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The POA Members’ Magazine

October 2012 The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers

JOIN THE POLICE CREDIT UNION

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CONTENTS

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 Secretary to the Editorial Board: Carol Strahan e-mail: gatelodge@poauk.org.uk Editorial Office: POA HQ, Cronin House, 245 Church Street, London N9 9HW Tel: 0208 803 0255 Fax: 0208 803 1761 Editorial: Contributors to the magazine are requested to send material for the December 2012 issue by Friday 9 November 2012

Welcome to the October issue of Gatelodge. The POA again attended the annual TUC conference in Brighton and a full report is contained in this issue on page 26. The Union has now achieved the conference policy in respect of establishing a credit union. It has been a pleasure to work with Pete Chapple, the Unions’ Finance Officer during this process and we are pleased to announce that the POA now enjoys a common bond with the Police Credit Union (PCU). I have to say, Pete has been the driving force behind this piece of work ensuring all the relevant checks and balances have been conducted and members can now join. A full report outlining all the benefits of joining the credit union and accessing low rate loans whilst saving regularly is contained in the middle section of this issue. Keep an eye open for the special offers in the future. Additional information will also be published on the POA website at www.poauk.org.uk I will again remind members of the TUC organised March and Rally on 20 October 2012 and that the NEC is supporting this. Some

places are still available on the transportation. We need to secure a future for everyone so please give your support. There have been some significant changes to the Ministry of Justice and other departments following the cabinet reshuffle - how the new appointments will affect prisons and other areas where POA members work is something we will have to monitor. As we go to print with this issue of Gatelodge the first stages of the 2013 pay review starts and the executive will be setting out the key areas they demand that the Prison Service Pay Review Body must consider. We hope this body will pay more attention to the needs of members and not continue being puppets of Government. Only time will tell. Finally, I would like to thank Carol for her efforts in the production and distribution of the POA’s official journal. Yours Sincerely GLYN TRAVIS

Cover Story: The POA’s Finance Officer, Pete Chapple and Peter Evans of the Police Credit Union have signed the agreement to provide members with access to affordable loans and the opportunity to save. See the centre pages of this issue for more information.

WHAT’S INSIDE National Chairman

4

General Secretary

8

Campaigns and events

10

Scotland

30

Thompsons

34

Production Co-ordinator Sue Woodgates 01778 392062 e-mail: suewoodgates@warnersgroup.co.uk

Strictly Private

36

Advertising Design Development Design

POA Learning

46

Health & Safety

50

Healthcare

51

Postbag

52

Branch News

59

Obituaries

73

Editorial Design: Ady Braddock Advertising Sales Katrina Browning 01778 395022 e-mail: katrinab@warnersgroup.co.uk

Publisher: Juliet Loiselle e-mail: julietl@warnersgroup.co.uk Tel:01778 391067 Publishers & Printers Warners Group Publications plc, The Maltings, West Street, Bourne, PE10 9PH. Tel: 01778 393313 Fax: 01778 394748

www.poauk.org.uk

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Police Credit Union (PCU1 to PCU8) Centre Pages

50

20

October 2012 3

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NATIONAL CHAIRMAN

HOW THE POA FIGHTS FOR ITS MEMBERS’ RIGHTS

The Annual Conference season is upon us and the POA intends to use the opportunity to press forward its agenda to the benefit of the membership.

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t the TUC Annual Conference the POA was pleased to move Motion 5 calling for consideration of the practicalities of a general strike. Following a lively debate the motion was adopted by the TUC and it has received extensive and on-going press and media coverage. The NEC speaker, Steve Gillan, persuaded the TUC that given the attack on hard-won employment rights, that consideration of a general strike would be a reminder to politicians of the determination of the trade union movement to force a change in policy. The NEC sees the adoption of Motion 5 as a part of the strategy to defeat the pension imposition, the on-going pay freeze and the attack on employment rights. The recent rejection of the final offer on pensions by the POA membership forms a further part of our strategy. You will recall that the result of the ballot was clear and unambiguous. It confirmed our view that a pensionable age of 68 is inappropriate within an essential and uniformed service. It confirmed that the increase in pension contributions is causing real hardship in the midst of the on-going pay freeze. Effectively, with the ballot result, the membership has instructed the POA to continue to exert pressure on the Coalition Government to revisit their pension imposition. I take this opportunity to reiterate again that the POA is not a one trick pony.

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To win we must have a broad strategy with many and diverse strands. To reinforce the message that austerity is not working and as a part of our strategy to convince politicians and the public that there is a fairer alternative; we hope to see as many of you as possible at the march and rally on 20 October 2012 in London. To date, the Coalition Government has been predictable in its response to calls for a change in policy. Austerity has failed and needs to be replaced by an economic plan that works for all. We were pleased that the POA was able to convince the General Council of the TUC to support its motion. That support helped to convince many undecided trade unions of the merit of our motion. The POA has worked tirelessly in recent months to gain that support. As National Chairman, in my personal opinion, a failure to adopt Motion 5 would have brought into question the effectiveness of the TUC as an organisation representing organised labour. I remind the membership that the call for the consideration of the practicalities of a general strike is not a trade dispute. The call for a general strike is now a political dispute to be determined and led by the TUC. The NEC will keep you updated on the progress of Motion 5. Alongside Motion 5 the POA delegation moved a motion on diversion strategies for the mentally ill within the criminal justice system. The motion delivered by Steve Bostock received unanimous support from the conference delegates. Ralph Valerio, with his customary eloquence, spoke in support of an FBU motion “Stop the Cuts”. The delegation participated in a number of fringe meetings that took place throughout the conference week. I put on record my thanks to the delegation for their professional approach and I hope that Steve Wrighton of Bullingdon and Jaswinder Singh Nagra of Sudbury found the experience worthwhile. (See their report on page 26 of this issue of Gatelodge). The POA is now preparing for the party political conferences. For the second year running the POA has sponsored a series of fringe meetings in order to raise its profile among politicians, interest groups within the criminal justice system and the general public. The theme of the fringe meetings is the future of the criminal justice system and the next edition of Gatelodge will contain a report back on these fringe meetings.

Cabinet reshuffle Following the Cabinet reshuffle, Justice Minister, Kenneth Clarke, has been replaced by the Employment Minister, Christopher Grayling. Mr Clarke reminded me of the Bourbons. I am not referring to the biscuits but the French 19th Century ruling elite of the same name. It was said of them on their return to power that they had learnt nothing from their period in the political wilderness but had also forgotten nothing. Mr Clarke believed that policy could be introduced by rhetoric and grandiose pronouncements. His call for a rehabilitation revolution could not be achieved alongside the savage cuts to budgetary expenditure and with the chaos of prison privatisation and the outsourcing of the probation service. Again, the policy of payment by results may well be the panacea for rehabilitation but to date there is no consistent evidence and data to support the initiative. With Mr Clarke’s ingrained suspicion of trade unions, our efforts, for example, to convince him of the merits of performance testing as a realistic alternative to competition policy were ignored. Crispin Blunt, the Prison Minister, has also been replaced in the reshuffle. He engaged at every opportunity with the POA and on occasion supported and sympathised with our views. His tenure as Prison Minister was one of the longest in recent times. Once again, a Prison Minister who has an overview of his portfolio and has established working relationships with the unions and interest groups has been replaced. The new Justice Minister, Mr Grayling, is referred to in sections of the popular press as the “attack dog” of the Coalition Government. The POA will be happy to accompany him on long walks to discuss policy considerations within the criminal justice system. Hopefully he will not feel the need to attack the hard working employees who perform an essential service on behalf of the public. The POA has issued a press release and congratulated Mr Grayling on his appointment. Within the press release we called upon the new Justice Minister to revisit the decisions made by successive administrations that have undermined the morale and effectiveness of criminal justice workers. Workers within the criminal justice system know that without joined up thinking there will be no rehabilitation revolution. Mr Grayling - as you visit prisons; take the opportunity to listen and learn from our members, the professionals in the workplace.

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NATIONAL CHAIRMAN Prison staff, residents and representatives of the town council held a protest meeting opposite the Houses of Parliament against the proposed closure of HMP Wellingborough

By way of introduction, the new Prisons Minister, Jeremy Wright, contacted the NEC within hours of his appointment. We now look forward to meeting the new ministerial team. We have a lot to discuss.

Competition The announcement on preferred bidder status has been delayed yet again. The POA can accept that following the reshuffle the new ministerial team needs to understand the nuances of its portfolio. The lessons from the unacceptable delay that characterised the Birmingham and Buckley Hall market tests have been acknowledged by the employer and by politicians. Yet once again staff have been left in limbo, anxious and frustrated by the delay. If the competition process, in its current format is to continue, the effect on staff within a stressed operational environment of these unacceptable delays must not only be acknowledged but addressed.

Wellingborough The decision to close HMP Wellingborough was received with understandable anger by the POA. Once again a public asset is in danger of being thrown away on the basis of the dubious interpretation of financial statistics. If we were to believe that £50million was necessary to maintain

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HMP Wellingborough as suitable accommodation, this compares favourably with the exorbitant cost of building HMP Thameside. Politicians, of course, continually hide behind the ideology of ‘private good public bad’. Yet over the August bank holiday period the Serco-run HMP Thameside refused to accept prisoners sent to them by the courts. Acute, and we understand on-going staffing problems necessitated these prisoners being accommodated by the public sector. On his first day in office the Prison Minister visited HMP Thameside. The POA has called upon Mr Wright to seek answers for this serious failure of Serco to fulfil their obligations to the British public. Following a demonstration through the streets of Wellingborough a number of staff attended a debate on the closure in the House of Commons on 5 September 2012. Prior to the debate, staff from the prison, residents and representatives of the town council held a protest meeting opposite the Houses of Parliament. With members of the executive and PCS officials in attendance the media coverage was extensive. Through the pages of the Gatelodge, I take this opportunity as National Chairman to acknowledge the contribution of Martin Field and the committee at Wellingborough in the on-going campaign to highlight the stupidity of the decision to close the prison.

The POA has noted with interest the answer given by the new Justice Minister when asked what steps he would take to reduce the size of the prison population. Mr Grayling said that rehabilitation was “absolutely at the top of the agenda” but that he had no plans to reduce the prison population. If that answer indicates a change in direction then the prison closure policy must be revisited and the decision to close HMP Wellingborough overturned. (To read more about the campaign to save Wellingborough, turn to page 12).

NORTHERN IRELAND Members of the Executive have recently visited HMP Maghaberry. Given the distinct difficulties of managing prisoners in Northern Ireland the professionalism and good humour in evidence was remarkable. Following the branch visit and meeting we attended an area meeting of the Northern Ireland committee under the Chairmanship of Finlay Spratt. Attending and participating in a structured meeting gave a further insight into the issues within an evolving prison estate. We look forward to our next meeting when we will be meeting with the recently appointed Director General, Sue McAllister. Thank you to the staff and committee at HMP Maghaberry for your patience and hospitality during our visit.

Continued overleaf

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NATIONAL CHAIRMAN Continued from previous page

The prison service in Northern Ireland has announced that HMP Magilligan will be closed and replaced with a new prison nearer to Belfast. Apart from operational considerations; the closure of HMP Magilligan will have serious economic consequences for the area. Sound familiar? A new for old policy in terms of prison provision is not as straightforward as it might first appear. Finlay has been in contact with me and the General Secretary as the campaign to overturn the decision gathers momentum.

THE MOORLAND RIOTS I make no apology for reproducing here a branch circular from the POA committee to the branch following the conclusion of the judicial process following the riots in November 2010: “Your committee wish to place on record our thanks to the colleagues that gave evidence in these trials and recognise the personal trauma which this has caused. We also recognise the vital role the care team played in the support they gave to our colleagues whilst at court and issues that are still on-going. We hope to never experience this again but it shows the professionalism that exists within this establishment in times of need between all grades. We will ensure that our NEC is aware of the trial outcomes and the professional manner which you all conducted yourselves. You are a credit to the service.” Through the pages of Gatelodge the NEC takes this opportunity to thank all those involved in ensuring that significant sentences have been given to the criminals who were involved in the riots. Rehabilitation has its place in the criminal justice system but so too has appropriate punishment.

PAY The Prison Minister has written to me, in my capacity as National Chairman, enclosing a copy of his letter to the Chairman of the Pay Review Body to commission the process for the 2013/14 pay round. The Minister has determined that it is not necessary to issue a formal remit letter this year. In his opinion there are no exceptional circumstances to be considered in the 2013/14 pay round. The POA welcomes this decision, as in the past the issue of the remit letter has compromised the independence of the Pay Review Body. All well and good, but the Pay Review Body has been asked to make its recommendations within the context of Government policy on public sector pay. To remind you, Government

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policy states that public sector pay awards should average one percent for the next two years. Unlike last year, the Pay Review Body will consider pay awards across the remit group Members of the Executive met with Peter Knight, the Chairman of the Pay Review Body, for a general discussion prior to our formal submission due by the end of October. In the August edition of the Gatelodge (page 5) I encouraged members to meet and engage with Mr Knight and his team on their visits to establishments. Mr Knight has been impressed by the staff that he has met and their willingness to engage in the process. On behalf of the Executive thank you. A pro-forma has been circulated to branches to assist in our final submission and subsequent oral evidence session. Please complete the pro-forma and return it to Cronin House. The POA must become an evidence based trade union. We must remember that the Pay Review Body will base its recommendations on evidence not hearsay. On the topic of income, a recent report by Save the Children, “It shouldn’t happen here”, resulted in their first ever appeal on behalf of children in poverty in the UK. The report identifies that over half of the children in poverty in the UK have a parent in work. An income of 30k a year can put a strain on household finances in providing essentials such as food, heating and clothing. The Government is committed to ending child poverty in the UK by 2020. The Government needs to recognise that there is a difference between competitive pay and low pay. Government has fallen into the trap of believing that the public sector can only be successful if they pay low wages. Hopefully the report will be a wake-up call to ministers and employers. The POA will provide them with a copy.

PRISON INSPECTORATE Just when we thought we were making progress the Prison Inspector has published his views on the issues of remand prisoners and the abuse of prescription medicines. Remand and convicted prisoners are warehoused together due to chronic overcrowding in our prisons. A maximum of two staff have to manage upwards of one hundred prisoners on a unit. Observing the niceties of remand prisoner entitlements can be impossible if you are concentrating on protecting life and limb. Open your eyes Mr Hardwick and recognise the reality of our prisons. The abuse of prescription medicines within prisons is not a new problem. To reduce or eradicate the problem needs suitable and sufficient staffing levels. The POA calls upon Mr Hardwick to fully engage with the justice unions. We can all identify problems; that is the easy part, but it appears that only the unions are prepared to point to the solutions.

CONCLUSION As this article is being prepared for publication two police officers have been murdered in Manchester. There are no words that can adequately express our feelings at the murder of officers in the line of duty in protecting the public. As many of you will be aware, one of the officers is related to one of our colleagues. The POA will provide whatever assistance and support is necessary. I speak on behalf of the members and retired members of the POA in saying that we cannot possibly understand your grief but that the thoughts of all of us are with you.

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GENERAL SECRETARY

GENERAL SECRETARY O AN OUTSTANDING DEBATE AT TUC

The POA, as per TUC Congress rules, had two motions for debate, one was specific to prisons in relation to mental health diversion programmes, this motion was seconded by NAPO and carried unanimously by Congress. The details and debate of this motion can be found on our website: www.poauk.org.uk

T

he other motion that the POA put forward courted a lot of controversy on the run up to Congress and indeed whilst at Congress. The General Council (of which I am a member) was split right up until a general council meeting prior to the business of Congress on Monday 10 September 2012 when the General Council then determined support for the POA motion. In my view, the media circus that followed and the comments from all political parties bordered on the hysterical. So what was the motion that so stirred up the TUC that several delegates from a variety of unions described as the best debate in 20 years at a Congress? Some described the debate as outstanding whether unions were in favour or against, and some reporters stated that the TUC were woken up and the Motion did have merit. Indeed, John Hendy QC and Professor Keith Ewing believed the motion had absolute merit.

Motion 5 read: “Congress welcomes the Future that Works demonstration on 20 October 2012 and recognises this as being an effective platform and foundation to resist the damaging austerity measures that are damaging the very fabric of our society in Great Britain. Further, Congress recognises that after the demonstration there needs to be a strong voice from all TUC affiliated unions to protect public and private sector workers, the unemployed, our children, the elderly and all those in our society who are vulnerable. Congress accepts that the trade union movement must continue leading from the front against this uncaring government with a coalition of resistance taking co-ordinated action where possible with far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike.”

General strike It would appear the consideration and practicalities of a general strike were the offending words with

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some believing the trade union movement should never ever have that in their armoury to consider. I am pleased to say the motion was carried massively. However, refreshingly, there were unions who expressed dissent and got up to contribute to a really good debate. I applaud those unions exercising that democratic right. The day we stop debating at the TUC or indeed our own conference is the day we need to pack up. That in my view is what unionism is about, debating and having alternative views and coming to a position of policy. Indeed if the issue had gone to a card vote I believe the motion would have been supported by about five million votes plus to around 800,000 against. The motion is now history but policy of the TUC so that this issue can be considered and the practicalities looked at over the coming years. I hope we never have to use it but this Coalition

Government needs to be forced to change course before our country is destroyed by austerity measures that clearly are not working. There is an alternative to these cuts and they know it yet they are clearly driving forward damaging every public service in its path and taking us into a double dip recession. Of course any strike - leaving aside a general strike - is a last resort and the POA motion had a lot more substance than just consideration of the practicalities of a general strike. It calls on the trade union movement to continue to lead from the front on its campaigns and coordinated action against austerity measures. There is nothing to fear for the trade union movement in looking at the practicalities of a general strike and indeed if examination of what John Hendy QC and Professor Keith Ewing are arguing then it may well be legal to have a political protest called by the TUC.

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GENERAL SECRETARY

Y OVERVIEW The right to strike

Hendy and Ewing co-authored a booklet entitled “Days of Action” in which they detail the legal argument behind the right of trade unions to hold a general strike. They argue that, unlike our counterparts in other European member states, British trade unions have so far avoided the general strike in response to government austerity measures, preferring large scale demonstrations that have succeeded in bringing hundreds of thousands of workers onto the streets in protest. These have taken place at the weekend, minimising disruption to the economy and public services. But what if trade unions decide to step up a gear? One of the practicalities to which the POA resolution refers will be the tight legal restrictions on the right to strike that operate in this country. Even when British law was at its most liberal in terms of the right to strike, there were always question marks about the use of the strike as a weapon of political protest. In 1980 when the TUC organised a day of action against the then Tory Government’s Employment Bill, a number of newspaper proprietors were able to rush off to the courts to secure an injunction to have the action stopped. It is unnecessary to dwell on the irony of employers whose business is based on the right to freedom of expression denying the same right to the workers they employ. In those days, industrial action to protest against government policy was unlawful because then, as now, strikes could only take place in furtherance of a “trade dispute”. This is to say

a dispute between workers and employers over workplace matters, rather than a dispute between workers and government over government policy. The definition of a trade dispute is now even narrower than it was then. It might be thought that as a result, the law represents an insuperable practical hurdle to the type of action contained within the POA motion but John Hendy QC believes the position is changing. The United Kingdom is a party to an International treaty on freedom of association, referred to sometimes as ILO Convention 87. This treaty has been said by both the judicial and non-judicial bodies responsible for its supervision to include the right to strike, including the right to strike in protest at policies of government which damage the social and economic interests of workers. In a nutshell there will be practicalities to be addressed if British workers are to follow the recent example of our counterparts in Greece, Spain and Portugal. Hendy QC concludes by stating that trade unions ought not to be intimidated by the fear of legal action, given the direction of travel from ILO Convention 87, to the ECHR, TO THE Human Rights Act 1998. The POA NEC believes it was absolutely correct to take such a resolution to the Congress in Brighton if nothing else to stimulate debate. It has been accepted as policy and now we need to consider it as a last resort whilst at the same time resisting the damaging austerity measures that is touching all POA members and their families irrespective of where they work.

MOORLAND RIOTERS JAILED

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t the time of writing this article I have been informed that some of the prisoners that took part in the Moorland riots have had lengthy prison sentences and some are due for sentencing. The Executive welcomes these sentences but I hope society, politicians and NOMS officials recognise that this was achieved by the magnificent work of loyal, dedicated professionals that do a difficult job on behalf of society. The evidence that prison officers and related grades gave was outstanding and professional and secured the deserved convictions. The POA membership at Moorland deserve respect, firstly dealing with the riots in the first place, then dealing with the uncertainty of competition, and then the stress of giving evidence at the trials. On behalf of the NEC I place on record my thanks to the Branch Committee and the membership at Moorland for their magnificent work during these difficult times. You are a credit to the POA and the prison service. I hope those decision makers above recognise you dedication.

Visits to establishments As General Secretary I believe it is vital for me to attend branches throughout the country during my five year term of office in order to listen at grass roots level our members. Since taking up post over two years ago, I have managed to visit in excess of fifty branches and they are listed below. Over the next few years I aim to visit the rest and I am on target to achieve that aim.

Branches visited 2010

Latchmere House Pentonville Buckley Hall Moorland Lewes Rampton Grendon.

2011

Ford Lancaster Castle Ashwell Wormwood Scrubs Wandsworth Latchmere House Feltham Bullwood Hall Barlinnie Chelmsford Full Sutton Inverness Guys Marsh Downview Bullwood Hall Lancaster Farms Liverpool Holme House Ranby Wakefield Onley Doncaster Isis Shotts Whitemoor.

2012

Parkhurst Lindholme Greenock Nottingham Holloway Holme House Aberdeen Peterhead Wellingborough Hull Whitemoor Wymott Durham Maghaberry.

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CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

Steve Wrighton (HMP Bullingdon) and Mick Longstaff (HMP & YOI Low Newton) attended the Hazards 2012 conference at Keele University on behalf of the POA H&S Consultative Committee.

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azards is the biggest conference solely for union H&S reps in the country with over 400 delegates attending. It comprises a mixture of workshops, keynote meetings and campaigning meetings on a whole range of issues which affect workers’ safety at work. The opening session reviewed the “We Didn’t Vote to Die at Work” campaign and launched the slogan for next year’s Workers Memorial Day (28 April) “Stop it: you’re killing us!”

Families Against Corporate Killers Louise Adamson from Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) gave an emotive presentation on the effects and suffering that occurs when members of family are killed at work due to the failure of employers to protect their workers, and the fight for justice just to get these employers in a court, let alone the appalling low punishments and fines that are imposed even if the employer is convicted. We strongly recommend that branches buy FACK’s DVD called: “FACE the FACKS: The human face of workplace killing”. It costs £10 and will inspire any branch membership to fight against the wrongs of their employer when dealing with our Health and Safety. (Visit www.fack.org.uk to buy the DVD.)

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Understanding fire risk assessments Steve attended two workshops; the first one on fire risk assessments and the second on Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs) and Union Inspection Notices (UINs). In the first it was apparent that although most safety reps carry out their inspections, fire risk assessments are not always reviewed in the same way and many reps rely on the information given to then by fire advisors / officers who are often contracted staff - not

directly employed. For those safety reps out there that do not review or have a good understanding of their fire risk assessments, get involved and if that means you need more facility time then make the case. The workshop on PINs and UINs focussed on the huge reductions in HSE inspectors and Local Authority inspectors, as a consequence, the chances of your workplace being inspected (unless there has been a serious accident) is greatly reduced and may even never happen. In reaction to this, members’ safety is increasingly reliant on union safety reps enforcing the regulations and formally notifying the employer where there are breaches of H&S and the use of UINs is a tool which can make a manager sit up and take notice. The POA H&S Consultative Committee has taken the idea of a standard POA UIN to the prison board and despite initially considering the proposal, opted not to adopt the idea but this is still on the agenda. Mick attended two workshops, the first one on managing sickness absence and the second one on Health and Safety Representatives involvement in risk assessments.

Sickness absence It became clear in the workshop on sickness absence that there appears to be a clamour from employers to link this policy with their disciplinary policies. Now forgive me for thinking this; but I thought the reason anyone was brought before a disciplinary meeting was that they had

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CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

done something wrong. Our own Conduct and Disciplinary Policy states: “The Conduct and Discipline Instruction provides a range of options for dealing with staff employed by NOMS (including HMPS) who fail to meet the required standards of behaviour”. How can this then be allowed to happen? The recent news on the link between occupational cancers and shift work needs to be highlighted with our employer and over 90 percent of uniformed staff work this pattern yet nothing is done by our employer to protect us from the risks, so safety reps in our branches need to start taking this forward as we on the national committee will do at a Whitley level. The risks from night work have been known for years but once again, how many of our members receive regular health screening? The most serious health effects related to shift and night work are cancer, heart disease and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Five years ago, in 2007 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that “shift work involving circadian disruption is probably carcinogenic to humans” and classified shift work as a category 2A carcinogen. No, they wait for them to report sick and use the big stick to beat them into submission and make them come into work as they are letting the side down.

Risk assessments The second workshop on safety reps’ involvement in the risk assessment process inspired lots of debate amongst the participants. A lot of other unions weren’t aware that health and safety is our only legal way of action and

by becoming involved in the risk assessments, we can influence managers to ensure that we have safer workplaces than we would have had if we weren’t helping. After all, a lot of mangers who completed risk assessments are also our members too. There was a lot of debate centring around the use of Regulation 4 of the SRSC Regs 1977 where an employer must give the reps all the information required. This discussion started due to reps stating that their employers never allowed them to even see their risk assessments let alone become involved in them.

Asbestos awareness

Occupational/ Environmental Cancer

One other interesting fact – watch out for next years injuries figures dropping! Yes you heard it right, the workplace has just got safer, or is it the fact that the changes to Riddor (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) reporting could result in the fact that 30,000 fewer accidents will appear on the official figures? We would encourage all branches to become more involved in spreading the word of Health and Safety amongst fellow trade unionists as many are unaware of the types of risks we face everyday, but we also have many similar concerns and we need to spread the work and network with other like-minded union activists.

At a campaign meeting on Occupational/ Environmental Cancer we asked the panels’ views on why, despite the No Smoking at Work Legislation, the exemption on prisoners has left prison officers subjected daily to second-hand smoke; a known carcinogen. The panel agreed with us and a healthy debate was held between those attending the meeting, the safety reps from other unions were on the whole oblivious to this and surprised that this is still happening so many years on from the original ban. The panel put the question back on us to ask what we the POA as a Union was doing to raise this issue with Government other unions to campaign for an end to this exposure on behalf of our members. We need to make sure our members continue to report every exposure to second hand smoke as accidents / injuries. This is a fight which the POA can win if we organise our membership.

The dangers of exposure to Asbestos was also discussed and many thanks go to a UCATT delegate who is a member of the estates department at one of our prisons for highlighting the amount of Asbestos that is still present in many of our prisons. Local safety reps need to ensure that they have a copy of the Asbestos register / map for their establishment as any work that is carried out or damage incurred to the fabric of the building does put the health of members at risk.

Safer workplace

Hazards magazine Start by purchasing a year’s subscription to Hazards quarterly magazine, and if your branch can afford it consider sending your Health and Safety representative to next years Hazards conference at the University of Keele in July 2013.

Hazards campaign For more information on the Hazards campaign and lots of useful H&S information visit www.hazards.org

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October 2012 11 29/10/12 17:18:55


CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS

STEPS CLOSER TO A STRIKE AGAINST AUSTERITY Even before the actual NSSN lobby of the TUC for a general strike took place on Sunday 9 September, NSSN supporters had been busy discussing, debating and mobilising workers and the wider community around the next step in the fight against austerity. And it has made a difference!

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efore Congress began, even Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary Elect, “put herself on collision course with Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, by saying she would help organise action if it was approved by ballots. ‘If members vote for it – it depends on democratic ballots – then obviously the TUC stands ready to support and co-ordinate action’.” [Guardian Online 8 September 2012.] This was in addition to Unite’s Len McCluskey, RMT’s Bob Crow, PCS’s Mark Serwotka and, of course, Steve Gillan of the POA, (who was bringing the motion to the conference) who had already put their support to the idea.

STRIKE

On a scorching hot day, over 800 marched through Brighton to urge the TUC to support the call for a general strike. Welsh supporters started travelling at 5.00am, now that shows commitment! We got a great response as we marched through Brighton town centre and along the promenade, where hundreds of people were able to see and hear our demand for the next step in the battle against austerity.

Speakers At the assembly point for the march, many speakers, including Janice Godrich (PCS President), argued for the need for co-ordinated action against the huge onslaught that was piling up against us. PCS and many others have continually argued against the need for cuts, but the Union has also shown that there is no need for any cuts, explaining that £120 billion is lost to the Government in tax avoidance. The march had been welcomed by Phil Clarke of Brighton Trades Council, who congratulated the NSSN for marching in a city where 10,000 had protested on N30. Other speakers included former library worker Nancy Taaffe, who explained how austerity was boosting the far right throughout Europe but they could be stopped with a combination of a socialist programme against austerity, and tackling them on the ground, as had been done against the EDL in Walthamstow on 1 September. Steve Hedley, newly-elected Assistant Secretary of the RMT, welcomed the part played by young people in fighting back against the cuts when they protested against the loss of EMA and the cuts to higher education, but the Labour movement must lead the fightback now against austerity.

Rally The lively rally was opened by Bob Crow (RMT General Secretary), who was introduced by NSSN National Secretary, Linda Taaffe, noting that there would have not been an NSSN without the RMT’s initiative and leading role five years ago. Crow began with his support for the NSSN march and lobby, and his support for the POA motion for a general strike.

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“In reality it is a class attack... whether [a general strike is] legal or not is not the issue; the reality is, is it right or wrong?” He went on to say this was the only action that could really make a difference, and reported on a recent ballot for action over privatisation at CalMac Ferries in Scotland, where the Scottish government assured the union there would be no break up and privatisation of the routes. “The only thing more contagious than fear is courage,” Bob Crow concluded and called on the TUC not just to consider a general strike against austerity but name the day!

Remploy Ex-Remploy shop steward, Mark Holloway, expressed his anger and sadness at the closure of the factories that had put thousands of disabled workers out of work. He pointed out that some had argued it was necessary to close Remploy, as it was ‘segregating’ workers but he said it was their choice to work separately, in workplaces that had better understanding and systems set up to be an accessible employer. He also pointed to the ongoing hypocrisy that didn’t shut down the Paralympics for the same reason. Steve Gillan (POA), whose Union put forward the motion on a general strike, and had been putting forward similar motions for a few years, argued that the need for this motion and action was necessary, as the Government “bails out the banks but not Remploy”; this was one example of what had been taken away from us. He ended by asserting, “They’ll only stop chasing us, if we stop running!”

Marikina April Ashley, in a personal capacity, reported on the terrible murders of the South African miners at Marikina who are in their fourth week of strike action for a living wage from Lonmin, a British company. As an activist against apartheid, she said it was the like the worst of the apartheid massacres, but shocking under an ANC government, a government which then jailed 300 other miners for the murder of their colleagues, citing a charge of ‘common purpose’, again used by the apartheid regime. After mass actions across South Africa and solidarity protests in Ireland, Nigeria, Austria and England, including two lobbies initiated by the NSSN, those jailed miners have been released. More workers are now making the call for a living wage. “If they can’t afford this, nationalise the company!” April ended, requesting continued support and solidarity for the ongoing battle.

www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 12:47:22


CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS

PCS

Changing industrial landscape

Mark Serwotka PCS, began by congratulating the organisers of the lobby and rally, reminding anyone who thinks lobbies don’t work to remember the lobby at Congress House when some unions were about to call off the pension strike; the lobby helped stiffen resolve, when the trade union leaders could see and hear the protest outside the meeting. Mark encouraged the audience to make sure the debate for action was injected into communities, who were facing the massive cuts and biggest wage of privatisation. PCS had been one of the unions that had actively promoted and led co-ordinated action in the pensions battle, pointed to what they have been able to do, against the odds and with an unremitting avalanche of publicity against them. With the HMRC dispute, over 1,000 jobs were pledged. The Home Office strike, due to start the day before the Olympics, with politicians and the mainstream press calling for the end of strike action in the civil service and a state of emergency, won 1,000 jobs! Further action is now already on the cards, as they have voted for another national strike, which they will co-ordinate with the NUT, who have also successfully balloted for strike action over pay. They have also had a huge discussion and debate in the union and agreed to stand or support political candidates who will support their members. Steve, an electrician and Unite member, was part of the campaign against the BESNA, which threatened pay cuts of around 35 percent, but led to un-official action and the seven companies backing down. He explained how the campaign began and also developed into the necessary action to defend the JIB agreement. Steve also linked that battle to the campaign against the blacklisting of union activists. Major players in the BESNA group were also leading companies charged with blacklisting workers. Rob Williams, Chair of the NSSN, was the final speaker, an ex-convenor of the Visteon/Linamar plant in Swansea. Rob began with international messages of support for the lobby. The first was from CONLUTAS, a Brazilian federation of trade unions, who commented: “We must unite forces across the world.”

Rob reminded those at the rally, that 28 years ago, there was also an important lobby of the TUC in support of the miners on strike in 1984. While the NSSN supports the TUC marches in London, Glasgow and Belfast on 20 October, he also said it was necessary to talk about what next, and what is necessary to defeat this weak ConDem Government, a Government that was responsible for food banks growing at a massive rate, “which were nothing more than modern day soup kitchens”. He noted how the NSSN weekly bulletin was getting longer and longer, but it was a reflection of the change in the industrial landscape; battles were taking place and many had won including the construction electricians against BESNA, the PCS in the recent disputes at HMRC and the Home Office, the London bus drivers for an Olympic bonus, and concessions for workers including MMP after mass campaigns, to name but a few! This year was also the 40th anniversary of the Pentonville 5 and the jailing of the Shrewsbury pickets, campaigns which showed the need to fight against unjust anti-trade union laws.

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To much applause, as the rally was about to end and lobby TUC delegates as they entered the Brighton Centre, it was announced that the Unison delegation had voted to support the POA motion for a general strike. This is already with Unite ‘onside’!

What next? 1. Get involved with the regional NSSN events and actions 2. JOIN the NSSN, as an individual or affiliate as a branch and take out a standing order so we can continue our work. Thanks to everyone who helped build for this rally, raise finances, bring supporters and continue to argue in their many many branches/union/and wider community action that will make a difference!

October 2012 13 26/10/12 12:47:37


CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

JAILHOUSE

CAFÉ

Glyn Travis, POA Assistant Secretary, reports on his visit to the Jailhouse Café at HMP The Verne, Portland.

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n Friday 31 August 2012 the POA National Chairman, Peter McParlin and John Hancock of the POA NEC attended the Jailhouse Café to review its progress following the decision to re-open the facility in November 2011. Glyn Travis and representatives from Warners Group Publications (Gatelodge publisher) also attended this event. The Verne is situated at the top of Portland Heights with panoramic views across Weymouth Bay and the Jurassic coast. However, this has its drawbacks for staff and visitors as there are no accessible local facilities. Despite opposition from staff and

the POA, the previous Governor had decided to close the staff mess failing to recognise its potential for staff, visitors, the local community and prisoners. Thankfully, the new Governor, James Lucas, and his senior management team held a different view and with the support of the local POA, work began to re-open the facility. The Verne entered into a partnership arrangement with Expia CIC, a community interest company limited by guarantee which aims to reduce re-offending.

Self-funding The café now provides good, affordable food to staff, visitors and partners of the prison, as well as to the local community. The Verne

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The café is completely self-funding, overseen and managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. All profits are ploughed back into the project to maintain its success and to plan for the future. A number of prisoners now work outside of the prison at the café every day, preparing and serving meals and growing vegetables and herbs for use in the café. Others maintain the gardens and infrastructure.

Qualifications Alison Calder, who supervises and instructs the prisoners in the preparation, cooking and serving of meals told Gatelodge: “I am so proud of our achievements to date. The prisoners who work in the café had limited social and life skills when they were selected, but they now have confidence in what they do and they interact with staff and members of the public in a pleasant and professional way. They will all achieve a Level 1 certificate in Food Safety, with some achieving Level 2 diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking”. Alison also went on to praise the work of other staff and prisoners who work outside the café in maintaining the gardens and surrounding area, making it a pleasant experience for anyone who visits. Ian Prudames, Branch Secretary of the local POA committee commented “This project has been a great success and demonstrates what can be achieved if the management work in partnership with the Union. Staff now have access to good quality food on site and we all see the benefits of this project. During the Olympics the café worked closely with the local community providing assistance to those in need.”

www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:08:55


Reducing re-offending Governor Lucas said: ““HMP The Verne is committed to helping offenders change their lives. It is through innovative schemes such as this, that a Public Sector establishment is able to demonstrate its commitment to reducing re-offending. I am grateful for all my staff ’s hard work setting up and keeping running this excellent cafe.” The café also sells garden furniture, produced in the prison workshops, and locally produced jams and chutneys. It hosts events for local community groups such as Age UK, Rotary, Synergy and others. The Verne is a Category C prison which holds a maximum of 607 men. It is dedicated to reducing re-offending and continuously strives to find innovative ways to achieve this alongside existing offending behaviour programmes. Peter McParlin, National Chairman of the POA said: “This is a good news story. This approach to addressing offending behaviour and preparing prisoners to lead law abiding lives works. It is clear that the Governor and local POA have worked in partnership to ensure that this project is a success. The support given to the local community and to the vulnerable in society has clearly demonstrated that prisons have a key role to play within society and rehabilitation”. John Hancock South West Area National Executive Member, said: “This was an exciting innovative initiative by the Governor. This has the full support of the local POA. The project is leading on the Government’s Rehabilitation Revolution programme; hopefully the café will soon be fully functional and will add another attraction with its fabulous sea views to Portland’s rugged and rich diversity on its historic Jurassic Coast.

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The café also sells garden furniture

The Verne overlooks Weymouth Bay

October 2012 15 30/10/12 12:16:43


CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

VE SOAUG TBO T H IG F H WELLING OR The majority of Gatelodge readers, along with our members who access the POA website will be aware that HMP Wellingborough has been earmarked to close prior to the end of 2012. Decamping of the prisoners has been ongoing for a number of weeks now.

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he former Secretary of Justice made the announcement of the proposed closure on 17 July; this being the last day (typical) Parliament sits prior to the summer recess. The key reason given for closing Wellingborough (the main employer in the town) was cost to the public purse.

COST?! Wellingborough is the third cheapest Category C prison in the public estate with a budget of £10 million, some Category C budgets are two to three times this cost. Over 50 percent of accommodation at Wellingborough is between six to 11 years old - this in anyone’s eyes can be classed as ‘new build’, even though the prison was built in 1963. The older accommodation blocks do require up dating, but costings of £50 million are way off the mark and are being used as an excuse to close the prison. Since the day the announcement was made to close Wellingborough a tireless fight to overturn this decision has been ongoing from wide and various parties including local POA, POA NEC, the local MP, Wellingborough Council, PCS, and especially Mrs Lynn Holcombe, a local resident.

4,000 names, and this was handed to Parliament the night prior to the debate by Peter Bone MP. There has been overwhelming local support for keeping Wellingborough prison open. The most recent meeting of Wellingborough Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Government’s decision to close the prison and fully supported the resolution. Lynn’s commitment and determination to do all possible to keep Wellingborough from closure is an inspiration to all, deserving all the accolades that no doubt will come her way.

Media

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone (Con), immediately requested an emergency debate as soon as he heard the announcement, as for some reason he was not informed prior that the biggest employer in his constituency was to close, even though it is his own party in Government who made the announcement. This request was refused for 17 July, but one secured for 5 September, a full seven weeks after the announcement.

The media has greatly helped since the announcement, keeping the proposed closure in the public domain, no more so than Saturday 1 September when we held a protest meeting/petition signing in Wellingborough town centre. National and local TV, radio and press spent upwards of two hours with us, conducting interviews with the POA, Peter Bone MP, Paul Bell (leader of Wellingborough Council), PCS, and not forgetting the public. This excellent coverage was invaluable. The support we received from the public on this sunny Saturday morning was phenomenal, with all giving their full support in opposing the closure. It is a shame the employer does not allow the same support as the public and oppose prison closures and fully support their employees. Instead a Notice to Staff was issued to all Wellingborough staff, warning them not to attend the protest meeting on 1 September or debate in the House of Commons on 5 September during work time because it’s ‘against the Civil Service Code’. This can only be described as shameful.

Public Involvement

Debate 5th September

To highlight the disgust in the proposed closure it was essential that the Wellingborough public was made aware and could become involved, this is where Lynn Holcombe (an officer’s wife) was invaluable, spending all her spare time leafleting the Wellingborough public, meeting with the local council and MPs. She also started and ran a petition in the town centre at every opportunity collecting

Peter Bone MP secured the debate he requested 17 July before to the summer recess and this was to be heard 5 September. Prior to the debate, a protest was held opposite Parliament by members of Wellingborough public, local councillors, local POA members and members of the NEC. Once again excellent media coverage was gained.

Peter Bone MP

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Protest meeting held in Wellingborough Town Centre on Saturday 1 September. Glen Birchall, Peter Bone MP, Lynn Holcombe, and Martin Field Branch Secretary HMP Wellingborough

The protest held at Parliament by members of Wellingborough public, local councillors, local POA members and members of the NEC

We all met with Peter Bone in Portcullis House for an hour before the debate chaired by Ms Nadine Dorries in Westminster Hall started. In the debate, Peter Bone MP gave full and comprehensive reasons and facts as to why Wellingborough prison should not close requesting at least a six month adjournment to allow a full feasibility study to take place and true costing provided. Philip Hollobone MP (Kettering) gave his full support to Mr Bone. In possibly his first official duty since his appointment earlier the same day the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Jeremy Wright, read from a prepared script which may have been written for his predecessor. It did not give much hope that the decision to close Wellingborough would be overturned. Peter Bone requested an urgent meeting to be held prior to the next recess of Parliament (before end of September) with the new Prison Minister and Jeremy Wright to further discuss the closure. In presenting a debate only 15 minutes is allowed and 15 minutes response. 15 minutes to decide the future of our entire colleagues at Wellingborough is disgusting. Hopefully, Peter Bone will have been successful in obtaining his desired meeting and outcome of this travesty prior to this issue going to print. If not, it will not be because of lack of effort from Martin Field (Branch Secretary), Jim Spence (Chairman) and the local POA committee, the members at Wellingborough, NEC, Peter Bone MP, Wellingborough Town Council, and of course, the public of Wellingborough especially Mrs Lynn Holcombe for her tireless work since the announcement. Glen Birchall NEC www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:11:39


CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

CESI TRADE COUNCIL ‘JUSTICE’ WARNS AGAINST PRIVATISATION TENDENCIES IN PENITENTIARY SYSTEMS The CESI Trade Council ‘Justice’ met on 30 May 2012 in order to discuss different sector-related topics and experiences of member organisations.

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hairman, Mark Freeman (POA) welcomed the participants at the CESI Secretariat in Brussels and led them through the meeting which addressed topics such as privatisation, economic constraints, specialisation and on-going education of prison staff, overcrowding of prisons, electronic tagging and the impact of the Stockholm programme on the respective sectors. Application of electronic tagging remains a controversial issue; what constitutes a relief for some (due to overcrowded prisons) is a gateway to privatisation and profit for others. In general terms, electronic tagging has to be applied carefully and very selectively, since not all detainees fulfil the necessary conditions for tagging. When it comes to austerity measures due to the crisis and economic constraints, members expressed their worries for privatisation tendencies in the penitentiary system that go beyond auxiliary services such as catering, to the very core activities of penitentiary staff. These tendencies harm human rights principles and the principle of sovereignty, since private organisations consider profit-making as their priority. A solution for tackling this trend could be the ongoing education and specialisation of prison staff in order to create competitive advantage over private employees, and to guarantee not only the punishment of delinquents, but also their supervision and reintegration into society with the help of specialised staff. In this respect, recognition of the prison staff that carry out important services for society, as well as the awareness of their daily tasks and activities have to increase.

The European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI – Confédération Européenne des Syndicats Indépendants)is a European umbrella organisation, with members from EU - member states and associated countries. CESI is not attached to any political party and defends trade union pluralism on a European level. Through its member organisations, CESI represents approximately eight million employees. CESI champions better living and working conditions, as well as the progress of Europe’s social dimension.

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October 2012 17 15/10/12 14:19:27


CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS

TUC LGBT

CONFERENCE

The 15th Annual TUC LGBT Conference took place on 5 and 6 July 2012 in Congress House, London.

World Pride took place in London on Saturday 7 July beginning with the Pride March

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he Conference was attended by 216 delegates, representing 28 unions. The POA was represented by Su Akram, Peter Allen, Barbara Baker, Glen Birchall, Helen Hutchinson, Stewart McLaughlin, Anne Ruzylo and Perry Thomas. Brian Traynor and Joe Simpson represented the POA NEC as visitors. Messages of support were received from the POA branch at HMP Grendon. This year’s Conference had an international feel with LGBT Trade Union guests from other countries including Germany, Poland and Belgium. This was due to the fact that this year, London was hosting World Pride and the TUC LGBT Committee had decided to reflect this in the speakers who had been invited, while many unions had also sent in

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motions on international issues. Speakers from Commonwealth countries had led a discussion at the World Pride International Conference on 4 July, sponsored by the TUC. Maria Exall, chair of the TUC LGBT Committee opened the Conference, and welcomed delegates. Brendan Barber addressed the Conference, stating that this would be the last time he would address this Conference as TUC General Secretary. Brendan went on to say that in the 15 years since the TUC LGBT Conferences have been taking place: “Much has been done, but there is much still to be done. Huge difficulties remain, prejudice, discrimination and hate are still evident, and work must continue to combat this”. He went on to say that he was impressed in the way that this conference had led the way in dealing with LGBT issues globally.

Emergency motion Motions debate began with Emergency Motion 3, World Pride 2012, moved by Prospect. The motion read: “This Conference is dismayed at the proposed drastic curtailment of events planned for 2012 World Pride. We believe that this is a massive wasted opportunity for the promotion of LGBT equality in the UK and in other countries. We call on the mayor of London and Westminster Council as the main agencies involved in the preparations for this year’s Pride to see reason and facilitate the Pride celebrations that were previously planned with the involvement and support of many LGBT community and voluntary organisation, LGBT Trade unionists, and hundreds of thousands of individual LGBT people and their friends and families. We reaffirm our support for an annual community-led free LGBT Pride event with a national focus in London. We call on the TUC LGBT Committee to call a meeting for LGBT community organisation, LGBT activists and trade union representatives to discuss how to avoid such a fiasco in future years. This meeting to be called as soon as possible after 7 July”. Concerns regarding this year’s pride event were evident in the debate of this motion, and the motion was supported unanimously.

Financial issues Tony Hughes of the GMB Union, who, within the last 24 hours had been elected as Chair of London Pride, was invited to address the Conference regarding this year’s Pride arrangements. Tony informed the Conference that last year’s Pride had left a debt of £100,000, which had now been paid-off. However, due to the difficulties and debts from last year, contractors would not provide services unless they were paid up-front. Sponsorship had been secured, but the event needed to be scaled down, and timings altered. www.poauk.org.uk 15/10/12 15:06:21


CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS Concern was expressed that the many bars and businesses, which stand to make huge profits from people attending Pride, do not make any contribution whatsoever to the Pride event.

The parade passes through Piccadilly Circus

News reports The London Evening Standard reported on 5 July: “The boss of London’s annual Gay Pride celebration has quit after organisers axed key events at the last minute. Pride London Chairman Patrick Williams resigned after the event on Saturday, which attracts one million people, was drastically scaled back because of a cash crisis.” This is the reason Tony Hughes stood in at the eleventh hour. The London Evening Standard further reported that: “Gay campaigner Peter Tatchell warned that it risked descending into mayhem, and called on City Hall to provide emergency funding. He claimed that the West End would become jammed as tens of thousands of revellers would be unaware of a police order to start the parade two hours early at 11am.”

Government attacks on the Equality Act and EHRC Anne Ruzylo proposed Emergency Motion 2 on behalf of the TUC LGBT Committee: ‘Government attacks on the Equality Act and EHRC’. The Motion read: “In response to the Red Tape Challenge, the Government proposes removing from the Equality Act 2012: 1. Protection from repeated third party harassment 2. New powers for tribunals to make recommendations to employers, and 3. The statutory discrimination questionnaires which victims of discrimination have long relied upon to seek information from employers. It will carry out a review of the public sector equality duty by April 2013, having already refused to implement the statutory Code of Practice and dilute the specific duties that support it. It will go ahead with plans to weaken the EHRC, removing its helpline function and grants programmes and cut its budget by 60 percent by 2014/15. It proposes to carry out another review of the equality body in autumn 2013, threatening more substantial reforms and possible transfer of its functions to other bodies. Conference call upon the TUC to raise awareness of the impact these changes will have on access to justice and campaign to defend hard won legal protections that have only recently been extended to LGB&T individuals. This motion was supported by many unions, and the feeling of concern was evident that this was a direct attack on long fought for LGB&T rights. During Conference, delegates have the opportunity to select a motion from the Conference to go to TUC Congress. Such was the feeling on the attack on LGB&T rights that this motion moved by Anne was selected as the motion from Conference to go forward to TUC Congress. www.poauk.org.uk 18-19 LGBT Conference.indd 19

Michael Cashman MEP On Friday afternoon, Michael Cashman MEP addressed Conference. Michael was a founder member of Stonewall, a group lobbying for LGB rights, and has a history in the trade union movement going back many years. During Michael’s speech he said: “We are living in increasingly more dangerous times since the 1930s, because in times of economic downturn, it’s the rights of ordinary men and women which are attacked. This ‘collision’ government has made a direct attack on human rights, which we must defend to the last inch, to the last millimetre.” Michael referred to the current Tory led coalition government as a ‘collision government’, as he sees them as “an accident waiting to happen”.

Immigration Michael went on to comment on immigration, and the history of this country as a refuge for people who are suffering atrocities in their home country at the hands of their own people, and highlighting that still in many countries being gay is punishable by death, stating that “Anybody that comes into this country should be welcomed. Discrimination isn’t new, it’s not gone away, and it isn’t going to go away, it just gets more refined and harder to detect”. He finished with a quote from Shakespeare’s Thomas Moore: “If you give up someone’s rights, ultimately you give up your own”. During the course of the Conference, elections took place for TUC LGBT Committee members, and we are pleased to announce that Anne Ruzylo from HMP Lewes, and a member of the POA Equality Advisory Committee, has once again been elected to serve another year onto the TUC LGBT Committee. Congratulations Anne!

in the parade, which included: ASLEF, Equity, FBU, NUT, GMB, PCS, Prospect, Unite, plus many more. A number of international trade unionists who had been guests at the TUC LGBT Conference also brought their solidarity to the parade. The POA took the lead for all the unions, being only fourth in the entire parade behind the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, who led. Members of the POA delegation were proud to march in the parade alongside the POA banner, as the crowds cheered and applauded along the way. We were pleased to be joined by Jackie Marshall from Stoke Heath, and Andrea Miller from Reading, who travelled to London to march with us in the parade. The weather was kind to us and the rain held off, other than a very brief but heavy downpour as we passed Trafalgar Square. It took two hours for the POA to pass thorough the parade route, which took us along Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, ending in Whitehall. It took a further two hours for the remainder of walkers to complete the parade, and as the POA had effectively led the parade, we were able to watch the parade passing. A good time was had by all! POA Equality Advisory Committee

World Pride Despite all the difficulties surrounding the event, World Pride took place in London on Saturday 7 July beginning with the Pride March. Along with the POA, delegates from several unions took part

The POA took the lead for all the unions, being only fourth in the entire parade behind the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, who led

October 2012 19 15/10/12 15:06:42


CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

GIVE UP OR FIGHT ON? Tony Merricks (NEC) says that members must rigorously defend what is rightly theirs.

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s a trade union, we expect to be attacked by the Government. As a trade union, we expect to be attacked by the employer. We also expect that both of those organisations will do their very best to look at ways to reduce what we have, how we work and, how we operate, in an attempt to make us less effective. What we should not expect, is for the Union to succumb to those attacks and plan the workings of our Union around them without even knowing what the final outcome may or may not be. Quite simply, that is called “giving up”. That is not acceptable. I am for fighting on to retain what we have and not giving in to threats or damn letters designed to scare. Thankfully, the majority feel the same and have the same passion.

Standing up for your rights There are tough times ahead for the POA as with all unions. During these tough times expectations from our members run high. We

must deliver and rigorously defend what we have and what is rightly ours. We must stand up to the Tory threats the employer threats and disappointingly, the destructive forces within. We must all do things for the right reason. The right reason is and always will be, the POA. If you do that, you will very rarely go wrong. However, if you do things for the wrong reasons or for personal gain you will always get caught out and rightly exposed. There are people who care more about their own futures, than they do about the future of the POA. There are people who care more about what the POA can give them, rather than what they can give the POA. I don’t care about these people and, neither should you

100 percent support Our great Union is now in danger of becoming ordinary. We need 100 percent support and not, 99 percent. The one percent need to come on board or walk the plank. If one percent of a rudder is faulty, it will take you in the wrong direction, a small repair though will put you back on course. The question is, do we take it to the boatyard to be repaired or, do we buy a new one? Unfortunately, there are people who will destroy what we have for their own gain...act now to stop that happening. Colleagues, I cannot stress this enough. • Never give anything up • Never give anything away • Fight till the end to win the day. Tony Merricks NEC

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www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:42:13


CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS

READING PLAN

(TOE BY TOE) In addition to their other responsibilities, Steve Orchard and Dave Slade, Reducing Re-offending Officers at Reading YOI, support Shannon Trust, Toe by Toe mentors.

B

eing a poor reader presents a big obstacle for prisoners as they prepare to be released and look for work. By supporting the Shannon Trust Reading Plan (Toe by Toe), Steve and Dave are giving an opportunity to prisoners to get on the first rung of the ladder. Many Toe by Toe learners at Reading move on to further education courses. “When I first got involved I wanted to see for myself if Toe by Toe works, so I mentored a learner”, said Dave. “Within weeks my learner had gained a massive amount of confidence and was prepared to go into a classroom and he gained a qualification. This would never have happened if he hadn’t been helped with his reading.”

Brilliant opportunity Another recent example at Reading involved an Irish traveller who was told about Toe by Toe at induction and followed up on the wing by a prisoner mentor. He is now able to read unfamiliar words for the first time and has asked his mentor to find books for him in the library. Being able to read will also help him with his letters, applications for courses and ensure that he is less dependent on others to help with canteen sheets. Shannon Trust Reading Plan (Toe by Toe) could be the best opportunity prisoners like him ever have to learn an important life skill, and at Reading it has been made possible through the support of uniformed staff.

www.poauk.org.uk 21 Shannon Trust.indd 21

Shannon Trust runs the Toe by Toe Reading Plan, an award-winning peer mentoring programme which encourages and supports prisoners who can read to give one-to-one tuition to prisoners who struggle to read. To find out more, visit: www.shannontrust.org.uk

October 2012 21 26/10/12 14:39:54


CAMPAIGN AND EVENTS

Ray Somers, Branch Secretary of ICE Branch UKBA provides a rare insight to the plight of the privately employed public servants working on behalf of UKBA.

T

om Robson wrote an article recently for Gatelodge entitled: “What’s in a Name?” outlining the fact that we had renamed ourselves the ICE Immigration Branch. ICE stands for ‘In Country Escorts’. This all came about because we were originally called G4S and as Reliance had won the contract we were going to have to change our name again. I bet there are not many of you out there who attended Conference who can remember that we actually started out as Wackenhut. During my own service I started with Group 4, then progressed through to Wackenhut, Wackenhut was then taken over by a company called Falk who later became GSL Falk then just GSL. The contract changed and Securicor took over, Securicor then merged with Group 4 and become G4S. Does the line of succession stop here? We thought it would as Reliance was the last company to win the contract. We are only 18 months into the contract when lo and behold; we were suddenly taken over by Capita – a welcome relief to many of the employees, but once again this brings uncertainty because knowing that our new bosses are Capita, we sit here wearing Reliance uniforms and they haven’t worked out what they are going to brand us as. By the time this issue of Gatelodge is published we will have been given our new name and our new uniforms should have started to arrive.

Policy and procedure Once again we will have to start forging our identity within the immigration world. A lot of you will not understand our problem, but think back to our last Conference when *.....* stood up from Birmingham prison (now owned by G4S) and said that one of the main problems he had was getting all the main relevant procedures and policies together in one place. 22 October 2012 22_23 CE ray summers.indd 22

In the prison service you work under NOMS with everything all in one place. Changing companies all the time means checking every policy and procedure all over again because not everything goes across under TUPE. Did we see this coming? We knew in our hearts that the company was ripe for takeover but did we have any warning? No. What has been the mainstay throughout all these changes? The two main things are the workforce with many loyal employees with anywhere between 10 and 15 years service or more who have stayed in the job regardless of who pays them; and the Union. I have been asked by several people if we have met with the new company yet. Not yet. We were due to have a meeting but it was cancelled. I then asked people who they thought we were meeting – many do not realise that the senior management has not changed and they, like us, have changed their name. We do not know what to, but it has - or will change, but the faces round the table do not change, our problems do not change and the job we do does not change.

The private sector is growing within the Union As a branch we found that an awful lot more people were suddenly talking to us at Conference this year. The first question was usually: “ICE? Who are you?” At least this broke the ice (ha ha!) and a lot more understanding was shown to us from the Conference as a whole. It also helped that, as you all know, more and more prisons are going over to private sector therefore the private sector within the Union is getting larger by the month meaning that more private sector issues are being aired at the Conference. Morton Hall raised a lot of issues because they have just come into the world of immigration, which is also growing throughout both public and private sectors. The issues raised are affecting more and more members of the POA and therefore we need the Union to be more aware of the plight of the immigration sector,

for example, calling a branch meeting – you would think this would be the simplest thing to do - and it would be if my branch was enclosed within four walls. My branch includes depots, holding rooms, reporting centres, airports and docks throughout the whole of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and even Les Coquelles in France. So with everybody dotted around the country a branch meeting is impossible. Therefore we have to rely on our reps, points of contact and just talking to people to find out what’s going on and to gauge the general opinion of members throughout the branch. As reps we can be called on to travel to any of these places for disciplinary hearings or interviews. It helps that we have a working agreement which has continued under the TUPE and each company so far has honoured this agreement and this has allowed us to fly or drive to all of our bases and deal with the issues that our members have.

Communication When meeting with senior managers it is hard sometimes to try and split local issues from national, so meetings sometimes can feel rather trivial. But these issues are not trivial to the people they affect. Communication between the whole branch is hard and to get people to join in is also a problem. As we all know; you can send someone a ballot paper and give them an envelope to return it in - all you are asking them to do is put a cross in a box and return the envelope in the mail; but how many people actually bother to do this? We all love to moan and groan and try and put the world to rights but when it comes down to standing up and being counted how many people will actually get off their chair? It comes down to the age old problem – the more members we have the stronger the voice and the more they have to listen. So we go back to the title “What’s in a Name?” – An awful lot of change. Ray Somers, Branch Secretary, ICE Branch UKBA www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:17:12


CAMPAIGN AND EVENTS

Ralph Valerio of the NEC responds to Ray’s comments.

G

reat Britain is changing and our public services are changing with it. The present Government is using every resource available to demonise public sector workers, implicate them in the collapse of the economy and cite them as a primary reason for failure in its recovery. Make no mistake; this is nothing more than an excuse. The sole objective of this ConDem (n) Government has always been to systematically franchise large portions of our public services to the private sector, irrespective of economic pressures. The threat of extensive market testing is no longer idle and the potential of job losses and TUPE are real. It is hardly surprising that NOMS have been forced to seriously consider a voluntary partnership agreement. It is hardly surprising that MITiE snapped up the opportunity.

Cost Irrespective of the outcome of the nine establishments currently up for tender, one thing is for sure, there will be POA members forced to TUPE to a new employer, even if their prison were to stay public. Sadly, it is a simple case of sums. The working conditions and safety of those of us required to deliver public services are all too often disregarded or even forgotten. Indeed, greater emphasis is placed upon the cost of delivery of service and who will be the cheapest service provider rather than the quality of service delivered to the tax payer and society as a whole. Government proposed alterations to employment law and Health and Safety legislation www.poauk.org.uk 22_23 CE ray summers.indd 23

serve only to substantiate my claim. If passed, it will become easier for employers to exploit workers, erode their Terms and Conditions and endanger their safety in the workplace.

Enabling our Union The POA must be ready to deal with these changes in order to safeguard the livelihood and well-being of our members. That may require us to make changes to our own structure and work is already being done to address this and enable our Union to be ready for what will be an unstable future. I recently attended TUC Conference where I learned a great deal about the plight of many fellow Trade Unions when campaigning to improve the rights of exploited workers in the UK. I was appalled to hear of deplorable employer practices conducted by household names in their pursuit of proďŹ t. Indeed closer to home, until recently, there were POA members working for G4s and subsequently Reliance who were employed on zero hour contracts and would spend their lives waiting for a phone call so that they get a chance of work to pay the bills. A Collective Agreement between the POA and Reliance made this year eradicated this way of working but who knows what the future may hold for other POA members if the Government/s ideology of wholesale privatisation becomes a reality? Ray Somers, Branch Secretary of the In Country Escorting (ICE) branch gives a rare (to this magazine at least) insight to the plight of the privately employed public servants working on behalf of UKBA. I hope you found it interesting. Ralph Valerio NEC October 2012 23 26/10/12 13:17:30


CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

MODUS SPECIALIST

FOSTER CARERS WANTED

T

he partnership is between G-map, an agency with an international reputation for the highest quality therapeutic programmes for young people with sexually harmful behaviour and Modus who provide quality family and residential homes for young people. This work draws on both agencies’ areas of expertise to provide a safe foster home, where young people can receive therapy, and learn to change their behaviour towards others, while being supervised closely. Young people who have harmed others by their sexual behaviour are almost exclusively themselves victims and therefore need challenging but also compassionate support and guidance. The approach is working from a risk reduction aim, while protecting the public, and meeting the young person’s individual needs through developing their skills and interests. G-map undertook a study on recidivism (the number of young people who relapse back into criminal

24 October 2012 24-25 G-Map.indd 24

G-map and Modus have been in partnership since 2006, providing specialist foster homes for young people with sexually harmful behaviour. behaviour), in 2006 over two to15 years and found that 92.5 percent of young people receiving therapy from G-map did not re-offend. Becoming a specialised foster carer will be a challenge, but is a role which can be hugely satisfying, a key part of a team who change a young person’s life for the better. Fostering fees are significant in compensation for the high level of supervision necessary for young people in the scheme.

Tom and Jeanette case study Tom and Jeanette have been Modus carers for three years. They live in a rural village less than two hours drive away from Manchester.

“We currently foster two young people, although this is unusual for partnership foster carers. ‘Simon’ is coming up to 18 and is a ‘graduate’ of the G-map programme. ‘Fiona’ has just finished school and is still undergoing weekly sessions with G-map. She has been with us for 18 months and her levels of supervision are slowly being reduced. “We enjoy giving young people who haven’t had a great start, a second chance. We met each other later on in life and felt we were very lucky to meet and have a child so we really appreciate everything we have together. “We really enjoy spending time together and we felt this role would bring together our different skills and enable us to make a real difference to a young person that needed it. The role itself is very rewarding and we can see the difference in the two young people since they’ve been with us. ‘Simon’ is now a settled, confident member of the community who has decided to stay in the area when he moves on. “‘Fiona’ is now becoming more settled and confident. She really enjoys the input of a male father figure having previously never had any positive men in her life. It took a long time to www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:37:55


CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS

build up the trust and her attachment to us but now it’s there we both find it very rewarding. We take the approach of helping her in the ‘here and now’ and will only talk about the past if either young person brings it up. We find this approach works with ‘Fiona’ in particular, who has experienced serious trauma in her life, and this has enabled her to build her attachment to us without having to re-visit this trauma in our home. “We have experienced some challenges over the period we’ve been fostering. Working with such a wide variety of professionals can be intimidating and their involvement in your life is initially exhausting. You do get used to it though, and they can be a good support. Sometimes it feels as though you have little support from the young peoples’ social workers and this can be frustrating, especially if a young person loses out as a result, but Modus staff support us in getting the best for young people. “The fostering role involves a lot of paperwork, with the day sheets, preparing reports for reviews and initially it was daunting however we adapted to it. The young people can present with challenging behaviour. We struggle with the fabrications the young girl tells and use our supervising social worker to support us to understand why she has to do this. Our philosophy is to never hold things against young people and always move on. We love being foster carers and seeing the great progress young people have made in our care makes it all worthwhile.” www.poauk.org.uk 24-25 G-Map.indd 25

A foster carer’s day “A typical day in our busy household begins with us waking the young people up and starting to make the breakfast for the family. We generally don’t sit down together for breakfast as we’re all normally rushing to get out the door. The 17 year old gets himself off to work and, until recently; we would take our other young person to school. “Since she has finished school we take direction from Modus and G-map about what activities we should undertake with her to ensure she is challenged but kept safe. Prior to her starting college in September the activities are aimed at building her social skills and confidence to travel on her own. “A typical day would involve taking the young person food shopping. She normally likes to buy some ingredients to do some baking of her own and we would support her to choose what to make. We may then take her to do some volunteering at a local pet rescue sanctuary for a few hours. “The young person has recently been allowed to go for short walks on her own around the village. Again, this is aimed at building her confidence and giving her small challenges to build trust. She thoroughly enjoys this. It may seem like a small step but to her it is a huge boost to her confidence that she is trusted to keep herself safe. “Once a week we take our young person for her session with G-map. Usually just one of us

takes her as she seems to need the one-onone time after her session and will talk to us in the car on the way home. Sometimes she can be angry, upset or frustrated after the session however we encourage her to talk. Being in the car is a good time as she doesn’t have to make eye contact with us and will generally feel more open to discussion. “At about 6pm we all eat together at the table sharing stories about our day. The young people both seem to enjoy this time and are never late for dinner. Following dinner we normally watch the soaps together however our 17 year old boy generally goes to see his friends. We’re all normally in bed for 10pm unless we’re engrossed in a programme. “We really enjoy fostering and would wholeheartedly recommend it for rare, patient, assertive and caring people who believe they could provide a great home for a young person. You don’t need to be experienced as a foster carer, just have a good parenting approach.”

For more information and to apply, please contact Julie Hewitt or Nicola Daly Tel 01204 399514, or www.moduscom.org.uk

October 2012 25 26/10/12 13:38:10


TUC CONGRESS

TUC 2012

REPORT

Steve Wrighton and Jaswinder Singh Nagra report on the 2012 Annual TUC Congress in Brighton.

T

he delegation representing the POA comprised P J McParlin (National Chairman), Steve Gillan (General Secretary), Steve Bostock (Vice Chair), Terry Fullerton, Ralph Valerio (NEC) and Glyn Travis (Assistant Secretary media and support).

Introduction As Congress preparations were underway, many public sector workers attended the National Shop Stewards Network march and demonstration through the streets of Brighton on Sunday afternoon. Once again the focus was on encouraging the TUC to get up off its knees and support the call for a general strike. Steve Gillan addressed the meeting on behalf of the POA. It was pleasing to see members of the Union as part of the march and demonstration. Some leaders of other trade unions addressed the delegation and were critical of the current austerity measures of the Coalition Government and demanded tougher action from Labour. The theme of the congress was ‘A Future That Works’. The delegation met and discussed the Congress agenda and debates which had taken place and would continue in respect of Motion 5 submitted by the POA. We also discussed 26 October 2012 26-29 TUC Report.indd 26

which motions the Union would support and second throughout the week. We were advised on the activities of union members who leaflet delegates every day promoting fringe meetings and seeking support from fellow union members on issues affecting them and society in general. Congress started on the Sunday at 4.00pm with the usual housekeeping and key addresses. The President, Paul Kenny, addressed congress and the two speeches on the vote of thanks were funny but heartfelt. A noticeable difference to our Annual Conference was the use of a floor plan. All delegates had been allocated seats on the congress floor and these remained in place for the duration of congress. On each day of Congress, musical interludes took place as the young musicians from a number of organisations played for the delegates.

Documentation It would be wrong not to comment on the quality of the documentation that is provided by the TUC for the Annual Congress - this is exceptional and informative. The TUC also goes through the Annual Report section by section whilst moving motions, quite different to our process of simply accepting the POA’s annual report by a show of hands. Perhaps the Union should consider adopting this approach in the future, especially with the attack on facility time. The congress guide is informative, professional and an excellent resource booklet. The agenda booklet is well presented, easy to read and follow and fit for purpose. The 2012 TUC Equality Audit booklet has some good information within it. The 2012 General Council Report is comprehensive and Steve told us that it is a useful reference book for tracking the progress of issues. Throughout the Congress we were inundated with other general documentation, leaflets newspapers and newsletters. The POA did not have a conference stand this year and we felt that this was an opportunity missed. The Union’s retained solicitors, Thompsons, were in attendance and spoke to the delegation and attended fringe meetings with the POA.

www.poauk.org.uk 18/10/12 10:24:04


TUC CONGRESS

POA Motions The POA submitted two motions to this year’s TUC Congress not because it didn’t have a lot to say but unions are restricted to two under the TUC constitution. Both had the support of the General Council and were accepted by Congress. Motion 5

Resisting Austerity Measures

Congress welcomes the “Future that Works” demonstration planned for 20 October 2012 and recognises this as being an effective platform and foundation to resist the damaging austerity measures that are damaging the very fabric of our society in Great Britain. Further, Congress recognises that after the demonstration there needs to be a strong voice from all TUC affiliated unions to protect public and private sector workers, the unemployed, our children, the elderly and all those in our society who are vulnerable. Congress accepts that the Trade Union movement must continue leading from the front against this uncaring Government with a Coalition of resistance taking co-ordinated action where possible with far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a General Strike.

Other Key Motions

Motion 56

Mental Health Diversion Service

Congress welcomes the announcement that the Ministry of Justice with the Department of Health will invest £50 million by 2014 in establishing a liaison and diversion service, prison service, police stations and courts, to ensure that people who should more appropriately be treated in the health service do not go to prison. This investment comes on the back of the Lord Bradley report when he published the findings in April 2009 of his Government commissioned review of diversion services for offenders with mental health problems of learning disabilities. Congress notes the difficulties within the NHS and Ministry of Justice with budget cuts and therefore requests that the General Council of the TUC review periodically the impact if any of this investment into the diversion service. So that resources are utilised to assist those with the problems outlined. Both of these motions stood alone which is unusual as the TUC generally composite a number of motions prior to congress starting.

Section 4

Section 1 A future that works campaign This section contained a number of motions on the austerity measures, alternatives, the economic policy and public services and employment. It was clear from the debates and passion from delegates that trade unions will not accept the changes without a fight. Section 2 Organising and rights at work This section covered a multitude of issues from trade union rights to privatisation. The trade union movement must address the lack of representation in the private sector it is estimated that only one in seven workers are members of a trade union. The motions within this section sit side by side with the Institute of Employment (IER) rights fringe meeting when delegates were advised of the attack on the fundamental rights of workers. We are advised that the recording of this fringe meeting is on the IER website (www.employment-studies.co.uk) we suggest you click onto the link and listen. It also sits alongside the timeline that the IER has produced demonstrating when and how our trade union rights have been eroded. Section 3 Equal rights Again his section covered a wide range of issues but it was clear from the motions that the Governments spending cuts are impacting on the most vulnerable in society. The theme of this section was to condemn the government and raise awareness of the serious problems society face. The conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence was on the agenda as Congress debated racism, disability hate crimes and equality. The passion of speakers was a credit to the trade union movement as this section was discussed. www.poauk.org.uk 26-29 TUC Report.indd 27

Economic and industrial affairs It was interesting to listen to trade unions talk about issues which people may not associate with them, public ownership of banks, youth unemployment, the power of the supermarkets and child poverty for example. But in this section these were some of the issues that were fully debated. The need for an independent commission on the increase in state pension age and attacks on pensions was fully discussed as was the state of the welfare system. The exploitation of foreign workers, housing, clean coal, transportation, education and the value of public services were also discussed. Section 5 Global solidarity This section discussed issues appertaining to Columbia, Palestine, trade union rights and membership of the EU. Some of the speeches and examples of how trade union officials are treated in today’s society is unbelievable. Section 6 Protecting people at work This section was focused on the government changes to the CICA scheme which will affect the victims of crime and POA members. Glyn Travis has advised us that Thompsons will provide a Gatelodge article on this issue we suggest everyone reads this. The other issue was the Government’s attack on the provisions of Health and Safety. There were some passionate speeches on these motions and as you would expect congress fully supported the calls to condemn Government and demand opposition to changes that will endanger the working lives of members, workers and the public.

Continued overleaf

October 2012 27 18/10/12 10:26:11


TUC CONGRESS Continued from previous page

Key Addresses to Congress Following the opening of Congress, Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary made his address on Monday and set out the key issues which the trade union movement faces as a result of the economy and policies of the coalition Government. This was Brendan’s last congress as TUC General Secretary, he stands down at the end of the year and will be replaced by Frances O’Grady who was elected unopposed earlier this year. Ed Balls addressed congress on Tuesday and his speech can be viewed on the POA website at www.poauk.org.uk

Elections to the TUC General Council On Tuesday evening the ballot results of the General Purposes Committee and General Council were announced, Steve Gillan remains a member.

Steve Gillan and PJ McParlin will continue to promote the POA within the TUC and wider trade union movement in the months and years ahead and no doubt keep the membership updated on the progress of motion 5.

Fringe meetings The delegation attended a number of lunchtime and evening fringe meetings which form part of a busy and informed few days at congress. Steve Gillan and PJ McParlin were part of the panel at the TUCG fringe meetings on ‘Fighting Austerity and Work under Attack’ both put the Union’s points of views across in a measured and professional way.

Conclusion The Government’s spin machine went quickly into action when Motion 5 was carried. It is up to the TUC and wider trade union membership to work

TUC 2012 28 October 2012 26-29 TUC Report.indd 28

together and force the Government to change direction if we are to have a future that works. During Congress we had ample opportunity to engage with other trade unions and discuss issues which affect us all. Our overriding impression of Congress was that together we can make a change through constructive negotiations and if necessary industrial action. A daily report of Congress was also uploaded onto the POA’s website which members hopefully accessed. Finally, we must encourage all members to use the TUC and POA websites. www.tuc.org.uk www.poauk.org.uk Unity is Strength Steve and Jaswinder

REPORT

www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:41:01


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October 2012 29 26/10/12 14:13:19


SCOTLAND

GOVERNORS RRA

WHO ARE WE COMPARING THIS TO?

Tony Quinn, SNC, discusses the Recruitment and Retention Allowance.

I

n the two previous issues of Gatelodge, I have outlined most of the argument used by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to apply a Recruitment and Retention Allowance (RRA) to Senior Operational Managers at I and H Band. In the April issue of Gatelodge (page 19) you were informed of the background and the jobs affected, and in the June issue (page 26) the reasons for intervening, evidence of turnover and the evidence of pay rates being insufficient to attract enough suitable candidates were outlined. You should by now have formed some opinions on the necessity (or not) of this increase - call it by any other name but - pay. In this issue, I’ll continue with the argument used by SPS to justify this by outlining their reasons in how SPS pay rates compare with others elsewhere. As before, the information you are reading is directly lifted from the SPS Brief ‘Payment of Recruitment and Retention Allowances (RRAs) for Operational Jobs in Pay Band H & I. Please remember that the figures in relation to pay etc relate to when the document was produced (2009) except for the last two comparator tables which are figures sourced from industry websites in July 2012.

How SPS pay rates compare with others elsewhere Q. How do the salaries for SPS Governor jobs compare with others elsewhere? A. Before making a decision to award an RRA, this question was looked at very carefully. Here are the figures, set out in table 1 and 2. They compare the salary of the SPS job with broadly comparable jobs in the England and Wales Prison Service, Scottish Head Teacher jobs in schools, managerial roles in the State Hospital, Police managerial roles and, at I Band, the Prisons Private Sector. As can be seen, the gap in salary is significant.

Table 1 SPS I Band Maximum compared to other occupations Role

SPS Pay Band I Maxima

Salary level of other jobs at Maxima

Gap

England & Wales Governor Grade A

£80,858

£14,432 (21.7%)

England & Wales Governor Grade B

£78,483

£12,057 (18.2%)

£78,642

£12,216 (18.4%)

£80,000

£13,574 (20.4%)

£74,736

£8,310 (12.5%)

£100,000 (average)

£33,574 (50.5%)

Head Teacher Job Size 19 State Hospital Security Director

£66,426

Police Divisional Commander Director – Private Sector Prisons

Table 2 SPS H Band Maximum Compared to Other Occupations Role

SPS Pay Band H Maxima

Salary level of other jobs at Maxima

Gap

England & Wales Governor Grade C

£70,679

£15,638 (28.4%)

England & Wales Governor Grade D

£64,933

£9,892 (18%)

£65,022

£9,981 (18.1%)

State Hospital General Manager

£65,000

£9,959 (18.1%)

Police Sub Divisional Officer / Superintendant Rank

£68,985

£13,944 (25.3%)

Head Teacher Job Size 15 (median)

£55,041

Q. What is the level of RRA intended to be paid for SPS operational jobs in Pay Bands I & H? A. In order to produce a more competitive position in the jobs market, the value of these allowances will be 15% of the pay band maxima for I band and 12.5% of the pay band maxima for H band jobs. This will still leave SPS jobs as being lower paid than the comparable jobs in most instances, but it will at least put us in

a much more competitive position with other organisations when seeking people with the right qualities. Q. What is the gap with other jobs that will be left after RRA is paid? A. After RRA is paid the gaps that remain with comparable jobs are shown in Tables 3 (below) and 4 ( Top Right):

Table 3 Salary level of other jobs at Maxima

Gap

England & Wales Governor Grade A

£80,858

£4,468 (5.5%)

England & Wales Governor Grade B

£78,483

£2,093 (2.7%)

£78,642

£2,252 (2.9%)

£80,000

£3,610 (4.7%)

Police Divisional Commander

£74,736

£1,654* (none)

Director – Private Sector Prisons

£100,000 (average)

£23,610 (30.9%)

Role

Head Teacher Job Size 19 State Hospital Security Director

SPS Pay Band I Maxima

£76,390

*SPS pay will be higher than the Police Divisional Commander comparator 30 October 2012 30-32 Scotland.indd 30

www.poauk.org.uk 15/10/12 15:51:27


SCOTLAND

Table 4 SPS H and Maximum Compared to Other Occupations After RRA SPS Pay Band H Maxima

Salary level of other jobs at Maxima

Gap

England & Wales Governor Grade C

£70,679

£8,758 (14.1%)

England & Wales Governor Grade D

£64,933

£3,012 (4.9%)

£65,022

£3,101 (5.0%)

State Hospital General Manager

£65,000

£3,079 (5.0%)

Police Sub Divisional Officer / Superintendant Rank

£68,985

£7,064 (10.2%)

Role

Head Teacher Job Size 15 (median)

£61,921

What’s changed?

History The reasons for using these roles are comparators will follow, but before then let’s take a wee trip into history. In 1987 the Prison Services in England, Wales and Scotland implemented new terms and conditions of employment, ‘Fresh Start’. For me, the two most important factors in this change were the replacement of overtime rates and shift allowances and a pay rise to compensate for this. I didnae vote for Fresh Start, I’m too young, but the pay level most definitely influenced my decision to join the prison service. At that time prison officer basic pay was comparable if not better than that of nurses and the Police, albeit the potential for them to earn more remained possible through overtime and allowances. In 1993, the SPS became an Executive Agency and UK National Agreements like Fresh Start assigned to history. We were however subjected to SSR and SAS, at this time our rates of pay started to fall behind prison officers in England and Wales, only recently beginning to catch up. There is a different story however in relation to nurses and police pay. We should all be aware of the reasons for the subsequent wage restraint as the SPS continually told us that we need to be competitive and that this affects us all. In the subsequent years when we compared our lower pay levels to those of prison officers in England and Wales, how many of you were informed that you could access that by leaving and joining that service? I was. Some of us did.

Now, there has been a wee change and as we look south we notice that the two main staff group wages are more on a par yet there is a chasm of a difference between governors’ wages. And now the SPS considers it a good time to compare. So what has changed? And more importantly who has decided that it is the pay levels in Scotland that are wrong and not that Governors in England are overpaid. (if indeed their jobs are the same) Sorry I digress, for your information here is a comparable table to the comparable tables above that reflects the majority of our members in Scotland. Notice that the pay differences, except for HMP, mirror the governors’ before the application of RRA. Staff Structure Review (SSR) and Staff attendance Systems (SAS) did affect us all. Up until now that is.

Comparator Table Role

SPS Pay Band Prison Officer Maxima

England & Wales Prison Officer Teacher State Hospital Nurse

£28,039

Police Officer

Salary level of other jobs at Maxima

Gap

£28,930

£891 (3.17%)

£34,200**

£6,161 (21.97%)

£34,189*

£6,150 (21.93%)

£36,519

£8,480 (30.24%)

** A pay spine for chartered teachers was introduced in Scotland in 2003 as a means of enabling teachers to pursue senior careers in the classroom without having to become principals or head teachers. Teachers have to study for further professional qualifications and be prepared to find the finance for these studies. However, their efforts earn them a more generous pay packet of up to £41,925 per annum at the top end. *Before application of allowances Q. Following application of RRA, gaps are reduced but still exist. Why not eliminate them? A. The above jobs are provided as examples of comparable jobs. No one particular job is offered as a benchmark which SPS must match. What the approach is about is producing pay that is likely to recruit and retain individuals with qualities that attract particular levels of pay in the market. We need to pay enough to do this – no more and

no less. With the addition of a RRA, SPS reaches proximity in its pay arrangements. The question of whether pay levels will be sufficient to attract a reasonable field of candidates with the right qualities will be answered when we recruit from the external market. I suppose we have to wait and see then as there hasn’t been much recruiting in the external market since. Meantime, our lower paid staff will continue to seek Family Credits.

Q. We are not looking to recruit Head Teachers, Police Officers, or people from the NHS. So why are these jobs seen as comparable? A. We are looking to recruit anyone with the right leadership and managerial qualities and they may equally be found in those types of employment as elsewhere. Our attempts to do so have been unsuccessful due to levels of salary on offer. If we were looking to target individuals Continued overleaf

www.poauk.org.uk 30-32 Scotland.indd 31

October 2012 31 18/10/12 10:33:15


SCOTLAND

Continued from previous page

currently in the comparator roles, or even those in education, the Police or the NHS looking for promotion, they would not be encouraged to move to SPS given the relative unattractiveness of our pay rates by comparison with their own. However, the main point here is about looking at jobs that bear a reasonable comparison with our own governor jobs and which therefore demand the kind of leadership and managerial qualities that might be expected of people who are capable of working in Governor jobs with us, and what level of pay is required to attract them to employment in those roles. ‘The main point here is about looking at jobs that bear a reasonable comparison with our own governor jobs’. This statement is fine and dandy, however it is to say the least, subjective and if it is (and it has been) the SPS’s intention to do this then compare all roles using the same standard. Prior to the stated ‘exodus’ to the SPS of governors, operations and residential staff were leaving in large enough numbers to cause concern to the Police having attained experience and/or SVQs in the SPS. Using the same logic comparators should have been used then that would have addressed all our pay, fairly. Q. What other considerations were made when selecting these jobs as ‘comparable’? A. Selection of comparable jobs has been based on selecting other key public sector jobs which assume similar levels of responsibility on behalf of the public. For example, Headteachers in the Education Sector, a Senior Manager in the NHS Secure Hospital at Carstairs and senior managers in the Police Service. The comparisons made take into account aspects such as the number of staff members / budget managed, and the number of people for which a service is discharged on behalf of the public (e.g. prisoners, pupils). The reference to the Director of a Private Prison is the sole private sector example, as it shares a number of similarities with an SPS governor job. Details of the comparison are set out in the Annex 1 to this Brief.

Annex 1 goes into four pages so I won’t outline it all to you again though it is subjective. If you choose to see how these roles compare then maybe they do but equally there are many ways in which they don’t. In making these comparisons however the SPS is not being fair to the majority of its staff in all other pay grades. If a head teacher, chief superintendent and the security director at Carstairs can be compared to a governor why are we not being compared to teachers, police officers and nurses? I’m for finishing this time with two points: 1. The first one relates to the way in which pay rises have been achieved over the past two decades and the importance of everyone at all levels and roles within organisations aiming to achieve a common goal. In those decades I have observed nursing, policing and teaching leaders promote the value of their staff and undoubtedly achieving more success in achieving fairer outcomes. I’ll say no more and;

Pay difference percentages and multiplier of main staff tier to most senior staff tier. Role

Main tier maxima

Managers Comparator used for I Band

Percentage in the Pay Difference (multiplier on main tier maxima

SPS before RRA added

£28,039

£68,433

59.02% (2.44 x pay)

SPS with RRA added

£28,039

£78,698

64.37% (2.8 x pay)

England & Wales Prison service

£28,930

£82,892

65.01% (2.8 x pay)

Teacher

£34,200

£82,542***

58.56% (2.41 x pay)

State Hospital

£34,189**

£82,000*

58.30% (2.39 x pay)

Police

£36,519

£78,636

53.56% (2.15 x pay)

• Nurses will earn more with allowances • I couldn’t source wage for Security Director at Carstairs and have assumed an increase of 2.5% percent since 2009 • Teachers have the potential to earn £41,925 per annum at the top end. Thanks for reading there are only two more subject matters to address in the ‘brief ’ 1. Consequential Issues (we will know and have experienced some of them) and 2. Other Issues (there’s a recession on you know). Tony Quinn

MORNING STAR

S

ometimes it is the only voice to do so. Stating the facts, not the spin and fiction to its readers.

Every year without fail at Conference, the Morning Star has supported the POA. As a newspaper it has been fair and consistent when speaking out against the Government when it attacks the POA.

The rest of the press is heavily subsidised by commercial advertising and the bottomless pockets of big business but the Morning Star relies on financial support from ordinary readers and supporters. Not a penny is spent on bonuses, phone hacking etc! They avoid meaningless gossip about so-called celebrities. The Morning Star is a staunch supporter of the POA and the voice of the working people but for some time it has struggled to keep

32 October 2012 30-32 Scotland.indd 32

2. Societies, whether macro in relation to countries or micro in relation to communities and workplaces are happier and will thrive when equity and fairness is enshrined in the culture. In all the arguments made for the case to pay an RRA to senior operational managers I’ve noted none that convinces me that this is fair, in fact it’s more to the contrary. The table below uses the comparators used by the SPS but in a slightly different way. One that evidences that the SPS is creating a greater divide between its senior managers and all its other staff, even when compared to the other public sectors it uses. Note that without the RRA the difference between the main staff group maxima and the I Band maxima when calculated as a percentage is already greater than that of the comparators in Scotland. And they need more?

afloat due to circulation problems which I am pleased to say have been hopefully resolved. This short article is only to ask you if you wish to read the Morning Star, it is now available online and has set up a new distribution network which will allow you to order it from your local newsagent. Alan Stuart

www.poauk.org.uk 18/10/12 10:34:05


2244 - TP400 - POA Umbrella Ad:Layout 1

18/5/11

17:26

Page 1

Whatever life throws at you POA Legal will help protect you.

As a POA member you’re covered for:* Free legal advice and representation on: • Personal injury at work (including assaults) • Work-related road traffic accident • Industrial disease or illness • Criminal law representation (for work-related matters)

• Free will writing service • 30 minutes free telephone advice for any non-work issues such as landlord disputes, neighbourhood disputes, matrimonial and consumer issues • Employment law accessed through the POA

POA members and their families benefit from:* Free legal advice and representation on: • Personal injury (non-work related) • Road traffic accident (non-work related)

• Reduced rates for conveyancing and family member wills • Special terms for clinical negligence cases

For more information call POA Legal on 0800 587 7515

* Exclusions apply. Services only apply in England and Wales. Thompsons Solicitors is a trading name of Thompsons Solicitors LLP and is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

p02gateaug12.indd 1

6/8/12 11:36:42


THOMPSONS

EMPLOYMENT LAW REFORMS Joanne Taylor of Thompsons Solicitors explains what steps employers must take to dismiss on grounds of capability and performance.

THOMPSONS S O L I C I T O R S

If an employee has been provided with training and support but still cannot meet the employer’s standards, dismissal on the grounds of capability is likely to be fair. This is because employers do not have to find alternative work for an employee who’s struggling to get on top of their job. So, for example, an employee who fails to make the grade following a promotion but does not have a contractual right to return to their previous post, could be at risk of being fairly dismissed for capability. Equally employers do not have to consider demoting an employee as opposed to dismissing them on the grounds of capability, unless this is specifically provided for in the contract of employment or a collective agreement which is incorporated into the contract. Nor is it necessarily unfair for employers to take an expired warning into account when dismissing on grounds of capability, but whether it was reasonable to do so will depend on the particular circumstances of the case. The duty to act reasonably also includes the duty to follow a fair procedure before dismissing someone on the ground of capability.

Employer’s responsibility Employers have to show that they: • Carried out an investigation/assessment of the employee’s performance • Warned the employee what was likely to happen if they failed to improve and • Gave the employee a reasonable chance to improve.

I

The ACAS code

n the current climate of austerity and mass redundancies in both the public and private sectors, employers will often look for reasons other than redundancy - such as capability - to dismiss employees to avoid paying a redundancy payment. Capability is defined in the Employment Rights Act 1996 by reference to the skill, aptitude, health or any other physical or mental quality of the employee.

can be used to initiate capability proceedings when an employee is accused of not meeting certain standards. Equally, employees can rely on recent appraisals as evidence that their performance is not below standard if, for example, they have been awarded a pay increase or bonus. Employers also need to ensure that capability and not some other reason such as disability or age, is the reason for dismissal.

This article focuses on capability by reference to skill.

Acting reasonably

It’s up to the employer to establish that it was the reason for the dismissal, although they don’t have to prove that the employee was incapable of doing their job, just that they honestly believed they could not do it and had reasonable grounds for that belief. They do, however, need evidence both of the standards that apply to the employee and of the employee’s failure to meet them. In many cases employers have appraisal or performance management systems in place which 34 October 2012 34 Thompsons.indd 34

Having identified that capability was the reason; employers then have to show that they acted reasonably. The duty to do so is two-fold in that tribunals will look to see not only what steps the employer took once they realised the employee was not up to doing the job, but also what they did to ensure they could do the job in the first place. As a result, employers cannot usually defend a claim of unfair dismissal if they fail to provide proper instructions or support for their employees at the outset or set unrealistic targets or too short a period in which to improve.

The ACAS code sets out the minimum procedure that employers should follow when disciplining an employee, as follows: • Establish the facts of the case • Inform the employee of the problem • Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the problem • Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting • Decide on appropriate action • Provide the employee with an opportunity to appeal. Generally, issues to do with capability develop over time. Tribunals therefore expect employers to provide employees with a structured improvement programme which the employee is expected to complete over a set period of time. They should also make clear the consequences if they fail to improve, including dismissal. If the employee’s performance does improve during the requisite period but the employer dismisses them, the dismissal is likely to be unfair. www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 14:42:45


THOMPSONS

THE CRIMINAL INJURIES

COMPENSATION AUTHORITY Jeeva Sethu, National Co-ordinator for Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claims at Thompsons Solicitors explains changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS).

THOMPSONS S O L I C I T O R S

G

overnment plans to remove most injuries from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) have been delayed and may be revised. A Parliamentary regulation, which would have brought the new scheme into force, was not moved after MPs from all parties threatened to oppose it. This happened just hours after the TUC Congress passed a motion condemning the proposals. The new scheme, introduced by former Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, was due to come into force on 30 September. It had been approved by the House of Lords in July and was set to be rubber stamped by a House of Commons committee on 10 September. But a surprise decision by the Committee Chair saw the regulation not moved. It is unclear however whether the Government could still call a House of Commons vote on the new scheme and Labour MP, Tony Lloyd, has tabled a Parliamentary question seeking clarification.

Some injuries do not qualify for compensation Among the changes that the new scheme would introduce are the removal of the lower tariff bands, meaning those with injuries worth between £1,000 and £2,000 would no longer be eligible to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. These include: • Temporary anxiety • Temporary partial deafness • Some types of fractures and • Injuries to teeth. The middle tariffs of the scheme (up to £11,000) would be cut by up to half, meaning that someone who suffers, for example: • Eye injuries or www.poauk.org.uk 35 Thompsons 2.indd 35

• Fractured collar bone would receive significantly less compensation than under the current scheme. POA members who face being assaulted by prisoners on a daily basis typically suffer lower band injuries, meaning they would not qualify under the new scheme.

Reporting incidents to the police They would also be forced to report the incident to the police if they were to apply to the CICA. The current scheme allows a victim to report an attack to their employer, which for prison staff is more appropriate. Changing the rule is likely to deter many members from claiming. A statement issued by the MOJ implies that any reprieve for workplace victims of violent crime is likely to be temporary. It stated: “The Government is committed to providing the best possible support for victims of crime - maintaining compensation for the most seriously affected - and to reforming the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme to put it on a sustainable financial footing. We have listened to the views expressed in Parliament and will now consider our next steps.” The POA and its lawyers Thompsons will monitor developments and will continue to oppose reforms that effectively exclude members from the CICA scheme. October 2012 35 29/10/12 17:26:32


STRICTLY PRIVATE

OAKWOOD A little patience and we will get there

O

ur recruitment campaign has certainly hit the right spot at our newest establishment. At the time of writing this, we now have over 100 members and take this opportunity to welcome each and every one of you. At national level we have already reached a working understanding with management at all levels, both within G4S and locally at establishment level. I acknowledge their willingness to embrace this Trades Union and facilitate our recruitment days.

Next step We now seek to put a local committee in place, one which will have the support of all members at Oakwood. At national level, we will continue to give support and guidance, the first steps of which will be a training package to set out basic knowledge and principles. The process of representation and advice is already running and the training packages are assembled. At the time of writing, we have had some expressions of interest from members interested in becoming local officials. This bodes well for the future at Oakwood. We are extremely optimistic, a little patience and we will get there. Thank you for your support, our support to you in the future will always be there. Welcome to the POA family! Best wishes to you all. Tom Robson Chairman of the Private Sector Committee

Private Sector committee members Tom Robson Duncan Keys Andy Hogg Steve Lewis Tony Merricks Ralph Valerio Mark Freeman

36 October 2012 36 Strictly Private.indd 36

Chairman Secretary Scotland Research Officer NEC NEC Deputy General Secretary

0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0131 443 8105 0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0208 803 0255 0208 803 0255

www.poauk.org.uk 15/10/12 16:34:17


Simple savings, sensible loans, right here, right now. As a member of the POA, you can now save and borrow through the Police Credit Union. Police CU’s savings and loans facilities are available to all POA members. A new payroll deduction service (NOMS agreed and others applied for) arranged by the POA with Police Credit Union makes it easy for the majority of members to make deposits and loan repayments.

Watch the POA website (www.poauk.org.uk) for further information - and start making simple, sensible financial decisions.

Loans subject to status, conditions and credit checks to members aged 18 or over. The Police Credit Union is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The Scheme guarantees to pay 100% of a maximum ÂŁ85,000 should the Credit Union fail. The Police Credit Union is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. FSA number 213306. 0845 telephone numbers are charged at local rate for landlines but may attract a premium from mobile phone providers.

Police Credit Union Head Office Guardians House, 2111 Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham B26 3EA Tel: 0845 371 7303 Fax: 0121 700 1118 Email: poa@policecu.co.uk

PoliceCU. Savings and loans for the law enforcement family. Honorary President: Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, QPM, DL

www.policecu.co.uk PCU

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16/10/12 14:24:00 15/10/2012 12:52


PCU

SIMPLE SAVINGS, SENSIBLE LOANS Pete Chapple, POA Finance Officer explains the establishment of a credit union facility for POA members

A

t the POA Conference in 2011, members expressed their views with regard to wanting a Credit Union facility from the POA. As Finance Officer I was therefore tasked with exploring the options available. Essentially these were as follows: • The POA establishing its own Credit Union • The possibility of the POA using the facilities of an existing Credit Union. The idea of the POA establishing its own Credit Union was essentially discounted a) As a consequence of the high level of initial and on-going costs and b) Due to the level of compliance and regulation involved. This being the case I started to undertake meetings with a number of existing Credit Unions with a view to potentially developing an introducer arrangement. To undertake the relevant research in relation to a potential introducer was, quite naturally, a lengthy process. However I felt that it was important that this research was undertaken to protect, as far as practically possible, the financial interests of POA members.

has substantial reserves and is happy to make a dividend payment from such reserves. Such dividends can be attractive when compared with returns on savings as offered by the high street banks and building societies, particularly at the current time.

What is a Credit Union?

������ Having ������ undertaken due���������� diligence, I����� believe��� that ��� ������� ������������������ ��� ��� ������� ������������������ ��� the Police Credit Limited is best placed to �������Union ������� ��� ����������� ����� ������� ������� ��� ����������� ����� �� ��� ����� serve the interests �� ��� ����� of POA members at this time. In this edition of Gatelodge, Peter Evans, the Chief Executive of the Police Credit Union Limited, has written an article (on page PCU 3) setting out the features and benefits of the savings and loan products that the Police Credit Union Limited can offer POA members. Below is a general summary of what I consider to be the potential benefits of the new Credit Union facility for POA members.

Many POA members may not have heard of Credit Unions. Essentially they are financial co-operatives that are owned and run for the benefit of their members. A current day example of this is the Co-operative Group which offers banking and insurance services to its members. Points are accumulated by members from buying products from the Society.

The benefit for POA members wishing to save with a Credit Union Credit Unions offer savings and loan facilities for members. Savers receive a dividend for each share held paid out of the Credit Union. As the dividend is paid from the surplus made by the Credit Union each year it is dependent on the amount of surplus made by the Credit Union. Therefore, if no surplus is made, it is unlikely that a dividend will be made unless the Credit Union

The benefits for POA members wishing to borrow from a Credit Union

�������������� �������� ������ �������������� ������ �������� ������������� ����� ��������

Many Credit Unions offer lending products (most commonly unsecured loans) to members who do not meet the criteria to borrow from high street lenders such as banks and building societies. I view this as an important benefit for POA members, particularly given that many �� � ������ �� ��� ���� ������ ���� �� �building ������ �� ��� ���� ������ ���� banks and tightened �� ���� ��societies ���� ���have ������ ������� �� ���� �� ���� ��� ������ ������� up their���lending criteria as a consequence of ��� ������ ������ ������ ������ ������ ������ the ‘credit crunch’, making it difficult for POA ������ ���� ������� ��� ����� ���������� ������ ������� ��� ����� ���������� members to���� access such�� loans. addition, the ���� �� ��������� ��� ���In�������� ���� �� ��������� �� ��� ��� �������� loans as offered by Credit Unions are clear � ��� ������� ��������� ������� ����� � ��� ������� ��������� ������� ����� and typically with��� no hidden penalties e.g. �� ������ ������ ������� ���� �������� ������ ��� ������ ������� ���� �������� �� ��� ��� ���� ������ ������ ����� ���� ���� upon early repayment this is unlike many ��� ��� ���� ������ ������ ����� ���� ���� �� ���� ��� ��� �������� �� ������� �� doorstep loans. �� ����or ���payday ��� �������� �� ������� �� ���� �������� ��� ���� ����������� ���� �������� ��� ���� �����������

��� ����� ���� ���Union ���� ���� ��� The Police Credit ��� ����� ���� ��� ���� ���� ��� Limited ������ ������ ���������� ����� ���

Summary

The Credit Union facility with the Police Credit Union Limited has been developed specifically with the financial needs of POA Summary of the potential members in mind. I would urge you to benefits of a Credit Union consider the benefits their savings and loan facility for POA members ����� ������� �� ������� ���������� ��� ������ ������ �� ������� ���� �� �� ����� �������� ������� �� ������ ������������ ���������� ��� ������ ������ �� ������� ���� ���������� �� ����� ���������� ��� ������ ������� ������ �� ���������� ��� ��������� �� ��� ��������� ��� ������ ������ ����� �� ���������� ��� ��������� �� ��� ������������ �������� ���������� ��� ������ ������� ����Unions ��������� ������� ��� ������� �� ����� ���� ���operating ��������� ��� ������� � ������� ���� ������ �����bring ����������to you. products can 1. Credit typically have lower ���� ��������� ������� ��� ������� �� ����� ���� ��� ��������� ��� ��� ������� � ������� ���� ������ ����� ���������� costs������ than������ other financial organisations e.g. ����� ���� ������ ������ ������ ����� ���� ������ ��������� ������ ���� �������� ����� �������� ���������� ��� ��� banks. This being case,����� dividends typically ��������� ������ ����the �������� ��������are ���������� ��� ���Pete Chapple ���� ���� ��� ���� ���� ���� ��� ���� ������ ������������������������ ���� ���� ��� ���� ���� ���� ��� ���� ������ ������������������������ Finance Officer higher than interest received on bank savings ��������� ��������� accounts. In��� addition, rates charged ������� ����� ��� ��� of ���interest ����������� ������� ������� ������������� ����� ��� ��� ��� ����������� ������� �������� ���� ������� �� ���������������� ���� �� ������������������ �������� ���� ������� ���������������� �� on loans���������� are often lower��than those as���� offered ������������������ p31_gateaug12.indd 1 p31_gateaug12.indd 1

PCU

by banks and particularly doorstep or payday loan companies. 2. Any surplus earned can be used for the benefit of members and not external shareholders. I am particularly attracted to this in light of the ‘credit crunch’ and my disdain for the excesses of bank executives e.g. bank bonuses. 3. I have only looked to work with Credit Unions like the Police Credit Union Limited that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. This being the case, in the unlikely event that the Police Credit Union Limited fails, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will pay compensation for financial loss of up to £85,000 (currently). In addition, the FSCS aim to pay compensation in such circumstances within seven working days. 4. Credit Unions like the Police Credit Union Limited are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This provides a mechanism for resolving any disputes (should they arise) between POA members and the Police Credit Union Limited. Finally, in most circumstances saving and borrowing with a Credit Union is undertaken by payroll deduction. I see this as a great benefit for POA members, as the money is taken out before they receive their salary and “what you don’t see you don’t miss!” In addition, if you have a poor credit rating, saving and borrowing with a credit union may help to improve your credit score in the future.

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PCU

WELCOME

TO POA MEMBERS FROM PETER EVANS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE POLICE CREDIT UNION Dear POA members

A

fter what may seem quite a wait, the working arrangement between POA and PCU has finally become reality. Everything is now in place. You can join PCU, using the form in this issue (on page PCU 6) or online, by agreeing to save at least £10 per month through your payroll, where available. After your first savings have been received, you are eligible to apply for a loan, again with repayments coming directly through your payroll, where available. Again, a form is printed in this issue on page PCU 7 or you can apply online at www. poauk.org.uk/pcu or at www.policecu.co.uk If time is of the essence, you could even deposit your first savings by debit card so that you can apply immediately for a loan. Phone 0845 371 7303, your dedicated POA contact line for debit card payments or general enquiries. There is also a dedicated email address for enquiries at poa@policecu.co.uk

How we reached this point

We are legally required to restrict our membership to our registered ‘common bond’ which was originally based in the police family but is now for the wider law enforcement family. We are a mutual, not for profit organisation, which means we use the savers’ monies to lend to borrowers. After costs and reserves have been taken out, we pay the balance of the income from loan interest as dividend to the saving members. This dividend is paid gross (without tax deducted) and it is the responsibility of the member to advise HMRC for tax liability.

the lowest advertised rate (sometimes a High Street headline rate to attract the interest) will mean a lower monthly repayment.

The Friends of PCU Lottery In the joining pack, you’ll get details of the lottery run by Friends of Police Credit Union. With a ticket price of £1 per month, monthly prizes of up to £1,000 and a Christmas bumper draw, it’s good to know that the proceeds of the lottery, after prizes, goes to staff development and training to ensure we carry on improving our service to members.

How the PCU is run

The future begins here

The Board of Directors is made up of volunteer members of PCU, elected by the members at the AGM. Police Credit Union complies with the four international principles of credit union philosophy, being: 1) Encouragement of thrift and saving 2) Sensible borrowing 3) Mutual use of members’ funds and 4) Education in financial matters.

It may be heartening to learn that, once you join PCU, you can remain a member forever, whether after retirement or even if you cease to be a member of POA for any reason. In the near future, we hope to be able to extend our offer of service to family members of the main member, subject to legal limitations. In closing, the Board and Management of PCU truly welcomes POA into its fold and looks forward to serving POA members for many years ahead.

Almost a year ago, PCU had its first meeting with Pete Chapple, POA Finance Officer, and PCU products Glyn Travis, POA Assistant Secretary. We offer a simple product structure of savings Since then, the POA has decided not to (regular easy access, junior and Cash ISA) and form its own credit union but to work in a range of unsecured loans, with a loan type to conjunction with an existing credit union to suit all needs. provide the current services of savings and Elsewhere in this issue are details of the feihC saspecifi loans. PCU is delighted to have been chosen all our members, UCc eproducts ciloP open d ento iowho j snjoin avus. E r et e P by the POA to undertake this opportunity and a h including POA members t i W .5 0 0 2 h c r a M n i vitlife to help POA members. and loans are coveredeby ucinsurance ex E ni r e er a cSavings sih ohgIf ua omember rht dnpasses at no extrat ucost. away u o r g kcab sah ,tn eage m e65, gaallnsavings am dbalances are doubled to What is Police Credit Union? ehbefore n a g n i t e k ram dn emmocof ,£25,000 all loan balances to a PCU is the fourth largest credit union in a l a i carmaximum lai rtsuand d n i n i d e k r ow r aand lucit rmaximum ap sahoftu£20,000 written off. Obviously, England and Wales, with 20,500 members b s roare t c e s e l b a t i rahc htla eh tfisome apply. £48million in assets. orpterms -rof-and tonconditions e h t n i e c n e i e p xe its decisions on loan rapplications We were formed in 2003 from seven laicn anfi laPCU utumakes m d n a r ot c e s e c on ability to repay. Credit scoresnare not separate credit unions based in individualg n a r usnthe i i d l i u B er i h s dr of fa t S only factor taken into consideration. If h police federations and serving 11rforces. t i w s e ci v rwe’re es eganaM lar en e G awtoeahmember, willing to s lend Regulatory challenges and economies of er eh wit is,yatteaistandard coS . )tadvertised n empoproduct due to any scale encouraged the merger and PCU now l eve D rate dn a(not gnloaded i t ek r a M ( adverse credit history). provides its services to 25 police forces, to look at the total including the national British Transport Police fo e etsuPlease rt ,roremember n r evog always looa hloan c srather a si than amount you will pay on and, soon, the Met. eH think ht i w

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Yours sincerely Peter Evans Chief Executive Police Credit Union

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37-44 PCU Supp.indd 39 3 GateLodge_8ppInsert.indd

n er d l i h c r of y t i r a h c l a n o ita n a y r o s i v d a n a fo r e b m e m a ,s e i t i l i b a sid e h t ot r o s i v r e p u S , A S F e h t o t l e n ap r of n o ita i c o s s a e d a rt l a n o it a n a fo dr a o B e c i l oP e h t f o r e b m em a dna snoi n u t i d er c .d r a o B t c e j o r

PCU

3

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do


Saving and borrowing from the Police Credit Union is simple - and safe! JOIN by becoming a saver � Simply fill out the enclosed form on page ‘PCU 6’ to apply, or do it online at www.poauk.org.uk/pcu

SAVE through payroll deduction

11%

D E T N U O DISC LOAN ounted to

Rate disc

ER rch 2013 STAlyRbT y 31 Ma App

n code : p romotio te o u q e Pleas POA S L1

� Tell us how much you want to save each month on your application form

BORROW up to £2000 straight away � Apply for a Starter loan using the form on page ‘PCU 7’, or apply for more online at www.poauk.org.uk/pcu

SHARE the loan benefits of Police CU � � � � � � �

No arrangement fees Interest calculated daily No upfront charges No early redemption penalties Overpayments accepted by prior arrangement No late payment fees Fixed rate as advertised regardless of credit score or personal circumstances � Life cover at no extra cost* For more information,

visit www.poauk.org.uk/pcu email poa@policecu.co.uk or call 0845 371 7303

Police Credit Union - working in conjunction with the POA * Life Insurance is offered subject to conditions including a six month pre-existing limitation. For full terms and conditions about the policy, please contact Police Credit Union or visit the PCU website. Loans subject to status, conditions and credit checks to members aged 18 or over. The Police Credit Union is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The Scheme guarantees to pay 100% of a maximum £85,000 should the Credit Union fail. The Police Credit Union is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. FSA number 213306. 0845 telephone numbers are charged at local rate for landlines but may attract a premium from mobile phone providers.

PCU 4 40 October

2012

37-44 PCU Supp.indd 40 4 GateLodge_8ppInsert.indd

www.poauk.org.uk/pcu

www.policecu.co.uk

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www.poauk.org.uk £12,000 £5,000 £7,500 £25,000 £10,000 £25,000

£2,001 £3,001 £5,001 £7,501 £2,000 £10,001

12.7%

9% 8.5% 8% 6%

5.5%

Responder

Resourcer

Optimiser

Honorary President: Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, QPM, DL

PoliceCU. Savings and loans for the law enforcement family.

at no extra cost

24-84

24-60

Up to 60 Up to 60 Up to 84

Up to 60

36

6-24

Term(months)

www.poauk.org.uk/pcu

www.policecu.co.uk

Savings in your first Rewarder account must always exceed loan balance, but withdrawals are allowed up to this balance. Standard underwriting applies. Dual benefit - Get the lowest loan rate and a dividend on savings.

Fixed Term Unsecured Loan Account.

Unsecured Top Up Credit Facility.

One agreement, 3 years of Loan Advances. Alternative to Overdraft and Credit Cards.

Fast turnaround. Limited documents required. Only for those on payroll deduction.

Detail

Tax free savings. Transfers in from other ISA providers not permitted. Access to savings without penalty, subject to 60 days written notice or without notice subject to 60 days interest penalty. Subject to overall member balance of £85,000.

Available to children or grandchildren under 16 living in the same house as the main member. Withdraw funds without penalty.

Minimum deposit of £10 to become a member of Police CU. Withdraw funds without penalty.

Detail

* Life Insurance is offered subject to conditions including a six month pre-existing limitation. For full terms and conditions about the policy, please contact Police Credit Union or visit the PCU website. **Subject to approval at AGM. Savings and loans available to POA members with payroll deduction. Loans subject to status, conditions and credit checks to members aged 18 or over. The Police Credit Union is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The Scheme guarantees to pay 100% up to a maximum £85,000 should the Credit Union fail. The Police Credit Union is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. FSA number 213306. 0845 telephone numbers are charged at local rate for landlines but may attract a premium from mobile phone providers.

£5,000

£500

£2,000

£500

12.7%

Max

Min

Value

Reloader

15% - Discounted to 11% for applications before 31 March 2013

Representative fixed APR

Loan Type

Starter

Annual

Cash ISA Up to £5640 per tax year

Up to £85,000

From £10 a month

Annual

Youngster £100

Up to £85,000

From £10 a month

Annual

Rewarder

Max

Value Min

Dividend**

Savings Type

A range of savings and loans to meet your needs

Life Cover*

prodgrid/1012

12 12:52

SIGN POST

PCU 41 5 October 2012

16/10/12 14:25:09 15/10/2012 12:52


Joining application form for serving POA members and POA employees Please complete in BLOCK CAPITALS By completing the form below, you are opening a Rewarder regular savings account, which provides you with membership of Police Credit Union and its services.

Personal details Surname (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms) First Name

Middle Name

Home Address Postcode Home Tel

Work Tel

Mobile

Date of Birth

Email

Secure word*

National Insurance Number

(eg mother’s maiden name)

POA member/POA employee (delete as appropriate) Payroll No. Workplace I hereby apply for membership and agree to abide by the rules of the Police Credit Union Ltd (available on request or on our website) and declare the information given by me on this form is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

Payroll deduction/Savings (This is in addition to any loan repayment) I hereby authorise payroll deduction of £

per month (minimum £10) from my salary.

Applicant’s signature

Date

* A secure password is required for online access.

THIS IS A SHORTENED APPLICATION FORM AND COMMENTARY. If you need more details, please contact us for the full Rewarder regular savings application form or download it from www.poauk.org.uk/pcu FOR OFFICE USE ONLY A/C No. Linked member Y/N P/port

D/L

Branch Code Util

Getting to know you �� �������������������������������������������������������������������� part of stringent anti-money laundering legislation �� ������������������������������������������������������������������������ of our new members, by using a unique online service through a credit reference agency. It will note that we have asked about you and the note may be used by other organisations in the future to check your identity. We will assume you are happy for us to use this service but, if you do not wish us to check about you electronically, please tick this box and supply one proof each of identity and address from the list on right. If we cannot find enough information electronically about you, we have to comply with the legislation by asking you to supply documentation.

Staff Initials Online

The items listed below must be originals and proof of address not more than three months old. Proof of identity Satisfactory proof of identity will include, but not be limited to, the following: ID Card, Full passport, Full Driving Licence (can also be used as proof of residency with another form of proof of identity), Notice of Tax Coding (current year), Child Benefit Book, Pension Book, HM Forces ID Card. Proof of address Satisfactory proof of address will include, but not be limited to, the following: Utility Bill e.g. Gas, Electricity, Water or Telephone bills (but not mobile), Bank, Building Society or Credit Card statement, Mortgage statement, Council Tax demand, Mail Order statement, Voter’s Roll Check. All documents must have been issued within the last 3 months.

Before you return your membership form, please remember to: Complete joining form above

Read declaration in full

Sign and date your application form

Post to POA c/o Police Credit Union, Guardians House, 2111 Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham B26 3EA * Life Insurance is offered subject to conditions including a six month pre-existing limitation. For full terms and conditions about the policy, please contact Police Credit Union or visit the PCU website. † Subject to standard credit checks and proof of identity. Loans are offered subject to status to members aged 18 or over. Written quotations for loans available on request. Loans can only be considered for members who have a Rewarder savings account with PCU. The Police Credit Union is part of the Financial Ombudsman Scheme. The Police Credit Union is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The Scheme guarantees to pay 100% of a maximum £85,000 should the Credit Union fail. The Police Credit Union is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. FSA number 213306. Data Protection Statement: In accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998, we will use your personal details for the purposes of managing your accounts with the Police Credit Union. Your personal details will be treated confidentially and will only be shared with other agencies for the purposes of credit referencing and debt recovery, for which purpose we hold an appropriate consumer credit licence. Under the Distance Marketing Directive, you have the right to cancel your savings account within 14 days of opening without financial or other penalty. It is possible to nominate a beneficiary to receive up to £5000 of savings, in the event of a member’s death. The nomination form is available from any branch or may be downloaded from www.policecu.co.uk/savings/rewarder-savings/downloads.

PCU

U D p *

6

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.

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12 12:52

The Starter loan application form For loans up to £2,000

(For loans over £2,000, apply online or telephone us on 0845 371 7303)

Please complete in BLOCK CAPITALS Don’t forget to also complete the joining form opposite.

Personal details Surname (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms) First Name

Middle Name

Home Address Postcode

Home Tel

Work Tel

Mobile

Date of Birth

(Applicants must be 18 years of age or older)

Email

National Insurance Number Time at current address

Owner

Tenant

With Parents

(If less than 3 years, please provide previous address)

If owned, approx value

If mortgaged, approx mortgage

Number of dependants

Employment details POA member/POA employee (delete as appropriate) Payroll No.

Employer

Position held

Length of service

Full/Part time

Workplace

Loan details

£500 to £2,000 - up to 24 months £2,000+ apply online or telephone

Loan amount requested £

over

Monthly income Average take home pay Any other income Benefits (e.g. Child benefit,

months

Purpose of Loan I wish to save

£

per month

You must continue to save a minimum of £10 per month in your main Rewarder account whilst repaying your loan. The savings in the main Rewarder account will not be available for withdrawal until the loan balance is lower than the savings balance. Full details are shown in the Credit Agreement.

Loan issue details: (A) Cheque payable to: Sent to home address/collect or (B) BACS: Bank Name Account Name Sort Code

Account No.

For the purpose of life cover at no extra cost up to the age of 65* I declare that I am in good health with no pre-existing medical conditions

Yes

Financial information Member Partner £ £ £

£ £ £

£

£

Working family tax credit)

Total Income

County Court Judgement

Monthly expenditure £ Rent /Mortgage £ Utilities (Gas/Elec/Water) £ Council tax £ Telephone & mobile Travel exps (inc motor costs) £ £ Insurance £ TV licence/Sky/cable £ CSA payments Loans/Credit cards/HP/Store cards Monthly List company or card: payment £ £ £ £ £

No

If no, my pre-existing medical condition is

If you are the subject of any of the following please tick the relevant box and provide further information

Undischarged Bankrupt IVA Debt Mgt Plan Mortgage/ Loan arrears Balance

£ £ £ £

Currently on sick leave Maternity leave

Total Expenditure To qualify for a loan/credit ALL sections MUST be completed in FULL. Failure to comply may delay the processing of the loan/credit application. IMPORTANT NOTICE: Police Credit Union Ltd reserve the right to carry out credit checks. DECLARATION (important – please read carefully) I declare that I am not indebted to any other Credit Union, bank or loan agency as a borrower, guarantor or surety (except as stated above) and I declare that neither I nor any company of which I am a shareholder or director is the subject of any bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings or an interim or administration order either now or pending or threatened pursuant to the Insolvency Act 1986. I declare that the facts, matters and statements made herein are for the purpose of obtaining the loan and are true, complete and accurate in all respects and I acknowledge that if any such facts, matters or statements are not true, complete and accurate in all respects, the Credit Union is entitled to refuse the application for the loan, or take civil or criminal proceedings against me if the loan has been granted.

Applicant’s signature

Date

Before you return your Starter Loan application form, please remember to: Fully complete joining form & starter loan form above

Sign and date your application form

Return with 2 recent pay slips

Post to POA c/o Police Credit Union, Guardians House, 2111 Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham B26 3EA Under the Distance Marketing Directive, you have the right to cancel your loan agreement within 14 days of signing, without financial penalty or interest charge, by repaying the loan in full. Data Protection Statement In accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998, we will use your personal details for the purposes of managing your accounts with Police Credit Union. Your personal details will be treated confidentially and will only be shared with other agencies for the purposes of credit referencing and debt recovery, for which purpose we hold a Category F Consumer Credit Licence. * Life Insurance is offered subject to conditions including a six month pre-existing limitation. For full terms and conditions about the policy, please contact Police Credit Union or visit the PCU website.

PCU

37-44 PCU Supp.indd 43 7 GateLodge_8ppInsert.indd

7

16/10/12 14:25:49 15/10/2012 12:52


Peter Evans

Meet your Police CU team Gary Storrod

Product Manag er

Gar y Storrod jo ined Police CU in August 2012 as Product Manager, follow ing a successful temporary assig nment based at Police CU’s Head Office. He has worked with in Consumer Finance for over twenty years in various Bran ch Manager an d customer facin g roles, within m ajor financial institut ions. He aims to provide Police CU members w ith competitive prod ucts that they will feel confide nt in using and is relishing the op portunity to he lp new members from POA.

Carole Way

Support Manager Carole Way worked for Barclays Bank and Barclaycard, with sales and marketing experience also in the education and legal sectors. She joined Police CU in 2004 and, in her role as Support Manager, she provides a support service to the Directors, Chief Executive and the branches.

Jim Page port p roduct Su P

ous types mpled vari a s e s a h e ving colleg Jim Pag t since lea n e ym g lo in p rk of em de wo hese inclu in 1995. T e nt a n d m e g a n ma nk in facilities a large ba r fo c e a nd n He a . n 2 0 te 0 in 2 a in m to travel ft le June im in J which olice CU rking for P inistrator o w n a g e b m Branch Ad in 2004 as a M a n ag e r ty u p e D s a n his e p th u d g an takin m before . 11 0 Birmingha 2 h le in Marc current ro

Chief Executive

ief d Police CU as Ch Pete r Evans joine a ith W ch 20 05. Executive in Mar in ughout his ca re er ro th nd ou gr back s ha he t, anagemen mar keting and m d an l cia er m m co al, worked in industri lar cu rti s but has pa char ita ble se ctor h not-for-profit he alt e th in e nc ex pe rie financial l ua ut m d an or insurance se ct fordshire Building se rv ice s with Staf ager was Ge ne ral Man he Society, where t). en m ve lop (Mar keting and De ve rnor, truste e of He is a school go for childre n with a national char ity y be r of an ad visor em m a dis abilities, e th to r iso rv pe Su pa ne l to the FSA, tion for nal trade as socia Board of a natio e Police th of r be em dam credit unions an oje ct Board. Memor ial Tr ust Pr

Myrel Robin

Administratio n Manager

so n

Myrel Robin son worked at West Mid lands Police Headquarter s for five years before joining West Midlands Pol ice CU in 19 94 as an admin istrator. She was promoted to Birmingham Branch Man ager of the ne wly merged Polic e CU in 2003 . Her duties al so involve so me administrativ e responsibi lities for the whole network of branch of fices and she became Net work Branch Manager in 20 10.

Joel Lea

Senior Branch Administrator and POA Support Joel Lea has been with the Police CU for almost six years. Prior to joining Police CU, he was in the retail industry and studied Sports Management. He feels these are exciting times for Police CU and he is looking forward to playing a bigger role with his duties as POA Support.

www.policecu.co.uk PCU

8

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15/10/2012 12:52 16/10/12 14:26:05


For your Insurance needs

www.insurance4unions.co.uk

Peace of mind for you and your family

Tel: 0333 321 3220 Because everyone values their holidays

Premier & Budget Cover - Travel Insurance - AA- Rated Insurer

Authorised and Regulated by the FSA No. 307635

POA

SAVE ON YOUR TRAVEL WITH POA TRAVEL INSURANCE What you get with POA Travel Insurance �£10 million Medical expenses cover

�Scheduled Airline Failure Cover

�£5,000 Cancellation cover

�24/7 Emergency assistance service

�£2,000 Baggage cover (single item limit £250)

�Unlimited number of trips*

Annu WORLD al W PREMIE IDE R cover.

Call us now on 0844 482 0961 or simply visit

Single £62 Couple £78 Family £88

www.poatravelinsurance.co.uk * Up to 31 days per trip. Single and Family cover also available. Lines open 8am-7pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm on Saturdays (local rate). Policies and premiums are subject to meeting the medical criteria. Terms and conditions apply. Cover is correct as at 12 October 2012. Prices shown are for Worldwide premier policies based on adults aged up to ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 307575. This can be checked on the FSA website www.fsa.gov.uk. UIB is an introducer for Rock Insurance Services Ltd who administer POA Travel Insurance and are authorised and regulated by Financial Services Authority, register number 300317. The insurance is underwritten by Mapfre Assistencia who are regulated by the FSA, number 203041.

p45_gateoct12.indd 45

6407 (10-2012)

64. Family cover includes up to four children under 18. Excess applies. Cover is available up to age 79.

23/10/2012 10:21:13


POA LEARNING

POA LEARNING HEADS FOR TEN YEAR MILESTONE Mark Freeman, POA Deputy General Secretary and Head of POA Union Learning, explains how the POA is investing in your future.

E

very successful organisation has to adopt a ‘partnership’ approach to support and develop its employees. The benefits from these partnerships are evidenced with improved staff morale, reduced sick leave and lower staff turnover, fewer complaints and grievances, and higher rates of internal promotion. POA Learning is the “learning” arm of the POA; responsible for developing and supporting many of these partnerships. POA Learning is managed by a small team led by me, the Deputy General Secretary of the POA, and I am the lead on lifelong learning for the POA. The team I lead is a dedicated and professional group of individuals who have made the advances in learning possible not only to you the members, but to your families, friends and local communities. Phil, Alison and Emma work extremely hard for the POA and are very ably supported by our Regional Managers and their staff.

POA Learning achievements We have been the most successful Union Learning project within the TUC for the size of our membership and I am extremely grateful for all the support and help from every one of my staff who have made this possible. POA Learning commenced its first national project in 2003 and its main objectives have developed to include: • Identifying prison and secure hospital sites for a regional network of Learning Centres geographically spread throughout England • Train and support a network of trained Union Learning Reps (ULR) at each of the prisons and secure hospitals • Develop a range of bespoke learning opportunities to professionalise the roles of prison and secure hospital staff. 46 October 2012 46 POA Learning.indd 46

As we have progressed we have achieved many things: • Establishment of a national network of Learning Centres • Extended this provision through our link centre network • Recognition as Skills for Life provider with the prison service for all new entrants to the service • Partnership arrangements with associated unions • Partnership arrangements with learning providers. POA Learning has also worked to embed learning within the union structure by: • Securing a POA rule book change to approve ULRs as part of the branch structure • Securing a commitment to providing members with access to learning • POA Learning provides input into new branch officials’ training.

Supporting our members The success of the POA Learning centres shows us how in this time of recession, it is essential that as a Union we continue to support members as learners to develop good skills and improve their employability and career prospects. The POA is committed to this and by continuing to expand the Link Centre network is investing in the future needs of learners who do not traditionally have easy access to learning. In the recently successful ULF bid (2012) £1.5million has been granted to extend POA Learning to 2014 and beyond. In the next two years we will be continuing our work by opening and operating more Link Centres and supporting learners whether they are POA members, prison and secure hospital employees, members of associated unions, friends, family or members of the local communities. The successful partnership between NOMS and the POA is also evident in facilitating ULRs who

provide outstanding peer support as mentors, advocates, negotiators, role models and advisors which is good news for all establishments wherever they are based. As we continue to expand, the Link Centre network ULRs are key to establishing links with the local workforce and wider community providing the support for Link Centre venues. Currently, the POA has 180 ULRs in over 60 locations. The POA will continue to support ULRs who will continue to be instrumental in raising interest in training and development, especially among the lowest skilled workers and those with literacy and numeracy needs.

Learning events courses and sessions since 2010 • 15,531 Learning events captured – (This can be a full course or an IAG Interview) • 3,039 SFL modules delivered • 1,262 ICT modules delivered • 1,444 NVQ Level 2 modules delivered • 607 achieved full 1st Level 2 NVQ qualifications • 261 achieved full Level 3 NVQ qualifications • 2916 informal adult learning sessions delivered • 7,000 attendees at 214 events nationally (including conferences). I am sure you will agree these are impressive figures. To conclude, I thank members for their support for this project. Without you, the learners, we would not exist. I hope very much to be able to continue my work with POA Union Learning and to help expand our network to reach more and more members; giving them the opportunity to learn, advance and use new skills and to be “Lifelong Learners”. So far… 180 ULRs trained Achieved over £4million funding since 2003 11 Regional Centres 24 Link centres

www.poauk.org.uk 15/10/12 15:59:23


POA LEARNING

GET A TASTE OF

TECHNOLOGY Itea and Biscuits Day at Hatfield Learning Centre. ‘Itea and Biscuits Week’ is an annual event dedicated to inspiring and supporting people in later life to discover the wide range of benefits that digital technology can offer. Hatfield Learning Centre offered free ‘taster sessions’, where older people from the local community could go along to learn about computers, the Internet, digital cameras, social networking, and other digital technology in a friendly and informal environment. Last year, over 7000 people joined in with this Age UK (www.ageuk.org.uk) initiative. People in later life can miss out on the benefits of using a computer to help with their daily lives. Some of the activities that our visitors wanted to find out more about were online banking and shopping. Thinking about the winter, one woman said: “I want to be able to order my food shopping online, just in case I can’t get out, if the weather is bad.”

Positive results We were delighted at POA Learning Hatfield to have made this contribution to working with the older members of our community and showing them the advantages that using a computer with confidence can bring. Coralie May, 77, one of Hatfield’s ‘surfers’, said: “People my age should try new things. This is an ideal way to do it.” Coralie went on to say: “It can be a bit difficult to learn at the beginning, but I have seen a lot of things that I wouldn’t know about if I hadn’t tried.”

Above: Coralie May said: “People my age should try new things. This is an ideal way to do it.” Right: Coralie May and Peter Woodall

www.poauk.org.uk 47 POA Learning Itea.indd 47

October 2012 47 26/10/12 13:41:42


POA LEARNING

HOW ANDY HARDING HELPS TO CHANGE LIVES Andy Harding, a Senior Officer at HMP Dartmoor, is seconded to manage his establishment’s POA Learning Centre. The centre offers free IT courses, access to over 37 online language courses, the Open University, Excel packages, fully accredited equality and diversity courses, and many other learning opportunities. Andy says: “I work in conjunction with the Skills for Life Team at Newbold Revel in helping staff with their literacy and numeracy. I have also set up a well-used book exchange for staff within the POA Learning Centre. “The IT courses have helped staff greatly with the work-related IT advances that have evolved recently, like Oracle and PrisonNOMIS. All training offered is free of charge to

the learner and at no cost to the prison budget, and learning is undertaken in staff members’ own time. “The centre has provided many staff with the opportunity to improve their learning and ‘upskill’ in an informed and effective manner. It has indeed, ‘changed lives’ and continues to do so in the learning opportunities available.” “How I change lives” highlights the work of everyone across the service in making the objectives in the NOMS 2012-13 Business Plan a reality. Andy’s work is in line with the operational delivery priority; “Improving efficiency and reducing costs.”

WETHERBY’S LEARNING CENTRE “I was asked by our Branch Chairman to consider becoming the ULR for Wetherby as we didn’t have anyone in that position. I agreed and attended Leeds College for the ULR part 1 and 2 courses. I identified that our outside training room could be used as a Learning Centre and our Governor, Sara Snell, agreed. I contacted Ellen Schofield and Alison Manion of POA Learning to draw up a learning contract for the Governor and the POA to sign and after a few amendments I got the go ahead to turn the building into the Learning Centre.

Refurbishment Ellen Schofield advised me on what we needed including Internet access which was a priority. Making the building secure took several months but once completed the Learning Centre then needed to be refurbished. Governor Snell kindly agreed to fund the refurbishment and the foyer area was fitted with settees, chairs, coffee tables and soft furnishings to make it comfortable and appealing for those who would be using the centre. Our Training Department appointed Rebekah Nunn as our Skills for Life Advocate and her knowledge and input has been invaluable. HMYOI Wetherby used to be a naval base during WW2 so all our units are named after admirals or have nautical themes, so the

48 October 2012 48-49 POA Learning Short Stories.indd 48

Paul Simpson is a Prison Officer at HMYOI Wetherby and sits on the POA committee. He is also Wetherby’s ULR. Learning Centre is called the Lowry Learning Centre after Robert Swinburne Lowry. The centre was officially opened on 30 July 2012 by Governor Snell and Phil Kelly of POA Learning.

A ULRs bird’s eye view – Rebekah Nunn As a relatively new member of staff to the Prison Service, I was asked if I would be interested in being the Skills for Life Rep. After completing the training I joined forces with Paul Simpson - POA ULR at HMYOI Wetherby, who gave me the opportunity to help open up the Lowry Centre, a training and learning link centre to give staff and their families the opportunity to improve their skills. I have since been working closely with Ellen Schofield and Paul researching the availability of community based courses, Open University and those offered by POA

Learning. We have also had a great response from staff members who have generously donated a vast amount of books enabling us to offer a book exchange.

Supportive environment To promote the Lowry Centre I hope to produce a monthly newsletter which will be emailed out highlighting what is happening that month, courses we have available, and the top 10 best books. We will be opening up an Internet cafe and use the centre as a place staff can feel relaxed and be motivated to expand their skills. The service offered will be a proactive, helpful and a supportive environment so staff are encouraged to make best use of training and learning that is available. As the Skills for Life Representative it is my mission to ensure that any member of staff wishing to improve their English, Maths and IT skills gets the best support available based around their own personal circumstances; giving them the best opportunity to succeed. Time is often an issue with learning, so having the Lowry Centre equipped with laptops and Internet access allows staff to come at lunchtime, away from their workplace, allowing them the chance to improve their skills, without impacting too much on their hectic home lives.

www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:45:48


POA LEARNING

BRIGHTSPARKS DEDICATED LEARNERS

(L-R) Lorna Budge, Lorraine Moir and Katie Archer

At BrightSparks we are pleased that all of the learners are committed and have completed many courses at our centre; here are just a few of our dedicated learners.

Lorna Budge completed her English and maths and has gained a full Business Administration NVQ at Level 3. She wasn’t overly keen on maths but knowing that it was part of the NVQ she studied in her own time to make sure she was able to pass her exam. Through pure dedication she came in to the centre one evening a week to study the maths courses we gave her, and when it came to her test she was not as nervous as thought she would be, this was down to her dedication and revision. Lorna passed with flying colours and then after a few months of very hard studying she completed her NVQ Business Admin Level 3.

Lorraine Moir has completed a full range of courses from maths, English to an equality & diversity course to an NVQ Management Level 3, which she has recently finished. Through her hard work and dedication and the help from the centre staff, Lorraine will have more opportunities that she may not have had if she had not done these courses at BrightSparks. It also has made Lorraine want to learn more. Lorraine recently became the POA Learner of the Year for the North Region. She is delighted to be recognised for her achievements and to promote POA Learning to all staff.

Katie Archer has also completed many courses with us over the years. Katie has dyslexia which made her work even harder. She put plenty of her own time aside to study so that she was able to complete her courses in the required time. The centre staff and the assessor were aware of Katie’s dyslexia enabling us to support her when she needed it. Katie has just completed her Business Administration at Level 3 and couldn’t be happier; she has started one of our new courses at BrightSparks and is also teaching staff from within the prison on how to use Excel. With the dedication and hard work from all of our learners and the help that we offer them, they are able to not only achieve great qualifications but to also be very proud of themselves for feeling the need to better their career and job prospects. Not only is it fantastic for the learners, it also leaves the centre staff with the satisfaction that someone has learned through the help and guidance that we give each and every learner that is welcomed through the door.

Lesley Russell has been with the prison service for many years and has completed quite a few courses relating to her job. The most recent one that she has finished is her NVQ Management Level 3. Lesley had to take a break in learning because she had to have both hands operated on at the same time, but after this break in learning she returned to work and completed her NVQ to a very high standard. Lesley was unavailable on the day the photogragh was taken.

www.poauk.org.uk 48-49 POA Learning Short Stories.indd 49

October 2012 49 29/10/12 17:28:41


HEALTH AND SAFETY

A

s the days get shorter inclement weather comes upon us and snow falls on the ground. Please remember that if you come in early for your shifts, slip on the ice and receive an injury because of that fall or accident you will not be able to pursue claim for an industrial injury, or sick excusal unless you have express authority from your managers in a recorded form (in writing) to say that you have permission to be on site before your official start time.

The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow, but what does poor employer do then? In such circumstances the first defence of your employer will be: “We were going to grit pedestrian routes and make sure they were safe, how could we have known staff would come in early?” And this argument has stood the test many times in the employer’s favour which has resulted in no blame being apportioned to the employer - case dismissed. Frequently, such accidents leave the member of staff with a severe injury, facing capability, medical inefficiency and end of their service.

Sadly, dedication to your job, colleagues and early attendance is applauded by the employer, until you have an accident and then the employer’s argument is, “you shouldn’t have been here at that time”.

How to ensure your safety Don’t come in before your official start time, but if you intend to, get it in writing that you have authority to be on site before your official start time. Obviously the bad weather highlights the employer’s health and safety litigation position, but when the snow has melted and gone away the employer’s litigation defence remains. Brian Traynor POA NEC Chair Health and Safety

Brian Traynor, POA NEC, Chair Health and Safety

50 October 2012 50 H&S_Brian T.indd 50

www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:48:00


HEALTHCARE

NO HEALTH WITHOUT BRADLEY We still get the message across wherever and whenever we can; that prison officers are the most versatile of all who work in the emergency services. Nobody else works with such a diverse section of the community.

The Bradley Report Lord Bradley’s review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system April 2009

I

t is of vital importance that those in Government and those who work in the criminal justice sector recognise that prison is largely a therapeutic community and that prison is not failure. Our population is close to 90,000, a high percentage of who suffer some form of mental illness or learning disability, often coupled with addiction. Our work is certainly difficult and a huge daily challenge. Yes, we provide safety and security by keeping those who are evil, and dangerous criminals in custody but to deal with such a diverse sector in a positive and productive way takes a serious amount of skill. Prison officers use the attributes of expertise and experience day in and day out.

No health without experience The present Government has a policy of liaison and diversion to try to deal with the acute issues we face. This programme is based on the Bradley Report, which has been long supported by this Trades Union. Prison officers work 24/7 with the population to encourage, mentor, protect and police them throughout their sentences, recognising those with particular difficulties and working hard to give support. The prison service has built a huge core of very knowledgeable staff who are worth their weight in gold.

Essential reading: • No Health without Mental Health Implementation Framework (HM Government)

It is therefore extreme folly to encourage those experienced staff to take early exit packages in order to substitute them with new, lesser paid staff. We have some brilliant new prison officers joining us and we welcome you. We hope that you are able to benefit from the experienced staff, and learn from them as you progress in the service. Experience is vital if we are to secure our future as a service.

No health without face to face contact Our new Minister, Mr Grayling, seems to contradict the Bradley Liaison & Diversion Policy with an initial hard line attitude, which appears to support a warehousing policy. However, Offender Health still fully supports the Government policy of No Health without Mental Health. This appears to show a lack of cohesion between sections of the present Government, maybe no surprise there.

No health without prison officers If we are to be given the resources and the staff to spend time with our charges, we can achieve Lord Bradley’s aims. Prison officers’ skills are wasted simply in containment. We play a full and vital role in achieving the policy of no health without mental health; please listen to those who know – our members!

Tom Robson Chairman of the Nursing & Health Care Officers’ Consultative Committee

• The Bradley Report (DH Publications).

www.poauk.org.uk 51 healthcare.indd 51

October 2012 51 15/10/12 16:06:18


POST BAG

Moorland riot – an update and thank you Colleagues, As you are all probably aware, over three nights in November 2010 HMP Moorland branch members suffered the ordeal of three nights of rioting. On the first night rioting broke out in a young offenders’ house block (a Tuesday); YOI prisoners refused to return to their cells after a fight broke out. In subsequent violence, three staff were assaulted and a female officer sustained a fractured jaw. The next night (Wednesday) riots broke out again, causing one prisoner to be hospitalised with head injuries. Tornado teams intervened and a large number of prisoners were moved to other prisons. On the last night of rioting (Thursday) violence spread to the adult house blocks, and a prisoner was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Again, prisoners were moved to other prisons. In a statement read at court, one POA member said: “In all my experience I have never seen such wanton destruction and violence. They were like a pack of wolves attacking anything and everything.” He described 15ft flames licking at the ceiling as shouting and jeering inmates hurled pool balls, bins, mattresses, a sink, a water fountain and whatever else they could get their hands on. As a result of these mindless acts of unwarranted violence and destruction resulting in serious injury to both staff and prisoners, along with nearly 300 prisoners being transferred to other prisons and £1million pounds or more in damage, a long but necessary police investigation resulted into what occurred, the culmination of which resulted in 22 prisoners being charged (16 for rioting) and sent to trial. Those trials have been taking place over the last few months, resulting in Moorland branch members having to relive the harrowing experience of what occurred through the ordeal of having to give evidence and undergo cross-examination. As a result of members’ actions and resolve, prisoners involved were found guilty and at the time of writing, one prisoner received a 10-year sentence, and others received sentences of nine, six, or four years. Others are still awaiting sentence. During the entire experience, both local and national committee members have given support to our members. However, both committees would always admit that the real heroes and heroines have been our members who have had to deal with the riot, from its start on the landings to its final end in court. For some it hasn’t ended there. It is for that reason that the HMP Moorland Committee wishes to place on record through Gatelodge our thanks to colleagues who either dealt with the riot itself, its outcome and/or gave evidence in trial as well. As a committee we recognise the personal trauma which this whole episode has caused and would like to thank our establishments care team for the vital role they’ve played in the support that they’ve given to our colleagues whilst at court, and with issues 52 October 2012 52-57 Postbag.indd 52

that are still on-going as a result of what they’ve been through. HMP Moorland Committee would also like to place on record again our thanks on behalf of our branch to all those POA members at other establishments who gave us Tornado support and/or who received prisoners from our establishment to ease our troubles. HMP Moorland Committee hope our members and colleagues across the estate never have to experience this type of thing again. However, should it occur, our colleagues involved and across the estate set an example of the professionalism that exists within the Service in times of need between all grades. HMP Moorland Committee believes you are all a credit to the POA and the Prison Service. Gary Day, Paul McLennan, Paul Arrowsmith, Mark Houlbrook, Steve Forster, Paul Mearns HMP Moorland Committee

www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:50:51


POST BAG

New epaulette design

Name and address supplied

Reference: Retirement age moving to 68 I was medically retired as a Senior Prison Officer in 2002 after some 13 years’ service. Since then, I have had a knee and hip replaced. I am also now waiting for the other knee to be replaced; these, along with other ‘age-related’ medical problems have somewhat blighted my retirement. No one has thought to ask those of us who have retired how we have progressed medically after retirement. I would be interested to know how many man days are lost due to injuries received at work, and the numbers of medically retired each year due to injuries received from ‘the job’. Perhaps now is the time to consult with those of us, having retired either medically or at the retirement age, how we are doing. As you can see from my opening paragraph, wear and tear has caught up with me. Just what sort of retirement are those who retire at 68 going to have? Perhaps the Government is hoping that we die off sooner so it doesn’t have to pay out too much in pensions. And while I talk about pensions, just a slight change in tack; did anyone else hear the announcement, on the opening day of the Olympics, about the Armed Forces pension? The Government is proposing to withhold the retirement pension until the serviceman or woman reaches 60, instead of the current age of 55. Yes, there are those who hold their health well in their later years, and are capable of doing certain tasks within the Service, and we all know which ones I talk about – sedentary, and non-prisoner contact tasks – but in all honesty, how many of you can see yourselves working on the landings in locals, high security and volatile young offender institutes, until you are 68? In 1994, I invited my then MP to visit my place of employment, HMP Leeds. I was informed that his secretary would write, and guess what? He retired before the last election and I am still waiting for his secretary to write to me. May I suggest that every member of staff invites his own MP to their establishment for a day, to attend a C&R session (I know an invitation was sent to those over a certain age), view the activities that are carried www.poauk.org.uk 52-58 Postbag.indd 53

out, and to include an evening duty? Perhaps, then, some MPs might understand the rigorous nature of the job. As to communications, perhaps establishments could use Gatelodge to better effect, by doing monthly returns of all incidents, man hours lost due to injuries at work, and on-going disputes within the establishment. I am quite sure that there are many disputes in many establishments that are similar to other establishments. Only through knowledge of what is going on in other establishments will staff get an overall picture. Yours sincerely M O’Reilly [Mr] Retired Senior Officer 68 is too late. Will you be able to perform C&R? Channings Wood

October 2012 53 30/10/12 13:59:34


POST BAG

Armed Forces day walk – HMP Dartmoor to Plymouth Hoe and then some! 30 June saw the culmination of the Armed Forces Week celebrations with the central hub this year being Plymouth. What better way of showing our support for our Forces than imitating what they do best and yomp (that is fast walking to you Army types and insulting to you RAF people) from HMP Dartmoor to the Hoe in aid of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. Fifty-one fine folk and four dogs turned out on a fine summer’s morning on the moor (by fine summer morning I mean strong winds, overcast with rain and showers). Among the 51 were the families of Marine Dean Mead and Sergeant Baz Weston who were sadly killed in action on Operation Herrick in 2011. The run-up to this event caught me a little by surprise; having only planned it eight months in advance I found myself struggling to organise my customary tee shirts and gizets for the walk. I was given the contact details of a great bloke called Mark Noble and after exchanging several of my flippant emails with my new-found pal, I read his tag ‘Brigadier Mark Noble’! I suppose just completing my 22 as a civvy just about excuses my lack of rank recognition and a trip to Pompey DQs! However, I do owe the Brigadier a massive thank you for hand delivering the tee shirts to the jail on the day before the walk: Thank you Sir. The route took us down the old railway track towards Fog-in-Tor quarry, a dim and distant memory of when we all could. Onwards to Yelverton and much needed sustenance in the form of pasties; a novelty

54 October 2012 52-57 Postbag.indd 54

for the Oxfordshire contingent from Bullingdon who aren’t used to food without napkins! (Never have I seen a PEI look more confused than looking for the opening of a pasty but you got there in the end, Rich!). I was a tad confused at the size of the toilet queue when the moor had provided so many natural tree stops – why wait? But maybe that’s just me. As the weather started to heat up and the feet started to burn I could hear mutterings from the crowd, and from my long-suffering other half about how the 16-18 miles might be a little too long for some people. I know a remedy for that; with my historic knowledge of the area I will take you on a shortcut. A tad over three miles extra we arrived the back way into Bickleigh Barracks after keeping Dave the Padre waiting for over an hour over our planned arrival time. Much to the disappointment of the baying crowd I walked round the corner from the village end and did not climb out of the Land Rover as expected. We made our way into the memorial garden of 42 Commando on the kind request of the Adjutant Tom Quinn where the Padre organised the rabble. He delivered the most poignant and meaningful service and even managed to get us to sing in tune without accompaniment – now that is a skill. The families of Baz and Dean then laid flowers of remembrance at the Dewerstone Memorial followed by a moment of reflection. I was all for a rousing speech to match Dave’s performance to spur the walkers on for the next leg, but found I was so stricken by the emotion of the service and the bravery of the families; that all that came out was a few yodels and a brief thank you. We spent an all too brief moment in the garden saying goodbye to absent friends, then regrouped and pushed on. The next milestone was to get to Smeatons Tower by 2.00pm and the 21 gun salute from 29 Battery at the Citadel. We hit the old railway track and yomped the daylights out of it; lost in my own thoughts I kept having massive bouts of tinnitus which is not uncommon for ex-Forces or the shooting fraternity, but these were six rings at a time. After what seemed liked several days of my annoying affliction, my better half pointed out it was my old mate Gary’s mobile ringing away to itself. Now if you can imagine a man transported from the Victorian era arguing out loud with the stupid box of wires that won’t answer itself or call the person he is

www.poauk.org.uk 29/10/12 17:41:05


POST BAG

telling it to, that was pretty much the make-up of the last few miles. The route I had planned took us along the cycle track on the far side of the Tamar which was scenic and undulating: oh, and by the way, three miles longer than walking the flat concrete way down the embankment. All of this I now know and had figured out at the time, but for fear of having conjugal rights suspended until Christmas I did the honourable thing and kept schtum! Now as a reformed athlete I should be able to take 16-22 miles in my stride any day, but with the combination of stupidity and the lack of training I was suffering (as a brief reminder I am no longer 22-years-old, under 12 stone, or a Royal Marine anymore – note to self Paul). When we got to the outskirts of Plymouth, every change of surface, every pebble, every change of direction or the even the chicane of a pelican crossing added to the pleasure. Hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, blisters and toes were all a gentle reminder of the six Ps and how I had ignored my ancient bootneck training (schoolboy error!). That said; the majority of the walkers were by no means cover models for Men’s Health (in fact some of them were ex-Army and matelots!). They are all just good people who wanted to do their bit for a good cause. The sight of Plymouth Hoe has rarely been so celebrated since the time of Sir Francis Drake, and he can keep his game of bowls; my quest was to thank the walkers, have a beer and a burger in that order. Day two of the Armed Forces walk saw a reduced band of brothers primed and ready to yomp from Bickleigh back to Dartmoor. I say primed; there was a strange smell to the deodorants used on the second morning as we entered the Sergeants’ Mess – was it the day-old tee shirts possibly? The remnants of yesterday’s Oggies probably? Or possibly the pints of G&T we were hearing of ? You decide! Aching limbs, creaking hips, blistered feet and dehydrated (despite our best efforts the night before, or possibly because of our efforts www.poauk.org.uk 52-58 Postbag.indd 55

the night before) we left in high spirits (some higher than others) back to the railway track. Walking can be a great time for reflecting; I had looked at two pictures before leaving the mess. One of Baz on Op. Herrick on the wall looking over his oppos, and another of the Mess from 1988; I had served alongside a number of the Sergeants some while ago now and more recently worked in the PS with at least six from the one photograph – how lives can interweave. Chatter slowed down apart from the youngsters who found it amusing to race each other up and down the hills; oh, how youth is wasted on the young! By Yelverton, the second day was taking its toll: Second stage blisters, sore shoulders and chafing from wearing your husband’s shorts – now that is commitment, girl, although it was probably too much information! Despite a few communication issues we were met by the reception party by Fog-in-Tor quarry and directed to the Plume & Doom as a final resting place. We shuffled the last few miles eagerly awaiting a pint and a pat on the back. The pint came and went but the rest of the brothers were nowhere to be seen. Plan B – we head to the other pub in Princetown; still no show so we have another: you get the picture. After a couple of hours of the same we were reunited and the call was to push on as a group and finish where we started at the main gates. I never knew Princetown was five miles uphill until that day. Final photos done, we said our goodbyes with someone suggesting we do a 30 miler next year! Really? For those of you that have read my articles before, watch this space. Thank you to all of the people who made this event a memorable day, to those unable to join us: We will remember them. Paul Cowell October 2012 55 29/10/12 17:43:09


POST BAG

Democracy in action at Dumfries At the recent Annual Conference, when a retiring member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) said in his last speech to Conference that this Association should not wash its dirty laundry in public by raising motions of condemnation and censure against the NEC, it garnered a round of applause from Conference. The member further went on to state that any complaint against the NEC should be carried out through the ballot box, again to a round of applause. Does the statement by the Assistant Secretary mean that members can only have their say on how the Association is being managed once every five years at a ballot box? I, and my branch, take issue with this statement for various reasons: Firstly, it is Conference that determines the principles and policies of the Union, except where the rules provide differently and that the only motions discussed at Conference are proposed by a branch after being passed at a duly convened meeting of the branch. It is not within the remit of the National Executive Committee to prejudice Conference by giving their opinion as to what the scope of motions raised at Conference should be. There is no allowance in our constitution for this. In fact, by stifling the democratic nature of debate that Conference should be, the NEC could be seen not to be protecting and promoting the interests of its members, and could be seen to be acting against the interests of the Union’s membership. A motion for Conference is raised at a duly convened meeting of a branch and it is the duty of the branch’s representative at Conference to deliver that motion to Conference. It is one of the fundamentals of our democratic process that any member can raise a motion and, if carried at branch and Conference level, it becomes the policy of the Union, no matter what that motion may be. If the motion is not in the interests of the Union then Conference will decide via due process. This process allows the NEC a reply to the raised motion. Future motions should not be prejudiced by an NEC member in a speech not in reply to any motion. Secondly, this Union has as part of its NEC non-elected Assistant Secretaries; in fact the person giving the speech at Conference had not been democratically chosen by the members of the Union for over a decade. So the statement concerning the utilisation of the ballot box in this case was a glib sound-bite and nothing else. Further, I would question the right of any Assistant Secretary to speak on a motion at Conference. They have no democratic mandate from any member to do so. They are employees of the Association, not elected representatives, and as such do not carry any mandate, except by proxy from the democratically-elected NEC. Can branch delegates proposing motions substitute experts mandated by proxy to fight their corner? The Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 defines a National Executive as the highest decision making body of a Trade Union. Under Chapter IV, Paragraph 51 (4) of the Act all National Executive members must be democratically elected via a postal ballot. In fact Rule 11.1 of the Association’s constitution reinforces this stance. This would mean that any Assistant Secretary is not part of the National Executive due to the nature of their appointment. They have their appointment ratified at Conference by a show of hands. Rule 12.5 of the POA Rules and Constitution gives the right to propose a motion at Conference to branches and to the NEC. No opportunity is made 56 October 2012 52-57 Postbag.indd 56

for employees of the Association to propose and therefore speak on a motion. Rule 12.7 (b) does state that only those members selected by their branch may speak and if any other person speaks on a motion it will be considered a breach of the rules. Motion 8 of 2011 asked that only elected officials speak on motions at Conference; it was lost. In the speech from an Assistant Secretary the gist was that what it mattered who spoke at Conference. It does when they have no right in the Association’s constitution. The management of the Union is vested in Conference, then the NEC, then the Officers and then the National Chairman and the General Secretary acting together, and is vested in that order of priority. Therefore the correct way for any comment on how this Union is managed and any complaint about it should primarily come through Conference. These are the opinions of my branch; however, if in his reply to this letter the editor can provide the avenues in our constitution that allows this, then my branch will accept we are mistaken. There is no process within the Union for de-selection of an Assistant Secretary by the members of the Union via any ballot. Any removal from post must be done, as is right, through the internal disciplinary process of the POA. Any complaint about any Assistant Secretary must be done via their employer, the Union. If, however, any employee of the POA were to show behaviours or ethics that were contrary to the aims of the Association, then justifiably they could be dismissed under ‘any other substantive reason’. It is Conference that decides the aims of the Association. It does so by passing motions proposed at that Conference. Those motions come from either the NEC or by a branch. I and my branch will not stand for people without a democratic mandate to tell us what we can or cannot bring to Conference. Members decide the policy of this Association, not its employees. Members decide the aims and policies of this Association and decide whether they are satisfied with how the Association is managed. This is done through Conference and not at a ballot box when choosing an individual. Damian Hughes Branch Chair Dumfries

Democracy in action: First response I have been asked by the Dumfries branch to respond to their letter in my capacity as editor of Gatelodge and so I will accede to their request. Firstly, I am pleased that the branch has taken the time to read the verbatim report and discuss the contents of the speeches and outcomes of motions, although I have not been furnished with a copy of the minutes. I am concerned that this letter is a clear attack on Jim Dawson, an Honorary Life Member and employee of the POA, a Trade Union not an Association. Damian, I can assume these are the views of your branch because neither of the Dumfries delegates in the hall raised a point of order in line with the standing orders which they had adopted at the start of the Conference when Jim expressed his opinion. Why? Jim was allowed to address Conference by the Chair of Conference and he expressed his personal opinions. The fact that he garnered a round of applause from Conference is totally irrelevant, it is his view and does not form any part of the Union’s policy. Turning to another point in your letter, it is Conference that determines the principles and policies of the Union, except where the rules provide differently and that the only motions discussed at Conference are proposed by a branch after being passed at a duly convened meeting of the branch. It is not within the remit of the NEC to prejudice Conference, by giving their opinion as to what the scope of motions raised at Conference should be. There is no allowance in our constitution for this. This is not strictly true. Conference has determined to hear emergency www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:50:05


POST BAG motions when no branch has had the opportunity to discuss them or give any mandate to the delegates. The provisions of Conference paper 4/2006 set out the rules and procedures for submitting Conference motions and this was again accepted by Conference. All motions for consideration to any Conference must be submitted to the Standing Orders Committee (SOC) on the correct form and it is for the SOC to decide if the motion is accepted or rejected in the first instance, then the NEC if the branch appeals, and finally Conference if the branch appeals to the ruling body and this decision is final. I am not aware of any decision of the NEC which would preclude any branch from bringing a motion to Conference. But, if you or your branch is of the opinion that Jim has done so, you are sadly mistaken. For the record no Assistant Secretary or FTO is a member of the NEC, they have no voting rights and only provide advice. Assistant Secretaries/FTOs are invited to address motions on behalf of the Executive and Union and as you state, Conference determined this was appropriate. Obviously, your branch can bring a motion to Annual Conference and seek a change in policy. That is your democratic right. I see no point in responding to the direct lifts from legislation and the Union’s rules and constitution. However, I do believe that custom and practice has a bearing on issues. I am concerned that your branch has not complained when Jim and other Assistant Secretaries or FTOs have addressed motions at the Scottish Conference. I have attended your Conference and never heard any delegate raise a point of order, so what has changed? If the real issue here is the statement from Jim which I have explained fully, for the record and because the verbatim report is a matter of public record, I have reproduced what Jim said below. If any branch or member feels it was inappropriate I welcome their views. I have copied the contents of your letter to Jim and given him the right of reply. I hope this is included to give a balanced and fair reflection to this issue.

Verbatim report from Conference

Jim Dawson – full-time officer: Thank you Mr Chairman. Conference, I was first elected to Glenochil Branch Committee in 1990 and I’ve spent the last 22 years representing members in one shape or form, and over that period of time I have had the pleasure of working with many, many good branch officials. You, Conference, are the backbone of this Association. In most cases unloved, unwanted, unpaid, first port of call when somebody’s in trouble, and without you we could not operate, and the job that I do and the job that these guys do, without your assistance, we simply could not function. And I want to say thank you to you publicly for all the assistance that I’ve had over the years. I also want to thank you for bestowing on me the great honour of Honorary Life Membership. It’s been said here before, and it still stands true, there is no greater reward than that given by your peer group. Thank you. Applause I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of the NEC members, Scottish National Committee members, full time officers, General Secretaries and National Chairs, and the support staff in all our offices, and I want to acknowledge publicly that I have enjoyed my time with all these people, especially the support staff because they are the unseen people, they are the people that are our back-up and allow us to do our job, and a lot of them right across the board have become good personal friends. And then there’s our Irish colleagues who never cease to amaze me, the work they do selflessly every year of different charities, and of course many of us will remember that I owe them a special debt of gratitude, because it’s only through their hard work that I can actually see you, because their hard work and the good grace of Conference, I was able to get an eye operation when I was going blind and I cannae repay that debt, so thank you. www.poauk.org.uk 52-57 Postbag.indd 57

Applause We heard from the National Chairman presenting the Cronin Clasps that you cannae do this job without the support of your family and there’s one very special person in this hall who has supported me all the way, my good lady, Margaret. Thank you very much. Applause One last thing Conference. I’ve always believed in speaking my mind. It’s too late for me to change and I’m too old to change, so I want to leave you with one thought and again, it’s how I see it, and you’re getting what you see. Over the years there’s one thing that’s always annoyed me about Conference and annoyed me about the Scottish Conference as well. We come to Conference and we have a big sign, Unity is Strength. I firmly believe that. And it really annoys me that we come to this, our public forum, with the eyes of the employer and the outside world on us, and we have motions of condemnation and we have motions of censure. Regardless of how votes on these motions go, Conference, you only achieve one thing, and one thing only; you show to the outside world that there is not unity. Don’t wash our dirty linen in public! If you’re disheartened by any of these guys here, you have a ballot box. That’s the place to condemn them, not here in this public forum. Let’s work together, let’s serve the members and let’s do what’s best for them. Thank you and good bye, Conference. Applause Finally, in response to the Dumfries letter, the views of Jim are clearly set out as his opinion and not that of the NEC or the Union. I take no pleasure in publishing this letter and my response but, as Damian has said, it is the views of his branch and their views should be published and responded to out of courtesy. Glyn Travis Assistant Secretary and Editor of Gatelodge

Democracy in action: Second response I have to say that on reading the letter from Dumfries I was astonished at the contents. My address to Conference was an opportunity afforded to me by the National Chairman to say a personal farewell to delegates, many of whom I have worked with over a long number of years. The contents of my speech were clearly my opinion and at no time did I make any reference to speaking on behalf of the NEC. I have not and would never attempt to stifle democratic debate. I may have disagreed with people’s opinions over the years, but as a committed trade unionist I have always defended the right of everyone to voice their opinion. That position will never change. In conclusion, the reference in my speech to votes of censure and condemnation remains my opinion. If Dumfries thinks it was a glib sound-bite that is their opinion and they are entitled to it. If we respect each other’s right to an opinion then I guess we will have to agree to differ. Jim Dawson Assistant Secretary October 2012 57 26/10/12 13:50:24


POST BAG Unions fight the most vicious, immoral, and concerted Conservative-led Government attack there has ever been. It’s easy to be a member of any union; you pay your money each month and for that, as a member, you get a few perks, benefits and a collective voice supposedly listened to by your employer. As well as that, union members get people both nationally and locally (at no cost to them) who are prepared to stand up when they are not, and put across members’ views that all too often, members would not be prepared to do themselves for fear of being out of favour with those that they work for. That is how a union works. Therefore it is all the more infuriating to read of members of unions having a go at those who they put in place to act on their behalf, just because they don’t like what they have to say. Now, I am not talking about natural disagreement that occurs within democratically-formed unions. I am talking about constant sniping at every given opportunity. It is destructive and diverts unnecessary resources and energy away from where it is really needed. At this time, unions (especially those in the public sector) are fighting the most vicious, immoral, and concerted Conservative Party-led Government attack there has ever been. Those at the forefront of this onslaught know only too well of the dangers faced through it. As politicians, through their minions, continue to close down any area they can within the public sector, or put them out to tender. They know that the reasoning behind it hasn’t been made and what is occurring is totally unjustifiable. As this goes on it is understandable that any union member in fear of the potential loss of his or her livelihood is scared, angry or frustrated at what is occurring and seeks an avenue to ‘vent’ those emotions and yes, union officials should be there to hear or read their concerns. This, however, needs to be done constructively through a realistic approach as to what can or can’t be achieved, what is probable or not probable, and in an open and honest forum, with the objective being one of a better understanding of potentially achievable outcomes. Union members who quite rightly want honesty and openness should accept the bad news as well as the good in matters that affect them. Yes, members should challenge their officials over what they are doing or not doing on their behalf. Yes, members should question the reasoning behind any particular course of action being taken or not by the union as a whole. Yes, members should question what their elected representatives envisage is going to affect them in the future. With a general election not on the cards for another two or three years, this Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government has plenty of time to inflict more pain and anguish on members of unions. I also have no doubt that by the time they are done, what meagre ‘rights’ unions currently have will be eroded even more. The danger that any union faces is not from within, it is from this Government and their supporting politicians elected on false promises and untruths. If union members remember that, concentrate on that, and support their elected officials in fighting the effects of that, only then will they increase their own chances of meeting their hopes, dreams and aspirations for their own futures. Gary Day HMP Moorland 58 October 2012 52-57 Postbag.indd 58

Reaping what you sow Well – 2010 saw a change of Government; it also saw my transfer to Frankland for HMYOI Castington, at the same time as the coalition took power. The saying about reaping what you sow has come to bear for the public sector. I find it hard to fathom the amount of staff who voted for this coalition; even though the Tory Party had made it clear they would implement a pay freeze on the public sector. Before the election what was the advice given in Gatelodge? If you remember the article, it stemmed from a TUC Conference where the other unions were urging people to vote Labour. What was the POA’s delegates’ opinion? Write to your local MP to find out their opinion on privatisation. I would suggest the Conservative line is value for the tax payer, their words, not mine, and the public sector as a whole was ripe to be decimated. Glad I did not vote for them. Yours J Reed

Fair & Sustainable Colleagues I have been a Senior Officer for 17 years and now Fair & Sustainable has landed! I’m now a Supervising Officer, or am I a Band 4 officer? I’m still not sure. All my responsibilities have been taken off me, no more SPDRs, ACCT reviews, IEP reviews and no more management action needed from me. We have been given job descriptions; these job descriptions are open to interpretation, the work has been JES weighted and the work I have been doing for over a decade and a half has been deemed no longer suited for my grade. How has this made me feel? Totally gutted; I am demotivated, de-skilled, devalued, de-ranked and demoralised. There are Senior Officers that are still doing some of the work we used to do; should they? Again, job descriptions are open to interpretation; it’s up to the individual, I think, and the Governor! They could, however, after six months or so, show the Governor that they are doing the said work, showing evidence, and ask for a pay upgrade, or they could stick to the job description! If the job descriptions were changed back and made clear so Senior Officers still do the work we used to do, would I be happy? ‘Boy oh Boy, yes’, but I don’t think they will. I have had long discussions with the Branch Committee on this subject and come to the conclusion that the SO rank as we know it has gone; we are Band 4, the same as PEI, dog handlers, shop instructors and others. It’s great that some staff are recognised for their speciality and will have an upgrade in pay, but what does it mean for the future; will all Band 4s be able to supervise wings and other tasks that Senior Officers had to do? My humble opinion is yes; remember this is a 15-year project to cut wages and probably staff. In a few years under Fair & Sustainable we will have staff coming through the ranks to Custodial Manager on around £27,000 – £30,000, doing no red hours and working only 37 hours Monday to Friday; we will also have Band 4 staff doing the same hours and all the tasks a Senior Officer does on less than £25,000. One last thing: I think you will find there have been more votes for what epaulettes we want than on pensions. I don’t think the future of the Service is very bright. Senior Officer or Supervisor or Band 4 Paul Woodjetts www.poauk.org.uk 29/10/12 17:42:17


BRANCH NEWS FRANKLAND Welcome once again to the Frankland Jottings. We start with the very sad news of the death of Gillian Mort who after a long, drawn out battle against cancer finally succumbed on Saturday 18 August. She was a very popular member of staff both at HMP Frankland and HMP Durham and will be sorely missed. Congratulations to Rachel Houghton who won the Staff Support category in the recent Prison Officer of the Year Awards for her work with staff at Frankland following a horrific incident on C wing. Neil Walker was given a special commendation in recognition of his bravery during an incident on G wing. Well done to both. Farewell to Officer Bill O’Shaughnessy after God knows how many years in the Service. Our best wishes Bill. Now that just leaves one old scrote still wearing a hat. (Only kidding, Alan Buckham). Like every other establishment we are still going through the upheaval and uncertainty of Fair & Sustainable, budget cuts and benchmarking, and for some, market testing. We are under attack from almost every angle and it is little wonder that the rank and file members are beginning to lose faith in their Union. We have tried demonstrations, we have tried direct action, we have tried legal battles. Let’s face it; we have not won a single battle of consequence for years. Locally, every branch official I know has tried their best at what can only be described as ‘damage limitation’, with very little or no true understanding or appreciation of what they are trying to do by their own members. The apathy is on the increase; look at the miserable turnout of the pension ballot. The August edition of Gatelodge had only three establishments’ jottings published. It seems that staff just cannot be bothered anymore. We have become comfortable in the belief that somehow, somewhere, someone else will come along to take up the fight and champion our cause. You hear the phrase all too often: ‘What’s the point?’ The Service is changing beyond all recognition and we need to change with it or we will simply cease to exist as a voice of influence. So do we have to simply accept the inevitable; private, public hybrid or a combination of both? The answer is most likely, yes we do. But we should not turn our backs away from recognising and challenging the things that affect us all, safe working practices, violence, respect, fairness and support. We www.poauk.org.uk 58-72 Branch News.indd 59

still need the support from our members for us to be able to do these things, and sadly most still believe that it’s not their job but ours. I have this message for them: Without the support of its membership the Union, its impact on the employer and the influence we currently have will simply disappear; there is only one winner if that happens, and it is not us. On a recent jolly boys outing to Benidorm, Phil Tinmouth was asked to name a top England striker from the past; “Alan Hansen” was his answer! Phil is happy to answer any enquiries about his holiday to the ‘Dorm, eg why he purchased flip flops two sizes too big and how he borrowed everybody else’s deodorant... Up here we are fanatical about our football and in particular Sunderland and Newcastle. You can celebrate all manner of occasions at the Stadium of Light and St James Park. You can get married there, have your ashes scattered on the pitch. You can even celebrate a christening on match days – and you don’t even need to bring a baby - in an executive box (free of charge if you ‘know’ someone)! Mind you, if it’s the last game of the season you’ll obviously have to sort out the time off in advance – won’t you? The department has dropped some clangers over the years with its habit of abbreviating things. Recent schemes have been scrapped for reasons that will become apparent. The High Independence Prisoner Placement Offender Supervisor post would mean some staff being tagged as HIPPOS. This, along with the Prisoners History and Training Team. Imagine the Senior Officer shouting for the PHATT officers. You wouldn’t want to be a Criminal Rehabilitation After Prison Officer either, would you! Our very own Steve Hillis has been invited to take part in Derek Akora’s ‘Ghost Hunt’ due to his ability to see what we mere mortals cannot. The programme is to be filmed in the seg unit on his next set of nights. Steve has been getting some practice in this week. His quote of “Jimmy can you do the next peg with me as I’m sure I saw someone up there and I’m terrified” won him his place on the show. Steve was actually watching the seg CCTV monitor which was on a time delay and the ‘ghost’ was Scott Robson during the previous evening duty! A tip for staff: the best way to manipulate your colleagues into doing something that you can’t or don’t want to deal with yourself is to say these magic words... “Should he be doing that?” etc, etc. Your colleague sitting next to you (who is unwittingly being stitched up by the

‘colleague’ next to them) hopefully would jump up and deal with it themselves. This begs the question, are you fake, or genuine? The 2013 diary will feature a pop-up shift system to help those staff who ‘didn’t realise’ they were an early start. When you open the page, the shift you are on that day will pop up, hit you in the face and send an electric pulse around your body. The diaries will also have a vibrate system so that when staff carry them around in their top pockets the diary will vibrate if the officer is on a lunchtime patrol. Some wings have their own system where the teatime patrols naturally stay in to cover the two lunchtime patrols. So when there are four tea time patrols, this allows two staff to hold back hoping that the other two volunteer...of course this doesn’t happen. Sometimes, Prison Officers are often mistaken for members of the Royal Air Force. When Officers engage in social events off duty and explain that their job involves ‘wings’ and ‘landings’ then naturally the public will think, RAF. Understandably, not all Prison ‘Officers’ are mistaken for this... When you meet your heroes it’s good to have something planned to say to them. If you met Geoff Hurst you would ask him about the ‘hat trick’; if you met Ali you would ask about Henry Cooper’s ‘left hook’; John Wayne would be asked if he ever drank milk whilst riding his horse! But if you met Noel Gallagher you would have to just say “I love you man!” Wouldn’t you Scott Connors? Officers Grant Hope and Paul Windsor would like to formally admit that they both own the ‘12 Commandments of Dance’ LP by the London Boys, that classic 1980s ‘band’ that brought us ‘London Nights’ and ‘Requiem’. Breaking news: since the writing of this we have since found out that Keith Dance owns this record as well; he will try to deny this... A certain Prison Officer was asked if he knew them; he didn’t just know who they were but he knew their nationality. You know who you are... To save myself getting filled in and left in a darkened alley, I will have to admit I own the said LP myself; however, it was bought for me as a Christmas present (just to keep facts right). Christmas is coming – send a Xmas card to Camms. You never know! By the time you read this, Halloween will be over – or will it? All contributions to Steve Jackson, Jim Turner and Darren Stafford October 2012 59 29/10/12 18:01:33


BRANCH NEWS

CHELMSFORD Ship’s log star date July 2012. This is the ship’s log of the USS Chelmsford currently cruising around the outer London nebular at warp factor five. It would have been six but you know the works department. The ship’s complement is in good spirits, even though we seem to have lost our fight with the Klingon Empire reference pensions and out to pasture time. We’re plodding along well; the ones that can transport off at 60 are in good spirits, the rest look as if they have just been told to pay more, earn less and work longer. Oh, they have. Well, news from about the ship.

Transporter room Not a lot; still booking in, booking out with Ensign Chilton up to his little tricks. He is a little scallywag. When Chilton and Benny Hill get together it’s like working with the Chuckle Brothers (sorry, I meant Dumb and Dumber). Mind you, they do keep you on your toes. Talking of toes, our very own Hugh Heffner Ensign Thwaites hasn’t seen his since he left the bridge. His belt has one notch left. Reception seems to have a new game; it’s called ‘Div for the Day’. The current leaders are Simon Barwell with his George Formby haircut and pipe, and Roger Brown with his five o’clock shadow ‘porn star with pipe’ look. In the running could be ‘where’s my comb? Trev the Rev Woolly’ and ‘look at me look at me Chilton’.

The bridge Vic, our intergalactic translator, is still going strong. Ensign Bownes managed to headbutt the car park exit barrier and it’s safe to say that the blow wasn’t cushioned by a full head of hair, hence a few lovely scratches. That should cover the thumb print embedded on his head that’s reared up lately. We did tell him to claim due to no audio warning when the gate is being lowered, but he won’t. No bottle. The operations group have two new females on the group; welcome Linda and Sue. It’s about time too as we couldn’t get much more in the sink outside the communications room. What a blessing; one to wash, one to wipe and one to put away. The state of the sink was mentioned once and only once to Lisa Harris, who responded with a face like Hitler’s on D Day and a few choice words that she must have learnt down the pit. I don’t know if this is the same at other nicks throughout the estate but all the phones at Chelmsford must have only one

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number and that’s the Communications room. If no one answers after three rings - phone Comms. They obviously ain’t busy. Tug Boat has been off sick for ages, and now we think he was in hospital for an operation to remove belly button fluff or something that was hibernating in his beard, but we’re not sure; Tug could fall into a bucket full of dummies and come up sucking his thumb. Bless him. By the way, I cleaned that up a tad.

Strategic planning That’s the Detail or, as it should be called, the psychic reading room. Cross my palm with silver or a packet of Hobnobs or you get diddly squat. Unless you can tell a war story that involves Warminster Whinny or Whispering Annie from Nicosia, or the gag and puke from Batus, you ain’t getting nothing. Ensign France is up to his old tricks by organising an away mission to some remote Butlins 80s singalong; no doubt it will be the same old reprobates, single and soon to be single, who will be going. You know it’s going to end in either tears or a trip to the GU clinic, or both. Carl has been on eBay to see if he can get any adult baby reins for Pee Wee as he gets over-excited when he’s in the company of the opposite sex. Oh, and the old saying: ‘What happens on tour stays on tour’ doesn’t apply on the USS Chelmsford; someone always blabs. It was a lot easier before the invention of the camera phone. The divorce club awaits. And I think that Billy Butlin is turning in his grave at the thought of having Paul Cook marauding around his holiday site like a demented bull in a china shop. Stitch ’em Central gives the orderly officers his detail but after five minutes it looks like the landing plans for D Day. And that bunch of spivs in Detail got vouchers; that’s justice. Every time you walk

into the Detail office it’s like walking into the middle of a gurning contest; Carl France wins every time without even participating. As for Quinny, he’s been corrupted and got to by Russell. He held out for a while but Simon ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Brian just digs away each and every day; it’s relentless, he just breathes in and out in and out, it’s non-stop. Carl just sits there like a backward gargoyle bemused.

The ward room Our illustrious captain still has a tight grip on the bridge and I might add a lovely car too. And he always looks smart. Scrub up well does our Governor. He’s been busy of late giving out medals. Twenty years is a long time and I can’t understand people who just want to receive the medal in private. It’s an achievement that one should be proud off and as a bonus ya get a cup of tea, a Hobnob and some nibbles. He also presented a lovely bench in memory of Bob Brant and Maggie Smith. A nice touch and much appreciated. Any news on my vouchers?

Main engineering Well, there’s life Jim but not as we know it.

A deck Milo Harris should under no circumstances be left alone with any of the canine species after telling one of his oh so many ‘When I was in the army’ stories. Please feel free to ask him why and ask him if Lisa knows about the story. I was led to believe that when he told said story he was expecting a laugh, but all he got was a gobsmacked look from his audience. And someone asking for the RSPCA number.

B deck I was informed by an insider on B wing that dollies were thrown out of the pram when someone located prisoners on B wing Benidorm landing. That’s the threes and who was moaning about being tired because he was working too many hours, then had his PP stopped? Don’t do it then moan about it. Corporal of the drums Howard is still huffing and puffing and the Noy lookalike board is growing day by day. Our thoughts go out to Toni Walker who is off sick at the moment due to some low-life spitting in her

www.poauk.org.uk 16/10/12 13:59:46


BRANCH NEWS

face, and the complications that arose after this disgusting act. Get better soon Toni, but not before October please as I have my eyes on a leave date you have.

C deck Senior Officer Cole has been told he is not to go on any more away missions to Broomfield hospital until he curbs his Peeping Tom activities. This came to light when he inadvertently entered the wrong examination cubicle, only to be confronted by an elderly lady in a state of undress. That her daughter was not impressed is an understatement, to say the least. The dulcet tones of ‘pervert’ bellowing around the X-ray waiting room was a sight to see. It was said he has previous. In a fit of domestic inspiration Officer Corbett decided the best way to kill time on ED patrol state would be to give the wing kitchen a good cleaning. Picture the scenario; sink full of hot soapy water, fixed post radio balancing perilously close to said sink... plop! Being the consummate professional Mr Corbett immediately informed the duty comms officer by starting his explanation with the fateful words: “Keep this to yourself but...” safe to say the whole ship’s complement were aware within seconds. The Fairy Liquid bottle placed on his car aerial was a lovely touch. Ben, a word of advice: if you really feel the need to clean something up to kill time, your sick record wouldn’t be a bad place to start...

D deck Nothing of note from the cryogenic lab. It’s obvious that no one has found the elixir of youth yet; our senior deck still has problems in relation to bladder control and bickering over who gets to sit in the smelly wet chair in the office. That’s if you can get Wilby out of it. Oh, and I have been asked by the staff on the wing to convey to all staff throughout the ship that under no circumstances should anyone ask Keith Danbury when he could have retired or why he hasn’t. No, please don’t ask him. Hee hee.

E deck Ruth Vine, better known as Three Amp because of her short fuse, still has a grip on things. But other than that, nothing. Oh: what’s got 20 legs and no teeth? The meds queue?

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F deck Ohhh, leave well alone. And don’t even think about going on an F wing night out. They get nasty and start throwing lipstick and Immac at each other. Well Miss Tiffin decided to test out the airbag on her car and luckily for her it worked. By all accounts she was a very lucky girl – get well soon. Shiny Tom has made it to the Operations group wall of fame like a few others. But I might add no one is putting their hands up to posting them on the wall.

G deck Again, nothing of note; if you don’t tell me, drop some hints or blatantly drop someone in it I can’t write about it. Better known as a deck too far, with CP so laid back that someone thought he was in a coma. Mind you, I doubt if you could notice the difference then you have egg on legs Mick Tyler trying to get pictures of staff when they joined the job. Mick – the ink is still wet on some of the photos. Anyway it strikes me as rather suspicious the way he wants photos of us. I thought he was a wrong ’un years ago.

The holo deck The ship’s PE department, better known as the Starbuck’s Darlings – well, not a lot can be said about that bunch of prima donnas, bless every one of ’em. Even the ones with hair. We think that Mr Carter has been teaching Gillespie cockney talk because of late his accent has become decidedly camp; he’s lost that gruff, northern ‘give me a Newki Brown’ type of talk. As for Dave Williams, it’s a shame a man with such potential is letting himself go to seed; all I can say is Dave, it’s time to admit to yourself it’s Slimfast time. You should all look towards Mr Hallahan as a shining example, not only as a physical training instructor but as a life guru. Johnson – just sort ya legs out. Either shave them or cover them up. Never seen anybody with legs like a Shire horse before. And as a last shot across the bow what on God’s earth has Ricky McNeil done to his hair? If you want to creosote your fence and need a colour to match, see Ricky. Cedar red, or is it the ginger tint?

The chemistry department Messrs Cannon and Thorpe from the MDT department. I don’t know if they’re aware

but we have people on the ship who have been here years that don’t even know who those two joined-at-the-hip reprobates are, let alone what they look like. Mr Thorpe is the tall Freddy Mercury lookalike who, I might add, according to Cannon has lovely long legs that would look good in Speedos. Cannon is the short stumpy one whose nickname in Polish means ‘can I pay the heating tax now please’. Never has one man caused so much carnage and chaos over a hotel heating tax, only to be told by luscious legs that it’s the equivalent of five new pence. It still didn’t stop him having a strop on. It was eventually paid by Mr ‘I don’t tip that’s why the whip’s so good’ Thorpe. Each year this duo plus one descend on Eastern Europe for a jolly boys. Last year’s trip was to Bratislava where they stayed in a hotel room that can only be described as a strip cell with a carpet. Please ask them about it and the three-course hotel meal for two euros 10. Mmmm.

Our OSG contingent You don’t see one for ages, then loads turn up asking to go for dinner, a fag or the old favourite ‘we need milk I’ll just pop to the shop’. OSG Karaduct has walking slow down to a fine art; it should be an Olympic sport, he would win hands down. As would OSG Diamond in the shrill contest; when she laughs, cats and dogs for miles around prick up their ears. The OSGs seem to have split into two groups, not unlike the fractious factions from the novel Lord of the Flies, whereas our two groups fall into the categories ‘Loud and moody’ and ‘Loud and elusive’. Oh, and they ain’t too happy about the idea of a cleaning roster for the gate. If moaning was in the Olympics that lot would have got gold.

Sick bay All I can say is Jackamo Moran got done big style. He was taken down by an oriental prisoner that weighed less than Moran’s dinner. Big might be beautiful but small had speed. Please see picture. It’s to scale as well. Ok, that’s it. I know it’s short and sweet but, like I said, if you don’t tell me things I can’t re-arrange them. Well I will end this with the words of Sister P: “Keep it real”.

Micky B

October 2012 61 16/10/12 14:00:02


BRANCH NEWS WORMWOOD SCRUBS 50 shades of a bleak midwinter.

Oh, sorry – thought it was the end of the year and not the summer where officers of all shapes and sizes get their kits off and run for the sea in their funky swimwear, unless you are a certain Senior Officer who is edging towards the “Woo Woo, let’s leave the swimwear at home”. Interested? Then sit quietly on the rug provided, especially in the seg, ’cos there is still no table, and we will begin.

50 shades of naked Ahem...The sun was shining and the kids had been dropped off at Thorpe Park for the day, so on the way home three intrepid explorers decided to stop at a lovely little old-fashioned fete, you know, the ones with the flying big birds and flowers. As the lady Senior Officer, who will remain anonymous to protect her identity, so we’ll just call her Kate ‘Amazing’ Grace, was looking at a stall for photographs, her husband, who we’ll call Steve ‘even more amazing that he’s been married to Kate for 52 years’ Grace and their pal were just chatting and buying jam, obviously keeping an eye on said lady. One of the stalls near them was for a naturist club and the owner, who thought that Steve and pal were too scared to enquire (hahahahaha – if only you knew them), approached and gave out leaflets explaining how lovely and naked it was and with a grin and huge winks, he disappeared. For a laugh, Steve decided to wind up Kate and told her he had joined. She protested really loudly, saying it was a dreadful idea and how could he, etc, etc. By the afternoon she was caught glancing at the website; by the evening the comments were: “Well, there are worse things you could do”. Must have been the pictures of the naked tennis and boules that changed her mind. Will keep you posted on their progress, but spare you the holiday snaps. 62 October 2012 58-71 Branch News.indd 62

50 shades of being alone As we all know, Fair & Sustainable is coming in April next year, and under Fair & Sustainable no uniform staff can be lost. Ah lovely, we hear you all sigh. We are all safe and dandy on out landing. Um, no. ’Cos what does a governor who has to save money do? Obvious really; cut staff now and re-profile. So in some cases there will be one and eight on a wing; apparently it is safe and we will be able to do all the jobs we could do before with bells on and still go home in one piece. So we have some suggestions: 1. Cut governor posts. There are an awful lot of them and not a lot of us. 2. See 1. And re-profile again. The first one here that was binned cost a fortune to do, as did the second. Save money and re-profile and guess what! Re-profile again in April next year. You getting our drift?

50 shades of spinning The saga continues...We had so many great comments from all around the estate on the bike situation that we thought we would keep you updated. The bikes all got together and en mass, evacuated to the safety of the Dojo, where they were very lonely and in need of their own type of company. They swiftly and silently moved in a mysterious way over to the gym where they hid in the ladies’ toilets for a while. Maybe they had a crafty fag out of the window there. When the heat was off they appeared, perhaps by osmosis, in a spinning class in the gym. Are they happy? Well it’s anyone’s guess, but they’re still not bolted down, so maybe another break for freedom is on the cards. Personally, we think the whole business is rather unsavoury, and hard to swallow. And while we are on the subject of missing equipment, the rumour is that the seg table has been locked away from anyone who does not have a special key. So when you are on nights and you hear a strange scraping noise it won’t be the B wing ghost, but the table trying to make its way home, as it hasn’t had coffee spilt on it for too long and it’s clucking.

50 shades of maths NOMS finally decided to take money off staff who showed their despair and disgust at this Government, on our day of action. Staff all got the equivalent of an early shift taken off their wages. Or did they? Main shifts lost 50 percent

less, so NOMS are using the same formula as the bankers and the Government’s new schemes and it seems that if you work longer, you get paid less. There are on-going grievances out on this so will go no further than that, other than to ask that the Minister for Schools doesn’t have the great idea of giving this formula* to the kids doing their GCSE maths this year as I want my wee one to pass hers. *For the record, it’s axb/b2(C-3/M+2b)xr64x8(38dd/Hmmmm).

50 shades of breakfast Turns out that Martyn Bridge has an arrangement with two of his super-duper enhanced prisoners to supply him with a cooked breakfast every weekend. He chooses the Full English option No 4 from the set menu and it is delivered to his table within 20 minutes. It is not confirmed whether it is served on bone china with silver cutlery, or whether the waitress wears one of those little outfits, though it is suspected.

50 shades of radio Branching out from the Prison Service and into the voluntary sector, John Strick has started a regular slot presenting a show on Harrow Community Radio, Sundays from 5.00pm till 7.00pm. Sitting on his backside and playing his favourite tunes for a couple of hours didn’t take much training, as his colleagues would testify. If you’ve nothing better to do, it’s well worth a listen! Online at www.hcrfm.org, through the TuneIn app on Smartphones, or search Harrow Radio in the iTunes store. He does requests too, so email him at johntstrick@gmail.com I promised I’d plug his show in these jottings in return for him playing Bombalurina’s version of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, so let’s get this summer started!

50 shades of stalking Intrigued by all the fuss surrounding the book that is exciting bored housewives the world over, Shirley Nunley decided to download it on her Kindle thingy. En route to this, she chanced upon the free samples on offer from the bookstore, and one in particular caught her eye. She read the blurb entitled ‘Sex Stalker’, and was intrigued by the storyline involving crime, passion and social networking sites. She downloaded the sample chapters, and got reading. She tells us “It was pure porn!” and “It’s right up my alley!” So, C&R training, with your partner, have a go. www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 13:59:59


BRANCH NEWS Shotts Welcome from HMP Shotts. Part 2 cost 99p, so she bought that too, but has only glanced at it. Eighteen times. Any injuries? No? Good, carry on.

50 shades of running and jumping Of course, we can’t let these jottings pass without a nod to the Olympics, which will have finished by the time you read this. We decided we’d come up with a few events of our own for all the hard-working brothers and sisters in the Service. And the other 90 per cent of you. 110m Hurdles (Fair & Sustainable version) – Where the hurdles get progressively higher, to the point where it’s easier to actually run under them, than try and jump over. Wrestling – Something all of us will need to learn, as we end up alone on the landing surrounded by dozens of angry prisoners. High Jump – we’re all entered in this, as we’re all for it. Fencing – Anyone want to buy a car stereo? 1500m – The walk from the gate to the wing at start of shift. 100m – Starts as soon as Roll is correct at end of shift. Pole Vaulting – See Shirley’s book (above). Swimming – As we all enjoy the British summer of rain.

We have worked through a difficult transitional period due to our new build, transfers, promotions and numerous new recruits to the service and without the support and guidance offered by staff from all grades during this period we would have struggled to operate two sites - so thanks to all. We are currently in the final phase of our new build with full occupation scheduled for October, and a short period before the closure of our old prison in November. We can only hope that everything moves over without incident and for many think back to the times spent in ‘Old Shotts’ and hope that some of the memories and stories we have of past colleagues and the difficult times are recounted but never repeated in our new world. To all our colleagues currently on sickness absence, I am sure our thoughts are with them in wishing them a speedy return to health and being able to welcome them back to work in the near future. The local branch is only too happy to assist with any questions or problems you encounter, as you know, our office is always open so feel free to drop in at any time (even more welcome if you bring biscuits). It’s been said before about the strength of the Union coming from the members and never more will that become more apparent than during the fight against the continued attacks on our conditions from this Conservative-led Government. Cabinet Office is now also attacking facility time agreements in order to curtail the amount of time your committee can use to represent you to the best of their capabilities, this will have an impact upon just how effective we can be as a Union. Negotiations and agreements made

rely on the fact that unions have the time to sift the information in order to get the best for their members. As a branch we pride ourselves on doing our best for you the members and will continue to do so even if they do remove the time we have to represent you.

Industrial action Scottish standing orders committee recently rejected Shotts motion for our Annual Conference to ballot for co-ordinated industrial action, fortunately the recent TUC Conference accepted a proposal by the POA to call a general strike. ILO Convention 87 is being mooted as the legal process to do so, hopefully undermining Thatcher’s draconian anti-union legislation of the time “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) Never have the words “Unity is Strength” meant as much as they will now and in the coming months.

The campaign for jobs, services, fairer taxes and a living wage They say there is no alternative. We say the only sustainable response to the crisis is to promote growth and ensure fairness through creating jobs and protecting services, through fair taxation and a living wage. We hope that members will have been able to join us in Glasgow on 20 October at 11:00am in George Square for the march to Glasgow Green. Shotts Local Branch

Beach Volleyball – Nowhere near Brazil, we can’t afford that. To be held on Canvey Island. Archery – all of us trying to hit a moving target from miles away, with a bow that doesn’t work. A bit like trying to get the shifts you want and the time off you need. These jottings have been brought to you today by Strawberry Jubblies and Bagpuss. It’s always a pleasure, and never a chore to keep you updated. No offence is inferred or implied, and if it was, come and see us and spit it out. Remember we will always have The Darjeeling Inn. Information Only S&M standing by

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October 2012 63 26/10/12 14:00:15


BRANCH NEWS DUMFRIES Hello and welcome to sunny Dumfries! Unfortunately we start with some very sad news. Clouds appeared and were struggling to lift when we were told of our dear friend and colleague, Ian Kerr, passing away to that great rugby field in the sky. The Chairman received a welcome phone call from our National Representative late on Wednesday, 9 May. It was the call to take the Branch out on a protest day for the proposed Government changes to the pensions, your pensions. We all have opinions on the fairness and how the negotiations have progressed but the point I wanted to make was that at HMP Dumfries, we had over a 95 percent turnout at the bottom of the drive. Granted some staff did not take much time to decide, some stated “about time” (I have excluded the expletives!) The majority feeling that “we had no choice”. The whole day (we returned just after 3.00pm) was one of light-heartedness and camaraderie. The weather was appalling (that day it wasn’t sunny!), raining for the whole time we were there, however, spirit remained strong and determined throughout. Credit to all the staff that stood side by side, even those that weren’t on shift and those that stayed on after their shift, a massive slap on the back and speaking from the local committee, we all feel proud of what we were doing (in fact it was a struggle to get the staff back!) This was a protest against the Westminster Government and not the Scottish administration, in particular, the Justice Secretary who expressed sympathy with our predicament. Special mentions to • “The Apprentice” for opening a cafe from the back of his car supplying coffee and tea. • “Big” Tam for providing a gazebo to shelter from the weather, it took a Royal Engineer, Toddy, to erect it, and then break it upon dismantling it. - Shame on you Toddy! • “Wee” Jimmy for providing copious amounts of biscuits (from his stash in the basement!) • In general, to all staff from all grades, that kept the spirits up throughout • The Senior Management team who allowed us to use the facilities on the day and kept us topped up with hot water for the ‘café’ • All the local branch officials who worked really hard all day.

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Other news • Big congratulations to Kerry and Mike for tying the knot • To Jim Duff for becoming a father (another Duffy to start in the Prison Service in twenty years’ time! (It’s a family affair!) • A special mention to Jim Callender for officiating at the London Olympics, it is a welcome and deserved achievement for Jim who dedicates most of his free time to local athletics club and is respected throughout the UK. We welcome all the new recruits arriving at Dumfries - most of whom have seen sense and joined the POA(S). It should be pointed out that it is the responsibility of ALL members to encourage people to join our Union not just Branch Officials.

The Secret Diary of a Prison Officer aged 44¾. • Attempting to unlock a car door, cursing, then realising it wasn’t your car. You had parked it in the top car park! • “Five Teen” • The call at Numbers Check - “Re-check your numbers! B2!” • “Hmmmmmmm midget gems” • Housewife of the Year - Big Aidy.

Quotes of the Month “You can’t beat a bit of bully! “Form is temporary. Class is permanent” “On May 10th” the Union did do something about it” DOONHAMER

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BRANCH NEWS ELMLEY Greetings, colleagues, from super Sheppey. Well, Elmley making a return to the jottings in this journal certainly raised a stir back home, so I thought it only right that I continued to share some news and views to keep those ears pricked up! The sight of the No1 holding a copy of Gatelodge with ‘68 is too late’ on the front was quite encouraging to see; however, Boss, it would be nice if you paid your subscription fee like everyone else before grabbing a copy, then we could also defend you when the hounds come knocking.

Stress relief On a lighter note (I was told my last jottings were far too serious), a certain golf-mad detail Senior Officer and former Branch Chair of this illustrious Union was able to release some much needed tension this week during a planned hostage exercise. To his disappointment I did not speak at the door as he was waiting to ‘give me hell’, as he nicely put it. Sadly, Mr Tumber, I had already worked this out and duly avoided the abuse, having added a few small pounds recently. Ok, my humorous side fulfilled...for the moment.

Whilst we suffer in silence, struggling to pay our mortgages and wondering if we will still be with the same employer in the coming years, the wealthy elite, mainly born into the right family or background, swan around barely noticing the economic state that we ‘all’ apparently are in. It’s time for change and I think we should not only fight for ourselves, but the TUC should use their powers as leaders of more than six million workers to unite the unions and tell this Government “enough is enough”. Let’s seek to bring down this oppressive regime of fear and stand up and be counted once and for all.

current struggles. These former staff and probably many other former colleagues would not recognise how we work and what we do now, but by speaking to these people the sense of being a team and all wanting the best for the service still shines through. This sense of strength and unity fills me with pride and sums up the good part of the British spirit in which we face all adversities with dignity and honour, and in the end we will always win.

Former colleagues

To sum up: we are remembered for what we do and not what we say, so I would urge all my colleagues to bring this spirit back to life and let’s fight our difficulties with all the dignity and honour we can muster and maybe...just maybe, we will win.

I’d like to extend my thanks to Pete and Barbara Gelling, both former employees, who after the August issue sent me a rather nice email showing their support for our

Michael Rolfe Branch Secretary Elmley

Fear Why is it that we (POA members) and the British people as a whole are so fearful of speaking out about what we are really thinking? We apparently have freedom of speech and live in a democratic society; however, I find myself constantly questioning this. Fear of the Government, fear of management. The Coalition Government has filled us with fear: fear we will lose our jobs, fear we will be privatised and on the back of this fear they have destroyed our pensions, ruined our future plans and split the loyalties and bonds staff used to have. I, and many other staff around me, seem disillusioned and beaten. This is because we have not only accepted some need for change, but have also resigned ourselves to slowly lowering our pay and conditions and working harder for the pleasure of this. Should we truly sit back and just let this happen because of the fear we are all under? None of us can afford to lose our jobs and we all need to maintain our pay at the current levels at the very least, but should we really sit back and let the corporate ‘fat cat’ bankers and politicians have all the spoils for themselves? Surely not?

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October 2012 65 26/10/12 17:28:36


BRANCH NEWS WINCHESTER Greetings to all from Winchester.

Saturday 25 August was a great day. For the second time in three years, Hampshire Royals won the domestic T20 cricket championship. The Royals beat an old adversary, Somerset, in the semi-final and then, newcomers to finals day, Yorkshire, in the final. In a day of high drama, Yorkshire had beaten competition favourites Sussex in their semi-final. For those who have little understanding, T20 cricket is a limited-over game with each side having 20 overs; the side scoring the most runs in their 20 overs is the winner. Not a game for the purists, but it is fast, furious and exciting and has introduced a whole generation of young people to the game who have played, and are going on to play, the full fourday county championship game and the longer 66 October 2012 58-72 Branch News.indd 66

version of the one-day game with 40 overs a side. Why, you may be wondering, is this person wittering on about cricket in a publication for Prison Officers, their Union, and the prisons in which they work? The answer is very simple, my friends: There is a life outside the walls of the prison. We must grab it at every opportunity offered to maintain our physical and mental well-being. Prison Officers up and down the country are being hurt and injured while on duty, some serious injuries, some not quite so, but it matters not the seriousness of the injury; the simple fact is we are being attacked, assaulted, set upon, however you want to describe it, on a daily basis.

When we are hurt doing our job, and take time off to get over our injuries, our managers are so concerned that they want to know when we are returning to work so that the prison routine and regime are not affected. It is at this point our managers suddenly have a conflict of conscience and interest. If you stay off work it will have a negative impact on the prison and its regime, the prison may not be able to run association something that Governors don’t want, as after all they may not get their bonus. On the other hand, if you are off work for a length of time, the Governor may be in a position to put you on a capability hearing and sack you for medical inefficiency, thereby reducing the cost of running the prison which will in turn put a tick in the correct box and increase www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 17:28:59


BRANCH NEWS

their bonus. I’m sure you all can understand and sympathise with the dilemma that Governors have when faced with this situation. Oh, what to do? What to do? What to do? I suppose I should talk a bit about life here at Winchester. Well, at time of writing we are ‘eagerly’ awaiting a visit from HMIP in October. When the inspection was announced we were also told that Mr Ward, our No1 Governor, had had a re-occurrence of the ‘bad back’ that had troubled him earlier in the year and would not be at his post for at least three months. During this period Mr Rogers, IC at Reading, would be parachuted in to see the prison through the inspection. We say welcome to Mr Rogers; we don’t know how long you will be here but wish you well in what will be, perhaps, one of the most difficult tasks you will ever face in your time in the Prison Service; trying to get Winchester back on even keel and return it to former glory after too long floundering on the rocks of threats, and refusal to take notice of people who are not out to undermine and destroy, but who simply want to do the job to the best of their ability and go home at the end of their shift, in one piece, and on time, things which have been alien in concept to what is seen by staff as an uncaring management. I said it three years ago and I say it again: “Hearts and minds Mr Rogers, hearts and minds.” Welcome also to Heidi Murray, Bob Rowlands and Steve Pitts. We have had some staff injured in incidents recently so we wish them well, as we do our long-term sick. And finally, you know you’re getting old when joining the National Trust is seen as a good idea.

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October 2012 67 26/10/12 17:29:17


BRANCH NEWS

HMYOI Feltham Still, eventually the Governor saw sense and the art of conversation, discussion and dialogue have returned. Just what is it about Andy that gets under the skin of managers? You know the old saying is true: ‘Jaw, jaw is better than war, war’. Our recent branch meeting determined the future (or now lack of it!) of the proposed profile. What is the point of a new profile now and disrupting staffs plans, when another profile is due next year with the introduction of Fair & Sustainable? Also, we did not like the ‘alleged’ threat from the Governor that if we did not accept this profile, a more draconian one will be proposed next year. We will not bow down to threats and believe that consultation, discussion, debate and mutual agreement are not only the best way forward, they are the only way. Actually, on the issue of the profile, we also wanted new ‘local agreements’ to go along with it and management agreed. We drafted them all out and put ’em to management to consider, and guess what? Yes, you are ahead of me, they rejected ’em all. Don’t you just love ’em? Never mind, we’ll keep trying and I am sure we will eventually wear ’em down until they realise the POA is always right. Question: How many staff does it take to take prisoners out on exercise on Feltham B? Answer: Four. Funny how our SMT can’t seem to work it out and keep trying to make four read three. I am sure it is a typing error! You know it is always the same, more for less and less and less and less, etc. As we said at the branch meeting, we’ll keep at ’em and try to educate ’em how to add up, and what makes for a safe regime and task for our members, but like everything else it seems at Feltham, it may take a little longer than we would like to educate our SMT. We also confirmed that whatever may have happened in the past with your committee, there will be no more ‘cosy chats’ with the Governor on our own and no agreements on matters affecting our members without consultation and agreement from the branch. It is written in our rules and constitution that we will not meet with the Governor without at least two of us present, and it is the way we should, and always will, do business. Fairness, openness, transparency and dialogue from the committee and management will

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Well, it seems that the arrival of Andy Darken caused a bit of a stir amongst our SMT to the extent that for a while the Governor wouldn’t talk to him! result in good industrial relations, better and safer working conditions and full involvement by the branch in the future of Feltham. After all, we should both want the same thing, a prosperous future for Feltham in which we all have a say in and a voice to be heard. Talking of hearing voices... did I hear the new Justice Minister say that he is not interested in reducing the prison population? Well, I’ll go to the foot of my stairs! That old Hush Puppy-wearing, relic of the past, Ken Clarke, just managed to waste hundreds of millions of pounds on what is now a failed policy that resulted in the closure of high performing prisons, the displacement of dedicated staff and chaos in the system. At least there ain’t gonna be any more closures for some considerable time, although I am sure we will be made to pay for the wasted millions somehow. Maybe no pay rises for a while – oops, that’s already a policy. Maybe new terms and conditions that pay us less – oops, that is already a policy as well! Well, I’m lost; any more ideas out there? Don’t suggest reducing the amount of Governor grades; that will never do, it’s treasonable. By the way, why is it only uniform staff who are subjected to profiling, and not Governor grades?

Fair & Sustainable Fair & Sustainable is getting nearer and then all our problems will be solved. Yes, the biggest cock-up (oops, I mean change) in years is nearly upon us. We will soon be working better, more efficiently, more motivated, be more reliable, more knowledgeable, more understanding and with improved job satisfaction!! We’ll even have sumfink called an administration hub! Someone must believe it is a good thing; after all, our NEC recommended we accept it, and we went along with it. Forgive me if I missed something, but a few years ago we were advised to reject WFM (workforce modernisation for you new staff ) by our NEC, despite being offered a three-year pay deal of 10 percent and a lump sum bonus to sign up to it, and reject it we did. Then a few years went by and Fair & Sustainable (which looked suspiciously like WFM) came along. This offered us no pay rise, and no lump sum and it would mean a pay cut of thousands

for thousands if we sign in to it. Yet we were advised to accept it and accept it we did! Blimey, how good are we to our employer? Maybe we need a change of thinking at the top of our Union, as surely we are meant to work to improve terms and conditions for our members, not make ’em worse. Oh well, looking forward, some of you out there would have been offered interviews for that marvellous new position of Custodial Manager, or as I like to think of it, a Principal Officer with more work and no more money for it! You know I thought about it and it seemed that if I were unlucky enough to become a Custodial Manager I would get no more money for a load more work, and if I stayed as I am, I would still get no more money, but have work taken off me! A difficult decision, not! I am still baffled as to the attraction of the job, but maybe I just don’t understand the logic of it all – must be my age! I even ’ad a go at that calculator thingy they put on the intranet to work out how you would fare if you opted in to Fair & Sustainable terms and conditions. I put all the figures in, checked it through and then pressed the button to calculate. The PC whirred round, smoke came out of it, it started to shake and then my new salary came up and boy, was I impressed by it; yes, I would be worse off by about £2,500! Where do I sign?

CCTV It seems that the use of CCTV at Feltham continues apace. Is there anywhere at Feltham where we can go without being followed by Big Brother? Mind you, I am sure they should put up signs showing where cameras are and what area they cover, ’cos they can’t use ’em in prisoners’ cells without that protocol. I can’t believe how much we are spied on by our employer, or maybe I am just paranoid? Nah, I ain’t paranoid; I know they are after me! Of course, management would say the CCTV is for our own protection and they only look at the footage when necessary; oh yeah, we believe that, don’t we? You know I really should start trusting management more, as they are only interested in our welfare and health and want to give us all the support we need and never view CCTV footage to ’ave a go at our members, do they?

www.poauk.org.uk 26/10/12 14:07:02


BRANCH NEWS

Payment Plus Payment Plus: there’s another matter. Whatever happened to the Payment Plus policy at Feltham? Go on, how many of you out there didn’t know we had one? Yeah, we do, and it was even found for me by one of our better Governors (oh alright they are all ‘niceish’, but some are ‘nicerish’ than others, and I ain’t sure I believe that either). Of course some of us ain’t been back ’ere that long and didn’t know about it, but it does exist, so go on, ’ave a look at it and see if we are following it at Feltham. Of course, I personally don’t like doing Payment Plus as I feel guilty about getting paid as much as I do for doing as little as I do, but I know some of you out there not only like doing it, but in fact depend on it to boost your income. It should be done fairly though, shouldn’t it? If there is a policy, shouldn’t it be followed? One thing though, please consider carefully before agreeing to work another 12-hour shift straight after a 12-hour shift. The money may be nice, but a 24-hour shift? It is hard enough in our job to concentrate fully for one shift a day, but we shouldn’t put ourselves at risk by doing a 24-hour shift. Maybe it’s me getting older as I need to sleep after an A shift, not carry on working. Oh, by the way, if you

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are an OSG, you are an overtime grade and overtime should be the norm if you work extra hours, unless you want toil of course. So let the committee know if you aren’t offered the choice when you work extra hours.

Gossip What next? Well I don’t ’ave any gossip about him and her, or any of our members (well what gossip I do have I dare not publish!), but I don’t mind putting it in print if you let the committee know what it is. If we can embarrass the odd member or two, then our work is worthwhile. I mean surely as we are getting older and older, and still on the landings, then something must go wrong that we can laugh at without being too cruel. After all, we can’t take this job too seriously or else we’d all crack up. Having said that, we now have a mother and daughter duo here in uniform and it is like seeing double when they are together, or I need glasses! The rumour ain’t true though, that on her first day here the daughter had a note from Mummy excusing her from PE. I know these are Feltham’s jottings, but I want to take the opportunity to wish all the ex-Latchmere staff well, particularly the few who have managed to make the transition back into the mainstream prisons around

London without too much stress. I was just reminded of Latchmere as finally the land is about to be sold off and the developers ready to move in and make a fortune out of the place. We have a few old Latchmere staff at sunny Feltham who, like me, are still missing the place, and you may see us around the place reminiscing, so be kind to us. Of course, ex-Latchmere staff may also be seen at other London prisons, so be kind to them as well. It can be hard sometimes for us who are long used to having time to talk to prisoners, time to do your work and time to have a laugh and all the while be a high performing prison! We’ll get used to it though. Despite everything, Feltham ain’t that bad really and hopefully your committee can work to make it a little better. We are here to help, so don’t hesitate to give us your concerns, badger us with your problems and let us know what is going on where you work. To all members off sick, get well soon and to all new staff – welcome; you may even enjoy it here. Finally – someone asked me recently what my wife does for a living, but you know, it was hard to say ... she sells sea shells by the sea shore... ‘Neverwrong’

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BRANCH NEWS Stafford

“Owat me ducks yureet” as we say in these parts and greetings once again from Stafford. It’s been a busy summer period for us here, with as usual many things occurring, so without further ado I need to move on. Now as every warder knows, it is virtually impossible to get much time off apart from booked leave, so with this in mind one of our more experienced members of staff managed to get himself the entire summer period off by ‘falling’ and breaking his ankle whilst out dogging, sorry I mean jogging. God bless him, he tried to crawl home but ended up knocking on a complete stranger’s door in the middle of nowhere and managed to cadge a lift to the nearest A&E. It is to his credit though that he has remained busy selling the exact grid reference of the spot where he ‘fell over’ and the back roads and secret paths of Stafford are now awash with Spandexwearing sweaty officers trying to get a bit of time off themselves by finding the exact spot where Chadders ruptured himself (ruptured my ar*e). On the subject of dodgy goings-on in the woods, there have been reports of a certain OMU officer flashing in a lay-by on the way to a wedding whilst putting a dress on in a car. (Most people get changed before they get into the car, just so you know for next time). Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment but you know who you are and I hope your hand gets better soon. Talking of weddings, massive, massive congratulations go out from all of us on the committee to Buck who is batting way above his average and got married to the lovely Louise recently. I class them both as good friends and I can only state that he has got the much better part of the deal. I have yet to see the pictures; however, half the PE department dressed in kilts will be of bigger interest than the pictures being circulated recently of the Duchess of Cambridge. We on the committee also want to say a huge thank you to Senior Officer Fi Lewis who, after five years of valiant and valuable service to Stafford as committee member, has decided to not stand at the next local election. There have been times when we have clashed, but I have never worked with a more passionate and committed member of the team in all my long years of dealing with the POA. Fiona was always willing to put her head on the block when it came to telling the SMT of the branch’s feelings, and her honesty and integrity will be missed by all here in the office. Whoever follows her will have a very

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hard act to follow; thanks again and we will still ask your opinion on Union matters should it be necessary. Stafford is in a bit of a tizzy at present with many staff panicking about the forthcoming custodial manager jobs that NOMS have forced upon the workforce. Bless the MOJ though; they have provided us with a little calculator to work out exactly how much better off we will be when the new F&S structure kicks in. For those who have better things to do with your life than finding out how many more pence you will have to spend, I can help you out. • Officer to Senior Officer £528 per year or £10.15 per week.

• Senior Officer to Custodial Manager £728 per year or £14.02 per week. Now don’t go spending it at all at once! Although you may be thinking to yourself that once again we poor screws are getting done over, my attention was drawn to what the powers that be called: ‘Tailored to your choice consultation on epaulette design’. Basically we will do you over on your pensions, we will do you over on the age that you will now have to work until, we will reduce your staffing levels to an impossible level, we will re-write your terms, then not give you a pay rise and deny you the right to strike to stop us doing this. Finally, we will do this without any regards to your feelings on this matter and not consider any alternative.

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BRANCH NEWS

However, you can pick what epaulette design you want because that’s the nice kind of people we are. Does one single prison officer anywhere in the country at all have any problem with the ones we’ve got? And out of curiosity for a department that is having to save millions of pounds, what on earth is it going to cost to re-issue over 30,000 uniformed staff with brand new epaulettes? My thinking is they will get them at the same place that makes our footwear and therefore get it quite cheap but still it’s going to run into a hefty bill. I wonder if they will release the figures of what the cost is. On the subject of Fair & Sustainable and in particular the new Custodial Manager role, is it just me or does anyone else wonder how the conversation about it came about?

2005: Mr A: “We need to get rid of the Prison Officer rank; they cost too much money and we can put Governors in to do the job.” All: “Hear, hear, good idea! 2011: Mr A: “What we need in the prisons is a uniformed rank above Senior Officer.” Mr B: “How about Prison Officers? Mr A: “No, we’ve got rid of them once; if we bring them back it will look like we are admitting to making a mistake and don’t have a clue.” Mr C: “Great idea Sir, we could give them new epaulette designs, that’ll fool ’em.” Mr A: “Now what we need is a catchy title, something like Custodial Manager, but not as stupid and unreflective of the fact that we messed up in getting rid of Prison Officers in the first place...” As always I will end with a quote. This month’s is quite long-winded but well worth the read and was said by John Quincy Adams in 1773. He was talking just before the American Revolution, but bearing in mind the current climate, I think it is very relevant today. “The Government actions are so despicable to honest men and so against the conditions of tolerance, compassion and prosperity that the path that we may be forced to make is unavoidable...they have brought about this storm, tempered the weather to bring on this hurricane, filled the night with black clouds and the heavens themselves with the site of angry lightning and then cry alarm because it is raining... The door was ever laid open for harmonious dialogue, yet on each occasion like a stubborn mule they refuse to yield to discourse. Now Sirs shall they have their answer and they may not find the taste of it to their palette.” Cheers The Tea Boy

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October 2012 71 26/10/12 14:07:57


BRANCH NEWS Shrewsbury

Bullwood Hall

Hi to everyone from sunny Essex - or what we really mean is; wintry Essex. The weather here lately has been abysmal to say the least, just like a lot of our members who have many concerns that are troubling them. We as a Branch have come to a point where we believe our backs are getting pushed against the wall and feel as if the management are only providing lip service. We are a high performing prison and recently we exceeded expectations on a security audit. We were tested on three parts out of seven and our score increased from 86 percent to 91 percent. This score is unprecedented in Bullwood Hall’s history, it is a fantastic effort and credit goes to all the staff, which we believe has been quickly forgotten. In spite of this we are continually struggling to meet our MSLs even with the availability of payment plus. This has highlighted a concern we as a Committee have continually discussed with management. It is our view as a Committee that management believe payment plus fills the gaps and shortfalls of staff. However, contrary to that perception, we have evidence to suggest otherwise. Furthermore, our committee has been approached by a few members who believe we have the wrong sign displayed. Bullwood Hall has a bronze award for Investors in People but apparently our members believe it should be replaced with Investors in Prisoners! Surely Investors in People should mean everyone within the prison and not what management deems to be feasible. “Equality for all” we say. On 18 July 2012, Dean Acaster, the Area Representative visited Bullwood Hall and spoke to the Branch about a lot of issues that were raised. He answered questions on Fair and Sustainable and he also attended the POA/ management meeting. The Branch would like to thank Dean for attending Bullwood Hall and we hope you enjoyed your stay. Once again, Bullwood Hall was scrutinised by

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HM Inspectorate of Prisons between 3 and 6 September and yet again, we delivered and got a good report. Well done to everyone and thank you from the POA Committee. The Committee has submitted a dispute about the proposed amount of Custodial Managers that a small prison like Bullwood Hall requires. By increasing Custodial Managers it automatically increases the cost. Based on this, if we were market tested today we would not be able to compete and win. However, as we stand today with the structure we have, and all the savings we have made over the last few years we are in a strong position to compete with anyone, if we are market tested now or in the future. Over the last few months we have been in discussions with management about leave. We are glad to say that the new leave policy was debated and discussed at our recent union meeting. The feedback was very positive and everyone voted unanimously in favour of this policy. The Committee believes this should benefit our members over time and is a positive step forward. Finally, we believe there is a sniper hiding in Hockley Woods as two members of staff have been shot in the calf while playing football. We have contacted SO 19 and they have assured us there is no sniper in the woods. The dramatic actions of these individuals when falling to the ground have resulted in the Committee putting forward their names for the BBC Drama Awards. On contacting the BBC Drama department they have informed us that it was so good they advised us to put them forward for BAFTAS. So look out for the BAFTA nominees working on your landing. BULLWOOD DEFENDERS

It has been a while since Shrewsbury have written anything and I would like to welcome Officer Latham. Although she has been working under the alias of Officer Colley for four years, she has now married the man of her dreams (lucky b*****d). However under Fair & Sustainable I am not sure if she is classed as a new member of staff and will have to start again with new terms and conditions. Also well done to Officer ??? (you know who you are), for your brilliant negotiating skills when talking a prisoner into taking down a barricade, although I would have used his real name and not Steve as he would have been more likely to respond. Since last time we had anything in Gatelodge we have re-rolled to a cat C VP prison from a cat B local. You would think this would make things a little easier and quieter at Shrewsbury but sadly no, the seg (conservatory) is used more often than it ever was; more bullying, more refusals to work and overall more problems. Looking forward to doing this at 68... Congratulations to Taff Jarvis after his son got 10 As at GCSE, the boy did good. Are you sure he is yours, Taff? Shrewsbury used to be mainly older staff but recently one of our governors mistook the seg staff for the boy band ‘One Direction’ and with the success of our G&B group, these officers have proven very popular on the landings. Anyway, I have to go now as I have to find a wooden red disc disguised as a hole in the wall; I like this new game and I might get it for the family to play at Christmas. Tomo

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OBITUARIES

Colin Sanderson 1933 – 2012 It is with much regret that we report the passing of Colin Sanderson in Norwich. Known as Sandy during his service career, he made many friends. Colin was from County Durham, and spent some years in the RAF, including the rank of Warrant Officer. He joined the Prison Service in 1966 serving at Stafford, then as Senior Officer at Wellingborough, and Norwich, where he was promoted to Prison Officer before being medically retired in 1987 due to an injury that he suffered while on duty. Colin was highly respected for his unfailing strength of mind, and his compassion for the less fortunate. The skills that he showed dealing with staff and inmates alike were worthy of praise; he was always patient and willing to help. As his health failed, Colin and his family found strength and comfort in a shared faith, and his humour never left him. He leaves his wife, Sheila, daughters Lyndal, Hilary and Leanne and grandchildren Bonita, Kimberley and Stephen, all with many happy memories. RIP Colin Sanderson

Senior Officer Carol Cullen It is with the heaviest of hearts that we have to report the sudden passing of Senior Officer Carol Cullen. Carol was only 47 years old when she died which makes writing this all the more tragic. But Carol wasn’t about sadness that’s for sure. Everybody who attended the service at St Helen’s Crematorium and those that couldn’t, will have their own memories of her, from the twinkle in her eye, to her warm, endearing nature and not forgetting the senses of a homing pigeon for the latest jail gossip. Being an extremely popular member of staff it was unsurprising that hundreds of staff attended the service from many prisons around the North West. Seeing dozens of staff in full dress uniform is always a comfort that we are indeed, one service. Having had so much rain over the previous week it was fitting that the sun beamed down on a thoroughly decent person. Carol had only been a Kennet a few years but she was very much part of our fabric. Without doubt her greatest strength as a manager was her ability to support staff; in fact you could go as far as to describe her as staff through and through. Not many managers can honestly say that these days. Having just crept into the job as one of the last and youngest Pre-Fresh Start officers, she had served over twenty five years. But you wouldn’t have guessed that based on her appearance, expensive hair treatments and ‘other assets’. During her service she worked at HMP Pucklechurch (Ashfield), Hindley and finally Kennet. It’s fair to say that Kennet and Hindley have come together on hearing this sad news, especially as her partner, Mike, works at the prison. No doubt many shed a private tear for her son Daniel who is a teenager. Senior Officer Cullen; the prison service is a darker place without you but when people remember you they will with a smile and that is the best accolade any person can wish for. Rest in peace CC... Officer Ian Prescott HMP Kennet

In Memory of Retired Prison Officer David Coverdale Excerpts from the address at David’s funeral by the Reverend Richard Jones: It is said that home is where your heart is. From my conversations with David at Lordsgate Primary School (where I am Chair of Governors) and from all that I have learnt from family and friends, David’s tender and generous heart was for each one of you. He was at home with you; your lives and the lives of countless others were touched and enriched by time spent with David over many years, so many memories to cherish. Whenever we bumped into each other, David would always stop and with a quiet and charming smile, enquire how I was and how my family were faring. After a few minutes, he would invariably politely excuse himself to continue his jobs with quiet efficiency. David was born in Andover, Hampshire as the middle child of three. As schooldays drew to a close, inspired by the recommendation of a neighbour, he volunteered to join the Boys’ Service of the Royal Engineers, enlisting two www.poauk.org.uk 73-74 obituaries.indd 73

years later as a member of the regimental band. His skills on the flute, piccolo and viola flourished and his warm, gracious and thoughtful demeanour, together with his quiet fortitude, endeared him to all. David steadily rose through the ranks, becoming Regimental Sergeant Major and then Warrant Officer during his 22 years of service. During his time serving Queen and country, David travelled widely through Europe and performed extensively at parades, concerts, tattoos, and in bandstands and parks across the country. Highlights included performing on the hugely popular BBC radio show ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’ and also in the 1969 award-winning film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’, which featured the great actors and actresses of the time. Due to family commitments and after many happy years living in Farnborough, the family chose to relocate to Churchtown in Southport. It was at this time that David retired from the

Royal Engineers and began his second career as a Prison Officer until reaching retirement age. With his characteristic calmness, warmth and quiet strength of character, David was ideally suited to this demanding profession. I understand that he dealt with many difficult ‘guests’ and also served with distinction during the Strangeways riot in 1990. David completed his many years in the Prison Service when he retired while serving at HMP Preston. As Chair of Governors, I would like to publically express our sincere appreciation for David’s significant and unsung contribution to the happiness and success of the community that is Lordsgate Township Primary School. The Preston POA Committee would like to express gratitude to Dave Coulton (retired), The Rev R Jones and David’s family for their co-operation in preparing this notice for the magazine. October 2012 73 30/10/12 12:17:25


OBITUARIES

Ian Kerr – HMP Dumphries Ian Kerr was someone whose life cannot be put into words without difficulty. Ian was born in Glasgow, but really spent all of his life in the Dumfries area. He was very much part of the community. What made Ian the person he was is not the detail of his life – where he lived, where he worked, what he did - what made him the person he was is the quality he brought to everything he did; his work, his friendships and all of his relationships with people. It didn’t matter whether it was at work, at home, or in the world of rugby; Ian’s presence had the power to transform situations and people. Ian’s dislike of custard at school was what earned him the nickname ‘Cussie’. His ability on the rugby pitch meant that at the age of 15, he was the youngest person to play for the Colts. On and off the pitch he was a team player, someone you were grateful to have on your side. He was to progress from the fourth team to the first team. Typically, he wanted to put something back into the sport and club which had given him so much; he completed his coaching course in 2007 and coached the Under 16s, his own son Scott being one of his protégées. On the basis that the alternative to continuing to play rugby was going shopping on a Saturday, despite his injuries and battle scars, Ian continued to play, this season for Dumfries second team. Ian had great friends at the club and in rugby in general, and he was a tremendous friend and role model to many people there, from more than one generation. Ian was not a man to wear his heart on his sleeve or to speak easily of his feelings, and yet he was tremendously sensitive. He felt things deeply and there was a very genuine kindness and compassion in his approach to people. He could be the worst practical joker in the world, and yet he could be the best listener, the person whose experience and wisdom were so valuable and helpful. In Ian, all sorts of opposites and contradictions came together abut still made perfect and unique sense. He was shy, and yet he was one of the most entertaining people you could ever meet. He didn’t push himself forward and yet he was a practical joker. When he laughed, he could transform a room, a whole group of people. He went into the Scottish Prison Service because he wanted to. And in the years that he worked there he made a difference. He made a difference to the lives of his colleagues. He made a difference to the prisoner community too. Ian was fair; he didn’t suffer fools, but he had a knack of seeing potential and bringing it out. That was true on the rugby pitch. It was true in the gardens at the prison. Men who had never picked up a spade before in their lives recognised that they were being given a chance – and Ian did that. He offered people chances and opportunities. He saw the best and brought out the best in people. In the lives of those who often lacked it, Ian became the best kind of male role model. Often without words, often through example and a genuine care for other people, always quietly and unassumingly and almost unnoticed, Ian changed people’s lives. That is why he did the job. He loved nature. He loved gardening. He loved animals (except for cats). But it was his family which was and remained everything to him. Ian and Angela met at the rugby club. The details are lost in the mists of time but alcohol was definitely involved. They were married for 23 years – she could put him in his place as only someone who really loved him could. They loved each other, worked well together, and complemented each other. They were a team. Jemma and Scott were everything he ever wanted in his children. They adored him. He was a great father. He was an absolute pushover too. He was proud beyond saying of everything they were and did. And Ian died knowing just how much he was loved by his family and friends, his colleagues and the community. Others in the family knew and loved Ian as son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, uncle and great uncle. And to those whose privilege it was to be his friend, Ian was a friend who was valued beyond anything we can say. Whether he was part of our family, our rugby club or a colleague, what we share now is a sense of the privilege it has been for all of us to have shared in Ian’s life. Ian was a gentleman with neither airs nor graces and we are grateful to have known him. Neil Campbell Chaplain HMP Dumfries

74 October 2012 73-74 obituaries.indd 74

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POA Gatelodge October 2012  

POA Gatelodge October 2012

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