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April 2010

The POA Members’ Magazine The professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers



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Violence in Prisons Everyone associated with the Prison Service and Criminal Justice System recognises that prisons are dangerous places, but that should not mean they are allowed to deteriorate or be inappropriately resourced and place at risk the welfare and safety of those who live and work in them. Crime and the cause of crime does not stop at the Court or at the prison gate. When a prisoner is sentenced to a custodial sentence they have “broken the trust of society”. It can be said that society has failed them by not providing a safe, secure and decent community for them to live in and as a result, they turn to criminal activities to furnish their lifestyles. In some situations there may be an element of truth to this theory, but as part of the Prison Service our job, our role is to protect the public, whilst preparing those in our care to lead law abiding lives upon release. We are not there to judge or punish, so why are we always the forgotten public service. I have always believed the Prison Service is an emergency service, others say we are an essential service. Is there a real difference and if so, why? The recent report into the Role of the Prison Officer was long overdue, but widely accepted by this Union, many other organisations, but not entirely by the Ministry of Justice, why? My view and the views of the Executive are clear; it was simply because there were cost implications, costs the Ministry of Justice and NOMS should have fought for, from Treasury. We must ask why they did not? However, at a time when this report and other reports portrayed a Service in need, we face more and more budget cuts. None of this makes any sense and public service are being made to pay for the failure of the banking sector and as a result the risk to staff being assaulted in the future will be greatly increased. Dame Anne Owers has been critical of prisons in her reports and they have been used as a political tool against this Union. Anne has also been very honest identifying the increased level of assaults on a Monday morning following the reduction of the Core Day, a reduction this Union vigorously opposed. Anne outlined that currently the Service is only delivering a Bronze Standard instead of a Gold Standard. Again, we have to ask why? Is it because there is a cost to put things right and no-one at the top is prepared to fight for the necessary resources to deliver SAFE, DECENT and SECURE prisons? In recent weeks we have had to deal with some horrific assaults on staff and this is not referred to, to undermine any assaults that have occurred during the last days, months

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or years. Every assault is serious and one assault is one too many. On 13th March 2010, three staff were stabbed at HMP Frankland, the leaders of the Union were not advised of this by NOMS in accordance with current protocols. I spent Saturday evening and all of Sunday dealing with the press and the local POA Committee. The following week security and safety at this prison was high on the agenda for the professional men and women of the Service who have to face violent and dangerous prisoners on a daily basis. The Governor refused to immediately undertake a full lock down of the prison, why? Did he make a knee jerk reaction to the issue, an informed decision or was he to busy apologising to the prisoners for any disruption that may have occurred following the incident? On Sunday, 21st March a high profile prisoner was assaulted at HMP Frankland and as a result we have had to deal with a national press frenzy for most of the following week, why? Is it because the public don’t care about prison staff or the fact that our bosses don’t promote the professional work we all do each and everyday. In my opinion the press will always look for a story that will grab headlines and if three police officers had been stabbed whilst on duty, this would have been headline news because their bosses would have been on the TV outlining their heroic actions and problems they face on a daily basis. Clearly, our Management do not have the same commitment or wherewithal to follow the good examples of Chief Constables. We have asked for immediate changes to the current security arrangement in our prisons and are awaiting responses from the Minister. However, it didn’t take long for the Senior Directorate of the High Security Estate and or NOMS to make a knee jerk reaction and decision in relation to the security and safety of our prisons. The problems of inappropriate prisoners being sent to prisons as a result of prison overcrowding and population pressures has impacted on security and the safety of staff. We have asked for changes to the categorisation and allocation of prisoners, during the last two years and still nothing has been progressed and it appears that those in authority are happy to play Russian Roulette with the safety of staff and prisoners in our care.

We have campaigned for and asked that the Government/Treasury do not impose any more budget cuts on the Service. Why is no one listening to us, or taking notice, is it because we are the forgotten Service or simply an easy target? The safety of staff should be paramount on NOMS Agenda but I doubt very much if it even gets a mention, if the attitude of Senior Management towards this Union and its employees is anything to go by. The POA deals with the vast majority of claims for compensation for members who have been assaulted. The aim of the scheme is to give as little as possible and in some cases; the victim has ended up out of pocket because of the intricacies of the scheme. Things have to change. After a long and hard struggle, NOMS has finally conceded and introduced the policy “Zero Tolerance to Violence in our Prisons”, a policy that every worker has had for years outside of the prison system. • Why was it such a struggle? • Why did we have to ask the Ministry of Justice to intervene? • Who is or was opposed to this fair and just policy? This policy is the first step along a very long road to making our prisons safe. The POA will not stop in its pursuit of Justice and Equality, whilst protecting its members. We must STOP the Violence in our Prisons.


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Introduction Gatelodge is published every other month by the Prison Officers Association. It is circulated free to all members of the Association and is available on general subscription. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the National Executive Committee. The Association does not accept responsibility for any statements made or opinions expressed in any of the articles, papers, correspondence or reports published in the magazine. Subscription Rates: Non-members £15.00 Overseas £20.00 Editor: Glyn Travis

What’s inside… Bronze standard now the target

Editorial Board: Colin Moses, Glyn Travis, Steve Gillan Editorial Office: POA HQ, Cronin House, 245 Church Street, London N9 9HW Tel: 0208 803 0255 Fax: 0208 803 1761 Email: Editorial: Contributors to the magazine are requested to send material for the February 2010 issue by 7th January 2010. Advertising Business Development Manager Juliet Goss 01778 391067 e-mail:

“Regrets - I have a few”

Production Co-ordinator Sue Woodgates 01778 392062 e-mail: Advertising Design Helen Mackenzie Publishing Publishers & Printers Warners Group Publications plc, The Maltings, West Street, Bourne, PE10 9PH. Tel: 01778 393313 Fax: 01778 394748 Editorial Design Development Design

POA Financial Statements - Page 12 Editor’s Comments Welcome to the April issue of the Unions magazine, a magazine produced to express the opinions and comments of current and previous members of the POA and a magazine that welcomes contributions from other organisations. April is always a key issue containing the unions Annual Accounts and Motions which will be considered by all the delegates at our Annual Conference in May. This years Conference will be the POA’s 71st and will be held at the Guildhall in Portsmouth between 11th and 14th May. It is vital for members to take time and consider the Glyn Travis motions and accounts before the branch meetings which should be Editor called for the membership to establish their collective view on the future policies of the union. 2010 has already brought about a number changes that will affect members throughout the estate. The closure of the PO rank, Early Exit Scheme and opportunity to move up the promotion structure will result in the decimation of the most senior uniformed grade the service has. The decision by Government to bring to a close the “End of Custody Licence” scheme will result in around 1300 to 2100 extra prisoners in our overcrowded under resources prisons within 18 days. The competition Dialogue process for Birmingham, Buckley Hall, Wellingborough, Doncaster and Featherstone 2 is well underway with the Public Sector now facing direct competition from 4 other private bidders. I only hope that all public sector prisons remain in the public sector and that Doncaster is brought back under public control “its rightful place”. Featherstone 2 is a new build but this does not and should not mean it goes to the private sector. All prisons should remain the responsibility of the state and not sold off for profit. The POA is facing massive change and has to be united if we are to manage these changes safely whilst protecting and promoting the interest of the current and future membership. Finally, I would like to thank Carol and the rest of the editorial team for all their efforts in producing an ever improving magazine.

Contents ■ National Chairman

6 ■ General Secretary 7 ■ General Matters 8 ■ POA Financial Statement 14 ■ Welfare Fund 33 ■ Branch News 46 ■ ULF 56 ■ Levy & McRae 60 ■ Strictly Private 61 ■ Thompsons 62 ■ Obituaries 64 ■ Postbag 66 ■ Sports Scene 74 Gatelodge 03 contents and eds.indd 3

Glyn Travis Editor

April 2010 5 6/4/10 16:26:34

National Chairman

Bronze Standard now the target The Public Sector Prison Service has always been praised for the excellent work it has produced under the most difficult of circumstances. The budget cuts being imposed by NOMS are having the effect of not just leaving us working in dangerous prisons but are now leaving us open to criticism from all quarters, some would even say the NOMS Board are setting us up to fail. These strange acts from a body that say they are the champions of the Public Sector must be questioned and challenged. The outgoing Chief Inspector of Prisons Dame Anne Owers has stated in her last annual report “even staff carrying out excellent work are now being told to hit a bronze standard because there is no money available”. In her final report she implied that resource restraints could lead to violent disturbances in jails, warning of increased instability in a fragile environment and could not rule out a return to the overcrowding crisis, in the future. Dame Anne warned “Prisons doing excellent work are being told to aim for the bronze standard; prisons with full employment are told that this will not be affordable, innovative work, outside formal and mandated interventions is under threat”. The NOMS Board, want to turn the professional uniformed staff in our prisons into Turn Keys. The ill-conceived plans to introduce a second tier Prison Officer on derogatory pay scales are designed to save money but will make our prisons more dangerous. NOMS continue to insist that they will not accept ZERO TOLERANCE TO VIOLENCE in our prisons. This is at odds to what Jack Straw wrote to the POA on 23rd January 2008 stating “I know the Prison Service has a very clear and robust zero tolerance policy on physical assaults in prisons”. The NOMS Board are operating a totally independent policy, if we are to believe what brother Jack has stated to the POA. Who should we believe? A minister of state who has a record of making statements to the POA including, that

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Private Sector Prisons are “morally repugnant” then overseeing the largest private prison building programme in Europe or a NOMS Board that has steadfastly attacked the living standards and pensionable pay of POA uniformed staff. There is no choice, as both share the same bed of deceit when it comes to serving the best interests and safety of POA members. Dame Anne Owers in her critical report is right to state that the Prison Service in England and Wales is operating at a bronze standard. Both the MoJ and NOMS should stand in the dock of shame in the way they are dragging our proud service down the tubes of failure. NOMS continues to tell us we must do more with less, whilst they waste millions on ill-conceived IT systems, such as P-NOMIS and In Vision. The NOMS Board seem more interested in running a two tier disciplinary code and rewarding those they have closely worked with. What they should be doing is lifting the Prison Service from the bronze standard to gold standard we all deserve. Who will protect the Public Sector Prison Service? The POA is using all its influence to engage with all our major political parties to inform them of the mis-management of some of the most dedicated hard working professional Public Sector workers. We must see an end to the wasteful financial incompetence that has been perpetrated on the Prison Service in the form of year on year budget cuts by this NOMS Board. I recently visited HMP Bure, this is a new 500 bed Category C prison, in Coltishall Norfolk. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the staff in opening this new Public Sector Prison. They have shown that the Public Sector when given the opportunity can open and run new prisons. I would urge both New Labour and the Conservatives to take the opportunity to visit this excellent facility and view what Public Sector workers can deliver. The dogma

and ideology that says all new prisons must be private should end. Let us truly operate on a level playing field in bidding for new prisons and stop this morally repugnant practice of handing all new prisons to the profiteers.

Prisons Visited Risley Glen Parva Manchester Cardiff COLIN MOSES National Chairman

Gatelodge 6/4/10 16:19:00

Reflections of an outgoing General Secretary

“Regrets - I have a few” 1977 – 2010 This is my final article for the Gatelodge Magazine I believe it is right to be able to indulge myself by placing before the membership some of my recollections (both good and bad) and some historical reflections on major parts of my time as a POA member. Coming from the background I came from, with a family tradition of trade union activities, it was no surprise to those closest to me that I would want to be involved in uniting workers for mutual benefit. However, having served in the Coldstream Guards for twelve and half years no one could say that my previous life was in any way a bastion of trade union militancy or socialist principals, but it was an absolute existence of fairness, comradeship and self discipline. Being elected onto the branch committee of the POA at Wakefield in 1978, was no where near as demanding as being elected to a branch committee today, things were very different. We had the right to strike, what anti-trade union legislation existed was in its infancy and relationships with Governors were on the whole much better. The Chief Officer (and I didn’t get on with them very well) played the role of a mediator between the Governor and his or her deputy and the uniformed staff. This made for a better working relationship than is often sited by those with a historical memory of convenience (Phil Wheatley take note). It has often been said by those around the Wakefield Branch at that time that I always stated I wanted to be the General Secretary. Again, this is not strictly a historical fact but I did utter those words in the early 1980s whilst having been shortlisted as an Assistant Secretary, but was unsuccessful in being selected. In 1980 through a cruel twist of fate when my predecessor Val Mitchell contracted cancer I was elected Branch Secretary. This was a very proud moment in my life and was probably, along with the encouragement of my Branch Chairman Colin Slater, the single most important incentive for me to seek national office. However, things were never that easy. My politics were seen by many in the branch as bordering on left wing extremist but I knew I had made my mark when a particular volatile Principle Officer stated “you are nothing but a damn communist”. His reason for stating this was my insistence, supported by the branch, that all Prison Officers regardless of rank should work alternate weekends.

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In 1990, with the Strangeways and other riots still ringing in the POA’s collective ears, I was elected to the National Executive Committee. Again a very different National Executive Committee to that of today. I was allocated responsibility for the Central Committee for Special Hospitals, a role which I welcomed and took very much to my heart. Within a very short space of time a long standing dispute on travel allowance escalated, as a further attack against the POA in Special Hospitals, into an all out strike. During this period the unity, tenacity and strength of our branches in Special Hospitals was demonstrated to huge effect. I have never experienced comradeship and support from any other part of the Union greater than I did during those difficult times, all Branch Committees, their Chairman and Secretary were a credit to the POA and the trades union movement. At the end of 1990 I was elected as the Unions Vice Chairman and during the next four years faced some very trying times. My resignation in 1994 was to me not a difficult decision to make nor was it one I regretted. I looked at the issues including the loss of our trade union rights, I balanced that against that how the Union was dealing with them and determined it was not what I wished to do as an individual. No Certification Officer, no tribunals, no seeking of personal attacks against the Union, its Executive or its Officers. I put my uniform back on and went back to work. Whilst serving on the Branch Committee at this time I became the author of POA Conference Motion 111/1995 which sought to take action to regain our trade union rights through no POA member attending for work until their official starting time. This was the first shot back by the POA at regaining not only trade union rights but our members human rights as well. This action demonstrates clearly the democratic nature and ability of every POA member to make a difference to the unions policies. Becoming Assistant Secretary in 1996 and particularly becoming Editor of the Gatelodge Magazine was to me my utopia. Working in North Regional Office in this role was without doubt the best time of my POA career. It was therefore a difficult decision when I decided to stand for General Secretary. Moving from the best time in my trade union life to potentially the worst. It was with great pride that I was elected as General Secretary of POA in 1999 taking up

my post in the year 2000. A new millennium and as a new General Secretary I thought a new beginning. I very quickly realised that any changes to our Union would be difficult to start and could be made even more difficult to achieve. The internal difficulties that have existed throughout not only my time as General Secretary, but my predecessor and indeed those who went before him, appear to take place every two years. It is almost as if the POA can never be comfortable with itself or those who are serving the membership within. Some clearly believe they are bigger than the organisation itself. I hope that this will change in the future, but then again those hopes have been dashed on many occasions. In conclusion it has been a great privilege to serve the POA for 32 years. I have worked with good people, some of them I have liked and some of them I haven’t. However, I would never use the columns of your magazine to attack anyone past or present for some kind of self fulfilling gratification, it is such a pity that others continue to do so. I say a very fond farewell through my article to you the membership, to my brothers and sisters throughout the trade union movement, both in the UK, throughout Europe and the rest of the world. I would say farewell to the people that matter such a lot to me and that is the support staff of the POA, who over the years it has been my privilege to work alongside. The future belongs to other people not to me. I wish my successor Steve Gillan all the best in his future efforts with this great Trade Union. Finally, thank you to my wife and family who have also had to live through all the problems I have faced and have always been so loving, faithful and supportive to me. Goodbye and keep up the fight. BRIAN CATON General Secretary

April 2010 7 6/4/10 09:33:19

General Matters

Does Anyone Care? Prisons, public services and public money I realise that every prison is facing significant budget cuts in 2010 and beyond as the Ministry of Justice tries to manage the cuts imposed by Treasury, a department that is attempting to kick start the economy and of course get the country out of the worst recession for 50 years; a recession that was caused by greedy privateers in the banking sector according to many economists. Prisons are not alone, many other public sector services face huge budget cuts. What I would like to know is why the Government always seem to pick on the easy targets and the low paid rather than looking at other options to raise revenue? Having spoken to a number of other unions it is clear that the proposed cuts will impact on the level of service they provide, but prisons are different. These cuts, on the back of year on year cuts, in the last ten years will put the health and safety of staff, prisoners and the public at risk. • The reason I say this, is because all the evidence points to this fact. When the Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers evaluated the reduction in the core day as instigated by the Prison Service to save money, it was found that more staff and prisoners were assaulted on a Monday after being locked up for the weekend. We should not forget that it was the Director General of NOMS, Phil Wheatly who said at the time, there is no more to give, regimes or security will have to be affected to manage the budget in 2008/9. • I haven’t seen anything change since 2008, other than the attitude of those at the top of the service and NOMS towards prison security and staff safety. So is it right for the Treasury to impose cuts that will put at risk the Health and Safety of everyone inside our prisons and the general public? I don’t think so. In 2009 there was a great deal of public outcry as the Government/Treasury, bailed out the banks and brought them back under public ownership, whilst at the same time announcing the privatisation of public services and prisons. A Government department that has just authorised 100 bankers to receive around one million pounds each, as a bonus, for reducing its losses to around £3.4 billion in the year, not forgetting this is still a publicly owed bank and controlled by the Treasury.

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• So is this fair, and will it be fair for all in the future? I don’t accept that if these bonuses and the others that have been approved and total around £1.3 billion were not paid, the staff would leave and go to other banks for more money. Those banks already have people in the positions and made a profit. • So is it right for the Treasury to sanction these bonuses and demand savings from public services at the same time? The prison service is without doubt one of the most cost effective and successful services of the public sector, but the imposed cuts will make prisons dangerous. Prisons are people organisations, providing a service for those that society has failed and no longer trusts. Its successes are down to the frontline staff, the professional men and women of the service who manage offender’s needs every minute of everyday - without those staff the service will fail. So, how are the employees rewarded, not with massive bonuses or high pay, but the threat of privatisation and uncertainty of their future and that of their families?

in an environment where valuing each other’s contribution and respecting each other’s differences will enable the organisation to continue to strengthen.” It is true that there is more to being a prison officer and member of uniformed staff who work in our prisons. A lot is expected of you, you must protect the public ensure the rehabilitation of offenders is delivered in a caring, respectful and decent manner whilst running the serious risk of being assaulted. I believe in providing value for money, the tax payer deserves value for money, but short sighted visions and ideas must be challenged if they place the long term security and safety of public sector prisons at risk and that of the people who work and live in them. Glyn Travis

• Is this fair for the future? Prisons are not the punishment, being sent to prison is the punishment and prisons must have the capacity to address offending behaviour and reduce re-offending otherwise they will lose their role in today’s society. I have no doubt that during the next few months, as we approach a general election a lot of emphasis will be placed on crime, the causes of crime and how each party will get tough on crime. All of this is what the spin doctors believe will give each party the edge as they strive for power, but prisons and prison life is at the end of the chain and all too often overlooked. We must seize the opportunity, raise the profile of the work that is done in our public prisons and protect this and all public sector services. We must not forget that we are all accountable to the tax payer so is it right for the chosen few to be rewarded at the expense of the many? I do not believe that those in authority have a clue or care about the welfare and safety of the staff and prisoners who work and live in our prisons. I have read a number of statements from NOMS but the most telling for me was the following; “Inclusion, decency and fairness are not optional for NOMS; they are an integral part of the business. Every member of staff has a right to be treated with dignity and to work

Gatelodge 6/4/10 09:46:49

General Matters

Finance Officer Election Thank You from Pete Chapple Dear Colleagues, I would like to place on record and express my gratitude for the faith and trust that has been shown to me by those branches nominating me for the post of Finance Officer. Many of you will be aware, I’ve never hidden the fact since my election onto the National Executive Committee, my aspiration which has been to attain the position of POA Finance Officer. I believe in only standing for positions I want to hold and have the ability to carry out. When the current Finance Officer Steve Gillian takes up the post of General Secretary, someone needs to continue carrying forward the vital task of robustly guiding the finances of our Union into the

next decade and beyond. I believe the time is now right for me to utilise the range of abilities and experience I’ve developed over the last three years while serving on the NEC and working closely with Steve and others to take on this more challenging and varied role. The role of the Finance Officer is to ensure that the Union continues providing a totally transparent, unrivalled, but deliverable service to you. It includes work such as sourcing new, and improving on current, membership benefits, the daily stewardship of the Union’s finances and providing best value for your money. It is a position within the organisation of the Union which is unique and plays a pivotal part in the success of moving our Union forward especially in the current economic climate. I believe the POA has a good fiscal policy which provides the corner stone of an unrivalled first class value for money service to its members, but I want to improve on this by making it a premier class service.

I’ll achieve this by competently overseeing the Finances of the Union. I’ll rigorously scrutinise all current and future service provider contracts, while further developing the competition strategy between them. I’ll constantly interrogate all aspects of expenditure seeking out any efficiency savings possible; in order to further reduce the burden of central costs of the Union to the membership. I’ll attempt to source further and improve on current membership benefits and I’ll do this while seeking to keep the cost of subscriptions within the bounds of inflation, as I recognise the financial constraints we all face during the current economic climate. I give you the assurance of my continued support and as always, I will work tirelessly in my service to each and every member of our Union. Once again thank you for your faith and support. Best Wishes

Pete Chapple POA National Executive Committee

Thank You and a fond farewell Firstly let me start by saying I have no regrets or grudges. My time on the POA National Executive Committee has been fulfilling and rewarding in many ways, as was my time at local level. I have always accepted democracy and know the POA as a Trade Union is without doubt the most democratic of all unions. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Steve Bostock all the best for the future as he takes over as Vice Chair, I know he will work hard for the membership. I was proud to finish my time on the POA as Vice Chair and will enjoy my retirement following the close of the Annual Conference at Portsmouth in May this year. Many of you know that I don’t mind taking the occasional drink, so if you see me in the bar, mine’s a double, lots of ice. I would like to thank all of the current NEC, FTOs and officers for their support during my terms of office. During my time in office, I have had the pleasure to work with a number of special people, but I do not intend to embarrass any of them by naming them; they know who they are.

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I have spent the majority of my thirty plus years of service involved with the POA, had many an argument and disagreement but never felt that it was anything other than being professional and doing the best for the Union. The POA should never allow personality politics to take over the business of the Union and the interests of the members must come first. I also believe that it is right and proper to pay tribute to the secretarial staff in all our offices,

without whom we simply could not function. In finishing, I would like to thank one special person who has put up with me and allowed me to do my job even when it impacted on our life, and that of course is Sally. All the very best to you all for the future, remain united and remember, you can make a difference. Don Wood National Vice Chairman

April 2010 9 6/4/10 15:35:30

General Matters

By Jo and Sandy Feeling energetic today? It’s great when you feel ready to meet the challenges of your work and have energy left for your home life too. But if you’re running on empty, something may need to change. Whether your lethargy has physical or emotional causes – or both – here are some tips to boost your vitality. • Eat regularly. Skipping meals will undermine your blood sugar levels, which begin to drop four hours after eating, and induce you to overeat or eat to quickly when you do sit down for a meal. So have three regular meals - including a good breakfast. • Eat well - plenty of fruit and vegetables, moderate amounts of protein such as meat, fish or eggs. Brown bread, pasta and wholegrain cereals help to even out your blood sugar levels. Sugary foods may give you quick energy but it doesn’t last, so avoid sugary and processed food such as crisps, cakes, and biscuits. • Tiredness is a symptom of mild dehydration. So keep your body fully hydrated by drinking plenty of water and any other drinks that are free of caffeine and sugar - and cut back on alcohol. • Get regular exercise and a good night’s sleep. (For a helpsheet on sleep problems, contact the Prison Phoenix Trust at the address below.) • Where possible, avoid people and situations that depress you. For example, only watch tv programmes which you really enjoy. • Don’t try to overwork - notice and reduce any workaholic tendencies you may have. • Count up how many times you complain in one half-hour in conversation. Then see if you can stop complaining. • Stop trying to be ‘Best’ which can lead to feelings of failure when you think you fall short. It’s very tiring. • Don’t forget to notice what’s going well! Feeling fed up saps your energy. The things which get you down – traffic jams, paperwork, whatever – are usually external to you, but how you react to circumstances is down to you. If you want to think more positively, you can. It is less draining and can really change a situation for the better. How do you do it? First, wake up to the fact that you are walking around carrying all this stuff ! Then you can start to do something about it. You have a choice to go on wallowing or stop it. If you decide to stop feeling fed up, can there be any bad repercussions? Truly, will it matter? Here are two yoga stretches that will boost your energy.


Prison Officer Katrina demonstrates sphinx…

Take your shoes off and lie on your front, on the floor. Bring your arms forward and rest your forearms on the floor, elbows bent, and hands level with your head. Breathing out, arch your back and rise up onto your forearms like the sphinx, looking straight ahead. Keep moving your shoulders down away from your ears and feel your chest expanding as you breathe comfortably in and out for five breaths.


…and cobra pose in the staff yoga class at HMP Bullingdon

For a stronger backbend lift your elbows, still keeping your shoulders down, feeling the strength in the arms. Keep the tailbone tucked under, and the pelvis on the ground, and feel the whole of the spine arching as you breathe calmly and deeply. If you can, stay for five breaths. Both these stretches increase suppleness in the spine and stimulate the nervous system. Afterwards, bend your spine the other way by lying on your back and drawing your knees in towards your chest. Rest for a few breaths before getting up – refreshed and energised!

About the PPT The Prison Phoenix Trust encourages prisoners and prison officers in their spiritual lives through the practices of yoga and meditation. We offer support through classes, taster workshops for inmates and staff, correspondence, free books, CDs, and newsletters – and we can help you find a local teacher. Contact us at The Prison Phoenix Trust, PO Box 328, Oxford, OX2 7HF or by email:

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Gatelodge 6/4/10 11:40:37

General Matters

The Trade Union Co-ordinating Group Delegate Convention 2010 On Saturday the 6th March, there was a convention with the following unions, POA, PCS, FBU, NAPO, RMT, URTU, BFAWU, NUJ as part of the TUCG. The POA are part of this group of unions, mostly with no political affiliation beyond supporting MP’s who support trade unions and working people’s rights. The programme for the day was under the broad heading of “The Union’s Agenda for the Election and Beyond”. The Parliamentary Convenor is John McDonnell MP, an Honorary Life member of the POA, who gave the Executive Council statement. The venue was PCS headquarters at Clapham Junction, South West London and the delegates appreciated the work done by PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka and PCS staff for the excellent facilities. Some motions moved during the day included “ Resisting Attacks on workers and public services”, “Defending Public Services”, “ Investing in Health & Safety”, “ Unemployment, Anti Trade Union Laws and Building Union Resistance” and “The Criminal Justice System-Keep it Public”. The last motion was supported by the POA and NAPO and our own DGS, Mark Freeman spoke on the issue. All the motions were voted on during the day and they were supported throughout. Bob Crow of the RMT explained how his union was supporting MP’s and other parliamentary candidates who support trade unions and workers rights. The People’s Charter was raised as an ongoing campaign which includes trying to create a fair economy, more and better jobs, decent homes for all,

fairness and justice protect and improve our public services-no cut and finally, build a secure and sustainable future for all. This group of trade unions are exactly the ones that the POA need to be involved with, as they are at the forefront of public services. The POA delegation consisted of Mark Freeman, DGS, Glen Patton (Dover) and Stewart McLaughlin (Wandsworth). Stewart McLaughlin POA Branch Secretary, HMP Wandsworth Mark Freeman, DGS, Stewart McLaughlin and Glen Patton



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For textphone: first dial 18001. Calls may be recorded. Lines are open 8am - 9pm Mon to Fri, 8am - 5pm Sat & 9am - 5pm Sun. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

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General Matters

Don’t give your money to the Government


If you are a member of the POA’s Welfare Fund it is vital that you complete the attached pro-forma, and send it to the Finance Department at Cronin House as soon as possible, if you have not already done so. The union can reclaim the 25% tax of your contributions each month and reclaim monies for up to six years. If every POA member who is a member of the Welfare Fund completed

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Steve Gillan On Behalf of the National Executive Committe

GIFT AID FORM * I want the POA Welfare Fund to treat all donations I have made since 9 January 2007 and all donations I make from the date of this declaration until I notify you otherwise, as Gift Aid donations. * Please tick the box Date_______/_______/_______ Name: (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms) Initials:________________________________________________________________________ Address_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________Postcode________________________ Notes 1. You can cancel this declaration at any time by notifying us on the number shown below. 2. You must pay an amount of income tax and/or capital gains at least equal to the tax the PPOA Welfare Fund reclaims on your donations in the tax year (currently 28p for each £1 you donate). 3. If you pay at a higher rate you can claim further tax relief in your Self Assessment Tax Return = 18%. 4. If in future your circumstances change and you no longer pay tax on your income and/or capital gains equal to the tax the POS Welfare Fund reclaims you can cancel your declaration. See Note 1. 5. Please notify us of any change in your name and address. Membership number (if known)______________________________________________________ Return this form to: POA Welfare Fund, Cronin House, 245 Chruch Street, Edmonton, London N9 9HW Tel: 020 8803 0255


12 April 2010

the pro-forma an extra amount of revenue would be generated, to assist those most in need. REMEMBER YOU MAY NEED HELP ONE DAY!!!

7/4/10 08:57:55

UNPRETENTIOUS VALOUR - an Autobiography Foreward I often wondered what the last day would be like. I walked out through the Tally Lodge at the main gate, past the army guard force watchtower to the car park. After being checked by the squaddies on duty at the extern gate, I drove my car out of the Maze for the last time. It was all over! I had served more than 24 years as a prison officer in Northern Ireland’s Maze prison. But more than that, my total service in the Ulster Security forces now spans over 43 years. For some time I thought that when I retired I would write a personal memoir of my life, events, incidents and experiences. This is my story. It is not in any sense a chronological history of what became known as ‘the troubles’. It is a story designed to revive the public interest in the bravery of the men and women of the Northern Ireland security forces, who have borne unremitting dangers and difficulties with commendable steadfastness-and to pay tribute to the unpretentious valour of some of those who died, and whose very memory became an embarrassment to the government they served. This is a story of faith: faith in God, faith in myself and faith in my friends and colleagues. It is a love story about a young boy from a small village in County Down and a young girl from South Armagh who were brought together as the result of a brutal, sectarian, terrorist campaign. But most of all, this is a story about service, loyal service to my Queen, my country, and the British Crown.

For a copy of this book, please write to:William McKane Unpretentious Valour c/o 18 Mowhan Road, Markethill, Co. Armagh, N.Ireland, BT60 1RQ Price is £9.99 (p&p paid for by the author)

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POA The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psyhiatric Workers






Financial Statements For the year ended 31 December 2009




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RULES & CONSTITUTION 1. That with effect from the conclusion of this conference any reference in the Rules to the National Chairman is replaced with that of President. LATCHMERE HOUSE 2. That Rule 9.3 is deleted in its entirety and any other reference to the ‘officers’ in the rules is also deleted. LATCHMERE HOUSE 3. That subscriptions are waived for members who are on armed forces call up and these members retained all benefits of membership. FULL SUTTON

GENERAL MATTERS 4. Conference debates the POAs current position regarding the return of full Trade Union Rights, in order to decide whether it is now time to seek to negotiate a partnership agreement that includes legally binding arbitration on all matters in return for a no strike agreement. HOLME HOUSE 5. Conference recognises the unwillingness of the NOMS management board, government and the crown prosecution service to commit to zero tolerance on assaults on our members. Therefore Conference calls upon the NEC to commence a national campaign, “Unlock the silence on workplace violence,” to make the prison service, MP’s of all parties and the public aware of the level of violence against our members. This campaign is to be carried forward at all levels of the union. NEC 6. Conference applauds the career contributions of Brian Caton to the POA and the Trades Union Movement. Birmingham 7. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Brian Caton. NEC 8. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Derek Turner. NEC 9. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Don Wood. NEC 10. That this Conference condemns the attitude and actions of the Ministry of Justice on how they treat members of our NEC and this Association. PARKHURST 11. That the POA endeavour to increase their public profile, using all means at their disposal, so that the public can become better informed as to the precarious state of public sector prisons. WORMWOOD SCRUBS 12. That Conference accept Conference Paper one and retain Thompsons solicitors to provide this Unions legal services in accordance with the Rules and Constitution. NEC

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13. Conference debates the outcome of Motion 119a (Southport 2009) BIRMINGHAM 14. That this NEC ensures that if any prisons are clustered, the committees of those prisons involved will, if requested by them, remain as individual committees and not become one branch. PARKHURST 15. That this NEC and Conference reinforces to the MoJ its stance on Market Testing and Privatisation. PARKHURST 16. That Conference debate the implications of the implementation of a job evaluation system on our members. LANCASTER FARMS 17. Conference debates the JES and the potential detrimental impact that this process will have on Prison Officers and POA members and instructs the NEC to hold workplace ballots for industrial action should POA members suffer detriment under those proposals. HOLME HOUSE 18. Conference mandates the NEC that if NOMS try to impose any form of JES that is detrimental to our members without agreement with the POA then disruptive action up to and including total withdrawal of labour should be taken by this Union. WAKEFIELD 19. Conference instructs the NEC to ballot for industrial action via a workplace ballot should any form of pay or pension red circling be introduced as a result of the JES. HOLME HOUSE 20. Conference debates the issues of Specification Benchmarking and Comparators. BIRMINGHAM 21. Conference debates the specification and benchmarking programme and adopts a policy of national opposition should this programme identify the loss of Prison Officer posts. HOLME HOUSE 22. That the NEC engages with MPs of the mainstream political parties to increase the remit of the HMCIP, to include the Service as a whole, i.e. the management of the Service rather than just prison establishments. SWALESIDE 23. Conference condemns the gross mismanagement of the P.NOMIS IT budget and in light of the disgraceful budget cuts facing the Prison Service, we seek a public inquiry into the overspend. HOLME HOUSE 24. Conference condemns the year on year budget cuts and debates the impact of these cuts on prison officers and prison staff. HOLME HOUSE

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Financial Statement 25. That Prison Officers Association commend Alan Beith MP and his committee for the report entitled “Role of the Prison Officer”. HOLME HOUSE 26. That Prison Officers Association condemn the Governments response to the report entitled “Role of the Prison Officer”. HOLME HOUSE

36. That the Miscellaneous Expenses Grant (MEG) paid to members of the POA National Executive Committee, with the exception of the General and Deputy General Secretary is abolished with effect from 1st January 2011. From this date, all future expenses to be claimed back via receipted claims. LATCHMERE HOUSE 37. That Conference accepts the POA diary needs to be streamlined to reduce

27. That no member of this Association who has been found guilty within the Disciplinary Rules be allowed to be Cronin Clasp holder or Honorary Life Member of the POA and if this motion, should it be passed, becomes policy and annexed to the Rules. ONLEY

costs and encourage members to access the POA website to obtain up to date information. Therefore Conference instructs the NEC to remove the following sections and create useful links on the website. 1. POA Learning 2. POA Group Life and Personal Accident Scheme 3. 42/97 OSG Agreement

28. That Annual Conference pass a vote of condemnation against ‘the Howard League for Penal Reform’ for their report Turnkeys or Professionals. LATCHMERE HOUSE 29. That Conference debate the impact that Government policy, under the Labour Party, has had upon our members since 1997. LANCASTER FARMS 30. That Conference debate the effect that the introduction of the “lower tier” prison officers will have on existing uniform staff. LANCASTER FARMS 31. That Conference debate the culture of bullying, harassment and intimidation by senior managers in the Prison Service and commend HMP Liverpool for the brave stand they took to challenge the appalling trend. LANCASTER FARMS 32. Conference approve an uplift in the rates of allowances for overnight accommodation for branch officials and therefore increase the hotel allowance from £85.00 to £90.00 for London and from outside London from £55.00 to £65.00 per night. Further, Conference increases the overnight subsistence allowance from £26.00 to £30.00 NEC 33. Conference approve an uplift in the subscription rate from £12.48 per month to £13.00 per month, an increase of 52 pence effective from 1st July 2010 (excluding Scotland) and then return to a percentage uplift the following year NEC 34. That Annual Conference pass a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the POA National Executive Committee for bringing to conference last year motion 66A and thereby misleading conference with regards to their employment status. LATCHMERE HOUSE 35. That with effect from 1st January 2011 the Miscellaneous Expenses Grant (MEG) paid to all POA National Executive Committee members, with the exception of the General and Deputy General Secretary is reduced to £5000.00 per year gross. LATCHMERE HOUSE

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4. Annual Leave, Sick Leave and Travel & Subsistence 5. Career and Pay Progression 6. Pay Scales & Allowances WAKEFIELD 38. That the NEC promote the Queens Honours system to recognise staff who have contributed Long Service to the Prison Officers Association union. STAFFORD 39. That this Association recognises anyone with 25 years unbroken POA membership with an award, to be in keeping with the loyalty shown. HOLME HOUSE 40. Conference censure the NEC for not carrying out a workplace ballot on the PSPRB recommendation 2009, as is this Associations policy since the adoption of Motion 30/2007. HOLME HOUSE 41. Conference censure the NEC for not carrying out a workplace ballot on the PSPRB recommendation 2009, as is this Associations policy since the adoption of Motion 30/2007. HOLME HOUSE 42. Because of the political spin used by the NOMS management board regarding the outcomes of staff surveys and the fact that information gathered in these surveys is used against the POA when submissions are made to the PSPRB. This Association adopts a policy of non-participation in any future NOMS surveys and instead conducts its own survey to act as a direct contrast. HOLME HOUSE 43. That Conference mandate the NEC to negotiate with the relevant authorities to put in place safe systems of work and policies, which ensure all staff working in immigration centres are protected from violence in the workplace; and that those members have a right of redress if assaulted to the local management, police and CPS. NEC

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44. That Conference debate the value and effectiveness of the Youth Justice Board. NEC 45. That this Conference hold a Vote of Confidence in the NEC with regards to the feeling of dissatisfaction held by many members, as to the outcome of the negotiated position pertaining to the closure of the PO rank. WORMWOOD SCRUBS 46. Conference debates the consequences of the Delegates vote at the Special Delegates Conference 12th October 2009. BIRMINGHAM 47. The NEC calls upon Conference to support and encourage the creation of forums at National, Regional and Local level to represent the diversity of our membership to include groups for BME, LGBT, Women and disabled members. NEC 48. That Conference authorises the NEC to replace the district meetings with area meetings. NEC 49. That Conference debate the use by POA members of the Prison Service “intranet” facility. NEC 50. That Conference debates the use by POA members of the various social sites available by internet, such as facebook, twitter etc. NEC 51. Conference mandates that the Union produce an annual comprehensive breakdown of cases taken by our legal representatives. That the report shows the subsequent success rates of those cases that represent a better than 50% chances of success further; the number of cases & success rates of cases that represent a point of principle. BIRMINGHAM 52. Conference mandates the NEC to ensure that the Royal Mail is used to distribute it’s written communications, and, that the NEC ensures that the POA Supports employers who recognise Trades Unions. BIRMINGHAM 53. Conference debates the benefits of co-ordinating and campaigning with Unions that represent solely, workers within the Criminal Justice System. BIRMINGHAM

56. That this membership be informed of any decisions and monetary awards given in response to any employment tribunals or employment appeals tribunal decision in the last twelve months against former employees or former National Officers of the POA. ONLEY 57. With effect from the 1st July 2010, all Whitley Committee meetings with the exception of National Whitley meetings, attended by members of the POA National Executive Committee and/or any full time official of the POA, to be minuted and the minutes published and distributed to the membership by way of a POA Circular within three calendar months of the meeting taking place. LATCHMERE HOUSE 58. The NEC recognises that POA members find the actions and policies of racist parties like the BNP to be against the policies of their union. Conference also notes that the BNP : • is a fascist, racist organisation that stands for an all white Britain, the destruction of trade unions and the elimination of basic democratic rights. • is now trying to present itself as a ‘respectable’ political party. • seeks to attract votes on the basis of racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-semitism and the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers. Trade unions play a crucial role in defeating fascism in Britain. We welcome the position taken by several unions to expel members of the BNP from trade unions. This conference further notes: • Unite Against Fascism is a broad national campaign formed to defeat the BNP, uniting trade unions, anti-racists, anti-fascists, MPs, MEPs, faith groups and all those opposed to the BNP. • Unite Against Fascism has been actively campaigning against the British National Party in particular and other fascist organisations. • The TUC General Council agreed to support Unite Against Fascism; • trade unions have affiliated to Unite Against Fascism, to circulate Unite Against Fascism leaflets and other materials and encourage the take up of individual membership. NEC 59. That Annual Conference pass a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the POA National Executive Committee, for negotiating and agreeing with the Prison Service the Workforce Modernisation process. LATCHMERE HOUSE 60. That the NEC re-enter into talks with NOMS about erecting a memorial at the National Arboretum on behalf of all prison staff. BRINSFORD


54. Conference debates the purpose of Capital Punishment in society today. BIRMINGHAM

61. That Conference debate the effectiveness of the current prison regimes in addressing offending behaviour and preparing prisoners to lead law abiding lives upon release. NEC

55. That the General Secretary following a call by any branch for a SDC publishes via a branch circular a list of those branches with a breakdown of their membership numbers that supported the request. SWALESIDE

62. The NEC negotiates an increase in the non effective allowance in order to provide non effective cover that takes into account the extra leave allowance, maternity leave and disability leave and report progress via circular within 6 months. HOLME HOUSE

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Financial Statement 63. That the NEC pursue the Prison Service to put in place extra non effectives to cover any shortfalls in staff, to cover all pregnancies and related leave or to have a group of staff to draw from to cover these type of shortfalls. If these are not available then extra funding should be found to pay payment plus or overtime. SWINFEN HALL 64. That the NEC pursue with the Prison Service the increase of non effectives to cover the extra 5 days leave that is now given to all staff after 10 years service. SWINFEN HALL 65. With the increase of annual leave allowances to staff with more than 10 years service, Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate an increase to the non-effective allowance used by the Employer when profiling an establishment or workplace. BIRMINGHAM 66. That when a member of staff is on maternity leave, the hours for that member are not included in the “non effectives”. LANCASTER CASTLE 67. That when a member of staff is suspended from duty for any reason, the hours for that member are not included in the “non effectives” LANCASTER CASTLE 68. That Conference mandate the NEC to seek the necessary changes to PSO 0900 to minimise the risk of serious offenders being transferred to lower category prisons inappropriately, thus placing the public, staff, visitors and other offenders at risk NEC 69. Conference debates the benefits of adopting all aspects of the European Work Time Directive. BIRMINGHAM 70. Conference debates the standards of Political Correctness and Over Regulation within our Prisons and the impact of workers within Prisons. BIRMINGHAM

74. That the NEC negotiate a further reduction in the core day as a way of gaining efficiency savings without losing a disproportionate amount of staff. LANCASTER FARMS 75. That Conference accepts that all Prison Officers should be trained in PACE. This is to include statement taking, evidence handling and scene of crime. STOCKEN

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS 76. That whilst we totally support the outing of corrupt officers in the Service and the highlighting of this on the intranet. This should equally apply to all ranks and the recent removal of senior staff at HMP Ranby and Lindholme should also have been highlighted. CHELMSFORD

PERSONNEL 77. That Conference debate the non-effectiveness, mal-administration and abuse by managers of the Grievance Procedure PSO 8550 and call for a renegotiation of the procedure whereby our members can have confidence in a fair and equitable system. LANCASTER FARMS 78. That Conference conduct a vote of confidence in the grievance procedure under PSO 8550. LANCASTER FARMS 79. That the Prison Service awards the Imperial Service Medal to those staff whom have completed 25 years faithful meritorious service and not being recommended 6 months prior to or 12 months post retirement WOODHILL 80. The NEC negotiate with the Prison Service a standardised period of compassionate absence when a member of staff has a member of their immediate family die, a reasonable time being 5 days. WHATTON

71. Conference debates the “In vision/My detail” programme and the impact this has had in establishments. HOLME HOUSE

81. That this Conference demand a change to the current pay and allowance policy which only allows for the Director General of NOMS to deviate from that policy, the policy to be amended so that any authorised changes to pay are done so, for and on behalf of the Director General of NOMS. NEC

72. That the NEC pursue with the Prison Service a maximum amount of prisoners an officer can be in charge of in all closed prisons, that being for the health and safety of both staff and prisoners. SWINFEN HALL

82. That Conference mandate the NEC to seek a change in the management of Training Services’ staff from that of Shared Services to that of the operational line as is with prison establishments. NEC

73. That Conference debate the “hotel” mentality in our gaols and the waste of public funds that this entails. LANCASTER FARMS

83. That Newbold Revel Training School and all satellite stations be classed as an establishment as defined in the 1952 Prisons Act. NEC

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84. That the POA does not recognise the definition of “unsocial hours” given in NTS 34/2009 as those hours outside of 0700 – 1900 Monday to Friday, but believe unsocial hours to be any hours outside 0800 – 1700 Monday to Friday. Further, that the POA campaign to have the definition in NTS 34/2009 changed to reflect this belief. CHELMSFORD 85. That current rates of Prison Service subsistence allowances be increased. WANDSWORTH 86. The NEC seek an increase to expense and subsistence rates. SEND 87. The POA NEC negotiate with the Prison Service, to reduce the maximum working period in any one day to a maximum of nine hours unless an individual wishes to extend voluntarily. FORD 88. That Conference calls for an immediate return to group working, as defined in Bulletin 8, or all establishments in England and Wales that do not have in place a local agreement between the Governor and POA committee to dictate otherwise. LANCASTER FARMS 89. That Conference condemns the misuse of level 5 referrals to ATOS. BRINSFORD 90. That this Association condemns the practice of management overriding specialist medical opinion in that members are being ordered off duty on sickness absence against their will and against the advice of the members medical specialists. LANCASTER FARMS 91. That Conference mandate the NEC to re-enter talks into re-writing PSO 8404 Management of Attendance. BRINSFORD 92. That Conference condemn the slow, ineffective and inefficient shared services centre and the effect that this has on our members. LANCASTER FARMS 93. With the abolition of the Principal Officer grade, the Senior Officer has become the highest uniformed managerial grade. We ask conference to acknowledge that this be recognised with an increase in the differential of pay for that of an officer on full increment to that of a Senior Officer, by way of an increase to the Senior Officer pay level or by introducing a higher second tier of pay for a Senior Officer similar to that previously enjoyed by the Principal Officer rank. The POA to include and support this, in their next submission to the Pay Review Body. LATCHMERE HOUSE 94. That OSGs working in prison kitchens receive the same specialist payments as officers. MOORLAND

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95. That OSGs receive the same payment for working in “dirty conditions” as prison officers. MOORLAND 96. That any OSG who is called out to assist in any tornado incident is paid at the tornado rate of pay. SWINFEN HALL\ 97. That new operational staff be afforded the right to a pension age of 60. EDINBURGH 98. That this union lobby both HMPS and SPS to introduce a cross border transfer policy which would take cognisance of experience and result in a suitable placement on the appropriate pay scale. EDINBURGH 99. Due to poor year on year pay awards and the introduction of the new officer pay band, Conference recognises the need for some staff to take secondary employment and asks the NEC to seek a review of NTS 2/92 in order to prevent staff being disadvantages from an out of date policy. HOLME HOUSE 100. The NEC seek an increase to local pay allowance. SEND 101. With the increase to the annual leave allowance to staff with more than 10 years service, Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate with the Prison Service to allow a minimum of six and a maximum of seven weeks annual leave to be pre-booked in order that staff will fit all of their leave entitlement into a one-year period. BIRMINGHAM 102. Conference debates the issues of operational Staff being managed by and reported on through the SPDR system by Non- Operational grades. BIRMINGHAM 103. The staff handbook paragraphs 7.32-7.39 states that staff are required to walk up to 4 miles in adverse weather conditions in order to attend their place of work. This is no longer fit for purpose nor relevant as prisons are no longer built in rural areas. We ask the NEC to enter negotiations to have this rescinded. ELMLEY

HEALTH & SAFETY 104. All staff are increasingly put at risk of injury by needle stick wounding whilst carrying out their routine duties such as rub down searches and cell searches. There are currently no preventative equipment provided to staff to prevent this from happening. We ask conference to mandate the NEC to negotiate the inclusion of protective gloves for all staff, as standard issue, forming part of their Personal Protection Equipment. ELMLEY 105. That the NEC pursues through the Health and Safety Executive the process of private jails making discipline staff remove their batons prior to entry to their establishments. GARTH

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Financial Statement 106. That Conference debate sick building syndrome and its effect on prison staff. LANCASTER FARMS 107. That the NEC negotiatie with the Prison Service to achieve a safe and suitable LUX lighting level for evening exercise. LANCASTER FARMS 108. That Conference agree that PAT testing should be carried out by the works department as part of their profiled tasks. LANCASTER FARMS 109 That the POA condemns Her Majesty Government failure to protect prison officers from the potentially life threatening consequences of passive smoking. CHELMSFORD


SECURITY & CUSTODY 118. That this Association demands that all establishments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are fitted with the appropriate technology to block mobile phone signals. LANCASTER FARMS 119. That under Use of Force, another category reading “failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order to re-locate” should be added. WANDSWORTH 120. This conference calls for an independent review of all cases referred to the police and crown prosecution services, where it was determined that it was not in the public interest to prosecute an offender who assaulted a member of staff whilst on duty, working in a prison, special hospital and or on external escort. NEC 121. That due to the increase in the level of assaults and violence in the workplace, conference mandates the NEC to seek an increase in the level of training including the personal protective package, provision of Personal Protective Equipment, including an extendable baton, for all frontline staff working in prisons as a matter of urgency. NEC

110. That the NEC, report back on Motion 98/2008. (As a matter of urgency, the NEC are to establish conclusively if the Prison Service expect staff to run when responding to alarms within the penal establishments, considering

122. That the NEC demands an independent review of assaults and injuries received from prisoners across the estate including Secure Healthcare Centres. STOKE HEATH

that an alarm can involve risk of injury or fatality to staff and prisoners, once established the NEC are to advise the membership accordingly with regard to resourcing, deployment and risk assessment). BRISTOL 111. Report back from the NEC on all motions that were carried at Annual Conference 2009. PARKHURST 112. Report back on Motion 58/09 STOKE HEATH 113. Report back on motion 64 (Southport 2009). BIRMINGHAM 114. Report back Motion 77 (Southport 2009) BIRMINGHAM 115. Report back Motion 89 (Southport 2009) BIRMINGHAM

123. That extendable batons are issued to all Prison Officers, Senior Officers and Principal Officers in all Public Sector Prisons and to the equivalent staff working in Prison Healthcare Centres. STOKE HEATH 124. The HMPS in house baton holders are not fit for purpose due to poor quality and design of manufacture and we task the Prison Service to source a baton holder of design and quality. AYLESBURY 125. That Conference debates the IDTS programme currently being deployed in prisons. LANCASTER CASTLE 126. That this Union actively campaigns for the removal of all IDTS programmes in Prisons. LANCASTER CASTLE 127. That the NEC negotiate with the Prison Service that voluntary drug testing should not be carried out by one member of staff. LANCASTER FARMS

116. Report back on Motion 127/09 CHELMSFORD

128. That Conference mandate the NEC to negotiate with NOMS an emergency supply of uniform for staff who for whatever reason part way through the year find their uniform unsuitable. BRINSFORD

117. The NEC give an updated report to Conference on negotiations to issue extendable batons to staff in Female, Open and Juvenile establishments. FORD

129. That the NEC via the Uniform sub committee, try to ensure that uniform jumpers and skirts are made part of the uniform kit pack without the need of special orders. PARKHURST

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6/4/10 15:37:24

Branch News


What is happening to our once proud Service? On a monthly basis we have things thrust on us which are generally unworkable, unmanageable and ill thought out, with prison staff left to pick up the pieces. This month’s diabolical move involves asking us to save money in the guise of efficiency savings, reducing the amount of frontline officers in the prison. Then magically someone in headquarters has a brainwave ‘Lets promote all the POs and SOs (who have passed their exams) to substantive Manager Fs’, while at the same time offering redundancy packages to the already substantive surplus Manager Fs. How can this be about saving money when the ranks of an already swollen management are swelled further at the expense of ground troops? After all you don’t see many people in suits responding to alarm bells? Here at Kennet we will have almost as many operational managers as there are Officers on two wings. How can that be? If this was a tree it would topple over, it is that top heavy; or if it was a triangle it would also topple over (that one requires a bit of thought??). Profiles we have been given by management to highlight where savings can be made are now totally defunct, such was the speed of this announcement. As most prisons will be carrying surplus managers it will be left to individual prisons to stand this cost in future years. Plus it’s a sorry state of affairs that they only deemed it appropriate to inform the Governors of the establishments concerned twenty four hours before the announcement was made, so much for strategic planning!! If this is a policy to totally

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disillusion ground floor staff then it has been very effective. We are quite sure if this had happened to the Fire Service they would be looking to take some kind of industrial action. On the subject of cuts (haircuts) for years we have operated with offenders cutting each others hair but now that is no longer acceptable, so a couple of barbers have been employed. It’s no wonder that we needed to borrow nearly four billion pounds last month to balance the nations books!!! Swiftly moving on, well we have now finally gone live with ‘In Vision’ and what a fiasco!! One member of staff had 13 different areas of work in one day (we have said before they will be issuing us with roller blades to go round the corners at the same speeds as the straights soon). If they had followed their detail to the letter they would have spent the whole day wandering around the prison like a child who had lost its mother. In vision was meant to save £6 million over three years, Kennet won’t offer anything towards the saving as we have had to divert additional resources to that area, namely an Officer and a PO. Prison offices around the country have fallen silent due to the service not purchasing the relevant radio broadcasting licence, but at least we don’t have to endure listening to those horrendous heart wrenching over the top commercial adverts about the dangers of smoking 80 woodbines a day or having a yard of ale for breakfast along with the vodka on your cornflakes; plus the perils of not wearing a seat belt while driving at 155 MPH, where your internal organs were last seen heading towards the moon in the event of a crash!! Not forgetting chlamydia (nice). All these can be cured in two words, COMMON SENSE. If you’re stupid enough to hop from pillar to post riding the beast with two backs without armour or protection, then its no wonder you get nasty things like chlamydia. Plus how much do all these adverts cost?

This set us thinking what if we made an advert about prisoners, it could be shown on in-cell TVs, reception or healthcare (we don’t have a TV in our local doctors surgery but you do have to remember this is prison.) It could show a young feral hoodie terrorising his local neighbourhood, 50 ASBOs against him, then being pampered in a young offenders institution. Progressing into an adult prison (possibly at this point we could introduce a normal family, someone he grew up with having children etc.) Day after day the feral yob impresses the same old mates while his life ebbs by, then bang at 40 it hits him what has he done with his life? O.K there would be some costs involved in the making of this but we feel it would be very effective, money well spent. (We could reduce those costs by using some of the hundreds of already surplus operational managers, granted their first attempts in the movie industry The Workforce Modernisation video was a bit cheesy but everyone has to start somewhere!!!) As these jottings are being written the Government are probing/testing public opinion about what has been deemed a ‘Death Tax’ which will range from £8,000 to £20,000 per death! So let’s get this right, we work all our lives being prudent and putting something away for a rainy day to pass on to our children, while the feckless and workshy squander our taxes. Work until a matter of minutes before we die (if they had their way) and they expect us to cough up (not literally) twenty grand for the privilege, along with Inheritance Tax. Words fail, it’s enough to make you want to gas yourself in the microwave before the tax comes in… If you have a spare couple of hours you could always speak to Officer Paul Salmon about the advantages of NVQ level three Custodial Care. Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, one, two, level three and you’re out!!! Bloody hell how’s it got to that time? I will have to serve the lads their tea, where’s the afternoon gone Paul…

‘Impetuosity of youth is Jimmy Lyon. Jimmy, why does this appear on the Deputy Governors office white board? It’s not some kind of Masonic code word is it? Graeme Jones wishes everyone a belated ‘ALL THE BEST’ and he reassures us the kettle is on. It has been reported that prior to Mr Wheatley’s retirement the Service held a Conference on prisons in the Caribbean (it certainly beats holding it in Wigan) amazing and how nice. We feel we won’t need to wish him well, reportedly retiring on a £1.8 million pension, bet he never thought when he joined the job as a Prison Officer all those years ago he would leave the Service a millionaire. As a General Election looms it has been muted that the Labour party is to end the early release scheme for prisoners, if this is the case then that’s an utter disgrace. Quietly we have been running well below our operating capacity for some time, yet now it is time for re-election we can find spaces to end the scheme. When someone gets caught for a crime the victim quite rightly expects justice this stops mob rule, the prison population should be free of political inference… Mr Straw this really would be morally repugnant, perhaps if you had been the victim of crime then it might be higher on your agenda. On behalf of everyone at Kennet we wish Brian Caton all the best on his retirement. Brian always spoke from the heart, had bottle (constantly being dragged to and from the High Court on our behalf ) and a huge knowledge of the workings of our union. The POA will be poorer as a result of your decision. (Brian perhaps you could treat yourself to a holiday of a life time in the Caribbean, but not at the tax payer’s expense please.) Final thought; years ago we were the misters and prisoners were the numbers, now we are the numbers and they are the misters… have a nice day…

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:03:55

Branch News

NORTH EAST DURHAM Welcome from Durham. I was late with the last jottings so you might get two lots together. We have had two deaths of ex staff at Durham, Dawn Collins, and just recently Andrea Eddy at only 33 years of age our thoughts go to their families at this sad time. As I write this it has been reported of a particularly vicious attack at Frankland on three staff, one is the son of staff at Durham so it hits that little bit closer to home. It just shows what a violent job we can work in, our best wishes go to those involved and hopefully you will have a full recovery. When these jottings appear we will see the first of these “new managers” otherwise known as POs in suits. It is a sad indictment on the service when staff can only see an avenue of promotion by gambling with their careers. It’s all well and good joking about the Matalan sale ending so that is the date they convert, but there is a bigger picture here and there will be a lot of sadness and I will go as far as saying tears will flow when the department get rid of the vast majority of the new suits. There are no jobs for you so why think the department will find you one now. Would you trust the prison service if they went into selling second hand cars? So why trust them now! You are being used as pawns in a not too big picture. Not too much happening at Durham just short of staff as usual. Is any other prison who have iots having problems with their health care? D wing at DURHAM HAVE MAJOR PROBLEMS. How is it someone gets prescribed with 28 tablets to last 14 days and you go to check the day after they got them and there are none left. Is it just me or does that mean we have a problem? We fill in the misuse of medication forms but to no avail, what is clear is there is a death in custody waiting to happen but the health care don’t or won’t do anything about it. Whilst we are on about idts at one

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point last month out of a group of 21 staff only 9 were available and two of them were on nights and rest days. Is this the norm at other establishments or is it just us? Those famous Benidorm Budgees have just returned from their jaunt. They all got back but on this occasion they brought another member back with them, more about that later. Two of the Budgees have left for pastures new, Andy Terry and Andy Holcroft have moved to Holme House, reference the latter if you see a halo over the said HOLCROFTS head, don’t worry he is a super hero no underpants over the top of trousers not for our Andy. Picture this Andy sitting outside a bar in Benidorm enjoying the sun and refreshments when he hears the cry of stop him, some low life has ripped the bag off the arm of an OAP, with no thought our hero went into action chasing after the said lowlife. Little did the criminal know that our Andy is built for distance chasing him to Tony Romas ribs restaurant, the said lowlife knowing he couldn’t out run our super hero threw the bag at Andy who gladly caught it and took it back to the tearful OAP. Luckily there was no telephone boxes as he would have caught him a lot quicker, well done mate and enjoy your stay however long it is at Holme House, as for Andy Terry good luck with your future celebrations. Once again Shaggy stole the show, he is a karaoke star but not with the song he thought, this new song went down a hit especially with his new wig which he has promised to wear on duty. If you ask him he will have problems telling you what the first line is but it is about a polka dot bikini. Finally the new member of the Budgees who came back with us can be revealed as Daisy the Fresian cow! Easyjet told us we could not bring live stock onto the plane but we couldn’t leave her at the departure gate so we brought her anyway there is only one problem cows tails are at the back and their udders are to

the front, shaggy now you’ve got that you should be fine. Daisy was last seen walking down the aisle en route to Newcastle with passengers in stitches on the plane. Once again Graeme Curry outdid himself when using his bank card, he didn’t know if it had been cleared to use in Spain when it eventually worked he was so relieved he thanked the shop assistant, walked out of the shop and left the goods on the counter. That’s it from Durham any news please contact red Robbo on D wing.


Welcome one and all from Frankland. Like everyone else I am sure, we are reeling from the latest budget cuts. Just how does the prison service expect us to run our prisons when we are constantly told, it’s not how you run them it’s how cheaply. Any good and effective practices currently in place forget them; just go for the cheapest option. In the end the prison service will get the service it can afford and nothing more. Unusual and at times disturbing things just keep on happening, such as the re role at HMYOI Castington. Was that as unexpected as it seemed? We should be able to take some ten staff from them here at Frankland and I am sure they will be very welcome. We will simply nudge the additional managers under training aside a bit to fit things in. Well the Pantomime season is over for another year, or is it? This is the season when goodies, baddies and total clowns mess things up everyday! The phrase “He’s behind you” (when staff would automatically back you up) does not seem to apply.

Uncertainty is everywhere. Times when staff think they have A/Leave and the phrase “Oh yes I have, Oh no you haven’t” does apply. Talking about nursery rhymes, sometimes houses built with bricks come tumbling down unexpectedly, Then there are the staff nights out, where middle aged men think they are the lad out of the Lynx advert and staff pretend to like each other, take photos of each other drunk and rolling in the gutter on their phones and cameras and parade them on Facebook. Be careful! Be very careful. Some old films to look forward to for Easter, An Officer and a Gentleman. The one where the naval officer in full uniform strides into the upholstery shop and whisks the young female officer (covered in dust) off her feet. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the one with the magical “flying” car with the cradle snatcher or is that child catcher? When bad weather hits make sure CAMMS has a list of where you all live. Remember furthest away gets off first! CAMMS have had phone calls from the Government as they have found a 24 hour cure for swine flu – it’s called Payment Plus. Go off ill one day – Fit for Payment Plus the next. Trust us, we couldn’t make this up. Words fail me!!!!! Apparently some staff think a little hindsight is a wonderful thing! The worst weather for 20 years and the prison on controlled unlock with a handful of staff in which one officer asks - “Have we sent on for the shops yet?” There is a new game being played by CAMMS similar to the one in Ant and Dec’s Saturday night show. The one where contestants used to guess the adverts that are on TV and they would win whatever product that was in the advert. Now staff are shown a copy of A- Wings detail for 30 seconds and are then asked which shifts and detail a particular Officer is on. If staff get one right they get an E-shift off, two right gets a main and three gets an A SHIFT off. As part of the changes that we face an idea has been put forward where we come to work and pick

April 2010 47 6/4/10 10:04:10

Branch News

our uniform up at the Gate. To make it interesting not all of the uniforms are Prison Officer’s uniforms and you have to take on the guise of whichever one you are issued. Uniforms available at Frankland include: 1. St. Trinians/Grange Hill where you have to act like school kids all day long. 2. Soldier/Sailor/Air Force and of course our old favourites the SAS and special undercover spies and secret agents. This is where you come to work and harp on about the wars and battles that you served in (some of which took place when some staff could only have been ten years old). 3. Full C&R kit. This is a particular favourite where you can fantasise about the Prison riots and disturbances that you have sorted out single handed. At the end of your shift you have the option of picking up uniforms/work wear that people in the real world wear every day, these include: 1. Bricklayers where you work out in all weathers and grab whatever work you can. 2. Doctors/Nurses (you will be expected to work unsociable hours with these ones so be careful. On a serious note may we wish all members of our Armed Forces all the very best. These people are the genuine heroes and heroines of our once great country working a shift pattern totally different from anything we could imagine. With the latest farce under the guise of new licensing laws, radios are now disappearing from the workplace. Staff can no longer listen to music at work. There is however an idea that CAMMS will detail one member of staff per day to pick up a microphone and report to the ECR where during quiet periods they can sing to the rest of Frankland over the net. The following songs have been identified as suitable but we need singers/groups to match them (must be Frankland staff ) 1. Manbags and Gladrags 2. Schools Out 3. If the Kids are United 4. Sailing 5. 19 (Paul Hardcastle)

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6. Send in the Clowns 7. Lets Spend the Night Together 8. The Young Ones 9. Lets Twist Again 10. Suspicion This could give rise to the first Frankland radio station. Any volunteers? Recently here at Frankland we have been reminded that we continue to be a good performing prison, currently one of the best in the country. To balance that we have had a speight of COVERT testing, which we are also reminded is not done to catch anyone out but rather to TEST the system. You would think however that such tests would be realistic. You can forgive the portal staff from believing that a new prison service contest had been introduced called ‘Trick the Portal Staff ’, where someone tries to smuggle something into the prison. This one is so much fun, that even the number one Governor has been known to get involved on the odd occasion. The idea of this show is to conceal something in such a way that, it is absolutely impossible to spot. Like putting a small mobile phone in a hand held metal detector, then passing it through the x-ray machine, along with a load of other superfluous detritus. Apart from the fact that the average OSG doesn’t have any experience in electronics, very few staff and visitors are walking around with metal detectors in their pockets, they are just not in at the moment are they. However, it was declared a resounding success on the part of the management, in what I am not sure, but it clearly pleased some of the smaller minded. Perhaps it was intended to diminish the already low morale and esteem of the portal staff, if that is the case then I concur. To the entry portal staffs’ credit, they were very much on the mark during a realistic test. This was conducted by the area security group visiting the establishment, with staff finding a concealed replica knife during the entry search. They were quite rightly congratulated by the team on their

success, even the management uttered grunts of a congratulatory note. It was almost audible over the mutual backslapping, being heard coming from the management suite. We also have adapted a prison service version of ‘What’s My Line’? The idea is that one Governor makes up some rules for the portal staff to follow. Then, as soon as they are implemented, another comes along and changes them completely. The originating governor then returns once again and re-instructs the staff to follow the original order, this is repeated a number of times. Next at random points other Governors come along and modify, or completely change the previously mentioned rules or protocols, until absolutely noone knows what the hell is going on, or what they are supposed to do. The game for the portal staff is to guess what rules they have to follow on any given day, if they get it wrong they get a resounding buzz from the naughty buzzer. To cap it all, they introduced a ‘Welcome to HMP Frankland’ (I use the term loosely) voice over system to the entry portal. This played incessantly for hours on end, until staff visibly twitched and were on the verge of having convulsions on the floor. Fortunately on this occasion, a rare breath of common sense blew through the prison and it was reduced to being used at peak times only. But the whole point is that this management do not think anything through, it is all knee jerk reactions, after the fact. We have all also witnessed the ‘It Worked Well at Durham Show’, used to promote every poorly thought out idea. The fact that Durham lost its high security status tends to suggest that it didn’t really work, did it? Still no matter, the fact that some management from a previously failing prison are given overall control of a successful prison is beyond me. Perhaps I am missing something, if so please let me know at once, so that I can join in the fun. It would not surprise anyone if

Channel Four arrived at the gate, to produce a prison version of ‘Big Brother’, or perhaps that should be ‘Big Prison’. I can already hear the dulcet tones of the Geordie presenter saying ‘its eight o’clock in the Big Prison board room’, you may laugh, but it isn’t that far away from the truth… On a recent CAT A escort the police helicopter had to land and refuel three times whilst it waited for Frankland staff to finish arguing over who was to man the escort: Pilot one: “what are they bloody doing down there?” Pilot two: “Its just come over the radio that they are not only arguing about which PP will cover the escort but they are arguing over whether we are doing PP as well!” PEI Paul Doran was spotted recently walking round the prison with two thick short planks of wood under his arm. When he was asked what he was doing his reply was, “they are my only two colleagues who will speak to me!” Frankland’s Siamese SOs have finally been separated! Allan and Billy would like to inform the rest of the jail that they are still receiving counselling after being separated by top surgeons as they have been joined at the hip for the last two and a half years! SOs are now going to coat the backs of details with a lead coating to stop staff from viewing whose name was tipexed out, or what job they have just been changed from Finally. We have had a number of staff ring up or send emails to congratulate us on our jottings content, we would like to take this opportunity to thank those staff who despite all the odds within the prison service, still have a sense of humour. All contributions to Darren or Steve – A Wing.

WEST MIDLANDS BIRMINGHAM The wheels turn and progress is made. Isn’t that what we expect? When wheels turn? But! We work in the Prison Service, the wheels turn and we find ourselves forty years back … with only one grade between a Prison Officer and a

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:04:18

Branch News

layer of managers in suits! Every conversation in the office seems to be about work that our SOs will be forced to do…or are tripping over themselves to do. As announced in the last issue, I find myself back in the prison, unloved, and unwanted by the Bid Team … no longer within that Circle of Trust! As the bid process wanders in one direction then another, somehow I’m expected to keep the members at Birmingham focused, enthusiastic and engaged ... you know, the things that Prison Service management just can’t do! All I ask for is a magic wand and a Grade E pay award. I’m looking forward to Friday this week. John Starling has shed that visage of misogyny and has been secretly organising a farewell party for Phil Danks. Phil will be turning up on Friday expecting to be the DJ for a colleague’s engagement party … little does he know that the party is organised in HIS honour! I wonder though … will Phil want paying for being the DJ at his own party? At this point in time, we are all concerned if Phil will be driving to the party or catching a taxi. In the recent cold snap, Phil got up early to de-frost his car. He turned on the ignition, the heaters, and then popped inside for a quick coffee while that block of ice defrosted. Imagine his horror as he sauntered out and saw a large empty space on his drive! Some ******* had nicked his car! The Governor tells me this week that Birmingham is the top performing local in the estate. Not exactly news Gov! I’ve been saying as much since the day you got here. For forty-five minutes, I told the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP (Min of Justice) as much in Southport last year. Evidently, he didn’t believe me. Perhaps he’ll listen to you? Please write to him and share the news, I think he’d want to know. I’ve been asked to address a few issues that individuals have raised over notes in our last jottings. Important issues. So here goes. A well-meaning “Thank you” to the facilities staff who cleared the snow from pathways and car

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parks so that staff could get to work safely. These staff turned in early and worked hard using their own initiative. Let us hope that the staff recognition committee acknowledges them with something more than a printed certificate. By the way, facilities staff ... could you remember that small area at the back of the mess and JSAC centre ... where we latecomers park please? (That’s a joke Ken! A joke!) There was something else … I can’t for the life of me think what it was. I must be too busy with matters more important. Keep The Faith. Gran Torino.


I’ll start off this month with a rather disturbing example of how not to conduct a full search on a prisoner. Dave Cory and myself were both detailed for MDT, with me on the paperwork, and Dave on the nitty gritty bits. With my back to them both, my imagination ran wild as I heard Dave say, “Right, I want you to drop your boxer shorts and show me your genitals. I need to satisfy myself before the test”. I am concerned about this on a number of levels, as I recently had to sleep in the same room as him. However, what a great way to get a sample quickly! We have a special request from SO Dave Toon who appears to have set up his own cleaning service that specialises in un-sociable hours and that personal touch. He’s trying to drum up some business, so let me give you an example from his CV. Whilst on nights, he had a prisoner that was seen on camera flooding his cell in the segregation unit and making all sorts of threats and demands that if he didn’t get some tobacco, etc, he would

blah blah blah, you know the rest. So being pro-active, and an ex C&R instructor, Dave mobilised his troops, got the necessary protective equipment they would need and attended the scene, ready to deal with the situation. However, he didn’t check if they were in date for C&R, he was more interested in whether or not they had done their BICS cleaning course. Dave and the boys were then seen on CCTV mopping out the prisoner’s cell (Rory Cooper), making his bed (Wayne Stowell) and then giving him a cigarette (Steve Winney). The only thing that was missing, was a mint on the prisoner’s pillow! I’m afraid that the good hotel guide would only give 8 out of 10 for this, as they also forgot to replenish the supply of miniature soaps and shampoos in the en-suite. Although as you are reading this, it will be nice and warm, when I was writing it, we were in the grip of the cold spell that was sweeping the country. As we are set back quite a way from civilisation, we were effectively isolated with the roads covered in ice and snow. Most staff did the sensible thing and parked on the main roads, before beginning the long trek to work on foot. But fortunately not all of them, or I wouldn’t have anything to write about. Julie Tolley tried to walk in, but ended up on the floor so many times that she decided that the only way to stay upright would be to walk in her socks!!! Dave ‘Colin McCrae’ Walker did make it, but unfortunately his car didn’t, and neither did the large pile of concrete that used to be our bus shelter. Countless people fell over, crashed cars and almost died of hyperthermia, and still got here. But I’m actually going to award myself the title of greatest trip to work. Despite being called a lunatic, I decided to come to work on my motorbike, and was doing fine at a steady 20mph on the solid ice until I needed to slow down slightly for an upcoming corner. I then found that my throttle had somehow frozen open, and I was effectively out of control. I’d like to brag about my skill and how I managed to drift the bike speedway style across the surface, but instead, I’ll tell the

truth. Through blind luck, I careered into first one bank, then the opposite bank, and then back to the first bank which I mounted at 45 degrees before eventually managing to turn the ignition off and skid to a halt still upright. Then in the swirling snow, I did some road side maintenance which involved me on my hands and knees breathing warm air onto my carburettor to loosen up the cable. I have another story about the infamous Officer X who yet again has been involved in another incident at Torbay Hospital. Whilst escorting a prisoner in a wheelchair with Alan Noblett, Officer X found himself holding a urine collection bottle so that the wheelchair bound man could relieve himself. Unfortunately, the prisoner wasn’t a very good shot, and out of respect for privacy, Officer X was looking the other way when much to his dismay, he felt a stream of warm pee splashing over his hand. I’m protecting his anonymity, but yet again, I can confirm that this is not a ‘Tall’ story. All staff should be aware that they must be very careful around John Rowlands, as he is obviously of a very nervous disposition. Always a great exponent of the IEP scheme, John recently gave out a level warning to a prisoner for saying “Boo!” to him. This means that John now has permission from the Governor that he doesn’t have to work in the laundry ever again. She’s not prepared to take the risk of one of the prisoners putting a sheet over his head and wailing like a banshee, Woooooohoooo! We’ve just had elections for a new committee member for the POA, and some of the candidates decided to publish their own propaganda leaflets about who they were, what they believed in and what they would do should they be elected. Never since the day I first watched the films Braveheart and Gladiator have I seen a script as rabble rousing and motivating as Tony ‘William Wallace’ Rowe’s. “They may take our POs, they make take our pay rise and now they are taking the radios from our offices, but they will never take

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Branch News

our FREEDOM!!!!” As a footnote to this, I would just add that I was wrong. It obviously wasn’t as rabble rousing as I first anticipated, because the results are now in, and Tony came a close 2nd behind Tom Whirton. Talking about radios. If we could still listen to them at work, which we can’t. Then maybe the other day, myself and Tony McCann might have been tuned in to Magic FM and heard an old Elvis Presley love song coming out of the speakers which we don’t have. Then maybe Tony would have laid back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, sighed in satisfaction, and said, “Do you know what? I’ve always liked Elvis Presley’s bollards better than his other stuff ”. It would appear as though we now have a drop in facilities available in our segregation unit, or could it be that we are doing guided tours. At least, that is what Martyn Mead seems to think. Whilst staff were scouring the prison in search of a missing prisoner who was nowhere to be found, it turned out that he had decided to pop down to the block so that he could see an old friend. Martyn had not only let him into the unit, but he had also put him in the adjudication holding room, and had somehow got him to plead guilty to a charge that didn’t even exist! I don’t know how Martyn did it, but he could undoubtedly save the justice system a fortune that is wasted on pleas of not guilty. Seems as though some of the chaps at work have fallen on hard times. Only last week, Nigel Doggett was seen at Exeter rugby club begging the gate keeper to be let in for free as he didn’t have a ticket or any money. Obviously he hadn’t noticed that all the other members of his party had mysteriously received the e-mail to collect their tickets from work, but he hadn’t. Just as Wynn Thomas was about to come clean, and hand over Nigel’s ticket that he had in his pocket all along, the man took pity on Nigel and let him in, no charge. But as the day progressed, it was Dave Toon that showed how

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hard up your average screw is these days. I don’t want to cloud a good story too much by giving you the facts, so let me just say that he was seen rooting around in a dustbin to get a few dregs of lager. Obviously his out of hours cleaning business isn’t doing that well after all! When I was a child, I used to love going to the fairground and playing on the ‘Hook a Duck’ game. If you’ve missed out on this small pleasure, then basically, you use a stick with a hoop on the end to pick up a plastic duck with a hook sticking out of it. In exchange for this, you win some worthless piece of tat that probably cost about 10p. It seems as though one member of staff still hasn’t outgrown this, and his name is Dave Shropshall. Whilst on a fishing trip to Cornwall with some of the boys, he managed to catch a duck instead of a fish. But unlike the fairground game, the duck fought back and flew of with Dave’s rod and reel still attached, before landing on an island that was about 50 metres off shore. Fortunately, Rob Shann came to the rescue and commandeered a rowing boat, roared out to the island, and rescued the duck. All Dave could say was “You should have seen the one that got away”. My last but one paragraph this month touches on a very delicate subject. So to save what semblance of a career I have left, all I will say is the following. Ask Jenny Wheeler about ‘The Tuna Canoe’. Finally, I’ve joked about staff being involved in non work related enterprises, so now it’s my turn. If you have a sick and disturbed sense of humour, and are not easily offended, then feel free to log on to uk which is a uk based publishing house. Search for me by either my name Geoff Simmonds, or by the title of my first (and possibly only) book, “Hammer Time”. Available to buy as a hard copy or as an e-book, please make me rich!!! Thanks Simmo

SOUTH CENTRAL COLDINGLEY Hello again to you all. A few more goodbyes to mention; Firstly to Melinda Driscol who took the early retirement offered by the prison service at the moment, and to Mike Payne who retired having reached the age of retirement! Also a fond farewell to Kris Kinsey who after 18 months of travelling back and forwards to Wales has managed to get a compassionate transfer to Littlehey, good luck to you Kris, (I still can’t believe you sneaked off on us in Guildford for a burger!) We also need to say a fond farewell to Colin Wolfenden who has taken medical retirement after 35 years Service, you will also be very fondly missed. That’s all my news for now, if I have missed anybody I am very sorry but I need people to let me know, so I can give them a mention. If there is anything else you would like mentioned please let me know. Thank you. Bob Russell There now follows an article submitted by Rob Richards. SOMEBODY’S DARLING We have all opened the newspaper, watched the news and seen the pictures of the brave policemen who has faced down the armed robber, or the heroic fireman running out of a burning building holding the child, whose life has just been saved from the flames of hell. Or the dedicated doctor and nurse covered in the blood of a deserving patient being thanked by the grateful friends and relatives, the winch man swaying precariously over the boiling sea grabbing some hapless mariner from the jaws of a certain watery grave, the brave soldier returning broken from the front line to an uncertain future. Please don’t misunderstand me, I salute and take my imaginary hat off to all these selfless, dedicated and downright heroic people, who, without their courage there would be a lot more suffering in this world.

I want to bring to your attention two officers from HMP Coldingley who, on a normal day in January risked their own lives to save somebody’s darling. “I am not here to debate the rights and wrongs of their actions, I am not here to quote policy and procedure, health and safety or indeed best practice, I am simply here to enlighten the great and the good to the fact that Officer Wade and Officer Prendergast took it upon themselves to rescue a human being from certain death with no concern for their own safety. The person in question was not a child or an upright citizen, this was not a Nobel prize winner, there were no TV cameras or newspapers looking on, it was just them and him. The human being to whom I refer was a prisoner who had set fire to his own cell, it wasn’t even an accident or a misguided cry for help it was just one of those things like confrontation, self harm, attempted suicide or threats of violence that prison officers deal with on a daily basis. These officers are not special, they are not exceptional in anyway, they are just prison officers doing their job and there are many more like them. There will be no parades for them, there will be no newspaper journalists clamouring for their stories, no news cameras waiting outside their homes for a glimpse of the heroes. In fact I’d be surprised if these officers even regarded what they did as any thing other than another war story. However, please indulge me a moment and allow me to tell you what they did, they saw a human being in trouble, they did not judge, they did not question the rights and wrongs, they did not justify their actions, what they did do was allow somebody to keep their darling. From everybody’s darling to you Mr Prendergast and to you Mr Wade God bless you.

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:04:39

Branch News


Fraternal greetings to all our POA comrades from Lewes, spring is in the air, the sun is shining and it is getting warmer, that’s the good news, along with spring come the March hares and their legendary madness, well even the March hares would be impressed by the madness that is every day life at Lewes, and no doubt every other establishment, there is so much up in the air its hard to know where to start, so here goes. RE-PROFILE / DETATCHED DUTY By the time this reaches print the new profile will have been agreed or imposed, with the loss of three residential areas it was inevitable that there would have to be yet another re-profile and all that goes with it, yet another shift pattern, yet another argument about leave booked around nights etc, whilst the reasons for this new profile are self evident any attempt to re-profile before the new units are ready to open will be strongly rejected by this Branch. We have co-operated and assisted with all change so far but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, lets at least start and finish one year with the same shift pattern, thanks to those who attended the branch meeting and made valuable contributions, it was also nice to see so many of our members who don’t currently work shifts in attendance. Being in a certain job this week is no guarantee for the future so thanks for “getting it”, at the time of writing no details have been finalised on detached duty or even where Lewes staff may be sent so if you are reading this on detached get back to work you lazy sod, if anyone else is not sure if they have any of our

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staff with them please look for the extra finger and smokers pack application form! INVESTIGATIONS After a brief lull over the Christmas period a slow but steady flow of investigations has started again, some justified and necessary, others not so but we don’t make the rules, it’s getting very boring but some of you still don’t get it so apologies to the majority that do “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS JUST A CHAT !!” Insist on being accompanied by a union rep, it’s not just your future you are playing with! JSAC We would just like to wish all our members seeking promotion through the incredibly fair, open and honest JSAC procedure the best of luck, you may just need it.

EARLY DEPARTURE SCHEME Like most other branches we suspect the early departure scheme has caused a bit of a stir, it is not the worst of offers and it’s not the best, and that’s just the problem, it takes a lot of bottle to decide to leave and it is always going to be a big risk, we wish all those that have decided to go the very best of luck and hope it all works out for you, if you ever doubt your decision remember that as well as the money according to statistics you will probably live ten years longer as well! BRANCH COMMITTEE The Branch Committee elections are soon to begin with three posts up for grabs, we are guaranteed at least one new committee member due to the decision of Jason Watkinson not to stand for re-election, Jason has served the branch members at Lewes for over a decade with quiet determination and commitment, not one to grab the limelight he is probably even a little uncomfortable reading this, it is a measure of the man that due to work commitments he has decided he is no longer

able to commit the time he feels he needs to carry out his trade union duties to his own high standards, he is also a thoroughly nice bloke! Thanks Jason, your comments in your letter of resignation is duly noted. LONG TERM SICK As a committee we are always very careful about mentioning those on long term sick by name for various reasons, however you are not forgotten. We have sadly too many members who are going through very tough times either fighting hard to regain fitness after a terrible time and on the long road to recovery or still very unwell and anxiously awaiting news, our thoughts are with you, if you need anything just give us a shout. OTHER MATTERS The first Lewes POA sea angling competition will have been and gone by the time this is being read so maybe in the next jottings we will have a tale to tell about Rob “THE PRIEST” Allen, threatening your rod will not make it work any better Rob and you may just find yourself locked up in a secure unit for the night! Tom Head is soon to begin giving parenting lessons during a lunch hour, all welcome just remember to bring your own “THING”. FINALLY Before the next jottings are published there may will be a general election, just in case you were not aware, would all Lewes members note that this association has no affiliation to any political party, however you can not be a member of the POA and the racist and divisive BNP. Nobody can tell you how to vote but a vote for the BNP is a vote that is totally at odds with all that as members of a trade union we should stand for, that said the choices on offer leave us, like other trade union members in the civil service in the position of turkeys voting for Christmas. Until next time The Rook’s Nest


Hello from deepest Essex. Been a few changes here since the last brief input to the jottings. We say farewell to PO Dave Keith and Govs Ian Danskin and Ged Patterson, all of whom decided to take the package and run. We wish them all good luck in the future. Congratulations go to Paul Elsey on his enforced promotion to Manager F. That will teach you for passing your JSAC. I wonder if all the officers who have passed their JSACs will get forcibly promoted to SO? Darren Somerville and Darren ‘if I don’t get a tattoo now I never will’ Maeer from the gym will soon be off to Isis, there’s a few more who want to follow, time will tell if they get their wish, just be careful what you wish for. Congratulations to Jo and Kev Haslen on the birth of another little one. Are you going to stop when you get a five-aside football team or go for a full squad of 11? The building work that’s been going on here for what feels like an eternity has almost finished. The crane has gone and most of the scaffolding is down so it will soon be another goodbye to all the OSGs doing the contractors escorts. P-NOMIS is up and running, does this make our life easier? Or do we spend more time in front of the computer waiting for a page to load only to find it’s not what we were looking for? Why didn’t someone tell the programers the common the terms and words we use instead of making us all learn new jargon. That would just be too easy. If there is a more complicated and costly way of trying to save money someone tell the PSMB as they would probable want to give that a try next year.

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My Detail, very apt name as I can only see my detail. Do you know if you are at agreed MSLs? Can’t do the unlock because the wings aren’t staffed. Who’s missing then? Don’t know, I can’t bring up a full detail to find out. It might be useful to print out one copy of the detail but oh no, mustn’t use paper, we have a big TV for that. Does it work yet? Course it doesn’t. Will it ever work? I’m not going to hold my breath. We have a new profile with yet another new shift pattern starting next month. I won’t be holding my breath on that one either. On a recent gym use staff survey, when asked the question ‘Do you use the gym? If not why not?’ someone answered, “It’s lunchtime, I’d rather eat pies”. I couldn’t agree more. The SOs were all treated to an away day by the Governor last week (apparently there were pies). Did anybody else notice how easy it was to park in the morning? And lastly, if anyone else has recently seen a UFO pop into reception, remember, be careful what you say and who you say it to. The walls have ears.

CENTRAL LITTLEHEY THE FUN STUFF I’d like to start by welcoming all those new staff who have started at Littlehey since February, whether you be a transfer in, a POELT or an OSG, welcome aboard. Unfortunately you come to HMP/YOI Littlehey that is in total chaos with the new jail, new computer systems, confusion over leave, dis-organisation and a demoralised workforce. That being said, there are always little rays of sunshine that help us get through these difficult and frustrating times by doing something totally stupid, then their so called friends tell me and I feel compelled to tell the world. This issues victim is of course Steve Atkins, he came out of work one morning whilst on nights to find his car totally iced up and proving very difficult to get

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into. It would appear that the locks had frozen, naturally he set about de-icing said locks. Ten minutes it took, but still the locks remained frozen. BRRRRR, God it’s cold, but not the sort to give in, he battled on. All the way through this little adventure, work mates had, of course, offered helpful advice but to no avail. Then, cool as you like, OSG Colin Masters walked straight up to the car, put his key in the door opened it, looked at Steve and said “Still here, mate?”, got in the car and drove off. Oh dear Steve, it was the wrong car, don’t you ever do that again when I’m not around to see your face when you realise what’s happened. PETE WILLIAMS and MICK ROBBO This year we’ve also seen a couple of characters retire as in Mick Robbo, the world’s most miserable man, and Pete Williams. It is a natural course of events that the characters in the job finally move on, Mick was one of those, after hundreds of years in the job his time had finally come. Mick’s leaving do was very well attended, a good night was had by all and it was a good send off as he leaves these shores for the home in Spain that he has yearned for in recent years, good luck from all of us Mick, thank you for the years you’ve put in, now is the time to reap the rewards. The same goes for Pete Williams, unlike Mick, Pete didn’t want a leaving do, he didn’t want any fuss and just wanted to go. Some people tried to arrange some sort of official goodbye, but to no avail. I personally can understand that. Pete had reached the dizzy heights of PO he gained a reputation for being virtually unflappable and reliable. He stood with us during disputes and was highly regarded, another sad loss to Littlehey, but again, he’s earned his retirement, enjoy it Pete and keep in touch. THE POLITICS I am sick to the back teeth of hearing that we should get real, get into the real world, tighten our belts and share the pain.

We are told on an almost daily basis that there are going to be swinging cuts in the public sector, I have to say, because this question never seems to be asked on prime time news, WHY? We all see the waste that happens around us on a daily basis, we all know that some people are on the most ridiculous wages, not to mention bonuses. I saw an article recently by a care worker in Bristol, she stated that a certain advertising company was making £14,000 profit a minute, that is more than she makes in a year. I also read about the Fire Fighters forced into taking industrial action over cuts and changes in working conditions. Guess what? One of their managers stated that they should get into the real world, this is the same manager who last year saw his 10% pay rise take him from £148,000 to £167,000, of course this was on top of the silly 1% pay rise the firemen received. This was also the same manager that purchased four new fire appliances at £500,000 each that are not fit for purpose. That being said the majority of people just don’t want any bother, that is why we have the system we have, the types of leaders we have and the society we have!! With the election coming you just have to decide which self interested, business orientated party will mis-represent you for the next five years!! THE JOTTINGS I usually end with a plea for any dirt on your work mates and a quote from someone famous to motivate and inspire you into resistance and revolution. On this occasion I want Sharon Bennett to have the last word, read on, all will become clear, please contact me at with anything you feel is worthy of a mention. In the meantime keep smiling, it’s only a game! SHAZZA’S FUNERAL In January of this year we lost Officer Sharon Bennett after a long battle against cancer, our condolences of course go to Sharon’s husband, SO Andy

Bennett at Whitemoor and her sons. Sharon was a popular member of staff who generously felt that everyone was entitled to their opinion, and rightly so. She was a dedicated committee member who had her battles with management especially when it came to her facial piercings and the blue streak in her bleached hair. The funeral was held at the end of January, there was an impressive turn out from Littlehey and Whitemoor staff and smart they looked too with many of them in their number 1’s. Unfortunately the likes of me, Rich Nunley and Steve Winterton couldn’t wear number 1’s as they don’t make them in our size anymore, Danny Bowran was in full regalia but still looked like a binbag, as Pete Williams put it. Sharon had requested that everybody be in No. 1’s with the loudest socks they could find, the female staff did her proud too with the scariest tights I have ever seen. The service itself included many moving contributions from friends and family, included in this were messages from Caroline Murray and Lois Sidney. Our Chair, John Gurney, did a very good job of delivering a difficult speech whilst wearing a multicoloured wig, Sharon would have loved it. I nearly cracked when Sharon’s youngest boy delivered a speech, he can only have been about 13 or 14, I am always amazed by the strength and dignity of people, as shown by her whole family. From everyone at Littlehey I say thanks for everything Sharon and just for being there, goodbye and sleep tight. As always Sharon must have the last word, she stressed in a speech that was read out that you must always fight for what you believe in, but in typical Sharon style ended the service by saying “RIGHT YOU LOT, BUGGER OFF”. SPARTACUS

CENTRAL THE MOUNT Hello from The prison that has more cuts than a hospital operating room. Every year HMPS have to bear the burden of financial cutbacks,

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:05:01

Branch News

but why is it always staff that bear the brunt, NOT prisoners? Why is it that HMPS is an agency that achieves almost all its KPT, is the most audited and inspected service in the public sector and achieving its vision and goals is always punished? Look at other agencies like Border and Immigration, a failing agency but the Government continues to throw good money after bad. Why are our leaders not defending our agency, are they out of their depth, incompetent or just couldn’t give a damn? We at The Mount have now reached a situation where the Governor can only make a few minor changes to uniform staff but most of the cuts affect our administration colleagues. IT IS TIME THAT THE GOVERNMENT, TORY or LABOUR, INVESTED IN THEIR WELL PERFORMING AGENCIES. THIS INCLUDES THEIR STAFF, CONDITIONS OF SERVICE, PAY, etc I cannot understand the recent changes to the Principal Officers and Governor Grades roles. If we replaced ALL Governor Grades G, F, E with a Principal Officer surely we would be saving money. Now that HMPS have closed the Principal Officer grade, we have reverted to 1966 pre Mountbatten report-staffing grades, is this really progress? Now that I have got that off my chest down to local issues. It has been a time of job changes and more are imminent once we start reprofiling, Neil H, (Dave R Mini Me) has been studying casualty as he is taking over the role as Officer Healthcare. Good luck Nurse Hogben, you will look good in your white starched pinny. It has been brought to the attention of the author that I omitted an entry from our last jottings. During the recent snow fall, the Governor paid for staff to stay at a local hotel, during the course of the night Michael H drank a few too many sherries and kept stating in a loud boisterous manner “I’M AN ANIMAL:” Now Michael has tried to play this down but we

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are all waiting for when Michael hits the sherries again and performs to an audience. After a recent drink or two in the staff club the bar was shut and a few of our younger officers decided to buy a carry out and carry on bevying at one of their lodgings. No sooner had they left the club when Charlie C was challenged to streak across the snow covered car park for a beer. Charlie C – never been the one to refuse a free beer – removed his clothes in the freezing night and began running. As he began to return to the club door for his free beer, he could only see the heels of his friends running into the village with his clothes. I have not received any further updates regarding this incident but it has been reported that Charlie C received frost nip in his baby making regions. Louise J, our permanent visits officer finally revealed her social standing. Recently she was offered a coffee from her colleagues but refused and went away and returned with a cup of hot water and a Lyons coffee bag. Staff looked slightly confused but Louise J stated “I cannot drink instant coffee its so awwwful”. Ladies and Gents The Mount is proud to declare our first and to date only COFFEE SNOB. Shelley U was recently spotted hanging around the visits coffee bar where a young man was working, after approximately 20 minutes the Visits Senior Officer approached the young man and asked “Is this lady sexually harassing you?”, he replied sheepish! “YES” now Shelley U was shocked but proud and had to be ordered away from the young man. Shelley, there is a song by the Eurythmics from the film 1984 to describe you, and you know what I am on about, the matter will rest there. We recently had the return darts match between the HM Prison, The Mount darts team and the gym officers and their friends. I would like to report that the gym team levelled the match; I would like to report that HMPS are good employers,

and I would like to report that everyone can understand Jim Wylie when he talks BUT none of these are true. The gym team were again beaten, HMPS continue to implode and Jim Wylie now carries subtitles wherever he goes. It has been brought to the author’s attention that Claire S has become the topic of conversation and had the tongues wagging. This will be Claire S’s second entry in the jottings but for very different reasons. Don’t you worry, Claire you just concentrate on FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, I’ve heard it’s a good un!! Two of our branch committee recently attended an area POA meeting, they report it was useful and many points and views were aired and several issues clarified. We will be making these meetings bi-monthly. We are about to start our third reprofile in four years. I have said it before, I will repeat it, nationally, and locally we need a period of three to five years of stability. No cuts, no reprofiles or major initiatives locally or nationally. Let the service settle and then get The POA NEC and HMPS, NOT NOMS, get together and discuss a way forward that is a win-win situation for all, staff and management. It works in a lot of services and companies, why not ours? I apologise to all our branch members for not submitting any motions to conference but I did not know when they had to be submitted, I know ignorance is no defence so I admit it’s my fault. After last months entry regarding the OSG KRANKIE, it has come to many members attention that Stevie T could be her love child, now we know that the KRANKIE denies this but the resemblance is uncanny, especially the hair colouring. After a recent drink or two at our staff mess that lasted well into the wee small hours, it was noted by colleagues that Mark W enjoys his car so much he decided to spend a night of passion with it, just him, the car and the hangover

he had when he reported for work the next day. His drinking partner Stewart K, returned home after the drinks stopped flowing (4ish) this was a good start but, Stewart our shifts at The Mount start at 08.30 not 10.30. Although both suffered with hangovers all day it did not help Stewart when he heard from colleagues that his Scottish fitba team Celtic had been beaten again by the mighty RANGERS and that his English team Portsmouth have entered administration. We say farewell to two of our members who have left HMP The Mount due to our Governors decision making skills. Shayne Bridger and Sue Elsknis, we wish them both well for the future. A note to all you PRINCIPAL OFFICERS who are taking the DPSM role/rank, remain a member of the POA do not go to the DARK SIDE (PGA). We have stood by you and now you should stand by us, remember if after two years you do not pass the JSAC you revert back to a uniform. It was with sadness that I heard about the death of a personal friend of mine at HMP Bedford, Senior Officer John Peters. occasionally I would be running around the prison like a headless chicken and John would call me for a chat and some advice. One day we were in his office and he said “Jim if we were both bulls at the top of a hill and we both looked down into the valley and saw a herd of cows you would shout, “Lets run down and have sex with one of them cows” John would reply, “No Jim lets stroll down and have sex with ALL of those cows”. I immediately understood what he meant and took his advice to slow down a lot. There was a good attendance at John’s funeral, staff came from north (Cumbria), south (Portland) across the water from ULSTER and all over the midland regions. It was a fitting tribute to how popular he was. It was an emotional day but John would be proud to see how smart his friends and colleagues had looked.

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LONDON & KENT LATCHMERE HOUSE Well it seems our last entry into Branch News caused some consternation with the ‘editorial team’. I was hoping it would engender debate amongst members nationally and locally as well as being informative, interesting and a little entertaining but for some reason best known to them, the editorial team deemed it fit to comment and determine they are not the views of our branch – did they ask? A message to the ‘editorial team’ – the members at Latchmere are kept well informed by their committee of local issues and as best we can on national issues (taking into account the paucity of NEC meeting minutes to give the members any real detail and understanding) and matters are well debated and discussed at branch meetings. As a small branch we are also able to discuss matters with our members outside of formal meetings on a regular basis and thus keep abreast of our members’ views, concerns and suggestions and do our best to progress them. So, although we accept that when submitting our branch news to Gatelodge, they may contain some personal views of the committee, overall they are reflective of the views of our branch. We could state in response that the views expressed by the ‘editorial team’ are the views of an extremely small minority of the membership and not the membership as a whole, but we won’t. Still, at least it shows that members and representatives at whatever level, still care and are passionate enough to express their views whether or not all agree. As someone once said, ‘I would rather be myself and disliked than fake and adored’. So let’s leave it there shall we? The early exit package has now been announced and despite what some may say, it is not that bad a deal and as it is entirely voluntary whether you want to take it or not, then you can’t lose.

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If you don’t like the terms you don’t take it, if you like them you take it, nowt wrong in that. Of course, it would have been nice to know it was in the offing and what our national representatives were discussing and progressing on our behalf to make it more attractive to our members. Our compensation scheme though has changed with agreement from our national representatives and we were not even consulted on it! At least the PCS union is battling on behalf of their members on this one, albeit I suspect the battle is doomed to failure without support from all other public service unions. That great union leader Jack Jones said, “no negotiator has the moral right to change a workers’ life without asking him first”, maybe our negotiators should reflect on that when they make agreements and changes with our employer without asking us first. We are now heading fast towards annual conference in May and what an interesting week that will be with the changes in roles of some national representatives and new members on to the NEC. It will also be the time to say goodbye to our General Secretary Brian Caton as he sails off into the sunset into a hopefully long and happy retirement. Note to the editorial team and the membership; the next few lines regarding Brian are the views of Andy Darken. Over the years I have had my disagreements and fall outs with Brian (as I am sure others have as well!) and at times I have not felt he supported me personally as fully as I believed he should have done. Nonetheless, I am in no doubt his intentions were well meant and his actions were what he believed to be in the best interests of the membership as a whole. His knowledge and understanding of trade unions and the working man were and are equal to any other union leader and he has always strived to do what he thought best for the POA and its members. Throughout my time thus far in the POA and despite our fallouts, Brian has always

remained willing and happy to give me and others help and advice when needed and attempted to settle matters through discussion, dialogue and debate, rather than formal action. Brian, you have done your time for us, now it is your time. So, have a happy retirement, relax, enjoy life and remember you are retiring from work, but not from life. It is now some weeks into the new staff detailing system Invasion, oops I mean In-Vision. Les in the detail keeps muttering that it is the best thing to happen to detailing in years and he doesn’t know how he ever coped without it and he awaits with bated breath the new improved, washes whiter, lasts longer, updated version (the one that actually works!!). So when your leave is wrong, your toil is wrong, you don’t know what you are actually detailed, the shifts are wrong and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, remember it is not Les’s fault, nor the system, nor the service – it is that you do not understand or recognise the benefits it gives you. I only wish I had the time to list the benefits for you, but I haven’t. Also we are being trained with a new LIDS known as Prison Nomis (apparently we can’t call it PNomis?) and this will also improve our working lives – apparently. Of course it will not mean any more work for you, as the introduction of shared services did not, nor has In-Vision nor workforce modernisation nor any other new initiative introduced by the service. Thanks anyway to Tony and Paul for the training they have given us, ‘aint it been exciting? If it weren’t for the quality street on offer to bribe us to attend, it may have been purgatory. I just want to know what happened to all the purple ones. We are also currently undergoing re-profiling in order to try and get our shift patterns and work to match. We are assured that is what it is for and not for any efficiency savings or staff cuts. We shall wait and see on that one and of course the committee will keep you informed as it progresses. I note

also, that there is now water in the ‘ole in the ground, previously known as the pond and that the ducks are back, summer must be on the way. I best not comment on the greenhouses again, so I won’t (what were they for anyway?). The In-Cell Electrics (ICE) contract is now well underway under the watchful gaze of the Ice Man, Brian P. Just think no more battery charging for prisoners and electricity in their rooms, whatever next? Yes, Latchmere accommodation is moving like an express train into the 20th Century. By the way, whatever happened to the BICs workshop and cleaning group, that was meant to transform the cleanliness of Latchmere House, did I miss something? All those tee shirts purchased with a nice logo, a nice workshop, all that equipment bought, all those plans, ideas and strategies. Ah well, we must have faith that our senior managers know what they are doing. I do, don’t you? The committee want to send a special thanks to our artist in residence Dave, for his portrait of the committee. It is a true work of art and the nicknames given to the committee will enable us to pursue a living in the darting world should we desire to (all dart players have daft nicknames don’t they?). Finally, to all our staff off sick, get well soon and for all those involved in disciplinary matters, we trust that justice prevails. Andy Darken On behalf of Latchmere House

LONDON & KENT COOKHAM WOOD A warm welcome from Cooko, This is the first set of jottings since the demise of the PO rank and the changes that have taken place. With such a small number of substantive POs here the changes have happened quickly but they are obscene to say the least. We have the situation that one day a PO is doing a job and the next day a SO is then doing it for approx £1000 less p.a. Mr Spurr and Mr

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:05:18

Branch News

Wheatley if you ever bothered to listen to your staff you would know that this is probably the worst decision that you have both been involved in (and you have both been involved in some bad ones). Shame on you both, you have managed to demoralise your Senior Officer rank in one swoop, have you no morals? Apparently many years ago the old AGs were bullied by the PO rank and those AGs who are still in the service have held a grudge ever since. Mr Spurr, what was your old rank? Oh that’s it…an AG!!!!! After my request for stories they have flooded in and here they are. With all the building work going on there has been many a meeting including the ‘four-twenty’ meetings where the work is planned and timetabled. Why call it a ‘four-twenty’ meeting I hear you ask, well according to Trish Mcgurrin it’s obvious, that’s what time the meetings start! To help with the extension to the gatelodge we have invested in a top of the range gazebo for the visitors to stand under. Unfortunately it suffered storm damage and collapsed but our favourite OSG Twev jumped into action and fixed it. Even at his age he is a dab hand with erections. Barry Mcmullin couldn’t bear the thought that he couldn’t work the whole day on the 25th December so he somehow managed to divert the phone calls from within the jail to his home phone! His wife was very pleased to be asked such questions as “what’s your roll?” and “can you kit up?” Mick Woodbine has obviously become the prisoner’s favourite. As a boy was leaving the adjudication room he smiled sweetly at Mick and called him ‘sweet-cheeks’ (obviously as you’re not in the POA Mick you cannot read about your misfortune). The recent SOs away day proved to be a great success. There was a lot of bonding and as a result of the event Maria Garay ended up with two pictures of naked men on her mobile, one of ‘big’ Bruce Aitken (if you saw the picture

Gatelodge 46-55 branch news.indd 55

you’d know what I mean) and one of yours truly! Mark Love gave a speech about the role of the orderly officer in an incident but unfortunately he did not fill us with a lot of confidence as he promptly managed to lock himself out of the conference room. The highlight of the event was a ‘motivational speaker’ who spoke about what to do when the ‘monkey comes out of the box’; Bruce Aitken stated that when his monkey comes out he spanks it! No Bruce, not that monkey. On the subject of the motivational speaker he was certainly true to his word when he said that within 24 hours those of us attending would only remember 5% of what he spoke about…correct, perhaps he should have therefore only charged 5% of the £2500 fee it cost to have him there. At the same event Janice Wilson informed us all that with the bad weather we have had she hasn’t seen her mini for ages, apparently it was covered in snow, well I suppose that’s better than cobwebs. On the subject of snow, Steve Horne was preparing for his journey home against the elements and so asked Ross Davidson (who had just come in) “what are the roads like?”, Ross paused, turned to Steve and said “I don’t know, I walked in” now unless Ross walked in with his eyes shut he must have at least seen a road, so assuming Ross was joking Steve asked, “No seriously Ross, what are the roads like?”, Ross replied “No seriously, I really did walk in”, Steve admitted defeat and asked no more. Danielle Brookes has been working hard in detail and received a phone call from the evergreen Geoff Gouk which went as follows…(Geoff ) “Hello detail, can you tell me where my spouse is working please?” (Danielle) “Yes one moment, Brenda where’s officer spouse working today?” P-Nomis has gone live and our bunch of highly skilled floorwalkers have been on scene to help with teething problems. Who was the first to require help? Floorwalker Darren

Spencer who logged on but was promptly locked out! Good to see all that training didn’t go to waste. Rubbish joke to finish with….. How does an Eskimo stop his mouth from freezing? He grits his teeth!! SOMK


A rare event took place in the form of a contested Branch Chairman election, with the result that Gina Selmes is now elected into this position. About 50% of the branch voted and with only 20 votes being the difference, clearly there was confidence in both candidates. A vote of no confidence in the senior management team here is likely to become a non issue due to the simple fact that those who we had the least confidence in are moving on. Some to retirement or promotion. If only all disciplinary action would have as little impact on promotion for all grades? The use of level 5 with disability is a cause for some concern. A former member of staff recently won their claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. It was quite clear, in this case, that to have a declared disability that prevents the use of C&R will probably end your career as a Prison Officer. Re-profiling has started here with a few errors spotted already. Perhaps an earlier lunch or earlier finish? One issue of particular interest is a generic term “Wing Duties”. Popular to cover a range of jobs but if our profiles ever fell under job evaluation scrutiny, how would these duties be defined and at what grade, Prison Officer 1 or 2? Clarify the duties and potential grade to do it!

Profiled work, MSLs, OSLs RSLs are another popular set of phrases but apart from profiles and an MSL, the rest are mostly twaddle! Incentive and earned privileged, out of our population of 1665 we have 22 prisoners on the basic regime who are unaffected in their canteen spends as DHL, the canteen provided can’t input IEP spending limits! Efficient privatisation? One disciplinary case where the investigation recommended against a hearing has gone, to a hearing! Well, if the investigation can’t establish what took place, perhaps a hearing months after the event will? I sometimes wonder where the Prison Service, (NOMS, Ministry of Justice) get their ideas of due process from, North Korea, perhaps? Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary

April 2010 55 6/4/10 10:05:27


A Day in the Life of Goodbye Hatfield Learning Centre It’s 8.45 as I step out of the cold March morning into the warmth of Hatfield Learning Centre. Myself and my colleague have only worked here for seven months and neither of us has a Prison Service back ground. So there has been a lot to learn – both systems and people. Getting to know the people has been the best bit – and by 9.00 I have already taken telephone calls from two of them. The first a potential new ULR, has arranged for my colleague to join the next three day First Aid course. The second was from one of my students wanting a chat about the work he needs to hand in tonight. 9.30 - our Learn Direct Regional Support Worker has just arrived. This is another of his monthly visits to support the learning contract we have. Today he will audit a sample of our learner files. Randomly chosen, whatever he finds will provide evidence for the quality assurance report he will write at the end of the day. We have learner targets to meet and timely completion targets and achievement targets and …… the list goes on. However, it’s not just about audit, and today we will be taking a look at our application to run a ‘Learning at Work Day’ event in May. We are planning to run a session on report writing for staff and a session on CV writing and interview skills. As always the lure of a good buffet will be a priority and help attract interest. We are blessed here for good buffets as we can call on the services of the chef and his team in the nearby open prison. The work helps the prisoners complete their NVQ catering qualifications and we benefit from eating locally cooked food. 12.30. I have to drive over to another prison 26 miles away. POA Learning is working with Newcastle College to support Prison Officers and OSGs who are working towards an NVQ in Custodial Care. Assessors from the college support staff to achieve the NVQ competencies; and POA Learning support self referred learners to achieve qualifications in literacy and numeracy. At the Newcastle College induction prison staff complete an initial assessment of their English and maths skills. On being given the results they are encouraged to develop these skills further and when ready to take a test in both subjects and achieve nationally recognised qualifications. The staff I am going to meet at the other prison have all signed up to the literacy and numeracy challenge and are making great strides with their learning, One officer tells me that doing this work online is a huge benefit for him and his family. He doesn’t have to turn up at a class every week; he can work on any computer that has internet access; including Quantum now. Back in the centre at 3.30 it’s easy to see just how busy my colleague has been while I’ve been away. We have been working hard to encourage members of the local community to come into our centre. We have offered a number of taster courses in a variety of subjects – Spanish and digital photography to name but two. In my absence my colleague has produced a couple of stunning flyers using Publisher software on his computer. We will deliver these to local libraries, schools and churches and arrange for a copy to be published in two local community magazines. At 4.00 we have a couple of staff using the computers in our computer suite. One is working towards her ECDL qualification and the other has dropped in on his way home to research something on the internet. And to have a cup of tea he tells me. We just have time to set up for two classes that we have running tonight. One I teach – so no going home for me until 8pm and one that a private training organisation delivers for us. They are both teacher training courses as it happens. Both groups are made up of great people who come into the centre on a weekly basis and appear to enjoy what they are doing. I am sue they would tell me if they didn’t! Here in the centre we feel that we have come a long way in the short time we have been here. We have been given lots of support from many different staff working in our prisons. Some of the time we are “told this is how it is” and that some of our ideas just won’t work. But actually that’s just the kind of insider information we need. Still lots to do – more ULRs to recruit, more staff to encourage to consider their own personal and professional development – and maybe take up some learning and a meeting to attend about developing our Skills for Life provision. But that’s enough for now …my students are waiting.

We are sad to be saying goodbye to Roy Wildgoose, who has managed our learning project since December 2008. Roy has taken the project from strength to strength, and has just secured funding from the Union Learning Fund to enable us to further develop our offer to members and their families. Roy is going into a well earned retirement, which he assures me he will spend improving his golfing handicap, and supporting his beloved Blades (apparently a football team in Sheffield!). I am sure you will join with me in wishing Roy all the best for the future, and in thanking him for his hard work and commitment to POA learning. Lynn Ferguson Learning Editor

High Down Union Learning Centre What is new at High Down? NESCOTT College came to High Down at the end of February to enrol 22 staff onto a range of high quality, distance learning programmes. These courses are ideal for any staff who work different shifts as they are small enough to be studied in your own time. The benefits of this are that you can achieve a nationally accredited qualification with no need to attend a college. However this week staff had formed small groups at lunchtime and in the evenings after work to complete a few sections of their chosen modules amid lots of laughter and banter. Favourite modules are conflict management and working with people with mental health issues. Other courses being studied are, equality and diversity, dementia awareness and healthy eating. The qualification is assessment based only and is evidence of continuous professional pevelopment required for SPDRs. The next enrolment for these courses will be September. If anyone is interested please forward your names to Lynne and Clive at the centre. PTllS course is running on Wednesdays and again we are looking for names for the summer courses which will run around May and June before everyone goes on holiday. We are looking for names from HMP Send, Coldingley and the London Prisons. The Spanish conversation class is also looking to recruit new learners. The decision has also been made to spend a long weekend in the North of Spain to indulge in different foods, culture and practice our new language. Look out folks, here we come! Finally, we will be running the domestic violence course in the near future. This will be run through professional counsellors and the police. We hope to run this course in June. Everything else is running as normal. Thank you all – staff and ULRs for your continued support at High Down. Learning is fun!

See you tomorrow!

56 April 2010 56-59 ULF.indd 56

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:09:17


The Knowhow POA Learning Centre at HMP Holme House is situated outside of the establishment. It is located in the building called Learning Centre and works alongside the training department and area training. The facilities on offer at the centre are good with plenty of parking space, which includes spaces for disabled drivers. Also, there is a secure fence round the perimeter and barriers at the entrance and on exit. The Learning Centre has a signing in sheet that all visitors must sign when they enter and leave the building. In the centre the facilities include: • Free drinks machine • Kitchen • Toilets including disabled toilets. • Three conference rooms • IT room with ten computers. • POA learning room which includes ten new computers. BSL Class In the POA Learning room, you can access free internet, borrow and swap books. The POA learning room offers various courses which include: • Language courses (BSL, Italian and Spanish) • IT Courses ( iTQ, ECDL, beginners and intermediate) • NVQs (business admin, customer care, warehouse, )and any other NVQs • Guitar lessons. Acoustic and electric. Italian Class Since the centre was opened in 2006, there have been a number of learners who have learnt to play acoustic guitar. Some of these learners have gone onto learn to play an electric guitar and perform on stage. Ron is a member of the works department who came into the centre on his lunch time to learn about the internet and how to access emails. Also, the centre offers OSGs the chance to gain a NVQ L2 in warehouse and storage and customer service. We have learners doing the following course: • iTQ • ECDL • Literacy • Numeracy • NVQ business admin • NVQ IAG • Equality and diversity • Safeguarding children • Digital photography and photoshop. The opening hours of the centre are as follow: Monday 8.00 – 17.00 Tuesday 9.30 – 18.30 Wednesday 9.30 – 17.00 Thursday 8.00 – 15.30 Friday 8.00 – 13.30 These hours are flexible. I would like to say thank you to Dave Henderson and Karren Watt who are both active ULRs and work very hard in promoting learning within Holme House. Stuart Gray Centre Manager

Holme House POA Learning Centre Case study March 2010 Ron Cooper works at HMP Holme House and has done so for a few years. Ron by his own admission stated that he did not know anything about computers and commented that computers are for the younger generation. Ron then saw an advertisement for a beginner’s computer class in the POA Learning Centre and decided that he wanted a little bit more information on this course. Ron wanted to know about different options open to him. It was explained to Ron the different options that he could do and that once he learnt the basics of computers, then the rest was up to him. Ron decided to enrol on the class with his wife, but after three weeks decided it was not for him. After speaking to Ron and getting to the root of the problem, Ron wanted to learn but not in a class with other learners. It was decided that Ron would come into the centre on his lunch time and I would sit with him and help him with his learning. Ron was given some work to do on word documents to help him develop his skills in writing letters. After a few weeks there was an improvement in his confidence and it was then agreed that Ron would venture into the world of the Internet. Again Ron came into the learning centre on his lunch time and I would sit with him and show him how easy it was to browse and find things that interested him. The first thing he did was to set up an email account as Ron did not have one and wanted to learn how to send and receive emails. After a couple of lessons on emails, Ron now sends emails with total confidence. He also browses the internet and his interest is the prices of property. Ron has now registered on eBay. This was all achieved by Ron having someone sit with him on a one to one, just giving him the confidence he needed. Ron now understands what his grandchildren are on about when they talk about the internet. After these few lessons, Ron said, “Computers are not just for the younger generation, but all generations”. Stuart Gray, Centre Manager

New POA Learning Manager I am pleased to announce that Philip Kelly has been appointed as Learning Manager to POA Learning. Philip is no stranger to learning projects having worked for the Merseytravel ULF project for a number of years. I am sure that POA Learning is in good hands. Roy Wildgoose

Pictured is Hannah Pugh, collecting the Union Learn Quality Award on behalf of BrightSparks Learning Centre. The award was presented by Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool. Congratulations to Don, Hannah and all the team.

Gatelodge 56-59 ULF.indd 57

April 2010 57 6/4/10 10:09:44

New Link Centre at HMP Whitemoor Following discussions between the POELT Trainers and the POA Branch at HMP Whitemoor and Regional and National staff of POA Learning the idea of a Learning Centre is on the way to becoming a reality. Utilising an area of the training suite, and being stocked with laptop computers supplied through the POA Learning contract with the TUC Union Learn Project, the Centre will be open Tuesday and Thursday evenings and lunchtimes Monday to Friday and will be open to all staff of HMP Whitemoor. At a later date it is hoped that the facilities will also be available to family members of serving staff. The official opening ceremony, which will also be attended by the Governor of HMP Whitemoor and members of the NEC of the POA, is due to take place at 12.30pm on 20th April 2010.

The centre will be manned in the early stages by POELT Trainers Andy Brown and Pete Brotherton. They will be supported by Dave Barber, Eastern Regional Manager for POA Learning as well as the POA Learning National Skills for Life Tutors. The centre will initially offer free skills training in numeracy, literacy and IT but, subject to demand, other courses will be introduced later. Also, at lunchtimes, there will be free Internet access for staff, after they have completed the necessary paperwork (there being no such thing as a free lunch!). The ULRs of other Unions represented at HMP Whitemoor have also had discussions with the POA and have expressed their support and interest in being involved with the Centre.

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It was just an ordinary day in the learning centre when David Dillon received an email from his Governor. But soon it felt like Christmas Day! Centre Manager David was told to expect a delivery….. A state of the art electronic whiteboard, plus projector, a 50 inch TV, plus DVD, and a whole array of new desks and chairs were soon in place, all courtesy of prison Governor Andy Lattimore. David says “We are delighted with this fantastic new equipment, and are grateful to Andy for this magnificent recognition of the contribution the centre makes to the establishment. We have all worked hard at ensuring this is a true partnership project, and Andy’s contribution really underlines the success of this approach.” The centre already works closely with the in house training team, with a regular slot at Training Group meetings. David continues “We see joint working as a key to the success of the centre, both now and into the future, and I think we provide a real model of successful partnership working.”

In January we held a ULR conference which was opened by Colin Moses our National Chairman. The conference held over two days was hosted by Leeds City College and was run as a course which provided further ULR accreditation to the participants. Sessions from Derek Kennedy on dyslexia and from Judith Swift from unionlearn enhanced the conference on the second day. Congratulations go to all participants for staying the course following overnight snow which continued all of the following morning and which threatened to keep us all there for a further day.

22/3/10 13:13:25

6/4/10 10:12:50 LEARNING CENTRE CONTACT DETAILS Acklington Learning Centre

Holme House Learning Centre

or alternatively contact

Centre Manager Don Head

National Project Manager

Learner Support Hannah Pugh

Centre Manager Stuart Gray Learner Support Vacancy

Acklington Learning Centre

Holme House Learning Centre

M: 07917699210

HMP Acklington, Nr Morpeth

HMP Holme House, Holme House Road,


Northumberland NE65 9XF

Stockton on Tees TS18 2QU

T: 01670 762473 E: Bullingdon Learning Centre Centre Manager David Dillon

T: 01642 607151 E: Isle of Sheppey Centre Manager Teresa Clifford Learner Support Gareth Williams

Roy Wildgoose

Project Coordinators Alison Manion M: 07825643620 E:

Learner Support Katrina Alexander

Eastchurch Learning Centre

Emma Bowditch

Bullingdon Learning Centre

HMP Stanford Hill, Brabazon Road

M: 07590418750

HMP Bullingdon, Staff Mess, PO Box 50,

Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent ME12 2AA


Bicester, Oxon OX25 1WD

T: 01795 880040

T: 01869 353411



Skills for Life Tutors Jane Wallis

Isle of Wight Learning Centre

M: 07540121129

Frankland Learning Centre

Centre Manager Nicky Volley


Centre Manager Stuart Herkes

Learner Support Adrian Wellock

Brasside Learning Centre HMP Frankland, Brasside, Durham DH1 5YD T: 0191 375 6874 /6872 E: Hatfield Learning Centre Centre Manager Ellen Schofield Learner Support Scott Close

Isle of Wight Learning Centre Albany House, HMP Albany, Parkhurst Road, Newport PO30 5RS T: 01983 532769

Sandra Davies M: 07540121130 E:

E: Maghull Union Learning Zone Centre Manager Lorraine Lewis Learner Support Pat O’Rourke

Hatfield Learning Centre

Learner Support Tony Freel

HMP Moorland Open, Thorne Road

Learner Support Lee Shipley

Hatfield, Doncaster DN7 6EL

Union Learning Zone, e-cafe

T: 01405 817153

Maghull Site, Parkbourn, Maghull, Liverpool L31 HW


T: 0151 473 2948 / 2949 E:

Haverigg Key Learning Centre

Norwich Learning Centre

Centre Manager Peter France

Centre Manager Dave Barber

Haverigg Key Learning Centre

Learner Support David Silverman

HMP Haverigg, Millom, Cumbria LA18 4NA T: 01229 776061 E: Highdown Learning Centre Centre Manager Lynne Willmer Learner Support Clive Orpwood Highdown Learning Centre

Stu Fisher Learning Centre HMP Norwich Knox Road, Norwich NR1 4LU T: 01603 763740 E: Scotland Centre Manager Alan Golightly

HMP Highdown, High Down Lane

21 Calder Road, Edinburgh EH11 3PS

Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PJ

M: 07886082919

T: 0208 661 2491

T: 0131 443 8105



Gatelodge 56-59 ULF.indd 59

April 2010 59 6/4/10 10:14:26

North of the Border – Levy & McRae

Levy & McRae: Working for You

Levy & McRae: Working for you

Our services to members of the Prison Officer Association of Scotland In addition to what is covered by the policy we also offer the following:• Free will drafting service • Discounted conveyancing service • Discounted advice following the breakdown of a relationship • Advice provided 24 hours a day 7 days a week

Recent successes: •£24,000 received by officer after trip at work • Acquittal of Officer on serious assault charges after 3 day trial • Prison Officer’s wife gained settlement in a constructive dismissal claim 266 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5RL Office hours: 8.30am-5.30pm Phone: 0141 307 2311 Fax: 0141 307 6857 or 0141 307 6858 Commercial fax: 0141 248 9262 Litigation partners Peter Watson William Macreath Andrew Sleigh Angela McCracken David McKie Alastair Goodman Alasdair Gillies

60 April 2010 38-41 NOTB.indd 38

Litigation department Sandra Biggart Laura Salmond Callum Anderson Ross Milvenan Ewen Campbell David Adams Amy Williamson Greg Sibbald Mark Dunn Catherine McGowan John Thomson Ann Green Iain Butler Commercial department Maureen Stevenson Gary Booth Geraldine Darroch Karen Millar

Gatelodge 6/4/10 11:31:32

Strictly Private







The last Private Sector Gatelodge column informed you that the POA and management of G4S were locked in discussions regarding pay. The process has been long and protracted but it is good to report that a successful conclusion was achieved using the good offices of ACAS. The deal, which includes an extra days leave and some additional payments, was not generous but the climate of the financial market is not in a generous mood. The process to deal with issues, particularly pay, needs to be speeded up but at least we are able to represent our people in the In Country Escort contract. The G4S POA representatives played the major role in the negotiations with help and guidance from the NEC. Ray Somers and Tony Jones have worked tirelessly to give proper representation to their members and colleagues under very difficult conditions. My gratitude goes to them. We will now seek to have discussions with the ICE Committee towards the best way to further improve the industrial relations process with G4S. Best wishes to you all.




D W E S T 07 hA 20 O

I 2


G4S: Successful Outcome

TOM ROBSON National Vice Chairman & Chairman to the Private Sector Committee


Over 36,000 prison officers, penal workers, correctional and secure psychiatric workers ARE MEMBERS OF THE POA. The Union has an ever growing membership within private prisons, secure units and escorting contracts. Our influence and expertise within penal affairs has been recognised since the Union formed in 1939. The POA is an Independent Trades Union affiliated to the Trades Union Congress. Legislation determines that a British worker can belong to the trades union of his or her choice.

MAKE YOUR CHOICE THE POA Join the professional trades union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers. For more information and membership application: Telephone the membership hotline: 0208 884 5687 between 09.00-16.45. Please quote: PSN1

Gatelodge 61 Strictly Private.indd 61

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITTEE Joe Simpson Tom Robson NEC Chairman 0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 Duncan Keys Secretary 0113 242 8833

John Speed SNC 0131 443 8105

Steve Baines NEC 0208 802 0255

Phil Thomas SNC 0131 443 8105

Pete Chapple NEC 0113 242 8833

Steve Lewis Research Officer 0113 242 8833 April 2010 61 6/4/10 10:24:48


A report on the costs of legal cases which includes workplace accidents has suggested changes that could rob injured people of up to half of their compensation and undermines current arrangements which allow unions to offer extensive free legal services to members. The winners from the report will be insurance companies and their shareholders who will enjoy extra profits. Sir Rupert Jackson – one of Britain’s top judges – launched his costs review in response to constant insurance company complaints that legal costs were too high and of a growing compensation culture in the UK. All the evidence showed that there was (and is) no compensation culture so the insurance industry turned its attack to the right of injured people to have legal representation and this report is the result of that lobbying. If Jackson’s recommendations were to be accepted by the current or a future government (and there is heavy pressure from the judges and the insurers to see that done) it would impact on all aspects of union legal services. The recommendations would mean: 1. The end of insurers having to pay for the risk of cases being lost. This will make backing members’ compensation claims, particularly where the case is complex and may be difficult to prove, financially risky. 2. The money that insurers pay when they lose a claim – a success fee - which is meant to cover the cost of unsuccessful cases will no longer be paid by them. It is proposed that this would have to be paid out of claimants’ compensation. This will seriously undermine the funding of union legal services. 3. Fixed costs (ie the amount of the costs of pursuing a claim that can be recovered from the defendant) in personal injury claims where the likely value of the whole claim is less than £25,000 compensation (that is well over 80% of union cases). Fixed costs might sound like a legal technicality for lawyers to worry about, but in practice it will encourage non-union lawyers to take short cuts and settle early (to avoid running up costs that they cannot get back). And it will enable employers to work out what an injury to a worker will cost them in total and therefore to calculate whether it is a cost worth paying by cutting health and safety corners.

JUSTICE UNDER JACKSON? The Jackson report is not all bad news. One measure aimed at softening the blow of injured people having to pay for success fees and other costs out of their damages is a proposal to increase “general damages” by 10%. This is nowhere near enough to make up for the possible amount people will have to pay out . General damages are paid for the injury itself and for pain and suffering. There is no suggestion that the other part of people’s compensation (and often the biggest part) – for things like loss of earnings – should be increased. Another piece of “good news” for claimants and trade union legal services, but which is far less welcome when the detail is studied, is the decision not to increase the small claims limit for

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personal injury claims. An increase to either £5,000 or £2,500 (both figures were considered by Jackson) from the current £1,000 would have denied most claimants the ability to be legally represented. Tom Jones of Thompsons Solicitors This is because the costs incurred by solicitors in investigating and proving claims below the current £1,000 limit cannot be recovered in the small claims court, even though lower value claims can be as hotly contested by defendants as high value ones (and defendant insurers still engage lawyers even in a small claims case because their pockets are so much deeper than a claimant’s if they lose). An increase to £2,500 would have freed employers from paying costs in 50% of union-backed personal injury cases and would have seriously undermined the current model of union legal services. To deny injured people legal representation in this way would be a denial of access to justice and equality in arms. But not increasing the small claims limit may only be a temporary thing and it could be reviewed again at the end of 2010. The risk is that if the judge does not consider that the reforms on fixed costs, success fees and other recommendations have been satisfactory by the end of the year he will recommend an increase and we think that means a substantial increase. Even if the reforms are considered satisfactory the limit will still be raised to £1,500 when inflation since 1999 - the last time the small claims limit in personal injury cases was increased – justifies it. Steve Gillan Finance Officer said: “We will be studying the detail of the Jackson report and discussing with our lawyers how we might deal with the most potentially damaging of its recommendations so as to continue to be able to provide high quality and free legal services to members. “In the meantime, workplace reps should remember that members with potential compensation claims – for injuries sustained at or away from work – should contact the union’s legal service as soon as possible in order to get their claims under way.” Tom Jones

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:35:20

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2/2/10 14:27:35


SENIOR OFFICER JOHN PETERS It was on the 4th February 2010 that I received the devastating news from HMP Bedford that my friend John Peters had died. John was born and raised by his parents on a farm in Ulster; he left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications, to work on the family farm. He quickly realised this was not the career he wanted or that suited him and at the earliest opportunity joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), a position he served with pride and often stated it was the best job for any single man seeking adventure. It was whilst he was a serving officer in the RUC that he met his future wife. After they were married John continued to serve the RUC proudly, his family increased with the addition of two children. It was whilst serving as a RUC officer during the Troubles that John realised with the unrest and upsets in Ulster it was no place to bring up a family, John resigned from the RUC and moved to Warrington to gain employment. John joined HM Prison Service and was posted to HMRC Risley or Grisley Risley as he often called it. He often stated how he enjoyed his time at Risley with the comradeship and the life long friends he made. It was also at this time that the family increased by another child, now the family was five. John was promoted to Senior Officer during the early nineties and posted to HMP Bedford. This is where I had the privilege of meeting him and working for and with him. John was a like a breath of fresh air when he arrived at Bedford, a true gent who was always willing to help all staff and a good leader of staff. John would regularly call me into his office and say, “Jim calm down, stop running around, you have got to enjoy life and not let it run past you.” John was also a very supportive to me during my disruptive years 2004/2005. He was always giving me advice and talking to me helping me through the troubles I was getting into. He would often call me at home to ensure I was alright and not feeling alone or deserted. After several years on the residential wings, John was seconded to the Prison Service College Wakefield, where he worked as a tutor, but these were the persecution days and John got caught up in the Wakefield Investigation, he was cleared of any wrong doing but decided to return to HMP Bedford. It was during this period of his service, that the boy who left school at 15 with no qualifications, achieved a Masters in Psychology, we all knew John was a self-educated man we just did not want to tell him we knew how educated and learned he was. John saw a bit of good in everyone, and he would spend hours trying to look into ways of improving the quality of life in prison for both staff and prisoners. John was a great man, a colleague, a friend and a family man. To everyone he was always available to sit down for a talk/blether, to listen and if asked for, give advice. John was the man that everyone went to with his or her problems; he would sit there and never judge you but offer support. It is hard to believe that when I visit Bedford the prison or for a staff get together John Peters will not be there. I will look for that cheerful round red face with wire-rimmed glasses, laughing and socialising with friends and colleagues. His Ulster accent and wit could cheer up an empty room, his laugh was infectious and when ever the staff got together for a bevy or two he always enjoyed himself and made sure everyone else enjoyed the night. John was many differing roles to various people; he was a colleague, a friend, a son, a father, a husband, a dad, a role model for staff, a confidant, an advisor, a wise and learned man.

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As a family man he is survived by his parents, four brothers, a sister, his wife and three children. Since the 4th February 2010, the world has been a sadder and lonelier place. Rest in Peace my friend John Peters, it was a privilege and honour to work and know you. Jim Wylie HMP The Mount

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:37:12



SUE MELDRUM 1960 - 2010

A Hero Returns Home On Saturday 6th March 2010, Dave and Andrea Maughan who both work at Lindholme as an officer and administration officer respectively, received the terrible news that their son Liam who was serving with the 3rd Battalion The Rifles in Afghanistan had died as a result of wounds he received during fighting near Sangin, in Helmand Province. Liam was only 18 years old and leaves behind his fiancé Michaela and his two week old son Jaden, whom tragically he had never seen or had the chance to hold for the first time. Tributes have been paid to Liam from family, friends and his military colleagues who have said that he was an outstanding brave young soldier, son, brother and father who has been tragically robbed of the shining future which lay ahead of him. On Thursday 11th March Liam was repatriated home to the UK. He, along with another four brave young soldiers were flown into RAF Lyneham, before making the now sadly familiar journey along Wootten Bassett High Street to enable his family, friends, colleagues and the hundreds of people, both young and old who attend time after time to pay their respects to these fallen heroes. Two coaches of staff from Lindholme made the journey to Wootten Bassett on Thursday to support Dave and Andrea. It was an unbelievably moving and sad moment to experience. As the town bell tolled to signal the arrival of the cortege of Union Flag draped coffins, the hundreds of assembled mourners fell silent, the silence only broken by the sounds of tearful sobbing. As the cortege slowly made its way up the High Street they made a poignant stop in front of the war memorial in respect to their previous fallen comrades, where hundreds of roses were placed on top of the hearses as a mark of love and respect for the ultimate sacrifice those brave young men have made. The day was something that we will never forget and hope that we will never have to go through again; the only solace we can hope to take is if we managed to help Dave and Andrea get through that terrible day. To Liam’s proud family, our thoughts are with you all. To Liam, we salute you.

It is with deepest regret that we have to announce the sad death of Sue Meldrum on the 8th March 2010 aged 49. Sue had worked at Send since 2003 after a radical change of career from working as a First Class Stewardess with British Airways, a job she always spoke fondly of. She served on our Branch Committee for some time, doing all she could to help those who needed her, she most recently left Send to work with training services - a job which she thoroughly enjoyed. Many of her friends said that she had found her perfect place within the Service. Sue will always be remembered as outgoing, fun and classy. She was very much into her country sports, enjoying shooting and horse riding with a great love for animals. Many of us will remember her for the laughs she brought and the interesting stories she told. She was always there to support her colleagues and made friends with everyone at Send. She will be greatly missed and we give our deepest sympathy to her family. Alan Guest – Branch Chairman


Honorary Life Member Andy was a well known and respected figure both in the POA and throughout the Prison Service. He served in a number of institutions and started at Manchester. He then served at HMP Norwich for a number of years prior to moving to Liverpool. For most of this time he was a Hospital Officer but a POA man first and foremost, always a participant at Annual Conference, sometimes with criticism which was always constructive and a ready whit often bringing the conference back down to earth. He was a member of many Association Committees but he is best remembered for his invaluable contribution as chairman of the Special Hospitals Committee. Andy retired from the National Executive Committee in January 1998 and became an Honorary Life Member in May of that year. He will be sadly missed by family and friends. May he rest in peace.

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April 2010 65 6/4/10 16:16:38


Thank You I would like to by way of the Gatelodge Magazine say a big thank you to the POA at HMP Birmingham, especially Adrian Watts for their help and for keeping me going the last eight months since the Governor of Birmingham and the Business Partner decided to have a grand clear out of pre-Fresh Start personnel using capability and inefficiency as an excuse to make the staffing numbers look good in preparation for the privatisation of Birmingham. I joined the prison service in 1986 after 15 years service in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and it was my aim to continue my career within the unified services and I was honoured when accepted for employment within the prison service. I started as a civilian works and within the year transferred to become an Officer serving at the following: 1986-1993 HMP Maidstone, then 1993- 1998 HMP Full Sutton and 1998- 2010 HMP Birmingham. I have given 24 years to the service and would like to think that in that time I was a respected officer and progressed to the rank of Principal Officer Works and Discipline. Today I have returned all uniform that I still had in my possession as this is of no use to me in my new life of signing on the unemployment register as unfortunately my 24 years as a Prison Officer and 15 years in the Armed Forces stand for nothing in civilian life. Unfortunately I had to go hospital for what I was told by the hospital was a minor operation on the 29th April 2009; I worked up until 28th April, and on coming round from the operation I was given the unhappy news that I would require another operation. In September I was told after a successful operation I could return to work building back to full time. I am already under the DDA for an injury received in the Armed Forces but I always undertook my C&R and passed to allow me to continue to carry out PO Duties. But the Governor and Business Partner decided differently taking my career away from me using the capability/inefficiency guise. I have to say that the treatment I have received by management at HMP Birmingham is unfair and unjust for a member of staff that has served HM Prison Service for 24 years and attained the rank of a Principal Officer. Unfortunately to this date even though my last date of service was 22nd January this year I have received no contact regarding a leaving interview, uniform return (as stated

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Yours faithfully Ex Principal Officer Peter Woodward

Rags to riches and bungles

May I take this opportunity to thank all those that voted for me in the recent NEC Ballot, I would especially like to thank the branches that showed faith and nominated me. Buckley Hall, Bullingdon, Edmonds Hill, Hindley, Latchmere House and of course my own branch Manchester. I look forward to taking up post in May, and for the challenges that lie ahead in the coming years for all of us. Once again thank you Apologies for the lateness, missed the February issue deadline.

After nearly 31 years at HMYOI Glen Parva, on August 29th at 16.10 hours after returning from holiday my life was to be altered forever. A car hit us head on smashing my right ankle it made me suddenly face the fact, I would not be returning to the job I Ioved and the great staff at Glen Parva. Suddenly laying on my back for over a year made me decide to tell my story and most of all to tell the outside world about the life behind bars of the prison staff; their sense of humour and dedication to help and care for inmates. The support shown to me in hospital was immense, those who witnessed all the visits from staff and friends of retired colleagues, you would have thought I was a VIP or film star! This factor and the fantastic team work I had the privilege to serve, unjust had to be told! Order this book so I can help other under-privileged children to get the opportunities that other agencies gave me. I hope that through the Gatelodge magazine those days together will bring back many happy memories of colleagues I served with at Glen Parva

Regards Glen Birchall POA Branch Chairman HMP Manchester

Contact by email Cost £10 plus pp £1 Ken Wingfield MBE

Thank You

66 April 2010

delivered to Gate today 15th February). I am still in possession of my ID card, key/radio tallies, chain and whistle, cut down knife, ear piece, and car park pass, I’m sure this is not good news for security group. I have now reached a very dark place and life for myself and my family is not looking rosy, especially when you attend the job centre and are informed that all the qualifications and experience gained in the Prison Service do not have any bearing on qualifications and experience in civilian life. I am very concerned and very worried for the future and do not see a way forward or a light at the end of the tunnel at this time. My wife has now been diagnosed with clinical depression and is on high doses of medication and sleeping pills to help, this is not a good time for any of us and I worry now if we will manage to make ends meet and after 31 years of marriage I should be able to care and support my wife but I am unable to because I feel as if I have failed in all I have done for the past 24 years. As I previously said, if I hadn’t had the help of the POA – especially Adrian Watts and the contact he has maintained throughout this ordeal and still trying to help get some sort of justice – I do not know how I would have got this far, because they are the only people from the service to have cared at all about me and my family or the other staff that have suffered and those still going through this problem of which there are many members of staff. What a way to treat staff that have given so much energy to the Service and seen it through some very big changes.

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:49:53


Governor’s mentality, you’ve got to love it… not!! Colleagues, Recently I attended the monthly POA/Management meeting as a member of the Branch Committee in our training classroom as training for staff appears to be lower down the chain of priority than the redecorating of a decently decorated, clean, tidy and functional boardroom locally. The agenda included a personal favourite of successive Governors of my establishment, a prison re-profile. Needless to say because our governing Governor had only recently issued the terms of reference (dated 17/12/09) there were a few questions to be asked by the Committee on behalf of our members. I would like to give readers a flavour of the proceedings. They went along the following lines: “Governor, in your terms of reference the aim of which is to realise savings, are you going to cut staff?” The answer went along the lines of no we are not intending to; we are looking at operating costs. “So Governor what are your intentions in regard to the staff hours you gain through the removal of the tea-time break?” The type of answer given - Err-Um!!! This type of questioning at this time is too involved as we haven’t looked that far ahead yet. Fair enough, we on the Union side thought, obviously too difficult so we tried an easier question. “Governor you have stated that a safe, secure, decent regime must be maintained, so why are you considering the reduction or elimination of routine cell searching?” This answer was along the lines of “What do you mean?” - came the reply, quickly followed by a mumbled defence. We tried but never got him to admit that in truth the re-profile was all to do with efficiency savings. We even invited him to define the difference between saving from operating costs and efficiency savings, he wouldn’t or couldn’t properly. Why, because there isn’t one as an employer’s biggest operating cost is their staff and we all know it. We ended the subject by asking what we thought would be a simple straight yes or no answer. “Governor,” we asked, “is your intention to implement this profile if after consultation the branch membership reject it.” My governing Governor’s answer (the man who has commissioned the re-profile) – he wouldn’t give a definitive one. So realistically and borne out of experience that was a YES then. Now in my Committee’s case, we can’t blame our governing Governor for his youthful naivety or trust in his SMT (compared to their ages) for guidance and advice in industrial relations, something he’s probably also turned to his father for over his career. After all his father is the current boss of NOMS. (Hey Phil, I see like everything you endorse the yearly uniform re-issue is efficient, prompt and useful to staff-NOT!! That’s my career over with – though there isn’t one to have nowadays anyway). These mentors of his would also explain my governing Governor’s apparently excessively simple and trusting view of the Prison Service world and his Senior Managers Team’s nature. So what’s the moral of my tale you ask, for members who don’t serve on Branch Committees? What I’ve written only touches on the type of mentality that Branch Committees probably deal with more often than not and on MOST subjects that they deal with management with. So when you think that your committee isn’t trying to do something for you, just remember who they’re dealing with and the type of mentality they’re fighting on your behalf. GARY DAY HMP MOORLAND

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“Once were warriors” Having just completed 18 years of loyal service to Her Majesty I was reminiscing on what once was a very well respected and rewarding career choice. I could not help coming to the conclusion that we have lost so much and that there is very little left of this once proud service of ours. Please indulge me while I recall the service that I joined and was very proud of. I believe that the steady decline really began with the loss of the courts, escorts and transfers and that this was the time when we should have made a real stand to protect our service. This was closely followed by the civilianisation of the works department under the ROWD process and the loss of our hats and number one uniform issue. Subsequently we have seen the takeover of our Health Care by the PCTs, canteen going out to the privateers, the loss of officer jobs within the library, kitchen, communications room and the gatelodge to name but a few. This has all culminated lately by the loss of a complete rank with the POs being phased out. We have also been subjected to attacks on our pension rights, pitiful pay rises, the lowering of starting salaries and the extension of retirement age. Many prisons are now part of a cluster**** with shared services and Governors whilst others are subjected to the market test and fighting for the right to do their own jobs. The bottom line to my reminiscing is that we are surely being privatised by stealth slowly but surely and I wonder if I will still be working within the public sector towards the end of my service. I must add that this is not in any way a criticism of the POA NEC who despite a very uneven playing field and many dirty tricks do their very best to protect us all where possible. It strikes me as being very sad that ‘once we were warriors’ on a par with police officers as far as terms and conditions and the general regard of the greater public went, but now alas we are the very bottom of a very large public service pile. The Rooks Nest.

Disappointment On February 1st 2010 a great friend and colleague Bob Edgar who I worked with at HMP Bedford prior to my retirement and his move to HMP Woodhill died in Willen Hospice. I now live in Spain but was able to visit Bob a few days before his death and my return to Spain. As soon as I returned home I twice phoned Woodhill to enquire if anyone was aware of the situation, on both occasions I was put through to the POA office, on both occasions on different days I was greeted by an answer phone. I left my reasons for the call and all my contact details. No reply was ever received. The funeral took place on 12th February 2010 and at least 16 retired and serving officers attended from HMP Bedford, their presence was of great comfort to Paula his wife. I am informed that nobody from Woodhill attended. How sad is that as he lived within three miles of the prison. The expression out of sight out of mind seems appropriate. The POA Executive is always quite rightly quoting the Motto UNITY IS STRENGTH. Not on this occasion I am afraid. As I am still on the soap box, why is it that with so many new establishments, why is it that there are so few jottings? These jottings help to unify staff with general information, so get writing. In conclusion, good luck to you all. Malc Barrett Retired SO Bedford

April 2010 67 6/4/10 10:50:02

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Tornado teams, advanced control and restraint Colleagues, after approximately 20 years as a member of the Tornado teams at HMP Littlehey, Bedford and The Mount, I have decided to hang up my PR24. I feel that it is right that I air my views on how I feel HMPS/ NOMS have badly let down the establishment’s Tornado teams (Trained advanced Control and Restraint Teams). HMPS/NOMS freely admit that they need advanced Control and Restrained (C&R) trained officers at each establishment to form TORNADO units to give mutual aid to establishments that have acts of indiscipline created by the residents. This is now part of most establishments local Establishment Delivery Plan (EDP), Service Level Agreement (SLA) or what other fancy name some Civil Service mandarin can think up. I am not against this, in fact I welcome it as common sense, but HMPS/NOMS now turns to staff common sense, pride and professionalism without showing any thought for officers family life, safety and decency. We as officers of the law have a duty of care to ALL our colleagues throughout the service and we will be the first to offer assistance if prisoners, inmates, or whatever some mandarin wants to call them endanger our colleague’s safety. We volunteer to train to an advanced level and have annual fitness tests and annual C&R advanced refreshers, but the service stops the care there. When a TORNADO shout goes up C&R advanced trained officers throughout that establishment volunteer to attend the incident to support and care for their colleagues as well as using the skills they have trained sometimes for many years to use. However, what do HMPS/NOMS do then? If you are on duty, you may lose some of your TORNADO claim as you are officially on duty, and if the incident is prolonged and you miss duty the next day, you will lose TOIL. Why does HMPS/NOMS not admit that advanced C&R team members are a specialist role and deserve a specialist monthly allowance similar to dog handlers and PEI’s. It is time that the National POA NEC takes up this mantle and demand monthly specialist allowance for all advanced C&R trained officers. Officers give up their own time and family life suff ers because we as officers care about our colleagues and HMPS/NOMS know that we will respond to any call. They also know that our professionalism makes us respond to any incident that aff ects staff . Regarding safety, why can police officers throughout the country be issued various Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect them during incidents but HMPS/NOMS take years, and I mean years, to provide anything that may save staff lives? I am talking about stab vests, pepper spray; remember how long it took us to be issued extendable batons and that was paid for by our footwear allowance. What is more worrying is the police are dealing with an unknown perpetrator but we know that we are dealing with violent perpetrators who include, terrorists, murderers, serious repeat and violent off enders that society has deemed not fit or not safe to be in society. All we ask is give us the tools to perform the task to the best of our ability. I remember a few years ago at a riot in HMP Lincoln after C&R teams had taken back control of the prison. The local chief constable praised the officers C&R teams for their professionalism and competence admitting he would

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be reluctant to send in his officers, but what did HMPS say and do, very little but award a few medals after a prolonged investigation. Our C&R budgets need reviewing by trained C&R staff not accountants. I have attended various “shouts” throughout the eastern area since 1989 and never have we appeared to have the full support of management. This ranges from claims for the C&R allowance available only when called to a dispute or attempting to claim back TOIL that is owed to us after attending an all incident. I am aware there will be a portion of readers who will say, “You volunteered for it, so take the conditions you were aware of before volunteering”. But look to the other side of the coin if we all stopped attending these incidents/shouts I CAN GUARANTEE THAT HMPS/NOMS WOULD BLAME US FOR NOT VOLUNTEERING TO ATTEND THESE INCIDENTS. All I want is for Senior Management to 1) Recognise advanced C&R Trained Officers as specialists. 2) Pay ALL advanced trained C&R officers a monthly SPECIALIST allowance 3) Stop penny pinching regarding claims if an Officer attends a shout he is on duty, if he requires the next day off to recover, grant Special leave DO NOT TAKE TOIL OFF THEM 4) Let competent C&R Instructors set each establishments C&R budget NOT accountants 5) Stop penny pinching and issue PPE that will save Officers lives. Regarding basic C&R for all Officers, increase the basic refresher to once every six months. This is our last line of defence and if we are assessed every six months we will gain confidence and competence to use C&R when required. I have now left our prisons TORNADO team and I wish them all the best at future shouts. I know all the national C&R instructors throughout the service perform a great job especially at Hatfield and Kidlington.

Praise for Jubilee Centre I attended the Fire Fighters Jubilee Therapy Centre in Cumbria in January 2010 for intense physiotherapy, from the evening I arrived through the whole rehabilitation experience the staff were friendly, professional and knowledgeable of all of the rehab process, whether I was frustrated at my injury or short tempered, whether I was stressed about returning to work, whether I had turned to alcohol to consume my boredom or even when my diet was all over the place, they assisted in relaxation techniques. The physio staff were sympathetic to my injuries but always pleased to help and motivate you and drive you on to recovery. I feel that all the staff there should receive the appropriate recognition. Well done the POA for securing this facility. Andy Willox Principal Officer Operations Manager HMP Stocken Tel No: 01780 795049 Email:

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:50:14

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University of Leeds Asian Health Study

Mr. Mackay Hello, my name is Mr. Mackay, as you may or may not be aware I am currently on a tour of our Establishments and trying to raise money for Sgt. Slingsby’s, an organisation that arranges respite holidays for our terminally ill Armed Forces Boy’s and Girls. Now this is where you come in, if you would like to invite me to your Establishment all I ask is that you raise at least £10.00 for my visit, a photograph outside the prison gate (with name plate) and enter my days activities in my journal, which is in my cargo box. If I am successful in getting round all the establishments, then I hope to donate in the region of £1,600 on behalf of the Prison Service. You can forward a cheque to the POA office at HMP Liverpool, all cheques are made payable to “The Parade Fund” I look forward to calling in and seeing you all throughout this coming year, and of course do not forget to book me in the Gate Log Book. My co-ordinators for this up and coming event are Jayne Armitage and Lisa Woodward at HMP Liverpool Tel No 0151 530 4000.

The University of Leeds and Heart Research UK are looking for South Asian (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) people to take part in research focusing on the health of the South Asian community. South Asian people are 50% more likely to suffer from and die early from heart disease, making it a very serious problem for our community. Lifestyle plays an important role in health and more research is needed to find out to encourage South Asians to adopt healthier lifestyles which could prevent heart disease. We are looking for individuals to participate in an easy research project which can be completed in the comfort of your own home by post. We’d like to know about the kinds of food you’re eating and the amount of exercise you’re doing. You don’t have to have heart disease to participate and you must be aged between1865. There is a prize draw fund of £200. Please support research committed to the health and wellbeing of the South Asian community. If you would like to participate, please contact the lead researcher on this project, Amrit DaffuO’Reilly, on 0113 3439192 or by email at

Fire Fighters Charity Jubilee Therapy Centre John, My wife and I would like to thank you for arranging our stay at the above centre in Cumbria. We spent an enjoyable and totally relaxing week at their centre just outside Penrith. Our accommodation consisted of a semi detached 2 floored 2 bedroom house with all mod cons. On arrival we were directed to the accommodation by the reception staff. During our stay we met the centre’s operations manager Andrew Waterfield who welcomed us and offered any help or assistance we should need during our stay just to give him a call. The centre itself offered the use of their swimming pool (this is at limited times due to fire service personnel usage for rehabilitation programmes). Our stay was on a self catering basis, there is a dining room where meals can be purchased at very reasonable prices. We used the accommodation as base to explore the northern Lake District. This break was a welcome change from the pressure we had both been under due to my illness, and went a long way to preparing me for my return to full duties. Once again I would like to thank the Local Branch Committee and its members for their support during a very trying time for my family and me. If it was not for this support I would have taken a lot longer to recover and return to full duties.

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On a personal note I would like to thank you and Ian for all your help and will recommend this facility to any member whose personal circumstances are such that this facility will help during and after any illness. Yours Faithfully John & Barbara Waddell Unity is strength.

April 2010 69 6/4/10 10:50:55

Postbag Governors, It has taken me 18 years to get to the stage where I feel the need to express my views in such a forthright manner, however I am so disillusioned with the state of the Prison Service in general and HMP Ranby in particular. When I started the job, there was respect for rank. Pos and Governors were looked up to as leaders whether you agreed with all they did or not. The fact was that, like us on the shop floor, senior management wanted a well run prison with reasonably happy staff. Not anymore! The things that matter now are whether staff are wearing ties; how many tie pins are visible; are staff clean shaven; are we calling prisoners Mr.(I certainly wont be). It has become an “us and them” situation with senior management and ‘shop floor’. It appears to us “minions”, that the management team are too eager to ‘put down’ staff; to suspend and investigate staff on one word from a prisoner without initial proof, instead of standing firmly behind their workers. In days gone by, the Senior Officer was the equivalent of a shift supervisor-he was there for his team, to help them, encourage them, and as their voice to be heard by management. Now the SO, IS management! He is now an extension DOWN from the seniors to put pressure on staff, to threaten and bully staff into completing the unbelievable amounts of work that has been passed down to us. Officers on landings now feel isolated, bullied, victimised and threatened from above. When will you all sit up and realise that without us to run your prisons, there would be NO prison. Because there is very little discipline or respect from prisoners and certainly very little to deter them from coming back again and again, it is getting more dangerous by the year to work on the landings. We are hard-working; security conscious; psychologist; probation officer; social worker; medic; electrician; listener; bouncer all rolled into one. We deal on a daily basis with disturbed, psychotic, emotional, violent, abused prisoners and we do it without thanks or appreciation, or even acknowledgement. When I went through Prison College, the vast majority of lessons involved inter-personal skills, which is why, in my own way; I can communicate with all prisoners, in all situations. The new staff are not taught these skills to the

same degree. They are force fed page upon page concerning human rights, diversity and race relations. This does not keep peace on a wing! Eye-contact, listening, answering questions, understanding mood swings, ‘feeling’ changes in the atmosphere of a wing-these are skills! This DOES keep peace on a wing. When cliques are formed by staff on a wing-pull them up and stop it at source. If an Officer, SO, PO. Governor is not pulling his/her weight-tell them! Don’t let the element who ‘can’t be bothered’ make the rest of us look bad. Adjudications are now seen as a waste of ink and time because of the lack of ‘guilty’ verdicts or meaningful punishments. Staff are laughed at when a prisoner returns to the wing with a ‘slapped wrist’. Officers are questioned about restraining prisoners-whether too much force was used. The questions are asked as a formality-it has now become the norm to assume someone is guilty of an offence. Back your staff-don’t bury them! If a member of staff has been accused by a prisoner and found innocent, what can that person do? NOTHING! We used to be able to turn the accusation around and report the prisoner for making false and malicious statements but unless we are very rich and can afford a solicitor to take on a private case, there is no avenue we can go down. WHY? As for this new ruling on the listening of music--UNBELIEVABLE. Management have wasted no time in removing stereos from staff offices and common rooms (but not of course Admin, etc) but when I offered to remove stereos from double cell occupancies I was told it would not be advisable as I could get myself into a bit of bother. Apparently a loop hole has been found where a cell is now deemed a prisoner’s home or ‘living room’. Exactly how much rent, water, gas, electric, etc is each prisoner forced to hand over each year then for the pleasure of one of OUR cells? This is NOT a personal attack on anybody. I would just like for us to get back to the days when Officers, SO’s, PO’s and Governors were all pulling in one direction. Back to seeing what can be done to keep STAFF happy, to back STAFF and to improve morale instead of “what can we give next to the prisoners?” P. Witham HMP Ranby

Regards To all POA members… From the Sunny Shotts Branch… We were humbled recently by a letter from one of our colleagues which we have requested with his permission to publish in the Gatelodge so that others can see the fine work and support that is in place from this fine union… We would just like to add our own personal thanks to those who helped us through the process of applying to the Fire Fighters Charity and to those who looked after our colleague and friend on his arrival at, and throughout his respite stay at Penrith in Cumbria… It’s most often a small light at an end of a very long tunnel that can make a difference to someone’s spirit and after a very serious illness that saw John go through some highs and lows on his road to recovery that this branch requested that John and his wife go to the Jubilee Centre in order to support him and his

70 April 2010 66-72 Postbag.indd 70

family over what we hope is the last hurdle of his illness as we had heard nothing but good things about it… We wanted to put our thanks in the Gatelodge so that other branches that may have staff going through a traumatic time can see that there is help out there and that help can make a difference… We cannot praise this facility highly enough and to see the lift that this gave to John and his wife made us realise that as a union we can make a difference… We would just like to add it’s good to see you back John and we hope that the illness is gone and you continue to recover at the same rate as your stomach is growing… Shotts Local Branch

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:51:12

Postbag Sir, On retiring from the Prison Service 9 years ago after more than 30 years service I look forward to receiving Gatelodge, I do not often put pen to paper these days but after reading the article on page 5 in the last issue (Feb 2010) under the heading Betrayal, Lies & Not so Fond Farewells, The pride I have always had as a Prison Officer and POA member was left somewhat dented. The comments regarding the retirement of Phil Wheatley the current Director General were derisory and in my opinion unfair and uncalled for, Mr Wheatley has I believe served for well over 35 yrs having joined at about the same time as myself in the early 1970’s, in fact I first met him when he was a young A/G at HMP Hull which was also my first posting. I remained at Hull whilst Mr Wheatley went on to pastures new and greater things, though he returned to Hull later as the No.l Governor, I meanwhile had joined the Dog Section and in my travels on detached duty I came across Phil Wheatley in his capacity as both Assistant and Director General on many occasions. I have to speak as I find, and in all my dealings with him as an A/G, Gov 1 and DG I found him to be nothing but fair and straightforward and on more than one occasion at Hull he showed a good deal of wisdom and common sense, some of his decisions I found difficult to understand at the time as from a personal point of view they effected my career, such as the

Gatelodge 66-71 Postbag.indd 71

closing of some dog sections, but in retrospect and with the benefit of hindsight I believe he was probably right. What we sometimes forget is that in his position he would have to look at the bigger picture and as mentioned in your article the Prison Service has and always will be subjected to and be affected by politics. I do not believe it was right to make what I read as a sarcastic goodbye to a man who has after all dedicated his working life to the service, I do not know who his replacement will be but I would remind the writer of the article of the saying, “better the devil you know” We often do not appreciate what we have until it has gone!! In any case I wish you could have had the decency to have said something like, goodbye we may not have always seen eye to eye, and indeed have disagreed on many occasions but I wish you well in retirement, and look forward to working with you in your role as non- executive member of Northern Ireland Prison’s Board. How much better would this have been? I for my part as a basic grade Officer always found Mr Wheatley to exhibit the conduct and attitudes I was trained in as an Officer i.e., Firmness Fairness and Decency. Regards Don Fields ISM

April 2010 71 6/4/10 16:21:38

19 uniform jobs.indd 1

2/2/10 11:29:16

Healthcare Matters


A BIG ISSUE The World Health Organisation has recently published a report about mental health in prisons. This report confirms our knowledge that there is a very high percentage of those in our charge who suffer from some form of mental illness. Their report is quite specific in the figures it quotes; for example, about nine million people are detained in penal institutions around the world and at least 50% of these struggle with personality disorders. Above this, a further one million prisoners at least, worldwide, suffer from serious mental disorders. Each year several thousand prisoners take their own lives during their term of imprisonment. These figures are startling! Further; the World Health Organisation research suggests that 89% of all prisoners have depressive symptoms and 74% have stress related somatic symptoms.

IMAGINE THE EFFECT ON PRISON STAFF WHO WORK 24/7 WITH THE POPULATION DESCRIBED. THE BRADLEY REPORT In April 2009 Lord Bradley produced his report as a review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System. Lord Bradley confirms that there are now more people with mental health problems than ever before being held in our prisons in England and Wales. Chapter four of the Bradley Report makes interesting reading for everyone who works in prisons today. There are several recommendations made in Chapter four and Lord Bradley and his team certainly recognise the value of front line staff in coping with this difficult population. He confirms what this Union has been saying for a long time; that awareness training on mental health and learning difficulties must be available to all prison officers. The POA encourages all interested parties to study the Bradley Report and examine how we can better deal with those in our charge. Remember, prison officers have constant contact with prisoners and as such act as primary carers.

SUPPORT FOR STAFF It is immensely important that staff are cared for and valued. They should feel that their work is understood, recognised and appreciated. All too often prison Governors fail to help staff who become stressed and in some cases act in extreme ignorance, even to the point of using discipline procedures to punish members of staff suffering from burn out. The World Health Organisation recognises the problem in its report and states clearly that managers should make proper

Gatelodge 73 Healthcare.indd 73

support available for staff who work in stressful situations. It particularly underlines what we already know; that staff may need counselling after particularly traumatic incidents such as hostage incidents, suicide discovery or severe self harm incidents. For instance; stress counselling as well as the treatment for physical injuries should always be offered following assaults. Management should be alert to the signs of staff undergoing an emotional crisis and in need of extra support and ensure that such support is provided, say the World Health Organisation. The Prison Service should continue to work towards proper and continuous training for prison officers on issues of mental health and learning disabilities. It should also however give training and guidance to its Governors to ensure that staff who face these problems every day receive understanding and care rather than, as in too many cases, discipline. TAKE HEED TOM ROBSON Chairman Health Care Committee

Nursing and health care officers consultative committee members Tom Robson Duncan Keys Steve Bostock Steve Baines Brian Traynor

Chairman Secretary NEC NEC NEC

0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0208 803 0255

Mark Curtis George Bernard Terry Hobin Carrie Sheppard Stephen Wood Jeff Clements

HMP Canterbury HMP Frankland HMP Liverpool HMP Manchester HMP Elmley HMP Grendon

01277 862871 0191 332 3130 0151 530 4000 0161 817 5600 01795 882000 01296 443000 April 2010 73 6/4/10 10:53:48

Sports Scene

National Pairs Another cosmopolitan field came from far and wide to contest the second playing of the national pairs at Horsely Lodge GC in Derby late last year. The inaugural winners, Rob Ginley and Kenny Finch, returned hoping to retain the lovely shiny trophy, along with pairings from the length and breadth of the country. One player, John Southward, travelling from the North Pole, Acklington, was hoping to add the pairs trophy to the national handicap he had already won over the same course earlier in the year. His chances were very slim though as he had paired up with Chris Naylor of Ranby, the highlight of whose career was being knocked out by an errant golf ball during the national championship some years ago. Chris has never been the same since, although those that know him have said his IQ leapt that day and is now almost as large as his shoes! Other players included a pair of elderly governors from Wealstun, who thanks to the unseasonably warm weather were able to compete without the assistance of a Union suit and buggy. They were charitable enough to play with those beneath their professional station, but drew the line at socialising afterwards, where conversely other

pairings were more than happy to socialise but drew the line at playing golf, competitively anyway! At the end of the field were Shaun Owen and Jimmy Johnson, who drew the short straw and ended up playing with a marker, Mick Macshane (Durham) to be precise. Although Mick volunteered to do this, it is a well known fact that Mick has very few friends and even fewer who would partner him in a pairs event. Tragically, Mick now considers Shaun and Jimmy his new best friends and close enough to share all his medical history with, and believe me that is some history, Mick actually needed a buggy to help him carry his medication! One of the quirks of pairs golf, be it fourball, foursomes or greensomes, is that it allows each partner to annoy and infuriate each other to levels unmatched in singles golf, which takes us to another pairing, that of father and son Paul and Jack Sirrell. In fairness Paul infuriates everyone he comes into contact with and it could only be a member of his family who could tolerate him for 18 holes. Paul has a talent, though sadly for him it is not at golf, which he is determined to one day bludgeon into submission, our

sympathies as always go to Jack. For the fourth time in a row at Horsely Lodge, the weather was superb, particularly for the lateness in the year, with blue skies and warm temperatures. The course itself was as usual in terrific condition and set up for good scores, which duly arrived from the first group out, and continued throughout the day. The scores were in fact both very good and very similar in as much as a number of pairings tied on the same score meaning last nine hole and last six hole total scores were needed to separate the teams. Ultimately, after slide rules and calculators had done their work the top five pairings were as follows: 1st John Southward and Chris Naylor 2nd Rob Ginley and Kenny Finch 3rd Tom Dobbins and Mick Mills 4th Shaun Owen and Jimmy Johnson 5th Dave Hudspith and Steve Kay Other prizes were picked up for nearest the pins on all par 3s, sending a quarter of the field home having won something. Thanks to Horsely Lodge and the PSSA for assisting in the purchase of prizes.

John Southward, Steve Kay (National Treasure) and Chris Naylor

74 April 2010 74 Sports Scene.indd 74

Gatelodge 6/4/10 10:54:55


  

                   



                    

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 



 




T W E S 07 0


6/4/10 11:12:15


spring savings on a brand new Vauxhall

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ON A BRAND NEW VAUXHALL VEHICLE, WHEN YOU CLAIM YOUR PARTNERS DISCOUNT. Visit your local Retailer now to claim your discount – plus any other exclusive offers available – or for more details call 0844 875 2448 or visit entering password: POA

Model illustrated: MY10.5 all-new Astra SRi with optional two-coat pearlescent paint. Partners discount is on list price, delivery and factory-fitted options. Offer is available on new vehicles registered between 08.04.10 and 06.07.10 inclusive, subject to availability, and is available to eligible Partners. All other sales categories are excluded. UKsupplied vehicles only. Contact Retailer for details. Partners includes all employees and pensioners of nominated companies and their nominated eligible relatives. We reserve the right to change or withdraw any aspect of the Partners Programme without prior notice.

Official Government Test Environmental Data. Fuel consumption figures mpg (litres/100km) and CO2 emissions (g/km). Vauxhall range: Urban – 16.5 (17.1)– 61.4 (4.6), Extra-urban – 32.8 (8.6)–88.3 (3.2), Combined – 24.2 (11.7)–76.3 (3.7). CO2 emissions – 274–98g/km. 1_WP-Vauxhall.indd 1

6/4/10 11:13:22

POA Gatelodge April 2010  

POA Gatelodge April 2010