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A meeting of the Scottish National Committee was held on 28 November 2020 at 13.00 pm
Those present by were: -
Mr P Fairlie, Asst. Gen. Secretary Mr J McCabe, Acting Chair
Mr W Reid, Scottish Treasurer Mrs K Ewen, SNC Member
Mr J Cairney, SNC Member Mr W Carle, SNC Member
Mr J Devine, SNC Member Mrs K Fairlie, Secretariat
The Minutes of ECM 10/20 were accepted as an accurate record proposed by Mr Reid
and seconded by Mrs Ewen.
2.1 PAY SITUATION
The STAC group will meet on 9th December with the Finance Minister to discuss the 20/21 pay deal. (obviously POA have a 20/21 deal). However, the group are also looking at pay restoration and coherence. Restoration relates to a civil service trade unions agenda designed to seek to close the gap we feel has been generated during the last 10 years (pay freezes etc) and would like to see the civil service pay adjusted to reflect this. Pay coherence is an agenda across civil service TU’s that in turn will help facilitate the separate pay structure for the operational line within the SPS. The other issue will be the UK Governments announcement on a pay freeze for civil servants in the rest of the UK. The unions will ask about the Scottish Governments plans. (although it is suspected that they will be unable to answer this question as it will be dependent on the budget allocated to them.)
2.2 POAS GROUP LIFE SCHEME
The claim for the retired member in Grampian is now processed and we are awaiting payment from Canada Life. Sadly, we have been informed of the death of a Barlinnie members wife, the documents are awaited.
Greenock – early courts – dates to be arranged
Low Moss – E Band Resource and the financing of resource. – dates to be arranged
Edinburgh -Cash Drop – Dates to be arranged
Greenock – Ex Gratia funding for the early courts – Mr Devine believes that this will be resolved as there has been an uplift in the compliment numbers which will result in this no longer being an issue. He will confirm this with the local branch to see if this dispute can be removed.
Shotts – Attendance Patterns – Dates to be arranged
Dog Unit – Mr Cairney and Mr Devine will represent POA- Dates to be arranged
After today’s meeting the SNC and the AGS will set dates and the AGS will liaise with Philip Rhodes and get the procedures moving again.
Mr Reid and Mr Carle attended the last meeting. The group were pleased to report that HMP Grampian staffing levels were now on course and that the need for detached duty staff will come to an end in February. There had been a long discussion about the staffing levels for the new Woman’s Facility with 138 staff needed in total. Mr Reid reported that he had some concerns about the proposed make-up of the compliment which he will raise later in the meeting.
All up to date.
The bid was submitted, and the outcome will be known on December 20. Mr Cairney reported that a new UL rep had been identified at Dumfries.
2.7 THE STATE HOSPITAL CARSTAIRS
The AGS reported that he was currently dealing with a Goss Misconduct case at Carstairs. He reported that Carstairs and its’ staff were very much dealing with the same issues around COVID as the SPS.
2.8 PRIVATE SECTOR
There were a few outstanding cases in the private sector. Mr Reid was attending a capability hearing on 1st December for a member at Kilmarnock and Mr Carle was dealing with a flexible working issue and a gross misconduct at Addiewell.
2.9 CAMPAIGN STRATEGY
Nothing further to report.
Nothing further to report.
2.11 OPERATIONAL DIRECTORATE
Nothing further to report.
2.12 COMMUNICATIONS (Inc, NEWSLETTER & MEMBERSHIP)
The AGS again asked that the comms committee organise a meeting and decide/update the strategy. He also asked that the SNC make sure they have provided ‘profiles’ for the new website.
2.13 FLEXIBLE WORKING
Nothing further to report.
2.14 C & R STEERING GROUP
A meeting had taken place on 5th November. The POA were content that their comments had been taken on board and included in the new manual. The new training methods will be introduced in April 2021 (C&R part not PPT). The instructors will have to be retrained because of the new package; the time scale will be increased from 3 days to 6 days. Taking into account the terms of reference they are working to; the group will now develop Phase 2 of the project and reconvene at a later date.
2.15 ESTABLISHMENT RESPONSE WORKSHOPS
The AGS suggested that because there had been a change of personnel in the SPS, the quickest way to resolve this matter and get it moving was to ask the local branch officials to approach their management and request that they share the issues/outcomes of these local meetings. It was acknowledged that Management have the right to manage, however, most matters were included in the partnership arrangements and, wherever possible shared with the local branch.
2.16 STUC ONE DAY CONGRESS
Two members of the SNC attended.
2.17 FLM PAY ANOMALY COMPLAINT
The AGS has again written to Cathriona Affleck, a response is awaited.
2.18 ACCUMULATION OF LEAVE
Nothing further to report
2.19 LATERAL TRANSFERS
Mr Reid has raised the issue of lateral transfers with the Workforce Planning Group. They seemed to believe that Cathriona Affleck and Ian McCulloch were best placed to deal with the matter. Although both are involved with the group, they were not always in attendance. Mr Reid will go directly to them and report back to the committee.
2.20 SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT - 5 LEVEL COVID POLICY
The AGS had written to Adam Jobson and Ian Whitehead regarding the Scottish Government’s new 5 tier levels and the delivery of the regime under these new tiers. From that communication, Mr Reid and Mr Cairney have met with management and reported that the SPS very much agreed with the POAS’s position that the establishments will mirror what his happening in general society. In tier 3 & 4 areas the gyms will be closed, and personal visits will be strictly only in critical/emergency situations. The establishments in tiers 0-2 will continue as is, for the time being. There had been a local issue at Cornton Vale regarding the opening of the gym, due to a delay in communications from SPS HQ, but this had now been resolved.
2.21 TUS POLICY REVIEW PRIORITIES
The AGS asked that the SNC give some thought to this matter and they will discuss it a the next POAS business meeting due on 14th December.
2.22 SELF HARM POLICY
The policy has now been revised and the POAS are now content with it.
2.23 RETIRED SHOTTS MEMBER
Mr Fairlie is now assisting the member.
3.1 C & R TRAINING – COVID19
Physical C&R training was still in abeyance due to COVID19. The SPS have approached the POAS regarding the use of dummy’s for C & R training they have asked if the POAS would like to see the demonstration and the new dummy. Mr Reid and Mr Cairney will attend one day the following week. However, it was the belief of the SNC that the dummy would only be acceptable/useful for classroom-based training not physical training. They will report back to the SNC.
4.1 DR. MATT MAYCOCK DUNDEE UNIVERSITY
The AGS reported that he had been contacted by Dr Matt Maycock, a lecturer at Dundee University. He is an ex-employee of the SPS and is currently working on a new book. The book is looking to research the roles and culture of the prison officer, and he also wants to examine the role and impact of the POA in particular within the SPS. He has asked if he and a colleague could meet with the POAS SNC and discuss the role of the POA and conduct a survey amongst its members. The SNC discussed the proposal and agreed they would meet with Dr Maycock to discuss the matter further. The AGS will organise a Teams meeting.
4.2 WOMANS PROJECT
Mr Reid informed the SNC that during the Workforce Planning meeting there had been discussions regarding not only the numbers of staff needed, but the make-up of the compliment. He was concerned that there would be too many new recruits in the facility, especially in early stages. The facility was a new direction for the female estate and many new skills would have to be learned by all but there would still be a need for experienced and skilled officers, especially in the residential areas. At the concept of the project the SPS wanted the facility to be a whole new ethos and culture and that might require new staff or at least differently trained staff. The SNC discussed the issue and all agreed that Cornton Vale was a redevelopment site, and the compliment was a local matter. They would keep an eye on the situation and be aware that it might throw up some issues for the membership, they will make sure the local branch has the support they need moving forward.
4.3 ‘FIRST TIME INSIDE’ – JERRY HAMILITON
The AGS asked the committee if they were willing to make donation to a charity ‘First Time Inside’. The charity encourages prisoners to talk about their experiences and learn to see/speak about themselves in a more positive way through both oral and written work, poetry, short stories etc. They have had some considerable success and the support of many influential Scottish people, Val McDermott, Ian Rankine etc and have already published a book. The founder Jerry Hamilton is trying to raise funds and had approached, among others, the SPS and the POA for their support. The SNC were content to make a donation of £250.
The Acting Chair thanked everyone present for their contribution, and there being no further business, closed the meeting.
CHAIR: J McCabe….……..………………………………… (acting)
ASST. GENERA SECRETARY: P Fairlie………………………………
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.