The POA Members’ Magazine
The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers
SHED A L S E C I L O P FRONTLINE
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN MELTDOWN
PRO BAT ION
SER VIC ES D ECI MA TED MARKET TESTING
URES S O L C PRISON PUBLIC AT RISK
135 COURTS CLOSED 01 Cover.indd 1
NHS IN CRISIS 8/8/11 10:23:34
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WELCOME Gatelodge is published every other month by the POA. It is circulated free to all members of the Union 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 Union 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 Sub Editor: Nicky Rogers Editorial Board: Pete McParlin, Glyn Travis, Steve Gillan, Pete Chapple, Steve Bostock Editorial Oﬃce: POA HQ, Cronin House, 245 Church Street, London N9 9HW Tel: 0208 803 0255 Fax: 0208 803 1761 Email: Gatelodge@poauk.org.uk
Dear Reader, Welcome to the August issue, which contains a number of key articles and interviews in respect of pensions. By the time you receive this issue of Gatelodge the result of the workplace ballot will be known and the discussions with Government probably concluded. Once again, there have been lots of incidents in prisons but sadly the NEC are not being made aware of these at the time or even after the event, this needs to change if we are to change public opinion on prisons and secure health care settings. As editor, can I ask all branch oﬃcials to report incidents to the NEC as soon as practicable? The Gatelodge should also be used to report and celebrate the achievements of local members - all too often we read about our members’ achievements in the prison service magazine or other publications, surely we should look to change this. I repeat that it is vital that your achievements are reported to politicians and the public if the professional work that POA members perform every day is to be truly recognised. The POA will be starting to prepare the submission to
the Prison Service Pay Review Body, so if you have any suggestions or ideas please feel free to forward them to me. This will be one of the last issues with HMP Birmingham as part of the Public Sector Prison Service, but they will always be part of the POA. I would ask all branches to pass on their best wishes to the members and committee through the pages of Gatelodge. It is often said that a kind word or message of good luck goes a long way when you’re feeling down. What the future holds for those staﬀ transferring to G4s, I don’t know, but I do know that the committee and NEC will continue to support every member during this diﬃcult transition. Finally, I would like to thank Carol for all her eﬀorts in the production and distribution of the POA’s oﬃcial journal, don’t forget to visit the POA website and join the forum at www.poauk.org.uk Yours sincerely Glyn Travis
Editorial: Contributors to the magazine are requested to send material for the October 2011 issue by 9th September.
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3 Contents.indd 1
Campaigns and Events
August 2011 3
SUPPORTING POA MEMBERS As we go to press, the MOJ has identiﬁed a further list of prisons to be market tested and closed. I take this opportunity to congratulate HMP Manchester and the Hewell cluster on the extension of the service level agreements. The extensions avoid the need for further competition at this time and demonstrate that the public sector is an effective provider of custodial services. However, I do note that the decision to close a part of the Hewell cluster, HMP Brockhill, does send a mixed message.
Ensuring best representation for members
ur opposition to the concept of market testing and the reasons therein have been well documented. We dispute the need for market testing and continue to press with Ministers the viable alternative of Performance Improvement Testing. The POA has a policy determined by Annual Conference to engage fully with NOMS to ensure that we retain public sector prisons. To that end, the NEC will do everything they can to assist the Business Development Group (now known as the Bids Unit) to put together successful and competitive bids. Within any bid we must ensure safe, secure and decent prisons and the NEC are encouraged by the commitment to that effect given to us by the Business Development Group. If a bid results in a change to staffing arrangements and the allocation of profiled work we will need to be convinced that safety has not been compromised.
Selection criteria for market testing The selection criteria for market testing has now evolved from supposedly failing prisons to those with the potential for innovation, alongside the call for efficiency and cost reduction. What is clear is that every prison (with the possible exception of the high security estate) is under consideration for market testing. 4 August 2011 4-5 Nat Chair comment.indd 4
As National Chairman I determine the work and responsibilities of the National Executive Committee (NEC). In order to ensure that the staﬀ at the identiﬁed establishments are given visible and accessible support and allow the Executive to continue to fulﬁl their other extensive responsibilities, the NEC will not represent members in Codes of Discipline, grievances and capability hearings. The NEC will continue to be available to represent branch oﬃcials and members at appeal hearings. In exceptional circumstances requests for representation at Executive level can be made via the local branch through your area representative to the Vice Chairmen. The ﬁnal decision will be mine and I will take a pragmatic approach. These arrangements will remain in place until the recommendations of the restructuring team, led by Tom Robson, are received. You will recall that Conference Motion 61 called for a comprehensive examination of our structures to ensure the best representation for the membership and to make recommendations if necessary on changes. The Executive have commitments to a variety of meetings and on-going negotiations designed to protect the terms and conditions of the membership. The suspension of representation at Codes of Discipline will free up diary dates to enable the Executive to plan more visits to branches and attend area meetings. Visits by the Executive and attendance at area meetings are, in my opinion, mutually beneﬁcial.
Prison closures We continue to question the need for prison closures. Overcrowding continues throughout the estate and undermines the policy promise made by the Coalition
Government of a rehabilitation revolution. Prison closures were identified by the Treasury in respect of the budget settlement within the Comprehensive Spending Review. You will recall that the Justice Secretary has had to revise his sentencing guidelines following public and parliamentary opposition. There is now a budget deficit within the MOJ, which Ken Clarke will seek to overcome by further closures, alongside market testing. I have experienced a prison closure and recognise the uncertainty and disruption to family life and career aspirations. Our aim is to avoid compulsory redundancies.
Union policies Despite access to POA circulars, press releases, parliamentary questions, the Conference verbatim report, the annual report, report backs, branch meetings, area meetings, NEC visits, the POA internet site and Gatelodge magazine, members continue to state that they are unaware of the policies of the Union. Within this edition of Gatelodge, you will find an overview of our current policies on a range of issues facing the membership. Perhaps of more interest to the membership is an update on POA strategy to deal with the issues we face. To that end, the NEC alongside the usual personnel and operational issues are currently in negotiations and consultations on the following: • JES and the need to ensure pay protection • Redundancies – the challenge of avoiding compulsory redundancies • Facility time and the need to adhere to Treasury guidelines of 0.2 percent maximum expenditure on trade unions • Restoring confidence in the code of conduct • Compensatory measures for constraints on industrial action. I accept that the membership want to know what if any progress is being made on these issues. Please be patient with the Executive. We are engaging with the employer under strict rules of confidentiality, Chatham House rules. That is, what is said in the room stays in the room. As a professional Trade Union we www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:25:34
S will observe the rules of engagement. If and when the NEC has an offer on the table, that will be the time to bring it to the membership for their consideration and not before. Please allow your elected representative to complete the work you put them into office to do. I anticipate that we will have a clearer idea of our progress by September.
Conﬁdentiality I am not the ﬁrst to make the following request. Please do not ask the NEC to enter into correspondence on sensitive topics on insecure and monitored IT sites. For example, I would not expect to see such correspondence being conducted on the HMPS site – this is common sense. Again, please do not bypass your local branch committee – except in exceptional circumstances – if you do without a valid reason your enquiry will be returned to you. Please help us to help you and ensure that your branch committee is aware of developments within the workplace. The branch committee will in turn inform national oﬃcials. There have been examples in the past when we have been unaware of assaults and concerted indiscipline within the workplace. This is unacceptable and undermines our stated aim of being an evidenced based Trade Union. Pensions are covered elsewhere in this edition but I was pleased to be able to attend the Durham branch on 30 June and show my support during their protest meeting, an excellent turnout, well organised by the local branch who had arranged media coverage. The hypocrisy of the Coalition Government continues unabated. Apparently the strike by PCS and others were not representative, even though the majority of union members voted in favour of industrial action, as they represented a minority of the total membership. Such anomalies are a direct result of the restrictions of the anti trade union laws. In contrast, our workplace ballot will hopefully produce a higher turnout and clear direction for the Executive.
report into the Role of the Prison Oﬃcer. “Every day prison officers are expected to balance the competing demands of rehabilitation, security and the decency agenda, in a system under pressure over which they have no control and which contains not only some of the most difficult and dangerous people in society, but also some of the saddest and most vulnerable. Preventing violent confrontations from arising, as well as defusing those that are inevitable, is an integral part of an officer’s role, requiring teamwork and judgement …” “Skilled prison work is regarded (by prison officers) as “common sense”. It is not. It is learned, knowledgeable work. It depends on experience and fine judgements made almost without thinking about the demeanour, tone, language and feeling of prisoners. Outstanding prison officer work is difficult to measure because it often results in the absence of trouble. Prison officers often operate at their best when they underuse the formal power at their disposal without abdicating their authority. The balancing act (avoiding both laxity and rigid over enforcement) requires the development of exceptionally good informal working strategies”. So there we have it, a workable definition of an increasingly thin front line. P.J. McParlin
Role of the Prison Ofﬁcer Finally, I make no apology for again reminding the membership of Section 47 of the Justice Committee of the House of Commons www.poauk.org.uk 4-5 Nat Chair comment.indd 5
August 2011 5 4/8/11 10:24:32
PENSIONS At the time of writing, the POA membership will be ﬁnishing the ballot on pensions.
am hoping that the membership will have overwhelmingly rejected the proposals of the Coalition Government. This will give the National Executive Committee (NEC) conﬁdence in the knowledge that we have your support in going into the scheme design negotiations. It is worth reminding ourselves of the attacks on our pensions and why we went to ballot. The Coalition Government has already attacked pensioners and public and private sector workers by imposing a calculation to apply annual indexation on the basis of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as opposed to the Retail Price Index (RPI). This decision is still the subject of a legal challenge by the POA and other unions which are aﬃliated to the TUC. It is envisaged that the hearing will be set in October 2011 at the High Court. Meanwhile, the intention to levy a three percent rise on contributions from April 2012 on all members of public sector pension schemes - irrespective of the individual funding position, has sparked outrage amongst unions. The POA believes that the reforms to pensions in 2005/06 made the Civil Service Scheme aﬀordable and sustainable with a decent retirement age which did not rip up existing terms and conditions. It also respected the right to pension arrangements for existing staﬀ to take their pension at 55 (pre fresh start) and 60 (post fresh start). The Coalition Government has decided to fan the ﬂames by announcing that the UK population in general must work longer and earn even less, which will bring the real and humiliating prospect of a whole generation of retirees having to live in poverty. Public sector pension provision should not be a race to the bottom and it should be remembered that pension provision for Prison Oﬃcer-related grades within the Civil Service 6 August 2011 6-7x Gen Sec.indd 6
Scheme should not be taken in isolation as it is part of the whole remuneration package. This is the worst ever attack on public sector terms and conditions. Government also appears to be ignoring the Public Accounts Committee report on the impact of the previous reforms of the schemes. The Accounts Committee believes those reforms placed public service provision on a sustainable footing. Estimates by the Public Accounts Committee suggest there will be substantial savings in taxpayer costs worth £67 billion. The expectation is that the cost of public service pensions as part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to fall from 1.9 percent in 2010 to 1.4 percent by 2060.
Annual Conference policy Annual Conference policy of course is the following: “Following the publication of the Conservative-led Coalition Government’s response to Lord Hutton’s report into the provisions of public service pensions, Conference instructs the National Executive Committee to ballot all aﬀected members to establish if they accept the Government’s proposals on change. If the membership rejects the Government’s proposals, Conference authorises the Executive to take any and all appropriate action deemed necessary to oppose these proposals/ changes to the provisions of public service pensions.”
You can help our campaign The Executive will keep the membership updated in negotiations in the coming months as clearly, the proposals so far are unpalatable. The membership can play a vital part in these negotiations by writing to their respective Members of Parliament highlighting the issues on pensions or indeed make an appointment to see them at their surgeries. This is a vital part of our campaign. Remember if politicians do not hear from you as individuals they will think everything is alright and it is just your National Executive Committee making noises. I urge every single member - irrespective of rank - to write and engage on this important issue. There should be no division on pension provision. Some commentators and cynical politicians try to divide public service workers from private sector workers. We should not be divided and we won’t be divided. Our battle in the trade union movement is for decent pensions for all. If the attack on decent public service pensions succeeds then that won’t help people in the private sector one iota. In a race to the bottom we are all losers. The POA is not looking for confrontation on this issue we would rather settle the dispute on pensions through negotiation but that negotiation must be fair and genuine otherwise we will rely on the above motion as passed at Conference subject to the outcome of our ballot. Steve Gillan General Secretary
www.poauk.org.uk 3/8/11 10:40:12
LEGAL AID, SENTENCING AND PUNISHMENT OF OFFENDERS BILL
On Tuesday 12 July 2011, I gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee in respect of the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offender’s bill. The full transcript can be found in Hansard for that day. I explained to the committee which was made up of 21 MPs from all political parties that the budget cuts over the next four years would severely damage attempts to reform sentencing and punishment. The POA broadly supports prisoners working a 40 hour week but I also pointed out the barriers to this progressing. The main points of my evidence pointed
to lack of investment, space, cuts and overcrowding. On behalf of the POA I also pointed out that politicians had been using prisons and law and order as a political football for decades and it was ultimately the POA membership that sorted the mess out when their policies failed. I also took the opportunity to inform them that we were indeed the forgotten service.
CIVIL SERVICE COMPENSATION SCHEME The membership will be aware that the PCS and POA have a joint action in the High Court to challenge the Coalition Government’s cuts to redundancy pay. This legal challenge began on 19 July 2011 and was scheduled to last for approximately three days. The joint challenge by way of a judicial review by both unions covers almost two thirds of the total civil service workforce and we argue that, because rights to certain redundancy terms have accrued through length of service, they are classed as a “possession” in human rights law and should not be interfered with unless there is an over-riding public interest. In November 2010, MPs and Lords on the human rights joint committee criticised the Government’s plans as they were going through
Parliament, saying ministers had not made the case for capping pay outs. The POA believes these changes were made simply to assist Government get rid of members on the cheap. Our legal challenge is correct; to try and protect and promote the membership against a Coalition Government which is determined to attack our terms and conditions. The judgement will be known by the time this issue of Gatelodge magazine is distributed.
COMMUNICATION In order to improve communication, I believe it is essential that the membership is aware of key meetings that I attend between publication of Gatelodge magazines. Below is an indication of some of those meetings since the last magazine, but it is not exhaustive. 26 May: Met with the new pay review body Chairman, Mr Peter Knight 27 May: Met with Treasury oﬃcials on the fair deal policy on pensions 31 May: Branch visit to HMP Downview 1 June: Met David Hass, Special Advisor to Kenneth Clarke on the proposal of prisoners working a 40 hour week 6 June: Public Sector Liaison Group meeting regarding pensions 8 June: Met Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite 9 June: Pension meeting with Francis Maude and Danny Alexander regarding the Hutton Report 13 June: Public Sector Liaison Group meeting regarding pensions 16 June: Met Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood 20 June: Trade Union Coordinating Group meeting, then meeting with Ian Lavery MP 21 June: Branch visit to Bullwood Hall 22 June: General Council TUC meeting 30 June: Branch visit to Lancaster Farms 1 July: Met Jeremy Dear, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists
www.poauk.org.uk 6-7x Gen Sec.indd 7
6 July: Branch visit to HMP Liverpool 7 July: Branch visit to HMP Holme House 8 July: Branch visit to HMP Ranby 9 July: Durham Miners Gala 11 July: Public Sector Liaison Group Meeting regarding pensions 12 July: Gave evidence to the Public Bills Committee on Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Bill Attended 146th National Whitley 13 July: Attended Police Federation Conference at Methodist Hall Met Francis Maude, Cabinet Oﬃce Minister on various issues appertaining to POA Met Francis Maude and Danny Alexander along with TUC delegation regarding pensions 14 and 15 July: Attended TUC Organising Unions in a changing world 16 and 17 July: Attended Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival 19 July: Attended Royal Courts of Justice for Judicial Review appertaining to our legal challenge on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme 20 July: Continuation of Legal Hearing at Royal Courts of Justice.
August 2011 7 3/8/11 10:39:16
DEFINING ‘APATHY’ “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by Evil Men” Plato c. 423 BC – 347 BC ‘Apathy’ was one of the most popular words used during our conference this year and a single word that had a motion dedicated to it. Being nosy, I decided to research it brieﬂy and have found a dictionary deﬁnition, not the best; but one with few words that makes the point; Apathy – 1. Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indiﬀerence. 2. Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness. It’s a noun, which is appropriate because it is deﬁnitely not a doing-word. Probably the most signiﬁcant ﬁnd for me though was the quote that was made by Plato (above) in the heyday of the world’s ﬁrst democracy some 2,400 years ago. It wasn’t altogether jaw-dropping more like a chap tae the back o’ my heed wae a hammer. Its signiﬁcance was the perception that history has a habit of repeating itself and as far back as the infancy of modern democracy there were people who realised the power of a word and its meaning. And one of the greatest thinkers of all time, thought it important enough to comment on it and deﬁne its consequences. Apathy is much more than a word, it’s a train of thought and that train of thought or state of mind has the power to bring defeat to the strongest from the meekest of foes. Most worrying is that it’s contagious and during our conference it sure looked and sounded, at times as if it was catching. We should all worry about apathy it is a destroyer, and it will destroy this Union if it goes unchecked. All is not lost though, because if apathy were rife we would not be talking about it. Neither would the interest shown by members have increased over recent time. This interest needs to increase even more. This Government, of evil men, needs to see how we feel. They are certainly not of a mind to appreciate our feelings and they refuse to understand them.
Decrease in apathy in Scotland To evidence the decrease in apathy in Scotland; members are lobbying their MPs and MSPs 8 August 2011 8-13 Scotland.indd 8
attending organised rallies and supporting colleagues within the Union movement. We’ve had reasonable attendance at rallies in Edinburgh, for ‘the better way’ and London to demonstrate against the cuts. Most recently we had an excellent turn-out in support of colleagues in the public sector on 30 June. Yet still we need more. We are seriously under-represented at rallies, many of you want to act and will when the chips are down, but you can make a diﬀerence even before that. Take a day or two or three out to make a stand against what is happening and protect what you are entitled to for years to come, days against years, it’s a no-brainer.
Don’t think it is a futile ﬁght we can’t win, and then do nothing. Don’t think that others attending can represent you, and then do nothing. There is simply no excuse for doing nothing, or just enough even. Instead Know you can make a diﬀerence and ACT Know you are representing yourself and supporting others and ACT Quite simply when you do nothing no-one sees you. So be seen and ACT.
Ask yourself what you will say in the future, regardless of what the future brings when you are asked? Where were you on 23 October 2010? Where were you on 26 March 2011? It’s too late for many to answer these questions with “I was there, standing up for myself, my rights, my future. I did not rely on others.”
But it’s not too late for the future. You can make a diﬀerence. I started with a quote I want to end with one, from the same period of time, this time though, not from a man known predominantly as a thinker but also as a statesman and general.
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you” Pericles c. 495 – 429 BC
Here’s a sobering fact, according to the dates given, Plato was about 75/76 years old when he died, Pericles was 65/66. A dandy age for their time. If they both lived today, under the proposals of this Government Plato would be denied ﬁve, six, seven or eight years of his pension.
Pericles would have denied it all. www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:27:44
SELF-DIAGNOSIS AND REMEDY GUIDE FOR APATHY As an example to help, this deﬁnition is based on the following probability: When you entered the Prison Service you were assured a retirement package as part of your terms and conditions of employment.
ut this Government is about to arbitrarily change this and as a result, make you pay more, receive less and work longer. Furthermore they are attempting to get public opinion on their side by being less than honest. So based on this statement are you: 1. Not bothered that this Government is about to rip up your terms and conditions and are happy to pay more, receive less and retire at 65, 66, 67,68, ...? 2. A wee bit bothered about this but see that others are working for you and if you have to work longer, pay more and get less then you’ll accept that you’ve done enough and be content that it would have happened anyway?
3. Bothered about this and are prepared to take action up to (but not including) going out of my way, so I’ll write to my MPs (if you give me the words) I’ll go to all local rallies, if the sun’s out and they are on my way to the shops, pub, etc? 4. Really bothered and are actively seeking to change this by lobbying your MPs attending rallies at local and national level. 5. Rightly bothered and are actively seeking to change this by lobbying your MPs attending rallies at local and national level and encouraging others to do so. 6. Absolutely raging that a cabinet full of millionaires are actively promoting their political agenda where the rich get richer, the banks get bailed out and you, the working person picks up the atrocious social bill that has resulted?
If you answered yes to: 1. You don’t have apathy, in fact David you better get home, Nick has arranged the dinner, the chefs are in and your cabinet is waiting. There is no available cure at this time. If your illness persists you can probably rely on mummy to deliver some TLC in the way of a ‘bail out’. 2. You have a serious case of apathy and should act now. You require a variety of treatments, in the ﬁrst instance take two reality pills four times a day until you realise you can make a diﬀerence. Then follow the course for answer 3. 3. Your apathy is serious but you have realised that taking no action is not an option. Still you should be doing more. Therefore take a motivation capsule each morning. You should also take a slice of humble pie or an appreciation biscuit at tea time, this should help remind you that others are working harder for you and that by taking the motivation capsule in the morning you will be able to diet in future by cutting out pie and biscuits. Most of all you should begin to exercise. Exercise your rights and get involved more. 4. Rest assured you have not been diagnosed with apathy. You should not however become complacent take motivation when required, maintain your exercise programme, increase it if you can and consider oﬀering impartial apathy advice to others when you encounter them with symptoms. 5. You are actively addressing the apathy epidemic and should continue to do so. You obviously don’t need medication; you have ample supplies that you should continue to prescribe to suﬀerers at all levels. 6. This may be commonplace throughout the workforce and may be causing some concern. I can assure you that you don’t need any treatment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are normal. Dr Common Sense
www.poauk.org.uk 8-13 Scotland.indd 9
August 2011 9 3/8/11 12:04:07
HMP BARLINNIE Imagine the scene.
t’s your ﬁrst National Conference and your heart is pounding because in your hand you carry a motion, a motion which your branch entrusted you with, undoubtedly the most important motion that Barlinnie has taken to conference in regard to staff terms and conditions. A motion that potentially could lead them into a position of conﬂict with the UK Government to safeguard their pension terms and conditions, which each individual member had signed up to, had in fact been promised by Government when accepting the terms of their employment. Furthermore prison staﬀ have kept their side of the agreement and many have been through very arduous and dangerous times. Thoughts cross your mind, thoughts of making a total mess of the motion in front of the whole of the UK branches, monster TV monitors, photographers. The podium waits with the National Executive Committee breathing down your neck from the large stage behind you. You have a well-rehearsed message ready to deliver to conference; you’re hoping to hit the points to gain conﬁdence from the ﬂoor to carry your motion forward. Then, due to circumstances out of your control you don’t get the chance to make your well-rehearsed message, not when you thought anyway, as it won’t be heard until Thursday, you were expecting to deliver your message on Monday the ﬁrst day of conference, so instead you sit and listen attentively to debates about apathy within the POA and appetite for taking a stance to safeguard our pension terms and conditions. And you wonder to yourself, what is going on here? 10 August 2011 8-13 Scotland.indd 10
Pro-active Scottish branches This was the situation that I found myself in. At National Conference I already knew that the Scottish branches were united and were already being pro-active in their quest to protect the terms and conditions that each member had signed up to. When my time came to deliver my message and motion, I changed my mind and just decided to “wing it” as the ambiguity within the Conference was unbelievable. I started by explaining to Conference what the Barlinnie branch had done to encourage the membership to raise awareness of our plight. Encouraging all members to approach their MPs and ask them the hard questions with regards this issue. We also encouraged each member to look into their MPs’ eyes and say, “if you vote against my pension, I will be back to ask the question why so be up front and tell me where you stand.” The problem with the average MP is that they don’t like confrontation in fact they don’t like making lone decisions without direction of the parliamentary whip.
Keep together; ﬁght together and we’ll win together One MP’s assistant told me of the pressure that a particular MP was under from warders chapping at the door and demanding answers. In simple terms, we made them think, we made them face up to their responsibilities for their constituents, we made them realise that prison staﬀ are real and valued members
of any community. In fact, we play our part in keeping our communities safe from harm’s way just like the ﬁre ﬁghters, police and nurses. So could all members please pester your MP, don’t let them oﬀ scot-free. My speech to Conference was warmly received from the ﬂoor, it made me feel proud to see my fellow Scottish branches step up to the podium and back the sentiments that I had delivered. I got the feeling that Conference mood had changed and I have a simple message - keep together, ﬁght together and we’ll win together.
The ‘Battle of Birmingham’ The Perth Branch Chair said: “Now isn’t a time to debate apathy or appetite - what’s the worst that can happen to you, get a kicking? Well wake up you’re already getting a kicking.” Never a truer word spoken, it was so obvious to me that the many years of ﬁghting to protect their rights against two Governments. Both of who have been too afraid to allow a fair and independent industrial relations agreement. Instead, choosing to threaten and intimidate to get the results they want tactics that they simply would not use against colleagues in the NHS or police services. And most recently, the ‘Battle of Birmingham’ which ended in privatisation of this particular prison, that many branches throughout England were short in conﬁdence and in need of a good dose of self-esteem to refuel them for the challenges that lie ahead on the issues that have been mentioned in this communication. I would like to say to the whole of Britain, that we at Barlinnie are ready to stand at your side and make a stance, whatever it is, to safeguard pension terms and conditions. The Government is preparing (they say) by having our armed forces trained to go against its workforce, well so be it. We at Barlinnie are also prepared, we are prepared to defend our pension rights and we will. I feel in simple terms it’s time to stand up and be counted and let’s send a clear message to Westminster, we ARE united, and in fact the Trade Union movement is united. On a personal note, I would like to thank HMP Birmingham delegates who guided me through my ﬁrst Conference, without your guidance and expertise I would have died on that podium, thanks once again and all at HMP Barlinnie wish you all well. Harry Rae HMP Barlinnie Chair www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:29:33
A personal account of The Fire Fighters Charity at Penrith
was involved in an accident. The diagnosis was most probably internal bruising, but as the injury worsened over the months it was suggested that I go for physiotherapy. Over the coming months and years I visited several different physios and each attempted to put me right. This led to further physio sessions, twice a week for a long period of time, these sessions worked, only to reveal hidden injures, more physio sessions did not alleviate these symptoms. The only option left was an operation. Alas, this was not as successful as hoped, more sessions of physio prevailed with limited success followed by continual ﬂare ups and breakdowns. All of this caused severe pain even through the multitude of painkillers prescribed by the GP. Blah, blah, blah, yes I know, a brief history taking forever to explain. But it is important to understand the complex nature of my injuries combined with time and chronic pain. Walking around like a zombie high on Tramadol and similar medicines was not my idea of treatment. Unfortunately the 60 plus sessions of physio, by therapists, who are held in high regard within their profession, did not entirely raise my spirits either.
POA offered to help Seven months post-surgery, I was still unﬁt for duty when the POAS contacted me with the oﬀer of going to the Fire Fighters Charity run therapy centre in Penrith. As one does, I typed it into Google and found their website. I also contacted several friends who are ﬁre ﬁghters but no-one knew anyone who had been there. By now quiet alarm bells were sounding, (pardon the pun!) new physios, new exercises, new pain… Nevertheless, I had to try something new before the capability process picked up speed, as I approached nine months of being unﬁt for duty. As I could not drive the only option was the train, cheap at £26.70 for an oﬀ peak return. On Sunday 30 of January I boarded the train to Manchester, which stops at Penrith, just one hour forty ﬁve minutes later and a quick taxi ride to the centre. The taxi driver told me
that he’d heard good stuﬀ about this place and not only about the food. First impressions are critical and it did not disappoint. Secure door entry and an open plan vestibule/reception and I was welcomed by a smile, the ﬁrst but not the last, a warm welcome and I was oﬀ to my room, via the elevator, on the second ﬂoor. The room was more than adequate for one person complete with ensuite and TV. I was lucky to have a view of the river Eamont. After a quick unpack and completion of the necessary paperwork and I headed for the lounge. It has to be said that everyone I encountered had a smile and quick hello for me, quite disconcerting as I had only just arrived and knew no-one else. This welcoming trait was to continue for the rest of my stay. At this point it is important to understand that it is not only serving ﬁre ﬁghters who come here, retired ﬁre ﬁghters, partners and their children can come for therapy if their application is successful.
Bespoke therapy? One of the assistant therapists held a quick icebreaker for the newbies, which again helped to bring everyone together. Following a lovely meal I explored the rest of the centre. Monday morning brought the usual health and safety talks and introduction to our respective groups. A timetable from reception helped to keep everyone on track, provoking giggles from those who recalled their ﬁrst year at secondary school. I must be honest - looking at the timetable for Chris’ group, (Chris would be the physio looking after me and ten other people) and I was sceptical already, classroom therapy sessions, the blight of the warder. However I lucky enough to talk to a ﬁre ﬁghter who had already been here a few years ago and he convinced me to go in with an open mind. Go I did, and glad I was, very quickly you realise that you are not the only one going through a life-changing event. Some of these
session were light hearted, some informative and some very thought provoking. By Monday evening Chris had made an exercise regime for me and had gone over it on a one-to-one basis. Included in the timetable were outdoor sessions, walks around the grounds for the less mobile and for the remainder; walks of one to four miles at a leisurely pace, although if someone has to turn back early one of the therapy assistants will accompany them. By Monday night you could feel the social barriers being taken apart and group dynamics forming. You are encouraged to take full use of the bar, “but within reason”, Andy, the Centre Manager states. Apparently some people got carried away one week, thankfully not the warders. There were three prison oﬃcers attending, including myself, and we are blown away by the facilities provided by the Fire Fighters Charity.
Brilliant facilities The biophysiosocial model used here is excellent at encouraging people to face the challenges they may have avoided so far, helped by psychological therapists on site for group or one-to-one sessions. The groups make full use of the hydrotherapy pool, large pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, ﬁtness suite and gymnasium. Chris makes hard work in the pool seem like fun and the hour session is up before you know it, likewise in the gym where the physio exercises take place after the warm up in the gym or, hydro pool for the less mobile of us. There is no shortage of equipment or encouragement from the therapists or clients especially when someone reaches a milestone in their recuperation. The centre is run on a personal account so no cash is carried; you simply sign for your purchases and settle your account before leaving. Rooms are cleaned on daily basis and the quality of the food is excellent. Regardless of who you meet everyone seem to read the name on your badge very quickly and talk to you, so name badges must be worn at all times in the centre. Back to the physical side, the individual regimes are similar to those which will have been recommended by previous physios but with some diﬀerences, to say they are likely continued overleaf >>
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to be more work based would be the best explanation. Here they are very passionate about their clients and realise that they are now in charge of turning people’s lives around, whether it be for retirement or back to work.
Fundraising As I have said previously, the centre is run by a charity therefore fundraising plays an important part. Each week there are prizes donated by clients and a raﬄe, along with bingo and quizzes, “not my cup of tea” I heard several say, as they hid the answers on their paper! A good night is enjoyed by all who attend and take part; it is for a worthwhile cause after all. During my week, there several POAS reps on a visit to the centre, led by Phil Thomas and Willie Carle, I was asked (as were Mick from Franklyn, Durham
and Sarah currently working in staﬀ development), about the facilities. No one could oﬀer any negative criticism, instead we could only heap praise after praise on the centre and the people who were looking after us, to the point of appearing almost condescending. The best that could sum up the place was warm, friendly and caring.
Beneﬁts Within a few days I could already feel the beneﬁts of a stress free-environment and therapies that were making an impact not only physically but mentally as well, I could feel myself grow stronger as the week went on and it was quite evident that I was not the only one who was beneﬁting. By the end of the week I had not only made new progress, but several new friends too. One of the most recurring themes was; I don’t really need any help, I can
manage, it’s not for me. During the week I did not find a single person who thought that they had wasted their time in attending. I strongly urge anyone who is struggling with physical or mental problems to contact the POAS for an application. A week that started with much apprehension ended with a feeling of exhilaration and renewed optimism. Is it enough, time will tell. Was it worth it? YES. From a Scottish Member Footnote: I hope this account helps anyone who has any concerns or apprehensions about the work done by the charity, and if you know of anyone, or after reading this you feel you could get a beneﬁt from visiting any of the centers on oﬀer, contact your local branch or national rep. We are here to help.
PHIL FAIRLIE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE Given this is my ﬁrst contribution since actually taking up post of Chairman in Scotland, I would like to take the opportunity to lay out what I hope to achieve, and what I think are some of the challenges facing us in the months and years to come.
he immediate challenge is of course staring all of us in the face, and large numbers of us are already heavily involved in tackling the Coalition Government’s anti-public sector agenda. You don’t need me to say again what that involves. The pay freeze, the budget cuts, the pensions robbery, all the issues that have been at the forefront of our minds for some time. Clearly, tackling those are the immediate priority not just for me as the new Chairman, but for all of us locally, nationally, and across Union boundaries. I wrote in a previous edition of Gatelodge that I thought the united campaign amongst the public sector unions had to be the way forward, and that ‘There is a Better Way’ strategy was one we would all need to unite behind if we are to be successful. I also said at the time, that it would be interesting to see if the unions were able to maintain that position, as time moved on and diﬀ erent concessions etc were being made to individual unions, would that threaten the 12 August 2011
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unity of the movement? I said at the time that this was the point when we would need to remain resolute and not allow divisions to be created.
Division within unions What I did not say however, or even contemplate, was that the division would be created, orchestrated and pursued with great enthusiasm, from within the trade unions themselves. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened at least here in Scotland, and with a union that we have had a very long standing and beneﬁcially supportive relationship with for many decades. The branch Chairs and Secretaries in attendance will have heard the PCS General Secretary address our conference, and make clear that his union was not interested in recruiting prison officers, and that the appropriate union for those people was the POA. A message well received by our delegates, but completely lost on his branch within the Scottish Prison Service. For some time now the PCS branch has been actively
seeking to recruit prison officers within the SPS, and continues to do so despite their own national officials making it clear that this is unacceptable. To rub salt into the wounds, they are being recruited with the assistance of reps from PSA, a scab breakaway union that for many years sought to destroy the POA and replace it. PCS now have members of that union on their branch committee, and almost comically, do not understand our anger and frustration at their actions.
Undermining the National Partnership Agreement in Scotland At the very time when we should be putting all our energies into ﬁghting side-by-side and tackling some of the biggest issues this Union or any other will face, we are instead involved in a poaching war with one of our constituent union colleagues. The consequences of this go way beyond just membership numbers and appropriate recognition issues. The actions of the PCS www.poauk.org.uk 27/7/11 10:48:34
SCOTLAND The conditions in which staff work, and the environment where threats and violence is not new or unusual is something that always carries sympathy and support for staff within any other public service. For prison staff, the view seems to be that it is both understandable and somehow acceptable that we be subject to that in our place of work. I do not want the public spending inordinate periods of time thinking about prisons, prisoners or prison officers. To some extent, part of our job is to have these people locked up so the public don’t have to worry about them. What I do want however, is some recognition of what that means in reality for the men and women who go beyond those walls every day, on the communities behalf, and put in another shift to make our communities safer long term. Until the public come to understand what it is that prison staff do, they cannot possibly understand what value to attach to it. We all have a responsibility to ourselves and to our colleagues to redress that gap in the public’s knowledge.
POA Chairman have the potential to seriously undermine the National Partnership Agreement in Scotland, to which they are also signatories. It also has the ability to jeopardise the position relating to Section 127 and our relationship with the Scottish Government. We are not going to allow this situation to continue and thankfully, the relationship at national level between the unions is such that they are in complete agreement with the POA on this issue and are in talks with us at present to resolve the matter. We will be insisting that very clear steps are taken by PCS to resolve this between us, including what they intend to do about the fact that their branch membership has over a third of its members coming from the operational staﬀ group, for whom they have no collective bargaining rights. Only then can we hopefully get back to concentrating our collective eﬀ orts on taking on the major national issues that we should have had a common purpose in challenging. The oft quoted phrase about ‘keeping your friends close...’ Was never one I would have envisaged having to relate to a fellow constituent union. Time will tell whether that is temporary or not.
Raising the proﬁle of prison ofﬁcers For a very long time it has always been a source of frustration and bewilderment to me how little the public seem to know, and www.poauk.org.uk 8-13 Scotland.indd 13
even care about prison oﬃcers, and what it is that our job entails. One of the things I would hope to achieve within my time as Chairman in Scotland is to raise the proﬁle of prison oﬃcers, and with it their standing within the communities that we all live and work in. For the general public, prisons and prisoners are not subjects that are ever at the forefront of their thoughts, other than when they are faced with the tabloid sensationalist headline while eating their cornﬂakes in the morning. From that, they are usually left with the impression that prisons are a holiday camp, where life is easy, and that the staﬀ within the prisons are either, corrupt, incompetent or both. They take their views from those stories, and add it to the image they have from poor ﬁctional dramas, or sketch shows, such as “Porridge”. We all know just how far from the truth that image and perception is, but I want to see us as a union making real eﬀ orts to get the true image, and true understanding of what prison life is like, and what it is that our members do on behalf of society. I will take every opportunity to promote the fact that our prisoners are managed by a very professional and dedicated workforce, who take a genuine sense of pride in what they do on the public’s behalf, who understand where we ﬁt in to the Criminal Justice System, and that what we do makes a real diﬀ erence to making Scotland a safer place.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to say congratulations and good luck to PJ in his role as Chairman of the POA. I listened with interest to what he had to say at conference, and there were many things that I was heartened to hear, and enthused by. I had a good working relationship with Colin Moses, after a diﬃcult start it is fair to say, but over time, we came to understand each other very well. There were more than just two strange accents getting in the way of that at the start of Colin’s time as National Chairman, the terms of the merger being the main point of debate between us. Over time we managed to reach a better understanding of both the accents AND the issues, and I would like to think that we both developed a healthy respect for one another. I look forward to working alongside PJ as the National Chairman, and hope to support him in any way I can within Scotland. There is much that is common to both sides of the border, and many issues that are UK wide. I look forward to the membership in Scotland playing its full part in tackling those. That said, I do not expect to have to debate the terms of the merger all over again, but if need be’ the arguments are well rehearsed at this end! Phil Fairlie Chairman, SNC
August 2011 13 27/7/11 10:48:57
GENERAL MATTERS NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, PETER MCPARLIN VISITS WANDSWORTH Wandsworth Senior Ofﬁcer and National Chairman, Peter McParlin visited the branch on 17 June for our quarterly meeting. With him was the new London & Kent Area Rep, Ralph Valerio.
CHANGING PRISONERS’ LIVES Brian Hinze facilitates the Shannon Trust Reading Plan (Toe by Toe) in HMP Stocken. Brian is a joint winner of the Shannon Trust/POA Toe by Toe Cup 2011. This is his story:
National Chairman, Peter McParlin receiving his Long Service Medal from Wandsworth Governor, Dave Taylor
National Chairman, Peter McParlin, Wandsworth POA Chair, Gina Selmes and NEC Rep. London & Kent, Ralph Valerio
fter Branch business was concluded, Peter outlined the problems we face as a Trade Union and the problems public sector workers are facing generally. He repeated what he said at the POA Conference and stressed the need for the Union to change. He spoke of the formation of a re-structuring committee and how it could take the POA forward. As a Union, we have a number of options to ﬁght the impending attacks on our pensions. Strike action is an option but its use is once only, with the law making it a criminal oﬀence. After the meeting, Peter met with the Governor, Dave Taylor, who presented him with his Long Service Medal. Industrial relations at Wandworth are generally good and positive as most of our concerns battles that need to take place outside of the prison walls. Stewart McLaughlin Wandsworth POA
esterday I gave a certiﬁcate to a learner. There was no one there to witness it apart from the mentor but the learner’s face lit up. He had discovered that he can learn something new, he can communicate with his family and apply for a job. He can make choices for himself that improve his life. That is the beginning of practical rehabilitation. That is what inspires us to work harder for Toe by Toe. It is easy to get cynical about rehabilitation but your house may not be burgled, your mother may not be mugged because this man can now ﬁll out a job application, or even just sign on the dole. Toe by Toe’s strength is that it helps individuals. Families, particularly children, beneﬁt from prisoners being able to write to them and strong family ties are a known factor in decreasing reoﬀending rates. Toe by Toe’s approach is personal and eﬀective, the results are tangible and measurable, the diﬀerence it makes is lasting. I have seen ﬁrst hand how Toe by Toe is like a match to dry kindling. The person begins to see themselves make some progress, new ambitions are ignited and new paths opened. Shannon Trust through Toe by Toe is changing lives. It’s has become unfashionable to believe in anything, particularly to believe that we can make a diﬀerence but Shannon Trust proves we can.
TUC TOOLS FOR TEACHERS AND ACTIVISTS
The TUC has launched a new and unique set of learning resources for use by teachers in schools and colleges and other activists looking to introduce people to the world of trade unions.
he Unions into Schools website brings together a mass of historical and contemporary information, using rich content such as videos and role play activities to make learning about unions an exciting interactive experience. The resources include lesson plans, slide presentations featuring videos, activities and quizzes, factsheets and links to other sites providing complementary materials to help extend students’ understanding of unions, their history and the role they play in the contemporary workplace and society. The Unions into Schools website is at: www.unionsintoschools.org.uk . It has been developed by the TUC in partnership with teaching unions, NASUWT, NUT and ATL, as well as UNISON, Unite and unionlearn, the education arm of the TUC. The site also features a wealth of historical content produced in partnership with the TUC Library Collections at London Metropolitan University. There are ﬁve units to choose from: • The essentials - a beginner’s guide to unions, what they are, who they represent and what they do - is a great introduction for young people who 14 August 2011 14-15 General matters.indd 14
have little or no prior knowledge of unions • Working lives - a guide to unions and the modern world of work • Rights and responsibilities - a basic guide to rights and responsibilities at work • History - a fascinating look at 200 years of British trade union history, featuring a series of four-minute documentaries on diﬀerent periods of history, produced in partnership with the TUC Library Collections at London Metropolitan University • Working for global justice - a look at union campaigns for global labour standards and human rights, with special proﬁles on key countries and a guide to planning and launching a campaign. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “It is vital that young people are made aware of the beneﬁts of being in a union and understand that unions are not something from a bygone age, but are as relevant and important now as they’ve ever been. These resources will help teachers easily incorporate education about unions and the world of work into their lessons. And they may also prove a valuable tool for our reps and activists looking to introduce others to trade unions for the ﬁrst time.” www.poauk.org.uk 2/8/11 09:03:26
GENERAL MATTERS PUBLIC SECTOR PENSIONS STRIKE DAY 30 June 2011 saw one of the largest strikes in recent years by public sector unions. The issue was about our pensions and how this Government wants to change the terms we signed up to when we started work in the public sector.
lthough we couldn’t strike, it seemed appropriate to show other public sector unions that we were with them on that day and not just through the lunchtime protest meetings. To this end, the Wandsworth Branch Banner was taken to Lincoln Inn Fields to join the march and rally to Parliament.With me that day were Drew Ward, Steve Hanson, my daughter Samantha and from Brixton, Paul Ryan At the front of the march were John McDonnell MP and Honorary POA Life Member and PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka. The mood of the march was very positive and members of the public who stood on the pavement appeared very supportive, in spite of what some newspapers are reporting. The banner caused some interest as we weren’t a union striking that day so I explained what the POA action was with the protest meetings. A few people from the Courts Service were pleased to see the support. This is why the Wandsworth POA made an appearance at this march. A lot of people were losing a day’s pay ﬁghting for my pension rights, a day’s leave to join the protest and to show support was the least I could do. As a POA and Battersea & Wandsworth Trades Council delegate to the TUC LGBT Conference the next day, I spoke to explain the POA position with strike action from us being illegal but our support through the protest meetings and my own branch’s attendance at the march was our way of saying thank you to those who were out on the 30th. Stewart McLaughlin Wandsworth POA
Drew Ward, Steve Hanson, Stewart McLaughlin Wandsworth POA at Parliament Square 30 June 2011
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TUC DISABILITY CONFERENCE Many trade unions gathered for the Conference in London. The POA delegation was made up from the National Diversity Committee.
here were many motions heard during the two-day Conference, one which caused some considerable abstentions was about the effects of cuts on disabled staff groups. The RMT had concerns about “employer friendly staff” groups that rely solely on a ﬁrm’s goodwill to exist. The point was, that as trade unions, we should be looking out for the needs of our members ﬁrst, not the employers. The NUJ raised the issue of ﬁghting back for disability rights and how there should be a co-ordinated campaign to do this under the TUC. The growing call for industrial action on 30 June was met with support but the POA had to point out that, without a right to strike, we will do what we can.
Beneﬁt cuts The issue of cuts to disabled peoples’ beneﬁts were discussed in a couple of motions. It was generally agreed that the cuts were to bail out the Government’s economic policy. It was acknowledged that there were beneﬁt cheats but to cut all beneﬁts on the back of tabloid headlines was grossly unfair to the vast majority who need these payments. It is a problem of investigating the cheats, not cutting beneﬁts to the innocent. The POA pointed out that a series of “cheats” who illegally claimed expenses had come their way, a group of former MPs, who were never short of anything, (apart from, perhaps, honesty?)!
Hate crime Stephen Brookes from the NUJ and a member of the TUC Disability Committee spoke about hate crime against disabled people. He was also at a NW area hate crime conference earlier in the year and his message again was fairly positive, in as much as that the crimes are being reported in greater numbers and convictions are increasing. The individual stories about how disabled people are bullied and harassed to death are quite disgusting in a civilised society. The Conference knew there was going to be a ﬁght ahead but the march of thousands of disabled people on 11 May 2011 outside Parliament showed one thing, rather than ask or moan about what can be done, they got out and did something! It’s quite a sight to see people in wheelchairs and on crutches making a protest, it should put the armchair complainers to shame! Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary Wandsworth POA National Diversity Committee August 2011 15 8/8/11 10:31:27
The POA has a proud history of recognising the work and contributions of individuals at our annual conference. This year was no exception.
teve Oxby, Davy Melrose and Colin Moses all received Honorary Life Membership - the highest award the Union gives to any individual and I have to say all three fully deserved it.
Steve Oxby Steve Bostock, Vice Chair, made the following comments in respect of Steve, whilst moving the motion on Steve’s Honorary Life Membership. “Steve has been a stalwart and a supportive, wise old head on the POA national health care committee since 1998. “He was also responsible for all matters pertaining to the hospital estate, winning the staﬀ the right to buy their houses in 1989. “Steve, through his hard work, honesty, expertise and high standing with the local trade unions gained a request by all the other unions to lead the forensic directorate which encompassed approximately 2,500 staﬀ.”
Davy Melrose Tom Robson, Vice Chair, made the following comments in respect of Davy, whilst moving the motion on Davy’s Honorary Life Membership. Steve Oxby, Honorary Life Member
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Davy Melrose, Honorary Life Member
“It is a pleasure to recognise the achievements of one of our best and most esteemed colleagues and one of our ﬁnest friends. “Davy became the National Chairman of the SPOA in 1998 and he had to ride a considerable storm because internal politics were the order of the day in Scotland, but he used his wonderful negotiation skills and his immense personality above all to bring about proper and steady representation in Scotland. This brought a new era of industrial relations there and that era of industrial relations still holds up incredibly well today, which is a measure of Davy’s leadership and a measure of the fact that Davy Melrose above all, is a great talker and communicator. “Davy has worked tirelessly to dovetail into the national organisation and that colleagues, has been no mean feat. We have truly become ‘POA UK’ and we should all be proud of Davy and his colleagues’ achievements. “On chairing his last Scottish Conference, Davy was given the Link Medal (which for those who don’t know is the Scottish equivalent of the Cronin Clasp) and I know that he treasures this MBE and this Link Medal very much indeed.” Phil Farlie said: “Davy adopted a nickname that was given to him by Tom Robson which was ‘King of Scotland’. It came from a particular seat in the Scarisbrick Hotel for those of you that know it, during a night in there of a few beers between Tom, Damian and a few others when they adopted Davy as the King of Scotland. That’s a name that’s stuck with us in Scotland for many years. There was a parliamentary election result last week which probably gave somebody else claim - or at least an attempt to claim that title now, Alex Salmond, given the outcome of that election. I would just say that until such times as Alex Salmond has locked the www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:34:43
Colin Moses, Honorary Life Member
police out of Barlinnie Prison, as far as we’re concerned, David Melrose will always be the King of Scotland.”
Colin Moses Steve Gillan, General Secretary, made the following comments in respect of Colin, whilst moving the motion on Colin’s Honorary Life Membership: “This National Executive Committee fully realises the outstanding contribution that Colin has made on your behalf and the memberships’ behalf. “He’s led this Union with distinction and courage. Colin’s record stands for itself. He should be absolutely proud of his achievements because I know that the Executive are and I know that the membership are. His passion and hunger for the POA is second to none. “He took every opportunity to move this Union forward, sometimes in diﬃcult times, sometimes not always popular but he did it nevertheless.”
Finlay Spratt said, “As long as I have known Colin Moses, he has been a stalwart of this association, in fact we had many diﬃcult times in Northern Ireland and when you wanted Colin, he was there, like the rest of the colleagues in the NEC. So we in Northern Ireland owe a great debt of gratitude to Colin Moses and to this association and we’re very proud - I speak on behalf of all the membership in Northern Ireland today and to see Colin Moses awarded with Honorary Life Membership.”
Cronin Clasps Colin Moses, National Chairman when presenting the Cronin clasps said: “We present awards annually to those who serve the Union. I’ve been privileged to lead this Union for nine years and if people say to me, ‘What are the high points, Colin?’ for me it’s these awards ceremonies at conference because it’s when we as a Union do something that our employers very rarely do. We say thank you to people for the work that they’ve done, often behind the scenes, without the glow of the spotlight, if you like, for this Union.” Tom Bonning, Phil Campling of North Sea Camp, Ronnie Cromwell of Carstairs, Greg Mullineaux of Manchester, Jim O’Neill of Full Sutton and Brian Norcross, latterly of Lancaster Castle, now Lancaster Farms all received the Cronin Clasp.
Cronin Clasp recipients
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Mark Freeman, Deputy General Secretary, made the following comments on each candidate whilst presenting the Cronin Clasps:
Tom Bonning “Tom joined the Prison Service in 1978 and was posted to Swinfen Hall where he remained until his retirement in 2006. He always had utter respect in his dealings with both members and management, always had a calm way of going about things, never getting ﬂustered, even in some of the most diﬃcult circumstances.”
Phil Campling “Phil joined the Prison Service and the POA at the same time, obviously, at HMP Blundeston in 1991. He’s been a committee member at North Sea Camp since 1994 and served as Branch Chairman for 13 years. Since then the prison has grown and so has the membership of the Camp. North Sea Camp had to endure a governor at that point that was moved from jail to jail, causing mayhem wherever he went. They were dark days for the membership there. In 2004 that governor was eventually sacked for bullying. Under Phil’s leadership, North Sea Camp has weathered those storms and actually beaten that bullying governing. “Phil believes that working men and women should have the opportunity to earn a living and have a proper wage without fear of bullying and intimidation.”
Ronnie Cromwell “Ronnie arrived at Carstairs via the Northern Ireland Prison Service in 1982 and has for the past 29 years been involved in to POA Scotland committees. He has always been willing to go the extra mile for members, devoted countless hours supporting members in their darkest days, whether it is when they are facing investigations or coming to terms with serious illness. Ronnie has been there often when many others 18 August 2011 16-19 GM Awards Conference.indd 18
maybe wouldn’t have had the courage to be there. There are a lot of members who owe a debt of gratitude and their continued employment to Ronnie, who pursued their cases to the very end. His outstanding contribution to the POA Scotland was recognised in 2004 when he received the Malky Still Award.”
Greg Mullineaux “Greg joined the POA in May 1998 at Manchester and has been a stalwart of the local committee there since ﬁrst being elected in 1992. Greg’s support to all POA members, past and present, is on an unequalled basis, always putting members’ concerns and problems ﬁrst and foremost. He’s always been to conference, having attended his ﬁrst cone at Scarborough in 1995 as a delegate and since then is a valued member of the conference security team. “Every branch should have a Greg, a totally dedicated, respected member of the POA and local committee, one of the unsung heroes who deserve being rewarded and recognised by their peers.”
Jim O’Neill “Jim has been a steadfast worker and supporter of the POA committee at Full Sutton for 20 years. Jim has given his all to the branch at Full Sutton in all positions he has held, his understanding of, and loyalty to his members is second to none. ‘The branch only know a small amount of what Jim does and achieves, as he is not one to shout about his successes from the rooftops. He has the ability to change from the hardnosed negotiator to an extremely caring individual, when he is going to deal with members who are going through hard and diﬃcult times.”
Brian Norcross “Brian joined the Prison Service in June 1992 and was posted to Lancaster Castle. He has the unique qualities needed to be an excellent oﬃcial with the unwavering www.poauk.org.uk 26/7/11 15:54:25
Toe by Toe Award recipients
sense of justice and always strives to shout out on behalf of the membership. He is well known both locally and nationally for his biting letter writing. Brian has no aspirations of progressing further in the POA as he saw his contribution massively important to do this at grassroots level.” Each of the recipients addressed Conference and I have used a short quote from each of them to reﬂect their feelings. TOM “I’ m so honoured.” PHIL “I’m humbled.” RONNIE “Words don’t come easy right now; the size of the lump in my throat is rather large.” GREG “For once I’m stuck for words.” JIM “This is such an honour.” BRIAN “I’m a bit overwhelmed.”
Toe by Toe Cup The Union also recognises the work of our members with prisoners and David Ahern, Chief Executive Oﬃcer of the Shannon Trust, made the presentation and his comments are reproduced here: “For the award of the Toe by Toe Cup we received a number of really worthy nominations from prisons across the country and it was gratifying to see so many oﬃcers who were involved in supporting the work we did, but there were two who stood out and I just want to tell you brieﬂy about those before we make the awards.
Paul Harris “The ﬁrst is Physical Education Oﬃcer, Paul Harris, from HMP Bure. Paul was responsible for setting up the scheme before the prison actually opened and for organising awareness, training and everything else that went cap in hand www.poauk.org.uk 16-19 GM Awards Conference.indd 19
with setting up Toe by Toe, so that it could be successfully launched. Toe by Toe started as the prison opened and this helped to really embed it within the culture and within the routine of the prison. It gave it a real ﬂying start, and established itself as an important programme. As a result of Paul’s planning and his commitment, he won the support of both the management and the staﬀ. This has also contributed greatly to the success of the programme. I think of note, and I don’t think this can be understated, at a recent Ofsted inspection, Toe by Toe was described as best practice by the inspection time, a high accolade from such an organisation and I know that on the Ofsted website, it’s going to be there on the front page as an example of good practice, so that is huge credit to Paul.”
have been the catalysts to allow that to happen. So from me, as an outsider, but working with you, thank you so much for the amazing contribution that I know many of you have had and made in changing the lives of prisoners.” Glyn Travis Assistant Secretary
Brian Hinz “The other joint winner is Oﬃcer, Brian Hinze from HMP Stocken. Brian’s account is a very diﬀerent one to Paul’s but it’s equally praiseworthy. Against a background of limited support from the management team and no allocated time to run Toe by Toe, he does everything in his own time. I think Paul is indicative of many of those unsung heroes that exist within the Prison Service, people who go the extra mile who just do things because they believe in it and they’ve got a passion in it. I know that it’s because of those extra miles that people go, that the Prison Service runs a lot better than it might possibly otherwise do if people just did exactly what they were paid to do and nothing more. We see that from the Shannon Trust perspective of the extra mile that people do go and we are profoundly grateful for that. I think in Brian’s case he has demonstrated exceptional commitment and professionalism and in spite of these challenges he has established a thriving Toe by Toe programme which is now running across the prison. He does everything in his own time, whether it’s the promotion, he’s involved in training, liaison with the diﬀerent wings within the prison, a very, very time consuming piece of work that he does. So we are, as I say, deeply grateful to him but we’re also, as we are deeply indebted to these two oﬃcers and many other oﬃcers who have done this work for Toe by Toe. “I think it has to be mentioned that there are also thousands of prisoners out there who are grateful for the work that has been done through Toe by Toe and other programmes, it’s not just the work that we’re doing. In many, many instances it has been the oﬃcers that August 2011 19 8/8/11 10:35:43
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VALLEY PARADE MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT 2011
Anyone who witnessed either ﬁrst hand or through the media, could not have failed to have been affected by the sheer horror of the scenes at the Valley Parade Football Ground, Bradford in May 1985.
he terrifying ferocity of the ﬁre at the ground was vividly captured by television for the world to witness. Men, women and children perished in pursuit of the innocent pleasure of watching a football match. Many others suffered injuries from which they have never recovered. At the 1985 POA Annual Conference which was held in Portsmouth shortly after the tragedy the delegates, motivated by the concern and sadness they shared with those aﬀected, decided on behalf of the membership to provide a positive memorial to the tragedy and Easter 1986 saw the inauguration of the Valley Parade Memorial Football Tournament. In the ﬁnest tradition of the POA, the Tournament has continued since that time and as each year passes it remains fresh and vibrant and is approached with the same enthusiasm as when it started. It keeps alive the dream of the delegates who attended the POA Conference in 1985 which was to provide a lasting memorial to those who tragically lost their lives on the 11th May 1985 at Valley Parade, home of Bradford City Football Club.
The 25th Tournament Last year we reached a remarkable landmark when the 25th Tournament took place. To mark the occasion and the 25 year association between the POA and the City of Bradford, Colin Moses the National Chairman and members of www.poauk.org.uk 21 valley parade.indd 21
the National Executive Committee were joined by representatives from the City of Bradford including the Lord Mayor, representatives from the emergency services, Bradford Hospital burns unit, representatives from the City Council, the Minister for Sport, the Bishop of Bradford, representatives from Bradford City FC and many others at a dinner held at the Ramada Hotel. During the evening, numerous tributes were paid to the POA by the distinguished guests for not only setting up the Tournament after the tragedy but for the commitment shown over the years in ensuring it continued and in recognising the value of sport in inﬂuencing and having the ability to change lives. In the 25 years that the Tournament has run it has encompassed not only local but also national, international and cultural boundaries with over 10,000 youngsters given the opportunity to participate.
26th Valley Parade Tournament The 26th Valley Parade Tournament took place over the Easter weekend 22nd to the 25th of April 2011. Once again the Tournament was a tremendous success with teams of fewer than 12 and 14 years competing for the cups for their respective age group. In addition to the teams from the Bradford area, teams from Lincoln (Bradford were playing Lincoln City on that fateful day in 1985), Galway (Ireland) and Hamm (Bradford’s twin town in Germany) also took part. The winners of the under 12 age group this year were Hamm, with Lincoln in the runners up spot and the winners of the under 14 age group were Bradford City who defeated Hamm in what was an extremely close game. The “Roger Bennett Fair Play Cups” which are as eagerly competed for as the winners cups were won this year at both the under 12 and
under 14 age groups by BD 3 United, one of the two clubs from within the Asian community in Bradford who now regularly enter their under 12 and under 14 teams in the Tournament. With Easter being unusually late this year it meant the weather was extremely kind for a change with sunshine in abundance throughout the whole of the Tournament - unlike most years when all four seasons are normally experienced during the weekend! The weather no doubt played a considerable part in ensuring that a larger than usual crowd were in attendance to support the youngsters in their endeavors. The Lord Mayor of Bradford once again attended on the Sunday afternoon in what has now become an annual date in the Mayoral calendar and presented the medals to the youngsters involved. It is hoped that all the youngsters who attended this year’s Tournament and all that is now associated with it enjoyed the experience, made some new friends and will have taken away some great memories of the weekend.
Tournament and POA history At this year’s POA Annual Conference which was held in Southport the exhibition stand depicting the history of the Tournament was displayed at the request of the National Executive Committee for the beneﬁt of the delegates attending and it attracted a great deal of interest. In addition to the cups which are currently competed for each year, a display of medals and other memorabilia were also on display for all to see. The original cups which were purchased by the delegates at the Annual Conference in 1985 are now housed on permanent loan in the Museum at Bradford and are a signiﬁcant part of the POA history.
John Boddington MBE Honorary Life Member August 2011 21 26/7/11 16:05:40
LGBT CONFERENCE AND L The TUC LGBT Conference held at Congress House, London from 30th June to 1st July was attended by 208 delegates from 31 unions.
he POA was represented by members of the NEC Diversity Advisory Committee, Peter Allen MBE, Anne Ruzylo, Su Akram, Barbera Baker, Helen Hutchinson, Stewart McLaughlin, Brian Traynor and Joe Simpson. PJ McParlin joined us on the last day. The 14th Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Conference was opened by Maria Exall Chair of the LBGT Committee, and this year’s conference theme was ‘Promoting LGBT Equality’ and ‘Fighting the cuts’.
Above: Annee Ruzylo, Barbera Baker, Helen Hutchinson and partner Below: Barbera Baker, Helen Hutchinson and Brian Traynor NEC
22 August 2011 22-23 GM LGBT.indd 22
Maria Exall made apologies for Frances O’Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary who was to have opened conference and make a speech, however as Maria explained, the 30th June was a very important day for trade unionism and Frances was attending the strike and rally in Westminster. Frances O’Grady did attended the conference later to address the delegates, as did Yvette Cooper MP Shadow Home Secretary. Delegates from the NUT, UCU, ATL and PCS missed the ﬁrst day of conference so that they could attend picket lines and rallies in the areas that they work. TUC LGBT delegates sent a message of solidarity to public-sector workers on strike and vowed to play a leading role in the ﬁght against the Government’s ideological attacks on the working class. Maria said: “This Conservative-led Government is intent on attacking working people. We must not let those in power divide and rule us.” Following Frances O’Grady’s speech in the afternoon Yvette Cooper took to the podium and spoke about the issues that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual people face, which was of course rather handy given that it was the LGBT conference! Her speech wasn’t at all contentious and made no mention of the cuts to public services, pay and pensions. Questions where then taken from the ﬂoor, Miss Cooper was put under pressure when asked why the Labour Party had not supported the strike, she said that she did not believe it was the right thing to do and that more negotiation should take place. It was pointed out to her that the Government was not interested in negotiation and those who had taken strike action felt that the only way to be heard was to strike. She proceeded to answer more questions put to her in a way only a politician could do, by not giving an answer to the question asked. Delegates resorted to booing and ﬂoor-stamping at their disgust to what they were hearing. Delegates from Thursday's picket lines called on union leaders to "name the date" for a million-strong strike in the autumn amid thunderous applause from the ﬂoor. Refuting right-wing claims that the strike had little public support, lecturers' union UCU delegate, Pura Ariza, said: "Workers, parents, children, students and anti-cuts campaigners joined our 5,000-strong strike rally in Manchester." PCS Rep, Jeﬀ Grist, reported that 84 percent of the 250,000 PCS members balloted took part in the strike. "We also recruited 170 new members," he said. Conference was told that POA members had held lunchtime protest meetings in solidarity
Joe Simpson, Pete McParlin, Pete Allen MBE (back row) Helen Hutchinson, Anne Ruzylo, Su Akram, Stewart McLaughlin
and Unison members working in schools had refused to cross picket lines. POA delegate Stewart McLaughlin thanked the strikers for "losing a day's pay to stand up for my pension” and added: "Current legislation makes it a criminal oﬀence for the POA to take any form of industrial action even though our pension is in the same boat as other publicsector workers." Mr McLaughlin said the POA was prepared to take the "nuclear option" of breaking the law unless ministers changed course. Ms Ariza called on union leaders to use the momentum to bring down the "weak and divided" Government. "Name the date for strikes in autumn - we're ready to ﬁght," she said to thunderous applause. Julia Neal, whose union ATL went on strike for the ﬁrst time in its 127-year history, said: "We must keep the issue alive and continue the action until we win." Other speakers at conference were Eileen Barnard-Harris, Cutting Edge Consortium, Marcus Morgan, Bisexual Index and Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah, UK Black Pride. There was also an informal discussion on The LGBT Community and the cuts, speaking on the panel were, Deborah Gold, GALOP and Suzanna YongLee, Unison.
Gay rights, human right Gay rights activists called on the trade union movement to ﬁght for same-sex relationships to be made legal around the world. The conference heard of the persecution and death that LGBT people still risk because of their sexuality. Many countries still treat same-sex acts as a crime, while in some countries, including South Africa; lesbians are subjected to “corrective” rape to “cure” them. www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:37:25
LONDON PRIDE Conference welcomed the recent UN Declaration of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which commits member states to respect and protect LGBT people’s human rights. It called on TUC-aﬃliated unions to work with sister organisations across the world to press for a universal decriminalisation of samesex relationships. Delegates honoured the memory of Ugandan gay rights activist, David Kato, who was bludgeoned to death this year after a newspaper published photographs of him and other LGBT people under the headline “Hang them.” Same-sex acts are illegal in Uganda and an MP tried unsuccessfully to push for the death penalty. Delegates praised Ugandan activists’ success in defeating the infamous anti-gay Bill. They vowed to “ﬂy the rainbow ﬂag” at counter-demonstrations. Ms Opoku-Gyimah urged delegates to encourage their unions to aﬃliate to UK Black Pride and do more to recruit LGBT black members. “We need to send a united message - no to public service cuts, no to fascism and no to Islamophobia.” LGBT RMT activists took to the rostrum to make the case for greater education about their struggles against prejudice and injustice in society. Train driver, Derrick Marr, described an incident where a pro-LGBT poster that he had put up in a workplace was turned face down by fellow workers. This showed the scale of the challenge, he said. “They need all the help they can get.”
London Pride Speaking at the London Pride parade on Saturday 2nd July, TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, urged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual people to join the TUC's campaign against cuts to public spending. At the rally in Trafalgar Square following the Pride march, Brendan Barber said 'It's great to be here today. I'm proud to bring greetings and solidarity from the TUC and the six million workers we represent’. 'I'm proud that the trade union movement and Britain's LGBT communities have forged such strong links, and proud that our sponsorship has helped keep Pride a free event for so many years. 'We meet this year at a critical time - as the Government forces through the fastest, deepest cuts in living memory. These reckless spending cuts will put LGBT equality at grave risk. 'Not just the massive reduction in local authority funding for voluntary sector groups, www.poauk.org.uk 22-23 GM LGBT.indd 23
nor just the cancellation of gender reassignment surgery on the NHS, but also the colossal cut in police spending, which will undermine the ﬁght against hate crime. The Government's education reforms will give a green light to more faith schools - a recipe for more prejudice against LGBT pupils and staﬀ. “So my message today is this: Unions and LGBT groups must make common cause in the ﬁght against the Government's agenda. Together we need to get organised, get active, and get campaigning. “I want LGBT people to be at the heart of the TUC's progressive coalition against austerity. Let's build a rainbow alliance against the cuts. “I was proud that there were so many LGBT people on our March for the Alternative in the spring, and it's vital we build on that momentum. “Let's be clear about one thing. Black and white, men and women, young and old, gay, straight, bi or trans - when it comes to ﬁghting these cuts, we're all in it together. So in the weeks and months ahead, let's work together, campaign together and ﬁght together for a fairer and more equal Britain.”
It was the ﬁrst time that the POA had taken part in the Pride march, those who took part where very proud to do so and carried the POA banner festooned in rainbow ﬂags with great pride. Lastly, I’m very proud to have been elected on to the LGBT Committee; it is a proud moment for this union. It is the ﬁrst time a POA member and serving Prison Oﬃcer will serve on TUC. Yours always in unity Anne Ruzylo Lewes Branch Chair
A short history Of LGBT rights 1290 - First mention of a punishment for homosexuality in English law 1885 - The oﬀence of ‘gross indecency’ is created, becoming the ﬁrst speciﬁcally anti-homosexual act 1895 - Oscar Wilde is tried and sentenced to two years hard labour under the 1885 Act 1946 - First case of sex reassignment surgery in Britain 1957 - Wolfenden report recommends decriminalising sex between consenting males. No government is willing to implement it for another ten years 1967 - Sexual Oﬀences Act comes into force, decriminalising homosexual acts performed by two men, over 21 years of age, and in ‘private’ 1971 - First gay march in London against unequal age of consent for gay men. Lesbians invade the platform of the Women’s Liberation Conference in Skegness demanding recognition 1972 - First Gay Pride march in London 1979 - Employment discrimination against trans people conﬁrmed as not sexual discrimination, so long as the employer discriminates against all trans people
1984 - Lesbians and gays support the miners group set up to support the National Union of Mineworkers in its long strike against pit closures 1988 - Lesbian activists abseil into the House of Lords and enter the BBC1’s newsroom while Sue Lawley reads the news, protesting against Section 28 1998 - First TUC Lesbian and Gay conference held 2003 - Repeal of Section 28, Employment Equality Regulations make it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the workplace. Sexual Oﬀences Act abolishes the crimes of gross indecency and buggery 2004 - Civil Partner Act gives samesex couples the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples. Gender Recognition Act enables trans people to acquire full legal equality in the acquired gender 2006 - The Equality Act 2006 establishes the Commission for Equality Human Rights and makes discrimination ‘on grounds of sexual orientation’ in the provision of goods and services illegal. This Act has now been undated. August 2011 23 27/7/11 09:28:08
BLACK WORKERS CONFERENCE The theme of the Black Workers Conference 2011 was “protecting public services, defending black communities.”
nce again, it was a passionate conference full of frustrated delegates from all unions who highlighted many issues of which we are all aware, such as budget cuts and pensions. However, it brought home the speciﬁc effects these will have on our BME members and their families. It also brought to attention some issues that were not as familiar such as the need for more BME organ donors. The POA was represented by Colin Moses, Su Akram and Perry Thomas as well as the other members of the Diversity Advisory Committee who were appointed as observers.
Brendon Barber On the ﬁrst day, Brendon Barber addressed Conference and amongst many of his points he expressed the cancers of the TUC in relation to the rise of the English Defense League (EDL) and the far right movement. He called on all trade unionists to expose them for what they truly are; lying, Islamaphobic, racist thugs. During his speech Brendon gave speciﬁc praise to Colin Moses and the work he has done to promote equality throughout his working life. Conference gave him a huge round of applause for the work he and the POA have done to eradicate and ban fascists from the POA and the Prison Service. Trevor Philips, the Chair of the Equality Human Rights Commission echoed these sentiments and passed his personal thanks to Colin during his address to Conference.
24 August 2011 24-25 GM Black Workers conf.indd 24
At the end of Saturday morning’s session Colin was invited on to the stage by the Chairman who paid homage to Colin’s work. Colin gave a short speech of thanks to the Conference. He was given a rapturous, standing ovation. This Union should be proud of the work Colin has put in, not only to the POA, the Black Workers Trade Union movement but the trade union movement as a whole.
“This Union should be proud of the work Colin has put in, not only to the POA, the Black Workers Trade Union movement but the trade union movement as a whole.” Con/Dem cuts Many of the motions concentrated on the Con/ Dem cuts and the impact they are having on the BME communities; 70 percent of the UK’s black communities live in the poorest areas and these cuts will only make them poorer. 40 percent of the BME workers work in the public sector and are at risk of losing their jobs and their pensions. Nearly half of young black people are unemployed with this number only set to
increase with the rise in tuition fees and cut in further education, leaving many young BME people without a choice or a future. Colin Moses seconded a motion on behalf of the POA which was moved by NAPO, this highlighted the Government’s ideological crusade to devastate public services and undermine the welfare state which will hit the BME communities hardest. Colin made it clear to Conference that we should not be barring any cuts and trade unionists should be on their own ideological crusade to stop them. He spoke about the high proportion of young black men and women locked up in our prisons and how the damaging eﬀects of the cuts will only see these ﬁgures increase. Colin closed his speech by telling Conference that all black activists should be safeguarding our communities and that we should send a clear message to the Government stop and stop now.
Conference welcomed collective action During the panel discussion on the Saturday morning a delegate from UCU called for leadership from the TUC and asked when they would call for a national general strike as it is realistically the only way this country could stand up and make a change. Roger McKenzie, Unison’s Assistant General Secretary, who sat on the panel applauded the individual unions who have taken strike action so far and stated that he could see collective action happening later this year in relation to the change in pension; this was warmly welcomed by Conference. An emergency motion was brought to conference after the panel discussion and this concentrated on the attack of the public sector pension’s scheme. It was moved by Unison who stated it is just a new tax on low paid workers and this will directly hit BME workers. Colin seconded this motion and added that everyone should be able to enjoy their retirement and not live in poverty after they have worked hard all their lives. He pressed that if there is going to be a general strike it better come quickly to stop them raping and pilaging our pensions. Su Akram then spoke on behalf of the POA on a motion regarding the rise of the EDL, She made it clear that the POA is not a right wing Union but a diverse Union and any fascist groups (whatever they wish to call www.poauk.org.uk 4/8/11 11:59:04
“Government CUTS will have a HEAVY, disproportionate and ADVERSE IMPACT on already
IMPOVERISHED BLACK COMMUNITIES.”
themselves) are not welcome and will never be welcome in our Union. Rightfully, this was well received by Conference.
“Racial and gender equality is at the heart of a socialist society.” Racial and gender equality On the Friday evening the whole delegation attended the Havana Club rum reception, Another World is Possible, Which to me was the most powerful and interesting part of Conference (and not just because of the rum!) Esther Armenteros Cardenas, the Cuban Ambassador, spoke about how racial and gender equality is at the heart of a socialist society. Alvaro Sanchez from the Venezuelan Embassy highlighted the good work done by the socialist movement of both Cuba and Alist (???? Is this right) movement of both Cuba and Venezuela, and how it is thanks to them that thousands of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have www.poauk.org.uk 24-25 GM Black Workers conf.indd 25
a health service and education, extending peoples’ rights and bringing them out of poverty. Colin Moses was asked to speak at the fringe meeting and highlighted that Cuba is a country that has been under constant attack from America - one of the biggest powers in the world and has not only just survived but thrived. He spoke about the ‘Miami 5’ and urged each trade unionist to support. The message from the fringe meeting was clear, there is another way for this country to tackle the deﬁcit and support our working class. Cuba and Venezuela are the proof; their revolution was a revolution for all who want a voice.
Public sector cuts mean lost jobs We all left conference with a greater understanding of how the Government cuts will have a heavy, disproportionate and adverse impact on already impoverished black communities. The BME communities rely on high quality and accessible public services to look after their families and many of the black voluntary sector and
black community groups face extinction as a result of cuts to grant funding. The reality is that public sector cuts mean lost jobs depleted service fewer rights and a new era of hardship. All POA members need to encourage and support the organisation of black workers in the trade union movement to challenge the disproportionate adverse impact of these cuts. Work with black community, organizations and activists to highlight the eﬀects of cuts in black communities and campaign against them. Brian Traynor National Executive Committee
August 2011 25 3/8/11 10:55:44
HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE
Joe Simpson Assistant Secretary of the POA sets out some of the key areas of Health and Safety POA members, like other workers, face a wide range of Health and Safety problems in the workplace. These are some of the common issues which need to be addressed by employers and employees: • Slips, trips and falls • Needlestick injuries • Control and restraint training accidents • Violence in the workplace – assaults • Smoking in the workplace • Stress, bullying and harassment • Asbestos • Self-inﬂicted deaths. Your employer has the duty to look after your health and safety whilst you are at work. In my opinion, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASWA 1974) is the most 26 August 2011 26-27 GM H&S in the workplace.indd 26
important piece of legislation for workers, unfortunately not many workers know of its existence and all too often employers ignore it. It applies to all workplaces in the country and imposes general duties for health and safety. Employers have the main esponsibilities, they must: • Ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their employees • Produce a written policy statement as to how they intend to do this • Consult with Union Health and Safety Reps. They also have responsibilities for any other people who may use their premises or be aﬀected by their business.
Employees have duties to: • Take care that they do not put themselves or others at risk • Co-operate with the employers’ health and safety arrangements. The employee’s duties are not a huge part of the act but the employer takes most of the burden of responsibility. If you are a POA member who has managerial responsibility for the health and safety of staff who work in your area, you should ensure that your employer provides you with the training and resources to fulfil your responsibilities. If you have any difficulties please contact your Health and Safety Rep or Branch Committee. www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:38:55
GENERAL MATTERS Health and Safety Reps are not legal experts and don’t need to know the ﬁne details of the diﬀerent Regulations. It is the employers’ responsibility to which laws apply and to ensure they are fully compliant with them.
More regulations Since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act, other regulations have been passed which spell out in more detail the legal duties which have to be followed. Examples include: • Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations • Management of health and safety at work regulations • The Manual Handling Operations Regulations • The Display Screen Equipment Regulations • Personal Protective Equipment Regulations. Many of these Regulations have been introduced to meet the requirements of European directives on health and safety. www.poauk.org.uk 26-27 GM H&S in the workplace.indd 27
A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that the employer can weigh up whether they have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. Workers and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures. The employer is legally required to assess the risks in your workplace so that they can put in place a plan to control the risks. The risk assessment must be recorded, if there are ﬁve or more employees, which should include: • The hazards involved • The control measures put in place • The workers and people who are aﬀected. The employer has a legal duty to consult with the Health and Safety Rep on both the planning of the risk assessment procedure and on the detail of individual risk assessments. As a Health and Safety Rep you are entitled to have access to the risk assessments in your workplace. The regulations are quite clear on risk assessment, as well as identifying the hazards the risk assessment should also be used to put in place certain measures which should reduce the risk of harm. When your employer is doing the risk assessment they should look at: • Eliminating the risk entirely by altering the way in which work can be done • If this is not possible then ﬁnd ways to control the risk giving priority to measures which will give the widest protection to workers and the workplace • PPE should only be used where there is no other way of protecting workers from the risk. Once the assessment has been completed the employer still has to ensure that the measures put in place to control the risk are eﬀective. If they are not working or there are changes which will aﬀect the workplace then the risk assessment has to be reviewed. This is not a one oﬀ exercise, it is continuous and part of managing health and safety eﬀectively by ensuring hazards are being controlled.
What are your rights as an employee? Your rights as an employee to work in a safe and healthy environment are given to you by law, and generally can't be changed or removed by your employer. The most important rights are: 1. As far as possible, to have any risks to your health and safety properly controlled 2. To be provided, free of charge, with any personal protective and safety equipment
3. If you have reasonable concerns about your safety, to stop work and leave your work area without being disciplined 4. To tell your employer about any health and safety concerns you have 5. To get in touch with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local authority if your employer won’t listen to your concerns without being disciplined 6. To have rest breaks during the working day, to have time oﬀ from work during the working week, and to have annual paid holiday.
What are your responsibilities as an employee? Your most important responsibilities as an employee are: 1. To take reasonable care of your own health and safety 2. To take reasonable care not to put other people - fellow employees and members of the public - at risk by what you do or don’t do in the course of your work 3. To co-operate with your employer, making sure you get proper training and you understand and follow the company’s health and safety policies 4. Not to interfere with or misuse anything that’s been provided for your health, safety or welfare 5. To report any injuries, strains or illnesses you suﬀer as a result of doing your job (your employer may need to change the way you work) 6. To tell your employer if something happens that might aﬀect your ability to work (eg becoming pregnant or suﬀering an injury) - your employer has a legal responsibility for your health and safety, they may need to suspend you while they ﬁnd a solution to the problem, but you will normally be paid if this happens 7. If you drive or operate machinery, to tell your employer if you take medication that makes you drowsy - they should temporarily move you to another job if they have one for you to do. If a risk assessment is not in place then under the HASWA 1974 your employer is breaking the law and it is your responsibility to remove yourself from the area until it a suitable and suﬃcient risk assessment is in place. It is your right to see the risk assessments that cover you in the workplace read them your life may depend on it. Health and Safety is not a separate area in the workplace for specialists to work on their own. It is linked with other issues in the workplace such as shift systems, discipline and work organisation. Health and safety in the workplace must be an issue for everyone in the union not just the Health and Safety Reps. Joe Simpson Assistant Secretary August 2011 27 3/8/11 09:48:35
DOES PRISON WORK? Glyn Travis, Assistant Secretary of the POA, sets out his views and ﬁndings as to why he believes prison works, but questions how budget cuts and Government policies will affect the long term effectiveness of prisons and the criminal justice system
he POA recently conducted a straw poll of the general public at a rally in London and asked the simple question, does prison work? The results of the survey of 1000 people produced the following information, 93 percent said prison works, two percent were not sure and ﬁve percent said that prison did not work. On the basis of this straw poll; I think we can categorically state that the general public believes prison works. However, we should not be complacent because we need to understand the role of the service and more importantly the general public’s perception of prison and prison life.
The Prison Service Statement of Purpose states: Her Majesty’s Prison Service serves the public by keeping those committed by the courts in custody. Our duty is to look after them with humanity and help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release. The Prison Service vision is: • To provide the very best prison services so that we are the provider of choice • To work towards this vision by securing the following key objectives; and Their objectives are: To protect the public and provide what commissioners want to purchase by: • Holding prisoners securely • Reducing the risk of prisoners re-oﬀending • Providing safe and well-ordered establishments in which we treat prisoners humanely, decently and lawfully. If we look at the vision and objectives of the service you can quickly establish the issues that they have control over and those that they do not. The prison service record of escapes is exemplary and therefore they are achieving this element of the statement.
Prisoners at large The Prison Service has to deal with prison overcrowding on a daily basis but the underlying 28 August 2011 28 GM Does Prison work.indd 28
problems of this has impacted on the day to day security of our prisons and more importantly the safety of the public, unfortunately, as a result of this there is a signiﬁcant number of prisoners at large. The prisoners at large have absconded from open conditions they are dangerous and pose a risk to the public. This is not down to the service but society, the courts and of course Government who refuse to provide the required number of secure prison places, and as a result the service has to gamble with security to manage the daily population. On top of this we now witness a Government that is closing prisons in a bid to save money, abandoning the policy that “prison works” and ignoring the evidence that prison does address oﬀending behaviour, prepare prisoners to lead law-abiding lives and reduce re-oﬀending rates.
Prisoner welfare The Prison Service record in respect of looking after prisoners with humanity and helping them to lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release is good. It could and should be better, but this is of course down to the Government who are responsible for the budget allocated to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) each year. In 2010 the National Oﬀender Management Service published data that said 35 percent of prisoners discharged from prison had secured full employment upon release. We have to ask, has any other Government department had such a success considering that the service only manage those whom society can no longer trust? I also have to ask why this Government is pressing ahead with its payment by results scheme which will again end up costing the tax payer in the long-term. All too often as a result of budget cuts, we see the regime of prisons being curtailed or regimes introduced which have little or no structure. This leads to a dangerous and violent environment and as a result, staﬀ and prisoners are assaulted. Again this leads to compensation claims, prolonged sick absences, police investigations and the tax payer footing the bill at the end of the day.
Sentencing reforms The public was enraged at the sentencing reforms proposed by the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke reforms that were proposed to save money not protect the public or the victims of crime. These proposals were the subject of a Government Uturn, but have now forced the MOJ to ﬁnd around £114 million that the changes would have realised from within the MOJ budget. So how will this additional saving impact on the criminal justice system and a service that is in meltdown? My fear and the fear of many organisations is that there will be insuﬃcient numbers of police oﬃcers to deal with crime as they face up to a 20 percent reduction in their budget. The probation service will not have the necessary resources to deal with oﬀenders on licence and as a result they will return to crime much sooner. In 2010 the probation service had 240,000 case loads. The court system is at crisis point with 130 Magistrates Courts closing. This will result in more remand prisoners, prisoners who should be in prison out on the streets and more crime being committed. End result - a criminal justice system in meltdown and the general public at risk. You have to ask yourself if is this acceptable.
Conclusion On the evidence available it is clear that prison works and it will only stop working if this Coalition Government presses ahead with its budget cuts. Whilst oﬀenders are in prison the public is safe. The public are only at risk when the Government’s savings backﬁre and the cost of failure is borne by the tax payer. Glyn Travis Assistant Secretary www.poauk.org.uk 26/7/11 16:26:40
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T W E S 07 0
RETIRED MEMBERS Pete Chapple, POA Finance Ofﬁcer, sets out proposals to introduce a death beneﬁt for retired members and seeks their views on the proposals.
he POA established the retired members section as set out in the rules and constitution many years ago and following signiﬁcant changes, this group has steadily grown in size with membership currently standing at 2,679. The entitlements for retired members are set out under rule 5.2 and it has been decided by the NEC that we should look at the feasibility of introducing a death beneﬁt for existing and new members of the retired members section. If we are to provide this entitlement the Union will require retired members to make monthly contributions by direct debit to subsidise in part the costs of providing this additional beneﬁt. If retired members agree that they would like this beneﬁt to be provided, this proposal would have to be put before annual conference in 2012 as a rule change. www.poauk.org.uk 31 Retired Members.indd 31
All retired members who opt into the scheme will automatically become members of the POA welfare fund and as such, be eligible to apply for assistance, in addition to the entitlement of a death beneﬁt. However, there will be a qualifying period of six months to qualify for these beneﬁts but in line with Union policy the executive can use their discretion on a case-by-case basis in relation to the payment of death beneﬁt. Having looked at the current entitlements and costs to the Union, it is envisaged that retired members who sign up to the new scheme will be required to pay a monthly fee of £5.50. Fifty pence of the monthly contribution will be paid into the welfare fund and the remaining £5 will go into the general fund to cover all associated costs. The level of death beneﬁt will be set at £1,250 subject to the approval of annual conference.
If you believe this is a worthwhile proposal you will ﬁnd the form to be completed on our website http://www.poauk.org. uk/index.php?retired-members uk/index.php?retired-member Alternatively you can write to the Finance Oﬃcer at Cronin House or email ﬁnance@poauk.org.uk email@example.com . If we receive signiﬁcant interest in the proposal we will set out the necessary rule changes and procedures and present it to annual conference in May 2012. If passed by conference then all retired members will be sent the necessary documentation in June 2012. I look forward to your replies. Yours Sincerely Pete Chapple Finance Ofﬁcer August 2011 31 3/8/11 09:44:49
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
DURHAM MINERS’ GALA
Glyn Travis, Assistant Secretary, reports on the 127th Durham Miners’ Gala which took place on Saturday 9 July 2011.
nce again the POA was represented at the Durham Miners Gala an event I can only describe as a true celebration of culture, struggles gone-by and trade unionism. This was my ﬁrst visit to the Gala and on a personal note, I was disappointed in myself that I had not previously supported the event considering that my brothers and my father worked in the pits. The trade union movement must never be allowed to forget that the Thatcher-led Tory government destroyed the local communities when they closed the pits in an attempt to smash the miners and the scars of the strike still run deep. The POA’s delegation consisted of Steve Gillan, Steve Bostock, Joe Simpson, Jackie Marshall and I, and we did bump into POA members during the march and Gala which was a good thing. The day started at around 8 o’clock with the streets of Durham ﬁlling up to watch and support each of the sections as they made their way to the ﬁnal destination; the City ground in Durham. The weather was a mixture of bright sunshine and torrential rain but this did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance. It was great to see our General Secretary, Steve Gillan, walking through the crowds supporting the trade union movement, as always, Steve never forgets his roots and keeps in touch with all members
Bob Crowe, General Secretary of the RMT addresses the gala from the platform
irrespective of their union membership. As the procession moved through the streets, thousands of people congregated on the City ground and the smell of the fairground ﬁlled the atmosphere as children ran around playing and eating ice creams, burgers and hot dogs. The organisation of the Gala ensured a steady stream of bands which marched across the park, proudly carrying their banners.
Support from abroad It was pleasing to see representatives from America and other European countries at the Gala and tributes were paid to miners from across the world that have lost their lives working to support the economies of the world. During the march, every band passed the County Hotel and senior oﬃcials from trade unions, MPs and members of the legal
(L-R) Glynn Travis, Steve Bostock, Vice-Chairman and Joe Simpson, Assistant Secretary mingle with crowds in the streets of Durham
32 August 2011 32-34 durham miners.indd 32
www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:42:05
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
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August 2011 33 8/8/11 10:44:31
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
Jackie Marshall, Branch Secretary at HMPYOI Stoke Heath makes her way to the platform
profession expressed their support and gave encouragement to all from the balcony. Colin Moses, the POA ex-National Chairman was an invited guest and as always Colin showed his admiration to everyone in his own style. The local services were out in force to make sure everyone was safe and well. The local constabulary had a strong presence but managed the day with a great deal of professionalism, as did the St. Johns Ambulance service and NHS staﬀ. It was of course ﬁtting for the NHS to be represented as it has just celebrated its 65th anniversary and is facing unprecedented cuts to frontline staﬀ as the budget cuts place a freeze (or reduction in real terms) on it for the next four years. Again, it was great to see other unions at the Gala supporting the day and promoting the campaigns that the POA and TUC are involved in as we all attempt to protect public services. The opening address from the President, Dave Guy, was heartfelt and emotional as he paid tribute to those miners who had lost their lives and a great stalwart of the Gala Tony Benn, who had been taken ill that morning. The guest speakers included Bob Crow, (General Secretary of the RMT), Len McCluskey, (Unite General Secretary), Cathy Jamieson MP and Dave Prentis, (Unison General Secretary). The timing of the Gala could not have been better as part of Murdoch’s empire came crashing down with the closure of the News of the World and David Cameron was again in the spotlight for all the right reasons as his involvement in matters were under public scrutiny. However, we should not forget the innocent bystanders in this action as hundreds of workers are at risk of losing their jobs. Throughout the day, individuals made passionate speeches but the words of the President remain with me: “We inherit our past but structure our futures.” I will close by setting out the theme of this years’ Gala which was opposition to the attacks being made on workers and their organisations. Public services and the trade union movement face the most savage attacks since the 1930s. The POA, as a responsible trade union, must stand side-by-side with the rest of the trade union movement and workers of today to prevent the welfare state being destroyed. The march on the 26 March 2011 organised by the TUC and the strikes that took place on the 30 June must be the start of the ﬁght - not the end. The historic Gala at Durham is a symbol of solidarity and it is up to every worker and trade unionist to stop this ConDem government imposing its will on the most vulnerable in an attempt to balance the books and make them pay for the capitalist crisis created by the bankers and banking industry. Glyn Travis
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www.poauk.org.uk 4/8/11 11:04:02
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
TOLPUDDLE MARTYRS FESTIVAL AND MARCH Joe Simpson, Assistant Secretary of the POA, reports on this year’s festival and march in recognition of the six farm labourers who were arrested on 24 February 1834.
he festival and rally has been taking place for many years and whilst in the early days the POA contingency was small, it has grown year by year. This was my ﬁfth year and I have to say it was my most enjoyable, although the weather could have been a little kinder. The festival has a proven history of being successful due to its popular mix of politics, music, theatre, poetry, stalls and entertainment for all the family and union activists. The estimated cost of the event is approximately £100,000 and whilst a signiﬁcant amount is raised, the balance is picked up by the TUC. It would be wrong not to place on record our thanks to the TUC for their support in this key annual calendar event. Members of the POA’s delegation started to arrive on Thursday and pitched their tents in preparation for the weekend. Some of the live music and entertainers taking part included Cosmo, Thomas and the Mock Ups, Maddy Carty, Bag Ofrats, Flap Jack and Billy Bragg, all of whom played their part in the eventful and successful weekend. On Sunday 17 July 2011 the POA had to cancel the ‘hike for rights’ because to the poor weather report for the Sunday morning. We have seen the numbers grow on the hike and did not want to put anyone at risk due to the rain and poor visibility that was forecast. The rain did come but only lasted for an hour and was not the heavy rain that was forecast, thank you BBC - not the ﬁrst time you have let the POA down! 36 August 2011 36-37 Tolpuddle.indd 36
www.poauk.org.uk 26/7/11 15:44:04
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
15 -17 JULY 2011
I would like to personally thank the POA committee and staﬀ at Dorchester for their support. This year’s numbers again increased and it was pleasing to see the POA’s banner being proudly displayed once again alongside many other trade unions. The event has many supporters, including the TUC and I have listed some of those below: PCS, ATL, GMB, NUJ, NAPO, Usdaw, Unite, CWU, TSSA, ACCORD, Union Learn and of course the POA. If I have missed anyone oﬀ I apologise but all of the supporters and information on Tolpuddle is available at www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk If you did not attend this year, please try to attend next year and I promise you will enjoy the experience. Joe Simpson Assistant Secretary www.poauk.org.uk 36-37 Tolpuddle.indd 37
August 2011 37 27/7/11 11:05:41
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
JUSTICE IN MELTDOWN On 6 July 2011, the POA and sister trades unions, NAPO and the PCS, held a brieﬁng session in the House of Commons for Members of Parliament.
e were joined at the event by members of the Police Federation, who are not a trade union but represent police ofﬁcers up and down the country who face similar challenges to that of POA, NAPO and PCS members as a result dangerous budget cuts imposed by the Con-Dem Government. The event was sponsored and chaired by Elfyn Llwyd MP, who is also the Chair of the allparty Justice Unions Parliamentary Group. The Unions and the Police Federation were represented on the top table by Glyn Travis (POA), Harry Fletcher (NAPO), Norina O’Hare (PCS) and Julie Nesbit (Police Federation). A number of Parliamentarians attended and addressed the meeting. Speakers; Gerry Sutcliﬀe MP, Nia Griﬃth MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, Andy Slaughter, Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Sadiq Khan and John McDonnell MP. Lord Maclennan of Rogart, a member from the House of Lords attended and addressed the meeting sending out a clear message of support.
Impact of Government cuts The extent of Government cuts are becoming more evident to those working on the front line of our criminal justice system and the Justice in Meltdown event appeared to be a great success. The publication of the short report by those unions involved demonstrated the impact the Government’s cuts will have on their role and functions within the Criminal Justice System. We have reproduced the introduction and would ask
that every member reads it and considers how it will impact on them individually, their place of work and of course society in general. The full report can be accessed at www.poauk.org.uk This event highlighted the inherent dangers that cuts to the Ministry of Justice budget pose to the public and those workers in the criminal justice system. The campaign continues as the POA and all other justice trade unions draw to the public’s attention the impact these cuts will have on society.
Introduction The criminal justice system is facing an unprecedented crisis. Major cuts to the police, probation, courts, and legal aid and prison budgets mean that the services will be unable to carry out their core statutory duties. As a consequence, crimes will go undetected, courts will experience delays and adjournments, individuals will not be represented in hearings and those on probation or in prison will not receive assistance with rehabilitation. Standards will deteriorate across the whole of the system, there will be more victims, more acquisitive and violent crime, additional costs and public protection compromises. The trade unions and professional associations representing those working in the criminal justice system have joined together in a unique campaign to highlight the consequences of the budget cuts to parliament the public and the media. The four organisations NAPO, the Police Federation, the POA and PCS represent over 210,000 criminal justice practitioners and staﬀ. John McDonnell MP
Policing The police budget is to be cut by around 20 percent. In addition, police terms and conditions, pay, pensions, training and career opportunities are all under scrutiny, leading to low morale and increasing disillusionment among the ranks. Yet HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary has said any budget cut of more than 12 percent over the period would be unachievable without damage to frontline services. In a recent Moray survey, 86 percent of those questioned said they did not want to see any erosion of the service they received from the police. Cuts of the magnitude that have been announced cannot be absorbed by re-engineering the back oﬃce and cutting bureaucratic processes as the Government claims. In the view of the Police Federation and the other justice unions this is an attack not just on the pay of police oﬃcers but on the whole framework of the service. In reality, the proposals contained in the Winsor Report on oﬃcers’ allowances will take over £480 million out of the pay packets of rank and ﬁle oﬃcers.
Court services PCS has reported that the Government intends to reduce demand for justice services. This risks undermining public conﬁdence in the justice system as a whole. The Crown Prosecution Service is facing a 25 percent reduction over the next four years which will mean a reduction of 13 percent in the number of staﬀ. The Government is currently closing 93 Magistrates’ Courts and 42 Crown Courts leading to the loss of hundreds of jobs. 38 August 2011 38-40 Justice in Meltdown.indd 38
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CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS PCS warns this will lead to increasing backlogs in both the courts and the tribunal services. Witnesses and victims will have to travel long distances if they are involved in court proceedings. This will disproportionately aﬀect those in disadvantaged areas. The Government is increasing out of court disposals. Currently, more than 50 percent of criminal oﬀences result in a ﬁne or a caution without getting to court. In the view of criminal justice organisations this will undermine the delivery of local justice. A cut in ﬁne enforcement work has led to a reduction in the number of staﬀ and outstanding ﬁnes imposed by courts presently exceed £600 million. PCS is becoming increasingly concerned about the creeping privatisation across the justice sector in areas such as criminal ﬁne enforcement. Not only does this represent a threat to workers’ jobs but it also represents a threat to security and could lead to decisions being made for proﬁt rather than for justice.
Legal aid PCS and the other unions are deeply concerned about the Government’s plans to cut legal aid. This will reduce access to justice which will aﬀect the most vulnerable in society. Many victims of domestic abuse will not now get legal aid for residence orders which may be necessary in order to get accommodation for their children. A failure by women to receive legal aid in domestic violence proceedings will aﬀect their well-being and safety. PCS is concerned that £350 million is to be taken out of the £914 million annual budget for civil and family legal aid by 2014. This will have a devastating impact and will aﬀect one in four of those currently receiving legal aid. This is likely to increase the number of unrepresented cases within the whole court system which will lead to lengthier court proceedings; causing disruption and delay to the delivery of justice.
Prison service The number of oﬀenders in prison has risen from 48,000 in 1993 to a current all-time high of over 85,000. This has not been matched by an increase in staﬀ numbers or in their terms and conditions. Further cuts are now being imposed
on the prison service which will cut the number of frontline staﬀ, leading to more and more time that prisoners will spend locked in their cells and less and less time on rehabilitation, literacy and skills for work activities. As of March this year there were 32,241 staﬀ working in all prisons. The prison service staﬃng levels could be cut by 29 percent over the next four years. This is bound to aﬀect prisoner goodwill and the ability to maintain control and order. The POA has pointed out that HMP Ashwell was all but destroyed by riots 18 months ago and there was over £2 million worth of damage done to HMP Ford at the beginning of this year. In the POA’s view the Government wants to cut prison budgets to a point where prisons become nothing more than warehouses for oﬀenders and this will adversely aﬀect reoﬀending rates. This year also saw the ﬁrst privatisation of a public sector prison, with the announcement that from October 2011, HMP Birmingham will be handed over to G4S. This handover has, in the opinion of the POA, more to do with political dogma than it does with seeking value for money for the British tax payer.
Probation service Probation trusts are experiencing a cut of up to 9.8 percent for the ﬁnancial year 2010/11 and further cuts will follow and are expected to exceed 15 percent by 2013/14. This can only be achieved by reducing staﬀ numbers and closing oﬃces. Already, oﬃces have been shut down in at least 12 probation trusts meaning that staﬀ and oﬀenders have to travel greater distances for their appointments and this is bound to impact negatively on compliance rates. NAPO expects that the staﬃng complement will fall from 20,000 to 17,000 over the period and these cuts will inevitably lead to changes in court report writers’ and sentencers’ behaviour. Staﬀ will not be able to recommend community orders if there is no one available to supervise them and this in turn will impact on prison numbers and cause further stress and strain. Many probation programmes, such as those for sex oﬀenders and the perpetrators of domestic violence, are already being cut or are subject to severe delays. Often the commencement of the course has not occurred
before a 12 month supervision order has expired. NAPO has calculated that if just 20,000 fewer orders are made per year it could add almost 4,000 to the daily prison population.
Payment by results NAPO and the other unions are extremely critical of payment by results schemes. They are going to be diﬃcult to monitor, very hard to evaluate and, as they are based on oﬀenders who volunteer for help, are likely to have distorted outcomes. • The Criminal Justice System is dealing increasingly with individuals who have been convicted of often violent or sexual crimes • The caseloads of all those working in the system are at an unprecedented high level. Fewer staﬀ will mean more casework for everyone who is left, greater ineﬃciency, increased stress and plummeting morale. Unless the Government changes course and invests in justice rather than decimating it, the service will free fall into meltdown • As a consequence crime will increase, there will be more victims and public protection will be compromised.
Reaction to ‘Justice in Meltdown’ Harry Fletcher, Assistant General Secretary of NAPO, the Probation Union, said: “Cuts to budgets will mean the Probation Service will not be able to perform its statutory duties.” Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS, said: “The Government is eﬀectively trying to deliver justice on the cheap because of an ideological drive to cut public spending and privatise services.” Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the POA, said: “If the Coalition Government had a fair taxation system, which stopped tax avoidance and evasion, then the cuts to our public services would be unnecessary.” Simon Reed, Vice Chairman of the Police Federation of England & Wales, said: “We are expecting to see a loss of up to 28,000 police oﬃcers and police staﬀ by the end of 2012. Despite Government rhetoric, it’s quite simple - all you get for less is less.”
Conclusion The event clearly demonstrated that the Criminal Justice System is in meltdown and the public perception and that of MP’s has to change if society is to be protected. The attacks on the welfare state if left unchecked will take a life time to rebuild. We urge you all to do your bit in promoting the campaign and supporting your Union in the challenges that lie ahead.
Glyn Travis, POA speaking to Elfyn Llwyd MP, Chair of Event
www.poauk.org.uk 38-40 Justice in Meltdown.indd 39
Glyn Travis, Assistant Secretary Steve Lewis, Research Ofﬁcer August 2011 39 26/7/11 16:38:11
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
UNION LEADERS COMMENT ON THE STRIKES ON 30 JUNE Jonathan Ledger, 2011 Chair of the TUCG and General Secretary of NAPO, said: “Napo applauds our sister unions taking strike action today. The Coalition’s attacks on jobs and pay and conditions has angered and dismayed working people across our vital public services.” Ronnie Draper, General Secretary of BFAWU said: “The BFAWU fully supports our comrades in other unions who will be taking action on 30 June in defence of their pensions and all our public services.”
Bob Monks, General Secretary of URTU said: “URTU applauds our sister unions taking strike action today. Forcing loyal, hard-working staﬀ to pay more work longer and get less, without a scintilla of actuarial justiﬁcation, is morally wrong. To all taking part in strike action, the URTU says we support you and stand in solidarity with you regarding this unwarranted attack by the Coalition Government.”
Matt Wrack, General Secretary of FBU said: “Fire-ﬁghters fully support the hundreds of thousands of public service workers going on strike in protest at the legalised theft of their pensions. They and their unions have already faced a vicious backlash of threats and attacks from the new breed of Thatcherite public service bashers in the ranks of the coalition.” Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of NUJ said: “Greater poverty in retirement is the price front-line public sector workers are expected to pay for a crisis they didn’t create whilst the bankers who caused the crisis are once again reaping rich rewards. No wonder public sector staﬀ are angry.” Steve Gillan, General Secretary of POA said: “The POA wish our fellow trade unions all the very best with industrial action on 30 June 2011. POA members will be conducting protest meetings at lunch-time all over the United Kingdom in solidarity with PCS, UCU, NUT and ATL in order to protect public sector pensions.” Bob Crow, General Secretary of RMT said: “With the unprecedented attack on jobs and services unleashed on all fronts, the only possible response is unity across the labour movement, alongside pensioners, students, passengers and all service users, with coordinated strike action, civil disobedience and a crescendo of protest.”
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CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
PRISON COMPETITION AND CLOSURES ANNOUNCEMENT The NEC responds to the announcement to close two prisons and compete eight public sector prisons and one private prison.
e are extremely disappointed with the announcement from the Secretary of State. It is clear to the POA and its membership that this Government is intent on abdicating its responsibilities to public sector workers and the public in an attempt to balance the books. This announcement has the potential to privatise the entire probation service and upwards of 10 percent of the prison service in England and Wales. The POA is mandated to cooperate with NOMS and the Business Development Group, which will lead in managing and providing public sector bids. Our aim is to retain all public sector prisons in the public sector, in addition to bringing HMP Wolds under public ownership (a prison currently managed by G4S). The privatisation of public services is about profit and whilst we accept that savings are inevitable, there are alternatives. To date the Coalition Government are reluctant to discuss these alternatives. It is widely accepted by economists that competition only produced savings after four to ﬁve years. The POA has a proven track record of assisting in making year on year savings in every public sector prison. We question the rationale of Mr Clarke in refusing to re-engage with the Performance Testing programme, which deliver instant savings and improvements to regimes, security and safety. For information we have reproduced the Ministerial statement from the Ministry of Justice which sets out the Secretary of State’s vision for a transformed justice system here;
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WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT - MINISTRY OF JUSTICE Prison and Probation Services in England and Wales The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Kenneth Clarke, QC): In the response to the Green Paper: Breaking the Cycle: Eﬀective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Oﬀenders, I set out a vision for a transformed justice system that will focus on public protection and cutting crime. An important part of delivering the changes I am committed to is ensuring that the services we provide are focused on delivering the best possible outcomes and the greatest value for money. Competition between providers of our services can help us to meet these challenges as the previous Government recognised when they made contestability a feature of Oﬀender Services when setting up the National Oﬀender Management Service in 2004. The Competition Strategy for Oﬀender Services, which I have published today, sets out how we will change the way we use competition to meet these aims. My approach is based on ensuring an eﬀective balance between making services
more eﬃcient while reforming them so that they provide better outcomes for the public. In doing so, we will draw on a wide range of expertise from the private and voluntary sector, which will work in partnership with a strong public sector. For Oﬀender Services, I intend to employ the principle that competition will apply at some stage to all those services not currently bound to public sector delivery by statute. This will mean the beneﬁts of competition can be felt much more widely, contrasting with the previous approach of only using competition when procuring new services or as a way of managing poor performance. Underpinning this approach will be our commitment to apply more widely the principles of payment by results to services which reduce reoﬀending. By paying some or all of a contract value on the basis of the reduced re-oﬀending levels achieved, we can focus service providers’ eﬀorts on what works. This will ensure that money spent on rehabilitation is spent eﬀectively. We intend to run a number continued overleaf >> The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke, QC
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CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS << continued from previous page
of pilot exercises and competition will be a key mechanism in deciding which models we adopt. In practice, this will mean taking a diﬀerent approach for both custodial and noncustodial services. The use of competition in custodial services is now well established as most recently demonstrated by the successful outcome of the competition for four prisons which I announced in March this year. To ensure that we build on this strong record I am announcing today my intention to launch competitions for the management of a further 9 prisons in the autumn. These are Lindholme, Moorland, Hatﬁeld and The Wolds in Yorkshire, Acklington and Castington in Northumberland, Durham, Onley in Northamptonshire and Coldingley in Surrey. The Wolds is a prison run by G4S that has come to the end of its current contract; the other 8 prisons are public sector establishments being competed for the ﬁrst time. The public sector will have the opportunity to compete in all of these prison competitions. These prisons have been selected by the National Oﬀender Management Service to balance our need to increase eﬃciency and to make real the policy intent of the Green Paper. Looking to the future, there is a need to consider the future shape of Probation services in England and Wales to improve justice outcomes and to make the justice system more eﬃcient and eﬀective. I have asked my oﬃcials to explore the possible options for service improvements and diﬀerent models of delivering oﬀender services within the community. I will set out my preferred approach in the Autumn. Alongside this, and supporting it, I will set out in detail my competition strategy for non-custodial services, which will also encompass the recently launched competition for Community Payback services, the competition for Electronic Monitoring contracts I am announcing today, and payment by results pilots in the community. A further important element of our drive for greater eﬃciency is to ensure we have a modern, ﬁt-for-purpose prison estate which can deliver high quality, cost eﬀective and secure regimes. With the prison population not growing at the rate predicted by the last Government, we have an opportunity to close some of our more ineﬃcient places. I am therefore announcing the closure of HMPs Latchmere House and Brockhill. This will see a reduction of 377 prison spaces. This is part of an overall programme which includes a further 2500 new prison places becoming available over the next 12 months. This will ensure that our operational capacity continues to handle the projected prison population in a way which meets the need both for greater efficiency and ability to support a strengthened focus on protection of the public and rehabilitation. The closure of these places will provide estimated cost savings of £4.9 million this year and an on-going annual saving of £11.4 million. We also anticipate capital receipts from sale of the land at Latchmere House, which is in a prime location. We will transfer resettlement provision from that establishment to HMP Brixton to maintain our focus on reducing re-oﬀending. We expect to be able to absorb staﬀ displaced by this process elsewhere in the system and to avoid the use of compulsory redundancies. The public have a right to expect continuing improvement in the quality and eﬃciency of public services, without compromising public safety. The competition strategy and adjustments to the prison estate I have outlined today will help ensure that this is the case. 42 August 2011 41-43x Closures.indd 42
Our response to NOMS article In addition to the Ministerial Statement we must respond to the Intranet Article from NOMS as a result of the announcement which is also reproduced in part for information; The Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke, has announced the closure of one establishment and part of another and the next phase of a programme of competitions designed to deliver better value for money and eﬃciency. HMP Latchmere House and part of HMP Hewell, formerly known as HMP Brockhill, will close because there is a substantial gap between our available capacity and the actual population. There are an additional 2,500 places scheduled to come into use over the next 12 months which makes it possible to close older and ineﬃcient accommodation. Competitions will take place at eight public sector establishments, HMP Acklington, HMP/YOI Castington, HMP Coldingley, HMP Durham, HMP/YOI Hatﬁeld, HMP/IRC Lindholme, HMP/YOI Moorland and HMP/YOI Onley over the next year. HMP Wolds, which is currently managed by G4S, will also be competed. The new competitions mark the latest step in a series of competitions which will help improve value for money for the taxpayer and achieve better outcomes within existing resources. Sites were selected because of the potential they present for innovation to drive forward the Government’s reform agenda combined with the potential to improve eﬃciency and achieve cost reduction. In selecting establishments NOMS has also taken into account the future of the Prison Estate. Because of their role and strategic importance it is anticipated that those prisons selected for competition will be required to provide capacity places for the foreseeable future. NOMS Chief Executive Oﬃcer, Michael Spurr, said: “Today’s announcement is signiﬁcant for everyone working in oﬀender services and I recognise that staﬀ in establishments aﬀected will be anxious and concerned. “The The competition strategy marks a signiﬁcant change in the use of competition to drive value for money. It sets out a model where competition is the norm across all Oﬀender Services with the aim of developing a strong and diverse mix of providers from public, private and voluntary sectors. “The The public sector will have opportunity to bid for all its prisons and will want to submit strong compelling bids which have the support of staﬀ and Trades Unions. The success in winning Buckley Hall and in gaining SLA contract extensions at Manchester and Hewell demonstrates that the public sector can compete successfully and win contracts in a competitive process. “Competed sites have been selected following an assessment of the potential for innovation and opportunities to drive eﬃciency. The closures have been decided following a rigorous evaluation of every establishment in the prison estate based on age and economic factors, such as operating costs and outstanding maintenance issues, and the geographic and strategic function they provide to the rest of the Prison Service. We have also taken account of the land value at HMP Latchmere House which has the potential to generate signiﬁcant capital receipts. “We have a duty to the public to provide the best services we can while ensuring value for money. But we also have a commitment to treat staﬀ fairly and I am determined to do so. There will be no compulsory redundancies from these closures, instead staﬀ will be oﬀered opportunity for redeployment or, if appropriate, voluntary exit. “Staﬀ Staﬀ at the sites to be competed will need to work with the Governor and the bid team to build a strong www.poauk.org.uk 3/8/11 09:00:56
CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
and viable bid, which will demonstrate that the public sector can be innovative and cost eﬃcient. “I am conﬁdent that this is achievable and that HM Prison Service can compete strongly. “We are committed to working closely with Trades Unions as we implement the decisions on closure and the wider competition strategy. “The decision to close places at Latchmere House and Hewell forms part of our strategy to improve the overall cost eﬃciency of the Prison Estate. We remain absolutely committed to providing enough places to accommodate all those committed to custody by the courts but we cannot aﬀord to maintain ineﬀective and costly places which are not currently required given capacity now available within the estate as a whole.”
Alternative to market testing The POA agree with NOMS Chief Executive Oﬃcer Michael Spurr that staﬀ and their families will be deeply concerned at these announcements. The POA believe there is an alternative to market testing which is performance improvement testing and we have raised this with Kenneth Clarke but he remains committed to a competition policy. In respect of the selection of prison establishments, once again the POA has not been involved or consulted on the criteria.
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We ask for the criteria and assessments to be provided to the membership. We welcome the decision that there will be no compulsory redundancies, within the closure programme. The prison population is rising month by month. Senior police oﬃcials are expressing grave concerns over the increase in crime, courts are closing, police numbers are being slashed by 20 percent and the downturn in the economy will increase criminal activity. All of this is a recipe for disaster. We will monitor this change closely as a trade union and defend our prisons to ensure that they do not become warehouses but remain ﬁt for purpose to protect the public and rehabilitate oﬀenders.
The provider of choice must always be the public sector
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KEY ISSUES FACING THE POA The POA, like other trades unions, is facing hostility from the Coalition Government.
n this article, the NEC look at some of the issues that are affecting the membership in order to raise awareness on how the membership can have a better understanding and become actively involved to promote and protect our futures.
Market Testing and Privatisation The Coalition Government has announced that they intend to put all public sector services out to the markets for competition and this includes prisons. This was part of the Conservative manifesto prior to the General Election. The union will continue to oppose this policy and engage with Politicians, NOMS and the Ministry of Justice to look at alternatives such as performance improvement and performance testing. The POA believe these alternatives have been successful in the past and indeed were supported by this union. However, the reality is that if the Government announces that prisons are to be part of a competition dialogue process, the POA can do nothing to stop or prevent that announcement as we cannot alter a commercial decision that has come from their manifesto. We can however, support members through the process and any subsequent TUPE transfer if a public sector bid is lost to the private sector. This will enable individuals to make informed decisions about their future. It is our responsibility to change the views of MPs and the public regarding the eﬀectiveness of public sector services. The NEC cannot do this alone; it has to be a united campaign pursued by all trade union members. The parliamentary brieﬁng circulated at Annual Conference, which has also been sent to MPs and the media is part of this strategy. Members of Parliament are already stating that this is an excellent document which identiﬁes the hidden costs of the private ﬁnance initiative and privatisation.
have already closed and HMP Latchmere House along with Brockhill have been announced for closure. The impact of any prison closure is something which the union has to manage. Again we can do nothing to prevent the Government from having a policy on prison closure. However, we continue to campaign and lobby to demonstrate the eﬀectiveness of public sector prisons and gain public support. The POA will support members and wherever possible ensure that staﬀ transfer to a prison within the public sector and attempt to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies. Those establishments identiﬁed for closure are all high performing prisons and we will continue to highlight that whilst the Government continues with the closure policy to make savings it undermines the so called rehabilitation revolution.
Pensions The Hutton Review recommendations have been accepted by the Government. The POA is joined with other unions in a legal challenge to the proposals regarding the change from
Retail Price Index (RPI) to Consumer Price Index (CPI) and this legal challenge through Judicial Review will be heard in October 2011. Whilst there is currently some public support against the proposals this may not be enough to bring about a change in the Government’s thinking. If public support is not suﬃcient to bring about a Government u-turn, we can only await the outcome of the legal proceedings. The POA is currently working with other public sector unions through the TUC and that work is progressing in an attempt to protect public sector pensions and to address the pension age for prison oﬃcer grades and to ensure our members in the special hospitals are protected. The negotiations will continue into the autumn and beyond.
Pay and Protection As you know the Government imposed a pay freeze for two years for workers earning more than £21,000. The majority of POA members have their pay determined by the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB). Despite our submissions to
Prison Closures The Coalition Government has announced that prisons will close as and when the prison population permits this to occur. This is part of the comprehensive spending review settlement between Kenneth Clarke and the Treasury. HMP Ashwell and Lancaster Castle 44 August 2011 44-45x POA Challenges.indd 44
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CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
the PSPRB regarding those in the remit group earning over £21,000, they made a recommendation that was in keeping with Government policy and therefore whether we will achieve improvements in the future is questionable. However, we must keep trying until such time as the PSPRB is abandoned or the mechanism for determining pay is improved upon. Negotiations in respect of JES are ongoing and the aim is to have safeguards put in place to secure lifetime pay protection for all members. The pay and work of existing Prison Oﬃcer 2s and Operational Support Grades is a part of these discussions.
Facility Time The Cabinet Oﬃce has set an arbitrary ﬁgure of 0.2% of the pay bill for facility time for all unions in the public sector. This is not negotiable but we are engaging with NOMS in trying to secure a new facilities agreement which improves on this position. This will impact at local and national level.
Staff Shortfalls/Surpluses Members of the NEC have been speaking to NOMS in an attempt to obtain the data in respect of the above to assist members, in particular at HMP Birmingham. The POA has arranged for Parliamentary Questions to be asked in order to secure this information. From the data received it appears that there are approximately 600 vacancies across the estate and whilst we appreciate that local agreements may be being made to manage budgets and future budgets, we must not forget our members who are trying to secure a posting for compassionate reasons or seeking to remain within the public sector. If you have vacancies at your establishment please persuade your Governor to advertise them on ‘My Services’. We would remind local branches that a key objective of this trade union is full staffing.
Terms and Conditions What does and what does not form part of our terms and conditions? We continue to defend any provision that we believe is part of our terms and conditions, through the www.poauk.org.uk 44-45x POA Challenges.indd 45
We will never give up ﬁghting to promote and protect the members of this union courts or through negotiations. The reality is that an employer has the right to change terms and conditions for new employees. It is a matter for the individual joining the Service as to whether or not they wish to accept a job on the terms oﬀered. The harsh, but very real question members must ask themselves is; do they want us to negotiate to protect what we have and would they be they happy to risk losing it for new entrants.
Trade Union Rights As a result of the restrictions imposed on the POA in 1994 the union has taken its case to the ILO. In its report published in March 2011 the ILO committee of experts were critical of the UK Government over its treatment of POA members and as such the POA is now preparing to take a case to the European Court of Human Rights. Alongside this application negotiations are due to begin on adequate compensatory mechanisms for resolving pay and disputes at all levels. Both the National Chairman and General Secretary are leading on those negotiations.
Equal Pay The Equal Pay Act protects only against a diﬀerence in pay, where the diﬀerence in pay is solely due to gender. We issued proceedings in 2006 under the Equal Pay Act 1970 for members in administrative grades. We were able to issue such proceedings as the administrative grades were predominantly female and they were comparing their work to that of operational grades who were predominantly male. We were therefore able to argue that the administrative grades did work of equal value to those in operational grades, but were paid less for no other reason than gender. The same case would have been brought had the administrative grades been predominantly male and the operational
grades predominantly female. The Equal Pay Act does not just serve to protect the rights of females, although that is a common misunderstanding. In 2010 we collected data regarding the gender makeup of Prison Oﬃcer 2 (PO2) grade. It was clear from the data that the gender makeup of PO2 grade is predominantly male. The PO2 grade would be comparing themselves to the Prison Oﬃcer grade which is also predominantly male. Therefore, while those in the PO2 grade would argue that they do like work or work of equal value they could not demonstrate that the only reason for the diﬀerence in pay is gender. Therefore, at this stage we are unable to issue proceedings however we will continue to collect and monitor data regarding the gender makeup of the grade. We have been asked on a number of occasions, “what if a female compares herself to a male prison officer, can she bring a claim on that basis?” Clearly she would not be able to pursue a claim on this basis as a male PO2 is being paid the same as her and so the reason for the difference in pay between her and a Prison Officer is not gender related.
Conclusion We face many diﬃcult challenges ahead and must be honest and realistic about what it is we can achieve. Many may criticise us for being defeatist, we are not defeated and will never give up ﬁghting to promote and protect the members of this union. However, we are not in the game of telling members what they want to hear; we will always be honest and tell them what we aim to achieve with their support.
August 2011 45 3/8/11 12:07:30
NEWBOLD REVEL And now the time is here...la la la la
would like to start this by saying that it’s the end of an era, but that would be a little conceited. However, for me it has been an era. 35 years of my life has been spent in the Prison Service and on reﬂection, it has been a jolly good ride, unlike the ride many will be going through soon. The purpose of this letter is to say goodbye to those who I have known over the years as colleagues, some being friends. To the students who I have had the pleasure of training and who have supplied me with some fantastic memories and an opportunity to display my talents on the Karaoke. To all those people and to my Union colleagues, I wish you all the very best for the future, stay safe and well. They put their careers on the line to see that right is done unlike the management who don’t really care what is right from wrong unless it is to put someone’s career on hold whilst they are investigated for what is often found to be trivia in the cold light of day. An old ‘Northern Soul’ saying is: ‘Keep the Faith’ and this should be matched with the POA logo of ‘Unity is Strength’. You should all keep your faith in the unity which brings people together, it is the POA’s future and you are the POA. It would not be right if I did not mention the ‘suits’. Yes those very people who think they are god’s gift to the service! However, I must admit I have come to respect many a suit, some
of whom I have trained, now that’s a scary thought, but having met many of them, I know that their hearts and souls are in the right place and I wish you all the very best too. You know who you are. Now what about the others? Like the man who had the audacity to criticise my relationship with my wife of over 30 years as ‘not being normal’ because I worked away from home, when, as Head of Professional Conduct at the college he decided to ditch his wife for someone who could count numbers. They even wangled a transfer (probably at public expense) to be together, yet something did not add up, but as a suit, you can say and do anything. I hope you are keeping ﬁt and well… Having got that termite oﬀ my chest, the rest of my time in the job has not been too bad. I did not achieve much but my heart has always been in the right place, despite the plethora of suspensions I had to endure, but at least my handicap came crashing down and I now look forward to sinking a few more puts on the green of life. Branch Committees must now do everything in their power to recruit new members; especially form the OSG grades and indeed the few new staﬀ we will be getting. At the college we have recruited over 600 new members and I am sure will continue to do so but those 600 could have been recruited in their ﬁrst week in the job, a week spent at the jail. Please guys, get into them on day one, sell them the policy that
may save their careers, get the branch organised and put someone in charge of recruitment, they are needed more than ever before. As for what we do, don’t do too much for bosses who think so little of you it might damage the leather on the bottom their shoes. Now more than ever we must demonstrate that the cull in the service must stop. We should prove our worth and stop this overtime; it is costing jobs which one day WILL be your job. Open your eyes and see that their cut/cut policy will put your life on the line, as prisoners take advantage of our weaknesses. Many will say we should not go back in time, we should move forward, what a load of crap, get back in time, make the job safe, and for those who continually assault our colleagues we should show them the error of our ways and introduce them to my friend and colleague Mr Wood! I guarantee they will soon stop playing the tough guy. Time to get oﬀ my high horse, shut up and move on. Sorry for going on but I will always be passionate for the people at the coal face for whom I have and always will have, the deepest respect. I promise not to forget you, even on the 19th tee. I raise my glass to you all, cheers…going, going, gone. AJ (alias AJ)
t’s been a while, but Sean Crome has ﬁnally re-surfaced in the Channings Wood jottings. Several years ago, Sean was the subject of some ridicule when he was driving the prison van full of staff going away for their annual C&R refresher. Despite advice from the guys about which petrol station to use, Sean insisted on going to the one of his choice and ﬁlling up before ﬁnding out that they didn’t accept the prison fuel card as payment. Well this year, having learned from his previous mistake, Sean ﬁrst approached the window of the petrol station and showed the attendant the card before he ﬁlled up. Having received the thumbs up, Sean strolled back to the van and
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conﬁdently ﬁlled up with over £100 of diesel, before going back to pay. “Sorry sir! That card expired yesterday”. With this in mind, it is inevitable that the following day when the C&R instructor asked the question “What is the biggest tool in your armoury?” the unanimous answer came back… “Sean Crome”. With the recent advent of the latest 3D cinema technology, the richness of ﬁlms has taken on a whole new dimension. However, try as I might, I still can’t obtain a copy of the very exciting sounding ﬁlm that Matt Spooner recently went to see. If anybody has a copy, please contact me at Channings Wood. It’s all about a race of people with blue skin. Their planet is being mined and destroyed by humans, and the only positive
interaction they have with the newcomers is via cloned bodies that are controlled by a human host. It’s called ‘Abattoir’. Staying on the subject of technology, Yvonne Mitchell decided to follow the lead of many people around the country by purchasing a Wii Fit so that she could get some exercise in the comfort of her living room. Well she certainly got some exercise as she prodded it, shook it and turned it upside down, wondering why she couldn’t get a picture on her television. It was only when it was pointed out that you actually need to buy a Wii as well to make it work, that she looked a bit sheepish. On a plus point though, if Yvonne decides to walk down to Curry’s to buy one, then that’s a least one day’s exercise she won’t have to do. >> CONTINUED
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CHANNINGS WOOD CONTINUED Floored! Considering that all of the prisoners are locked up at night, it’s normally considered to be a safe time of the day when you won’t get attacked, but not for OSG Mike ‘Elvis’ Evans though. It was about 1 o’clock in the morning when I was asked to attend the segregation unit as there was a rogue squirrel loose in the adjudication room. Suitably prepared, I turned up and sure enough we found that the little chap was hiding away down the back of a ﬁling cabinet. We chased him out of the room and into the servery where he took refuge underneath the sink and showed no sign of moving again. So in a moment of inspiration, Mike suggested that if he lay on the ﬂoor and prodded under the sink with a broom handle, and I waited outside in the corridor, he would ﬂush out the squirrel and I would shoo it out of the main door. Mike is something of a big chap, so as he lay prostrate on the ﬂoor, poking away with his stick, I wondered if he would need any help getting back to his feet. I needn’t have been concerned though, because all of a sudden, the squirrel came ﬂying out from under the sink, ran through Mike’s ﬁnely slicked Elvis style quiﬀ, and then down his back, before crashing into the wall. Mike sprang to his feet quicker than the human eye could register, and came careering out into the corridor, the squirrel was nowhere to be seen. Paul Hanigan was seen recently heading oﬀ to the Midlands in search of England’s best beach. This might seem like a strange
place to search, for you or me, but not for Paul. Whilst planning our forthcoming lads’ motorcycle trip to France, which would take in the areas of the D-Day landings, Paul looked quizzically at the map and whilst pointing with his ﬁnger, asked, “Are the beaches on the coast?” I’ve already informed our detail oﬃce that if the seven of us are never seen again, it was because Paul was navigating, and we are probably somewhere oﬀ the shoulder of the Himalayas.
Hawk-eye It seems that Channings Wood’s reputation as the roof top capital of the prison service is being helped along slightly by Jamie Sloan. Whilst working in the segregation unit, eagle eyed Jamie caught a glimpse of a rogue shadow through the skylight, and with his ﬁnely tuned ears, he heard the unmistakeable sound of footsteps shuﬄing around above him. Ever the professional, he immediately radioed through to the comms desk to alert them to the incident that was unfolding only metres away from him. However, it wasn’t a C&R team that was required; it would actually have been more use to have called for Bill Oddie. There was in fact just a lonely seagull going about his business. It has been rumoured of the existence of several SIRs from Jamie regarding a mole that was seen tunnelling under the fence, but this has not been substantiated! As a sort of mutual back patting exercise, I would like to mention myself and several colleagues who have just completed the
Dartmoor Cyclo Sportive. No money was raised, no records were broken, and nobody beneﬁted even slightly from our exploits. In fact, with the way I was recklessly discarding isotonic drinks bottles and energy bar wrappers, I feel as though my carbon footprint was probably more than if I’d taken my car, but we all felt very smug whilst clutching our trophies at the end, and the beers afterwards were well deserved. So in no particular order, well done to myself, Geoﬀ ‘Lance Armstrong’ Simmonds, Tony ‘10 bikes’ McCann, Lee ‘Look at my moobs’ Curtis, Dave ‘I’m the only one that actually looks the part’ Cory, Sean ‘My heart rate never went above 132bpm, splash!’ Crome, Pete ‘its cramp between my legs, honest’ Shorland, and Andy ‘Where’s my mankini’ Chattaway. And ﬁnally, I’d like to mention the sad demise of an Oﬃcer who has ﬁnally decided after over 20 years of service to hang up his keys and move on to pastures new. Unfortunately, I can’t mention his name, because according to the fantastically eﬃcient shared service centre, he has never existed, and is therefore not eligible to a pension. No amount of quoting national insurance numbers, DPS numbers, or any other kind of numbers can convince them otherwise. I’ve heard staﬀ refer to him by the name Graham Smethurst, but can’t conﬁrm if this is his real name. So whoever you are, all the best for the future. Simmo
ell, the 30th June came and went and we held our lunchtime branch meeting in support of our colleagues in the PCS and UCU, taking action over public sector pensions. I took the branch banner to the march and rally from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Parliament. I can safely say that the mood of the public along the route was supportive.
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Locally, we’re going to get a hit from the Inspectorate and I don’t believe that it’s entirely fair. A Union health and safety report on the passive smoking of cannabis will probably go to the Health and Safety Executive, as it appears the passive smoking of illegal substances was overlooked in the prison exemption on the ban on smoke free workplaces. We had a branch visit from our National Chairman, Peter McParlin and new London Area Rep, Ralph Valerio. Peter
is a Wandsworth Branch member and we’re proud to have him as our National Chairman. He also received his 20 year, long service medal from the Governor. We have had to say goodbye to a couple of staﬀ through retirement; John Wright, who had originally come from Leeds in 1989 (the dispute years) and Alec Nolan, who completed 41 years with the Prison Service. Both will be missed and we wish them all the best in their retirement. Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary
August 2011 47 27/7/11 11:15:11
CHELMSFORD Oi Oi, Chelmsford calling,
start these jottings with some rather disturbing news; Ofﬁcer Chittenden seems to be on meltdown. “Why?” I hear you say, well every time he sees the Welsh wizard, Senior Ofﬁcer Cook, he gets palpitations and starts to jibber German war-time obscenities and phrases. It’s rather unearthing to watch. He was heard to comment the other day that many years ago on a trip to the valleys Senior Ofﬁcer Cook….well let’s say ‘sowed some wild oats with some bird called Bronwin.’ He doesn’t think that was her real name but said she had a small tash and looked the spitting image of the aforementioned Senior Oﬃcer. But now he keeps getting this urge to be parental round the Welsh wizard or “My Boy” as he has been heard to mutter. That’s ﬁne but we don’t think it’s a mutual love thing; it’s a relationship that needs to be cultivated nurtured and cherished over time. Remember love and trust is earned. Oﬃcer Chittenden – please, please keep working at this because whatever is ﬂung in your direction seems to stick to whoever is in your vicinity, maybe a long overdue cuddle is needed for you both or if you’re shy, an operations group hug. Oﬃcer Johnson seems to be on a funny diet; the ‘If it’s edible eat it’ diet and he seems to get withdrawal symptoms from lack of caﬀeine every quarter of an hour.
‘Very friendly’ hotel in Bratislava Our ever ready MDT men (plus one) have booked their annual jolly boys outing but Officer Cannon must learn to read the information relating to the hotels they stay in. It’s a hotel in Bratislava that’s friendly (very friendly) where three men sharing one room is the norm if you get my drift. One wife of the trio was asked if she minded her husband going away each year on the razz. To which she replied “I don’t care where he goes as long as it’s in Eastern Europe and minus 20.” Thanks Mandy, on a serious note I have just received an email from Norm Smith telling me that he has had enough and has decided to hang his keys up. The
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majority of staﬀ at Chelmsford won’t have a clue who I am talking about but rest assured those that knew and worked with Norm will remember what a true gent he was. Norm was fair but ﬁrm and un-ﬂappable and would never pass the buck or go out of his way to drop you in it. We all remember times when Senior Oﬃcers were un-ﬂappable and stood by you. Oh the memories, It’s OK being intelligent but it’s being able to use your intelligence and common sense that sets you above wannabe’s as was demonstrated on visits the other day when a senior oﬃcer used his initiative I know – rare, but true. Well, initiative used to overcome a situation that was beyond his control and at no detriment to the running or time on visits yet someone complained that they had to stand in the sun to wait to come in and hey ho, a please explain was requested. How pedantic.
Slander General Anyway back to this place and what’s going on at slander central. A certain OSG went on holiday to Trinidad and never came back. Shame. We’ve had two oﬃcers suspended so far but watch this space. I don’t know how many are oﬀ sick at the moment as it goes up and down and sometimes corresponds with new computer game releases and away ﬁxtures. As this goes to print, plans are being drawn up for Neil Campbell’s stag do with all the participants being in themed fancy dress; for example Neil Campbell (Zena Warrior Princess), Gillespie Smurfette (Peewee Princess Fiona), Paul Chaplin (Tina Turner), Rob Sanders (Britney Spears), Steve Martin (Miss Piggy), Nick Johnston (Jessica Rabbit). I have a few more but it takes up a lot of space but while reading this please take into account that each one of this motley crew are built like brick out houses and you wouldn’t knick a spud oﬀ any of their plates so it should be a funny - if not dangerous night and I will keep you posted, no doubt Oﬃcer Dibble will be on full alert in Chelmsford on that night.
unscheduled spot of supermarket sweep where buy one get one free had the hint in the title i.e. you must buy one. A recent poll for a new name was taken with ‘knock oﬀ nosh’ being a clear winner. I must add that all of the above is alleged. Due in a court near you very soon though. Who recommended these people? News from around the wings is pretty stagnant at the moment with loads of new faces popping up all over the place where a friendly good morning is usually greeted with gormless vacant expression. Have we lost the ability to interact with colleagues? It’s a shame. Remember the time when you had a laugh and joke with each other without the threat of a third party not liking the way you said something. Oﬃcer Slote is still in remedial class reference his counting skills in reception, Senior Oﬃcer Clavey has asked for Vic Watson to be communications oﬃcer whenever Rob is on duty as Vic is clear, precise, and straight to the point and never gets in a tiss waz. Our resident hippy OSG Allen is now back on days after years on nights, he looks like an albino night stalker who needs a tan. On nights, Senior Oﬃcer Cook and Oﬃcer Nash got hands on with an eight legged freak in F wing’s staﬀ room that had been terrorising Miss Tiﬃn. Can we have a please explain as to why you were in there in the ﬁrst place? The operations group has set up a website for shift swaps called www.doublebubble.com set up by Steve Martin. Not to be associated with the www.grassemup.com or www.caughtoncamera.com on E B and C wings. Nuﬀ said. Well I had better close now but to all of you who think that this is a bit tame for Chelmsford, head and parapet spring to mind. Be lucky be safe and blame someone before they blame you and always remember that it rolls downhill so learn to side-step. And a true mate is someone who says “I saw nowt.” Mickey B
Say nowt Our recently opened oﬃcer’s mess has had to close its doors due to an alleged
www.poauk.org.uk 26/7/11 16:45:18
HMP SHOTTS Greetings from Shotts.
ollowing on from the death in service of our colleague, Norrie Lamont earlier this year we have now sadly had another in Morgan Danskin, our thoughts and condolences remain with both families. Many things have happened since our last jottings; we have partially moved into our shiny new prison and currently operate over two sites. This has caused a few teething problems but fortunately the professionalism and quality of our staﬀ has meant that the transition to date has been relatively straightforward. We have had a number of new recruits start recently in Shotts and on behalf of the local branch I’d like to welcome them and hope that everyone can oﬀer them the support and guidance they’ll need whilst they settle into their new roles. As you are all aware, the greatest threat to our terms and conditions at the moment is the “Hutton Report” which is being used by the ConDem coalition to attack our pensions. The POA along with other unions are challenging these reforms with a judicial review, and have undertaken a workforce ballot to reject any changes to our pension scheme. Brendan Barber, leader of the TUC, has stated he was “going to see what happens with the talks” before deciding on the next step to take. The largest Civil Service union, Unison, has already said it is also “going down the road to industrial action” the Prison Oﬃcers Association said every one of its UK branches would hold protest meetings on 30th June as an act of solidarity. This branch held a protest meeting in support of the actions that were being taken and once again to your credit, between 75-100 members attended during their lunch period, before and after shift and even on your rest days. This support is what is vital for this Union to succeed and allow us to move forward and face the challenges that lie ahead. Perhaps this quote sums up the sentiments over these reforms: “A war regarded as inevitable or even probable, and therefore much prepared for, has a very good chance of eventually being fought.” (Anais Nin, 1903-1977, French-born American writer and psychoanalyst) We currently have a number of members oﬀ on long term sick and we wish you all a
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speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you back amongst the fold.
Finally On behalf of the local branch we would like to oﬀer our thanks and appreciation to John Dickson who held the position of Branch Secretary and through personal circumstances has chosen to leave the Committee at this time. John worked tirelessly for the members and was fully committed to the cause; there are many staﬀ members who owe John a debt of gratitude for his assistance over the years. John was never known as the most vocal person or the one most likely to feel the need to thump tables to make his point (sorry got a bit confused there), in reality John was never one to shy away from having himself heard and arguing his corner on behalf of his members. He was someone who you could always go to for an honest opinion and often as not he’d provide a suggestion of a way forward when no-one else could see it. To those who know John, his use of the English language at times could be perplexing and he was never one to miss the opportunity to dazzle us with his emotive and eloquent addresses, so I’ll leave you with an example of one of his most memorable speeches at annual conference where he used all his skills and prowess of communication to deliver the point in his usual manner. “Shotts says NAW” Keep well & stay safe Shotts Local Branch
August 2011 49 26/7/11 16:46:00
LATCHMERE HOUSE The ﬁrst jotting since Annual Conference and it’s nice to be back.
e noted from the June issue of Gatelodge that the editor made mention of the censure on the editorial board by way of Motion 42 from Conference which was submitted by our branch. We are happy, that on behalf of the editorial board, he takes note of the censure from the membership and we can again submit jottings worthy of our branch. We trust that in future, the membership will be consulted and given their chance to voice their views and opinions before making changes to the POA Members’ magazine, which may aﬀect our contributions.
Conference Conference was its usual mix of winners, losers, interminable guest speakers and in our view, an overlong agenda. Hopefully, one day we will look again at how conference is run and whether it needs to be as long, with debates that have no resolution and guest speakers droning on and on. Of course some of the speakers are entertaining, amusing, interesting and relevant. So maybe we could just stick to one or two of those speakers and then get on with the business of setting policy for the year ahead. Ah perchance to dream… Our branch seconded Conference Motion 61, which we felt was important. This Motion, which was passed, authorised the NEC to carry out a comprehensive examination of current POA structures to ensure the very best of representation for the membership in the years ahead and to make recommendations if necessary on changes. This Motion was important, as the MOJ is seeking to reduce Union facility time, and soon we will no longer be able to enjoy the facility time given to our NEC in its present form. Being pragmatic, as any good trade union should be, we recognise the need to change and were very happy to support a NEC that also appeared to recognise this need. Andy Darken, our Branch Chairman, was asked by the new National Chairman prior to conference and supported by the General Secretary, if he wanted to sit on any committee set up to look at restructuring our Union in light of the reduction in facility time. Of course, Andy was eager to agree to this, particularly as he thought it long overdue and the POA would surely beneﬁt from his experience, motivation and knowledge in looking at how we work, represent the membership and make the best use of the resources available to us. 50 August 2011 47-54 Branch News.indd 50
Once Motion 61 was passed, Andy awaited the call to sit on the new ‘restructuring committee’. He waited, waited, and waited. He heard nothing. “What’s happening?” he thought. The Motion was passed, time was ticking. Then our new Area Representative, Ralph Valerio, visited us on 16th June. Andy asked him what was happening, and in response he said that a Committee had been set up, but without Andy. Andy spoke to our National Chairman and General Secretary later, and it transpired that they felt that other members of the NEC would have a ‘problem’ working with him on a Restructuring Committee and had therefore decided not to utilise Andy’s skills. It was a pity that they forgot to tell him, as it appears from the NEC minutes from 25th May that the Committee was already sitting and working. As they state, “the Vice Chairs updated the NEC on the work they have done with their committees to progress the issues on restructuring”.
Best person for the job Naturally, it doesn’t say what the work is that they have done or why they felt they couldn’t work with Andy. At Latchmere House we like to believe that our members, at any level, would like the best people for the job, and not get involved in personality clashes or self-interest. However, it appears that the destructive cycle of internal politics continues. We only hope that the Committee makes sound recommendations that look to beneﬁt the membership and not the NEC, and that ‘intelligent negotiation’ and pragmatism are recognised as the most important way of progressing matters for the beneﬁt of all POA members. We’ll leave the politics there for now. Conference was also an opportunity to wave farewell to the outgoing Chairman Colin Moses. As many regular attendees know, Colin and Andy rarely saw eye to eye on matters, mainly because he was wrong and Andy was right (only joking!), but Andy never had any doubt that he, like Andy, wanted the best for the membership, but saw the path to achieving that diﬀerently. We also welcomed our new National Chairman, Peter McParlin, PJ to those who have worked with him in the past, many of whom at Latchmere remember him from our time at Wandsworth. Peter is a diﬀerent character to Colin and we believe that given time, his strength, knowledge, intelligence and pragmatism will come to the fore and along with our General Secretary will move
our Union forward, for the beneﬁt of all our members. If he doesn’t, then we at Latchmere House will let him know in no uncertain terms, as, we hope, you would expect of us.
Fitness testing At Latchmere House things have been fairly quiet, although recently we had to register a formal dispute when our Governor on Site in Charge (a mouthful for sure), decided to impose a local ﬁtness testing policy without consultation, removing one of our members oﬀ nights as a result. We worry sometimes that our management fail to properly engage the brain before acting, even when they know they are in the wrong, blundering onwards into the abyss. If our Governor was a General and we were in his army at war, many of us would go over the top with him, not because we thought he knew what he was doing, but because we would be damned interested to know where he was taking us! Anyway, returning to the dispute. Apparently the imposed policy was already in place at Latchmere House earlier in the year, but the Governor didn’t know about it. The mind boggles. Oh, and apparently it was written for Latchmere House as well as Scrubs. Or was it that some unscrupulous individual just added the name Latchmere House when it suited them to do so, to a policy previously discussed and agreed with the POA Branch at Scrubs? But that wouldn’t happen. Would it? However, the Governing Governor has assured us that he will look into that, so hopefully we will be able to inform the Branch of what happened, why and by whom. Anyhow, once the dispute was registered, the Governing Governor was over like a ﬂash from his citadel at the Scrubs, apologising and withdrawing the policy. He agreed that any proposal to implement a policy aﬀecting our members should follow consultation with the POA ﬁrst. There had been no need to withdraw our member oﬀ nights he agreed, and assured us that he didn’t add Latchmere House’s name to the policy. Dispute resolved following intelligent negotiation. Easy peasy. If management would only listen to the POA and accept that we are always right, we would never have disputes and all would be harmonious with our members. It also appears that we are no longer a level 4 performing prison. If only we knew how we ever achieved such dizzy heights, then we could work out why we ‘aint there anymore. www.poauk.org.uk 26/7/11 16:49:10
Still, if Lancaster Castle’s experience is anything to go by, we are better oﬀ as a 3.
Farewells Very soon we say goodbye to, Brian ‘Winnebago’ Pinney, Mick ‘Ever calm and rational’ Price (although not a member of the POA but in this instance worthy of a mention), Chris ‘Centenary man’ Miles, John ‘Decent governor’ Byrd and Brian ‘Moonraker’ Goodley. All making the wise decision to take their pensions and run. Let us hope you all enjoy your retirement and live a long life, you’ve all earned it.
WORMWOOD SCRUBS Hello again from the wonder that is Scrubs.
To end, all those oﬀ sick, get well soon and to all new staﬀ in the last three months, welcome and enjoy your stay here, it’s the best posting in the service. Ooh I’ve still got a few more words to play with. I must update you on how the work in my garden is going, wot, I am out of words already, surely not, can’t be, I mean … Damn - should have put a motion to increase to 2000 words! Maybe next year.
irstly a huge thank you to all those who have enjoyed our jottings. Usually ‘genius’ and ‘us’ are not used in the same sentence. Unfortunately, we have decided to rein ourselves in as there have been a couple of complaints from people who wear the uniform and talk the talk but live in lovely ofﬁces away from walking the walk. Apparently, they think we have been a wee bit ﬂippant and irreverent - so for those people - and you know who you are, here is the news. Ummm. Let’s think. We had ‘Newsnight’ ﬁlmed in our church, in front of a handpicked audience and with vetted questions. It is a shame that Ken Clarke had made his comments because of being able to ask about privatisation, pensions pay rises, or rather lack of, all we had was Ken Clarke NOT apologizing and Jack Straw looking smug. A massive ‘BRAVO’ to our Chairman Alan Gourley, who managed to turn around another question, speak about relevant facts and get in the mantra; “PRISONS ARE NOT FOR PROFIT”. We are proud of you. On personal note, (Oh, wonder if there will be objections to personal?) we are sad that the strike action vote failed - a couple of day’s wages lost now would be far better than half a year’s lost when we all work for G4S, still, the scratchy material uniform may suit some people and look just dandy. We should all be looking to the future and not the beer money for tomorrow.
JOHNNY O’ REGAN
Hello! I must give a mention to our regular and special readers Bob and Chrissy Thorne. Although now retired from the service and living in the wilderness that is Portsmouth, their memory at Latchmere lives on. The Gatelodge and A wing have never been as neat and clean as Bob kept ‘em and a Human Resources department without a Chrissy ‘aint worthy of the name (take note Shared Services). So, hello Bob and Chrissy, we’ll get down to see you soon enough and sample your cooking again, and maybe listen to Bob playing that guitar, if he has kept up with the practice that is.
More words please
Editors note: Yes, the National Chairman and General Secretary have approached a number of oﬃcials to utilise their skills, knowledge and expertise. We aim to review areas of work to ensure best practice for the membership. A number of branch oﬃcials were approached but subsequently not invited to sit on the Restructuring Advisory Group. On speaking to the National Chairman and General Secretary, Andy has declined an opportunity to contribute in another area of our on-going review.
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After 35 years’ service, Johnny O’ Regan ﬁnally hung up his keys, well he is 112 years old. His do was held in the prison club and to say it was well attended is an understatement. Families were invited and it was almost like going back in time to the parties that were held years ago. Must say at the point that the Bay City Rollers were played, it felt like it too! Hands up who had a tartan scarf permanently attached to their wrist? We wish him love and luck and he will be missed.
POP QUIZ 1 Who got drunk at this do, fell in their front door 2.00am and was missing from the bedroom when other half woke up at 3.30am? Other half went searching the house and found said person in the bathroom, naked and sitting in the laundry basket having mistaken it for the toilet? Winner gets a Mars Bar.
POP QUIZ 2 Who, after running oﬀ with a gateau from the do, (ain’t that stealing?) got a cab to the all night beer shop and then thought, Dooh what do I do now while I get more beer? I know I will give gateau to the taxi driver to hold and keep safe in case of breakage? Back seats ain’t wot they used to be. Winner gets half a Bounty Bar. Can I remind everyone that all the people in the jottings have given their permission, except for Ralph V. and this was given by John Hancock who assured us that Ralph has a sense of humour; sadly humour seems to be lacking. Speaking of Ralph V, great speech when he visited Scrubs, loved his honesty about pensions and privatisation which is coming our way. To the POA members who took a long lunch or could not be bothered to attend “HOW RUDE” When it hits the fan you guys will be bleating on about the NEC/POA doing nothing. Without our backing they cannot do anything. It will hit the fan. If JES don’t get us then the rest will. Anyway, have upset myself ranting and raving. Much prefer humour and song. Any requests? We are here to serve. No Hancocks were hurt in the writing of these jottings. Remember we will always have that Mexican bar in Central London that I don’t know the name of. S@M Standing By
August 2011 51 3/8/11 10:48:36
WINCHESTER Warm greetings from deepest Hampshire.
o begin with, there are a few myths that need to be dispensed with. We do not wear smocks, or have straw sticking out from our shirt collars. We do however drink bitter beer, we are known as Hogs and our cricket team are current T20 champions, and are currently ﬁve from ﬁve in this year’s competition. Come on you Royals. At the time of writing, there is still no new proﬁle or shift pattern. It seems our Governor is unable to produce a shift pattern that complies with both Bulletin 8, the European Working Time Directive, and that puts staﬀ where they are needed, at the time they are needed. We are being told that matters are being worked on and that we will all be getting new everything, perhaps even a new Governor, who knows? How did the old advert go “Who knows the secret of the Black Magic Box”? There has been one minor breakthrough though; wing duties have now been replaced by wing tasks. I asked a Prison Service Senior Manager, who have now replaced prison Governors, what wing tasks were? I was told that wing tasks are the same as wing duties only spelt diﬀerently, I decided to push my luck a little more and asked what wing duties were. All I got in reply was a blank look and a shrug of the shoulders. I could not just leave it there. I decided to investigate, after much fruitless searching I had the breakthrough I had been looking for. I was looking through the menu of my local Chinese take away, and there they were in front of me. No 47. Wing Tasks. I ordered them, with a BBQ sauce, egg fried rice, and prawn crackers. Very tasty, very nutritious, and surprisingly low in fat.
Five minute jobs How many times has a Governor, or someone who believes themselves to be a Governor said: “Its’ only a ﬁve minute job?” It happens a lot here at Winchester. The problem is that the “ﬁve minute job” memory card is so full that it keeps crashing, and the ﬁve minute jobs put on when it was ﬁrst purchased keep getting replaced by new ﬁve minute jobs. The end result is that original ﬁve minute jobs are being forgotten because there is no more memory available, and the error message keeps being ignored. The answer is of course very simple. Delete some ﬁve minute jobs to create more memory space, or, if none of the ﬁve minute jobs can be deleted without major system issues, purchase more memory card space. To coin a phrase “Simples” Sorry to have to report, Jacko has had a relapse and is due to go back into therapy soon, we hope that it will not be too long before he returns to something like normal. To give some idea how bad his fall is, he was sat on the edge of the desk the other day going all cross-eyed and dribbling. Congratulations to Senior Oﬃcer Fall on achieving his highest weekday exercise numbers under the current regime. We wish a long and happy retirement to Harry Morris and Danny Thomas, and to all on the sick at present, get well soon, you are missed.
DUMFRIES Greetings from Sunny Dumfries!!
e have a new PLR at HMP Dumfries in the shape (some shape people might say) of Ali Wilson. AN has taken up this role from Jim Wright and from all on the committee we thank Jim for all the work he did in this difﬁcult and demanding role. Ali now has the weekends off to enjoy his passion of following Carlisle Utd but wait a minute; he nearly got every weekend off before he became PLR!!!! So no change there then. Well, good relations between senior management and the local committee lasted as long as the summer here in Dumfries. Like the weather it’s cloudy overhead with thunder and lightning expected with no chance of sunny intervals ahead. To say a Greek citizen has a more optimistic outlook on his future is an understatement. All each individual wants, is to come to work to do a fair days graft for a fair days pay and leave without being assaulted or verbally abused along the way. Now it seems we all look to leave work without being “coded or have the threat of being coded” from “trigger code happy” management. Being placed on a “code” eﬀ ects the person psychologically but behind that person others feel this pressure as well. The wife/girlfriend/partners who rely on the wage for the housekeeping/mortgage etc. Also the children who might be relying on help from their parents if they are at university etc. It feels as if senior management use the code of conduct on a whim rather than starting at the lowest level of investigation. Remember - there are people behind the employees as well!
A wee note As our motto says: “UNITY IS STRENGTH” and in these difficult times we should ALL REMEMBER this especially with the big fights ahead nationally concerning our pensions etc. but as a branch locally we should be UNITED. We are elected volunteers on the committee who work in the best interests of our members of our branch. Sometimes we do this in our own time after we have left the establishment but we do this because we want the best for our membership no matter the time of the day. We have to be UNITED and stand together as a branch when we have to take fights upstairs with management because if we don’t then we are just playing into managements hands. As the old saying goes “DIVIDED WE FALL”.
Lighter news We have GvN’s stag dos to look forward to with home and away legs booked. I’m sure all will enjoy their couple of shandys and fruitbased drinks on the away leg along with the entertainment of the dominoes competition laid on for the home leg. Mr Jez - no sailor outﬁts this time for away leg and try and stay out after 6pm as there is no curfew! Good luck from all at Dumfries to the future Mr & Mrs GvN when their happy day comes along. Congratulations to Toddy, Rhino, Mark and Jim for completing Upper Annandale charity walk. Corporal Todd is now walking about like old Steptoe due to blisters. Would never have made the SAS with feet like that...
G.G.HEAD THE DOONHAMER 52 August 2011 47-54 Branch News.indd 52
www.poauk.org.uk 3/8/11 10:52:13
07 Join POA Ad.indd 1
LEARNING @ BRIGHTSPARKS Great news for all of you that have given up on learning, if you feel to old to learn then you’re not, believe us here at Brightsparks when we say, you are never too old to learn new skills.
few months ago, Dorothy and Harry and Woodhouse, a lovely elderly couple (78 years old, but very young at heart) came into the Learning Centre. They said that they had a new lap-top which was a present from their son so they wanted to learn how to use it. So with a lot of determination on their part they came into the centre every week to learn about computers, we set them up on “Myguide” as this was a course that suited their learning needs eg sending/receiving emails, attaching ﬁles and use of the Internet.
After completing the course they were given a certiﬁcate which they thought was excellent and they said they had thoroughly enjoyed their time with us here at Brightsparks! Dorothy also mentioned that this was the ﬁrst certiﬁcate that she had ever received. Dorothy and Harry were not the only learners that we had the fortune to help; we also had a lovely lady called Olive only 80 years old. She also wanted to learn about emails and such so she can use her lap-top, Olive is picking things up at her own pace and is doing remarkably well and will at the end of her course will also achieve a certiﬁcate, so good news all round!
Brightsparks Dorothy and Harry Woolhouse
Brightsparks Olive Campbell and her sister Jean
ASSESSMENT AT FULL SUTTON July 12th saw a remodelled ‘Test the Prison’ format brought back to life at HMP Full Sutton.
Conﬁdential Assessment is conﬁdential – no results are shared – and although we will analyse the ﬁndings, we only use rank/job role and the results, to look at the trends in maths and English skill levels. In fact, as those of you who came to the event know, we did not ask your name. The only names we have are of those staﬀ who have decided as a result of the assessment that they would like to improve their English and/or maths.
he activity, which was last run about four years ago, was never meant to be a test and we felt that a ‘conﬁdential assessment’ of staff English and maths skills was much nearer the truth. The assessment activity was planned and run by POA Learning and the Skills for Life Business Support Manager – Newbold Revel. There was support too, from the senior management team at the establishment. One of the team summed up the event as: “…an invaluable opportunity for all staﬀ on duty on the day to participate in short
54 August 2011 54-55 POA Learning.indd 54
English and maths skills checks. Each skills check test took about 15 minutes to complete and staﬀ were given conﬁdential feedback as well as being entered for the prize draw with the chance to win one of two prizes of £50 in High Street vouchers –provided by the Establishment. Information, advice and guidance was given to those who may want to gain a qualiﬁcation or further develop their skills in these or any other areas of their personal professional development.” Some staﬀ were concerned about the implications of taking part in the event – and it has to be recognised that some did not see the point of the exercise. Others were worried that their results would be shared with their managers or as one person thought, with everyone in the jail – a list in the Gatehouse!
Skills top-up POA Learning has a Learning Centre in the Training Suite at Full Sutton – so those who want to do some work on their English/maths or perhaps improve their computer skills, or may be just want to talk about the learning they would like to do – there is a Learning Centre on your doorstep. (Ext 5110) If you think an assessment for English and maths at your establishment would help staﬀ recognise their strengths and perhaps identify some learning that could be beneﬁcial please contact me.
Ellen Schoﬁeld POA Learning HMP Full Sutton www.poauk.org.uk 26/7/11 15:27:33
Acklington Learning Centre Centre Manager Don Head Learner Support Hannah Pugh Clerical Assistant Karen McKie Acklington Learning Centre HMP Acklington, Nr Morpeth Northumberland NE65 9XF T: 01670 762473 E: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Bullingdon Learning Centre Centre Manager David Dillon Learner Support Katrina Alexander Bullingdon Learning Centre HMP Bullingdon, Staﬀ Mess, PO Box 50, Bicester, Oxon OX25 1WD T: 01869 353411 E: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Dartmoor Learning Centre Centre Manager Andy Harding Dartmoor POA Learning Centre HMP Dartmoor, Princetown, Yelverton, Devon PL20 6RR T: 01822 322241 E: andy.hardingDA@hmps.gsi.gov.uk
Frankland Learning Centre Centre Manager Stewart Herkes Brasside Learning Centre HMP Frankland, Brasside, Durham DH1 5YD T: 0191 375 6874 /6872 E: ﬂpoauk@yahoo.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Cornmell Learning Centre Centre Manager Ellen Schoﬁeld Ed Cornmell Learning Centre HMP Full Sutton, York YO41 1PS T: 01759 475 110 E: hatﬁeldlearning@yahoo.co.uk ellen.schoﬁeld@poalearning.org.uk
Hatﬁeld Learning Centre
Centre Manager Ellen Schoﬁeld Learner Support Scott Close Hatﬁeld Learning Centre HMP Moorland Open, Thorne Road, Hatﬁeld, Doncaster DN7 6EL T: 01405 817153 E: hatﬁeldlearning@yahoo.co.uk ellen.schoﬁeld@poalearning.org.uk
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Highdown Learning Centre
Ray King Learning Centre
Centre Manager Karen Pickett Learner Support Lynne Wilmer Clive Orpwood Highdown Learning Centre, HMP Highdown, High Down Lane, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PJ T: 0208 661 2491 E: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre Manager Dave Barber Learner Support TBC
Holme House Learning Centre
Centre Manager Alan Golightly 21 Calder Road, Edinburgh EH11 3PS M: 07886082919 T: 0131 443 8105 E: email@example.com
Centre Manager TBC Learner Support Ian Carson
Holme House Learning Centre HMP Holme House, Holme House Road, Stockton on Tees TS18 2QU T: 01642 607151 E: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Isle of Sheppey
Centre Manager Gareth Williams Learner Support Bev Nolker Eastchurch Learning Centre HMP Stanford Hill, Brabazon Road Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent ME12 2AA T: 01795 880040 E: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Isle of Wight Learning Centre
Centre Manager Nicky Volley Isle of Wight Learning Centre Albany House, HMP Albany, Parkhurst Road, Newport PO30 5RS T: 01983 532769 E: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Maghull Union Learning Zone
Centre Manager Lorraine Lewis Learner Support Amy Deane Union Learning Zone, e-cafe, Maghull Site, Parkbourn, Maghull, Liverpool L31 HW T: 0151 473 2948 / 2949 E: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Ray King Learning Centre HMP Whitemoor, Longhill Road March, Cambridgeshire PE15 0PR Tel: 01354 602350 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
If you have any other queries please contact
Administrator/Finance Jenny Gore T: 020 8884 5681 E: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Project Manager Phil Kelly T: 07917699210 E: email@example.com
Project Coordinators Alison Manion M: 07825643620 E: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Emma Bowditch M: 07590418750 E: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Skills for Life Tutors Jane Wallis M: 07540121129 E: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Sandra Davies M: 07540121130 E: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Norwich Learning Centre Centre Manager Dave Barber Stu Fisher Learning Centre HMP Norwich Knox Road, Norwich NR1 4LU T: 01603 763740 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2011 55 26/7/11 15:27:57
WHAT’S IN A NAME? Our ICE branch has recently changed hands from G4S to Reliance.
his branch of the POA is our longest standing, recognised private sector operation and one which has seen massive changes over its lifetime. The original agreement to recognise the POA was signed when Wackenhut were the custodians. The company had good sense and foresight to engage with us in building up a dialogue which set us on the road towards positive industrial relations.
Consequently, this dialogue has carried the branch forward to the position where we now have one of the most experienced and productive branch committees across the private sector. The man who keeps a steady hand on the tiller, (and has done so for many years) is the Branch Secretary, Ray Somers. Ray and the Branch Chairman, Tony Jones (under the guidance of national oﬃcials), are both seasoned representatives of this Trades Union. When Reliance arrived, it marked the fourth time that the ICE contract had been subjected to a change of successful bidder. We hope that the mature industrial relations procedures, along with the good sense and expertise of Ray and his worthy committee, can continue to oil the wheels of what has been a smooth operation and productive partnership.
The very fact that the contract has, yet again, changed hands gave opportunity for the Trade Union to give the branch a change of name. The change is to adopt a generic name which we hope will have a very long shelf life. At the request of the “G4S” ICE Branch, rather than adopting the name “Reliance” ICE Branch, it has been agreed by the National Executive to change the name to: POA ICE Branch (Immigration). Long may she reign. Tom Robson Chairman of the Private Sector Committee
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITTEE
56 August 2011 56 Strictly Private.indd 56
Tom Robson Chairman Linden House 0113 242 8833
Phil Thomas SNC Calder Road 0131 443 8105
Duncan Keys Secretary Linden House 0113 242 8833
Steve Lewis Research Ofﬁcer Linden House 0113 242 8833
www.poauk.org.uk 27/7/11 08:45:13
HEALTH CARE MATTERS
THANK YOU! First of all, a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the June 2011 issue of Gatelodge.
his issue concentrated on the role of prison, prison ofﬁcers and health care in dealing with those who have mental illness, personality disorder and learning difﬁculties. It served to highlight our members’ work in a positive way, which has given us some interesting feedback that I will hopefully reproduce in a future column. Thank you.
Centre for Mental Health As part of the promotional work we do, Duncan Keys and I gave a speech to the Centre for Mental Health in Borough High Street, London. We spoke to the staﬀ there about prison, mental health awareness and the work of prison oﬃcers. We have built up a positive relationship and are currently arranging for 10 of the Centre’s staﬀ to visit HMP Wormwood Scrubs in order to see our work ﬁrst-hand.
John Hancock and Ralph Valerio are organising the visit and a report will appear in a future edition of Gatelodge. We value our relationship with the National Centre for Mental Health and we hope to work on mutual issues and interests more over the coming years.
Whitley Our Whitley meetings with the Directorate of Oﬀender Health continue to be productive and extremely worthwhile. There are some big agendas to deal with and here is one item to mention: We have expressed our concern that there may be a drug called Champix being dispensed to inmates. This is a tablet produced to assist in smoking cessation. There has been concern in professional journals and newspapers about possible side eﬀects. We believe that in a prison environment those side eﬀects could be magniﬁed so we would be grateful for any feedback on this from the branches. We are currently building up a positive relationship with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), who have been invited to take part with us at the Oﬀender Health meetings. Brian Morton, the Employment Relations Advisor for the RCN, is proving to be a good friend of ours. Best wishes and good health. Tom Robson Chairman of the Nursing & Health Care Ofﬁcers’ Consultative Committee
Nursing and health care ofﬁcers consultative committee members Tom Robson Chairman Duncan Keys Secretary Steve Baines NEC Ralph Valerio NEC George Bernard HMP Frankland Carrie Sheppard HMP Manchester Jeff Clements HMP Grendon Graham Dale HMP Cardiff www.poauk.org.uk 57 Healthcare.indd 57
0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0208 803 0255 0191 332 3130 0161 817 5600 01296 443000 029 20 923100 August 2011 57 8/8/11 10:51:47
TUPE OR NOT TUPE In the ﬁrst of a two-part article, Joanne Taylor of Thompsons Solicitors explains the TUPE regulations and how they apply to members. wide range of situations. The two broad categories are business transfers and service provision changes. Some transfers will be both a business transfer and a service provision change. The Regulations apply to: • Mergers • Contracting out of services • Changing contractors. Most public service contracting out exercises are covered.
recently attended the North West area POA meeting. Great concern was expressed by union representatives about the inevitable announcement, made on 13 July by Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, of a prisons “competition strategy”. There was concern about the impact of the market test leading to more prisons being run by private sector contractors and the impact this would have on POA members’ jobs. The Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) Regulations give some level of protection to employees when their employment is transferred. POA members are rightly concerned about their position if their employment is to be transferred, so this article is intended to deal with the main questions they are likely to have.
The regulations The TUPE regulations preserve an employee’s contractual terms and conditions when a business or undertaking, or part of one, is transferred to a new employer. They apply to what are known as “relevant transfers” which may occur in a
58 August 2011 58-59 Thompson.indd 58
Under the “Fair Deal” principles (which are currently under review by the Government) any new employer must oﬀer employees membership of a pension scheme which, though not identical, is “broadly comparable” to the public sector pension scheme which they are leaving. A broadly comparable scheme will be one which, in the opinion of the Government’s
The Regulations do not apply to: • Transfers by share take-over • Transfers of a contract to provide goods or services where this does not involve the transfer of business or part of a business • Transfer of assets only. But these exclusions are unlikely to apply in the context of prison market testing or privatisation.
Who transfers? Subject to the Right to object, those employed by the previous employer immediately before the transfer, or those assigned to the relevant grouping of employees, automatically become an employee of the new employer, on the same contractual terms and conditions as if their contract had been made with the new employer. Therefore, an employee’s continuity of employment is preserved, as are their terms and conditions of employment (except for certain occupational pension rights).
What transfers? 1. Pension Rights: Occupational pension rights earned up to the transfer are protected, but the new employer is not required to continue identical occupational pension arrangements for the transferred employees. Employees in the prison service will cease to eligible for PCSPS membership, and their ability to earn further occupational pension beneﬁts through future service will depend on the occupational pension arrangements made by the new employer.
www.poauk.org.uk 8/8/11 10:52:45
THOMPSONS S O L I C I T O R S
Actuary Department (GAD), satisﬁes the condition that there is no identiﬁable employees who will suﬀer a material detriment overall in their terms of future accrual of pension beneﬁts under the alternative scheme. Before a transfer can take place GAD must certify the broad comparability of speciﬁed alternative pension arrangements.
In practice this means that in order to avoid delay contracting authorities will need to be satisﬁed about the broad comparability of alternative pension arrangements well in advance of a selection of short list bidders or a preferred bidder. The bidder will need to provide the GAD with detailed speciﬁcations of their proposed pension arrangements in good time to allow the analysis required.
Trade union recognition: Under Regulation 6 of the TUPE Regulations 2006 if the transferred undertaking maintains an identity distinct from the remainder of the new employer’s business, the new employer will be considered to recognise any independent trade union, in respect of employees transferred, to the same extent to which it was recognised by the previous employer. If the undertaking does not keep its separate identity, the previous trade union recognition lapses and it will then be up to the union and the employer to renegotiate recognition. Thompsons believes that any prison transferred would retain a distinct identity for the purpose of Regulation 6 and therefore the POA should be recognised by the new employer. 2. Collective Agreements: Under Regulation 5 of the regulations the new employer takes over any collective agreements made on behalf of the employees and which are in force immediately before the transfer. 3. Powers of a Constable: Section 8 of the 1952 Prison Act grants Prison Oﬃcers, powers, authority, protection and privileges of a constable. On transfer to a private company employees will no longer be Prison Oﬃcers but Prisoner Custodial Oﬃcers. Therefore they will not retain the powers of a constable but would obtain the powers of a Prison Custodial Oﬃcer which are set out in Section 86 Criminal Justice Act 1991. Joanne Taylor
More information Part 2 of this article in the next issue of Gatelodge, will look at a new employer’s power to change the terms and transferred employees, protection against unfair dismissal, an employee’s right to object to a transfer and the employer’s duty to inform and consult.
www.poauk.org.uk 58-59 Thompson.indd 59
August 2011 59 26/7/11 15:49:30
THANK YOU – POA WELFARE FUND
HAUNTED HMP CHELMSFORD I have recently been commissioned to write a book entitled ‘Haunted Chelmsford’ for the History Press (due for release in August 2012) and wondered if any POA member had any information on alleged paranormal activity (past or present) regarding Chelmsford Prison that I could use in the book. I am aware that there have been alleged hauntings there, and that paranormal historian, Richard Felix, visited the site and talked with staﬀ during the making of his DVD ‘Ghosts of Essex’ a few years ago. Any information or witness accounts regarding hauntings at the prison would be gratefully welcomed and appreciated. The details of those submitting any information will be kept in strictest conﬁdence if requested. I can be contacted by email at Dizillusioned@aol.com . You can submit your information or story to me in full - or in an outline form along with your contact details and I will reply to you as soon as I can. Regards JASON DAY FOOTNOTE: Broadcaster, Jason Day is the brother of a POA member and is also an accomplished and published author of his own books. His work has featured in various prominent magazines and he also works with others in the written media, including some very prominent names in the paranormal community.
WHITEMOOR REUNION Whitemoor 20 Year Reunion - Come & Join Us! It’s hard to believe its been 20 Years! We would love all past and present Whitemoor staﬀ to come along to celebrate your Whitemoor Years with old colleagues and friends. Saturday 1st October 2011 7.30 till late. Whitemoor Oﬃcers Mess Longhill Road, March, Cambridgeshire . Informal dress code. Food Available
RSVP - Sept 2nd 2011 Trish Benson - email@example.com or Paul Benson, Paul Wood, Nigel Link @ HMP Whitemoor
60 Auguat 2011 60-61 Postbag.indd 60
Dear Pete I would like to take this opportunity to thank the POA Welfare Committee for funding my stay at the Fire Fighters Charity, Jubilee Centre in Penrith, Cumbria. The facilities and the staﬀ are absolutely fantastic, the treatment I received and on-going exercises were invaluable and although I may never fully recover from my injury it has certainly improved greatly, without the help that you gave me I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. So please pass on my thanks and I hope that the Committee can continue to assist fellow members who have been injured to get the help they need. Kind regards
GOOD TO STAY IN TOUCH Dear Pete Please accept my thanks; I have just received my ﬁrst Gatelodge magazine since retiring from the service 16 years ago. After more than 20 years’ service I felt cut oﬀ in retirement from all the friends I had made over the years, but I must admit, I still do have some contact through the Fellowship of ex-Exeter prison staﬀ. But I still think of all the other establishments I served in and wonder if my old friends are still going strong. When I joined my ﬁrst posting at Dartmoor in 1974, it was widely accepted that with the hours we worked to build up our pensions, one’s life expectancy after retirement was between 12 to 18 months, and this did apply to some of the oﬃcers I knew. Who can remember ‘The Arab’ (Ted Richerdson) he collapsed and died on his last evening duty? We all complained about Fresh Start but it did save lives and my retired friends and I from Exeter are living proof of this. I hope to carry on receiving Gatelodge for many more years and although I do not know anyone mentioned now, it makes me proud to still have contact with the service I was so proud to be part of. Yours sincerely Beresford (Barry) Bawden Name and Address supplied
www.poauk.org.uk 26/7/11 15:58:56
THANK YOU – LEGAL DEPARTMENT Dear Mr Travis I would like to thank you and the POA for your assistance in my claim with the CICA. I am sorry for the delay in writing this note as I believe being a member of this Union is vital to every Oﬃcers’ wellbeing. You do a great job on our behalf and once again, many thanks. Name and address supplied
THANK YOU – WELFARE FUND Thank you so much for your kindness, it has meant so much to me and my family and it has been a huge help. Name & address supplied
SUPPORTING THE STRIKE On the 30th June 2011 one of a group of many professionals around the country joined their fellow workers during their lunch hour in support of their industrial action brought about by the intransigence of this ConDem Government hell-bent on going to war with Civil Service Unions when it didn’t need to for the sake of trying to score political points. As a member of the Prison Oﬃcers Association, HMP Moorland Branch I stood outside my place of work during my lunch hour in support of the PCS and others on strike and side to side with members of the Prison Governors Association, members of the National Probation Service and other teaching union members. These are not left wing hard core people who threaten to withdraw their labour on a whim. These are individuals who are in fear of having their contracts (agreed with by other Governments) arbitrarily “hacked to pieces” unnecessarily at the behest of a totalitarian ConDem Alliance. Hutton himself said in his report that the cost of the pensions agreed with other Governments continues to go down, making it aﬀordable for those in which it forms part of their pay and remuneration package. This has been conﬁrmed by independent ﬁnancial “whizzkid” organisations. Francis Maude (Minister for the Cabinet Oﬃce-Paymaster General) in a radio discussion programme got caught out by the interviewer on this very point and subsequently made a fool of himself in the process. Those in Government need to remember something as they rant on about how they, led by their heroine Maggie, “The so-called Iron LadyI’m not for turning” Lady Thatcher beat the NUM years ago, (Norman Tebbit is forever coming out of his armchair to remind everyone of this) and that includes the current Prime Minister. To David Cameron I say this “You may think you are an Iron Man not for turning, but you’re not, and because behind every proﬁtable private sector enterprise there is a public sector agency supporting its right to exist (something easily forgotten).”
www.poauk.org.uk 60-61 Postbag.indd 61
Also, there is a great deal of diﬀerence between the “handbag” brigade led by she who was backstabbed by her own into leaving 10 Downing Street in tears beating a trade union whose membership only covered a county, and a consortium of unions nationwide totalling roughly TWO million workers. Understand this; people like me who have given their life to serving the crown and public service and who have paid their price with both their bodies and the families of those who gave their lives, don’t forgive breaches of trust. People like me in the public sector have kept our word and just because someone takes command of the Government for a term of oﬃce and thinks they have the right to just waltz in and destroy the “life plans” of millions of people who have sacriﬁced their lifestyle for their security in retirement, it doesn’t mean they can without proper and due process, recompense and agreement. So this Government had better wake up and smell the coﬀee and then think again. Every public sector worker in this country has kept their word of honour with every respective government in relation to their terms and conditions of service, sacriﬁcing their standard of living now for their promised security in retirement. If this coalition Government want to bring it on then so be it – but they had better be prepared to accept the consequences. People like me with nearly forty years of public service haven’t broken our word or contract, and this Government, on behalf of the people it represents and who I and others like me have served for so long should not break the peoples’ word to us. Gary Day HMP Moorland Closed Committee Member (and for those in the know locally, yes I have toned it down by request)
August 2011 61 26/7/11 15:59:03
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