SCOTLAND: RE: GENERAL UPDATE

We wrote to you on 14th December 2020 with updates and we want to keep that theme going and we hope this latest update is helpful.

Control & Restraint

Contact training is still suspended due to safety concerns we have around the safe delivery of it.  There has been a group set up to look at ways and timescales of when this training can safely resume this group is attended by 2 SNC members.  You should be reminded that SPS has extended all C&R competences on a rolling period until the training can resume.  You will be aware that there is a classroom-based refresher course in C&R which is hoped to help keep C&R fresh in staff’s minds however it is not taken that you are competent in C&R following it, it is merely a refresher aid. Our aim is to ensure the training is factored into the roadmap out of lockdown and our view is that it should coincide with an announcement that Attendance patterns are returning to normal. 

Pay Award

As stated in December comms the SPS has confirmed the third year of the pay award will be honoured.  A NTS has recently been sent out with all the information and how it affects you.  It is NTS008-21

Lateral Transfers

This matter was raised at Workforce planning and it is anticipated that there will be lateral transfer opportunities once staffing issues connected to the new national women’s facility and the two CCU’s are addressed. In the meantime, the subject of lateral transfers has been added to the Action Log. We will continue to raise this issue at these the monthly meetings.

Attendance Patterns

We updated in our last communication that we had hoped to enter dialogue early in the New Year.  As it is with most things with COVID, it has been 1 step forward and 2 back, and that is the position we currently find ourselves in with the new variants having slipped the entire country back into lockdown.  For the SNC the return to Pre COVID attendance patterns is still our priority and hopefully with the new Scottish Government route map out of this we will be in a position sooner, rather than later to return to pre COVID attendance patterns.  We will continue to push this with SPS.

PFTA Update

We still have 5 PFTAs ongoing. These are-Emergency escorts SOP, Early courts funding, working practices to enable Prisoners going to courts, First line manger E band resource, and Dog handlers’ allowance. A meeting has taken place to refresh the understanding and history to them given the delay in timescales, so hopefully we will start to address these in the coming weeks. 

COVID Vaccine

You will no doubt have seen the news that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised Governments not to prioritise key workers in stage 2 of the COVID vaccine delivery program and in fact recommended it continues in age profiles as they believe this is the quickest way to ensure everyone gets their vaccine.  Obviously, this has been met with huge disappointment from both trade unions and employers as a strong case was put up to why key workers should be vaccinated next.  We will continue to lobby the Government as our position has not changed.

COVID Testing for Staff

Scottish Government has tasked the SPS to introduce weekly testing for staff.  This is going to begin in 3 test sites and will gradually be rolled out to the entire estate.  We are still engaging with SPS as to how this will be delivered and what contingencies are available to support establishments who lose staff due to it.  It is our view that due to the fact staff are getting tested, this then may support our push for the vaccination to be administered to Prison Staff, and as mentioned above we will continue to do this.

SNC Reps in Establishments

SNC reps are continuing to travel to establishments for essential business.

COVID Weekly Updates

As previously communicated the SNC are represented on National Coronavirus Response Group (NCRG) and we would ask you to give your attention to the weekly updates that are produced as any decisions or updates made are communicated via this.

Union Learning

In the last communication we mentioned that the SNC made an application for Gym instructors’ level 2 course and Tactical writing.  To update we had no alternative but to put the tactical writing on hold for the time being due to not securing a learning provider to do this however we will look to secure this in the future.  The Gym Instructors course bid was successful, and we are delighted to announce we have a course running in March that will see 12 of our members being put through the course.  As anticipated, this was a very popular course with 46 applicants over 10 of our branches.  Due to the demand we hope to secure further funding to deliver another course, we will communicate this via your LBC at that time.

We hope you found this update helpful.  Stay safe.

 

Regards

On behalf of POA Scotland
SCOTTISH NATIONAL COMMITTEE

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.