I am pleased to announce that a long-standing National dispute surrounding protections for Band 4 staff In the Open and Female Estate has now been resolved. The final agreement is the best that could be achieved under the circumstances, and protects as far as possible, the Band 4 staff who will be affected.

This agreement heralds another success for POA members.

The agreement includes the following:

It has now been agreed that all the POM roles for forthcoming recruitment campaigns will be operational. Whilst in the future Governors will reserve the right to move to a mixed model these considerations will only apply through natural staff wastage as and when vacancies arise. So, with this agreed position existing Band 4s now have increased opportunity of securing a role.

It has been confirmed that the recruitment campaigns will be ring fenced so staff applying for vacancies will not be subject to competition with staff from outside of these estates.

Recruitment to fill all the new B5 positions will commence first followed by recruitment to the B4 Operational POM roles.

Once all the above campaigns have been completed, any Band 4s that are not successful in securing a Band 5 CM or Band 4 POM position within their establishment will have a period of up to 12 months to secure another post. Governors will have discretion to extend this on a case by case basis where there are compelling compassionate circumstances.

In the Women’s Estate, Governors have also committed to recruiting all operational Prison POMs, with those Governor’s deferring their desire to move towards a future mixed model at this point in preference to recruiting solely operational POMs to maximise the opportunity for operational Band 4s to secure a position.

The OMiC Model to go live in the Open Estate by the end of March 2021 and the Womens’ Estate by the end of April 2021.

At the conclusion of each of these stages, HMPPS will meet with the NEC and share the workforce planning data so we may avoid as far as possible any surplus staff and the need to compulsory transfer within 12 months of not securing a post.

Please be aware that HMPPS will not be accepting local disputes on these changes.
In line with the Closed Male Estate, where Wales acted as an early adopter for the implementation of Case Management, the OMiC Project Board has agreed for HMP Prescoed to act as an early adopter in the Open Estate. HMP Prescoed will run a dual model, with Welsh prisoners being case managed under OMiC rules from an agreed date and English prisoners managed under BAU processes, until the rest of the Open Estate goes live. Prescoed has completed key implementation steps and is therefore in a position to provide valuable ’lessons learned’ feedback, which will assist implementation in the rest of the open estate.

If you have any questions in relation to this agreement, please consult with your Area NEC Representative.

For and on behalf of the NEC.


National Chair

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.