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

Pay Award 2023/24 

Members are encouraged to read POA Circular 52/2023 for full information about the pay award, which includes a link to access the Pay Review Body recommendations in full. The Government have accepted all the recommendations. It is envisaged that the pay rise including back pay to April 1st (for F&S staff) will be paid in Septembers pay packet. For closed grade staff an opt in exercise will be conducted in September with back pay paid in Octobers salary if you opt in.

The PSPRB has asked HMPPS to visit the following sites below as part of the England and Wales 2023 visit programme, to take place between September and the start of November. In addition to these in-person visits, they will be holding their usual virtual discussion groups with Band 12 staff. The PRB have also asked for a number of additional virtual discussion groups to speak to: 1) Tornado trained staff and 2) those who have recently claimed the Dirty Protest payment. 

Assessment and Recruitment Centre (location tbc)

HMP Northumberland (Sodexo)

HMP Bedford

National Tactical Response Group (Hatfield site)

HMP & YOI Downview

HMP Ranby

HMP Frankland

HMP Swansea

HMP Grendon

HMP Wandsworth

HMP Lindholme

HMYOI Werrington


Meeting with Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk MP

The General Secretary and I recently met with the new Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk MP. We discussed a variety of important issues including the unrealistic retirement age of operational staff, the roll out of PAVA in the juvenile estate, pay and safety. I would describe our discussions as very positive and although no guarantees were given, we were assured that a decision on PAVA in the juvenile estate would be made in a timely manner and it was acknowledged that the retirement age of operational staff was a pressing issue for the POA.

POA Scotland

The Scottish National Committee have submitted their pay claim for 2023/24 and await a response. HMP Corton Vale has now moved into a refurbished prison and will be known as HMP Stirling. Plans for HMP Kilmarnock to be handed over to the public sector in March 2024 continue at pace.

Northern Ireland

Ronnie Armour, the Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service has now officially stepped down and is understood to have been appointed Deputy Permanent Secretary at Stormont's Department of Education. He is being replaced by Beverley Wall who is the Deputy Secretary of Strategic Policy & Professional Services Group in the Department for Communities, Northern Ireland. 

Special Hospitals

Carstairs continues to experience excessive levels of staff sickness approaching 12%, they are also short of staff and have a recruitment campaign ongoing. Ashworth also have high levels of sickness absence, mostly due to work related stress and anxiety. The new Low Security building should have been opened but has been put on hold due to the inability to recruit staff to run it. Throughout the trust they are experiencing high levels of staff attrition.

Injury to feelings claims

Members who are claimants are reminded to read POA Circular 57/2023 which contains information relating to these claims.

Asbestos in the workplace

Members are reminded to read and respond to POA Circular 53/2023 which may lead to compensation claims. The POA are continually undertaking a process to determine asbestos exposure amongst members. The risk of asbestos exposure arises from the presence of asbestos in workplaces, particularly when it becomes damaged due to maintenance work or prisoner disturbances.

National Detached Duty

HMPPS have informed us that they have now reached the point where National Detached Duty demand outweighs the number of volunteers they have. It is envisaged that within the next 3-5 weeks staff will be forced to attend National Detached Duty sites. Members should note that although the POA have been consulted on these plans, contrary to what some Governors are stating, the National Executive Committee oppose and do not agree with forcing staff to attend National Detached Duty or partake in bumping.


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.