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

Closed Grades Pay

The NEC have been working on legal redress for closed grades who choose not to opt into Fair and Sustainable because they think they are being discriminated against. Opt in letters for closed grades who will benefit financially by opting into F&S are due to go out in September. Any closed grade who chooses not to opt into F&S because they perceive they are being subject to discrimination are encouraged to submit an LA100 form and obtain legal advice. Each case will be considered on its own merits. The form can be accessed via the POA website through the legal/ members area. Members who will be subject to pension abatement if they opt in and are being denied the opportunity to reduce their working hours to avoid abatement are encouraged to seek legal advice after exhausting all internal grievance procedures. 

Civil Service £1500 cost of living payment

The NEC sought to challenge the Government over their reluctance to award all Civil Servants including Public Sector Prison staff the recently announced £1500 cost of living payment on top of any pay award. Our legal team have unfortunately concluded that we do not have a legal challenge in respect of this payment.

New Local Disputes Procedure Negotiations

The NEC have commenced negotiations with HMPPS over devising a new fit for purpose Local Dispute Resolution Procedure. Negotiations are at an early stage. The membership will be updated as these negotiations continue.

Market Supplements

HMPPS have confirmed that there will be a new Market Supplement site added which takes the total number to 19. HMP Stocken will begin to receive a market supplement of £2k per annum from August 1st. This applies to all newly recruited Band 3 staff on F&S.

Two existing Market Supplement sites will have their allowance increased to £3.5k per annum. These sites are HMP Swaleside and HMP Elmley. This payment will also take effect from August 1st.

Clarity has also been sought from the employer in relation to opting into F&S and receiving a market supplement. Please see below:

Q: If closed grade Band 3 Officers opt in will they receive a market supplement if they work in a market supplement site, as this is paid to all Band 3 Officers on F&S? 

A: They will indeed and this will be included in their opt-in offer letter. There are already FAQs relating to the Market Supplements which will accompany the opt-in offer letters and these have also been published on MyHub.

Pension Awareness Event

HMPPS have advertised the following event;


Taking place throughout September, Pension Awareness Month will once again provide attendees with the opportunity to benefit from practical advice, inspiration, and top tips on how to plan and manage their journey to retirement.


·       Monday, 18 September – Pensions 101 workshop

·       Tuesday, 19 September – Life Events, Session 1

·       Wednesday, 20 September – Life Events, Session 2

·       Thursday, 21 September – Preparing for Retirement, Session 1

·       Friday, 22 September- Preparing for Retirement, Session 2

Custody and Detention Apprenticeship

HMPPS have recently announced the following:

Public Sector Prisons (PSP) is continuing to experience critical recruitment and retention challenges at all grades, but especially amongst operational frontline roles. The Custody and Detention Apprenticeship (C&DA) is compounding these challenges.

In February 2023, HMPPS Leadership Team (HLT) and People Sub-Committee (PSC) agreed a ‘break in learning’ (BiL) until 30 June 2023 for the majority of newly recruited Prison Officers on the C&DA. To mitigate against future pressures a mixed model for future delivery of the C&DA was also agreed based on opt-ins and assessments of prior learning.

More learners than anticipated have opted in to continue with their apprenticeship, taking numbers back to an unmanageable level. Apprentices have been returning to learning since mid-May 2023 and by August 2023 Public Sector Prisons (PSP) will have c4000 active apprentices at various stages of their learning journey.

Whilst work continues through the Enable Programme, PSC has agreed a suspension of any further enrolment to the C&DA from Monday 14th August until December 2024. This will limit any further draw on ‘off the job’ hours for prisons whilst maintaining our commitment to current learners.

Foundation training will continue to be delivered, covering all the basic elements required to safely deploy a new prison officer to their establishment.  

From Monday 14th August new entrant staff will not be required to enrol on or complete the Custody & Detention Apprenticeship. New entrants will complete the foundation level training to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to positively contribute to providing direct support through the frontline. 

All existing Officer Apprentices will remain enrolled on the qualification and all their learning commitments will be honoured for the duration of their apprenticeship. L&D staff will be expected to continue supporting the existing apprentices and the quality and compliance processes required. 

Should you have any queries relating to this notification, please send them through to our communications functional mailbox which is:


PAVA in the YCS Estate

HMPPS have confirmed that all evidence has now been submitted to the Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk MP, for a decision to role out PAVA in the under 18 YCS estate. It is envisaged that this decision will be made upon Parliaments return in September.

Fitness test

HMPPS have confirmed that the annual staff fitness test introduced for all new recruits from April 1st 2001 will be scrapped. Discussions about any proposed alternative will commence in the near future. The test will remain for those who wish to join the service and any staff who are in a specialist role such as PE, NTRG, NDTSG and Tornado staff. Until discussions about any proposed alternative test have concluded and agreement has been reached, no member of staff will be required to undertake an annual fitness test.


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.