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


During the workplace indicative ballot, from those branches that submitted returns, 77.8 % of Band 2 OSGs voted to reject the pay award. Band 3-5 members voted to reject their pay award, with 78.36% of returns voting No.

The NEC will now highlight this ballot result to the Pay Review Body during the next round of pay submissions whilst considering our options in relation to the OSG ballot results.

I would like to thank all those branches that carried out the instructions to conduct a workplace ballot and submit returns on time. For those branches who, for whatever reason did not do so, your NEC Rep would like to assist you in the future in eradicating any barriers to you conducting a workplace ballot.


Members are encouraged to read POA Circular 72/2022 which contains information on how to work safely within your establishment:

All members must have sight of, understand and follow the risk assessment and the safe system of work for their workplace as this is how your employer will keep you, as far as reasonably practicable, safe in the workplace. There is some confusion as to the status of the RMP within the safety process, the RMP is an off shoot of the risk assessment process, and it is the risk assessment which under pins the RMP and cannot be deviated from unless there is a serious and imminent threat. As an employee you also have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in so much as you must:

  • Take care of your own health and safety and that of people who may be affected by what you do (or do not do).
  • Co-operate with others on health and safety, and not interfere with, or misuse, anything provided for your health, safety or welfare.
  • Follow the training you have received when using any work items your employer has given you.

Therefore, the NEC advise all POA members to ask their line manager for copies of the risk assessments and safe systems of work for their area of work and to be aware of them when undertaking any tasks. 

New Secretary of State for Justice

The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP has been appointed as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Our new Secretary of State was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between February 2020 and July 2022. He was previously Minister of State for Security and Deputy for EU Exit and No Deal Preparation from July 2019 to February 2020, Minister without Portfolio from January 2018 to July 2019, Minister of State for Immigration from June 2017 to January 2018 and Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service from July 2016 to June 2017.

He also previously held ministerial roles at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Staff Survey

All POA members are reminded that it is the policy of the union NOT to participate in the annual staff survey. We have been made aware that some sites will be piloting a paperless version of the survey. Members are reminded they are under no obligation to participate and cannot be forced to do so. If HMPPS wish POA members to participate, then they need to allow the union to devise questions specific to operational grades that the POA represent. This is not the case at this moment, hence the inaccurate results that are displayed. We also have zero faith that HMPPS will take steps to tackle the epidemic levels of bullying by Senior managers that our members experience year on year, as highlighted via the survey results.


Members are encouraged to read POA Circular 73/2022 which gives an update on our pension challenge and the injury to feelings claims that some members have registered for.

Senior leader changes

The Deputy Prime Minister has now appointed Amy Rees as DG Chief Executive, and Phil Copple as DG Operations.

Amy and Phil will take up their roles from 1st September. They will both remain full members of ExCo. Jo Farrar will continue to oversee HMPPS alongside her wider Second Permanent Secretary responsibilities overseeing CICA, LAA, OPG and the service delivery transformation portfolios including digital and programme delivery.

Amy and Phil will lead our plans to reshape the agency, with a greater focus on the operational front line.

POA Scotland

The Scottish National Committee have received a renewed offer from the Scottish Government over pay and will be relaying this offer to the membership via a ballot. Carstairs Secure Hospital will be balloting their members for industrial action due to the unacceptable pay award they received.

Secure Hospitals

Our membership in secure hospital sites in England are currently undergoing an indicative ballot over their pay award. Results will be announced in due course.


At the Retired Members Committee Meeting of 31st August 2022, it was proposed, seconded, and agreed that the Retired Members Section affiliates to the National Pensioners Convention. At the NEC Meeting of 14th September 2022, the NEC determined that the POA as a whole should affiliate to the organisation. The NPC represents around 1.1 million members in over 1,000 different organisations across the UK. The NPC campaigns for both today's and tomorrow's pensioners and uniting the generations in defence of the welfare state and public services is an important part of their work. The NPC’s main objective is to promote the welfare and interests of all pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect, and financial security in retirement. The NPC organises rallies and lobbies of MPs, leads delegations to parliament and makes submissions to government on policies affecting older people.


The construction of the new houseblock will be completed by late 2023 and the first prisoners will occupy the building by early 2024. The houseblock will be a 3-storey A6 houseblock with 214 places. It will have 188 single cells, 12 double cells and two Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) compliant cells. There will also be a new modular office building for the Offender Management Unit, additional classrooms and building a new workshop.

The Charity for Civil Servants

The Charity for Civil Servants is launching a brand-new award winning and NHS approved service - Thrive App. The Thrive App has a range of functionalities that will help people with Mental Health and Wellbeing, but this is no ordinary wellbeing App.  

Just one of the outstanding features will provide you and your financial dependants (aged 18+) unlimited CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions. There is no cost to civil servants or their financial dependants to download and access the Thrive App or services.  

The Charity strongly recommend that you use your own personal device to host the App, as some work mobile devices may have restrictions.  Plus, as the App may contain personal information or your role changes for any reason you will still have access to this service if downloaded on your personal device. If you would like to find out more about The Charity for Civil Servants support services and what it offers colleagues, please visit their website, or if you need support today please do not hesitate to reach out to them:  Free phone 0800 056 2424 – email:    

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.