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ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2022
Many thanks to all attendees at this year’s annual conference. This was a very positive week. POA members are encouraged to get feedback from their local committees on the motions their branches moved at conference.
The Prison Service Pay Review Body have indicated they will deliver their recommendations to Government at some point in June. The Government will then announce any pay award for prison staff from that point onwards. It is likely pay awards will be agreed prior to the Government summer recess in July.
The POA successfully challenged the Government in court over ‘injury to feelings’ for those members that put claims in due to the forced changes to their pension schemes. A compensation figure has been agreed with treasury and is awaiting final sign off. Once the final details have been agreed a circular will be drafted which will give all the details of the compensatory payments to claimants, including how to ascertain if you are a claimant
MEDICAL INEFFICIENCY COMPENSATION PAYMENTS
It has been brought to the attention of the NEC that some Governors are informing members that they are only allowed to award 75% compensation payments when dismissing staff for medical inefficiency, with 100% awards having to be approved by their PGD. Local committees should note that this is totally inaccurate and goes against Prison Service Policy. For the avoidance of doubt all Prison Governors may award 100% compensation when dismissing a member of staff on capability grounds.
Members are also advised not to sign any disclaimer presented to them that states they do not wish to apply for Ill Health Retirement (IHR). This may be an unethical ploy to justify a reduced compensation payment.
If any member or local committees need advice and guidance on this issue, please contact your area NEC representative.
STAFF WORKSHOPS LESSONS LEARNED
HMPPS have been asked by Cabinet Office and internally by the HMPPS Leadership Team to produce a lessons learned document outlining what lessons we learned from the pandemic and how, through these, we can enhance our future organisational resilience. Trade union representatives are reminded that they are welcome to participate in these workshops so they may highlight the positives and negatives they experienced throughout the pandemic.
HEALTH AND SAFETY WORKPLACE INSPECTIONS
Local POA Health and Safety reps should take note of POA Branch Secretary Circular 8/2022 encouraging them to conduct workplace inspections. It has been brought to the attention of the NEC that many workplaces may be unsafe due to unfit for purpose fire detection systems. Local H&S reps are reminded that they can legally inspect their workplace and facility time must be given to carry out workplace inspections.
EXIT FROM NATIONAL FRAMEWORK
HMPPS have now exited the National Framework with COVID Gold being stood down. This means we can now return to business as usual. Local committees should ensure they have an agreed RMP in place and any future regime progressions are agreed locally.
The NHS have withdrawn funding so will not be undertaking this testing. Prison reception staff may issue LFT to prisoners only and should not supervise prisoners who take the test.
Members are encouraged to read the Terror Review into prisons which can be accessed via this link:
YCS ESTATE SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT
In accordance with Annual Conference Motion 46/2022 the single point of contact for the 4 YCS sites, Cookham Wood, Feltham, Wetherby and Werrington, will be NEC Rep Terry McCarthy. Specific representation will be provided by Terry who has monthly access to Directors within the YCS estate.
On 12 May the POA unveiled a tribute to all POA members and ex forces personnel who have served the crown in our secure settings. The memorial is well worth a visit and is sited at the National Arboretum, Stafford, DE13 7AR. Any branches that wish to forward photographs from the ceremony for inclusion in the Gatelodge magazine should forward photos to: email@example.com .
As we begin to return to business as usual it is imperative that local committees are involved in all consultations and negotiations over future regime delivery. A return to pre covid regimes which bred intolerable levels of violence against staff are not an option. The NEC stand ready to assist any branches that may be experiencing difficulties in agreeing safe regimes.
All the best.
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.