Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all POA members.

Personal Injury Claims

On 24th May 2021 myself, Joe Simpson and Dave Todd met with Ged Stilliard (Thompsons Solicitors) regarding RIDDOR and the recent instruction on the RIDDOR reporting requirements for HMPPS. During the meeting it was agreed that we needed to pull some case studies together which demonstrate that the criteria as set out in HMPPS advice have in fact been met in at least some cases, contrary to what the employers are saying.

 The criteria are:

There must be reasonable evidence linking the nature of the person's work with an increased risk of becoming exposed to coronavirus.

Factors to take into account when making this decision could include:

  • whether or not the nature of the person's work activities increased the risk of them becoming exposed to coronavirus?
  • whether or not there was any specific, identifiable incident that led to an

 increased risk of exposure?

  • whether or not the person's work directly brought them into contact with a known coronavirus hazard without effective control measures, as set out in the relevant PHE guidance, in place such as personal protective equipment (PPE) or social distancing

I would therefore appreciate it if you could forward any relevant examples amounting to the ‘reasonable evidence’ needed to

We now have 10 Personal Injury cases. 

New Joiners to the POA

You can now join the POA online. Prior to approval of membership local branch officials should be informed via email of potential new members so they can approve the application. If this is not happening, please inform your area NEC Rep. 

‘Welcome Packs’ consisting of a membership card and membership benefits documentation will be sent electronically to all new members. Diaries and badges will still be provided to new members, but this will be the responsibility of local branches. To this end local branches should email requesting diaries and badges as and when they require them.

Ill Health Retirement

The Government have announced that all Ill Health Retirement (IHR) cases will be reviewed as soon as practicable. This will include members who have been refused IHR.

This will involve reconsideration of cases where they may have been a different outcome (or higher pension award) under the alternative scheme.

The Government is working hard to resolve outstanding areas that need to be addressed before some members will be able to have their cases reviewed.

Given the complexity of the outstanding issues which need to be worked through, it may not be possible to resolve some cases, particularly for those who have retired and are already in receipt of some pension, until after the deferred choice underpin and supporting legislation are in place (probably sometime in 2022). Any additional payments of pension that result will be backdated.

At present IHR cases will continue to be calculated based on the scheme the individual member is currently in (legacy or Alpha).  These cases will be re-visited as an “immediate detriment” case as soon as possible after the end of the remedy period (1st April 2022).

Steps are being taken to identify retirement and IHR cases from 1st April 2015 onwards, for reconsideration/re-calculation under the remedy.

MITIE Care &Custody ICE &OCC Staff Pay Ballot 2021

The POA recently conducted a pay ballot for Mitie Care & Custody ICE & OCC staff that are part of the bargaining unit under the POA/Mitie Care & Custody recognition agreement. Following collective bargaining between the POA and Mitie Care & Custody a proposed one year pay award of 2.2% with no strings attached was put to ballot. The pay award was accepted by 94% of members that responded to the ballot. The POA have therefore informed Mitie Care & Custody that the pay award has been accepted and the employer have an ambition to implement the pay rise and the back pay into the June 2021 pay run.

Feedback on the new PPE Footwear provided by Cooneen

The National Executive Committee have been involved in discussions for some time now about the new Footwear provided by Cooneen. Regarding this, the NEC have agreed that our members should be involved in a Survey to help both HMPPS and the POA understand what members think of the new footwear and help us to continue to develop PPE on your behalf. Members who have received the new Footwear should be invited to complete a short Survey regarding it. The Executive encourage you to complete this Survey when invited.

Shaping a new employee offer

HMPPS plans to introduce family friendly modern working practices in our operational areas of the business, Prisons, Probation and Courts. To address this, it has been acknowledged that there needs to be a holistic review of the approach and change implemented that includes an alternative approach to training, more flexible types of employee contracts, revised working/rostering arrangements (including a new rostering tool to replace MyDetail) and the introduction of a more flexible delivery model where it is possible to match both the workforce to the demand and also the demand to the availability of the workforce.

  • Making HMPPS a modern employer that offers family friendly ways of working.
  • Opening the door to a range of alternative contracts and working patterns we can offer new and existing staff.
  • Improving retention rates though allowing staff to work more flexibly.
  • Increased productivity through reduced sick absence and increased welfare driven by greater opportunities to achieve and maintain a better WLB.

Pay Award 2021

We are still waiting for the recommendations from the Prison Service Pay Review Body to be published. We expect this to take place sometime in July. Once published the membership will be updated.

As we continue to recover from Covid it is vital that we ease restrictions in a cautious and responsible manner. There is no rush to ease restrictions. We must be mindful that a third wave, particularly with increasing new variants, could hit us at any time.

One of the main ways we can reduce the risk is to ensure we are vaccinated. It is not until both staff and prisoners achieve an 80% full vaccination rate will we significantly reduce the risk of Covid in our secure settings.

Please continue to support each other and ensure you take no risks.


All the best.


Mark Fairhurst
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.