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

Pay Award 2021/22

The National Executive Committee have ruled that Band 2 OSG POA members will be balloted for industrial action up to and including strike action, over their derisory pay award. OSGs have the right to strike and a workplace indicative ballot will commence on Monday 22nd November 2021 until Monday 13th December 2021. This ballot will include all Band 2 members, Prison Auxiliary’s and Night staff in Public Sector Prisons in England and Wales. Further details can be obtained via POA Circular 98/2021.

POA members should make themselves aware of the recent NTS that has been issued in relation to the pay award. Of particular note is the following 

The Government has accepted in full each of the three PSPRB recommendations that apply to this year. The PSPRB made two additional recommendations which are not applicable for the 21/22 award, which have neither been accepted nor rejected at this stage. The accepted recommendations are in line with Government pay policy this year of a public sector pay pause. This entailed a £250 pay uplift for those earning a full-time and equivalent base salary of under £24,000. This notice explains how this will affect your pay if you are a Prison Officer or related grade who remains in closed (pre-F&S) terms and conditions.

New salaries will be effective from 1 April 2021 and will be paid in November 2021 pay. 

  • A £250 increase to all pay points for Prison Officer 2 and OSG scale pay. The same award also applies to former G4S Security Officers.
  • The Auxiliary and Night Patrol staff spot pay rates increased to £18,139 and £20,465 respectively eroding the mark time in place to ensure continuing compliance with the National Living Wage (NLW).

Some staff who are on, or have been on, temporary cover and in receipt of an additional uplift to ensure that total pay is at the higher Band minimum will have accrued overpayments since 1 April 2021. SSCL are making efforts to ensure that the casework to address this is processed at the same time as pay awards in November so that overpayments can be offset against pay award arrears. It should be noted that these overpayments were entirely expected as an unavoidable result of pay awards being implemented any later than April. There is no connection between these and other overpayments of temporary cover resulting from a systems error which were previously communicated and corrected over the summer.


No increases to minima, maxima or relative position increases for F&S Bands 6-11 as they are all over £24,000.

For eligible staff below their pay band maximum:

4% consolidated pay progression (capped at the Band maximum)

Progression applies to eligible staff who are in the Band on 31 March 2021 and in post on 1 April 2021 unless subject to formal poor performance measures during 2020/21.

Progression is implemented in order to ensure that eligible staff who are being paid below their pay range maximum (also considered to be the fully competent “rate for the job”) are able to get closer to it.

Annual Leave

Please note the following from HMPPS:

Staff should apply for leave in the normal way but if their manager is unable to approve this due to the coronavirus pandemic, they will be allowed under the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 to carry forward into their next leave year and if necessary their leave year after that (i.e. their leave year containing 31 March 2022), part or all of the 4 weeks statutory annual leave to which they are entitled but were not reasonably able to take as a consequence of the pandemic.

It remains the responsibility of employees to seek to take their annual leave entitlement during this period and employees should continue to be encouraged to do so to help make sure they take appropriate rest from work (in line with the Working Time Directive, ACAS guidance and the MoJ Annual Leave Policy, and the department has a duty of care to support the physical and mental wellbeing of staff in this way.   

Business areas may however on a case-by-case basis, allow employees to cancel pre-booked annual leave where it is not reasonably practicable to take this, further to discussion with their line manager and taking account of the individual’s personal circumstances and wellbeing, to be used later in the year or carried forward if necessary.

It will be for staff and line managers to agree where the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the reason for leave not being taken or pre-booked leave being cancelled and how that can be addressed during the remaining portion of their annual leave year or carried over, up to the maximum 4 weeks allowed under the terms of the Working Time Directive’s temporary provision. 

The usual factors for considering future annual leave requests continue to apply e.g., business needs, requests from others etc, and where staff leave has not been impacted by the pandemic the normal MoJ Annual Leave policy carry over arrangements continue. Staff on paid special leave should continue to take annual leave during this period.

Pay Review Body

The Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) are undertaking a mixture of “in-person” and “virtual” visits this year to talk to staff in the remit group about pay, allowances and other important issues.

Last year they were not able to meet face-to-face at workplaces as they have previously done due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, however this year they will run a smaller number of in-person visits which will be supplemented by 45-minute virtual discussion groups. All sessions are voluntary.

In-person visits will be in December and January, Covid-19 permitting, to: Birmingham, Cardiff, Long Lartin, Onley and Pentonville. Staff at these establishments should look for further details from their establishment as to when the visit will be and how to volunteer to attend a discussion group. Please note that spaces may be limited due to local Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing.

Virtual sessions are divided into the following grade specific discussion groups. The grade groups are:

  • Band 2 OSGs including closed grade OSGs;
  • Band 3 Prison Officers including closed grade Prison Officers and PO2s;
  • Bands 4 and 5 officer grades including closed grade Senior and Principal Officers;
  • Bands 7 to 9 operational managers including closed grade Managers F, E and Senior Manager D;
  • Bands 10 and 11 Governors including Senior Managers A to C; and
  • Staff in receipt of the Care and Maintenance of Dogs allowance.

Should you wish to attend one of the virtual sessions please email where the secretariat will collate your details. They are asking for 5 to 6 staff per session to ensure these are manageable. Allocation will be in the order of receipt of email. They will ask you to provide just a few details about yourself: name, the prison you work at and whether you are on Fair and Sustainable or the closed grade pay structures. These details will help ensure that they are able to speak to a good cross section of operational staff across the whole prison estate. They will not pass on the details of who attended or what is discussed to the Prison Service or the trade unions. This is an opportunity for you to speak frankly.

The available sessions are:





25 November 2021


Bands 7 to 9


Band 3

26 November 2021


Bands 4 & 5


Band 2

30 November 2021


Bands 10 & 11


Band 3

2 December 2021


Bands 4 & 5


Bands 7 to 9

7 December 2021


Band 3


Band 2

13 December 2021


Band 3


Care and Maintenance of Dogs allowance


Welsh Government’s announcement

In his announcement, First Minister stated that as cases continue to rise, the cabinet has decided to strengthen a number of measures and will consider re-introducing more restrictions at the next review and raising the alert level. The alert level has not been changed from alert level zero during this review.

First Minister urged all employers to help more people to work from home over the next three weeks where this is possible.

In summary, following the most recent Covid rules review in Wales, changes are being made to self-isolation rules. Until now, any fully vaccinated person in a household with someone who tests positive or has symptoms, did not need to self-isolate unless they had symptoms or a positive test themselves.

The new Welsh Government guidance now states that adults who are fully vaccinated and children and young people aged five to 17 should self-isolate until they have received a negative PCR test if someone in their household has symptoms or tests positive for Covid-19.

Therefore, if someone in the household tests positive or has symptoms, other members of the household will also need to self-isolate until they have taken a PCR test. If that test is negative, they no longer have to isolate. People will also need to isolate while they await their test appointment and result.

People who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated will still have to self-isolate for 10 days following contact with someone who has tested positive, including close contacts in and outside of their household.

There is no change to rules in relation to community contacts (outside of households) for fully vaccinated individuals.


POA Circular 94/2021

Following indicative balloting in individual NHS health care establishments there is a need to be able to identify all health workers particularly those that work in prisons, NHS and private establishments and prisons in order to be prepared to ballot for industrial action. The POA would like you to check your membership details and make sure that your current employer and your current address is correct and that we have your personal email address and mobile number.

Additionally, those who are working in prisons but are employed by the NHS or who are working in an NHS Trust which is not a Special Hospital can you contact us at the email address below, so we can include you in any consultation about 2022-23 pay negotiations, giving us your email address and a mobile number. If you work in the private or charitable healthcare sector it would also be helpful for you to identify yourself and again a personal email address or mobile number would be of help. Please contact or 0208 884 5688.

Nasal Naloxone

Some committees have expressed concern that their Senior Managers are insisting Prison Officers should issue this medication. All POA members should take note of the following and should refrain from issuing any medication:

‘I have received assurances that the use of nasal naloxone by prisoners or staff other than trained healthcare and/or drug services staff is not occurring at any site. I have been assured that there are no proposals to issue this substance to prisoners, save for upon discharge from custody and after discussion with a prescriber as part of the substance misuse teams.’

Special Christmas Bonus Payment

HMPPS have informed us of their intention to offer the following, subject to approval from HM Treasury: 

The proposal is open to staff volunteering to work a rest day or additional hours over and above those scheduled in their underlying shift pattern on 25th , 26th  27th & 28th  December or 1st or 3rd January in the following prisons.

Berwyn, Wayland and Woodhill.

The proposal

  • Staff at the sites listed above who are not detailed to work will be offered a Christmas Special Bonus payment in addition to any Payment Plus for the additional hours worked on the dates listed.
  • Any officer who volunteers to work additional hours for PP or TOIL will receive the payment if they are selected to work.

The Christmas Special Bonus payment is £110 for a main shift, £55 for an early shift, £80 for a late shift and £165 for an A shift. The payment will be subject to tax and national insurance and is non-pensionable. In order to ensure that it is paid in January salaries along with the PP payment, claims must be made by the cut-off date.

To claim for the Christmas Special Bonus Payment, DD sites must complete a SOPHR118 form listing each qualifying individual for the total amount worked over the identified period to which the exceptional payment applies.

  • Staff that make themselves available and are subsequently used to cover bedwatches on the days/nights listed below will also be eligible for a £165 Christmas Special Bonus payment.


Saturday 25th December

Sunday 26th December

Monday 27th December

Tuesday 28th December

Saturday 1st January

Monday 3rd January



Friday 24th December

Saturday 25th December

Sunday 26th December

Monday 27th December

Tuesday 28th December

Friday 31st December

Saturday 1st January

Monday 3rd January


  • Any officers at the three sites who have already volunteered to work additional hours on their rest day for PP or TOIL will receive the payment.

Northern Ireland Area Committee

Nominations are open to elect the Northern Ireland Area Chair position which will expire on 31st December. Face masks remain mandatory in Prisons, shops, and hospitality venues. The pay and regrading review has still not been published and it is looking it will be delayed until the new year.

National Detached Duty

The demand for National Detached Duty now outweighs the number of volunteers required. Many Governors are refusing to release staff for detached duty because of their own staffing issues. HMPPS have indicated they have no desire to force people to attend national detached duty. We will continue to closely monitor this situation. 


The number of applications to join the service has decreased significantly. The past two months has seen more resignations than new recruits. 


Staff are reminded that running a stage 1 regime means Covid mitigations are relaxed. This means that there is no requirement for face masks or social distancing. It is not an excuse to expand prisoner unlock numbers, mix cohorts, or put on more activities. If local committees and POA members disagree with regime proposals, they should oppose them. Members are reminded that Covid Safe Operating Procedures (SOPS) must still be used, especially if you have an outbreak.


It has been brought to the attention of the NEC that some establishments are experiencing difficulties ordering uniform for staff. The following is an update from


We are aware of the increasing difficulties with unified operational staff being able to obtain uniform, especially for new starters and wanted to update you on the situation. We know there have been some stock issues. I want to assure you that this is not down to a failure by the supplier but mainly caused by lack of data from previous contracts to allow accurate forecasting, Covid-19 and the impact on shipping causing significant delays. We are expecting bulk orders made early this year to arrive at Cooneen in the coming weeks and the volumes ordered do cover the back-order requests. Please be aware the freight situation remains turbulent, as is driver availability which can also impact future deliveries. We are seeing changes happening on a daily basis. To prioritise new starters uniform, the supplier has agreed to accept changes from standard to express delivery, so these are dispatched first. If you would like to do this, you just need to e-mail the supplier with relevant order numbers and request change in delivery type. Please note this is only to be used for orders for new staff. I can only apologise for the inconvenience this has caused. We are still in the mobilisation phase of the new contract and want to assure you that we are working closely with the supplier to ensure that there will be enough stock to fulfil all orders into BAU and going forward.

Judicial Review Appeal

The Court have accepted the POA appeal against the decision to deny us a Judicial Review against the government for their refusal to implement recommendation 3 from the 2020/21 pay award. We are scheduled for an oral hearing in the high Court on 15th December. 

Please ensure you work as safely as you possibly can. Do not allow unsafe working practices to creep in just because Governors think the threat of Covid has relapsed and they have a desire to race to a stage 1 regime, so they keep pace with other establishments. My message to you cannot be clearer- If you think an activity or the unlock numbers are unsafe then ensure you raise it with your local committee and work safely. You have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to work safely.

The NEC stand ready to support you. Covid is still a threat, outbreaks are still prevalent and large unlock numbers must be avoided.

Stay safe, support each other, and please raise your concerns to us.

Yours Sincerely


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.