National Chair

Issue 69 | 12.10.2010

It is time to stop the blame culture


Dear Colleagues

As of late we have sought clarification from NOMS regarding the role of the Prison Officer 2 and the terms and conditions of Senior Officers who voluntarily re-grade to Officer and DPSMs.  We quite rightly sought such information from the employer in order to inform and re-assure our members. 

When seeking this information, it occurred to me that, as a Union, I don’t believe we take sufficient steps to inform and reassure members as to the roles and duties of the Officers of this Union and the role of the National Executive Committee.  

The purpose of this address is to go some way to rectifying this omission.  I also thought that it might help for members to understand the role of its officials ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review, as we will need their support through what the TUC expects to be a difficult and challenging time for unions.  I am sure we will get through this testing time if we stand united and don’t allow ourselves to be divided by those seeking to single out individuals for corporate decisions that may have to be made in the interests of this Union.

In order to provide clarification I need to remind you of some of the relevant rules:

Authority of the National Chairman

Rule 9.1  The management of the Union is vested in
(a) Conference;
(b) the National Executive Committee;
(c) the Officers; and
(d) the National Chairman and General Secretary acting together;
in that order of priority (except where the Rules provide differently)

As National Chairman I am a spokesman for this Union, but I don’t have the authority nor do I make decisions on my own or act on my own in relation to any policy that may affect members of this Union or regarding the business of this Union.  The National Chairman carries a casting vote which he or she should never be afraid to use.

Like the Chairman of a local branch, I steer the business through to a conclusion. I am there to guide a meeting, not to boss it.

Who are the Officers of the Union?

Rule 9.3
 (a)  The Officers of the Union comprise: 
i       The Chairman
ii       The General Secretary
iii      Two Vice chairmen
iv     The Finance Officer
v     The Deputy General Secretary
in that order of authority (except where these Rules provide differently)

The National Executive Committee

RULE 10   

Rule 10.1 The National Executive Committee members comprise
(a) the Chairman
(b) the General Secretary
(c) the two Vice Chairs
(d) the Finance Officer
(e) the Deputy General Secretary
(f) 8 National Executive Committee Members (NEC).

Rule 10.10  The National Executive Committee will conduct the business of the Union in accordance with the policy laid down from time to time by Conference, unless these Rules provide differently.

As is very apparent from the Rules that I have highlighted above neither the National Chairman nor any member of the NEC can make a decision alone with regards to conducting the business of this Union.  Decisions are made in accordance with conference policy and where no such conference policy exists a decision may only be made if the majority of the National Executive Committee agrees.

I hope this clarifies the position with regards to the role and responsibilities of the Officers of this Union and the National Executive Committee.

Finally, whilst members may not like all the decisions that we make, decisions have to be made by the NEC in order to protect the interests of the Union and its members. To borrow the political phrase of the moment, we aim to be firm but fair.

Decisions regarding the business of this Union have not and never will be made by individuals acting alone.  This is a democratic Union and not one which will be guided or influenced by individual agendas.


Yours sincerely


Colin Moses
National Chairman