POA Circulars

117 | 15.11.2019

MEMBERSHIP UPDATE - NOVEMBER 2019

Please ensure all POA members are aware of the following:

NEC Election Results
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Steve Gillan on being re- elected to the position of General Secretary and Terry McCarthy on being re-elected to NEC Representative for the North West.
I offer a warm welcome and congratulations to Laura Duggan who will take up position as the Midlands NEC Representative post Conference 2020.
I would also like to wish all those who put themselves forward for a position on the NEC all the very best in the future and would encourage them to continue to actively partake in POA business.

PAVA Roll out
The NEC are currently challenging the employer over the criteria they have placed upon establishments prior to the implementation of the PAVA roll out. We do not agree with any criteria being placed on the health and safety of staff. We wish that any member of staff who is trained in PAVA should immediately be issued with it, so we get a gradual roll out in each site. I have received a reply to our concerns and suggestions from Phil Copple, after a positive meeting with the Secretary of State Robert Buckland QC MP, where our issues were raised. The employer has stated the following:
• We would need very good reasons to justify a change in the policy at this stage, and it would be difficult to argue that the aim of speeding out the roll out of PAVA was a justifiable legally defensible reason for removing the checks and balances.

• If we remove the safeguards, not only would the Ministry be more likely to be subject to litigation for PAVA related claims, but Prison Officers would be open to civil suits and negligence claims.

We will pursue every avenue to ensure the roll out of PAVA is prioritised and conducted without further delay.

To date 2 sites are fully live (Stoke Heath and Brinsford). There are currently eleven sites that are actively training local staff in SPEAR and PAVA. These are HMP Moorland, HMP Brixton, HMP Usk & Prescoed, HMP Warren Hill, HMP Cardiff, HMP Haverigg, HMP Lincoln, HMP Swinfen Hall, HMP Featherstone, HMP Wandsworth and HMP Hindley.

In addition, there are a further twelve sites that will be starting training between now and the end of 2019 or awaiting sign off from training plans to get started in January 2020. These are HMP Bure, HMP Ashfield, HMP Ranby, HMP Stafford, HMP Coldingley, HMP Norwich, HMP Winchester, HMP Full Sutton, HMP Littlehey, HMP Durham, HMP Frankland and HMP Ford.


Rigid Bar Handcuffs
Rigid Bar Handcuffs are in stock and can be ordered. If local establishments have C&R Instructors who are trained in RBH, POA committees should liaise with their SMT and ensure the cuffs are ordered and a training plan for staff is devised. There are no reasons why RBH should not be rolled out with immediate effect.
Rigid Bar Handcuff training has commenced in eleven sites. These are HMP Leicester, HMP Warren Hill, HMP Brinsford, HMP Lincoln, HMP Moorland, HMP Stoke Heath, HMP Hull, HMP Risley, HMP Swinfen Hall, HMP Usk and Prescoed and HMP Featherstone. There are also plans in place to start training shortly in a further six sites, these being HMP Stocken, HMP Full Sutton, HMP Frankland, HMP Garth, HMP The Verne and HMP Wymott.

SPEAR Training
This is the new personal protection training that all Prison Officers should undertake prior to PAVA being issued. Most C&R Instructors are now trained to deliver SPEAR. Local POA committees are encouraged to ascertain from their SMT when their members will be trained in SPEAR.

Pensions Challenge
The POA await dialogue with the Government over a remedy to our pensions challenge. Members should be aware that anybody presently applying for Ill Health Retirement or who have been medically retired post pension changes (April 2015) are now entitled to revert to their original scheme. This should be financially beneficial for most staff. Please be aware of POA circular 110/2019 for further details.

 

Pay
The Government have forwarded their activation letter to the Pay Review Body in an attempt to ensure the pay award for 2020 is delivered on time in April 2020. HMPPS are due to submit their recommendations once a new Parliament is formed.

Contempt of Court Action
The POA were due in Court on contempt charges in October 2019. This action was stayed due to our legal challenge against the Permanent High Court Injunction. We have been given a new date of the 19th November 2019, and we will pursue our challenge against the Permanent Injunction.
We are due in Court in December 2019, to defend the rights of staff at HMP Lindholme who protected their health and safety. This case will begin on the 2nd December 2019, in the Royal Courts of Justice, London and is due to last for at least 3 days.

National Negotiations
The NEC are currently involved in negotiations over a new disputes’ resolution procedure and the OMiC model in the open and female estate. We are due to commence negotiations over a new Advanced Prison Officer role shortly.

Private Sector
A pay award has been agreed with private sector sites for which we have recognition rights. I would encourage all committees in private sector sites to ascertain from their Governor if there are plans to issue PAVA at their prisons. There is no reason why private sector Officers cannot immediately be issued with Rigid Bar Handcuffs and trained in SPEAR. Local committees should insist they are trained immediately and issued with RBH.

Escort Services
The contracts to deliver escort services (PECS) have been awarded to Serco in the south and GEO Amey in the north. We are presently assessing the needs of ICE Branch (In country Escorts) to ensure we can effectively communicate with our members who are spread country wide without a permanent base.

 

Secure Hospitals
Some NHS trusts are proposing that staff could sell their annual leave. The suggestion is that 20 days mandatory leave will be honoured but anything above this level could be exchanged for payment. Discussions are ongoing.
We continue to fight for a retirement age of 60 for our members in secure hospitals, however, some public sector unions within this setting are content with a retirement age of 68.
The POA are actively recruiting in secure hospitals.

Cuffe Report
The Cuffe report is progressing in a timely manner. The total running costs to date stand at £159,720.86. This includes post Conference running costs to date of £32,451.04 out of a budget of £45k.

Please ensure the contents of this circular are relayed to all POA members.
Thank you for your continued to support.
Yours sincerely


MARK FAIRHURST
National Chair