POA Circulars

111 | 04.11.2019


Recently the Executive have been made aware of several issues which have arisen as a result of Prison and Probation Ombudsman Interviews. Following concerns raised by members about the fairness of this process the National Executive Committee entered into discussions with HMPPS to seek amendments to the current policy dealing with PPO interviews, to ensure members’ have the right to be accompanied by a solicitor where appropriate.

The National Chairman and I entered into an agreement with the PPO (copy attached) which ensures members’ have the right to be accompanied by a solicitor if so requested.
All members are entitled to be accompanied to Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) interviews by a friend or a Trade Union Representative. As a minimum, the NEC recommend that members are accompanied by a Trade Union Representative at any such interviews. Legal representation at such an interview is only required in exceptional circumstances.
The employers’ policies are clear that all members must co-operate with the PPO or face disciplinary action.

Members need to be aware that evidence provided during an interview with the PPO is only admissible in disciplinary proceedings with the explicit consent of the member. At the conclusion of such an interview the member being interviewed must ensure that he/she informs the PPO that consent to share the information with the employer is not provided. Importantly, members must also be aware that any such evidence can be shared with the Police and prosecuting authorities during a criminal investigation without their consent.

If a member or a local POA Official has any concerns about the process, particularly if the interview relates to a self-inflicted death, please seek legal advice prior to the interview taking place. The local committee must contact the Legal Department and ask to be referred to a member of the Criminal Team at Thompsons. The Legal Department will ensure the member and/or committee are contacted and a determination made whether legal representation is required.

Please draw the contents of this circular to the attention of all members.

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

Yours sincerely

General Secretary