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June 2009

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



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

What’s inside… Lay member led Union

Subscription Rates: Non-members £15.00 Overseas £20.00 Editor: Glyn Travis Editorial Board: Colin Moses, Glyn Travis, Steve Gillan Editorial Office: POA HQ, Cronin House, 245 Church Street, London N9 9HW Tel: 0208 803 0255 Fax: 0208 803 1761 Email: Editorial: Contributors to the magazine are requested to send material for the December issue by 14th July 2008. Advertising Business Development Manager Juliet Goss 01778 391067 e-mail:

Promoting the POA in unity with other Unions

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

Fundraising at Annual Conference 2009

Development Publisher Simon Moody Editorial Design Viv Lane


■ National Chairman ■ General Secretary ■ General Matters ■ Motions ■ LLW ■ Branch News ■ Healthcare Matters ■ Strictly Private ■ Sports Scene ■ ULF ■ Obituaries ■ Levy & McRae ■ North of the Border ■ Postbag 2 June 2009 02 contents.indd 2

Editor’s Comments

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Welcome to the June issue of Gatelodge. May I take this opportunity to thank all the readers, and POA members who have contributed to the magazine. Annual Conference 2009 has passed and the Union continues to celebrate its 70th Anniversary as a Trade Union. The June issue of Gatelodge contains the decisions of Conference on all the proposed Conference Motions, please take time to read these, you will be asked to make important decisions in the near Glyn Travis future as a POA member. Editor We are looking to improve the POA website and you can access Gatelodge and view back copies at Communications within the Union has to be two way, we need your views and reports on key issues, so that other branches know what you are doing. Finally, I would like to thank Carol and Warners for their work in producing the latest issues of Gatelodge. I know timescales and volume of work has made the work difficult. Yours sincerely

Gatelodge 9/6/09 10:53:02

National Chairman

Lay member led Union

The POA in celebrating its 70 year history is proud that it is a lay member led Union. That is a Union, not led by POA employees but those elected by their peer groups. There have been 16 elected National Chairman since the formation of the POA in 1939 and countless NEC members. All of these have been lay members and proud of that fact. The POA is often hailed by other trade unions as being truly democratic. Those who wish to criticise us for being too democratic, invariably are those who wish to attach and demonise the Union. Those who wish to claim employment status whilst serving as lay members are only interested in self profit, self promotion and drawing monies from the membership. We must stick to our values. This was reiterated at our Annual Conference with the acceptance of Emergency Motion 66A “That Conference accepts that members of the National Executive Committee excluding the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary are not and never have been employed by the POA”. Whilst there was

a lively debate in regard to this issue, it was passed. We should be proud of what our founding fathers set in place, a Union led by the members for the members. The National Executive Committee is led to serve the membership. Our Annual Conference sets our policies. The day-today management of the Union in regard to administration matters is carried out by the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary and four Assistant Secretaries and an Area Secretary, all employed by the Union. The Executive is elected by the membership in duly called elections in line with the Constitution and those that put themselves forward should and do know what they are putting themselves up for. The democracy of this Union is something we must cherish and protect at all costs. We should not allow it to be hijacked by bullying members or greedy individuals with only self-interest in their hearts and their aim of filling their pockets with members monies. The ballot box put the leadership of this Union in place and the ballot box should be the process to the leadership of the Union if the members are not happy with their work. Those who wish to use the courts to receive financial gain from this Union should be condemned.

Annual Conference We celebrated our 70th year at Annual Conference in Southport. There was a full range of distinguished speakers including Rt Hon Jack Straw Secretary of State for Justice and to prove that this Union is not affiliated to any political party, Conference was also addressed Mr Edward Garnier QC MP Conservative front bench spokesman on Justice. The Conference also heard from a range of trade union leaders celebrating the 70th Anniversary

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of the POA. Mr Ed Sweeney the Chair of ACAS addressed Conference as did Mr Brendan Barber General Secretary of the TUC. Mr Bert Van Celenberg General Secretary of EUROFEDOP. Mr Michael Spurr Chief Operating Officer of NOM addressed Conference for the first time. All of these speakers brought their own message to Conference but the one that seemed to move Conference the most was the speech and message of Mr Mark Prince the father of knife victim Kiyan Prince. Mark gave an inspiring speech on how to deal with personal grief, relay and focus that grief to stop others suffering the same. I know I speak for everyone who heard his speech, we were inspired.

Market Testing Market Testing is the instrument that Jack Straw has decided to introduce to punish this Union for having the audacity to reject his ill thought out plans for Workforce Modernisation. Mr Straw has constantly said that he would reintroduce aggressive Market Testing; this is from a man who not so long ago famously said private prisons were “morally repugnant”. Under the stewardship of New Labour and with Jack Straw as Home Secretary and now Secretary of State for Justice we have seen more private prisons opened. We have seen a virtual stop on public sector prison building. Market Testing is an ill thought out, blunt tool to drive down the living standards of hard working professional dedicated public sector workers. New Labour should hang its head in shame with the reintroduction of this shameful practice. They may be better suited to Market Test MPs expenses. Colin Moses National Chairman

June 2009 3 5/6/09 15:25:16

General Secretary

Promoting the POA in unity with other unions I would like to thank all delegates who took part in the 70th Annual Conference of our Union. It has been said that the Conference was rocky and difficult. Any democratic union that calls its officials together under the circumstances we are facing would want to have a full and frank exchange of views and come out of Conference with a better view of the direction the Union needs to go in than before Conference started. We heard from many speakers who understand our problems. The Trades Union Movement, not only in England and Wales but throughout the rest of Europe, understand what we are facing but more importantly stand ready to give their support to our members who are facing Government policy aimed at using the POA specifically and Public Services generally to seek and find a way through these financial difficulties that their policies have created. It is right to criticise this Government, it is right to hold politicians to account for their mis-management, but it is right to seek to assist the Government through these difficult times. It is a pity however that the Government choose not to listen to the common sense arguments put by the professional men and women and most importantly those who represent them. My pledge to you is that I will continue to seek, along with Colin Moses and the National Executive Committee, for the best future for our members and their families. To do anything other than that in my last year as General Secretary would be an abdication of the faith shown in myself whenever I have been elected within the past 31 years. Unity at this time is so important. I ask that all branches engage with the other unions, representing those working alongside our members, through the Whitley processes locally, whether that be the Prison Service or the NHS. It has been a great honour and privilege to be asked to address the celebratory Conference’s of the National Union of Mine Workers, who this year celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the biggest fight to preserve trades unionism in recent history. The miners “great strike” should stand as an example to us

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all. It would also be foolish for us not to recognise the great debt that we owe the NUM and we need to learn from the difficulties and hardship that they went through. I pay the greatest respect to the NUM and I am pleased that they are able to call the POA their comrades. On behalf of the POA, I attended the PCS Conference at Brighton and addressed the NOMS group and the PCS group representing the officers of the Serious Organised Crime Authority. Both of these groups recognised fully the difficulties that the POA continue to face. We should work closer with our colleagues from PCS, and as I made clear when addressing the NOMS group, whilst we may not agree on the approach to be taken, we all agree that we will have to stand together to defeat the attacks on the Civil and Public Services, whether they come under a Labour or in the future a Conservative Government. I once again state that our moto “Unity is Strength” should not be seen just as a

POA logo. Working together as a trades union and with our brothers and sisters within the Trades Union Movement, we can win. When the chips are down together we are stronger, together we can win. Brian Caton General Secretary

BRIAN CATON General Secretary

Gatelodge 5/6/09 15:29:05

General Matters

Fundraising at Annual Conference 2009

The POA delegates, providers, NEC, FTO’s observers and support staff have once again excelled themselves in raising a significant amount of money throughout Conference week. Steve Gillan, Finance Officer ensured both nominated charities received equal support and called on a number of providers to donate prizes for the raffle or a cash donation. The partners at LLW raised money at their stall by a raffle and donated several key prizes for auction at the Irish Night. Bob Butterfield of Wilkins Kennedy the POA accountants put forward four rugby tickets for Twickenham, which, were also auctioned at the Irish Night. A mystery picture of Don Wood appeared and because of Don’s shy nature, he and his wife (Sally) were keen to prevent publication in Gatelodge. I thank Don and Sally for their invaluable support to the fundraising events year on year and for the final bid to secure a safe resting place for the picture. However, I am led to believe that some branch officials may have a spare copy, if you’re interested. The National Chairman Colin Moses, started the auction off by offering to buy a drink for anyone who bid for this one off

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unique prize. Thankfully, Finlay Spratt spared Colins blushes and paid for the privilege. Dave Phillips (Cannon to his friends) did a Stirling job all week taking pictures and selling them to delegates in aid of the charities. Once again Dave a big thanks to you and (Harpo). The Alan Boswell Group and the Fire Fighters Charity both supported the POA in this years fundraising. I hope that the new links with the Alan Boswell Group grow stronger and the Fire Fighters Charity continue to support and assist our members for many years to come. On the back of the two main fundraising events, I know that many delegates supported other people who took the opportunity to obtain sponsorship for other good causes. The auction has become a bit of a tradition and I would like to thank Finlay and the Area Committee for their hard work and Frank Rogers for his humour and assistance at the auction. Finally, if I have missed anyone out I apologise, but I would just like to say a big THANK YOU TO YOU ALL Glyn Travis Editor

June 2009 5 4/6/09 11:12:16

General Matters

The history of Broadmoor Hospital POA branch ‘70 Years of union (90 years of union struggle)’ It is with great pride that the Broadmoor Branch has been asked to look back into its history for this the 70th anniversary of our great Union. Broadmoor Hospital, or as it was known at the time of its opening, the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum adopted a close link with prison officers and the police and prison officer’s union in the early 1900s. Historic documents show that following the police and prison officers strikes in 1918 and 1919 the staff at the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum played a prominent part in the formation and running of the ‘underground’ Prison Officers’ Federation. It is an unfortunate fact that during this important part of our history no records could be kept on the activities of Broadmoor members due to threats of immediate dismissal should the authorities be aware of any trades union activity at the asylum. Despite these threats being placed against our brothers and sisters at this time, the Home Secretary Winston Churchill was asked in 1911 to support the withdrawal of the Prison Standing Orders that would have allowed the Prison Officers’ Federation to become the representative organisation of prison staff and staff working in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Churchill refused this request in an act of obstinacy and right wing bigotry and predominantly to deny the workers the right to put forward for decent pay and conditions and to allow his government to run a continual reign of tyranny against our forefathers within the union. Following years of hard campaigning, numerous disappointments and the imaginative help of the Civil Service Clerical Association leaders Bill Brown and Len White the right to arbiitration on pay bore fruit. On the 5th April 1938 in the Blue Gliss Hall, Acton members of the Broadmoor staff attended the inaugural meeting of what was to become the Prison Officers’ Association. At this meeting the Broadmoor staff present were party to adopting a firm resolve to have the rights of association granted to them. Scottish prison staff, prison staff from Northern Ireland, and members from Broadmoor were hopeful to have their pay scales uprated in line with the Arbitration Board for England and Wales. By September 1938 it was reported in the Prison Officers’ Magazine that the arbitration award had indeed been extended to Scottish prison staff and staff at Broadmoor – staff from Northern Ireland were fully integrated in 1939. By January 1939 it was reported that ‘a proposal has been made by the Broadmoor staff that an association should be formed on the same lines as the new Prison Officers’ Association… The new regime is not functioning fully at the moment and the Board of Control were rather anxious that Broadmoor should be kept out of any changes that might be agreed for the

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Prison Service’. By the end of March 1939 correspondence shows that they were seeking an extension of Whitley arrangements to Broadmoor and despite ‘some objections’ to this ‘it is clearly impossible to attempt to exclude Broadmoor from operation of the Home Office proposals’. Harley Cronin, the first General Secretary of the POA, commented on the objections by stating ‘the sort of thinking which, in my view, produced the present flaws in the Broadmoor system goes back to 1938’. In a Criminal Justice Bill then proposed the plan was to shift control of Broadmoor from the Home Office to the Ministry of Health. The POA have always maintained the very special nature of Broadmoor meant that it needed special consideration in political and wider considerations. The 1938 bill was postponed ‘owing to the international crisis which lead to the outbreak of war’, and the change of control to the Ministry of Health was not introduced until 1949. Part of the recommendations of the 1949 Rushcliffe Committee, which drew up agreed salary scales for Registered Nurses in England and Wales, was for many years used as the basis of pay awards for the staff working in special hospitals. In August that year Len White criticised the failure to apply these scales to Broadmoor staff. Following the end of the Second World War the Broadmoor branch was embedded into the POA where it remains to this day. The rise in the amount of mentally ill people being sent to prison in the 1950s meant increased pressure on the Broadmoor staff. The overall increase in the prison population meant a Prison Service that was under pressure and some notorious escapes caused problems for the Prison Service. None more notorious than the escape of John Straffen who had been committed to Broadmoor after murdering one child and who murdered another when he escaped in 1951. Commenting on this Harley Cronin said ‘it is the staff at Broadmoor that incurs the blast of indignation if there is an escape (however) the opinions of uniformed staff, whose job is security and have years of experience in enforcing it, are ignored’. The Broadmoor Branch continued throughout the 1960s and 70s to be prominent in the work of the POA and in particular protecting and promoting the best interests of all staff working at Broadmoor Hospital. Broadmoor Hospital itself was being completely redeveloped on its existing site beginning in 1984 with completion in 1986. However, with this came attacks on special hospital’s staff under the Oliff Report which sought to do nothing other than to remove the POA as a prominent trades union in the NHS. The POA at that time held the seat on the TUC Health Services Committee and were able to affect government policy on secure psychiatric care, something that had been sadly lost to the trade union movement due to the reluctance of the current health service unions to accept the professional knowledge and ability of the POA in this field. The move in recent times of Broadmoor Hospital in to West London Mental Health NHS Trust has brought huge pressures on the branch, its administration and its ability to organise. It is clear for the future that the ongoing changes within the NHS will need to be assimilated in the work of the union within the current trust. However, we remain confident that the POA will continue to serve the best interests of it’s members working with some of the most dangerous, damaged and potentiality violent people in our society. We thank the POA, and its predecessor organisations for allowing Broadmoor to play such a prominent part in our great union. Further we thank the brave men and women who risked so much to ensure that those charged with the care, security and rehabilitation of severely mentally ill and dangerous individuals can be fully protected and their terms and conditions enhanced. Broadmoor says ‘Happy Birthday POA’ and we look forward to the next 70 years.

Gatelodge 1/6/09 10:55:54

General Matters

Rampton Hospital and the POA “Then and now” Rampton Hospital near Retford, Nottinghamshire was built in 1912 as an overflow hospital for Broadmoor Hospital. It was built on common land called Rampton Fields. Times were hard in the 1950s and 60s and it must be noted that the POA in one Whitley Council meeting requested ‘extra light bulbs’ for patient areas as they felt two bulbs was insufficient – management denied the request due to the extra cost. The female Matron also requested that ‘female staff be given Christmas day off due to their family commitments’ – This was also denied by management as it was felt the needs of the service must come first. At its capacity in the 1970s Rampton housed around 1100 patients and was managed under the Home Office with all staff having to sign the Official Secrets Act During the 1970s publicity surrounding the hospital was probably at its worst. There had been several periods of industrial unrest and a number of walkouts around shift patterns. There was also the period when Yorkshire Television made us famous and showed a documentary called ‘The Secret Hospital’ that called for Rampton to be closed. Independent and police enquiries followed. The POA nationally at this time supported us locally with vigor and the branch worked tirelessly for four years, which I am sure made us stronger. During the 1980s and 90s we were managed via a number of authorities such as The Special Hospitals Service Authority followed by the Rampton Hospital Authority; each of these had varied agendas, the main one we feel at times was to break the POA.

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Over the years the hospital has always maintained a branch of the POA. In the early days this consisted of a male branch and a female branch as the hospital itself worked on a similar footing with a male and a female side. In the 1980s, and with the inception of some cross gender working, the POA moved to a single branch and today remains one of the largest branches within the POA. In 1990 the branch took part in some national industrial action and were all corporately suspended (managers said we were on strike???) This lasted four days until an agreement was reached between the POA and management. The branch was indebted to it’s members at that difficult time and for the leadership and support given by the local branch and our now General Secretary. Difficult times were an understatement, it snowed for the first two days and the power supply was lost for over five days … I wonder how the POA moved in such mysterious ways. In the late 1990s our Chief Executive went on national television and condemned the hospital and asked for its closure, she also asked for POA support, I am glad to say she didn’t get it. In 2001 the same Chief Executive imposed a short shift system upon us which caused industrial unrest for over two years culminating in the POA winning an ET and an EAT and eventually returning to more acceptable working practices. We then became part of the wider NHS and we became part of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust which over the years has become one of the largest Mental Health and Learning Disability Trusts within Europe and is clearly recognised worldwide

for its excellence. We have signed up to work in partnership with the Trust and have full and proper consultation/negotiation on all issues affecting our members. We have, instead of Whitley Meetings, our Local and Trust Staff Partnership Forum’s where we are consulted on things such as the new £25m Learning Disability Unit. Not sure how many light bulbs there will be in there, but I think it will be more than two! Rampton Hospital and the POA is by far greatly involved in the future of the High Secure Hospitals. It is the National Centre for Women in High Secure Services, The National Centre for Deaf Patients, The National Centre for Learning Disability Patients and has a state of the art 70 bedded Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder Unit along with vibrant Mental Health and Personality Disorder Directorates. The POA over the years within Rampton Hospital and now also within the wider Trust has been the one constant, maintaining the safety and security of its members and the public from some of the most dangerous people within our society. We feel the POA can be proud of it’s developments and achievements and for the way it has worked with the changes sometimes imposed upon us. We have been involved in changes for the good and bad, we have led in disputes for what we believe is right, we have been there, and we will be there for many years to come… Unity is Strength… So here’s to the next 70 years. Steve Oxby Branch Chairman 1999 to date Proud POA Member 1976 to date

June 2009 7 1/6/09 15:25:56

General Matters

Carstairs the history and the POAS It has long been recognised that people suffering from a mental illness who fell foul of the law needed much more than incarceration, but it was not until the early 1800s that moves were made to offer an alternative to prison. The Royal Burghs highlighted the problems of mental illness among the local prisoner population to the Secretary of State for Scotland. At this time the Royal Group of Hospitals were beginning to open and offer care – Montrose 1781, Aberdeen 1800, Edinburgh 1813, Glasgow 1814, Dundee 1820, Perth 1826 and Dumfries 1839. After much discussion it was decided that persons requiring treatment should be transferred from local jails to these Royal Hospitals. Initially ten people from local jails were placed in these hospitals. Problems quickly arose, the biggest difficulty being that of finance. The local parishes found that the majority of persons placed in the hospitals needed the support of parish funds, and this became an unbearable cost which they were no longer willing to undertake. Due to this and other problems, the experiment floundered, leaving the situation much as before with mentally disordered people being contained in jail. After further petitioning of Parliament and extensive discussion, it was decided to open a specialist facility for ‘criminal lunatics’. In the mid 1800s an area of Perth Prison had been identified as a suitable area to house these mentally disordered people. It was walled off from the main prison. This became the criminal lunatic department; the first step in a long journey creating a therapeutic environment for mentally disordered persons requiring care in a secure environment. The criminal lunatic department was expanded at the turn of the century but it was recognised that it was not a suitable place to rehabilitate people. Again, after much discussion and planning, the present site at Carstairs, Lanarkshire was identified to be a suitable location for a new institution for the care and treatment of this specialised group. In 1936 building began on the present site. Initially it was to house ‘mental defectives’ and become The State Institution for Mental Defectives. The building work was completed in 1939, but as this coincided with the Second World War, it was not handed over for use. Instead the facility was handed to the army and used to treat most military staff requiring treatment as a result of the traumas of war. The army handed back the hospital in 1948 for civilian use. It was opened in 1948 as the Institution for Mental Defectives (now known as ‘patients with a learning disability’) and used as such until building was completed on the west wing of the site. In 1957, with building complete, the patients were transferred to the new buildings on the east wing. On the 1st October 1957, 90 prisoners identified

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as suffering from mental illness were transferred from the criminal lunatic department at HMP Perth to the Carstairs site, along with staff. The institution sited on the east and west wing and divided by a local road then became The State Mental Hospital. From its inception the Scottish POA and later the POA (Scotland) has represented the staff who work in this most challenging of environments. Unfortunately, those who were there at the beginning are not around to describe what it was like in those early days, but the staff who moved from Perth to the local housing estate known as the ‘West End’ have left a lasting impression on the local community with their children and now grandchildren following in their pioneering footsteps at the State Hospital, which is still know locally as simply Carstairs or the Penny (Penitentiary). The hospital’s blackest day came on St Andrew’s Day in 1976 when two psychopaths (now known as people suffering from a personality disorder) escaped from the hospital after elaborate preparations, and in doing so brutally murdered a nurse, a local policeman and a fellow patient. The Scottish POA supported their members through this horrific time and secured, following negotiations, a public enquiry which ensured that improvements were made to physical security and systems of work. In 1990 a government-commissioned report was highly critical of patient care and the pace of change was stepped up, a General Manager was appointed in 1991 – a role that is now know as Chief Executive – and in 1994 the hospital that had been directly managed from the Scottish Office was integrated into the NHS, although it remains a separate entity by virtue of it being a stand alone Special Health Board that is a national resource for both Scotland and Northern Ireland. Long gone are the days of 40 to a ward, of patients locked out on grim walkways covered with wire, the fearsome charge nurses who once ran the wards like barracks have also disappeared. Over time there has been a shift from custody to care, but a number of thankfully small incidents have served to remind us that a balance must be struck between the two, and whilst the hospital is a place where patients receive treatment there is also a wider responsibility to ensure the public’s safety is not compromised. Amendments in 1994 to the Mental Health (Scotland) Act underlined that the central role of the State Hospital. Up until October 1996, the hospital operated on a split site. Most of the facilities were located on the west wing; a substantial number of patients were housed in wards on the east wing, separated from the main campus by a public road, a railway and two high security fences. Following a partial redevelopment

the east wing was demolished with the hospital being established on a single site which housed 240 patients. The implications of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 has seen the hospital’s role continue to change. The establishment of regional medium secure units mean that the hospital is now the high secure hub at the centre of a wider forensic network. The subsequent reduction to 140 beds, which has triggered a £70,000,000 public funded redevelopment of the site will see improvements in staff patient ratios in what, when completed in 2011, will be one of the finest facilities of its type and will hopefully ensure a continued and bright future for the hospital. Throughout all the ups and downs the POAS has always been there to promote the needs of their members, and to challenge when required to do so. The branch, which currently represents 300 frontline nursing and security staff, owes a debt of gratitude to those who went before us, sometimes in the most difficult of times when it would have been easier to walk away. The POAS at Carstairs continues to develop and whilst Partnership Working, which is underpinned by Staff Governance is not always easy the branch has been successful in representing the interest of its members both individually and collectively. More recently the committee has been involved in the Union Learning, with a Learning Agreement being signed with management and initial learning sessions have been held.

Gatelodge 9/6/09 11:02:00

General Matters

Ashworth Hospital and the POA… a short history There has been a hospital at Maghull since 1872 when Moss Side House, built in the 1830s as a private home for a wealthy family, was sold to the Liverpool Select Vestry and run as a convalescent home for children from Liverpool’s workhouses. By 1878 plans were drawn up to convert it to accommodate 60 men and 120 women described as ‘the epileptic and harmless lunatic type’. It cared for some tuberculosis and epileptic patients but it was not until 30 years later that plans for a new 300 patient hospital were finalised. In 1914 the Lunacy Board of Control bought the estate with its unfinished hospital, but its proposals had to be put on hold due to the First World War. The hospital was hastily adapted to care for soldiers with nervous disorders and after that year 20 shellshocked soldiers arrived at the renamed Military Red Cross Hospital, Moss Side – the first of 3,500 to be treated there during the war. Moss Side, along with its sister institutions of Broadmoor and Rampton, became hospitals in 1948 with the creation of the NHS, although the country’s special hospitals continued to be managed by the Board of Control, until further changes took place due to the Mental Health Act of 1959. By the early 1970s Broadmoor Hospital was

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overcrowded and plans were agreed to build a new special hospital on land adjacent to Moss Side, to be known as Park Lane. In 1974 Park Lane’s first two wards were opened and within ten years the hospital was completed. Although the POA was prominent at this time as a formidable voice it also resulted in two branches of the POA within the one site. Then emerged some very formidable voices within the Committee who, in our opinion, were the foundation and platform that we still work towards this day. Although the list seems to be endless and too many to mention we must take this opportunity to mention these individuals who we feel created a legacy that we now as a committee, 70 years on, aspire to be. They are as follows: • Mr Bridson • Mr Ron Lawton from Moss Side Hospital • Mr Mick Taylor • Mr Jim Singleton • Mr Joe Brown Also last, but no means least, is a man, Mr Dave Preece. As most of you will know he was the Chairman of the POA here at Ashworth and he was presented with the Cronin Clasp for his service to the POA. He retired in 2004 after being the Branch Chairman for 26 years. His legacy still lives on here at Ashworth as he even had a house named after him, and we are the bricks on the foundation that he laid. We as a committee with the help of all our NEC nationally will support and help those that ever feel the need to contact us for all help that we may be able to give. We try to emulate the work that our predecessors have done, who we as a serving committee wish to thank. In 1989 the Special Hospital Service Authority took control of the special hospitals and a year later the previously separate Moss Side and Park Lane hospitals were merged into one named Ashworth Hospital, the result of a ballot for a new name among patients and staff. In 1995 there were again changes to the management of special hospitals. The SHSA was replaced by the High Security Psychiatric Services Commissioning Board and it was then that both hospitals were renamed as Ashworth. This was a time during which all concerned felt there was a need for the two branches of the POA to become one, this in fact was making the POA here

at Ashworth one of the biggest branches in the whole of the British Isles at that particular time. It is only on reflection and research that as a committee member you become more aware as to what we and our forerunners have actually achieved. At this time it would be negligent of me not to mention the work that the POA Union Learning Zone here at Ashworth has done. It is now at the forefront of learning in the whole country, which is to the credit of the dedicated staff at the centre which again is and has always been supported by the POA as a Union. This has also acted as a catalyst to increase our membership out in the wider Trust as we know it today. This membership I refer to is what the wider Trust has now and is still in the process of setting up satellite links, and holding monthly surgeries at our members’ place of work. What we are trying to say is that sometimes it’s nice just to see a face and ask HOW’S IT GOING? Now in 2009 things have changed, but we here at Ashworth, as I referred to earlier, have not forgotten our roots and that we came from people who cared. Yes, we are still here and we STILL CARE. Therefore, we feel by way of co-opting members onto the committee here at Ashworth to give ourselves first hand knowledge, and immediate support to our membership which sometimes, if we are honest, gets forgotten needs to be addressed and this is something here we in Ashworth are working very hard to reconnect. On the 1st April 2002 Ashworth became part of Mersey Care NHS Trust, one of three hospitals nationally that provides care and treatment for people with severe and enduring mental illness and personality disorders in conditions of high security. Mersey Care provides specialist mental health and learning disability services for adults in Liverpool, Sefton and Kirby. It has a wider role too, offering medium secure services for Merseyside and Cheshire, and high secure services covering England and Wales at Ashworth Hospital. May we take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time in reading this brief history of: • Where we come from • Where we have been • More importantly where we are going here at Ashworth. Also we wish to thank the communications team here at Ashworth for their help in collating lots of the above information in the brief history of Ashworth and the POA.

June 2009 9 1/6/09 15:26:18

General Matters

Butler Trust 2008/09 awards ceremony

The winners of this year’s annual Butler Trust Awards for people working in correctional settings received their Awards from Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal at a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace on 18th March. The Butler Trust Annual Awards recognise outstanding dedication, skill and creativity on the part of those working in prison, probation, criminal justice, social work and court escort and custody settings across the UK, and the Trust receives more than 300 nominations each year from staff, volunteers and offenders. This year’s major award winners included: Moosa Gora, Imam at Full Sutton prison, for his work in promoting social cohesion and tackling radicalisation among Muslim prisoners; the Manchester Multi Agency Gang Strategy (MMAGS) team, which brings together a range of agencies to tackle gun and gang crime among the 13-25 age group; and the Addison in-patient mental health unit at HMP Wandsworth for the high quality care they provide to mentally disordered prisoners. Commenting on this year’s awards, the Trust’s Director, Simon Shepherd, said: “The quality of this year’s nominations was as high as ever and underlines the truly outstanding nature of much of the work that staff and volunteers undertake in a difficult and sometimes dangerous working environment” The nominations cycle for the 2009/10 Awards – our 25th Anniversary Awards – opened on 3rd April, and the nominations deadline is 12th June. Full details available from our website -

TONY MERRICKS Colleagues, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to all those members who voted for me in the NEC elections, and also to the committees of those branches that nominated me. I have many friends and supporters who have continued to put their trust and faith in me and I will continue to work hard and commit myself to this union, our union. I feel proud and honoured to represent you at national level and look forward to the challenges ahead. These will be tough times, but together as a unit, a collective team, we can and we will succeed. Thank you. Tony National Executive Committee

10 June 2009 05-12 gen matters.indd 10

‘Put People First’ March On the 28th March 2009 a small and intrepid group of Lewes POA members set off from the South Coast to join the ‘Put People First’ march, on what was an overcast and not very promising looking day we had an uneventful journey to London where we made our way on foot to the Embankment. Disaster nearly struck when one of our group was lucky not to get run over whilst explaining the dangers of London traffic to the rest of us. As we rounded the corner at Westminster the sun broke through the clouds illuminating a scene to bring a tear to the eye of even the most disillusioned of old socialists, a sea of humanity lay before our eyes, babies in pushchairs through to pensioners, trade unionists, environmentalists, anti-war protesters and many other diverse groups all coming together with one simple message for the Government ‘Put People First’. We joined the other 35,000 marchers and set off on our long march to Hyde Park, the other marchers were all in good spirits and a friendly atmosphere along with the now glorious sunshine allayed any fears we had that the day may have been spoiled by the violent element that the press had spoken of in the days leading up to the march. It was fantastic to see almost every union represented and it made all of us conscious that the POA banner should have been held proudly aloft with the rest of our trade union comrades. We eventually arrived at Hyde Park some two and a half hours later where we joined the rest of the march in front of the stage to hear various speakers including comedian Mark Thomas, all introduced by well known TV personality Tony Robinson. Unfortunately the weather had decided that it had been kind enough and the heavens opened bringing the rally to an abrupt end, our group made their way to a local hostelry to rest our aching legs and reflect on the events of the day. So did it make a difference? Well that remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, sitting at home on your arse certainly won’t.

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General Matters

Can’t sleep? By Sandy and Jo

At the Southport conference several delegates admitted that they have trouble sleeping at night. Prison is a tough arena and it isn’t easy to switch off the moment you fall into bed. So this page tackles insomnia. Here’s a common scenario. After a hard shift, you kick off the shoes, sink in front of the telly and relax with one or two drinks. Then you nod off in front of the box and when you come to, make yourself a cuppa to take to bed. Then you undress, clean your teeth and fall into bed feeling shattered – only to find that the mind starts racing as incidents or the night’s viewing crop up on the mind screen. Aaaaaggh! Already you have probably worked out some dangers lurking here. Too much booze is just a temporary narcotic, so make the second one your last and really enjoy every sip. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. The body programmes that time and loves regularity. Instead of anything with the mindexciting caffeine drug – like tea, coffee, cocoa and chocolate – at bedtime try a little milk which releases fats in the brain which induce sleep. If you always watch TV before bed, try not to watch over stimulating programmes. Treat yourself to something calmer and check out if this allows you to sleep better. A warm bath or shower can really help relax the body. When you sink under the sheets, you can continue to ease out tension by taking your awareness to every part of your body – including your face – and consciously tensing and relaxing the muscle groups. The body will feel more ready for rest. If after that your mind is still buzzing, try to accept yourself just as you are. A buzzing mind is quite common, just like insomnia. Neither is harmful although they are distressing. So accepting you are normal, giving yourself permission to be normal is a good start to not worrying about it. Loss of sleep doesn’t matter much since the body is clever enough to sleep when it is really tired. Even a couple of hours are helpful and resting the body in a supine position lets the body feed on this rest. Don’t try to stop your thoughts. Simply let them float in and out of your mind. At the same time, begin to observe your breathing, in and out through the nose, without trying to change its natural rhythm. Breathing through the nose helps in all kinds of ways – even if it feels strange – including lessening snoring! Then… Place the right hand on the belly just above the navel and the left hand over the centre of the chest. The right hand will move up with inhalation and down with exhalation. The left hand should not move with the breath. There should be no tension in the abdomen (belly). Don’t try to force the movement in any way. Try not to expand the chest or move the shoulders. Simply feel the abdomen expanding and contracting. Continue breathing slowly and deeply. When you feel quite comfortable, continue and if you wish, release your hands. When you breathe out count one and let the next in breath come in. Continue counting up to ten, then start again. Then zzzzz...

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Paul Ash, Branch Chair, HMP Blundeston, at the Prison Pheonix Trust staff at Annual Conference.

About the PPT The Prison Phoenix Trust encourages prisoners and prison officers in their spiritual lives through the practices of yoga and meditation. The PPT recommends simple yoga stretches sensitively tailored to the students’ needs, breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation where students focus on their breath. Keeping the attention on the silence in the breath offers students ultimate peace of mind, which is the goal of ancient yoga, as well as a safe and calming practice. We offer support through classes, workshops, correspondence, free books and CDs, and newsletters. If you would like any of these resources, contact The Prison Phoenix Trust, PO Box 328, Oxford, OX2 7HF Email:

POA 25 year awards

A presentation and buffet took place at HMP New Hall on Friday 3rd April to mark 25 years or more of POA membership. National Chairman Colin Moses, General Secretary Brian Caton and Area Rep Joe Simpson were there to present certificates. Pictured with certificates are Norman Davidson, Rob Bowman, Carol Gledhill, Anita Archer, Karen Gee, Jan Grey, Paul Tingle, Terry Malley, Gaynor Williams, John Shaw and Tony Fox. Also receiving certificates but not present were Pete Fenlon, Dave Pratt, Dave Lynn, Vena Jenkinson, Lin Finnamore, Brian Tudor, Ron Perfect and Sandra Rodenhurst.

June 2009 11 4/6/09 11:30:48

Conference Motions

Motions from Conference 2009 RULES & CONSTITUTION 1. The Rule be amended to read: Rule 1.1 The organisation is called the “POA” and is referred to in these Rules as “the Union.” NEC CARRIED - RESEARCH OFFICER 2. New Rule 9.4(c) The National Chairman will be responsible for the deployment of the (2) Vice Chairmen, Finance Officer and (8) NEC members, ensuring the work of the union is maintained and facility time appropriately used. NEC CARRIED - RESEARCH OFFICER 3. New Rule 9.4(d) The General Secretary will be responsible for the deployment of the Deputy General Secretary and Assistant Secretaries. NEC OUT OF ORDER 4. Amend Rule 10.1(f ) to read 8 National Executive Committee Members (NEC). NEC CARRIED - RESEARCH OFFICER 5. Amend Rule 10.2 to read The members will elect (a) The Chairperson for 3 years (b) The General Secretary for 3 years (c) The two Vice Chairpersons for 4 years (electing 1 every two years) (d) The Finance Officer for 3 years (e) The Deputy General Secretary for 3 years (f ) The 8 other members of the National Executive Committee for 3 years (electing 4 in one year for a 3 year term, electing 2 in the subsequent years for a 3 year term) and the members occupying these posts are eligible for re-election. RANBY FALLS NO SECONDER 6. Rule Change Rule 10.9 (a) Any National Executive Committee member who resigns from office during their elected term or after the commencement of any national ballot that they are candidates in, will be disqualified from holding any National Executive post for a period of five years. (b) that it is incumbent upon any member of the association who is a successful candidate in any National election to take up office. Failure to do so will deem them to have resigned and will automatically de-bar them from holding any national office for a period of five years. (c) in relation to (a) and (b) if the National Executive Committee members reasons are accepted by Conference by the adoption of a motion, then no ban will enforced. LEEDS LOST 7. Amend Rule 12.1 to read The Annual Conference will normally be held in May each year at such time and place as the National Executive Committee decides and the General Secretary will inform branches of the dates at least four months in advance. NEC CARRIED - RESEARCH OFFICER

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8. Rule change: Rule 12.13 Voting on all motions at Conference will be by a show of voting cards (one per Branch), but a card vote based on Branch membership may be demanded by at least 10 Branches, this to include any appeals of motions to Conference. STAFFORD CARRIED - RESEARCH OFFICER 9. Amend Rule 15.1 to read The Association shall have a Finance Committee comprising (a) The National Chairman, (b) Two Vice Chairmen, (c) The General Secretary (d) The Finance Officer, and (e) A National Executive Committee member annotated by the National Chairman. The Chairman of the committee will be the National Chairman or a Vice Chairman in his absence. NEC LOST 10. Amend Rule 19.1(d) to read A National Executive Committee member annotated by the National Chairman. NEC


11. Amend Rule 19.1(e) to read Any Assistant Secretary annotated by the General Secretary. NEC WITHDRAWN 12. Amend Rule 20.2 to read (a) Branch Chair (b) Secretary (c) 3 to 5 other Committee Members (d) If any of the above positions does not include an operational support grade then that Committee should seek to co-opt an operational support grade on to the committee for advisory reasons. RANBY LOST 13. Rule Change Rule 27.3 if the Disciplinary Panel (a) Impose a suspension or amends a suspension in any way which extends its scope. (b) The member who has been suspended may appeal to a panel of three members of the National Executive Committee selected by the General Secretary and the National Chairman by sending written notice to the Deputy General Secretary asking them to amend or cancel the suspension. (c) If the member who is suspended is a member of the National Executive Committee the appeal will be heard by three members of the Conduct Committee who are not members of the relevant Disciplinary Panel or Investigation Committee. LEEDS LOST 14. Conference accepts Conference Paper One on Religious Tolerance being Annex I of the Rules and Constitution. NEC CARRIED - RESEARCH OFFICER

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Conference Motions

SECURITY & CUSTODY 15. That Conference debates the effects of sentencing policies, on the victims of crime, prisons and staff. NEC DEBATED 16. To change the national security framework to allow the Cat D estate to have separate consideration especially under audit requirements and allowing certain points in the local security strategy to override the national security framework when and where agreed. HOLLESLEY BAY LOST 17. That all pregnant workers are given the resources by their employer to purchase alternative uniform by 16 weeks of pregnancy. RANBY WITHDRAWN 18. In the interest of equality for all. The wearing of ties should be optional unless on public duties. GARTREE LOST 19. That the provision of uniform across the estate is fit for purpose, of good quality and that no member of uniformed grade staff suffer a financial detriment as a result of changes introduced by the Prison Service. STOKE HEATH CARRIED SECURITY & CUSTODY 20. Due to the poor quality of issued shirts and blouses, the NEC uniform committee negotiate a superior quality of shirt and blouse to be provided for uniformed staff. MANCHESTER CARRIED SECURITY & CUSTODY 21. That the Prison Service reintroduce the provision of track suit bottoms and polo shirts as part of uniform allocation for use in C&R training. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED SECURITY & CUSTODY

REPORT BACKS 22. Conference endorses the report back on the pilot scheme of the Firefighters Charity and accepts the report on whether this should be an ongoing membership benefit. NEC ACCEPTED 23. Report back on the spending of the levy for European campaign to regain our full trade union rights. STOKE HEATH ACCEPTED 24. Further Report back on ACM 85/2004. MOORLAND


25. Conference accepts the report back on Motion 47/2006. NEC ACCEPTED 26. For a report back on ACM 96/08. FULL SUTTON

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27. That the NEC report back on Motion 114/07 HOLME HOUSE


28. That the NEC report back on Motion 115/07 HOLME HOUSE


29. Report back Motion 16/2008 STAFFORD


30. Report back on Motion 65/2008. STAFFORD


31. Report back on Motion 69/2008. BRINSFORD


32. Report back for Conference Motion 93 of 2008. LOW NEWTON


33. Report back: Motion 102/2008. STAFFORD


34. Report back: Motion 106/2008. STAFFORD


35. That this NEC provides a report back on Motion 114/2008. PARKHURST ACCEPTED 36. Report back: Motion 115/2008. STAFFORD


37. Report back: Motion 119/2008. STAFFORD


HEALTH AND SAFETY 38. That the provision of personal protection equipment be given to all staff working in secure healthcare centres and prisons of all categories so that all staff are equipped to the same standard and not treated differently because of the offender that they look after. STOKE HEATH LOST 39. That in order to help staff and prisoners improve their health, all public sector Prisons should become smoke free environments and necessary support should be provided for prisoners and staff to assist them in achieving this. BRISTOL CARRIED HEALTH & SAFETY COMMITTEE 40. That the NEC approach the Prison Service for the results of testing carried out at HMP Holme House in July 2007 with relation to the effects of second hand smoke on staff. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED HEALTH & SAFETY COMMITTEE

June 2009 13 1/6/09 10:45:09

Conference Motions

41. That Conference deplores the Prison Service for their continued inaction in refusing to allow their employees the correct equipment to protect themselves from violent prisoners in the female, open and juvenile estate. Further Conference instructs the NEC to use all avenues open to them to move this forward as quickly as possible. LOW NEWTON WITHDRAWN 42. This Conference deplore the Prison Service for their contempt for the safety of staff with their proposed introduction of Smoke Hoods. LOW NEWTON CARRIED HEALTH & SAFETY COMMITTEE 43. That this NEC instruct the uniform sub committee to look into having waterproof trousers issued to discipline grades as a standard issue on an annual basis. PARKHURST CARRIED HEALTH & SAFETY COMMITTEE

HEALTHCARE 44. The POA actively recruits members, establishes and supports the formation of Branch Committees in doing so obtaining full trade union recognition and rights of representation in medium and low psychiatric units in both the NHS and Private Sector. CARSTAIRS CARRIED HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE 45. That the NEC negotiate with the prison health, prison service and local PCT to maintain and reintroduce the role of healthcare senior officer rank in all healthcare as part of a multi-disciplinary team approach and skill mix. LIVERPOOL CARRIED HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE 46. That the NEC negotiate with the prison health, prison service and local PCT nationally, to re-introduce healthcare officer training for prison officers who wish to specialise in healthcare. LIVERPOOL CARRIED HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE 47. That the NEC negotiate and agree with the prison health, prison service and local PCT in reintroducing a promotional structure for all healthcare officers employed in healthcare, that wish to remain in healthcare, but also wish to remain prison service employees i.e. healthcare senior officer rank. LIVERPOOL CARRIED HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE 48. That the NEC negotiate with the prison health, prison service and local PCT to introduce new and further training for healthcare officers in posts, in order to enhance their skills/knowledge and experience and improve the quality of care, in concordance with clinical governance. LIVERPOOL CARRIED HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE 49. The NEC approaches the Minister for Works and Pensions regarding the payment of incapacity benefit to patients held under the Mental Health Act within the secure environment. CARSTAIRS CARRIED HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE

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GENERAL MATTERS 50. That this Conference place on record, in this our 70th Anniversary year, our thanks and appreciation to past and present editors and staff of the Morning Star newspaper for its vigorous support to this union, its aims and objectives and our stance to regain full Trade Union Rights for POA members. NEC CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY 51. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to John McDonnell MP. NEC CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY 52. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Jim Smyth (latterly Vice Chairman) Northern Ireland. NEC CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY 53. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Pete Cartwright. NEC CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY 54. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Jacky Mobbs. NEC CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY 55. That Conference debates the POA and its future direction. HOLME HOUSE DEBATED 56. That Conference debate the Motion that NEC members only serve one term in office on the Executive Committee and miss a term before re-election. PORTLAND DEBATED 57. That Conference mandates the NEC to develop a national policy to combat the 2009/2010 budgetary cuts of 140 million pounds. LIVERPOOL LOST 58. That Conference welcomes the NECs decision to bring sections of the MoJ staff to Westminster to enable face to face interaction with MPs in key areas. Furthermore, Conference instructs the Executive to continue with this positive strategy. STOKE HEATH CARRIED NEC 59. A vote of confidence in the NEC for the way Workforce Modernisation has been relayed to the membership and information published. MANCHESTER WITHDRAWN 60. That Conference have a vote of confidence in the NEC for their lack of support to Liverpool Prison, especially with reference to the Governors handling of staff, and mandate Liverpool branch to speak on the Motion and not to withdraw it or formally move it. LIVERPOOL OUT OF ORDER 61. That the General Secretary verbally explains to Conference 2009, the full circumstances surrounding the failure to record a full verbatim report of the Special Delegates Conference on the 22nd December 2008 and what safeguards are now in place to ensure that future Conferences are recorded in an appropriate and safe manner as per his assurance in Branch Secretarys Circular 2/2009. MOORLAND EXPLAINED

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Conference Motions

62. That this Conference supports the three Isle of Wight prisons in showing their dissatisfaction over the lack of support from the NEC during the clustering project. PARKHURST LOST 63. That this NEC take immediate action whenever the threat of a cluster is placed on any branch. Furthermore if any prison is subjected to consultation for clustering the NEC should attend those branches during the whole consultation period. PARKHURST CARRIED NEC 64. The POA calls on the Government to renationalise and bring under public control all utilities/public transport and essential services. NEC CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY 65. Conference recognises the value and assistance that the Welfare Fund has given to the membership and approves an increase of 20p, effective from July 2009 in order to maintain this ongoing benefit to members. NEC CARRIED FINANCE COMMITTEE 66. That the Welfare Committee have the authority to consider applications from members for private treatment where no NHS alternative exists, and all other areas of providing that treatment have been exhausted. BULLINGDON LOST 67. Conference requests the NEC to adopt a Committee from the Delegates to organise Trades Union Events and POA events at the Tolpuddle Festival. BIRMINGHAM LOST 68. Conference instructs the NEC to adopt formally, POA Area Meetings of Branch delegates to a meeting with their NEC member on a quarterly basis. Attendance by Branches is obligatory. This good practise in parts of the Country to be adopted by all. BIRMINGHAM LOST 69. That Conference accepts the need for local Branch officials to be aware when members are seeking legal advice, so that no conflict exists and local Committees can annotate Officials to assist as and when necessary. Therefore, a change to the legal advice handbook be made so that all LA100s have to be endorsed by a member of the local Committee, prior to an application being approved by the Legal Aid Committee under the current rules. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED LEGAL COMMITTEE 70. A new tender be invited from Solicitors who have the Personnel and Services to reflect the needs of the membership of this Union which should include a free bookable legal advice service. RANBY LOST 71. Conference mandates the NEC to release significant but appropriate funds for a inter-active web site with a Members forum for direct contact with the NEC. A weekly diary of the Chair and Gen Sec with weekly bulletins and blogs. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED FINANCE COMMITTEE

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72. That NOMS make available the POA website through the quick link on the internet explorer provided by EDS. LIVERPOOL LOST 73. That Conference mandates the NEC to investigate the cost and viability of producing an electronic version of the GATELODGE on the POA website. LIVERPOOL CARRIED FINANCE COMMITTEE 74. That a copy of the POA diary each year be sent to 3 Branch Chairman (nominated by Conference) before publication to ensure the very people who will be using it, agree its format. RANBY LOST 75. That Conference confirm that it is this unions policy to negotiate for a one “tier” prison officer in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England and Wales. EDINBURGH WITHDRAWN 76. That this NEC provides to every branch, in document form, on a yearly basis, a report back of all motions carried at Annual Conference. PARKHURST LOST 77. Conference mandates the National Executive, at the beginning of every calendar year to annotate all the current policies of this Union to every Branch in England, Wales and Scotland. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED RESEARCH OFFICER 78. That this NEC provides a report back on all motions that were carried at Conference 2006, 2007 and 2008 and for this report to be produced in a document and supplied to every branch. PARKHURST LOST 79. That the NEC looks into the feasibility of changing the order of the order paper, with the exception of the rules and constitution. This would ensure that all subjects were rotated year on year. The main aim of this being to stop the regular Friday formally moving of the same subjects. A report back to be given at 2010 conference or before. NOTTINGHAM CARRIED STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE 80. Conference instructs the finance officer to curtail the expenditure on POA memorabilia in favour of a worthwhile corporate retirement gift for serving members. BIRMINGHAM LOST 81. That the Gala night in its present form be replaced by a dinner night with entertainment and that delegates contribute by way of a small entrance fee. STAFFORD LOST 82. That all branches nominate a duty branch official who will carry a mobile and that the mobile number to be included in the diary. STAFFORD LOST

June 2009 15 1/6/09 10:45:25

Conference Motions

83. That the POA comply with the Data Protection Act in relation to sensitive documents/data etc, pertaining to our members. And that a policy be introduced accordingly STAFFORD LOST 84. Any POA member that signs any individual contract introduced by the Prison Service that acts against POA policy will be reported to the Conduct Committee. HOLME HOUSE LOST 85. That this NEC place any member working for SEG in front of the disciplinary committee who knowingly endanger the heath and safety of members by reducing staffing levels to explain their actions. (SEG Strategy and Effectiveness Group) PARKHURST LOST 86. That on joining the Service probationary staff are offered reduced POA membership for the first two years thus encouraging recruitment. EDINBURGH FALLS 87. That conference instructs the NEC to fund subsistence of the TUC courses pertaining to employment law. And in doing so recognises the importance of such courses. NOTTINGHAM LOST 88. That the POA employ a suitably qualified consultant to look at all aspects of the Prison Services current fitness testing policy, to provide advice to the POA on The fitness tests suitability for the Prison Services stated purpose Any implications for possible legal challenge in relation to age and sex discrimination. Any suggestions as to how the fitness test could be changed to provide a fitness strategy which would be less punitive, stressful and discriminatory. To report back to Conference in 2010. FOSTON HALL LOST 89. Conference mandates the NEC to cease to use privately owned toll roads wherever this is viable with immediate effect. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED NEC

93. That the NEC carry out a national survey of prisons to ascertain how many establishments have had independent monitoring and testing carried out since 2007. Who carried out the tests and the result published as a national document? HOLME HOUSE WITHDRAWN 94. That all local prisons provide data to the NEC on times of booking in and arrival of inmates from Court. In the view that the escorting contractors adhere to their contractual obligations. NOTTINGHAM CARRIED OPERATIONS COMMITTEE 95. That a protocol be developed, agreed and instituted that provides clear guidelines for members who need or desire POA Trade Union Representation from outside their home branch. SEND LOST 96. That in all future NEC elections all candidates as part of the election addresses make the membership aware of their current rank within the MoJ or whichever organisation employs them. BRINSFORD LOST 97. That upon being elected onto the NEC any promotion within the workplace are circulated on a POA Circular. BRINSFORD LOST 98. Conference requests the POA Chair and Vice Chairs to spend two, two day periods in any year at an Establishment on a roster, so that over time they would cover the whole of the Estate between them BIRMINGHAM LOST 99. Conference mandates the NEC to publish succinct but worthwhile minutes of their Committee Meetings to Branch Secretaries within 28 days of them taking place. BIRMINGHAM LOST


90. Conference mandates the NEC to sponsor and fund up to two members of each branch on any TUC level three qualification per year. DURHAM LOST

100. Conference debates the implementation of a common increment date and the detriment upon staff joining the service. BIRMINGHAM DEBATED

91. That the present POA motto “Unity is Strength” is replaced with a new motto “ONE UNION ONE TEAM, WORKING TOGETHER TOWARDS SUCCESS”. Further, that the new motto be incorporated onto the official POA letter heads. STAFFORD WITHDRAWN


92. That the NEC explain to Conference why the membership were not informed that the increase in payment plus was lined to any agreement on a new grievance procedure and sickness management PSO. HOLME HOUSE EXPLAINED

16 June 2009 12-19 motions.indd 16

101. That Conference debate the rewarding of management who have achieved targets by the submission of naively reported figures and by bullying, intimidation and harassment. CHELMSFORD DEBATED 102. That the POA negotiate a reduction in the working week for all members. EDINBURGH CARRIED PERSONNELL COMMITTEE

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Conference Motions

103. That the NEC pursue the Prison Service to put in place extra non effectives to cover any shortfalls in staff to cover all pregnancies or to have a group of staff to draw from to cover these type of shortfalls. If these are not available then extra funding should be found to pay payment plus. SWINFEN HALL FALLS 104. That Payment Plus scheme be extended to cover for shortfalls caused by pregnant staff both whilst they are on restricted duties as well as when on maternity leave. LOW NEWTON FALLS

112. Conference instructs the NEC to demand recognition and parity with other recognised Trades Unions by the Prison Service, and the Union Subscription to be taken through Payroll. BIRMINGHAM LOST 113. That staff pay is paid into their accounts on the 26th of each month to ensure that they have time when discrepancies occur with their pay to have an advance and pay it into their accounts by the last day of the month to avoid hefty bank charges which are never refunded by the Prison Service. RANBY LOST

105. That the POA seek to gain a workable solution to the problem of cover for unified grades maternity leave. Consideration should be given to negotiating a national budget to provide sufficient payment plus/overtime to cover all unified grades maternity leave which is not already covered by additional non-effective hours. FOSTON HALL FALLS

114. That the NEC challenge the shared service centre on their policy of threatening the pay of our members who have not submitted their selfcertificate for sick on time. STAFFORD CARRIED PERSONNELL COMMITTEE

106. Payment Plus hours to be used to cover non-operation staff due to pregnancy or maternity leave. THORN CROSS FALLS

115. Conference instructs the NEC to impress upon the Shared Service Centre the need for local Branch Officials to have quarterly information on the names of Staff working within their Establishment for the purpose of recruitment. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED PERSONNELL COMMITTEE

107. That the NEC seek written assurances from Capita that no changes are to be made to the PCSPS and that there are no plans to close the scheme now or in the future to existing members. DURHAM LOST 108. That Conference mandates the NEC to develop a policy that protects the terms and conditions of new entrant OSGs and Prison Officers. LIVERPOOL CARRIED PERSONNELL COMMITTEE 109. That the National Executive Committee challenge that under Employment Law, the “balance of probability” is used in making decisions on the outcome of any Code of Conduct investigation and adjudication. And furthermore, seek a removal from the code of this piece of Employment Law and replace it with a decision making process based solely on fact and/or evidence. BARLINNIE WITHDRAWN 110. That Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate with NOMS that any internal investigation and subsequent Code of Conduct should not be carried out by local management. LIVERPOOL LOST 111. That the National Executive Committee challenge the current process by which Code of Conduct investigations are carried out and presented. This is in relation to the risk that we place upon our membership, in the event of being involved in an investigation, where the investigator is inexperienced or unqualified to undertake the task and subsequently submits a report based on assumption, inference, interpretation and opinion. There should be consistency in competence and approach and Investigators should have clear guidelines on their role and the specifics of submitting a fact based report to the adjudicating manager. BARLINNIE WITHDRAWN

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116. That the NEC reject any type of fitness testing but negotiate for a biannual health check. RANBY LOST 117. That Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate with NOMS an increase of the Dirty Conditions payment. LIVERPOOL CARRIED NEC 118. That the NEC negotiate with the Department the introduction of a Disability Leave Agreement. FULL SUTTON WITHDRAWN 119. That the National Executive Committee negotiates to ensure equality for members of staff who join the Prison Service from other Government bodies or Civil Service agencies. This is in relation to members of staff who have joined the Service from the Armed Forces who, unlike their colleagues joining from other Civil Service and Government agencies, are not allowed to transfer their time of service in their previous post towards their eligibility for additional days leave. BARLINNIE WITHDRAWN 120. That the NEC insist of the Prison Service that staff be granted 5 days special leave following the death of a relative, irrespective of time served. STAFFORD WITHDRAWN 121. That Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate the reduction of long service leave entitlement from 18 years to 10 years. LIVERPOOL CARRIED NEC

June 2009 17 1/6/09 10:45:40

Conference Motions

122. That the POA look into the legality of the way the Prison Service enforced the Annual Leave entitlement into hours. Therefore ensuring that staff could only take an early shift off, without using more than 1 days worth of hours i.e. 7.8 hours to have a day off work. Thus reducing the number of days leave you can have each year. SWINFEN HALL WITHDRAWN 123. Conference instructs the NEC to inform the Prison Service of the need for each Branch Committee to have one Committee Member trained by the employer in re-profiling. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED PERSONNELL COMMITTEE 124. That Conference mandates the NEC that POELTS have parity with other staff and given the option to complete their NVQ in custodial care within 12 months. LIVERPOOL LOST 125. That Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate with NOMS facility time for staff completing their NVQs in custodial care. LIVERPOOL WITHDRAWN 126. That Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate with NOMS the implementation of the cycle to work scheme in line with Government and NOMS sustainable development. LIVERPOOL CARRIED PERSONNELL COMMITTEE

132. That Conference condemns the expenditure by the Ministry of Justice, NOMS and the Prison Service on refurbishment of offices, use of consultants and staff restructuring. NEC CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY 133. That this NEC refuse to allow any members to be placed at any disadvantage by allowing them to be placed in any form of a pilot scheme. PARKHURST LOST 134. That this NEC informs the Conference why it agreed to allow a pilot scheme to be put in place with reference to the grievance procedure and to confirm or deny that it was put in place as a “done deal” so as a higher rate of “Payment Plus” would be given to the membership. PARKHURST FALLS 135. That this NEC assures Conference that if any pilot scheme is going to be tested it is tested on all members and not just a selected few and that all members are fully informed by this NEC of their intention as to why a pilot scheme is required and a national ballot must take place before entering into a pilot scheme. PARKHURST LOST

127. That Conference demands a full public inquiry into the management of the public sector prison service in view of the debate on the rewards and remuneration of its managers and its performance. CHELMSFORD CARRIED GENERAL SECRETARY

136. That our NEC negotiate with the Prison Service the following. When a branch official, who has been granted permission by their establishment to attend a TUC course and that course falls on a rest day, the local official either gets credited for that day or, is permitted to alter their rest day. STAFFORD WITHDRAWN

128. That all NEC members undertake any and all mandatory training pertinent to their rank, on an annual basis or as required. STYAL LOST


INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS 129. That Conference acknowledges the Conference Paper Two on the Unions campaign and legal challenge in respect of restoring our Trade Union Rights to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and European Courts of Human Rights (ECHR). NEC CARRIED INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE 130. Conference recognises the POA as being extremely active in its fight against Privatisation of Prisons. Furthermore, Conference accepts that efforts need to be increased in the run up to a General Election. Therefore, a further campaign using the Political Fund attempting to enjoin other affiliated Trade Unions to campaign against all privatisation in order to protect public services from being destroyed. NEC CARRIED PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE 131. That this Conference re-affirms the unions policy of opposition to prison privatisation, further Conference agrees that no POA member should be obliged to watch their jobs privatised or their best interests not promoted and protected under the Rules and Constitution of this union. Therefore, Conference instructs those POA branches being forced into the re-tendering process to assist in making a robust bid to ensure all public sector prisons remain in the public sector. BUCKLEY HALL LOST

18 June 2009 12-19 motions.indd 18

137. Conference debates the practical issues of using Prisoners first names, preferred names, and the benefits to managing Prisons. BIRMINGHAM WITHDRAWN 138. Conference debates Benchmarking and Comparator Prisons BIRMINGHAM WITHDRAWN 139. With the ongoing Specification, Benchmarking and Costing programme, the MoJ look at the spending for additional activities, facilities and staffing across the juvenile estate. STOKE HEATH CARRIED OPERATIONS COMMITTEE 140. That the NEC demands an independent review of assaults in the juvenile, female, open estates and secure healthcare centres. STOKE HEATH WITHDRAWN 141. That the NEC negotiate with the MoJ and relevant chaplaincy head to establish a nationally binding policy to standardise the service times for Muslim prayers and if necessary adjust the core day BRINSFORD CARRIED OPERATIONS COMMITTEE

Gatelodge 1/6/09 10:45:50

Conference Motions

Emergency Motions and Appeals to Annual Conference 2009 8A. Amend Rule 13.3 (c) to read: Minutes of all decisions made by the National Executive Committee and its sub-committees, to declare in the event of any vote via the NEC meeting minutes or other minutes, which way individual members of the NEC or others voted on all issues. To include those who Proposed and Seconded issues. DURHAM LOST 15A. That this Conference condemns the United Kingdom Government and the Prison Service for failing to ensure appropriate categorisation systems are in place to protect the public and provide safe decent prisons. Furthermore, this Union demands a Public Enquiry into the dangerous failure of the current categorisation system and will seek recommendations that will ensure that Prisoners are correctly allocated to the appropriate prison, which will facilitate appropriate rehabilitation in an attempt to reduce reoffending and protect the public. NEC CARRIED – GENERAL SECRETARY 16A. That this Union robustly challenges the recommendations from HMCIP Report in respect of the use of C&R, which could have a detrimental impact on the health and safety of POA members. WANDSWORTH CARRIED SECURITY AND CUSTODY 49A. That this union condemns the introduction of a needle exchange initiative within any of its UK prisons. The POA fully understands the requirements and benefits of such a program in the public domain. However this union believes that the introduction of a needle exchange initiative within a prison environment will pose numerous risks and have a severe impact on our members’ health and safety in their place of work. There are also wider legal and public liability issues which require to be considered. Any attempt to introduce a needle exchange in a United Kingdom prison, this union will resist by any means at its disposal up to and including the ultimate sanction available. NEC CARRIED HEALTH & SAFETY, HEALTHCARE, SNC, NIAC 54A. In light of Jack Straws recent announcement on Market Testing, this Conference instruct the NEC to ballot all members for industrial action, up to and including a national strike, if the employer attempts to activate the process of Market Testing of any public sector prison, where the members of this Association are employed ACKLINGTON CARRIED NEC 57A. Following the joint rejection of WfM by the members of both the POA and PGA, Conference encourages the NEC to engage constructively with the PGA on this and related issues. The purpose being to formulate a common approach to defending all staff and their families against the continued threat of Market Testing, Benchmarking and any imposed variant of WfM. LEYHILL LOST 59A. That Conference instructs the Executive, in light of the overwhelming ballot result on the Offer, not to engage in any future modernisation talks; unless clear terms of reference are agreed outlining timescales and additional money so that free collective bargaining can take place. NEC CARRIED NEC

Gatelodge 12-19 motions.indd 19

63A. That Conference accepts that due to the recent attempts to undermine facility time for branch officials under the Clustering process, this Trade Union will be fully engaged in the MoJ Clustering project. However, the Trade Union will act in line with its policies relating to Market Testing and the continued promotion and preservation of our members jobs. NEC LOST 66A. That Conference accepts that members of the National Executive Committee excluding the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary are not and never have been employed by the POA. NEC LOST 100A. Following the overwhelming rejection of WfM, if the membership are not satisfied with the 2009 pay award, then industrial action up to and including strike action, should be taken to achieve an acceptable pay award. WAKEFIELD LOST 102A. In view of the Prison Services’ continued attack against the union, Conference calls upon the NEC to support a national ‘opt-out’ by all staff to Payment Plus. CARDIFF CARRIED PERSONNEL COMMITTEE 106A. The membership should be made aware that the Prison Services’ intention to introduce the Corporate Staff Rostering ‘In-Vision’ Tool, is both flawed as well as being an instrument to identify establishment ‘savings’ in regards to unified staff. Conference calls upon the NEC to address this issue nationally, as well as instruct establishments NOT to participate, as it would mean the loss of staff (either PO, SO or Officer Grades) across the estate. CARDIFF CARRIED PERSONNEL COMMITTEE 106B. In light of the reported failures on in vision and the detrimental effect its implementation will have on POA members. This Union adopts a policy of not accepting any new system of rostering until a full disclosure meeting with implementation team and the National Executive has taken place, to resolve the evidenced flaws within the system have been rectified. FULL SUTTON CARRIED PERSONNEL COMMITTEE 106C. In the event of any reduction of unified grades as a result of the introduction of the Corporate Staff Rostering Tool across the Estate, this union takes any action up to and including strike action. CARDIFF CARRIED PERSONNEL COMMITTEE 119A. As a matter of urgency Conference calls on the National Executive to consider all the policies in respect of clustering and Market Testing, following the rejection of motion 63a. Furthermore, Conference instructs the Executive to ballot the membership on both issues to establish the union’s policy.” DONCASTER CARRIED NEC

June 2009 19 5/6/09 15:36:15


The road to Europe Reflections


An anniversary is always an appropriate time for reflection and for considering what can be achieved in the future. I have no doubt that at your 70th anniversary conference there will be much consideration of things past and debate about the way forward. I have not been involved for all your three score years and ten, although at times it seems like it, but I have had the privilege of advising five different National Chairmen on issues central to your Union’s legal health and well being. There have been many times when we have been called upon to mount a challenge to the Prison Service’s actions. I am happy to say that often we have seen either a vindication of the POA’s position or a satisfactory settlement of the dispute by negotiation. Unfortunately, there have also been many occasions upon which I have had the call to get down to the Royal Courts for an appearance before the Emergency Applications Judge, who appropriately enough used to sit in room 101, to instruct Counsel as to why an injunction should not be granted. Usually, the call to attend would be accompanied by unrepeatable instructions from Brian Caton as to what the Judge could do with his injunction. Although my liberal interpretation of the brief may have somewhat detracted from the force of the message, it happily never resulted in Orders for Committal although we have got close at times. Indeed surprisingly, on the one occasion upon which there was a serious attempt by the Prison Service to obtain a Contempt Order, Mr. Justice Eady took the view that the Courts were not the place for settling industrial disputes and refused the Order, suggesting that the Prison Service should get its tackle in order before coming to Court.

ss m 1999;


nd the s

The right to strike. All these issues, while important in their own context, pale into insignificance compared to the decision made in 1993 which ruled that the POA was not a Union because Prison Officers were Constables not workers. Although I was not in court when that decision was made, I was heavily involved in the case of Boddington v Lawton (1994) which confirmed that the POA was not a Union and directly

20 June 2009 20-22 LLW.indd 20

lead to the introduction of s126 to 128 of the CJPO 1994. That Act restored Union status but notoriously removed the right to strike. Since that time, the Union has fought to regain its Trade Union rights. As there was no legal remedy available in the domestic courts, the only way forward was to look outside of the UK jurisdiction and seek redress through the ILO and the European Court. As is well known, the first challenge was in 2005 when the ILO ruled that it was lawful in international law to ban Prison Officers from taking strike action essentially because they are required to carry out the functions of the State. The quid pro quo for the removal of the right to strike should be the provision of effective compensatory measures for dispute resolution that carry the confidence of the workers and which allow disputes in relation to pay and working conditions to be decided by means of independent and binding arbitration. The Government however, does not like truly independent arbitration as is amply demonstrated by the fact that the Union offered to settle the WfM debate by that means - an offer that Jack Straw declined.

Second application to the ILO When the JIRPA came to an end, the Union lodged a further application with the ILO in August 2008. This argued that the Pay Review Body did not fulfil the Government’s obligations and did not carry the confidence of the workers. It also pointed out that the JIRPA was no longer in place and that nothing satisfactory had been offered in its stead, even though s127 had been reintroduced. Although the second application was lodged in August last year and was due to be ruled upon in March, the Government delayed lodging its response until the beginning of that month. When the response was received, John Hendy QC advised that it was better for further submissions to be put in by the POA than to allow the matter to be considered just on the original papers. Regrettably therefore, the matter was not resolved in March. While this delay is galling because it was caused by the Government’s stalling tactics, it is important to remember that the issue of the right to strike and

compensatory measures is a developing area of International Law. One of the reasons for John wanting to put in a further submission, lay in the fact that after the original submission had been made, the ECHR had ruled on a case involving civil servants in Turkey and the findings in that case are relevant to the POA. The further submissions raise these points as well as countering some of the most offensive material submitted by Government.

What next? As an anniversary is a time for both reflecting on the past and looking to the future, where to next? Obviously we will get the view of the ILO shortly, and of course we hope that it will agree that the compensatory measures currently available fall way short of what is necessary. While that will be heartening reassurance, if history is anything to go by it will not result in Government immediately picking up the phone and asking to discuss how to resolve the problem. Regrettably, the ILO’s decisions are not legally binding, just persuasive, and so political pressure will still be needed to force a satisfactory solution. The next step in the legal process after the decision of the ILO, is to await developments. If an issue arises that engages the argument with regard to the inadequacy of the compensatory measures, and is an issue which can be progressed through the domestic courts, then that is the point at which a case can be taken to the ECHR whose decision is binding on the Government. It is a long road, but one well worth pursuing for the benefit of the current and future members of the Union.

Gatelodge 1/6/09 13:47:25


Dear Mr Capstick Today I received a cheque in conclusion of this matter, thanking you for support in everything. Yours sincerely NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

Ms Kponou Thanks for the latest information regarding any future employment I may have.

Dear Beverley Thank you so much for all your help. I would have folded without your support and expertise. It has lifted a great weight off my shoulders. I feel I can now get on with caring for my family and getting on with my job. Again from myself and my family

Although the ride was bumpy from time to time, for both of us, I thank you for all the work you have put into my case – I have appreciated all your efforts. For now, it is good to be able to put the whole thing behind me. Best regards NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

Thanks NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED Dear Karen I am writing to confirmed that I have received the cheque for my award, thank you for all your help and assistance.

Dear Mr Capstick Please will you accept this email for the acknowledgement of receipt of my award, as full and final settlement. At this point I would like to thank you for you help since taking over the case. Thank you again.



Balancing Justice

The Executive call on ZERO tolerance Gatelodge 20-22 LLW.indd 21

June 2009 21 27/5/09 10:44:57


PERSONAL INJURY & CICA DAMAGES RECOVERED 1994 - 2008 These figures are based on the Damages recovered for each calendar year. In 2004 the POA stopped automatically referring CICA Cases to us – since then the Member is given the option of having advice from us once the Initial Award has been made. That explains why the figures from then on have dropped because they only reflect the reduced number of cases we now deal with.





1994 – 1995

£ 663,490

£ 583,287



£ 606,953

£ 327,774

£ 934,727


£ 671,198

£ 507,379




£ 390,457




£ 704,738
















£ 852,295



£ 750,412

£ 458,189








£ 685,682




£ 100,489









£1,744,733 £32,740,905


Personal Injury £117,623



















• £134,000 for a member seriously injured when struck to the head and face by an Inmate armed with a piece of wood. The claim was advanced on the basis that the known violent tendencies of the Inmate were not properly taken into account; • £2,500 for a member who suffered stress due to the length of time taken to complete an Investigation; • £39,000 was awarded to each of three members who suffered stress from systematic bullying; • £2,250 for a member who sustained a psychiatric injury having been handcuffed to an Inmate who had slashed his own neck. This was deemed unnecessary and enforced for a prolonged period. Inadequate post incident care provided; • £195,000 for a member whose career was ended after he slipped on water that had leaked from a mop left out overnight; • £1,500 for a member who sat on a chair which

20-22 LLW.indd 22



Examples of Settlements in March and April 2009

22 June 2009


collapsed jarring his back and exacerbating a pre-existing injury; I hope that these Statistics are of interest and assistance to you. Please let me know if you have any queries. One day I hope your Employers will read and digest them and, having done so, take action that will reduce the figures for Damages. Ignoring your Health & Safety and cutting costs while exposing you to the risk of assault can no longer be acceptable.

In 2002 The Court of Appeal said “....public servants accept the risks which are inherent in their work but, not the risks which the exercise of reasonable care on the part of those who owe them a duty could avoid.” Precisely! Justice for POA Members is not negotiable. Frank Rogers Union Law Department Lees Lloyd Whitley

Gatelodge 27/5/09 10:45:35

Branch News


Colleagues Prisons have received a lot of coverage over the last few weeks, from the ‘Riot’ at Ashwell prison, to the primetime compelling documentary Holloway. Both these laid bare the frustrations, problems and sheer incompetence we are shackled with on a daily basis and what can happen when it goes wrong. Apparently there is something called a ‘court of public opinion’ so let’s use footage shown in the Holloway documentary and put it through a public opinion test. Would the court of public opinion want offenders discharged early with £130+ cash who once discharged went straight to the local drug dealer and was back inside within 30 hours? NO? Would the court of public opinion want a tearful first time offender who was given prison issue clothes/trainers bounding down the landing a couple of days later with the confidence of a lifer in a designer D&G top and designer trainers? NO? Would the court of public opinion want private prisons which operate totally on appeasement to maintain control, sorry profit, or public sector prisons that have had to adopt a similar approach or risk being berated in chief inspectors of prisons reports? NO? Would the court of public opinion want adequate prison officers on duty to enforce and maintain proper discipline, supported by management and an end to the early release scheme, Justice not gimmicks? YES!! The market testing of HMP Birmingham and Wellingborough has just been announced, along with a proposed flat management structure of 19% for all establishments (you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know by

Gatelodge 23-31 branch news.indd 23

‘management’ that will mean white shirts – what is going to happen to these staff?) The NEC’s response is for ALL members to remove their goodwill. We can honestly say that we have never seen such a demoralised workforce ever. How long will it be before this manifests itself in another serious incident because instead of staff ‘going the extra mile’ to keep prisons orderly they just say ‘not interested see someone else’. Anyway, some prison humour, PO Kev Dennis must have balls of crystal because he can see in to the future. Just in case any of Kennet’s staff haven’t heard Kev’s prediction following the rejection of WFM, it goes like this and is based on the film Zulu Warrior. Kev predicts that the POA will engage in battle and fire the first shots; with the Service taking some casualties (if you’re lucky you get the full gun actions to go with the prediction.) The Service re-group and fire back, the POA take many casualties as their shields are made out of cardboard. This continues till the Union is annihilated and Kev is exhausted. ‘Mystic Kev’ gives us another glimpse in to the future, again it’s about WFM. This time it involves chucking bread in to a duck pond. The ducks (the POA) are instructed not to eat but this only last so long and then a feeding frenzy takes place with feathers everywhere. Kev, you either have too much time on your hands or you’re ‘quackers’. Time will tell... Whilst on the theme of ducks, S0/C&R Commander Frankie ‘Fearless’ Baker was caught in a ‘flap’ after being attacked by mother duck and her ducklings. Frank we thought it was chickens that ran? Kennet is just starting the STOP program (which is designed to encourage offenders to break their drug habit.) Crooner Mark Wilson and his co-tutors were recently heard ‘singing’ in the staff room. From what we heard we can fully understand why the course is called STOP…. Deputy Governor Robbie Durgan is living proof that governor’s aren’t mass produced on a production line. Robbie has

a host of trinkets in his office; we couldn’t help but ask why he had a wig on the side of his desk. He told us that when he was an SO in Garth’s detail he would wear the wig when explaining how the unit worked to new staff to see if anyone would say anything. At that time he was very tanned and had a Mexican beard and was known as ‘El Gringo-The (Leave) Knock Back Bandit’ S0 Andy Dent has created a ‘circle of trust’ here but Andy why are you on the outside? Staunch Catholic and POA Committee member Jimmy Lyon is finally using his ‘O’ and ‘A’ level education (woodwork and creative writing if you’re interested) to go for promotion. (With Jimmy’s Masonic connections he should fly through the ranks!!) As these are being submitted Jimmy has just received a horrific ankle injury, Jimmy mate we hope to on the mend soon. If you ever need a new car contact Officer Chris Bolye who got over £4,000 off but still didn’t buy it!! If the service had used Chris we are sure the 22,000 people who voted against WFM wouldn’t have seen through the spin and accepted the deal, saving the Service £35million in the process. Frankland’s Gatelodge author Darren Strefford has just returned from Ohio. He intends returning over the pond for Independence Day (4th of July) this is so he can dress as a French Soldier ‘because the French helped the Americans beat the BRITISH!!’ (This has been confirmed by Risley Prison Officer Dale Holford who is a guru on all things America, Dale even has a Twin Tower tattoo but that’s a secret…) Darren will be enlisting recruits for the Foreign Legion on his return… Viva La Franc… Finally, from the 1st of April 2009 if you are fortunate enough to have a savings account for more than 15 years without a transaction the Government can LEGALLY confiscate this money, but as POA members are fully aware, it’s not the ones who wear tights over their head you need to watch these days. It’s the ones in designer suits and glasses who try to steal our jobs/livelihoods and now savings!!!NORTH WEST


Jack Straw held a web chat on 7th May 2009. As they probably won’t be discussed here is a selection of submissions from Lancaster Farms. “It is not appropriate for people to profit out of incarceration. This is surely one area where a free market certainly does not exist.” - Jack Straw, then Shadow Home Secretary, March 1995. “If there are contracts in the pipeline and the only way of getting the [new prison] accommodation in place very quickly is by signing those contracts, then I will sign those contracts.” - Jack Straw, now Home Secretary, May 1997. Mr Straw, with your latest Introducing the Public Sector Bids Unit I am ashamed that I voted Labour. Are your underlying values and principles dictated by money? When will you realise that prisoners and prisons should not be for private profit and funding cuts, or should I say when did you change your mind? I’m absolutely appalled with your involvement of the prison estate. T.D Bowman. Dear Mr Straw I am a serving Prison Officer and find your recent announcement to market test public prisons deplorable. You state that you will market test failing prisons, however you fail to address the reasons behind them failing. The very reasons that prisons are failing is due to the lack of investment, year on year efficiency savings and the overcrowding problems, you also fail to acknowledge that Prison Managers are responsible - they hold the budget and they introduce the regimes. I find the actions of a so called Labour Government an absolute disgrace. When I and many thousands of Prison Officers voted for you in opposition we did so on the back of your parties’ pre-election pledges and promises.

June 2009 23 1/6/09 11:08:21

Branch News Signpost

Now we are subject to a total u-turn on Labour policy - (where I come from this is called lies). The fore-fathers of Labour would turn in their graves if they could see what this outgoing Labour Government is doing to public servants dealing with the most difficult and dangerous people in our society. To be totally blunt with the party that you represent “You should be ashamed.” Please don’t bother coming to the Unions for support and assistance when you are in opposition because it will not be there! An extremely angry former Labour supporter. - John Hoey. “As a Labour supporter most of my adult life I looked towards the Labour Party as the champion of the working man, proud of its heritage and the selfless people that put the rights and lives of the British people ahead of their own greed and selfishness. Today Mr Straw you are prominent in a party that has betrayed all of its principles, its beliefs and morals where individuals put their own self interest ahead of everything it ever stood for; indeed it has now become more Thatcherite than Margaret herself. Shame on you Mr Straw you have let your people down.” Graeme Cook. So there we have it. Has the fight begun? After to talking to my Birmingham friends it has brought home how this government is determined to punish the professional workers in prisons around the country. There has been talk of savings of £427 million. How do we do this? Is it a step too far? Maybe the introduction of a manager at every conceivable level operational, non-operational, day long meetings, talks, initiatives plans. Would we be any better off without this? Could we cope without them? Who knows? Has it turned into an us verses them stalemate? The prison governor’s refusal to come out on strike and support staff typifies the pin sharp suits they lounge around in on “meetings”. I approached one last week and had a conversation about privatisation. He proudly informed me that he would be better off in a private prison with a car and healthcare insurance and even more money. Not once did he mention the level of care that prisoners would receive or those dangers that staff would face on a day

24 June 2009 23-31 branch news.indd 24

to day basis with minimum staff and limited regimes. Never once were the fears and concerns of the hard working staff with big mortgages and families to feed. Maybe if we all had stuck together through it all we would have been in a better position. Or maybe it’s always been us and them. Shame really. The blame doesn’t lie at the governor’s door though. As John stated the lack of investment year in year out, ramming the jail system to it’s limits with no new prisons and little recruitment and training. Cast your minds back only a few months. And the words Work Force Modernisation. The beautifully named project that our governors stated was the future. The booklets, DVDs the propaganda. I will ask this question again. Why was this such a good deal for the staff? Giving us all pay rises and job prospects? Were the MASSIVE savings not appropriate then?? Of course they were. Is the movement towards market testing punishment? I wonder what they had up their sleeve. We might never know but I can imagine. Can’t you? I could bang on about everything this month, but I don’t want to. I could tell of amusing prison stories but the time is not right. Prisoners should not be for profit. As Jack Straw stated in 1995 market testing should not happen. Then again who would trust a politician? If lying was a crime we would be locking them ALL up. Remember colleagues, you are now fighting for your future. Think of your colleagues in the likes of HMP Birmingham. UNITY IS OUR ONLY STRENGTH. TDB


Hello once more from ye olde kingdom of Morton Hall. Firstly on behalf the jottings scribes we thank you for all the compliments and advice for the

February jottings we submitted. So on that theme we continue with the updates of events of the last few months so sit back and relax… The peasants have revolted and turned their back on the kingdom’s rulers offer of WFM. Who knows what the forthcoming battle will be? But I am sure all peasants will be ready in case of a bullying tactic of the main kingdom rulers …… “pitch forks at the ready peasants”. On the lighter side of our kingdom, I must report a fetish of one of our peasants …he likes to jump off cliffs, bridges and ye old big birds with engines and to land safely he uses this big sheet with strings. However, on his last adventure to the kingdom of Switzerland he jumped off a perfectly good mountain and descended quickly on to the top of a tree which was clinging to the edge of a cliff top. I am led to believe his life flashed before his eyes, until gladly the brave “Swiss mountain rescue” saved him from his doom. Peasant Chappers will no doubt continue to do these loony activities but will someone give him a sat nav and teach him left from right or even point him in the direction of ye olde Spec Savers... Another of our peasants was strutting his stuff towards the gate of the kingdom when all our naughty peasants were banging upon their windows and pointing and waving at him…. well peasant Hamilton thought they were admiring his beauty and acknowledged this with a royalty wave back. Oops, little did he know the naughty peasants were trying to get his attention for someone who was in trouble and needed staff. Luckily all was okay in the kingdom with the incident dealt with by the alertness of others. Obviously Peasant Hammy had his mind on the imminent birth of my, I mean his, baby. (Since the start of writing this some many weeks ago we have heard that the kingdom is to welcome the arrival of their baby girl) Savings are having to be met in the kingdom of MH, however with all the savings that have to be met why on earth are we wasting so many groats on a mural of the Care and Separation unit’s (SEG) wooden wall that surrounds the exercise yard? We are having pictures of creatures that walk this land in far off kingdoms

such as Africa. I dare say the next thing will be the digging up of the concrete floor with a replacement of a sand pit, swings and slide for the naughty peasants to play in. Another total waste of groats are the lovely comfy sofas that have been put in the Naughty Peasants dining hall which has now been renamed Starbucks. These sofas are not to be used for eating their lunch and when they have finished their meal they must leave the vicinity of ye olde Starbucks. so what is the purpose of these sofas? Answers on a postcard please! I believe this is what our ruler wants to see in our Kingdom of Morton and in our ruler’s words He wants us to be running this prison the same way as the kingdom of Ashwell. Best have ye olde tornado team on stand by then! For weeks now we have banged on our village drums that we are no longer a semi-open kingdom. In fact I have no doubt that we don’t select the prisoners to come here, so in the interest of Health and Safety to staff and prisoners let this kingdom me manned (or womanned) accordingly. One last thing on the Kingdom of Ashwell; our C&R instructor known to the kingdom as Bruiser Broadhurst was seen all weekend pacing the corridors with a black bag on his shoulders waiting for the call! He was very upset to say the least of being excluded from the select. Well never mind Bruiser, just accept you did not fit the criteria! So to end this small edition it is only fair to tell the story of one of our kingdom SO’s who just got married, ring any Bell(y)? Not everyone is probably aware of his little escapade on his cruise aboard ye olde Mary Rose. Well to cut a very long story short a lovely day was had by both and many ye olde rum had passed their lips when they both retired to their ship’s quarters to consummate the marriage. SUDDENLY his lordship felt a sudden urge to go to the toilet so walking sideways and two steps forward and three back (not bad since the sea was calm) he managed to go through the door to the bathroom. On closing the door and walking towards the toilet he suddenly realised he was actually in the corridor! By this time he was desperate to go but couldn’t

Gatelodge 9/6/09 11:56:53

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work out which room he had come out of. He thought to himself that there must be a toilet nearby so in his white undies he rushed in search of the blessed white pan. However, all was not well in the bowel movement. The following day they both left their cabin to see a trail of brown footprints which went into their cabin and towards their cabin toilet. No one knows how they got there but the pants were never seen again. Belly great to see you happy once more from all your friends and colleagues we wish you many years of happiness Lastly it would be unforgiving of this scribe’s team not to comment on our kingdom’s leader’s views of prison after his recent trip to Auschwitz. After a brief description of his trip he goes on to say: The fact that such evil can grow from such familiar places made me reflect on how important it is that prisoners are seen as individuals and how important it is to run prisons with humanity and decency”. This little insight into Auschwitz sparked off a lot of reaction to this committee and even got an insight into one of our member’s recent trips to Butlins Holiday Camp. This person also reflected on how similar our kingdom was with such a holiday village and wonders if we will ever get to wear the famous red coats within our kingdom. Other comments were emitted for what might have turned into legal reasons. So to conference we head with the excitement that normally prevails this time of year. Let’s hope it is a good conference that will see answers and a clear state of unity as we head further into the oblivion. Regards MHScribes team J


It is May 2009 and today is the 30th anniversary of the election of Margaret Thatcher and 30 years since Wymott was born.

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Those of you who lived through her reign will either kick the nearest moveable object or stand to attention, swelled with respect for the “Iron Lady”. The thing is; whatever your perspective, most people will be able to give a heart felt appraisal of her performance in government. “You knew what you got with Maggie”, virtually sums up the common mood. But what does that mean in respect to a similar 12 year anniversary celebrated by the Labour party this month. Maggie had core values which she stuck to throughout her watch. Low taxes to create prosperity, less state, more independence and reward for personal endeavour, to name but a few. These policies although on paper simple enough, hurt a lot of people, yet created prosperity for many too. Now, New Labour 12 years ago stood for social justice. Inclusion and prosperity for all. Some can say that things have been pretty good over the past decade, others kick the cat. Globally things have been good until now yet, whallop!! A £200 billion debt. A global catastrophe strikes on the back of greed. Tony Blair bails out just in time, leaving Gordon distancing himself from the mayhem with his moral compass dangling from his neck. Jack Straw stood in a conference and many of us remember it clearly, “There will be no prisons for profit under a Labour government”. Now the Conservatives were clear too, they wanted private independent prisons to run against the public sector to put pressure on the public sector. No ambiguous fluffed up parliamentary releases. Maggie and her gang gave no quarter to the POA because unions were a collective organisation which didn’t fit in with the conservative model. Jack Straw says “We will restore the trade union rights for the POA”. I know this is a long winded history lesson but I think some of you will be getting the point by now. The mood across Wymott is that of confusion, bitterness and anger. “Where do we go from here” I heard someone say recently. Never has this prison had such an officer to prisoner ratio. In 1993 the jail was virtually destroyed with a much greater ratio of staff to

prisoners. “Prisons were run badly in them days!” So Prisons are better run now? What about Ashwell recently, was that run badly? The weighted score card says its one of the best in the country. Will it be market tested now? If not it must be an admittance by the Government that the prison system is now run on chance. Wymotts staff are confused! We control this huge population day and night with limited and reducing resources and still we are threatened year after year with market testing and privatisation. This is from the man who stood in front of thousands of prison officers and declared his resentment to the conservative policies of the nineties. Policies which he now champions under the banner of reform. Our pay does not reflect our performance and the attack on the workforce is an abomination. The rejection by the Prison Officers and Governors Associations for the well financed WFM was a milestone. It proved that prison staff are not ‘shallow’ and put the interests of the public and their families first. (By the way SMT, £200 would not be enough money for us to be locked in a jail full of swine flu!) All parties know that the thinning of frontline staff will be a disaster. Jack Straw will be peering out of his second home in London staring at the northern sky praying for a miserable summer. But we still remain; Wymott celebrates its own 30th anniversary this year. Yet, our anniversary is just another milestone. Maggie, your anniversary reminds us of the end of an era. Jack and Gordon well, look lads, save yourself some money and hold your ‘do’ with Maggie’s gang; you’ve got so much in common there’ll be plenty to talk about. Maybe even save some money on expenses too.

there will be a celebration or two, the chair and secretary of Durham’s Benidorm Budgees have offered their services. However, the governor is still not sure what would happen when we are let loose, the governor knows our credentials; three tours of duty in Benidorm successfully completed by all and sundry, more of that later, so come on Alan bite the bullet and invite us on the committee, what can you lose? It was of great interest to see the result of the ballot on WFM, but what were the NEC thinking of advising us to accept this garbage? We have put a motion to Conference to find out who actually voted for this. To us at Durham it is important, we would like to hear their views as it is clear that they don’t meet ours here, so come on NEC, here is your opportunity to have your say before the election season comes up, because I for one will need some persuading to vote for you. I can also confirm there is no truth in the rumour that the national chair was been measured for his robe. “Arise Lord Moses of Swans,” doesn’t sound right, does it? On a final note to this, I sent my local MP an email about some national event not associated with prisons. However, his answer surprised me as after writing about the issue I had contacted him about, he continued that he had spoken to brother Jack “I don’t call him that,” and he hoped the result of the ballot went the right way as he didn’t like what he had heard from “Jack” about WFM2. YES 2! So let’s wait and see what happens, but I think it is just as well we voted in such numbers, hopefully he will stay away for a time.


NORTH EAST DURHAM It is welcome to all from Durham, we haven’t featured for some time so I have decided to take up the mantle of the jottings so welcome to all new members of staff and best wishes to all that have left for pastures new. It is Durham’s bicentennial this year and I have heard on the grapevine

Colleagues, Welcome once again to the Frankland Jottings. On this occasion I am not going to welcome all new staff and do the usual stuff, because well, quite frankly sometimes I don’t know why we bother.

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It takes over two months before what we write actually gets published. And in the end who cares? Like any other good union rep, one way or another we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Although it may avoid comments like… “Hey! Dude, I noticed that there wasn’t any Frankland jottings, what’s happening!” Cause if you give a sh*t you should maybe bother to ask for a mention or two about the things you want to hear. Or is that too much trouble or effort? Or you could just leave it to the everybody else who can be bothered and then moan because it’s not what you wanted. Sound familiar? But then, that’s what being a member of a Union is all about. isn’t it?. Moan moan, moan but what are you going do about it? As I write this we are all responding to the news of expanding market tests and the implementation of WFM. And while its all very good telling us all what we should do and what’s right, the harsh reality starts to hit, as if this was never going to happen! I’m just waiting to see how long it will be before we all start to blame the Union. Because that is what always happens. If I have heard the phrase ‘What’s the POA going to do about this or that’ a thousand times, it’s one too many. The members of the POA are the POA. And every time members do what they think is best, they do so with what is best in mind for them, sometimes as an individual and not as a member. And then they try to wash away the blame through interpretation. “But I didn’t think that’s what that meant” Take responsibility for your own actions. I will say this, for the benefit of all managers. Manage as you would want to be managed and not so that you can benefit from the next bonus or the next manager of the year award. Talking about management, reminds me that the word is meant to convey a unique and fundamental feeling of staff being managed, i.e. nurtured, supported, lead and dare I say INSPIRED.

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Do I speak for the majority of staff when I say we are bereft of management? We are left to muddle through each day on the basis of who is the manager of the day lottery. Good question. Who is it? Anyone? Its probably OSCAR 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 15.... And if I hear “it works well at HMP........” again my brain will probably explode. On a positive note. On 12 August last year Andy Balmer was assaulted by prisoner McDonald in the SEG unit. This was referred to the police who presented it to the CPS. They in their wisdom decided NOT to proceed as it was not in the public interest. For once our senior management got involved and successfully pushed the police and CPS to prosecute. Andy had his days in court on 16th and 17th March 2009. Despite the number of staff involved (SO and four from Long Lartin plus four from Frankland for the escort, with four OSG driver navigators, and SO plus seven as witnesses,) we were fully supported by the management and looked after very well by the care team. The decision to proceed resulted in Mr McDonald receiving a six month sentence and Andy being awarded £100 compensation, his face lit up at the prospect of buying the witnesses a pint as thanks for their support, until the magistrate pointed out that the money had to come from Mr McDonald and that he had up to three years to pay. Still it was the thought that counts. Anyone, any idea just how many radios can be on the net at any one time? I think Frankland is going for a record, I think the only one who hasn’t got a radio is the prison cat. Although he probably has, call sign PUSSY1. It is rumoured that all of the visiting IMB will also be issued with radios. You might say that would make them into independent radio stations. The chaplaincy is equally not immune to this latest craze. Although of course any of their call signs would have to be Papa Charlie (PC) to avoid any offence or religious intolerance.

Can all staff be aware that if you delete a number from your mobile phone (for example, a colleagues number) then they can’t ring you again or send you a text! Or so Mick Ramsey thinks! We have been asked to put Officer Dave Thompson (F Wing) in this month’s jottings, so here you go, Dave is now mentioned in the jottings. SO Tinmouth whilst searching for an officer couldn’t find him on the “Electrical Roll!” Officer A: As you owe me a shift could you do this Saturday for me please? Officer B: Oh I have a lot on, I won’t be able to do it, sorry, I just have a lot on, what with going shopping etc. A few days later: Officer A: I thought you said you had a lot on last Saturday? So why did you do the constant watch in the healthcare? You know that you owe me a shift? Officer B: Oh, sorry, but I thought you already knew that I was selfish and I only think about myself! I’m one of the few staff that slipped through the net to get into the prison service (by God there are a few of them) and I am out for myself and myself only! Officer A: OK, thanks for explaining that to me. For those staff who find that they can’t park on the double yellow lines anymore (even though there are spaces a short drive up the car park) then there will be more disabled car parking spaces made available for you all soon. We are not saying you are too lazy to walk from the main car park (even if you were to make that short drive up) but the Governor has looked into funding for a shuttle bus to take you from the car park to the gate. This simply cannot be done, so it would be cheaper if he purchased plastic passes for you all. I DON’T LIKE MY DETAIL, SO I WILL TAKE TWO DAYS OFF WITH A MYSTERIOUS BUG THAT I WON’T MENTION TO ANYONE ON MY RETURN TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THEY NEVER NOTICED THAT I WAS OFF, HENCE TO REDUCE ANY FEELINGS I HAVE OF GUILT.

For those staff who feel that they are not valued on the wing then the best time to see your SO is not when it is a quiet moment with the SO in his office, but when your SO is Oscar 2 and he is waiting to collate his numbers. The SO would much prefer you to moan about your detail i.e. “I’m double shops on an A shift today” than to give him your workshop numbers. Frankland will be purchasing some ex-military equipment soon in the form of special viewing goggles. These goggles are for officers to wear and it helps them to look at their own details and no one else’s. Which member of staff recently was found hiding inside the X-ray machine to make sure she was first to ‘box on, box off ’, as she didn’t want to take the short walk up the corridor to help count the ordinary prisoners?

Tip of the week If there is a tea time patrol going, always volunteer to do it even if you struggle to recognise that your OWN tea time patrols need covering ALL year round. It has been revealed recently that the pilot who landed his plane safely in the Hudson River, New York, is in fact an ex-prison officer. I mean where else could you hone skills like that to perfection other than sitting in the woodmill? In recent morning meetings it has been brought to staff ’s attention that they must collect their new epaulettes, we must ask you to put away selfish thoughts of going home to your family after E and M shifts and go collect them, please feel free to come in early for your L shifts to collect them as well. On the subject of the epaulettes, apparently the shiny new material they are made from enables work to slide off the shoulders even faster, meaning you don’t even have to slope your shoulder anymore…Do people do that? We hear you cry. Answers on the back of a tambourine. We would like to quash the rumour that they were bought from a Salvation Army surplus store, HOWEVER the rumour about the formation of the epaulette police appears to be true…... (sigh!) hear we go again! As most of you are aware the

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staff rotation has now taken place, in scenes reminiscent of the war room in “Blackadder Goes Forth”, PO’s and governors moved tiny model prison officers around a map of the battlefield/prison (were there two particular officers who volunteered their services for this job?). A shortage of small models meant some had to be substituted with POTATOES, these POTATOES had just come out of the oven, and these POTATOES were very HOT. Who you may ask took the role of the BARKING MAD General Melchett? Answers on the back of a HOT POTATO. To those of you who got your move, congratulations. To those of you who didn’t, we are sure there were good reasons (even if no one got back to you to explain them). And to those of you who were dug out of your very deep bunkers with the aid of large quantities of dynamite it could be worse….. You could have got the TOP WINGS. On a TOTALLY UNRELATED SUBJECT this months Quote is…. One volunteer is better than ten pressed men. At this point in the proceedings let us mention those poor souls who only have to move landings. From now on there will be counselling available and even a Dora the Explorer backpack to help them on their way. Leas Barclay and Whingley will be offering a 30 minute free consultation on the legalities of this. Due the ongoing credit crunch and the shortage of pound coins, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has decided to close the sunbed token machine in the mess. Frankland will be offering first aid to those pale staff who will suffer from shock because of this. On the subject of the staff mess, a congratulations is in order for a security governor who thwarted a near terrorist attack on the mess recently. Whilst doing his rounds he noticed what he thought were flames due to the flickering yellow lights through the mess window. As he stood upon an upturned bucket to confirm his suspicions that the mess was on fire, he contacted one of many ex-SAS staff who work amongst us and together they all stormed the mess and apprehended the flashing one armed bandit. The

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investigation is ongoing and for now the bandit will be located at the far side of the mess away from any windows and will be switched off when not in use. “Are you on a two day escort or is that your lass?” asked Officer Dave Mattless of Officer Ritchie Tait and his wife. Apparently, one weekend recently, Ritchie Tait and his wife were staying in a hotel in York for a quiet break when they bumped into Davie Mattless and Kev Hughes and their wives. Ritchie would like to thank Davie as he had a very quiet weekend as his wife never spoke to him for the rest of the weekend and he was told that he is not allowed to do anymore two day escorts thanks to Dave! It was interesting to watch the recent documentary on HMP Holloway and how the staff there do an excellent job working in a difficult environment. It was rumoured that another ITV film crew were scheduled to film at Frankland but once they had visited staff tearooms and centre offices they thought it was safer to stay in the Helmand Province. There was a good turn-out of staff at the recent Wellbeing Day in the gym and it was rumoured that some of those grafters amongst us had to be revived just before they had their blood pressures taken! For those staff who struggle to go through the Delta Kilo gate when they are loaned out to go and work up yonder, soon there will be wheelchairs, crutches, walking sticks and stretchers available at the DK gate to help them with their journeys. This will help them to carry out their tasks of working with prisoners up the top end… just like they do at the bottom end! Same job, at different ends of the prison. There are also rumours that Newcastle Airport may loan us their moving walkway to replace the current walkway. There is no risk assessment needed in the reading of this part of the jottings. Quote of the month “I don’t do Novembers!”

“Selfish Rostering” Rumour has it that the Quantum Budget for new terminals has gone through the roof. SOs will soon be issued with laptops to enable them

to choose their shifts wherever they maybe, either work, home, or the pub. Here is a conversation heard at the gate: OSG 1: Have you seen OSG 2? OSG 3: Have you not heard? His daughter has been rushed into hospital to give birth, so his wife had to go with her and so he has had to stay with his grandchildren. OSG 1: But he’s an early start! And now to mention a few things about myself to prove I am not as perfect as my colleagues around me. Yes it was me in the store room the other week looking for toilet rolls for inmates whilst Jimmy Turner attended an alarm bell. Also, on a recent hospital escort I was mistaken for a car park security guard by the taxi driver that took myself, Scott Coates, Peter Crawford and an inmate to the hospital. I sat behind the taxi driver all the way there! Has anyone heard Steve Wigham mention recently that he was bitten by a Meerkat? What’s the betting that soon one of our colleagues who work amongst us has been bitten by something bigger and better? Namely a sabre toothed tiger that has come out of extinction! The jottings would like to announce the winner of this year’s prestigious Easter Bonnet award which goes to Officer Glen Skinner! On a recent hospital escort he had to get gowned up and put on a hat. Unfortunately Glen tied up the strap around his chin much to the amusement of the professional medical staff who thought it best to wear theirs properly! At the time of writing these jottings, the details for the new online detailing system have been produced and just to put you all at ease, yes you can still view other people’s details other than your own! We don’t know the full details yet but apparently you can get the computer to print off a pie chart or bar chart which will show you how many times someone else has had reports when you think you have been in the Woodmill too many times etc! Rumour is the re-profiling team have spent so long on their latest

task that a secondary group has been set up to re-profile the reprofile team! My understanding is the POA have been called in to mediate between the two groups. I would just like to point out that it is not just Steve Jackson and myself that write these jottings as there are “ghostwriters” who prefer to remain in the background. These “ghostwriters” range from Governors to officers to the prison cat! All contributions gratefully accepted Steve Jackson Darren Stafford

WALES & WEST ERLESTOKE Hello from Erlestoke. I would like to take the opportunity to announce the retirement from his position as Branch Chair of Bill (is that a new stain on me shirt) Gillingham after many years of, on occasion single headedly, running the show here! I know he had his critics, but for my money, I found him to be both knowledgeable and supportive, and am grateful for his continued support during the initial stages of my appointment! Welcome to all and any new arrivals to the firm, and I am encouraged by how many new bods are keen to support and get involved with unionism generally. Membership is growing at a healthy rate as uncertainty bites, a common occurrence in times of economic downturn, or a glowing endorsement of my capabilities (ahem!) Relations between us and them are currently good, hope that doesn’t go against the grain nationally, but I expect it probably does! My thanks to the Chair of the Verne prison for inviting me in my capacity as area health and safety advisor to attend their establishment for discussion on accommodation, and for showing me round and introducing me to other areas and staff within the nick! Hope your issues are resolved, but I doubt that is possible with the current intransigence you seem to face! If I can be of any other service to you please let me know (that goes for any of the establishments that fall within the Wales and South West area).

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Finally, I look forward to meeting other delegates etc. at the next national conference in May 09 as I represent Erlestoke for the first time as chair, whilst trying to hold down Geordie (where’s the bar) Hume from his one man crusade to kick start the economy by supporting the Bass/Burton Wood brothers! Bye for now Alan Jones


Greetings to our members in the prison estate from Lewes, we write this as the first sign of summer is in the air in early May, however the weather is just about the only positive thing we can comment on at this time, more of that later.

New members We would like to welcome all new members to the Lewes Branch of the POA, please feel free to contribute to the work of your union in any way you feel able, your help will always be welcomed and appreciated. If you are reading this and you are not a member of the POA please feel free to talk to your colleagues who are members, or any member of the Branch Committee about the benefits of being a union member, we are aware that some newer members of staff may have been missed on your first week at Lewes, whilst this is regrettable it is entirely down to lack of time allocated to the Branch Committee that allows us to see all new members of staff and introduce ourselves and the work of the union. Please don’t think that we don’t care whether you are a member, as nothing could be further from the truth, we need you to be a member of the Lewes POA and you need to be a member of your union, please see any committee member for an application form.

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Suspensions We have had a number of suspensions of late and the workload of the committee appears to increase with every passing month, as well as all the usual business of representation, staff who are subject to disciplinary investigation require the full attention of the committee as is only correct, however with the ongoing WFM Mark 2 we are stretched to the limit, please be supportive of your fellow members who are or have been subject to suspension and/or disciplinary investigation, if you can not think of anything practical you can do then do not add to an already stressful time for your colleagues by joining in with gossip and rumour, remember next week, it could be you. Those of you who are now back at work we hope you are managing to move on and put it all behind you, but if you need the help of the union we will be there, every time.

your own words back down your throat PRIVATE PRISONS ARE “MORALLY REPUGNANT” AND MR STRAW, SO ARE YOU! We are now taking limited action along with all other Branches and by the time this is published anything could have taken place, the time has come to STAND TOGETHER and FIGHT, not next month, not next year but NOW, I hope by the time you are reading this we can all be proud of our actions whatever the outcome. We wish all our members on long term sick a speedy recovery and hope you will be back soon; we are only a phone call away if you need anything Take care everyone and STAY UNITED. The Rook’s Nest


WFM Mark 2 After a few quiet weeks on the WFM issue we all knew it was coming, after seeing their sad attempt to bribe us rejected by the majority of staff from Governing Governors through to all uniformed grades the Government have decided to try to implement as much of WFM as they can, and as a punishment for all being very naughty the Privatisation of the Prison Service is now full speed ahead, the very sad but not unexpected news that Birmingham and Wellingborough are to be market tested is deplorable, it could have been Lewes, it could have been any Branch and it may be tomorrow, therefore it is OUR FIGHT, regardless of where we work. Mr Straw, your fellow MPs are claiming obscene amounts of money for second homes, for bath plugs and porn channels but your Government can not properly fund a decent public prison service, your only answer is staff cuts and privatisation, no doubt when your political career is over you will take up your seat on the board of Group 4 or some other privateer, it is with regret that I have to shove

Hello again from the USS Chelmsford, an intergalactic class B Starship, currently roaming around the Chelmsford nebular. Constantly under attack, not only from the dark void of NOMS, but from within the ship as well. A lot’s happened since our last entry in the ship’s log. No doubt a lot will have happened before this entry gets in too, we would have no doubt been stitched up, dropped in it, back stabbed, slashed and badgered and bullied, but it ain’t all bad! The summer’s here so the leave lottery will start. With that in mind please forgive me if I miss anyone or anything out. I’d like to send a get well soon message to all our crew members that are off sick at present and to tell them to only re-board the ship when they are fully fit and not before. We’ve also had a few members of staff that have jumped ship and some before they were pushed. I won’t go into politics and the ins and outs but needless

to say the sugar jar in the captain’s cabin hasn’t been touched in ages, it’s been interviews coffee no sugar for a few and don’t even think about asking for a hobnob. We’d also like to welcome all the new members of staff who have embarked on our merry ship with high hopes of job satisfaction and being made to be part of a welloiled team, and with a little glint in the eye. I don’t know if it’s me but they look so young and fresh faced. Eager, committed and enthusiastic – but give it a couple of months and that should’ve been knocked out of you by the ship’s head-shed. Talking of that, I thought we were supposed to be cutting down on managerial grades but we seem to have a ‘head’ of this and the ‘head’ of that and all over the ship little stubby fingers are hard at work making new initiatives, policies and strategies. Wouldn’t it be nice if the brain train once in a while saw how most of these little initiatives’ polices and strategies’ actually impacted on daily life on our little spaceship? Its okay implementing things but has anyone actually done a feasibility study as to how, where and when you are supposed to get the time to do all these fantastic great ideas along with all the mountains of paperwork that one has to do? Well, it looks like a someone has made a monumental cock-up with reference to the leave dished out on this ship and as ever it’s the poor down trodden miniscule screw that has to bear the brunt. On a recent trip into the detail office to look at the leave booking folder I noticed that the months of June, July and August were missing and I was informed that no leave was allowed to be booked during this time and some ad hoc leave might have to be cancelled. That’s nice, you book leave, you get it granted, you book a flight and hotel, pay in advance, then you bend over and get rooted. But let’s see if this comes to fruition. Investors in People, yeah right. Maybe one day during the morning mother’s meeting someone might have the audacity to actually ask what’s going on in this place. And to actually have the nerve, guts and courage to say ‘No, that won’t

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work’. I think hands go up in the morning meeting more times than at a French ballot to strike meeting. Anyway I digress. Currently the ship is running on condition red with our shields at maximum due to an imminent attack from the scandal, sleaze and slander continuum. This is after we’ve just repelled an attack from the dreaded WFM! We did take a few casualties on that attack with Steve Thorpe and oyster bowl cannon both looking like Goldie-locks after she’d had her porridge half inched. Anyway as for scandal, it was attacked with photon torpedoes ordered from the bridge, but you can never keep a good scandal down and our ship’s hull integrity was damaged. Sleaze and slander have been making prolonged and relentless attacks on a daily basis. As this goes to print the ship’s computer has been sending insecure and unencrypted messages back and forth in relation to the ship’s log located in the transporter room, where certain members of the crew have been placed in captain’s naughty book for transporting off the ship early. Look as I might I don’t seem to be able to find a late off ship’s log. It is getting clear that we need a new intergalactic translator on this ship because some people seem to think that the words ‘swings’ and ‘roundabouts’ mean something. Look lets clear this up. If a member of the crew can be penalised for going off early or coming in late then at least have the common decency to give them time when they’re late off. Come on officer of the day, have the guts to say all shifts + whatever and none of this its swings and roundabouts kak. Anyway it’s bantered about the ship that in the crew’s rest room they intend to install a pool table. Nice, just what you want at lunch time when you’re trying to get all the noise of the ships daily grind out of your head and to relax and watch the news is two screws with a stick in their mitts whacking pool balls about the room like demented banshees arguing about two shots. Personal opinion says how about a canteen that sells food? Edible food at a reasonable price and in date

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would be nice. We’re not talking Gordon Ramsay. Just a toaster or a sandwich maker or even a George Forman grill and a boiler would be nice. Anything is better than the so called food replicates located in the heart of the ship that eat your shekels, steal your change and poisons you. Also, it’s come to the attention of the POA that we have a chocolate thief amongst us? Someone has eaten a box of Help the Heroes chocolates. We know it was Crock Carter, it was the chocolate round his gob that gave him away and that little ‘I didn’t do it’ grin all over his Chevy Chase. Once again I would like to say a big hello to the engine room boys, they always greet you with a smile and a hearty hello, how are you, a yes no problem, we can fix that, just let me see if the right person for that job is on hand. Works, love em. I would also like to say hello to our security department and in particular to our SST who can be compared to a bank of knowledge – it’s just a pity they’ve lost the combination. The light’s on but no one’s home. Over in our medical facility things seem to be ticking over where each day is filled with karma, empathy, love and a touch of what we call teamwork and togetherness. It’s a bitchy free zone is our health care. Poor Dave Horspool our resident head scab lifter looks as stressed as Hitler on D Day and was last heard uttering ‘wait till I get a Tazer’. Colin Mace in the ship’s kitchen was also heard muttering under his breath about the nutritional value of sausages and how you can never have enough of them, and how the kitchen seem to go through loads of them. But he doesn’t know how? Well I suppose I will have to close now but I will leave you with my nomination for crew member of the month and that has to go to Trev the Rev Woolley with fifteen minuets gone, seven red entry’s, one sacking and a nicking. Trev, you will start on my first whistle. Contenders, don’t even bother. Before I go I would like to wish our brethren who transferred a hello and you’re still remembered. Kirkham for being older than his

date’s dad Pedly and his pet fly. Phil Johnson for the push in the gatelock. Sue Brown. Oh viper one and her sweet cutting tones on communications, and everyone else who has retired but gets the Gatelodge – thinking of you, lucky lucky people. Mickey B.


Well I left it for as long as I can, I can’t take it anymore, nobody wants to take over jottings so it’s been left to abuilt next door. As of about January 2010 we will be HMP and YOI Littlehey, we’re getting 480 of the little rascals. The plan is that half of the staff who work at Littlehey will go to the YOI, about 30 have volunteered, another 30 or so are still required, it remains to be seen how they will be picked. The point is in 2010 we will have two prisons with a lot of new (or detached duty!) staff, the experienced staff will be spread very much thinner. Those experienced staff and the committee are going to be very busy supporting the new officers and of course those with a little time in will suddenly find themselves I/C of wings and in situations they thought they would not have to deal with for a few years yet, I/C wings and escorts etc. These are our first jottings for a while and I know lots of issues surrounding the new build will be cropping up soon so I won’t bang on about it now. The other big news is that Littlehey has it’s very own rock band STENCHPIPE. Yes you read it right, please don’t ask, I don’t know. The point is they are building up a very big following and local hostelries are very keen to book them, you can check them out on YouTube. I know

the band members are reveling in all the attention, so well done to SPIDER (Tony Clarke – vocals and guitar), BASHER (Steve Burnham - drums and shoulders), MARCO PEPPERONI (Chris Hall - bass and bad attitude) and THE BROW (Gary Hudson - lead guitar and vocals.). As it has been a while since there have been any jottings from us loads of staff have come and gone, so welcome to the following: Officers Bonfield, Flannigan, Mcullum, Bailey, Lee, DeMatteis, Mcleod, Bonney, Doherty, Tugwell and Webb. A big farewell to Pete Milner, Laurie Hunt, Simon Mason, Chris Howard and JBC, I apologise to anybody that has been missed off this list, I do it from memory alone. I would also like to send all our best wishes to Sharon Bennett, who, as I write this is in hospital having a lung removed, get well soon Sharon and we’ll see you when you’re good and ready. By the time this article appears we will be saying goodbye to Alan Edwards, a great loss to Littlehey and one of the very few who wasn’t afraid to speak out, good luck luck Alan and enjoy all the golf. As I alone put pen to paper there is a price to pay as there always is, I will use these jottings to mention the various issues I believe in, they will be of a left wing nature for which I make no apologies, I stand by every statement. Talking of which I would like to take this opportunity to thank those staff I see around the jail that still wear the ‘Justice For Columbia’ badges as their POA badge of choice, it gladdens the heart. For those that are interested, from Jan 09 to the end of March 09 13 trade unionists have been executed in Columbia, the most recent being a teachers trade union rep who had the audacity to campaign for teachers to be paid the back pay they were owed. I know many of you believe that we should concentrate on issues at home and not worry about problems elsewhere, I believe workers should stand together, they look for and offer support where ever they can whether that be at home or abroad. Other workers experiences, where ever they may

June 2009 29 27/5/09 11:11:28

Branch News Signpost

be, show what can happen if you do not continue the fight against the loss of any rights. I will not be mentioning much about governors, we have to adapt every two or three years to a new Governor and his or her team who arrive and impose their personalities on the jail as they continue their personal climb up the promotional ladder. In the meantime, crisis management is the order of the day. There are not enough staff, (I don’t care what the profiles say), we concentrate on pointless targets, continue to star rate prisons, constantly cut the budget, benchmark and market test, it’s all just very wrong – there, that wasn’t much was it, under the circumstances.. That being said I would like to say well done to the following:The OSGs, for plodding on in the gate and correspondence etc despite being short handed with loads of pressure, to the wing staff and SOs, especially when you’re one of the few or the only regular on the wing (make sure you do your Time Team, Dream Team scheme thingy !) To the OMU for just being gorgeous and hilarious despite constant ex-deployment, to the reception staff (and E-Wing staff) for performing miracles to get staff off on time despite new receptions arriving at silly times on Friday afternoons. To the Ops staff for being so flexible, working everywhere with no responsibility and shrugging your shoulders and saying ‘I dunno, I’m an Early shift’, of course the CSU (seg) and gym staff who are so similar you can barely tell them apart, well done everyone, it’s been a crap year. The next couple of years are going to be a real test but we will get through, smiling as ever. So, what will replace WFM? How will the government get us back for rejecting all their well thought out plans? (Benchmarking maybe) How many times will we re-profile at Littlehey? Will Stenchpipe play at the O2 Arena? Those of you who have read my inane ramblings in the past will remember that I always ended with a quote, this will continue to be the case, I do this to remind people that there are those who think

30 June 2009 23-31 branch news.indd 30

differently, there are those whose lives do not revolve around The Apprentice, Big Eastenders On Ice, nice cars and personal gain, another world really is possible, yes even without The Apprentice. Talking of those who think differently, I recently saw an actor interviewed who, when asked why he took part in certain campaigns, said “It’s so that I can look my children in the eye and say that I did my bit to try and change things.” As I am about to send this off, the news is breaking about market testing at Wellingborough and Birmingham, also WFM being applied to new and promoted staff, staff must be united on this, I know it can be inconvenient and difficult but not as difficult and inconvenient as the consequences of losing this battle. I leave you with a quote ‘IF YOU TREMBLE INDIGNATION AT EVERY INJUSTICE THEN YOU ARE A COMRADE OF MINE’. Support each other and keep smiling. WELLRED


ram-raid. Where to carry out this raid was a bit confusing to our J, well it was until she got home. She placed her foot on the accelerator instead of the brake and rammed here own house. J came out of the incident unharmed I am glad to say, as for the car, don’t ask! Thanks to her hubby for this information.

Sunday 22 March, 04.45 am SJ from the mess (Whitemoor’s answer to a cross between Can’t Cook & Won’t Cook and Roy Chubby Brown) turned up at the Gate on the 22/03/09 at 04.45 to pick up the mess keys. She had put her clocks forward one hour, and thinking it was 05.45 turned up to start cooking. The clocks didn’t don’t go forward until the following weekend!!! She was turned away, swearing and cursing, as she does, and told to come back in one hours time.

Leave Slips We now have a new leave chit, anyone with an A level in logic, please contact us to show us just how to fill the things out.

Broomstick for sale One broomstick gathering dust for sale, please apply Admin 1 corridor Whitemoor.

Efficiency savings Distribution List Sorry folks but several articles have had to be dropped from the Gatelodge this month at the last minute (Bottle Job and Pension Protection Scheme), if you would like to know why, just check the distribution list for this magazine and see who gets it.

MM & MT Whitemoor’s Statler and Waldorf strike again. Anyone wanting to know details of where to park in London when on a escort contact MM or MT on the gate for details, it involves a one off payment.

JC (ECR) We have an all time first here at Whitemoor. JC travelling home after work decided to carry out a

A certain wing based PO sent out recorded delivery letters at a cost of £4.65 each to staff on his own wing. Not only that, but they were on duty at the time he put the letters in the post room to them! If that’s not efficiency savings, we don’t know what is. The Dinosaur

LONDON AND KENT COOKHAM WOOD A warm welcome to all our members (and to the non-member who reads it, we know who you are!) By the time we go to print we will only be days away from our audit. I think we all know the importance of this audit; there are plenty of people in high ivory towers who are ready to knock us so let’s prove them wrong. Everybody has worked hard in our

first year in the juvenile estate and we all know that it hasn’t been easy, especially with those outrageous initial ideas that our previous incumbents had, but with the current SMT I think you would all agree things are now more in our favour. As for the staff on the ‘shop floor’ well they are continuing to give their colleagues reasons to laugh. Lorraine Lyons and Julie Watts decided to be posh for a day and went to The Ritz for tea. After drinking too much tea Lorraine had to answer the ‘call of nature’ and in her haste to get back to the cucumber sandwiches she made the fatal mistake of not checking her attire. The result was that she paraded around The Ritz with her skirt tucked into her knickers! As the saying goes, “you can take the girl out of Medway but…..” Sharon Roots, Ian, Jonesy and Marie Garay went to Greenwich for the day to sample some nautical history. After many fact finding visits to the local hostelries Sharon suddenly was struck down by total blindness. The condition continued and caused Sharon great distress but luckily Ian used his great skills to calm the situation and bring it to an end. Well done to Jonesy for her courage when separating two boys fighting in the mess. With little thought for her own safety she stood between them, removed the weapon, calmed the situation and also took orders over the phone for two egg banjos! Jez Fisher filled his car up with petrol without realising that he had his wife’s lacy bra caught on the back of his trousers (We know it wasn’t Jez’s because the cup size was too small for him). Have you heard about David Simpson taking home Bart Quintana’s coat? (two names that are made for each other) Nathan Manley went onto a hospital escort to a ‘clinic’. He returned looking very pale and swearing that he would be more careful where he put it in future. Sorry for the small entry this time (story of my life) but the gossip has dried up, so come on, grass your mates up and let the world share in their stupidity. SOMK

Gatelodge 27/5/09 11:12:28

Branch News Signpost


The work here continues with various changes being proposed by management under the CIP procedure. Codes of discipline are being well defended with good results from the local committee. A recent branch meeting over the threats of market testing and privatisation had a large attendance, with most members understanding the fight that may be ahead of us. A thank you also goes to those

branch members who are not starting work until their correct shift times, I hope the resolve on Payment Plus will be equally strong. A recent employment tribunal ruling made a very clear point on the matter of risk assessments and pregnancy, written notice of pregnancy must be submitted as soon as possible, verbal notification is not enough. Members of the Branch, along with others, attended the May Day parade in London with the union banner, only to have the day cut short with a fatal shooting outside of the prison. The numbers were up on this parade but it would be good to see more, particularly if we want the support of other trade unions in the future.



Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary

IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITIES Full Time NVQ Work Based Learning Assessors in Custodial Care

Newcastle under Lyme College requires NVQ Assessors in Custodial Care to deliver and assess units on Level 2 and Level 3 Train to Gain programmes to Prison Officers in locations across East and West Midlands. You will support a caseload of candidates to successfully complete qualifications in a timely fashion. You will be part of a pro-active, dynamic yet friendly team of assessors who seek to combine a speedy achievement for employers with a quality product for our candidates. You will be technically competent in Custodial Care, hold the Assessor Award or be prepared to work towards it, and be able to demonstrate occupational experience at an appropriate level. The Verifier Award would be desirable but is not essential. An understanding of current assessment procedures and effective communication skills are required. A full, clean driving licence and access to a car are also essential. To apply send your CV to:

Human Resources Department Newcastle under Lyme College Liverpool Road Newcastle under Lyme Staffordshire Alternatively you can e-mail us at

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

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

Closing date: 2009

Gatelodge 23-31 branch news.indd 31

June 2009 31 27/5/09 11:14:59

Healthcare Matters

What price loyalty? Annual Conference at Southport produced the usual healthy (excuse the pun) debate in the Health Care section. High on the agenda is the concerns, universally felt, for the future of prison health and our role within the discipline. The column has been banging this particular drum for some time both seeking the reintroduction of Health Care Officer training and the recognition by the Prison Service and PCTs that the role is invaluable. Annual Conference reinforced this issue and we will continue to push the agenda forward at each and every opportunity. The efforts of the National Committee, supported by the Consultative Committee, require the support of each and every branch of the POA. Every Health Care Officers’ post lost is another nail in the coffin of this traditional work. When the NHS fails the Prison Service and sells out to private companies, the whole ethos of Offender Health will fail. The sensible approach is to have a skills mix in place which will allow a measure of continuity, expertise and loyalty towards the Prison Service. It is time for this Service to show some loyalty and respect for those who have given their working life, in uniform, supporting Prison Service Health Care. Tom Robson National Vice Chair

Nursing and health care officers consultative committee members Tom Robson Duncan Keys Steve Bostock Steve Baines Brian Traynor Mark Curtis George Bernard Terry Hobin Jayne Preston George Bernard Carrie Sheppard Mark Curtis Terry Hobin Stephen Wood Jeff Clements 32 June 2009 32 healthcare.indd 32

Chairman Secretary NEC NEC NEC HMP Canterbury HMP Frankland HMP Liverpool HMP Stocken HMP Frankland HMP Manchester HMP Canterbury HMP Liverpool HMP Swaleside HMP Grendon

0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0113 242 8833 0208 803 0255 0208 803 0255 01277 862871 0191 332 3130 0151 530 4000 01780 795100 0191 332 3000 0161 817 5600 01227 862800 0151 530 4188 01795 804100 01296 443000 Gatelodge 5/6/09 15:47:22

Strictly Private

Private Sector Branch Official Training April 2009

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITTEE Tom Robson Chairman 0113 242 8833 Duncan Keys Secretary 0113 242 8833 Steve Baines NEC 0208 802 0255 Pete Chapple NEC 0113 242 8833 Joe Simpson NEC 0113 242 8833 John Speed SNC 0131 443 8105 Phil Thomas SNC 0131 443 8105

Four members of the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre POA committee were honoured recently to become the first POA officials from the private sector to undergo the TUC affiliated branch official training course run by the City of Sunderland College. As stated by course leader Joe Simpson, the course was a learning experience for Joe as well as us. Whilst we gained valuable knowledge about the structure and workings of the Union, Joe was enlightened by learning about the difficulties involved in running an unrecognised branch in the private sector. For us, the course included information about the roles and responsibilities of a branch official and the rights of union reps as well as lots of information on legislation and tips on representation of members at disciplinary hearings. There was also guidance on how to organise a branch and the best ways to recruit new members. All of this was backed up with useful course handouts both on paper and electronically. Joe himself learned how much more difficult it is to organise a branch and recruit new members without a recognition agreement. There is no facility time, no branch office and no use of company stationary or equipment. We even started to think we had been working too hard here when we learned from Joe how much easier it is to run a branch when you’ve got work time in which to do it! On a serious note, I think that all trade unionists believe that helping people who have been treated unfairly and standing up for what is right is a cause that is worthy of some of your own time and we are no different, recognition or not. What the course proved to us is that this Union does support the workers in the private sector of this industry and are willing to invest in them. The same cannot be said of certain other Unions available to private sector workers. The branch committee at Harmondsworth know we have got the full support of the POA at a national level and we are confident that our membership will continue to grow as a result of this despite our lack of recognition. Our thanks go to Pete Chapple and Joe Simpson for organising the course and to the NEC for their continued support of our cause. Alan Hunt, POA Harmondsworth Branch Chair.

Steve Lewis Research Officer 0113 242 8833

Gatelodge 33 strictly private.indd 33

June 2009 33 5/6/09 15:48:39

Sports Scene

Robbie Knox Trophy HMP Sheppey Cluster versus Charlton Althletic FC

On the 29th April 2009 I organised a charity golf match against Charlton Athletic FC to raise money and the profile for street violence/gun and knife crime prevention. Unfortunately we lost the match four rounds to two. The team was made up of 12 prison officers from across the Sheppey Cluster. CEO Brian Pollett had given me the funds to purchase a trophy, which I called the Robbie Knox Trophy. Robbie Knox was tragically stabbed to death in south easat London in May 2008. He had just finished filming the new Harry Potter movie and was also a big Charlton fan. I had received written permission from both of Robbie’s parents Sally and Colin to do this, and they were extremely thankful and honoured that we would be playing in the name of their son. Colin played in the event and also presented the trophy to the winning team, he then gave a very heart moving speech thanking everybody and talking about his son. Congratulations to Officer Mark Flanaghan of HMP Elmley who won two trophies on the day, one for nearest to pin and another for longest drive. Also, well done to Officer Donna Hurkett and OSG Claire Bronger for playing the 19th hole so well! So far the total raised is £1,400, I raised £150 of that by running a raffle across the cluster with a signed Charlton football or shirt as the prize! £600 was raised by me visiting local businesses and asking for donations, while the rest was raised by all the players from both teams and the Rochester and Cobham Golf Club which was where the event was played.

34 June 2009 34-36 sports scene.indd 34

My connection with Charlton Athletic is I am the prison coordinator (Me! No Way!) for the Sheppey cluster, and have worked with Charlton’s community scheme many times in the past. I have visited schools, children’s homes and pupil referral units across the south east. People on the scheme have also visited the prison where they have met and had a presentation given by myself and a prisoner! I believe that this is a great way of not only reducing re-offending but painting the Prison Service in a positive way, showing the public that there is more to prison officers than just carrying a long chain with a big key on the end! The Robbie Knox Trophy is now going to be an annual event, with the next one planned for this summer. Thank you to everybody who gave their

time to play in the event and thank you also for your continued support. Hope to see you all again in the summer! Regards Officer Lee Price HMP Elmley Prison! Me! No Way! Co-ordinator

Gatelodge 27/5/09 11:22:44

Sports Scene

National Spring Handicap 2009 Horsely Lodge GC 20th April 2009 This year’s national handicap event was held at Horsely Lodge hotel and Golf Club, Derby, on possibly the brightest and hottest day of the year so far. It was so unusually hot for the time of the year that your usual pasty faced anaemic looking prison staff were transformed into freshly prepared lobsters by the end of play. Players taking part arrived from all over the UK including Acklington in the north, Coldingley in the South, Prescoed in Wales, and the first of what we hope will be many female players, though we may have to revise our prizes to reflect the ladies attendance – fewer bottles of malt whisky, and perhaps the occasional bottle of martini! The course itself was in magnificent condition and looked a treat, which with the weather as it was and the format for the day – full handicap stableford with a maximum of 18 – promised good scoring. The only complaints heard were of the occasional ‘blind’ tee shot, which listening to some were the cause of many catastrophe’s and prevented half the field winning the top prize! This didn’t effect the nearest the pin prizes as all the greens were perfectly visible from the tees, allowing the following to claim well earned bottles : Ron Bradley (retired), Dave Hudspith (wishes he was retired), Tony Inman (hobbit), and Paul Law (Welsh!). The longest drive prize went to virtually the slightest player in the field, Sam Armadass, (Broadmoor), which just goes to

show if an errant gust of wind blows at an opportune moment, anyone can hit it long! Length however is not always the priority in 18 hole competitions, scoring consistently is, and Sam managed both coming in with a very creditable 35 points to finish 5th overall, though only in a count back, as three players finished on the same score. Sam was pipped to fourth place by Dave Doyle (Rampton) leaving Duncan Ross (Wetherby) as the unlucky one to miss out on a prize. Steve Kay (toothy grin) ground out 36 points to finish alone in third place, which is the best place for him, alone, as his playing partners attested to. First and second places came from the first and last groups out on the course and again both had the same score – John Southward (Acklington) had been sat on the veranda with iced drinks for almost an hour and a half by the time Mick Taylor (Rampton) came steaming and sweating up the last to sink a put for a tying 39 points. This time a count back over the last six holes was required to separate them, with John coming out on top and taking the first prize all the way home to the North Pole! John actually comes originally from Scotland, which is just south of the North Pole, though almost as cold and miserable. John also plays off a handicap of three which makes winning a Stableford competition a particularly impressive and downright surprising achievement.

Ultimately a great day was had by all, due in no small part to the weather, though with the excellent prizes, partly financed by the PSSA, the course and the good company, a good day would have resulted whatever the weather. We can only hope for a similarly successful day in the autumn for our national pairs, date to be arranged. Winner John Southward and Treasurer Steve Kay.







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5/6/09 15:52:14

Sports Scene

Three Peaks success

Staff from HMP Full Sutton walked the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks Challenge on Friday 20th March 2009 to raise money for ex-Prison Officer Ryan Taylor who worked at Full Sutton between 1995 and May 2008. Ryan died on the 18th January 2009 suddenly from a massive heart attack, he was just 42 years old. Ryan’s widow is only 31 years old. Ryan had four children the youngest been just four years old. The brave team of ten managed to complete the 25 mile challenge in just ten and a half hours. The walk covers three of the Yorkshire Dales’ highest peaks – Peny-gent, Whernside and Inglebourgh. The team raised over £700 for Ryan’s family. Thank you everyone who made a donation.

Get involved with CSSC!

CSSC Sports and Leisure is the UK’s largest provider of corporate fitness and has an endless array of activities and sporting events for members to get involved in throughout the year, whether it be rain or shine. Whether you want to dive into swimming or fancy putting your foot forward for football, CSSC has it covered. CSSC also provides exciting national events so why not get involved with one of the events below?

CSSC Rugby League – Celebrating 25 Years! Taking place on Friday 6th November at Leigh East Amateur Rugby League Club, CSSC’s Rugby League marks its 25 years within CSSC and celebrates the sport’s reintroduction into the CSSC calendar with a day of rugby-focused activities. Coaching sessions, available to all, as well as mixed touch rugby to follow, will take place on the day (so participants can put what they’ve learned during coaching into practice!) With a number of guest players, coaches and personalities from the rugby league world present at the event, it’s sure to be a great day out for all those who enjoy a spot of Britain’s ever-popular sport. For more details about this event, please call Ryan Langley on 01494 888434 or email him at

The CSSC Games Following on from the success of 2007, The Games, CSSC’s bi-annual sporting extravaganza, is back on 17th and 18th September 2009 at the superb setting of Loughborough University. With all the activities, accommodation and entertainment on campus, it’s the ideal location. Not all CSSC members will be there for the sport, however. An army of volunteers, integral to the games’ success, will be there, ensuring everything runs smoothly from the first race to the final whistle. To guarantee the event is even more successful in 2009, we’ve added new sports to the programme, including archery, hockey, swimming and more. In total, 14 sports will take place. These include:

James Braddock profile Name: James Braddock Home Town: Pudsey, Leeds Occupation: Civil Servant, Personal Trainer at Altered Image, Pudsey Hobbies: Eating and training Achievements: Winning junior Mr North East 2002. Qualified for Britain but didn’t make top six. Winning novice class Mr North East 2008. Taking 3rd at the Mr Great Britain 2008 in a line up of 17. Aims: To stay healthy, to take the North East class one and qualify for Britain and make the top six on my first go in class one. My long term goal would be to win the Class One for Britain and go on to represent my country at the NBBA UNIVERSE. Just to stand there with some of the best in the world would be amazing. A dream would be to take the Universe. Inspirations: My mother and father, Ian Harrison for showing me how to make big legs, Dorian Yates, Jay Cutler, Frank Zane, Lee Labbradda, Arnold. Gym: Altered Images, Pudsey, Leeds.

36 June 2009 34-36 sports scene.indd 36

• Archery • Netball • Badminton • Campus Challenge, 10km road race • Chess • Masters’ Track and Field • Masters’ Men’s Football

• Rounders • Fencing • Squash • Hockey • Swimming • Kwik Cricket • Table Tennis

In 2007, The Games was a bigger success than ever. Why not enter yourself, or get a team together? Throw yourself into a game of netball, improve your aim with the archery competition, or perhaps test out your skills without even leaving your chair with a spot of chess? Although September may seem far off, we all know how time flies, especially when we’re having fun! Entries are pouring in fast, so contact the CSSC Event Team by 31st July 2009 to secure your place. Please call Kate Newberry on 01494 888435 or email All prices include entry, accommodation, meals and entertainment and are available to view at For more information about CSSC, visit or call customer services on 01494 888444 today!

Gatelodge 5/6/09 15:52:49


Preparing to teach Fourteen staff at High Down have just completed their Level 4 ‘Preparing to teach in the life long learning sector’ through SCOLA. The course ran for seven weeks on a Wednesday in the Highdown Union Learning classroom and included microteaching sessions and short assignments. During the course, staff developed an understanding of the training cycle. It is an ideal training course for anyone responsible for the continuing professional development of staff. The course covered the following topics:

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• Roles and responsibility • Teaching strategies • Session and course planning • Assessing learning • Practical teaching skills The micro-teaching sessions were diverse and fun, covering topics such as: • Preparing different cuts of salmon – dinde, fillet and tranche • Preparing a healthy exotic fruit salad for a dinner party • How to plaster walls • Behaviour lessons for dogs

The course is internally assessed and externally moderated. The next PTLLS session starts on 22nd April in the Centre and we hope that staff enjoy the course as much as the last group. There was such a lot of laughter from the classroom, which made up for the hard work, sweat and tears completing the assignments. They were supported by the learning centre throughout the course. At times the number of essays to complete in the week was overwhelming. However, the group persevered showing their strength of characters. We are very proud of their success and attach some wonderful photographs of some of the micro-sessions. Lynne Willmer

June 2009 37 1/6/09 14:11:06


EX-OFFICER RYAN TAYLOR It is with the deepest regret that we announce the untimely death of Ryan Taylor who worked at Full Sutton from 1995 to 2008. Ryan died on 18th January 2009 of a massive heart attack. He was jus 42 years old. Ryan has left Lisa his 31 year old wife and his four children Rebecca, Kieran, Katie and the youngest Charlie who is only four years old. Ryan worked in numerous departments at Full Sutton and was an extremely popular member of staff and friend to many who had the privilege to work or socialise with him. The staff at Full Sutton mourns deeply alongside Lisa and Ryan’s children the loss of Ryan. Ryan was proud to be a member of the Prison Service as he was very proud of his Forces background. Ryan John Taylor RIP God bless you mate. Neil Burge POA Branch Secretary Full Sutton

OSG ANDREW KEEN 1958-2009 From HMP Belmarsh to HMP Whitemoor. I am sure you will all join us in saying a fond farewell to OSG Andrew Keen (Keeno) who sadly passed away on Friday 27th February 2009 after bravely fighting a long illness. Anybody that ever knew or worked with Keeno was amazed by his zest for life and willingness to work right to the end, even on the day of his transplant Keeno was ready to come into work, whereupon most of us would have already been off sick. Keeno had a certain way about him that would soon have you laughing with his quick wit and dry sense of humour (PP) and many younger members of staff were known as spotty herberts and (RE) his very own bitch. One thing most of us will remember Keeno for is the amount of tea he would consume; even to the point of mine sweeping for it (QB) not even your tea was safe. Keeno, you will be sadly missed by OSGs, drivers group (Belmarsh) officers and other staff that had the fortune to work with you at Whitemoor. How much Andrew was respected was reflected in the splendid turn out at his funeral. All our thoughts are now with his wife and family at this sad time. POA Whitemoor

FATHER GERRY MURPHY 5th OCTOBER 1925 – 24th FEBRUARY 2009 Father Gerry was one of us. After a year’s National Service in 1948 he joined the Prison Service in 1949 leaving in 1950 to become a Housemaster at a RC Boarding school for emotionally disturbed boys. He entered the Church late on in life at the age of 39. It took two attempts to get adoption by a Bishop due to his age. Fortunately for us at HMP Chelmsford and parishioners in East London and Essex the Bishop of Brentwood, Bishop Wall recognised his great and many qualities and adopted him as a student priest. He was ordained in Rome by Cardinal Wright in St Paul – outside the Walls. He served as Assistant Priest at Walthamstow, Colchester, Gidea Park, and Rayleigh. It was during this time that he re-entered work in the field of childcare and social work which was to lead to Prison Chaplaincy. He was appointed Parish Priest of Burnham-on-Crouch where he served for twenty-five years during which time he was also appointed Catholic Chaplain to HMP Chelmsford. He was to become a by-word for care and common sense. During difficult and turbulent times he was trusted by prisoners and staff alike and in 1997 he was nominated by Chelmsford prison for the Butler Trust Award. He resigned his post as Catholic Chaplain to Chelmsford in 1997 due to ill health. All through this time his work in the field of childcare and child protection never ceased and it is clear that protection of the young and vulnerable was an issue of the utmost importance to him and that only serious ill-health and death could stop this indomitable man. I was honoured to attend his funeral service in full dress uniform along with others to pay our final respects. Our presence was noted by the church hierarchy and we were well received by everyone. We met Gerry’s sister and brother (who has an astonishing likeness). I have many fond memories of Gerry, as do all that knew him, but I particularly remember him asking to observe a cell removal using the then new C & R techniques. He watched interestedly as myself and the team removed a violent armed prisoner from C2 landing to a full relocation in the Segregation Unit (A Wing). On our finishing, Gerry remarked how impressed he had been but that during his time in the service he was always told by the Chief Officer not to lay hands on prisoners. I was surprised by this and said so to Gerry. He then explained that the Chief said “Never lay hands on prisoners always use your stick”! He then went on to say how watching me and the team in action reminded him of Jesus coming across the cripple on his stretcher. I looked at Gerry curiously, who stood with a smile and said “It was like faith healing, as soon as you laid hands on, he shouted “I’ll walk, I’ll walk”! Gerry would regularly visit the Segregation unit whilst I was in charge there, always saying that “I’ve just come to make them all good”. He certainly loved a challenge! He would never flinch from visiting any prisoner regardless of denomination. He would go in, in his inimitable calm way, armed only with a packet of mints and spend time calming and talking to some of the most dangerous men. In conclusion I would like to say how privileged I was to have known Gerry, who had a profound effect on me personally, despite my not particularly staunch beliefs.

Father Gerry Murphy A man for all seasons, A man for all reasons, Who without prejudice or boundaries Treated all as children of God Andy Forster POA Committee HMP & YOI Chelmsford

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CHARLES ‘CHARLIE’ HENRY HARRALL 8th MAY 1921 – 1st MARCH 2009 It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that my father, ‘Charlie’, passed away peacefully in Ipswich General Hospital on 1st March 2009, having suffered for over four years with MRSA: He contracted this following a second full knee replacement, which eventually led to septicaemia and a bone marrow disease. Charlie leaves a wife, son, daughter, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He joined the Royal Horse Artillery, aged 18 and served in the Second World War in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Greece and later in Germany. On demob in 1954 he joined Her Majesty’s Prison Service, carrying out his initial Officer Training at the OTS Wakefield; later serving at HMP Dartmoor (1954-1960), HMP Dorchester (1960-1970) gaining promotion to Senior Officer. (With Dorchester being one of a few establishments without an Officers’ Social Club, he was always enthusiastic in organising staff ’s children’s parties, trips to pantomimes and other staff related social events. In 1970 he transferred to HMP Albany, on promotion to Principal Officer, spending time in Residential and Security, retiring in 1978 with 24 years loyal service. On retirement Charlie worked as a guide/curator at Carisbrooke Castle, Newport, giving guided tours to many visitors to the Island; later moving to his home town of Ipswich, Suffolk, where the majority of his brothers, sisters and family lived. At the age of 65, Charlie finally retired, having worked within the community in a doctors’ surgery as caretaker, ensuring the security of the buildings and car park were maintained. Boules became his passion with him winning many trophies, individually, and as a team member and enjoying the social aspect with a pint and cigarette. He also liked sharing many stories and experiences from his Army and Prison Service careers, which he always spoke of with great pride. He was a very private man, who was loved and respected by many, who will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace. John Harrall (Retired Principal Officer)

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June 2009 39 27/5/09 11:35:51

North of the Border – Levy & McRae

Levy & McRae: Working for You

Levy & McRae: Working for you

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

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

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Litigation department Carolyn Macbride Sandra Biggart Laura Salmond Callum Anderson Alan O’Dowd Jillian McKenzie Ross Milvenan Ewen Campbell Mark Dunn Catherine McGowan Iain Butler Commercial department Alistair Goodman Maureen Stevenson Geraldine Smith Peter Reid David Adams

Gatelodge 27/5/09 11:40:24

North of the Border

Scottish Trade Union Congress 2009 This years 2009 STUC conference took place at the Perth Concert Halls between Monday 20th April and Wednesday 22nd April. The theme for this years conference was ‘Active Unions…….. Rebuilding Collective Prosperity’ and there were the usual topics of debate and discussion as is normal for these events. The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harmon and Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray addressed conference as did Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and the Scottish Cabinet Minister for Education and Life Long Learning, Fiona Hyslop. The POAS did not have a motion submitted on the agenda; however we did support a number of other organisation’s motions which had relevance to ours, such as a call for additional holidays, to include St Andrews Day, and a call to safeguard Public Sector Pensions and a call to condemn further efficiency savings in the public sector. The conference coincided with this years budget, which clearly had an effect on a huge debate on Public Services and it was obvious that the public sector in Scotland were angry at the impact Alastair Darling’s budget was going to have on the public sector. The POAS were also intending to support a motion regarding violence in the workplace and a call to ensure more protection is given to public sector workers while carrying out their normal duties. Unfortunately, however the motion was withdrawn as the General Council had difficulty in the wording of what was submitted. As well as the events of conference representatives of the Scottish National Committee attended a number of fringe meetings, including one organised by the Scottish Union Learning Fund (SULF) and also an event for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). Phil Thomas of the SNC composed the following in support of a motion that condemned the call for continuous efficiency savings: “The POA in Scotland knows only too well what the term efficiency savings actually means for its members. “All public sector organisations are an easy target for any Government savings initiative and the SPS is no different.

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As a public sector service the SPS and the members of the POA have saved the Government millions of pounds in expenditure, this was achieved through managing the overcrowding with no additional staff or prisoner accommodation. “The POA members are not alone as this has been a trend for many years within all public sector forces such as councils, schools, hospitals and the emergency services. We achieve the impossible and then we are targeted the following year for further cuts, because they believe that we will go that extra mile again. Well it’s the turn of the Government to go that extra mile and leave us alone. “The easiest way the Government can justify any efficiency within the public sector is to sound the same old lament and claim it’s the tax payer’s money. It is the tax payer’s money and we want it to go towards better hospitals, schools and public services and not towards a second home or Sky Box Office movies. The Scottish Government pay American and French companies to house our inmates at HMP Addiewell and Kilmarnock. These companies provide the prisoners with the basic requirements and entitlements which in turn will provide a bigger profit for these foreign organisations. It is still the Scottish tax payer who pays for these jails to be operated and yes, they are cheaper to run because they staff their jails with far less staff than the public sector prisons and they pay our Scottish and British tax paying officers a pittance to work with some of Europe’s most dangerous criminals. “It is the responsibility of the Scottish Government to manage the people they incarcerate and not to off load the responsibility to foreign organisations and allow them to profit from crime on our streets. “Like all public sector services we are told that our budget is to reduce by 2.5%5% and these decision makers and penny pinchers do not know how our organisation operates or where or how the savings can be made. Look at the state of our hospitals, schools, emergency services, public transport and the crime rate in Scotland, do we need cuts or investment? John Speed Scottish National Committee at this years STUC Conference

John Speed, on behalf of the POAS made the following statement in relation to a motion that was withdrawn regarding violence in the workplace; “Colleagues, The POA are slightly disappointed that this motion has been withdrawn as we fully intended supporting it, as it has great relevance to all our members and our working environment. Prison Officers are covered under the Emergency Workers Bill and we would like to thank the STUC for the support they gave us to ensure we were mentioned on the bill, in particular Ian Tasker, who was very helpful, as it did take some eff ort to get prison staff included. “However, as the withdrawn motion suggested, this piece of legislation does need clarification, because, to be honest it is as clear as mud. When for example does the legislation kick in? Does it need to be a full riot situation or is it during occasion when staff are carrying out their general duties? “The fact of the matter is everyone is entitled to believe they are safe when they go to work, it doesn’t matter where that place is, be it a school, a hospital, a shop, a bookies or a prison and anyone who attacks any of our members should be punished for their actions, and when I say punished I mean punished, to ensure they, and everyone understands it is not acceptable. “It should also be stressed that no form of violence is acceptable in our workplace or should be tolerated, be it physical or verbal and we in the POA will happily support any initiative that will make our working environment safer for all.” Thank you. JOHN SPEED (SNC)

June 2009 41 1/6/09 10:58:48

North of the Border

Scottish National Committee Election 2009 Congratulations to Phil Thomas who was successfully re-elected onto the SNC for a further five years after serving a one year interim post. Phil won a three horse race, the result of which was: Phil Thomas Tam McMurray Tony Quinn

729 308 698

Phil continues to have SNC responsibility for Castle Huntly, Polmont and Noranside. John Speed (SNC)

ADDIEWELL & KILMARNOCK STAFF HAVE YOU GOT A PROFESSIONAL TRADE UNION IN YOUR CORNER AMAZING MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS Over 36,000 Prison Officers, Penal Workers, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers have CHOSEN THE POA. POA membership provides legal cover for criminal investigations, inmate allegations, motoring offences and consumer disputes. These benefits also cover your family. Membership also provides many financial services. For full details contact your local POA(S) rep. Legislation determines that a British worker can belong to the trade union of his or her choice. CHOOSE THE POA(S) FOR MEMBERSHIP DETAILS AND APPLICATIONS CONTACT 0131 443 8105 or 0131 443 8175 between the hours of 09.00 – 16.00 Or Contact John Speed 07738095029 or Phil Thomas on 07853266892

Private Sector in Scotland Colleagues, In the last 12 months the POA in Scotland have stepped up our efforts to recruit from the private sector. John Speed and Phil Thomas have joined the national private sector committee and along with Dave Melrose and Derek Turner we have made major inroads into this area. There are now two privately run prisons in Scotland, Kilmarnock which is run by Serco and Addiewell which is run by Kalyx. We also have Reliance Escorting and the immigration centre at Dungavel. The POA are not the recognised trade union to represent members in these areas, however the fact is anyone has the right to be a member of any trade union of their choice and there is no doubt that the best option for those in the private sector is the POA. We have visited Kilmarnock on a number of occasions in the last 12 months and our membership there has increased dramatically, and we have successfully represented members there for various reasons, including codes of conduct. We have been asked a lot of relevant questions when we have visited and we have done our best to answer them, including preparing a special private sector newsletter. I would also like to point out that we, in the POA, do not take any delight in hearing no POA members are in difficulty, it is not true that we wanted staff who are members of another union to be dismissed, in fact the opposite is the case, and we will gladly speak to anyone who states otherwise. We recently, for the first time, visited the newly opened Addiewell prison, and we were pleasantly surprised at the reaction we received and we have had staff who work there join the POA as a result of our visit, needless to say we will be back. It is worth repeating that everyone has the right to join any trade union of their choice, which is not the message that appears to be given to the staff by the PSU when they first join the job, and our message to those who work in the private sector in Scotland is contact us, have a chat and then decide if it is worth joining us. What have you got to lose? John Speed (Scottish National Committee)

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June 2009 43 27/5/09 11:42:40


Many thanks for the hard work

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of my membership to thank the NEC for all the work into resolving the recent draconian measures by this Prison Service to stop the increments being paid out on the 1st April 2009. My members at Dartmoor were exceptional in the way they responded to our requests, to e-mail the SSC in relation to this issue, the SSC responses were poor and inadequate and totally ill informed assumedly by Prison Service Headquarters. I would like to think that we at Dartmoor made a difference and it was evident from the complete turn around, that the pressure was good enough, not only from Dartmoor but from all round the country. Many thanks to all concerned that did the right thing and asked the right questions of the right department, and thanks again to the NEC for their efforts and legal threats. T Hendy POA Chairman Dartmoor

Thank you

We would like to thank Dave Redford, Anne Rose and Joe Simpson for representing us during a very stressful 14 months. The charges we faced were dismissed at a disciplinary hearing. Not only did they help us professionally but they were also there as friends. Many hours of their own time were put in, and for that we are extremely appreciative. Hugh Cockburn and Steve Hunt

Many thanks

Colleagues, I take this opportunity to use Gatelodge to say thank you to everyone who used their vote in the recent Vice Chair and NEC elections. This Union will continue to be a beacon of democracy in the true tradition of our movement. I particularly thank those who chose to nominate myself and give me their confidence in the ballot box. I will do my best to justify your choice. With very best wishes. Tom Robson Vice Chairman

UNCLAIMED RAFFLE PRIZES FROM ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2009 • £50.00 Marks and Spencer voucher – pink ticket number 522 • Hamper – blue ticket number 741 • The Fire Fighters charity holiday house for one week at Jubilee House – blue ticket number 826 • Sat nav – blue ticket number 838 • Yorkshire cricket club tickets – salmon ticket number 562 • Bottle of whisky – salmon ticket number 89 • Case of Marston Connoisseurs Collection – blue ticket 980 • Brewers of Character collection beer – green ticket number 747 The above prizes have not been claimed, if you are the holder of any of the above tickets please contact Carol Strahan at Cronin House on 0208 884 5693.

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Gatelodge 5/6/09 16:25:12


Blue Knights law enforcement motorcycle club

Are you interested in motorbikes and motorcycling? Would you like to belong to an international bikers club whose members share a common interest and outlook as yourself? Blue Knights is a social club for members of law enforcement agencies who have an interest in motorbikes and motorcycling. Conditions for membership are that you must be employed by, or retired from a Crown agency, which carries a statutory power of arrest i.e. Police, Customs, Immigration, Prison Service (this excludes specials and members of private police forces). You must have a motorcycle licence and own a motorcycle. A large part of the membership is made up of serving and retired police officers. Blue Knights is an international association started in Maine, USA in 1974. There are currently 20,000 members in 542 chapters in 29 countries. England has 15 chapters; there are two in Wales; two in Scotland and one in Ireland. Most chapters organise social events, ride-outs and rallies and are involved in charity fund-raising also, one of the most favoured charities in the UK being COPS (Care of Police Survivors). Many members also attend other chapter’s rallies and events at home and abroad – there is a full and varied itinerary of events throughout the year and costs are kept to a minimum. We also keep members informed of other topics of interest to motorcyclists, such as other biking events, legislation affecting bikers, available offers etc. England One was the first Blue Knights chapter in the UK, formed in 1991 and covers the south Manchester and Merseyside areas. We currently have some 25 members including three prison officers in the Isle of Man. England One invites any serving or retired officers with an interest in motorbikes to come and meet us at Riversdale Police Club on Thursday, 25th June. Refreshments will be available. We also hope to hold regular monthly meetings at Riversdale in the future. For more information visit the international website at www.blueknights. org where there are links to all chapters or the UK site at

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June 2009 45 9/6/09 11:12:15


HMP Liverpool Staff at Liverpool’s Walton Prison held a shoe box collection for British troops in Afghanistan. The generosity of all members of staff raised over 160 shoe boxes which were handed over to members of the Royal British Legion who organise for the boxes to be sent on to the troops. Pictured: Don Allerston and Bill Sergeant of the Royal British Legion with Prison Staff M Woodward, T Mussell, L Woodward and G Callaghan

Liverpool reunion 2009 The 4th Annual Reunion of Liverpool Prison Officers past and present will be held on Friday 30th October 2009 at the Longmoor Social Club, Longmoor Lane, Aintree. Further details can be found on our new website or contact Tony Lord at 46 June 2009 43-46 postbag.indd 46

Praise for dynamic duo I am writing this letter as I feel it is appropriate at this time of upset and change in the ranks of Prison Officers. I am a serving Prison Officer at HM Prison Leeds with 15 years on the landings, and a POA Member for the same length of time. On the 18th August 2005 I was dragged into a cell and attacked by a prisoner who did his best to make my wife a widow. I was severely injured and since that date I have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which I still suffer from now. Three days after my attack the inmate responsible killed himself and from that moment on things went from bad to worse. I was made to feel that this was my fault by the Prison Service who gave me no support or help. Any concession I received I had to fight for; I had numerous periods off sick due to the attack and for my effort I was placed on half-pay twice and no-pay twice. Now we come to the reason for my letter. The inquest into the death of the inmate took three years and six months to come to fruition and at the inquest I was represented by Keith Sheppard of Lees Lloyd Whitley and the barrister Brian Cummings. I cannot express enough my gratitude and thanks to this dynamic duo who gave me more help and assistance in just a few weeks than the Prison Service gave me in three years. So, to all you staff who wonder where your money goes, it goes to help other Prison Officers like myself – and God forbid maybe you in the future – as you cannot rely on your employer to help as all they will do is sell you down the river. Again thank you Keith and Brian for all your help. Steve Mackrill HM Prison Leeds

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POA Gatelodge June 2009  

POA Gatelodge June 2009

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