force on the 1st April 2015 under F&S also had to be fully considered as part of the negotiations.

Moreover, the Executive accept that the unions policy (as per Annual Conference motion 32/2014) is to withdraw from the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) if NOMS were to use any private sector workers to do work agreed within the MoU.

Following the conclusion of the negotiations and the decision of the Executive to direct the National Chairman and General Secretary to seek further concessions, the final NOMS/POA 2014 Negotiated Agreement ‘without prejudice’ (Annex B) is placed before the membership to accept or reject through a workplace ballot of all affected members. However, to facilitate the ballot, a Special Delegates Conference (SDC) has been called as set out in POA Circular 103/2014 where delegates will be asked to support the NEC sponsored motion, which will allow the ballot to take place.

All branches must hold a branch meeting to discuss the motion as attached to POA Circular 105/2014 for the SDC to provide their delegates with a mandate to support the call for a workplace ballot or not.

If the will of the membership is to hold a workplace ballot, the time table will be promulgated after the SDC.

In order to assist members and branch officials, the Executive agreed to provide a synopsis on each of the issues contained in the NOMS/POA 2014 Negotiated Agreement ‘without prejudice’ including legal advice where necessary.

The report attached to this circular and link: www.poauk.org.uk aims to provide that synopsis including background and supporting annexes.

The provisions of Bulletin 8 and PSI 42/97 are unaffected by this agreement.

All negotiated principles and protections within the 2013 MoU agreement remain in place.

This agreement has been reached to further support the Benchmarking programme by providing additional assurance in respect of good working practise, local meaningful engagement, operational resilience and the alignment of Fair and Sustainable working hours for operational staff to Benchmark hours.

This agreement does not alter the previous arrangement reached in relation to ‘Fair and Sustainable’. Changes to Job Descriptions are the result of the implementation of New Ways of Working and have been formulated from the Public Sector Prison Benchmarks. The Benchmark Job Descriptions are F&S compliant and the integrity of the original document remains unaffected by this agreement.


The POA accept that to allow the membership to have the opportunity to support or reject the NOMS/POA 2014 Negotiated Agreement ‘without prejudice’, a Special Delegates Conference (SDC) had to be called with a specific motion. This motion is set out within POA Circular 105/2014 and the SDC is scheduled to take place on 15th October 2014.

The Executive obtained legal advice on these issues dated 28th August 2014 (Annex D).

The NEC has been transparent and open throughout these negotiations with regular report backs given at NEC meetings and updates provided to the membership via circulars.

All this information should be used when conducting your branch meeting in order to obtain a mandate for the SDC and for members, should the work place ballot be agreed.

Thanking you in anticipation for your support on this matter.

n.b. All supporting documents can be accessed on the POA website at www.poauk.org.uk by clicking on the SDC rolling banner at the home page.

Yours sincerely 



Pete McParlin 
National Chairman


Yours sincerely


Steve Gillan
General Secretary