POA Circular 105/2020 was recently promulgated and it highlighted the successes that our legal provider, Thompsons Solicitors had achieved for our members in 2019. In 2019 almost £4.5 million was paid out to our members in compensation for a range of claims. However, both the National Executive and Thompsons believe that this figure could be higher if we are more efficient when collecting paperwork for claims. This is particularly the case where our members have been assaulted at work.

To this end, if you have been a victim of assault at work you should liaise with your Branch Official who will be able to assist you in preparing your claim. Should you find yourself as the unfortunate victim of an assault you should complete both;

1. A Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority Claim (CICA) within 2 years of the date of the incident.

2. A Personal Injury Claim within 2 and ½ years of the date of the incident.

Ideally, these Claims will be submitted as close as possible to the date of the incident, but the above limitation dates are the limitation dates set by Law and the POA Legal Advice Handbook. We have agreed with Thompsons that the list of documents/considerations set out below are likely to help Thompsons assess liability in civil Personal Injury claims where our members have been assaulted in their workplace. NB: These documents will not routinely be needed in CICA claims where the CICA can request the documents if required.

1. Accident Book entry.
2. Any Witness Statements.
3. Accident Investigation or Violence Reduction Reports.
4. Use of Force records.
5. Photographs or sketch plans.
6. Record of Adjudication and Notice of Report.
7. Crime Reference Number.
8. Nature of Injury and any related reports.
9. Hospital or Doctor’s appointment cards.
10. Wage information for 3 months pre-incident and during the period of alleged loss.
11. Any other information considered relevant.
Members need to request these documents as they will likely be relevant in any letter of claim. Your Branch Official can assist in making the request for these documents to the No.1 Governor/Director of the establishment. We have experienced difficulty over confidentiality issues in the past where members or Officials have provided Thompsons with documents directly which, for instance, name individuals. This system should ensure that we avoid any such difficulties with GDPR.

In addition to the above, Thompsons will request additional documents as are relevant to your claim; these may include:

1. Prisoner Escort Record (PER).
2. Prisoner’s electronic history to include:

a. Prison National Offender Management Information System (PNOMIS) records.
b. Safety Diagnostic Tool (giving a VIPER score and reasons for it).
c. Challenge, Support, and Intervention Plan (CSIP).
d. OASys records.

3. Wing risk assessments.
4. Cell Sharing Risk Assessment.
5. CCTV footage.
6. Staffing level figures:

a. Regime Management Plan.
b. Data from the People Hub.
c. Contingency plans.
d. Staff: prisoner ratio.

7. Key Finds.
8. Safe Systems of Work (“SSOWs”).
9. Chief Inspector’s Report.
10. Independent Monitoring Board (“IMB”) Reports.
If necessary, members may also be asked to complete a Subject Access Request. As previously stated, Thompsons and the Executive want to provide the very best service to our members who have been the victim of an assault. To do this we need your assistance.

Thank you for your anticipated co-operation,

Yours sincerely

General Secretary

Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.