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Further to POA Circular 116/2021 which outlined the NEC initial view to the Prison White Paper as set out by Government on 7th December 2021, the National Chairman and I have now sent in a response to the formal consultation, which ends on the 4th February 2022 (Please find attached).
These further responses to specific areas are consistent with our Circular 116/2021. The POA NEC will continue to have an input into the White paper and its aspirations so that we can play a leading role as the recognised Trade Union for unified grades in shaping the Prison service in England/Wales to make sure that not only is the Prison Service fit for the future, but we continue to provide evidence factually to Government to ensure our members receive improved pay and terms and conditions including a retirement age consistent with POA policy which will assist in recruitment and retention. Only once that foundation is achieved will we improve rehabilitation in the Prison Service with a stable workforce that can drive forward these initiatives and achieve the aspirations set out in the Prison White Paper. Without having the correct staff in place it will fail and the only way of having the correct amount of staff in place is to increase pay for all unified grades. At our meeting with Secretary of State Dominic Raab and the Prisons Minister Victoria Atkins both the National Chairman and I informed them of our views so this will come as no surprise to them. I will continue to keep you updated on any developments in this area.
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.