National Chair

Feb 2010 | 15.02.2010

Challenge it, Change it


Dear Colleagues

The Prison Service have introduced a programme of Challenge it, Change it, which deals with challenging racist, homophobic, sexist and other discrimatory actions. The POA would fully support this initiative.

It is apt that the title should be Challenge it, Change it. We should also be challenging the dangerous budget cuts being proposed by NOMS. Whilst we all know that we are coming out of an economic crisis and the Public Sector spending is under review and the Prison Service and NOMS has to bear its share of cost cutting but that cost cutting should not be made to endanger staff, the public and prisoners. The challenge for all of us is to run a more efficient Prison Service. That efficient Prison Service should not be just about change but it should be about safety.

The budget cuts that we are seeing being enacted across the Prison Estate should be challenged, and should be challenged, to ensure that the delivery of regimes is not put above staff security. Our overcrowded prisons cannot be run on a shoe string.

We are about to enter a period of pre-election promises on tougher sentencing by all the political parties. We have the spectre of political parties talking tough, at the same time as wanting to make stringent cuts.

Any increase in sentencing policy or the reduction or removal of early release will have dramatic effect on the number of offenders we are holding in our already overcrowded prisons. All political leaders should be looking to make sure that the Criminal Justice System is not starved of public finance. Whilst we are prepared to take our medicine to help the nation’s recovery, that medicine should not be detrimental to the health of and efficient Prison Service.

We can expect in the next twelve months many changes to our working environments. These changes must be negotiated with this Union. We must stand firmly together to challenge and change the attitude of management who believe they can bully and intimidate without any recourse from this Union.

In November 2009 the professional POA members at HMP Liverpool had to challenge the longstanding bullying and intimidation of the Senior Management Team. This resulted in POA members retiring to a place of safety outside the prison. This brave challenge by our members will bring about change and will identify that the culture of bullying, intimidation and harassment of uniform staff must stop.

We must all challenge it to change it and to make our workplaces safer for everyone. This Union will continue to challenge and we will be part of the successful changing Prison Service.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Steve Bostock on his election to National Vice Chairman, also Pete Chapple on his election as National Finance Officer and Glen Birchall on his election to the NEC.

Don Wood has served this Union as an NEC and National Vice Chairman for many years. I would like to thank Don on behalf of the POA for his stirling work whilst serving the Union at the highest level and wish him well for the future.


Yours sincerely


Colin Moses
National Chairman