POA Circulars

98 | 11.06.2020

NATIONAL CHAIR UPDATE

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all POA members.


RECOVERY PLANS- EXCEPTIONAL DELIVERY MODELS (EDMS)
The NEC are currently engaged with HMPPS in deciding how to safely ease restricted regimes and are in receipt of proposals that cover Prison Industries (workshops) and Social visits. Local POA branch officials will be afforded additional facility time to finalise local plans once an Exceptional Delivery Model has been agreed nationally in alignment with the National Framework which ensures safety is a priority.

Members are reminded that in order to allow social visits to recommence the Government must lift the restrictions covering essential travel. At present, travelling to a Prison to visit a prisoner is non-essential travel.

Members are reminded that there should be no changes to regimes and restrictions remain in place until EDMs are agreed and local consultation has taken place.

If any Governor attempts to ease restrictions or expand regimes, please inform your area NEC representative.


EXCEPTIONAL BONUS PAYMENT
The Government are reviewing the monthly bonus payment that was awarded for a period of three months. It is unlikely that this will be renewed. The PP bonus scheme remains in place. Committees are reminded that no Governor should be ordering staff to extend shifts whilst PP bonus scheme hours are available. If any Governor attempts to order staff to extend a shift please liaise with your area NEC Rep.


STAFF SHIELDING
Staff who are shielding at home are due back in work on July 1st. Public Health England are reviewing the shielding arrangements and an announcement on next steps is due next week. Public Health Wales have extended the shielding period until August.


PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
The Government recently announced the compulsory wearing of face coverings on public transport and in healthcare settings. The NEC have asked HMPPS to routinely issue face masks to staff who work on the frontline in our secure settings. The wearing of PPE is currently under review and we await updated guidance on this issue. It should be noted that in answer to a parliamentary question the Secretary of State for Justice stated the following:

‘It seems sensible that visitors should wear coverings so that we can minimise the risk of an outbreak coming into prisons, all those issues will continue to be discussed with the unions, as we have done throughout this outbreak.’

We now have substantial supplies of PPE.


PAY AWARD
Recommendations from the Pay Review Body have been submitted to Government. We await an imminent announcement on any pay award. There are no indications on what any award may involve.


PENSIONS
We have a ‘remedy’ hearing in September to progress our legal challenge. Those POA members who submitted a claim (the claimants) when requested to do so will be dealt with first. We still await the Government revising Ill Health Retirement procedures so members may access their original pension scheme. Any member progressing an IHR application should do so on their present scheme until a facility to revert to their original scheme is available. The remedy hearing should bring clarity for members who desire the reinstatement of their original pension scheme.


CONTACT TRACING
Contact tracing facilities are being progressed that will enable HMPPS to identify any contacts within a Prison from a COVID diagnosed member of staff or prisoner. This will assist to reduce the spread of COVID and will ensure that staff are protected.

 


POA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
This year’s conference has been cancelled due to the risks associated with COVID. We are planning a 5-day conference in 2021.


POA ACCOMMODATION SCHEME
The agreement the POA forged with Center Parcs ends on Friday 12th June so they may prepare to reopen their business. I am pleased that we have been able to support more than 150 POA members and would like to thank them for their behaviour on site.

As restrictions in society continue to ease it is vital that we do not become complacent and rush to ease our restricted regimes within our secure settings. It is a testament to the work of all staff that we have managed to save lives and we must continue to remain cautious and ease restrictions only when the scientific data and agreed practices permit. We are still a few weeks away from altering our regimes.

Thank you for your continued professionalism on duty and the commendable work you all do. The NEC will continue to support you and ensure you are as safe as you can be in your workplace.

For and on behalf of the NEC.
 


MARK FAIRHURST
National Chair