The POA Membersâ€™ 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… Equality of opportunity
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: Gatelodge@poauk.org.uk Editorial: Contributors to the magazine are requested to send material for the December issue by 6th November 2008. Advertising Business Development Manager Juliet Goss 01778 391067 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A strike – the forgotten concept
Production Co-ordinator Sue Woodgates 01778 392062 e-mail: email@example.com Advertising Design Joanne Osborn Publishing Publishers & Printers Warners Group Publications plc, The Maltings, West Street, Bourne, PE10 9PH. Tel: 01778 393313 Fax: 01778 394748
Area Secretary in Queen’s Birthday Honours List
Development Publisher Simon Moody Editorial Design Viv Lane
Editor’s Comments TUC Brighton 2008
Contents ■ National Chairman ■ General Secretary ■ General Matters ■ LLW ■ Healthcare Matters ■ Branch News ■ Sports Scene ■ Strictly Private ■ Obituaries ■ Levy & McRae ■ North of the Border ■ Postbag Gatelodge 03 eds letter.indd 3
4 5 6 15 23 25 35 37 38 40 41 42
Welcome to the October issue of Gatelodge, an issue that will report on the TUC Annual Conference for 2008. This time of year sees many changes as the political parties have all held or are holding their own Conference. The impact of TUC resolutions will be signiﬁcant for the POA and Trade Union Movement generally. • What can we all do to eﬀect change? Glyn Travis Firstly, we need to raise the issues that aﬀect our daily working lives with Editor our employer and most importantly our MPs. All too often we sit on our hands and miss the opportunity. The more we do the more we will achieve. The date for Workforce Modernisation to reach a conclusion is fast approaching. The pay submission for the Pay Review Body is prepared in case a deal is not done; and, I have to say this is probably the most important time in the Union’s history since Fresh Start in 1987. The submission to the ILO as part of the campaign for the restoration of our Trade Union Rights will have been submitted by LLW and John Hendy QC by the time you read this issue. Yes, things are moving on a pace. If any of you need help in contacting your local MP or need assistance or guidance on what to raise, speak to your NEO or contact Brian Caton’s oﬃce. We are only too happy to help! Finally, I would like to thank Carol for her eﬀort in ensuring this issue is out on time, Steve Gillan for the support he gives us both and hopefully Warners because the 2009 diaries should also be out very soon, ﬁngers crossed! Yours sincerely
October 2008 3 7/10/08 15:08:30
Equality of opportunity In my period of oﬃce along with the NEC, I have and will continue to raise the proﬁle of the Union. It is important that we are seen as a Union that embraces diversity, but it is vital that our actions speak louder than words. We are fortunate that our Conference has been addressed by a number of people who share our views on equality over the last few years. I myself have always believed that the POA will ‘stand up for an individuals rights’ and ‘promote equality’ providing our rules allow for it and of course the individual has a right of action. Unfortunately, the law seems to err on the side of the employer more and more and all too often we see members suﬀering at the hands of the employer and then the legal process letting them down. However, as a Union, we must always promote the integrity of those we employ and enjoy the beneﬁts of membership. Our rules promote equality, they are there to ensure equality of opportunity
COLIN MOSES National Chairman
exists and if that equality of opportunity is broken, individuals may well have to face the consequences. These policies are not there to be exploited to line the pockets of indivduals who are only interested in money and self-estem. This Union has been challenged in the past and no doubt it will be in the future, that does not mean that our rules are wrong, it simply means that people did not agree with our processes and rules. The POA has an equal opportunities policy and a race relations policy, they are not there to be abused or ignored. We are quick to criticise the prison service when they act in an unprofessional manner or promote from within a circle of friends and YES we know it happens, but all too often we can not prove the nepotism.
TUC In this issue of Gatelodge a report will be given on the TUC by the delegates who attended on behalf of the Union, this is a worthwhile read. I do believe that the
POA is starting to inﬂuence other unions and our proﬁle has increased dramatically in recent years. This is of course down to the eﬀorts of Brian Caton, Steve Gillan and the Executive generally.
Workforce Modernisation and pay 2009 The work continues on Workforce Modernisation and all of the diﬀerent strands to bring about change, a change that will only be accepted or rejected through the ballot box. The POA have also prepared a pay submission for the pay review body should this prove necessary. I am sure that we are all feeling the eﬀects of rising inﬂation and therfore our pay has to improve.
Finally In closing, I would like to place on record my sincere condolences to those families and friends who have lost loved ones recently.
Colin Moses visits until end October 2008 • Moorland • Reading • Cardiﬀ • Dorchester • Whatton • Kennet • TUC Brighton • Labour Party Conf – Manchester • Conservative Conf – Birmingham • The Maison D’Arrett – France • SNC Conference – Prestwick Scotland • European Security and Crime Conference – Royal Armouries Museum Leeds COLIN MOSES National Chairman
4 October 2008 04-05 colin's page.indd 4
Gatelodge 7/10/08 15:09:32
A Strike – The Forgotten Concept from the old English word strican - to stroke, rub or move I start this article with a huge thank you to the POA delegation and the team from the POA who gave myself and the Union such fantastic support at the Trades Union Congress 2008, held in Brighton on Monday 8th September – Thursday 11th September 2008. POA Delegation: Colin Moses, Steve Gough, Peter McParlin, Brian Traynor, John Hoey and Jackie Marshall. POA Stand Team: Frank Rogers and LLW Team, Steve Gillan, Glyn Travis, Angela Sinclair, Steve Lewis, Lynn Horseﬁeld and Jackie Bates. The POA’s reputation as a ﬁghting campaigning Trade Union could not have been more prominent than at this years TUC. It was a great honour to move the amendment on Public Sector Pay, calling for strike action against the Government’s unfair, unwise and unacceptable pay restraint on public sector pay. It is with great regret that the representatives of Union’s involved in compositing motions, prior to Congress and acting on behalf of millions of public sector workers, did not agree to have the word ‘strike’ placed before Congress. However, it was with great delight and pride that congress delegations overturned this view, listening carefully to the words I put forward on behalf of the Union and of working men and women throughout the country and supported a motion that only included one word – ‘strike’. In particular I would wish to thank John Leach RMT President and Ian Lavery NUM President, for their magniﬁcent submissions in support of the motion and against the stance of the General Council. When will the Trades Union Movement learn that they need to have hard words with their friends in the Labour Party, just as much as they will need against the enemies from the right? The Trades Union Movement was born out of adversity, struggle and determination to gain freedom liberty and fairness for working people. It is no good to substitute and re-model trade unionism into a skills provider, where those skills bring little ﬁnancial reward and a continued threat of a loss of living standards and redundancy. Being skilled, poor and unemployed can never be what this movement is about.
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Whilst the amendment fell due to the President’s card vote and confusion amongst the leadership of Unite’s delegation, the POA won the moral and common sense argument. It was a privilege and honour to witness this spectacle, let alone move the motion. The Public Sector Unions now know the feeling of the rank and ﬁle membership within their Unions. I will continue taking these views to union activists throughout the country. We must never hand over our right to withdraw and restrict our labour against the aggression of the employer, to do so would be a sell out to those in the past who allow us the privilege to represent working people and would be disastrous for those who follow us in the future. Motion number 5 was clear and speciﬁc:
Trade Union freedom Congress recognises the level of work carried out by the TUC in an attempt to progress the Congress Resolutions that called for a more modern, fair and appropriate approach to trades union rights in our country. Further, Congress places on record its appreciation to all those academic lawyers and MPs who sought to take the Trades Union Freedom Bill through the Parliamentary process, but expresses it’s disbelief at the Labour Government which choose to talk the Bill out of time, in order to ensure that the Bill fell. This act of ‘political sabotage’ is unworthy of any Government, but particularly a Labour Government. Congress recognises that the actions of the TUC and aﬃliated unions to date have had no success in persuading Government to amend legislation to return the fundamental rights of all workers. If in fact Government have taken even more draconian legislative action to stiﬂe trade unions. Therefore, Congress instructs the TUC to organise a series of one day general strikes until such time as the Government remove the restrictive antitrade union legislation from statute. Again, we would thank Bob Crow RMT’s General Secretary and Ian Lavery NUM President, for their support on this fundamental and crucial matter. The restrictions against Trades Unions in this country are the most restrictive in the Western world, but more importantly remain unchanged under a Labour Government. At the same time as
insisting that Trades Unions are oppressed, shackled and not allowed to carry out their democratic responsibilities under their Rule Book, restrictions on the racist BNP remain cursory. You do not have to be from the political left to recognise the unfairness that exists for Trades Unions in the United Kingdom. However, it is the left of the political spectrum who are willing to challenge again and again. We can take great heart within the POA that all speakers in this debate recognised the need to ﬁght back against these restrictions. More partially those unwarranted and unnecessary restrictions that exist against Prison Oﬃcers. The POA made clear that, as a Union representing professionals whose work requires the enactment of the laws of the land, we take a dim view of being dragged before the courts for demanding worker’s rights and freedoms. We would however, not shrink away from breaking these bad laws, where it was felt necessary to do so in the future. The POA will continue its campaign and ﬁght to get the whole of the Labour Movement to straighten their spines and stand up for new laws that take away the restrictions on strike and industrial action. Our simple message to other Unions is ‘Don’t think that your members cannot deliver on strike action – they can’. Please recognise that if you don’t ask them – they never will. CHOSE FREEDOM, BREAK BAD LAWS. BRIAN CATON General Secretary
Footnote Despite huge eﬀorts to prevent it I was returned to the General Council of the TUC.
October 2008 5 1/10/08 16:05:42
Feeling stuck? By Sandy Chubb
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that one of the most common complaints you mention is constipation. Rather an embarrassing word for something which really matters to us but which we prefer to keep private. So forgive me for being rude this issue and talking about this intimate subject, just in case you ﬁnd a few of these practices are helpful. Anyone feeling uncomfortable, please look away… Constipation in prisons can be caused because the habit of not letting go – of feelings, opinions and problems – has become ingrained. It isn’t surprising that physically the body mirrors what is happening emotionally. But there are ways you can help your body to let go, without compromising what you see as vital to how you conduct yourself in your job. This may help: • Speed up your circulation by learning how to breathe in through the nose slowly, hold the breath for a second, and breathe out slowly. You can practise anywhere – during your bus or car journey to work, on the landings while you are waiting, in the gatehouse while you are queuing. It is
vital to breathe just using your nose which means that you are breathing very slightly against resistance, a useful practice for both speeding elimination and maturing the cells in your lungs. • If you feel the urge to go, try to get to a toilet. Constipation is aggravated when you ﬁnish the job you are doing rather than do what nature is asking you for. • When you have an uninterrupted moment try these two stretches: Stretch the arms overhead and interlace your ﬁngers at the back of your head. Breathe in deeply through the nose and at the same time stretch up strongly straightening your arms, turning the palms of your hands to the sky. Focus your eyes on a spot on the ﬂoor and keeping your gaze steady, try to come up onto your tiptoes as you hold the breath for a second or two. Then through the nose, release the breath out, bending the elbows resting the palms of the hands at the back of your head and lowering your heels to the ﬂoor. Repeat 5 more times, gradually learning to activate your belly muscles to draw the belly back to the spine behind as you breathe in and hold the breath while on tiptoe. Release as you breathe out. Don’t rush these six breaths. Take your time. • When you are at home or in a quiet part of the prison (is there such a place?), lie on your back on the carpet. As you breathe in through the nose, bend your left leg onto your chest and hold onto your left knee. If you are able to bring your arms behind your left thigh and draw it closer while still keeping your head resting on the ﬂoor, that is ideal. Take all your attention into your in-breath and out-breath as you breathe slowly
through the nose, feeling the breath deep inside the belly on your right side at the top of the right leg. The right leg can lie straight along the ﬂoor if this is comfortable. If you have a back problem, bend up the right leg and put the right foot ﬂat on the ﬂoor in front of the right buttock. After six breaths with the left knee bent up over the chest, release and bend up the right leg over the chest and repeat the breathing on this side. • Finally, a little note in case you suﬀer from constipation and varicose veins (often an occupational hazard in jobs where there is a lot of standing about). In order not to place further strain on the veins, sit on the ﬂoor and try this. Bend your knees and draw them towards you and give them a hug tucking your heels in by your buttocks. If you can do that without too much trouble, next time you are on the toilet, repeat this action with your heels actually on the toilet seat. The feet have to be bare in order for you to get a proper grip. Then just sit and breathe deeply, in and out slowly through the nose. Do not strain or push. Get the body used to this practice at the same period of time each day. If the bowels do not release, don’t worry. Repeat it for two weeks and see how gradually the body will adjust itself to this new pattern. In this way, the blood does not have to shunt its way back up the legs in the customary way of sitting and impose more pressure on the veins. (We are designed to crouch as we defecate, but alas in the West even behind closed doors, it seems much too weird for us to even contemplate! If you are feeling brave, or a bit bunged up, try it). Don’t forget to drop us a line if you would like some help in stretching or breathing exercises, or tips for sitting on a chair in meditation or if you want some free resource books: The Prison Phoenix Trust, PO Box 328, Oxford. OX2 7HF. www.prisonphoenixtrust.org.uk.
About the PPT The Prison Phoenix Trust encourages prisoners and prison ofﬁcers in their spiritual lives through the practices of Yoga and meditation, working with silence and the breath. We offer support through classes, workshops, correspondence, free books and CDs, and newsletters.
6 October 2008 06-14 general matters.indd 6
Gatelodge 7/10/08 15:11:05
Area Secretary (NI) in Queen’s Birthday Honours List June Robinson, Area Secretary (NI), has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for public service. June is married with three children, she was educated at Glenlola Collegiate School, Bangor, and Queen’s University, Belfast. She commenced work for the POA in August 1985 as a PA and then held the position of Regional Administrator (NI), eventually being appointed Area Secretary (NI) in 2003. The award of MBE is in recognition of the commitment which June has given to Prison Oﬃcers and their families over the past 23 years. June has served the POA and it’s members in Northern Ireland in diﬃcult times and the threat made by the Provisional IRA against staﬀ working for the security services did not deter her from carrying out her duties. She has dealt with many families over the years who were intimidated and threatened out of their homes and had to live in emergency safe houses in Millisle. Whilst the families were in Millisle June was the rock which they came to rely upon. She assisted families in their endeavours to rejoin the community after their horrible
experiences. She was there to console them in their time of need, looking after children whilst their parents sourced another home. There are many families who were grateful to her, one family even described her as ‘Their angel from heaven.’ June is one who is not used to sitting on her hands and, along with others, decided that it was time the Government supported an organisation which would look after Prison Oﬃcers and their families who had suﬀered owing to their service in the Prison Service. After many years of lobbying MPs and others, the Prison Service Trust was established to care for widows and medically retired staﬀ. June gives her time voluntarily to the Prison Service Trust and, as Secretary on the Board of Directors, this entails a substantial amount of work. Her commitment and dedication to the Prison Oﬃcers Association and the Prison Service Trust has been tremendous and this award recognises that commitment. June will always go the extra mile in helping others. I have had the privilege of working with June for over 23 years and I have valued her
Let them work
In Britain, work is at the core of how our society is structured. It is almost seen as a panacea to all ills: a way of getting people out of poverty, of getting people out of crime, of oﬀering people self-esteem, of enhancing community cohesion, of giving meaning to people’s lives. It is at the heart of what it is to be British. Incentives are oﬀered to the disabled, single parents, the long term unemployed, to return to work in order to play a meaningful part in British life. Those who do not are labelled ‘scroungers’, not willing to do their bit. And yet for one group of people, these principles somehow vanish. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work. It is true to say that they do not come to the UK seeking employment, it is important not to confuse them with economic migrants who mostly come here legitimately to work. Asylum seekers come to the UK because they are forced to ﬂee their homes. Often they do not even know which country they will end up in. So they apply for asylum, and then are frequently subjected to a long wait during which they are prevented from working, and
Gatelodge 06-14 general matters.indd 7
loyalty and determination to help others in their time of need. On behalf of all those who have had the beneﬁt of June’s support over the years, we send our warmest congratulations and believe there is no more worthy recipient of the award than June Robinson. Finlay Spratt Chairman (NI)
forced to rely on meagre handouts from the state. The money they get is 30 percent below the level set for income support. This is reduced to nothing once their claim has been turned down, despite the fact that they may be unable to return home straight away. So we are left with an astonishing situation – the Government is forcing people into poverty and it is costing them money to do so. It is a lose-lose situation: those seeking asylum are left dependent on the state, the taxpayer is forced to support them, and society as a whole loses out on the talent and skills refugees have to oﬀer. And in some extreme cases, where the generosity of friends and charities has been exhausted, asylum seekers have found themselves forced to work illegally. Recent Government initiatives to crack down on illegal working have brought the absurdity of the situation into sharp focus – why have policies that directly contradict one another? If asylum seekers were allowed to work, they would not be forced to work illegally and be put at risk of exploitation. They would be able to support themselves, pay taxes, and
contribute to the economy of the country that has taken them in, for however long they remain here. Ironically, if an asylum seeker is detained, they are able to be paid for work done in detention, albeit for minimal amounts. People who claim asylum in the UK do not want to have to rely on state handouts. Work for them is not just a way to support themselves, it represents a means of retaining their dignity and a sense of purpose in the face of an unfathomable situation. Moreover, if those who are ﬁnally given permission to stay in the UK are able to work whilst they await their decision, they will be far better placed to rebuild their lives and integrate successfully into British life. We are therefore very pleased that the POA has agreed to support our campaign with the TUC, to allow asylum seekers to work. Asylum seekers can work, and they want to work. We are just asking the Government to let them. Donna Covey Chief Executive, Refugee Council September 2008
October 2008 7 7/10/08 15:11:58
The timetable of events already agreed for Justice Week is: Monday 8 December Publication of research commissioned from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at a forum hosted by the CCJS for press and parliamentarians. Tuesday 9 December Concerted industrial action by those unions involved in disputes. Parliamentary activity, including early day motions and adjournment debates around the stress experienced by workers in the justice system. Napo, PCS, the POA, UNISON and the Police Federation are organising a week of action and activities from 8-12 December. It will be known as Justice Week. The action is being planned because of the common threats faced by all the unions and associations. Workers across the justice sector are experiencing below inﬂation pay oﬀers, soaring workloads, cuts to budgets and creeping civilianisation and privatisation. Staﬀ pointed out to parliamentarians, at a rally in the House of Commons in June, that the Justice System was facing meltdown. The week of activities, which will include industrial action if necessary, will highlight to parliament, the press and the public, the extreme diﬃculties that the justice system is facing. Morale is at an all time low across the sector and unless suﬃcient funding is found in the immediate future there is no guarantee that statutory duties will be fulﬁlled. It is critical therefore that there is maximum participation by union and association members during Justice Week. All of the organisations will be meeting regularly to plan the activities and events. Details will come soon on how members regionally can cooperate and share transport to events, etc.
Wednesday 10 December Major lobby of parliament and continued industrial action. Thursday 11 December Regional ‘Public Services Not Private Proﬁt’ meetings. Collection of statements of support for the activities from faith groups, voluntary groups, pressure groups and other trade unions. Friday 12 December Mass lobby of MPs in their constituencies. We will attempt to ensure that every MP in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is lobbied on that day. Branches are urged to appoint Justice Week Organisers NOW.
Women Chainmaker’s Festival 2008 This year I was invited by the POA Birmingham Branch to attend the Women Chainmaker’s Festival at the Black Country Living Museum in Birmingham. This TUC organised event celebrates the achievements of the Cradley Heath Women Chainmaker’s who in 1910 went on strike for ten weeks and fought to establish their right to a minimum wage for their industrial sector. This dispute was an important step towards establishing a National Minimum Wage. This was ﬁnally achieved in 1989. The Black Country Museum is situated in Dudley and is an open air museum where historic buildings from all around the Black Country have been moved and rebuilt to create a tribute to the traditional skills of the people who once lived in the heart of industrial Britain in the early 1900s. As well as celebrating the importance of
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trade union history and women at work, the Women Chainmaker’s Festival recreates the famous 1910 victory march that saw women make history within the trade union movement. Trade unionists attended with their branch and regional banners to take part in the march through the museum. The march was led by Lynn Morris who played the strike leader Mary Macarthur, one of the most important female ﬁgures in the history of the trade union movement. Other costumed actors from the theatre groups also set the stage alight with their passionate performances. Throughout the procession, the Highley Colliery Band played traditional marching tunes which all added to the great atmosphere. The theatre group also reinacted all the speeches both before and after the march and gave people a sense of
understanding of the plight of the women who together showed strength and unity in their campaign for their right to a minimum wage. This year, the new POA banner had its ﬁrst outing. The Birmingham Branch of the POA and I stood shoulder to shoulder with other trade unionists and their banners and raised the proﬁle of the POA at an important trade union event. Overall, it was a great day of entertainment, amazing speeches, music and theatre and will ensure that the legacy of the Women Chainmaker’s lives on. I would like to thank the Birmingham branch for their hospitality and showing us northerners the bright lights of Birmingham. Joe Simpson NEO
Gatelodge 7/10/08 15:12:51
Kick It Out – Movin’ On Up It’s an organisation intrinsically linked with stamping out discrimination in our national game. But Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, is also committed to raising aspirations for individuals within the UK prison system with its ‘Movin’ On Up’ initiative. As the campaign celebrates its annual ‘One Game, One Community’ week of action in mid - October, we took a close look at this pioneering scheme. Movin’ On Up provides prisoners with an opportunity to hear from and meet a number of role models, drawn from football as well as other sports, music and the media, in a session designed to help raise motivation and achievement. The events also look at the eﬀects of discrimination both within football, sport generally and within the wider community. Panel members are on hand to recite and share experiences of discrimination with attendees urged to do likewise. Each forum features three or four panellists chosen to illustrate key messages about personal motivation, drawing on the dedication and work that they have put into their own profession. Events often include an element of performance, such as dance, song or
theatre, to help showcase community projects. This October will see the ﬁfth annual ‘One Game, One Community’ week of action take place nationwide, with all 92 professional football clubs joining grassroots clubs and community organisations in a united stand against racism. Movin’ On Up forums provide an excellent opportunity for prisons and youth oﬀending institutions to participate in this period. Previously the likes of former Charlton striker Carl Leaburn, former Great Britain rugby star Ikram Butt, and Jamie Lawrence, the former Bradford City and Leicester City midﬁelder, who was previously a prison inmate, have all taken part in Movin’ On Up forums. Kick It Out’s director Piara Powar explains: “Football is a great tool to reach out to those who have been excluded from mainstream society and in this case work with inmates in discussions on discrimination, equality and a life outside prison. “We hope the activities will help to inspire, raise aspirations and ultimately contribute to the process of rehabilitation.”
To ﬁnd out more about Kick It Out’s ‘Movin On Up’ initiative, call 0207 684 4884.
The French experience Recently I attended the Sequedin ‘The Maison D’Arrett Prison’ in France with Don Wood and Glyn Travis. The trip had been arranged through the Oﬃces of Eurofedop to give us an insight into the alternatives to a Titan prison. Titans are something that will be a signiﬁcant issue for the POA in the next few years. This Government are looking to build new super prisons in London, the West Midlands and the North West on Brownﬁeld sites – these will hold 2,500 prisoners in the ﬁrst instance. They will be publicly ﬁnanced at around £400 million, each at 2007 prices and the revenue will be realised by selling oﬀ the prime real estate, closing existing prisons. Currently the Government, in spite of huge opposition seems hell bent on this programme and have intimated that the ﬁrst two Titans will be privately managed. The Executive have raised our obections to what can only be described as a knee jerk reaction to a long term problem. The French built the ﬁrst Super Prison – The Flery-Merogis – in Paris in the late 1960s. It was designed to hold 2,500 prisoners and the old prison in Paris was to close. It now holds 5,000 prisoners and the old French prison is still fully operational. The French have abandoned the idea of Titans because they are dangerous, expensive and ineﬀective. Following a serious riot in 1985 they now have 100 police on standby 24 hours a day at the Flery-Merogis Prison in case of another disturbance. We are trying to arrange a visit to this prison in the near future to assist us in our campaign against the introduction of Titan Prisons in our Criminal Justice System. Turning to our visit, we were greeted by Willy Bell the Vice Secretary, Alleen Germaine and Minet Armand the National Chairman of SMP (National Penetencary Sendicate) and CST (Confederation of Christian Workers). During the tour of the prison we were met by the Director/Governor of Maison D’Arrett, Mrs L Clercq. It was pleasing to meet a Governor who was professional and committed to staﬀ and although she was only 30 years old she had a signiﬁcant amount of experience and recognised the value of ensuring a safe and decent prison came before eﬃciency and money. Industrial relations at the prison were good, staﬀ morale very high and I can say on behalf of us all the prison appeared safe. The Maison D’Arrett was opened in 2006, holds around 450 remand/ unsentenced male prisoners, 100 female prisoners and 100 male sentenced prisoners all serving ten years or more. The design and security of the prison
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is similar to a high security prison in England with all staﬀ in uniform, even the Governor. There were 220 oﬃcers in post, a signiﬁcantly better staﬀ to prisoner ratio than we currently enjoy. We were all shocked when we asked the question; “Can prison oﬃcers go on strike in France?, the answer: “No, it is illegal”. We were also surprised to ﬁnd out that only about 7% of staﬀ in prisons are members of any Trade Union. I will be working with our fellow trade unionists throughout Europe to improve trade union membership. What was interesting was that all prison oﬃcers work for the State, they are all public sector workers not private sector workers. Privatisation exists in France and in French prisons, but ultimately the State has responsibility. This is something our Government must look at. No systems are perfect, but what was clear to me was that if staﬃng levels are correct, staﬀ feel safe and happy at work, morale is high and industrial relations good. Maybe, the Government should look at this model, rather that the Titan Prison Model in an attempt to make eﬃciency savings and put more people in prisons rather then looking at alternatives to custody. I would like to thank our hosts in France and the Oﬃces of Eurofedop. This was an interesting and worthwhile visit. Colin Moses National Chairman
October 2008 9 1/10/08 16:08:09
Trade Union Congress 2008 On our journey to Brighton the national papers were full of articles portraying the inevitability of Gordon Brown’s last days in oﬃce and the country’s slippage into a recession. The Prime Minister’s forthcoming speech to the Labour Party Conference was expected to request a ‘second chance as PM’ and it was also expected that he would acknowledge the scale of disillusionment with the Government’s recent performance and his role in the Party’s slumping fortunes. The Sunday Times reported that the TUC will claim that Labour had ‘lost its way’. Derek Simpson of UNITE who represents two million workers said “Its dawning on more and more back benchers who are worried about their seats that we have to change the message and time was running out”. The Sunday Express reported on the incompetence of the Prison Service and its failure to report to Jack Straw on the missing data. The paper further warned ‘a winter of pay strike looms’, says the TUC chief. Brendan Barber was quoted to say “ministers have underestimated the level of anger over wage deals that have pegged back public sector pay rises to 2.5 percent”.
Day 1 Headlines Monday 8th September 2008 ■ POA WILL MOVE GENERAL STRIKE MOTION ■ UNIONS ON THE MARCH ■ WINTER OF DISCONTENT LOOMS AS A MILLION WORKERS VOTE ON STRIKES ■ COMRADES BRACED FOR THE TORYS ■ STRIKE THREAT BY PRISON OFFICERS AFTER DATA IS LOST Entering the conference hall, we were faced with the biggest cue cards you’ve ever seen. Congress started on Monday 8th September, the same day that a cabinet meeting was being held in Birmingham. 86 Ministers were not in Brighton as they were in Birmingham listening to the working public. You would think that if they really waned to listen to the working public then the ministers would have come to Brighton where 70,000 of the working public were being represented by people who would speak out on their behalf Following a short video on the success of the TUC over the last 12 months, Brendan Barber opened congress calling for fairness for workers and decent rates of pay for public sector servants. Brendan called for the ‘rich’ to be taxed according to their ﬁnancial position and further called for a windfall tax on fuel magnates who were reaping their proﬁts from the poor. He stated that Public Sector workers are not the cause of inﬂation, they are the casualties. Only by being fairer can Britain become stronger and only by being stronger can Britain become fairer. Composite 15 was the ﬁrst motion to be heard along with an amendment from the POA to include the word ‘strike’ in the motion. After a lengthy debate, Brendan Barber spoke in support of the motion but against the amendment in a bid to ensure the POA was defeated. He wasn’t as convincing as he thought he could be, the vote was very close and a card vote was called. The amendment was lost by just over a million votes. Disappointingly, Unite, who openly supported the amendment, could not ﬁnd their voting card. With their 1,941,610 votes, the POA amendment would have been included in the motion which was carried by a vast majority. The afternoon saw Brian Caton on the rostrum again calling for the TUC to organise a series of one-day general strikes until such time as the Government removes the restrictive anti-trade union legislation from
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statute. RMT General Secretary Bob Crow strongly seconded the motion and gave us full support. Yet again Brendan Barber spoke against us and this time succeeded in leading congress to reject the motion. To our surprise, unions such as PCS and FBU – both who have recently taken strike supported by the POA – decided to vote against us. This was clear evidence that as POA members, we are on our own.
Day 2 Headlines Tuesday 9th September 2008 ■ PUBLIC SERVANTS LINE UP FOR PAY FIGHTBACK ■ DARLING AND BROWN FEEL WRATH OF UNIONS ■ I WON’T BUDGE ON PAY ■ DELEGATES REJECT CALL FOR GENERAL STRIKEPOA SEEKS TO SCRAP ANTI-UNION LAWS ■ BROWNS PULL TOGETHER PLEA ■ DELEGATES CHALLENGE TUC LEADERS – AS POA DEMANDS ACTION ■ TUC VOTES FOR MASS ACTION OVER PAY
Address by John Denham MP The TUC were addressed by the Right Honourable John Denham MP Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills. He thanked the whole of the trade union movement for their contribution to the life long learning and skills for life agenda. He placed on record the Government’s thanks to the thousands of learning union reps that who have developed and enhanced the skills of workers in the United Kingdom. He outlined the signiﬁcant increase in apprenticeship schemes since 1997 and recommitted the Government’s commitment to assist employers to maintain apprentices, especially during the current economic downturn. He also announced that the weekly national apprenticeship wage will rise to £95.00; this was fully accepted by Congress.
Address by Chancellor Alistair Darling Alistair Darling addressed congress and gave out a very clear message, that he will do nothing to help working people through the economic crisis. As Unite delegates sat in a block wearing identical bright yellow T-shirts bearing the slogan ‘Cut My Pay, No Way’, Mr Darling instructed congress not to forget what the Labour party have achieved since 1997 declaring “Our purpose as a Government is fairness, to create a society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.” He went on to say that Public Sector Servants had received a 39% pay rise over the last 10 years; delegates quickly reminded him that pay increments were not pay rises. National Union of teachers President Bill Greenshields set the tone of the debate by saying “To those who fear that our opposition to Labour’s policies will cost them the next election, I say the only organisation that can lose the next election for the Labour Party is the Labour Party.”
Titan Prisons The POA today announced our opposition to the proposals for the introduction of Titan Prisons. Dave Cook, Branch Chairman of Swaleside, spent the entire morning issuing our press release circulars to TUC delegates once again increasing the POA’s standing and position within the Trade Union Movement. The circular titled ‘Titan Prisons are NOT the answer’ outlined our opposition to warehouse prisons and predicted that these prisons will be dangerous for staﬀ and prisoners alike and will be a serious risk to society. The Titan prison programme will be built with tax payer’s money but run by the private sector to make proﬁt. For private companies to make money at the expense of victims of crime is morally repugnant, New Labours words not ours.
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Day 3 Headlines Wednesday 10th September 2008 ■ NEW LABOUR ‘MUST STOP BOWING TO BOSSES’ ■ DARLING: I’LL DO NOTHING TO HELP WORKERS SURVIVE THE CRISIS ■ MINISTERS TAKE A PASTING OVER ENERGY PROFITS ■ TUC DELEGATES SLAM BROWN’S PRIVATISATION POLICIES ■ RENATIONALISATION DEMANDS TUC CONGRESS ■ PAY RISES WILL MEAN LOST JOBS - DARLING
Fringe Meeting 13.00 We attended a fringe meeting for the ‘Justice Under Stress’ campaign. This is supported by the POA, UNISON, PCS, and NAPO. The Police Federation has now committed to this cause however, much like the law that restricts the POA, the Police are banned from association with other trade unions. There will be a week long lobby of Parliament in December including local and national rallies where the campaign will raise awareness and seek to gain support from MPs. Colin Moses spoke on behalf of the POA and explained the current diﬃculties and working conditions workers face on a daily basis within prisons. He further explained the treatment of Prison Oﬃcers and their employment rights speciﬁcally around pay and conditions.
Motion 65 The Prison System Colin Moses addressed the TUC and outlined the eﬀects of crime in society in general and demanded that the justice system address the needs of those directly aﬀected by crime. He demanded that oﬀenders are not only caught but punished appropriately and then rehabilitated to reduce the risk of re-oﬀending. He requested that Congress accepted that Prison Oﬃcers are at the sharp end when the failures of the current policy result in custodial sentences. He continued that even though the Government has accepted the serious underlying issues surrounding crime, they have failed to deliver real end-to-end justice in which society as a whole can have conﬁdence.
Day 4 The ﬁnal day. LLW staﬀ and POA representatives dismantled our stand which they had staﬀed all week, a big ‘thank you’ to them.
CONCLUSION* The TUC in its current form are politically inﬂuenced and politically motivated, we witnessed on the ﬁrst night front line TUC whips attempting to stiﬂe debate, prevent free speech and undermine the very principles of trade union rights. The motions for a general strike on trade union rights and public sector pay should have been supported by the General Council. We ask “Did Unite lose the voting card or were they instructed not to vote?” We will never know. The very principles of the trade union movement were put to the hearts and minds of Congress however, because of the muscle and inﬂuence of the General Council, speciﬁcally the motion on public sector pay we were robbed of the support that we fully deserved. Unlike the POA conference, the TUC is stage managed by the General Council. It selects speakers to address guests, it allows the larger Unions to dominate the question and answers sessions and in our opinion, let the Government oﬀ very lightly by not responding to Ministers’ key speeches to Congress. Therefore the question we asked ourselves was “Do we really need to be aﬃliated to the TUC”? In reality ‘Yes’ but we need to work to changing the TUC and to have our voice heard. The TUC are the conduit to the Government, they have inﬂuence but not enough clout. *The conclusion is the opinions of John Hoey and Jackie Marshall, not the POA John Hoey – HMYOI Lancaster Farms Jackie Marshall – HMYOI Stoke Heath
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October 2008 11 7/10/08 15:15:01
Tolpuddle Martyrs 2008 This year something magical happened at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, more POA members descended on it and made it bigger than ever before. This year we were joined by the Birmingham Branch of the POA who brought their camping gear and roughed it with the rest of us. The day started well enough, we arrived after an eight hour drive (it actually takes less time to ﬂy to the Caribbean than to drive to Dorchester from Durham), unpacked the car and proceeded to put up our tent. It doesn’t help that we have never had the same tent twice for this festival and the reason for this is that once it is unpacked it is impossible to get it back into its 6mm by 6mm bag and so it is always abandoned on the Monday morning! So yet again we are faced with a new tent and a new challenge of getting the thing put up and weather proof. It also doesn’t help that most men do not read instructions when trying to put things together. As a consequence of this I left oﬀ the rain cover. You would think I would have learned from my mistake last year when I woke up in a puddle of water (well I think it was water!) We are deﬁnitely thinking of getting a Wendy House like Brian Traynor’s next year, it just popped up! It was also rather fetching, it had square windows and a door and looked like something from my play-school years. Of course, when men do any sort of hard labour (or movements!) they obviously need refreshments, well that was our excuse for bringing out the beers! They ﬂowed freely for the rest of the day. There are always plenty of things to do at Tolpuddle, it is very family orientated and most people bring their children along. We had three children in our camp this year, Millie, Edward and Max. They managed to rope everyone into a game of rounders. However, it was like a C & R Refresher course, three quarters of the team went sick in the ﬁrst ten minutes complaining of bad backs, knee injuries and broken nails (Claire, Zoe and Jackie, you know who you are!). Because we had exerted ourselves again, refreshments were needed. This also seemed like a good excuse for Toddy and Cookie to get out the barbie and get cooking. Minnie Cookie was also on hand to help with the chores around the campsite this year which saved me a job of washing up (cheers MC). Our new additions to the campsite appeared to be enjoying themselves; however, I was informed that they were being supervised by ‘mummy’ (Brian) and on their best behaviour. Aidy and Andy were dressed for the occasion (nice ﬂip-ﬂops Andy) and Brian made sure that they made ‘mummy’ a cup of tea every morning. People never know what to expect when they come to Tolpuddle for the ﬁrst time but I think it lived up to Birmingham’s expectations of a great weekend. To commemorate the bravery of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and to also raise awareness of the POA’s
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Photo: Deb Johnson
struggle to regain their trade union rights, the POA Freedom Hike from Dorchester Prison to the village of Tolpuddle took place. However, this year was diﬀerent as we saw not just POA members taking part but also many members of other trade unions. The POA Freedom Hike is now beginning to gather momentum and more people are gaining interest in our plight. Leaﬂets and word of mouth are promoting the POA’s struggle to regain their trade union rights and this is why it is important that POA members raise awareness in all the right places. The hike is great fun with plenty of banter along the way. We all meet up at Dorchester Prison and begin the hike from there. It is roughly eight miles and not for the faint hearted. It took us across ﬁelds, down streams, through quaint little hamlets and before we knew it we were lost. Yes, that’s right, this year we took a diﬀerent route and managed to arrive the wrong side of the village. However, all was not lost, we phoned the remaining members of
the NEC and they promptly arrived with the POA banner ready for the march through the village. The march is perhaps the greatest sight for any trade unionist to see. All the unions are there and it is led by the Musicians Union, playing their music and contributing to the brilliant atmosphere. Trade union banners can be seen for miles and it is a great show of solidarity and strength. I am proud to be a POA member and to march with the POA banner supporting my union alongside other trade unions. Overall, the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival is not to be missed. I know it is a long journey for some members but it is a great weekend. So if you want to celebrate the trade union movement and ﬁght for the POA’s rights then bring your tents and families and join us next year, we promise you will not be disappointed! Joe Simpson NEO
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Prison learning centre staff and learning centres are celebrated at regional awards Two prison-based learndirect learning centre staﬀ and a learning centre are celebrating their success after winning Regional learndirect Achievement Awards. Every Step Ltd. learning centre in HMP Chelmsford and their centre manager, Stephen both won awards in the East region, while Jackie Phillips, a member of staﬀ at Mainstream Training centre in HMP YOI Rochester, won a South East Regional award. Everystep Ltd. won the learndirect Centre of the Year Award, sponsored by Becta, which recognises learndirect learning centres who have demonstrated outstanding performance in order to provide excellent customer care and tutor support for their learners. Since becoming a dedicated online centre in March 2007, the centre at HMP Chelmsford has gone from strength to strength. They have achieved excellent enrolment levels and test pass scores as well as introducing one-to-one support to help learners with severe learning diﬃculties. They even produced a promotional DVD to be featured on the prison TV channel. On receiving the award, Stephen Orbell, the centre manager, said: “We really didn’t expect to win. It’s nice to see all the hard work pay oﬀ. A lot of our learners come to us as a last resort and we can oﬀer them a way forward.” Stephen was also awarded the learndirect Centre Staﬀ Award. This recognises staﬀ who go that extra mile to help and support learndirect learners. Stephen is centre manager and tutor at the centre. Since joining in February 2006 and becoming manager in August, Steve’s supportive, trusting and encouraging manner as a tutor has helped many learners at the centre to build conﬁdence and self-esteem. Always going that extra mile to help learners achieve, Steve is constantly thinking of new ways to engage learners and promote the brilliant service oﬀered at the centre. His fellow staﬀ say that he’s a pleasure to work with and his energy and enthusiasm are seen as a real inspiration. On receiving his award Stephen added: “Having the support of the team at Everystep and HMP Chelmsford has helped me win this award. Anyone who works in a prison will know what a tough but rewarding experience it can be.” Jackie won the learndirect Centre Staﬀ Award in the South East region. Jackie has worked at the Mainstream Training centre in HMP YOI Rochester for six months. Always on hand to give help when needed, she also takes time to prepare learners for life after release, providing them with information about local learning courses in their area. Her colleague, Keith Pestell, who nominated Jackie, says her learners truly feel they have achieved something with someone who cares for how they are progressing. On receiving her award Jackie said: “It’s great – my learners will love it! It’s great to see them getting their Level 2 qualiﬁcations. You can see the change in them - they are calmer and happier as a result of learning.” Everystep Ltd., Stephen and Jackie will now go forward to represent their regions at the National Awards Ceremony to be held at The Science Museum in London on 20 October. Stephen Crowne, chief executive of Becta, who are sponsoring the learndirect Centre of the Year award, said:
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“Becta is delighted to sponsor the learndirect Centre of the Year Award. Becta recognises the importance of the role that centres and their staﬀ play in ensuring learners are becoming more digitally minded, engaged and equipped with the practical skills they need in the workplace. The calibre of nominees has been very high again this year and Every Step Ltd. fully deserve to be rewarded for their success in providing outstanding customer care and tutor support to their learners.” Dereth Wood, Uﬁ Operations Director said: “These Regional winners have demonstrated an inspirational commitment to developing the skills and qualiﬁcations of those they tutor. As a great encouragement to centres and centre staﬀ across England, Every Step Ltd, Stephen and Jackie truly deserve recognition. I wish them the best of luck at the national ceremony in October.”
October 2008 13 7/10/08 15:19:01
POA retired ofﬁcers – an opportunity to make a difference Although not much researched, there is a widely accepted link between poor education, social exclusion and crime. The Prison Service and charities like Shannon Trust endeavour to give prisoners the opportunity to redress the gaps in learning that may have occurred during their school years. These learning opportunities in prison are central to developing selfesteem and widening opportunities for employment following release. There are many prisoners who fell signiﬁcantly short of their potential while at school and have subsequently struggled (or been too embarrassed) to take positive action to redress these issues. Recent statistics indicate that approximately 22 percent of children leave school with such poor reading skills that they are excluded from employment that demands these skills. In prison this ﬁgure rises to over 60 percent. Many prisoners with poor reading skills often exhibit an antagonistic attitude towards authority and education, which many retain after release. For prisoners trapped in this cycle, little is likely to change during their time in prison, which will probably result in their attitude towards oﬀending being unchanged from the time of their conviction. Prison however, oﬀers those struggling with their reading a golden opportunity to put right an area of their lives that is an embarrassment and a barrier to personal fulﬁlment. They have time on their hands and there are few distractions to discourage them from learning. The need for individual coaching, however, far exceeds prison resources, and money is unlikely to be made available to meet this demand. Prisons do though, contain a huge resource of prisoners who can read and are more than willing to teach others in an informal way. We know many prisoners who are happy to do this, not for material gain but because it oﬀers them a constructive, voluntary activity. At Shannon Trust we seek to exploit this opportunity by encouraging prisons to allow their prisoners to organise informal coaching networks on the wings and other locations in the prison. We use the ‘Toe by Toe’ reading manual, which has been developed for untrained people to use, giving 20 minute daily lessons. Many prisoners learn to read in as little as four months. The Shannon Reading Plan has spread to nearly every prison in the UK, largely through the enthusiasm of prisons and the dedication of oﬃcers and members of the prison staﬀ who enable the programme to operate. When we ask members of staﬀ why they give-up their own time to run the programme, which is not an oﬃcial part of their daily duty, the unfailing answer is, “It’s one of the most rewarding things I do”.
How You Can Help We have a network of volunteers who work closely with individual prisons to advise on how to run the Reading Plan and provide resources to support and promote ‘Toe by Toe’. Shannon Trust provides the reading manuals and promotional materials free of charge. We always need new volunteers. Several retired oﬃcers have expressed their support for the work we do and we would like to encourage you to consider supporting us in developing this project. Retired oﬃcers have a unique insight into how prisons work and are amongst the most qualiﬁed and suited to speak to oﬃcers and staﬀ about the Reading Plan and its beneﬁts. Shannon Trust is actively supported by POA members and the national executive. If you would like to give your support to this highly eﬀective and rewarding programme, please contact us on 020 7730 4917 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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GIVING YOU A VOICE Operational support grade consultative committee The above Committee was formed by policy from Annual Conference in 2007. The selection process of six members from the ﬁeld was conducted as a result of the promulgation of Branch Secretary Circular 43/2007. Applications were of an extremely high calibre making the selection process extremely diﬃcult. However the following individuals now form the Consultative Committee: Dave Plummer – HMP Coldingley, Gordon Hart – HMP Whitemoor, Cath Baxter – HMP Styal, Callum McEachnie – HMP Gartree, John Armitage – HMP Leeds, Donna Wyatt–Grange - HMP Edmunds Hill and Ady Evans – HMP Wakeﬁeld. The National Chairman Colin Moses and General Secretary Brian Caton determined in May 2008 that they wanted a high proﬁle Committee to meet the needs of this reformed group and asked me to Chair the Committee which I am delighted to do as Finance Oﬃcer. All too often when I visit prisons up and down the country I hear Operational Support Grades question whether they are valued as POA members and whether their voice is heard. This has consistently been an ongoing concern even before the OSG agreement in 1997. I want to reassure every OSG that their membership is valued the same as every other member in the POA. Quite simply there is no rank in our Union and everyone who pays £12.60 must receive the same service. I am proud to be Chair of this new Committee and have already informed the group that we will not just be a talking shop but we must demonstrate that national issues are pursued on behalf of Operational Support Grade. I intend to have regular articles addressing OSG concerns so that the membership are updated on a regular basis. I would encourage all OSG members to become active within your respective branches and have your voice heard at branch meetings. With Workforce Modernisation heavily on the agenda the Consultative Committee will be meeting again on the 16th December 2008 where we hope things will be a lot clearer in relation to what is on the table with regards to Workforce Modernisation. The National Executive Committee members that have been annotated to this important Committee are Duncan Keys – Secretary, Steve Baines – NEO, Pete Chapple – NEO, Tom Robson – NEO, Don Wood – NEO and myself as Chair. Working together and listening to what is important to the membership is crucial and that is what this Committee is about. We will not resolve national concerns or issues overnight, nor is it a forum to deal with individual grievances. The Committee look forward to taking national issues such as recruitment, pay, terms and conditions through the relevant Whitley processes at national level to make sure that OSGs are represented to the best of our ability, and to inform the Executive of pressing issues. In future issues of Gatelodge we aim to have the photographs of all members of the Consultative Committee published and inform the membership regularly what issues are being considered. We would also like your views on what matters and I would urge you to raise them with your local Committee at branch level so that they can inform the Consultative Committee. STEVE GILLAN Finance Oﬃcer
OSG CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE Steve Gillan – Chairman Dave Plummer – HMP Coldinley Duncan Keys – Secretary Gordon Hart – HMP Whitemoor and chair of OSG consultative Committee Steve Baines – NEO Cath Baxter – HMP Styal Pete Chapple – NEO Callum McEachnie – HMP Gartree Tom Robson – NEO John Armatage – HMP Leeds Don Wood – NEO Donna Wyatt-Grange – HMP Edmunds Hill Ady Evans – HMP Wakeﬁeld
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October 2008 15 22/7/08 15:28:31 10:10:44 7/10/08
The criminal injuries compensation Introduction – the 2005 Green Paper In December 2005 the Government issued a Green Paper titled “Rebuilding Lives: supporting victims of crime” – this contained some radical proposals including the following – • The minimum Award that could be made would be increased from the ﬁgure set when the Scheme was introduced in 1996 (and left untouched when the Scheme was revised in 2001) namely £1,000 possibly to £2,500; • Public Sector Workers assaulted while at work would have no right to seek compensation from the CICA and would, instead, be expected to claim against their employer; On behalf of the POA we submitted a response to the Green Paper describing the proposals as an unwarranted attack on Public Sector workers dressed up as a reform measure that was in the public interest when, in fact, it was no more than a blatant attempt to cut the cost of administering the Scheme.
LLW leads trade union campaign The POA asked Lees Lloyd Whitley to enlist the support of other Unions in campaigning against the proposals. Given the nature of the dangers faced by their Members in the light of an ever increasing Prison population aggravated by a consistent lack of investment in staﬀ, their concern was understandable. The Green Paper was one attack too many on their Members by a Labour Government who had long since turned their back on them. Accordingly, a variety of Unions operating in the Public Sector (Fire, Teaching, Nursing, Probation etc) were contacted with a view to them working with the POA in stopping these proposals being implemented. The TUC conﬁrmed that they were aware of the Green Paper but it has to be said that there was a muted response from other Unions (for whatever reason) to the call for a campaign on behalf of all Union Members likely to be aﬀected by these proposals. LLW kept in regular touch with the Oﬃce For Criminal Justice Reform enquiring as to when the Green Paper would progress to the next stage only to be consistently told during the period 2006 - April 2008 that – “Ministers are still considering the way forward on the Green Paper and I have not
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been given an indication of when a decision may be made” LLW gave out ﬂyers at the 2007 TUC Congress summarising the Green Paper and highlighting the attack it represented on Public Sector Workers. Frank Rogers (Head of Union Law at LLW) discussed the issue with as many Union Delegates as possible. At the 2007 Congress the NASUWT held a Fringe Meeting to discuss the issue of “Assaults on Public Sector Workers.” The main speakers were – • Chris Keates NASUWT general secretary; and • Karen Jennings from the health section of UNISON; The Green Paper was not referred to during the main part of the Meeting. Accordingly, Frank Rogers highlighted the threat posed to their Members (and all those working in the Public Sector) by the Green Paper. Dave Cook (POA Committee Member from HMP Swaleside) supported Frank by highlighting in an emotional address the day to day dangers POA Members faced from a violent Prison population. These contributions from the ﬂoor provoked much debate and concern. Subsequently Frank Rogers sent the NASUWT and UNISON copies of the Green Paper and kept in touch with the NASUWT. In March 2008 Frank Rogers was invited to speak (with Christine McAnea - a Member of the UNISON Executive) at a Fringe Meeting at the NASUWT Annual Conference in Birmingham. His presentation focussed on the Green Paper and the existing injustices of the CICA Scheme as well as the dangers faced by POA Members.
The 2008 Scheme – change by stealth! After nearly two and a half years of complete inertia the Government, through its Criminal Justice Service, launched the 2008 CICA Scheme. Despite LLW having registered their interest on behalf of the POA and, despite having asked for progress reports on the Green Paper on a regular basis, we received no direct notiﬁcation of the fact that the new Scheme was to be launched. Ben Chapman – constituency MP for LLW – had written at their request to the Department of Justice who responded by referring to the new Scheme which had sneaked onto the CJS website on June 18th 2008. Why was there such a low-key announcement that a new Scheme was being launched to replace that revised
in 2001? Surely it was not because the radical changes proposed by a Labour Government had been so widely attacked that embarrassment meant that the Green Paper was just allowing going mouldy and withering away? In the somewhat terse announcement posted on the CJS website it was stated that “The changes do not alter the shape or substance of the Scheme or, in most cases, the level of compensation awarded for injuries sustained as a result of a violent criminal act. The public consultation ‘Rebuilding Lives: supporting victims of crime’ – proposed refocusing the Scheme around the concept of ‘seriousness.’ There was little public support for such a major change to the scheme.” Absolutely no mention of the fact that amongst Public Sector Unions there was little ‘support’ for the proposal (buried near the end of the Green Paper) that they would have no right to compensation when assaulted simply for doing their job! This must, therefore, not only represent a victory for common sense but also for all Public Sector Workers. LLW is delighted to have played some part in achieving this victory and will continue to campaign for better protection for those working in the Prison Service, Special Hospitals and the Public Sector generally.
Changes to the 2001 CICA scheme – what is different? The ﬁrst thing to note is that the 2008 Scheme only applies to applications lodged with the authority after November 3rd 2008. Administration The changes made here are as follows; • Appeals from decisions made by a Claims Oﬃcer at the Review stage will no longer be dealt with Adjudicators (Members of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Panel) but by Members of the First Tier Tribunal established under the Tribunals, Courts & Enforcement Act 2007; • No mention is made in the new Scheme of the ability of the Panel (now Tribunal) to advise the Secretary of State of ‘matters on which he seeks its advice as well as on such other matters and at such times as it considers appropriate.’ Is this signiﬁcant? Is this the removal of an opportunity for concerns to be raised? Eligibility to apply for compensation The only change here is the introduction of
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scheme 2008 a deﬁnition of ‘vehicle’ in Paragraph 11 which now reads (new words in italics) “A personal injury is not a criminal injury for the purposes of this Scheme where the injury is attributable to the use of a vehicle, except where the vehicle was used so as deliberately to inﬂict, or attempt to inﬂict, injury on any person. For the purposes of this Scheme a ‘vehicle’ is any device by which persons, animals or goods are or can be transported on or under land or water, or by air.” Eligibility to Receive Compensation • A new Paragraph 13(2) appears in the 2008 Scheme. Eﬀectively this provides that ‘Special Expenses’ covering lack of mental capacity or setting up trusts will be reduced unless the whole Award is withheld; • Paragraph 14 contains an additional provision relating to the duty of the Applicant to provide ‘reasonable assistance’ to the CICA by allowing a Claims Oﬃcer to withhold an Award ‘where the Applicant has repeatedly and without reasonable excuse failed to respond to the Authority’s communications sent to his or her last known address;’ this would be less onerous if the CICA did not take so long to process applications with no regular communication with applicants during the process of dealing with the application lodged. Obvious diﬃculties may arise in relation to deﬁning ‘repeatedly’ (three unanswered letters sent over what period of time?) and ‘without reasonable excuse’ (waiting for outcome of surgery, beneﬁts assessments, civil action arising from same incident etc); • Another new provision appears in Paragraph 14 dealing with any convictions the applicant may have. Paragraph 13 of the Scheme (both the 2001 & 2008 versions) provide that convictions regarded as ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Oﬀenders Act 1974 (at the date of application or death) will be ignored in determining eligibility to receive compensation. However, it is now speciﬁcally provided that when considering the ‘character’ of the applicant a Claims oﬃcer ‘must withhold or reduce an award to reﬂect unspent criminal convictions unless he or she considers that there are exceptional reasons not to do so.’ • An additional provision appears in Paragraph 17 reﬂecting the change in our social structure. This Paragraph deals
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with situations where the victim and any assailant were living in the same household as members of the same family. In these circumstances an award will be withheld. This is now extended to cover ‘a man and a woman living together as husband and wife (whether or not they are married) or same sex partners living together (whether or not they are civil partners);’ Consideration of Applications There is certainly one change here, which should not be overlooked. The time limit for lodging an application with the CICA remains two years from the date of the relevant incident. The discretion given to the Authority to waive this time limit is described in the 2001 Scheme as follows ‘A Claims Oﬃcer may waive this time limit where he considers that, by reason of the particular circumstances of the case, it is reasonable and in the interests of justice to do so.’ This provision in the 2008 Scheme (Paragraph 18) reads as follows – ‘A Claims Oﬃcer may waive this time limit only where he or she considers that (a) it is practicable for the application to be considered; and (b) in the particular circumstances of the case, it would not have been reasonable to expect the applicant to have made an application within the two-year period;’ The potential for the time limit being waived has, therefore, been narrowed in its scope. The Authority will now consider how ‘practicable’ it is to deal with a late application in respect of which all that matters is their view on this. The ‘interests of justice’ i.e. what is fair and just for the applicant is no longer to be taken into consideration. It should be noted that a late applicant has to overcome both hurdles i.e. show that the CICA can deal with the application, even though it has been lodged late and then show that the delay in lodging it was not unreasonable. Trade Union Members have always struggled to have the time limit waived simply because it is considered by the CICA that Membership of a Union (or any Staﬀ Association) means that they should be more aware of the time limit than, say, members of the public. What is ‘reasonable’ and what is in ‘the interests of justice’ may well be two very diﬀerent things. The danger here is that Claims Oﬃcers may use this provision to apply the time limit
more strictly and all Union Members should particularly note this. Types and Limits of Compensation There is one minor change here namely that if an injury has been ‘accelerated’ (new term) or exacerbated the injury must still be serious enough to enable compensation equivalent to the minimum award to be paid. The lost opportunity here was to increase the maximum level of compensation that can be paid from the existing ﬁgure of £500,000. The maximum level of compensation payable to those in the armed forces injured on duty has recently been increased and there was good reason to do something similar here. Compensation for Loss of Earnings A new Paragraph 30(2) appears in the 2008 Scheme. It reads as follows ‘Where an injury has resulted in a reduction in the life expectancy of the applicant to an age below the applicant’s expected retirement age, the period of loss for which compensation may be payable must be restricted to reﬂect that fact. No compensation in respect of loss of earnings or earning capacity will be payable in respect of any years of employment lost as a result of a reduction in life expectancy, subject to the right of a qualifying claimant to make any application for compensation under paragraphs 37-44 (compensation in fatal cases).’ This fairly self explanatory but in simple terms means the following • if your qualifying injury shortens your life expectancy to an age below your normal retirement age then • the earnings you would have received during the years from your then life expectancy to your normal retirement age cannot be claimed; and • your loss of earnings claim will only cover the period from the date when the loss started to accrue until the end of your newly assessed life expectancy; I will leave you to judge the fairness of this provision. Paragraphs 31 & 32 of the 2008 Scheme are worded diﬀerently from the previous comparable Paragraphs but dropping the word ‘emoluments’ can only be seen as a positive move! Compensation for Special Expenses The injustice of this part of the Scheme for POA Members remains namely because
October 2008 17 7/10/08 15:39:27
their Contract of Employment entitles them to remain on full pay from the date of absence following an assault at work until either they return to work or, their Contract is terminated, they cannot claim these (often signiﬁcant) expenses. This is nothing short of a kick in the teeth to people who are assaulted in the course of simply doing their job and then end up out of pocket as a result. The range of Special Expenses that can be claimed have been expanded on in Paragraph 35(1)(d)(iii). The changes are as follows – • ‘care’ is now described as being ‘in connection with the applicant’s bodily functions or the preparation of meals;’ • ‘supervision’ is now provided for – ‘to avoid substantial danger to the applicant or others;’ Compensation in fatal cases There are some minor changes here to the provisions deﬁning who can receive an award after the death of the applicant. This now includes a person coming within the meaning of ‘partner’ who would have been living together with the deceased in the same household but for inﬁrmity or ill health preventing physical proximity in the same house. Eﬀect on awards of other Payments The applicant remains liable to have any compensation he receives from a civil claim relating to the incident which is the basis of his application but there is now a speciﬁc provision requiring him to give details of any such claim (Paragraph 48(3)) ‘A claims oﬃcer may require an applicant to provide details of any steps taken or planned to obtain damages or compensation in respect of the same injury and may decline to process an application further until those details have been provided or until the applicant’s attempts to obtain such damages or compensation have been exhausted;’ This, in eﬀect, regularises the position that existed previously as this was the practice of the authority in any event. Applicants considering both an application to the CICA and a civil claim should, however, be aware of this. Determination of Applications and Payment of Awards Paragraph 50 of the new Scheme diﬀers from its predecessor by speciﬁcally providing that if, 90 days (the time limit remains unaltered) after the award was made the applicant neither accepts the award nor seeks to review that decision, then the CICA may withdraw the award.
18 October 2008 15-21 LLW.indd 18
Applications for an extension of this 90 day limit were routinely made and, granted especially where the applicant had been represented up to that stage by his Union and was now seeking legal advice. However, the new provision in Paragraph 50(1) should be noted carefully – ‘A claims oﬃcer may grant an extension to this time limit (whether or not it has already expired) and overturn any withdrawal, if; (a) the applicant has made a written request for an extension; and (b) the claims oﬃcer considers that there are exceptional circumstances which justify the granting of an extension;’ The need for ‘exceptional circumstances’ is worrying because delay by a Union receiving instructions from a Member that legal advice is needed followed by the Solicitors needing instructions from the Member will presumably not amount to ‘exceptional circumstances.’ Review of decisions A Review Application must be received within 90 days of the decision being reviewed – no change from the 2001 Scheme. This time limit can be extended and this is where the procedure has now been tightened up. The change is the basis on which such an application for an extension of time will be considered. Paragraph 59 of the 2001 Scheme essentially said – • the time limit could be waived in exceptional circumstances if; • the application was received within 90 days and • it was based on good reasons and • it would be in the interests of justice to do so; Paragraph 59 of the new Scheme diﬀers by simply requiring that the claims oﬃcer dealing with the request for an extension of time must consider that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ justifying the granting of an extension. Yet again ‘fairness’ ceases to be a relevant consideration and the hurdle the applicant has to overcome is raised to ‘exceptional.’ Applicants and their advisers need to carefully note this consistent tightening of the Scheme. A curious change to the identity of the person who will deal with a review is made in Paragraph 60(1). The 2001 Scheme stated that a ‘claims oﬃcer more senior than any claims oﬃcer who has previously dealt with the case’ whereas the 2008 Scheme simply states that it will be dealt with by ‘a claims
oﬃcer other than the one who made the original decision.’ Appeals The main diﬀerence here is that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals panel no longer exists and appeals will be dealt with by a First Tier Tribunal in accordance with the Tribunal Procedure Rules. The wording of Paragraphs 61 – 65 of the 2008 Scheme diﬀers from the equivalent provisions in the 2001 Scheme. The key provision to note is contained in Paragraph 65(b) which states – ‘where an appeal is found to be frivolous or vexatious, the First Tier Tribunal may reduce the amount of compensation to be awarded by such amount as it considers appropriate.’ Given that an applicant bears the costs of an appeal it is hard to see why this provision should be considered necessary. Making an appeal where an award was made delays the date on which money will be paid to the applicant – surely penalty enough? This provision is clearly a warning to all applicants but, especially those who may not be represented. What of the position of a represented applicant whose appeal fails where it was perhaps borderline but, believed by the representative to have merit? What guidance, if any, will be issued as to what will be considered ‘frivolous or vexatious’? With eﬀect from November 3rd 2008 appeals against review decisions made under the 2001 Scheme will be dealt with by the First Tier Tribunal. Conclusion We should be grateful that the changes envisaged by the Green Paper have been consigned to a parliamentary dustbin but, some of the changes introduced by stealth into the 2008 Scheme are in their own way hostile to applicants. Their only justiﬁcation can be to restrict any discretion that could previously be exercised in favour of applicants and to make it harder for applicants to ensure they comply with the time limits set out in the scheme. Given that this is a scheme designed to compensate victims of violence it beggars belief that it should be considered necessary to make it both more prescriptive and restrictive for its users - those very people who it is designed to assist. The whole thrust of the changes is to do quite the opposite. Frank Rogers Head of Union Law Department Lees Lloyd Whitley
Gatelodge 7/10/08 15:40:24
LLW Branch Visits: April – August 2008 We try and visit as many Branches as we can either in response to speciﬁc invitations or, because the work we are dealing with makes a visit appropriate. Details of recent visits are set out below Date 10.4.08
Lawyer Anthony Marriott
Lisa Maguire & Others
Anthony Marriott & Jo Taylor Anthony Marriott
Cassandra Paull Frank Rogers
Reason Three oﬃcers were interviewed under caution following a death in custody. A protocol staﬀ had not seen before was used. The Branch Committee were to raise this issue with the NEC; Birmingham Well Being Day attended by LLW with Lisa taking the opportunity to have an accident site inspection and review medical records with a member; Birmingham Keith met Steve Bostock (NEC) and Brian Clarke (Branch Chairman) to discuss inquest related issues, Police involvement etc. Bullingdon Pre Inquest Review and discussion with Committee about the stress staﬀ are under when interviewed under caution following deaths in custody; Durham Met member in relation to ongoing case and general discussion with Ian Blades (Chairman); Isle of Man Discussions about the IOM Legal Scheme with Tom Robson (NEC) and a local solicitor and Union representative; Wealstun Discussion about proceedings brought by an Inmate against the POA and general Employment Law issues – met with Chris Mottershead (Chairman) and Eddie Stubbs (Secretary); Ranby Statements taken for ongoing litigation; North Sea Camp Case Conference re personal injury case, attended branch meeting with Pete Chapple (NEC) and attended social event for three local branch oﬃcials who had retired from the Committee;
If branch oﬃcials would like a visit by LLW’s Union Law Department please contact me at email@example.com. We are happy to attend branch meetings or, arrange case conferences. These visits are hugely important to us and we look forward to hearing from branches who would like us to arrange to visit them.
Thank you On behalf of myself and Bruce Henry (In House Counsel) I would like to thank Don Wood and the Branch Representatives of the Wales and West Region for inviting us to their Regional Meeting on 31st July 2008. The warmth of their welcome and their hospitality made this an enjoyable and instructive day for both of us. Bruce gave an update to those present on Employment Law. This was followed by an Open Forum with the two of us, and Glyn Travis, answering questions from the ﬂoor and engaging in discussion on various Employment, Personal Injury and Health and Safety matters. We followed this by more informal conversations over lunch. Bruce and I found the meeting very interesting. We picked up some useful information, and we hope all the Branch Oﬃcials present did so too. If any other Branch Oﬃcials would like to invite representatives from Lees Lloyd Whitley to their Regional Meetings please contact Frank Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try our best to attend. Opportunities such as these to discuss legal issues, the basis on which we have to deal with them and, the challenges POA Members face are invaluable to us and, we hope you, the membership. Yours sincerely,
Frank Rogers Lees Lloyd Whitley
Glenys Hunt Partner – Union Law Department Lees Lloyd Whitley
Gatelodge 15-21 LLW.indd 19
October 2008 19 1/10/08 16:14:06
PERSONAL INJURY & CICA DAMAGES RECOVERED 1994 - 2007 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.
YEAR 1994 – 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Total
£ 663,490 £ 606,953 £ 671,198 £2,147,369 £1,196,512 £2,835,196 £2,141,773 £1,680,416 £1,593,046 £ 750,412 £1,836,172 £2,123.606 £1,233,842 £19,479,985
£ 583,287 £ 327,774 £ 507,379 £ 390,457 £ 704,738 £1,796,493 £2,141,784 £1,834,306 £ 852,295 £ 458,189 £1,133,314 £ 685,682 £ 100,489 £11,516,187
£1,246,777 £ 934,727 £1,178,577 £2,537,826 £1,901,250 £4,631,689 £4,283,557 £3,514,722 £2,445,341 £1,208,601 £2,969,486 £2,809,288 £1,334.331 £30,996,172
BREAKDOWN OF PI SETTLEMENTS AND CICA AWARDS MONTH Personal CICA TOTAL JANUARY – AUGUST 2008 Injury January
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 and 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 them a duty could avoid.” Precisely! Justice for POA Members is not negotiable. Frank Rogers Lees Lloyd Whitley
20 October 2008 p18_gatoct08.indd 1 15-21 LLW.indd 20
Gatelodge 3/10/08 09:54:58 3/10/08 12:17:41
Dear Ms Pritchard As requested I hereby acknowledge receipt of my personal injury damages cheque. Dear Stuart May I take this opportunity to thank you and your company for the assistance received in dealing with my case with the Prison Service. I look forward to proposing you and you company to anyone in a similar situation in the future. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
I also wish to thank you and your department for the patience shown throughout this claim NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED Dear Mr Capstick I conﬁrm I have received your cheque for my claim for damages. I would like to convey my thanks to all concerned in winning my case.
Dear Cassandra Just a letter of thanks for the professional and thorough way in which you prepared my case, your knowledge and ability to answer any of my questions all the way through to the court case was fantastic.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED Dear Stuart I wish to conﬁrm that I have received the cheque in respect of my personal injury claim.
The POA members can rest assured that if they ever do need the services of Lees Lloyd Whitley they will be represented by a thoroughly professional team.
I would also at this time like to take the opportunity in thanking you for your eﬀorts in bringing this episode to a successful conclusion.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
The Executive call on ZERO tolerance Gatelodge 15-21 LLW.indd 21
October 2008 21 1/10/08 16:14:35
‘What a waste’ At a recent meeting at Whitley level with the Oﬀender Health Directorate, we were given the latest in post ﬁgures for Health Care Oﬃcers. These ﬁgures cover the period July 2007 to July 2008. There is a not unexpected downturn showing that despite our eﬀorts, skilled Health Care Oﬃcers are being overlooked and undervalued by the Prison Service they loyally serve. There are many establishments where PCTs are simply being allowed to rule the roost by Governors who are failing to support their specialist staﬀ. The numbers speak for themselves and although depressing reading we must continue to keep on our agenda that the multi-skilled Prison Oﬃcer (Health Care) can still be a very important, indeed indispensable part of the health care skill mix in prison establishments. There are, however, some Governors and indeed PCT leads who still recognise this fact and they are to be applauded. The actual ﬁgures show over a 12 month period the loss of 19 Health Care Senior Oﬃcers
and 22 Health Care Oﬃcers, mostly by a return to generic duties; this has reversed a very small increase as reported in July 2007. This shortsighted policy is wasting skills, training hours and resources showing little regard towards dedicated men and women. Oﬀender Health is in the process of developing a new Oﬀender Health and Social Care Strategy, whilst Lord Bradley chairs an independent review regarding oﬀenders with mental health problems and learning disabilities. I sincerely hope that both will note that over the last 12 months the Prison Service has aided and abetted the NHS in dispersing with 41 skilled people. I hope they will also note that there are still 323 Health Care Oﬃcers in service working with oﬀenders who are ill and have mental health problems. The message is clear: VALUE THEM TOM ROBSON Chairman Health Care Committee
Nursing and health care ofﬁcers consultative committee members Tom Robson Chairman 0113 242 8833 Duncan Keys Secretary 0113 242 8833 Steve Bostock NEO 0113 242 8833 Steve Baines NEO 0208 803 0255 Brian Traynor NEO 0208 803 0255 Mark Curtis HMP Canterbury 01277 862871 George Bernard 0191 332 3130 HMP Frankland Terry Hobin HMP Liverpool 0151 530 4000 Jayne Preston HMP Stocken 01780 795100
Gatelodge 23 healthcare.indd 23
October 2008 23 9/10/08 09:42:09
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24 October 2008 p24_gatoct08.indd 44
Gatelodge 3/10/08 10:00:47
NORTH WEST KENNET
Colleagues, During a recent visit from NEC Northwest, rep Tom Robson said “It would be interesting to update the rest of the Union on how the ﬁrst twelve months have gone.” Firstly, to refresh everyone’s memory the opening of Kennet came about because of political pressure from The Sun newspaper. Governor Steve Lawrence was appointed to over-see the project, quickly assembling a working group of existing staﬀ to help him convert what was a former secure mental hospital in to a Cat C Prison. To date a lot of hard work has been put in by everybody and despite comments from some other prisons initially, we have not (yet) needed them in riot suits to maintain order because of the fabric of the place (which is so ﬂimsy if an oﬀender has a heavy cold they are housed in the Seg for fear of blowing a hole in the cell back wall!) We would like to think that the opening of Kennet has helped bond Northwest branches because we are always on the phone asking for their help and advice which is greatly appreciated. As a Union we set out to work in partnership with management in the (then) true spirit of JIRPA. This approach works/worked well, we operate a policy of transparency, using moral arguments where necessary to make sure that the needs of staﬀ are never over looked at the expense of the current thinking on ‘oﬀender rights’. This approach prompted Tom Robson to say “never trust anybody in a suit,” to which we retorted “you wear a suit Tom.” He then said “Well never trust anybody in an expensive suit!” Fair comment on that one! One of Tom’s favourite comments was “You’re a ﬂedging branch.” (even though the
Gatelodge 25-34 branch news.indd 25
committee have a combined experience of over 140 prison years between them.) But the old saying is: ‘from small acorns large trees grow’. In the not too distant future Kennet will probably have over 800 oﬀenders and at least two new wings. By the time these jottings are published Liverpool Prison’s Social Club will have closed. In our opinion this is another nail in a once proud Service. People working in the Prison Service should take time to reﬂect the ramiﬁcations of this. This is not just about the closing of a big prison club and possibly (rightly) helping banish the am/pm oﬃcer to the history books, but about a tactic of removing the best attribute the Service had, which was comradeship and the culture of ‘if you cut one of us we all feel it’. This policy has been going on for a number of years from the removal of wing staﬀ rooms to the very training of oﬃcers which originally centred on comradeship and the need to be part of the team. Wymott felt in its last jottings that ‘it’s not the time to write in a chirpy or light-hearted manner’ following the imposed Coreday. Things sound rock bottom there, (at least you’ve got the lovely ﬂowers and award to cheer you up folks and apparently a new Governor on the way!). We don’t think it’s quite at the Armageddon jottings stage just yet but Armageddon is on the horizon in the form of Work Force Modernisation. What will be fascinating is observing how militant senior managers suddenly become once they realise their jobs are on the block. At Conference the ﬁgure of 1050 surplus operational managers was muted. Many of these managers have achieved this lofty status by avoiding rocking the boat, sitting back and conforming with blind obedience. Championing various doomed projects, knowing full well that they would probably fail. With all encompassing titles like: ‘Head of re-inventing the wheel’ You may feel safe in the knowledge of ‘they can’t do without me because I am a
manager’ but just remember prisons are very expensive places to run, our country is almost bankrupt, heading towards recession with two expensive wars that need paying. With an ever-increasing trade gap against the rest of the world we are losing our ability to manufacture anything (except managers it would appear) so don’t be too sure!! In the last issue we were given duﬀ info regarding Steve Murray and his own brand of phonetic alphabet. What apparently happened was Health Care was required to deal with an urgent incident. The other OSG in the Control Room said ‘Hotel’ is the call sign for Health Care. A somewhat ﬂustered Steve announced ‘Mariette One – urgent assistance required...’ Risley’s former ‘Prince of Darkness’ Gary May is leaving us on promotion to Haverigg. No one can understand why he is going all the way up there (perhaps it’s the darker nights) but good luck anyway Gary. Paul Mercer has left us in true lottery winner fashion ‘no notice – no nothing’ to go to Australia. Who can blame him leaving a country which is (literally) sinking in more ways than just a waterlogged non-existent summer. In this job nicknames tend to stick like mud; take former Manchester prison oﬃcer Justine ‘The Rotweiler’ Clayson. Justine is to compassion as Freddie Starr was to hamster animal rights!! Previously we have established that Brian Cockayne is an artist. We can inform Gatelodge that Brian is set for the record books by being the ﬁrst under water one man scuba band. (For those interested in watching the event the date is TBA and will be held in the deep end of Skem baths!) On the subject of one man bands, two times Butler Trust winner SO Andy Dent has recently arrived at Kennet. He has shown he has may strings to his bow, leaving many staﬀ wondering how we ever got this far without him. (If Andy is to be believed he could literally paint the Forth Bridge – on his own – in the time the average person could read Frankland’s
jottings. One day we are sure he will have his underpants outside his trousers!!) Andy spends a large part of his day checking and rechecking his pension calculations in the dream of VERSE under Work Force Modernisation, hoping to sell up and drive oﬀ into motorhome heaven! Finally, Kennet staﬀ can feel safe even though we haven’t (yet) got CCTV, Big Brother is watching over you – waiting to report back to Gatelodge.
NORTH WEST LANCASTER FARMS
Sorry about the jottings missing for the last two months. Being on holiday, changing departments etc, I totally forgot about work. News has reached us that we are to be re-rolled to a single site and lose juveniles. We will be turning full YOI before April 2009. We have waited a long time for the ﬁndings and announcements so I ﬁnd it diﬃcult to accept that the full staﬀ meeting was arranged at 15.49 hours, (the time the global email was sent), for a staﬀ meeting at 17.20. The suspicious would question that this is the time that most of the staff affected would not be in attendance or would not have heard that a meeting was scheduled. We would have liked to have waited an extra day and had a full staﬀ meeting. This might have banished rumours, word of mouth gossip and relieved fear for staﬀ that could be possibly aﬀected. I will not go into the opinions of the pros and cons of this announcement, but would like to comment that there are a lot of members who are worried about the eﬀects of the decision. I would like to add reassurances that this committee, as ever, have your
October 2008 25 7/10/08 15:56:28
interests at heart and will continue to support you. Well this months jottings are littered with governors making (up?) the headlines. First, a belated farewell to Governor Stuart Ellis who has hung up his stave and retired. I ﬁrst met Stuart when I transferred to Lancaster Castle in 1994. He was a principle oﬃcer come number one governor in those days. Stuart is one of the dying breed of governors who didn’t have to beg for respect. He was ﬁrm, fair, supportive and always had time for the staﬀ. He didn’t learn those skills sitting in various training class rooms but in prison working alongside staﬀ. The service will miss him and he retires not only with the greatest respect from myself, but I know many of the staﬀ who have met him during his service will echo my sentiments. Have a long peaceful retirement Governor. The next Governor mentioned is Governor Holland and his departure. He leaves to manage HMP Preston. The POA have had a lot of involvement with him, some discussions have turned into stalemates, some have gone well. He is a pleasant man who has always had time for me on a personal level. The only gripe I had with him was that on one meeting he inferred that the POA (Lancaster Farms) had to shoulder some responsibility for the single site review due to our resistance to ‘soft’ uniform and the Gatelodge jottings! We all know (or can have a good guess) at the underlying reasons for the review and his arguments do not enter into the equation, or at least the YJB monitors who visited yesterday (9 July) didn’t seem to think so. He kept reiterating to me that he had no interest in the Gatelodge but kept quoting me on it. Surely he doesn’t read such drivel? In that case he won’t see this and I’ve wasted my time. (Come on Governor we know you subscribe!) I’m sure that the Preston branch will supply you with a copy. The committee would like to wish him all the best in the future. Lancaster Farms would like to issue a warm welcome our new leader, Steve Lawrence who takes
26 October 2008 25-34 branch news.indd 26
over the baton from Mr Holland. It is our wish to negotiate and have a good relationship with him and his SMT.
Oh dear what can the matter be? I remember having a rhyme like this when I was at primary school about a teacher being locked in a toilet? Well deja vue struck me when I heard the events of a quiet weekend at The Farms. The following is true. Calls came from control to have Oscar One attend the Link building. Not a surprise. A call was made to Works to attend the Link building with specialist cutting equipment and door jacking machines (James Bond style). Now the staﬀ were intrigued. Then the story became a little like Chinese whispers. The calls for anyone with special lock knowledge, then a call for a welding expert and ﬁnally the request for the tornado team?
What was going on? The story unfolds that a female Governor got stuck in the toilet! Well what a lift for morale. The rumours that she barricaded herself in as she was next on the job rotation to be moved onto the wing, that the staﬀ had tampered with the locks and that she had actually been there for two months and no one noticed, are still awaiting conﬁrmation. All well that ends well, and she was released red faced after two hours. I was under instruction to put a “D” notice on this one but I couldn’t resist, sorry ma’am. There was an incident in visits this month I’m told. Oscar One attended the scene and I’m told handled the situation better than any JSAC simulation. All his hard work was undone when he tried to call COMMS and pulled a bottle of HP sauce out of his radio pouch. Maybe he was testing it before his appearance on Dragons Den? Who knows? I hope Derwent doesn’t erupt. Pulling an extendable pepperoni and using wagon wheels as handcuﬀs might be the future. I’m not convinced. And on that note, I’m out.
The health care department will be rolling out a training package to give to staﬀ following an unknown oﬃcer, (well known but not disclosed), deciding that sterilising tablets look the same as paracetamol and that it is not a good idea to issue these to young people as they tend to make you ill. Some people will do anything to get a bed watch. These are not the main headlines however. Last month the prison had an exit search. The expert area drug dog Jet must have had enough for the day and decided he needed to sit down. Trouble is he decided to sit in front of our POA chairman. Red faced and angry, John couldn’t understand why the dog chose him. He has made lots of excuses. The Governors’ perfume was the ﬁrst, then that he was playing with a teddy bear in visits? (Not helping yourself here mate), and that his pointed shoes are made in Afghanistan. I can conﬁrm that Jet will not be represented in any capacity from the POA and has had his membership cancelled. John wants to put this embarrassment behind him and move on. I promised I would draw a line under it and never mention it again. Job done! Farewell to SO Davis and SO Greenhalgh who have both gained promotion and are moving to HMP Wymott. Both are avid football fans following Liverpool and Wigan respectively and require a move closer to their grounds. Chris Davis has been at The Farms a long time and is currently head of organising gangs. On a serious note, he will make an excellent PO and is highly regarded within his peers and will be a great loss to Lancaster Farms. Mark has not been with us that long and has climbed the ladder faster than Donkey Kong and has a slight resemblance. I wish you both well in your careers. Another few well earned promotions are Billy Fotheringham and his SO post at Hindley and belated congratulations to Dave Ash to SO here. Another to leave the meadow to the lush grass on the other side of the fence is Stuart Avery. Stuart
joined the Farms and quickly was given the nick name of ‘Flash’. Puzzled, I once asked him why. He looked over his glasses, looked me in the eye and stated, ‘It’s the ﬁrst I’ve heard’. Unsure of the origins please delete the following to suit: • He is good at cleaning toilets • His activity around the oﬃce • He looks like the dog on the Dukes of Hazard. All the best mate and I’m sure you will ﬁt in well. Good luck to Tracy Foy who decided to call it a day after a long spell. Another good member of staﬀ lost! Farewell to Ricky Ross who has left us on transfer I hope you’ve enjoyed your stint here and I hope it works out for you. Good luck to Ian Kettlewell and John Burgess on the move across the water, I hope the grass is greener. By the way Ketts I got your job, and I haven’t mentioned to a soul about your exploits with a green scouring pad. Anyone I have missed I’m sorry but maybe you were not as controversial as others!! Welcome to all the new POELTS, I don’t know the names but I hope you have a long and fulﬁlling career. STAY SAFE J80TDB
NORTH WEST WYMOTT
A big hello to you all! The summer draws to an untimely end, the results of Wymotts half a prison in bloom entry will now be in, the last ﬁsh in the pond will have been stolen and we may even have a new Governor. What a summer for the Wymottonians, talk about organised chaos, where can you start? Well, starting at your start time really opened a few mouths. The queue to get in was like the one for ‘The Kraken’ in Sea World.
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Someone even asked for one of those cardboard chip-monks saying “you must be this high to get in”. Sadly, it was noted that if height restrictions were imposed CDD would have no one working in it. Then came the “Meal breaks start when the role is in” debacle. ‘The dep’ well he described our protest remarks as turgid. Turgid indeed! Many members would only get a 40 minute meal break, whilst having an hour deducted from their ‘hours worked’; if such madness was allowed. The problem being that following the re-proﬁle circus, some wings don’t get their chaps back until late doors. Hence, they receive meals late etc. So by the time they put the role in, the rest of the jail is in the gate. Now, Wymott being somewhat an extensive site means that the staﬀ could have over a quarter of a mile to walk before they can even hand their keys in. Obviously the staﬀ want their hour ‘oﬀ site’. This puts a dent in the proﬁle because our long suﬀering members have to again trudge back to the wings. This has never been an issue before at any jail I can recall, but at Wymott our leaders will try anything to squeeze more oxygen out of you. So what is the solution? Now a member of the SMT rumoured the point that Lindholme staﬀ sometimes use cycles. I can see it now, Theresa at the ‘tete de la peleton’ hurtling towards the gate lock. One member suggested a time portal, another a tunnel and so on. I know! Why don’t we just change the proﬁle a bit? Issues like this thunder around this place everyday. One hopes that by the time you read this, relations will have improved and we are all holding hands around the table. Sadly, I think not. Apart from the local issues there is pay, staﬀ reduction, and population increase and so on. Now call us cynical but we think that this standard core day thing was just a big load of ﬂuﬀ. Work – place – reform is just over the hill. So you mark our words it will be goodbye core day, hello status-quo with a lot less black and whites.
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How can we have good relations at Wymott when you have an area manager who states “If you don’t like it ﬁnd another job”? Alright, that’s a point, but it’s not the way to motivate you or promote the innovative intellect of the prison oﬃcer. Wymott is a good prison to work at because of the eﬀorts oﬃcers have made over the decades to the present day. Mistakes have been made, noted and rectiﬁed in the past, yet now for the sake of individual ambition no-one will put their hands up to a blunder or two. Historians would present many disastrous examples of such folly, lets hope things will change course here and soon. Postponed Retirements! Where do you start? To keep it simple many have survived to tell tales of daring do and courage. Pat, Bob, Norma, Brooksy, Dennis, Geoﬀ, Norman and John to name a few, with others to follow. Many have chosen to stride on and delay total retirement by choosing to job share or work full time. So congratulations to you all. So its farewell for now from Lancashire’s ﬁnest with best wishes to you all.
WEST MIDLANDS BIRMINGHAM
When the Governor ﬁrst came he said that most large organisations have four to ﬁve major new initiatives a year, then proceeded to inform us that the Prison Service were introducing 62 new ones this year alone! That not withstanding, Birmingham has embarked on a re-proﬁle as well as the core day cuts, a re-role of the wings, a shake up of the management structure and the introduction of bilats for all staﬀ. The only things that appear to be staying the same are the pay, and the number of prisoners! Quarts and Pint Pots is a phrase that springs to mind.
Dave Ahern and John Mauldridge have both been given ‘Bosman Rulings’ and moved to Swinfen Hall and Featherstone respectively. Your gain and our loss. Meanwhile the Governor merry go round continues spinning unabated and brings to Birmingham Steve Skitt from Brinsford. The Committee was treated to two days away at All Saints House, annexe to the prison. This after two other groups lorded it up at a swish three star Birmingham Hotel. This of course is okay, because the money it cost came from a totally diﬀerent ring fenced budget! Obviously not a pay budget. Talking of which, the Governor asked the Committee how much we knew about budgets, to which Barmy Butler gave the dead pan reply ‘not a lot, but I’ve cleaned a few cages out in my time.’ We discovered a few interesting and personal facts about our management team, and of course they about us. For example, we share the view that Birmingham should be a centre of excellence and much as we want that, we will act as Trade Unionists in striving to achieve it. Happy retirements to Green’s very own legends, Paddy McShane who retired in August and Len Potter in September. We wish you a long and healthy retirement, you are sure to be missed. Goodbye to Martin Webb who allegedly smirked as he left for Swinfen Hall. By the time you read this Gary Cockerill, the alpha male of the prison, will have had his nuptials with our dear friend Sharon Hines who works in carats’s. B Wing party animals will no doubt be out in force to help them celebrate a happy occasion. Tanya Kalsi too, ties the knot, breaking a lot of hearts at The Green! We of course wish them all the very best in their married lives. Health and happiness! Chair, Sec and Andy Ratcliﬀ attended TUC rally at Parliament on the 9th June and were dined by the Right Honorable Clare Short. As an independent MP she was both sympathetic and understanding to our cause, lamenting the abysmal
performance of the New Labour Government at great length. The Committee endeavour to seek support for local and national issues within the Trades Union movement and the Houses of Parliament. Keep the faith! Well, as we digest the moving of the VP’s from G Wing to P Wing and the induction from K Wing to N Wing, along with P Wing long termers to G, we just hope it doesn’t end in a horrible belch followed by a long bout of indigestion….. ta raaaar Saddlesore
WEST MIDLANDS SHREWSBURY
We open these jottings by welcoming on board our happy little ship Shrewsbury’s latest new recruit (POELT) Laura Colley, who by the time this is published should have returned back from the training college. To all staﬀ oﬀ sick at the moment we wish you a speedy recovery and we welcome back on duty Oﬃcer Mick Pearn, and I truly mean this when I say welcome back Mick, I don’t like to see any staﬀ oﬀ sick, especially ones who I know can be very good oﬃcers. Congratulations to Senior Oﬃcer Adam Brigeland on his temporary promotion to acting PO. I was going to publish something funny Adam but I’ll leave that for another time. Good luck mate! Congratulations to OSG Elaine Gregory on successfully ﬁnishing her NVQ, the ﬁrst at Shrewsbury. Well done Elaine. Congratulations and good luck to Oﬃcer Graham Goodwin who has left us on secondment to the NOMIS business team currently in London. Not a lot to report from sunny Shrewsbury on this occasion as no-one has reported a lot to me,
October 2008 27 7/10/08 15:58:32
although I think I need to mention the exploits of Oﬃcer Lorraine Allen. Whilst arriving for a night out recently at a local hostelry all dolled up and ready for a good night out, she was refused entry because she was inappropriately dressed. On being informed of this decision I am led to believe that her partner, Graham, put on his ‘tin helmet’ as Lorraine held nothing back with her comments towards the poor defenceless doorman and Graham sat back and stated, ‘I’m with her’. Have you thought about anger management Lorraine? On a more serious note I would like to mention Oﬃcer Nigel Sampson (Sammy). Sammy will be retiring from the prison service on Friday 7th November 2008 and for any staﬀ interested he will be having a bit of do/get together from lunch time on this day in a local club, further information available from SO Lynne Costall on ext. 3076. Sammy commenced his career on 5th September 1983 and came to Shrewsbury from Featherstone in 1996. Staﬀ at Featherstone inform me that Sammy was an excellent oﬃcer but it was very rare to see him out of reception, usually only coming out if someone dropped their wallet outside the reception door. Glad to see you haven’t changed Sammy. There are many, many incidents I could mention where Sammy has been the butt of jokes, or incidents he has been involved in that bring a smile to our faces and this is not a bad thing. Too many staﬀ like Sammy are leaving the service for various reasons and it really is a sad reﬂection of changing times because Sammy has always been a pleasure to work with, can crack a joke or be on the receiving end of one and generally brighten up what can sometimes be a very mundane atmosphere. Some staﬀ like to portray that stress doesn’t exist in this job and those that do are foolish, but it is people like Sammy that reduce this tension by just generally being themselves and having a laugh, but yet always being professional in their duties. Numerous memories come to mind when I think of Sammy,
28 October 2008 25-34 branch news.indd 28
like the time he hit the wall whilst reversing up the ramp and thought no-one had seen him, the family size suitcase he took to Magaluf for a three day stop, the time he shaved his eye brows or the numerous karting days we have had and rumours that he went so slow we thought he was indicating on the bends. I could go on and on but basically he is a star and will be much missed. All the very best mate. Any gossip to me in security. PC – Security
EAST MIDLANDS LINCOLN
Greetings from Lincoln. Apologies for our prolonged absence from these pages. To all new staﬀ welcome and to those who have left we hope you ﬁnd what you miss. Well, where do we start? In the beginning God created Adam, and then Eve came along to keep him company. Then so they could eat, came food. This included the apple that Adam, being a bloke, couldn’t resist taking a bite out of too. That’s the start of trouble because then came ‘Old Nick’. Where does this lead you may be asking? Well in the convoluted miniscule mass inside my head, that is sometimes referred to medically, as a brain (although not in my case), it leads to the department taking a ‘bite’ out of the budget because the Government says so. This, at a time, when ‘Old Nick’ has got more followers in our custody than ever before. So to enable us to save the necessary ‘pieces of gold’ that is the will of the minority (Government) we lock the ‘followers’ up for longer, if we’ve got the space, and cut the cooked breakfast out at the weekend. Hmm. So that’ll work will it? Right, of course it will.
It will give the ‘followers’ no time to think of course, of how to cause their next little bit of mayhem or scheme of distress will it? Hmm. It will save the necessary ‘pieces of gold’ for the Government perhaps? Reduce bills for keeping the ‘followers’ in our prisons? Reduce staﬃng costs? Of course it will, stupid! NOT. Just one aspect of this policy will result in increased energy costs and at a time when these are rising how much will that save? Oh, let’s see shall we? Oh, but we don’t have televisions or lights or kettles in our cells. Oh, yeah we don’t let our ‘followers’ have radio/cd/cassette players or games consoles in our prison do we, Oh no!! We always switch the electricity oﬀ at midnight so they can’t have a drink or entertainment in-cell. Careful on that one, European Law can be funny you know. Please observe the electricity bill in a year’s time for the Prison Service or even your establishment. How much has it increased by comparison? Not just cost, but usage. How ‘green’ is that then? How much more energy will be wasted through this policy of locking ‘followers’ up for longer? If only they asked us or listened to people who know. If they paid attention to detail maybe, just maybe, they would see the folly of this policy and learn a lesson in economics that it is not the way of solving the problem of overcrowding either. Instead they lecture us about wastage and the risk of increasing global pollution and energy wastage whilst the Government encourages it’s departments to contribute more to it! Now there’s logic Some people may not agree, but that’s democracy for you and the freedom of speech that some of us enjoy in the world. Told you I had a convoluted brain! As for HMP Lincoln, well things have more than slightly improved with a new Governor in post. Welcome. As long as he pays his campsite fees then he can stay for a while probably. No doubt at all that he has his work cut out to stem the slide down the slippery ‘weighted score card’ that was a feature of the
last incumbents’ tenure. Oh yeah, and the interpretation of the various PSOs that were ever present at hearings and meetings and dismissals. If you’re reading this, or your husband is, then please take note of the CSAB ﬁndings in respect of Brock. Vindictiveness or having sayings like ‘If it happens once then it will happen again’ are not helpful, especially to you! Building work has just got underway on our new swimming pool (least ways that’s what some of the ‘followers’ think it is). Aah, bless. It also continues apace on the new kitchen with meals currently prepared in Portacabin type buildings. A new healthy menu is the result of this as the prep area has smaller fryers and chips are not as frequent as previously was the case, hence the healthy menu! Keep it up caterers and we’ll all get slimmer like the Government wants, not just in the budget either. Retirements, leavers and arrivals will I have no doubt eventually balance out, but we’ve a shortfall at the time of writing and this causes us some concern but not as much as some things. Dave Oxley the Oﬃcer who was assaulted at the beginning of the riot in 2002 has had a torrid time with Pay and Pensions, and Capita having been awarded a Permanent Section 11 award in August 2007 as a result of the trauma he suﬀered. This, compounded by the withdrawal of support for the court case following a reduced forecast of success in the legal arena, he has not been given one penny of the award. It was brought to my attention within the last two weeks I have spoken to Pay & Pensions on three occasions and been reassured that it is with Capita. However, I have had to resort to ‘reassuring’ them that I will put this story in the public arena if he is not paid as I ﬁnd it scandalous that Dave and his family can be treated this way, even though I am not surprised that it has happened and still does. Shame on all concerned. Having contacted our new ‘camper’ (who does care), I was assured that it will be paid within ten days. Thank you for your support on that Governor. Following our
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intervention Dave has now received his award but not nearly 12 months of lost bank account interest or an apology for the insensitive treatment he has had from a department that preaches decency and humanity. Start with your treating your staﬀ with these watchwords Mr. Wheatley, then maybe we will not be so sceptical or cynical. I mentioned the Court case and I mention it again in this sense. Those of you who have defected or are being persuaded to do so need to understand this. Go to any lawyer and present him with a prospective bill for in excess of £1million and then give him your case with a reducing chance of success. See what the reaction is, as it gets smaller month by month and see if they continue with it. I am not one to shrink away from a ﬁght and wouldn’t normally do so, but you assess the odds and make your decision based on what those odds are. Nobody is happy and leastways me with the work I put into it, but there comes a time when the odds are ﬁrmly stacked against you. Please remember that outside the POA the odds are just as stacked against you as inside it. You make your choice but again remember this, we will protect and promote the interests of our members inside here ﬁrst and not others – the Committee are ﬁrm on that. Given the choice, it would be all staﬀ, but priority will always be given to the POA membership here. I am sorry you have defected but in a free and democratic country that is your choice - and ours too. Manwitch
EAST MIDLANDS WELLINGBOROUGH Hello to you all from that blot on the map in middle England. Yes, this is Wellingborough, a jail that is shrouded in mystery. The mystery of where it is, what happens there, what Category is it, does anyone know anyone there? Nestling on the ﬂood plain between the A1 and M1 near to Northampton, this is the forgotten and often over-looked Cat. C Trainer that no-one wants to come to, and no-one can leave. Just like the village
Gatelodge 25-34 branch news.indd 29
of Brigadoon, it appears for only one day every hundred years, though to the staﬀ, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night. The enchantment is viewed by them as a blessing rather than a curse, for it saved the establishment from destruction. According to their covenant with God, no-one from Wellingborough may ever leave, or the enchantment will be broken and the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever. Two members of the Pay and Industrial Relations Group (PIRG) became lost on the ﬂood plain, stumbled upon the prison towering out of the mist, just as a Local Pay Allowance submission was about to be celebrated, and their arrival had serious implications for the prison’s inhabitants. They noticed that for miles around the sleepy, forgotten region in middle England, similar places of austere construction with strange waif-like occupants were enjoying enhanced pay. To the north, to the south, to the west and to the east, all were enjoying and beneﬁting from a Local Pay Allowance. What is this place, where has it been? They mused for hours, cognisant of the fact that this apparition would soon be lost for another century. They studied their one and only map, assessed the contours, double checked the grid references and then suddenly noticed a mysterious brown ring. It was perfect in circumference, and totally enclosed that mythical place called Wellingborough like a Roman boundary ditch, or a medieval crop circle. The fringe zone for the Local Pay Allowance extended beyond this strange circle, so it could not be deemed to be a part of that, but the investigation would have to wait because Wellingborough was drifting back into the mist to be lost for another hundred years. The two members of PIRG took their ﬁndings back to London with them, where the light was good, the people spoke in accents that they could understand, and modern skills could be employed to ascertain the origins of the brown ring. Many moons came and went, then a revered technician made a startling announcement that the brown ring around the mystical Wellingborough
was indeed the remnants of the Director’s coﬀee. That sleepy forgotten place never got a Local Pay Allowance because it had been obscured by a coﬀee cup, and now they would have to wait another hundred years before they would be noticed again! Wellingborough has also seen the departure of a one time doyen of the establishment and a man who has given much for and on behalf of the POA. Kev Sharpe has ﬁnally hung up his detail oﬃce marker pen, retired and is now enjoying life outside of HMP Wellingborough. On a personal note I would like to thank him for allowing me to tap into his vast knowledge on matters to do with the POA, and for providing me with advice and assistance where he could. We all wish him and his family the very best for the future. Sadly, we are coming to an era that will see more retirements of vastly experienced Oﬃcers and Senior Oﬃcers. They will take with them great reputations and skills that we can only envy. However, the future sees a new breed of staﬀ who we warmly welcome to the establishment, and hope that they will enjoy their time with us, and maybe enjoy time on this POA Committee. Thank you for your gaﬀs that do so much to lighten our hours that are otherwise fraught with tension. Statements like, “quick, slow down”, “try to avoid him if you bump into him”, “who’s in the empty cell” and “I want to see the Russian Troopers at Derngate” to be answered with “Where are they from then?”, have shown outbreaks of morale that belies allegations that there is no humour left in the job. Like all establishments, we are locked into ever increasing numbers of meetings and negotiations with management, with many diverse issues to address and resolve. As you can see, here in middle England, we are not so diﬀerent to the rest of you, even if you have never heard of us. That said, I guess it is time to close, and look forward to seeing you again in another hundred years. (Unless, of course, the Director ﬁnds somewhere else to rest his coﬀee cup, leaving us blinking from the intense sunlight, on display for all to see). Ian Lutter (Branch Chair).
WALES AND WEST ERLESTOKE Hello everyone and anyone who takes the time to read these jottings, and welcome to some much awaited ramblings from Erlestoke in the heart of Wiltshire! I know it’s unusual for our name to appear here, but I thought if someone didn’t include us soon, we may be considered missing in action! I intend on these ﬁrst notes to be brief, thanking all staﬀ for their support and welcoming any new arrivals en-mass as it were to prevent oﬀending sensitive types by missing out a stray or two! Anyhow, new Governor (new ideas) Workforce Modernisation (confusion) promotions, disciplinary hearings, proﬁling, re-proﬁling, selfrostering, meetings, inventing the wheel, reinventing the wheel etc. Anyhow, I promised a short ﬁrst entry, so here it is, except to thank all the health and safety reps from Wales and the south west who have contacted me in my new capacity as health and safety adviser to those areas. Finally, for my colleagues locally, as a branch we are keen to support you when needs must, please remember we also need you to return the same. Best wishes Alan Jones Branch health and safety rep Wales and South West Adviser Tech-Iosh
SOUTH CENTRAL FORD
I have to start by saying it was not my fault these jottings are late! I sent them into Cronin on time. But sadly got let down by technology again! Anyway greetings again from the sunny south coast that is Ford (CAT D prison housing CAT C prisoners) Following the tragic death of Lee Gatland, all who knew him will
October 2008 29 7/10/08 15:59:27
make sure he is not forgotten here at Ford! To the new staﬀ oﬃcers Lee Hughes (Feltham) Martin Harris (Scrubs) welcome to the mad house, and the return of former OSG now Oﬃcer Paul Sparks (Feltham). Will you be a bright spark or just a dim glow? Because you will never get your name up in lights, and by the way, you should know better but welcome back. To Dennis Smith, well done for escaping the mad house, enjoy running the guesthouse. You never know, we may just come and stay – at a reduced rate of course! To Zoe Read enjoy LEWES, to any others that have joined us at Ford, welcome! To Mr and Mrs M Smith, congratulations on your wedding, hope you have many happy years together. Have a note for you both! To Mike, I know that wedding suit you had on was hired. It had no food stains down it! To Jackie, when you send him oﬀ to work with his satchel can you please make sure he is smartly dressed and has washed behind his ears. Also PLEASE, PLEASE put in a packed lunch for him so he does not eat whatever he can lay his hands on. I must also pass on the branchis congratulations to Denise Banks and her husband Paul on the birth of their son. Denise, enjoy your time oﬀ! Now you can watch your son throw his dummy out of the pram instead of the staﬀ! Also well done Denise on getting the SO post, unlucky to all the others that took it. On 29th May the Ford Angling club took to the water. From the talk coming back a good day was had by all with bream and dogﬁsh being caught. But a big thanks going to Steve (slips) Simmonds for providing extra ground bait. Yep, you’re right, he was sea sick! (Not my words but the prison grapevine’s). BIG THANKS Give credit where credit is due, I must give thanks to the Prison Service Management Board, THANK YOU! We had the best return for a ballot ever! You guessed it I am referring to that Above Inﬂation, Pensionable, Descent, Over time rate that is
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Payment plus. Oops sorry have just woken up again, what did our employer give us? The same as normal, NOTHING Just a Below Inﬂation, Derisory, Underhanded, package that really is Payment Plus. We here have all signed out of your nasty scheme, even those who need the money as you still won’t give us the Local Allowance ! As normal for my jottings I should have a moan bit but I have a note instead: NOTE: To the Labour party; PLEASE invest in the Prison Service and STOP cutting funding NOW! The staﬀ working within the whole prison estate want to do their jobs to a high standard and to the standard the public demands! Not to the shabby dysfunctional standard we currently provide, (it’s not due to lack of eﬀort or commitment from all grades of staﬀ.) Remove the entire proﬁt making ﬁrms you have allowed to provide sub-standard services and goods to staﬀ and prisoners for far too long! As with the Prison Service you don’t just want problems, you want the solutions as well. So here’s the solution for you; If you think you don’t have the money to fund this investment then don’t award yourselves extortionate above inﬂation pay awards and stop ripping oﬀ the British public with your expense claims and allowances for second homes! Most of us cannot even aﬀord the one we live in. I have one question to the Right Honourable Jack Straw (sorry WARTS as Steve Womack called you) WHERE’S THE MILLION YOU OWE US? Governor Radford, who whilst trying to introduce a new proﬁle managed to upset the membership to such an extent that a vote of conﬁdence was put up in her! The vote was lost, surprise, surprise! The vote conﬁrmed what staﬀ knew; that she doesn’t care about them. Oops, nearly forgot, to Mick Smith and Mark Creaven a little saying for you both: Lost the karting cup ﬁnal? Lost the Premiership? Lost the Champions
league ﬁnal? Lost? Then TALK TO FRANK 0800 10 10 10. That’s 0800 Won Nothing Won Nothing Won Nothing, Will this season be any better? Any bits of gossip please pass it on. Just remember, it’s a jungle out there, Take care! Caﬀeine man
SOUTH CENTRAL PARKHURST
Firstly a big welcome to Ian Barrett and Lee Cook from the big wide world, and Dave Winter who has converted from OSG to Oﬃcer. Enjoy your time at Parkhurst!! It’s good see that staﬀ are ﬁnally being rewarded the same as other high proﬁle groups with a long service medal and big thank you for the two oﬃcers who campaigned for it. By the time this is read Payment Plus will be upon us. The PSO was very vague in how to implement it, so it will be interesting to see how other prisons are running it!! All diﬀerently I’d expect! But so far here with the system we have in place it seems to be running okay. Touch wood! Congratulations go to the Gardens Department for reaching the ﬁnal of the national ‘Best Garden’ competition again. Unfortunately they didn’t win, but we can take pride in the excellent gardens we have. It’s a pity the summer weather hasn’t complimented them. Congratulations go to Gov Will Thurbin on his fund raising climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. Will raised money for the Island’s hospice and he hopes to raise over £5,000 which is an achievement in itself. Well done Will, Everest next?
With the holiday season over and autumn approaching fast, a few people always look for late summer bargains for holidays. The ﬂavour this year seems to be Mexico, especially the ‘Temptations Hotel’ which I’m led to believe is a very jolly, happy place. Unfortunately when you book these places the internet sites give very limited information and it is only when you arrive you discover the ‘delights’ of the hotel! What is that ‘swing’ doing in the lobby and by the pool? Clothes optional? Secluded pools? I’ll leave the rest to your imagination but if you are interested don’t hesitate to check out the Temptations web site!! And finally this month, just to keep you updated on the bunny rabbit championships, our bunny rabbit groomer recently exhibited some bunnies at the all England championships and won best in breed. Well done to the person concerned!
SOUTH CENTRAL WINCHESTER Greetings colleagues from good old Winchester. To our departures and arrivals department, a BIG Winchester goodbye to our long standing and much respected Branch Secretary Steve Merrett. Steve retired after some 35 years service and serving 18 years as a Branch Oﬃcial holding the posts of Branch Committee, Secretary and Chairman through
Gatelodge 7/10/08 15:59:58
those years of dedicated service to the Branch and the POA. Steve was one of the most steady and capable hands at representing the membership and was truly one of the most reliant, one of the unsung heroes that devote their time to the beneﬁt of all. On a personal note thanks very much Steve for all the time, eﬀort and support you gave to me after Pete Chapple was voted on to the NEC and I was relatively a new hand when taking over the Chair. I feel I and staﬀ owe you a debt of gratitude for all you have done for us. Steve, working with you was a truly regal experience. Steve has not left the Service entirely, he is now one of the NVQ assessors working with the new Oﬃcers coming through training and doing their NVQs. A big WELL DONE to Ned Kelly, who has been duly elected as the new Branch Secretary. I hope Ned you can type, make tea/coﬀee, wash up the cups, supply biscuits and cakes, tidy up the oﬃce, do all the running around for the chairman and the rest of the committee, do all the ballots, all the mail etc, just like Steve used to do? (Anyone out there believe me? I hope Ned does). Also a big goodbye to Paul Hindle on his way to Kidlington as a National Instructor. A warm welcome to Oﬃcers Ryan Barnett and Matt Edmonstone from training via Downview. HOT NEWS straight oﬀ the press. Colleagues, we all know about and perhaps read the comic book SUPER HEROES, like Superman, Batman, Spiderman etc. Well a new Super Hero has revealed his true identity here at Winchester and from within these very walls. That Super Hero is none other than SO Mark Jones better know as… ‘EXTINGUISER BOY’. Well colleagues and fellow comic book super hero readers (Oh, okay maybe I need to get out a bit more), here is his story: It was a Sunday afternoon, Alan Constable said to me “Can you smell smoke?” he then went on to say “I think it is coming from outside” to which I replied “No problem I will go and check it out”.
Gatelodge 25-34 branch news.indd 31
I then went out of the wing and soon discovered that some clever individual had obviously set light to some newspapers (NOT super hero comics) and they were smouldering away outside. I decided not to raise the alarm as there was no risk of the ﬁre spreading, it was contained, almost burned out and no one was in danger. All that was needed was for me to ﬁnd an extinguisher and put it out. I quickly returned to the wing to collect an extinguisher. As I reached my other colleagues, Alan Constable and Rachael Rose, all of our jaws dropped; every thing seemed to move in slow motion, (almost like the strobe light aﬀect in a 1970s disco). Then, spinning like a top (turning slowly) Mark suddenly turns from SO Mark Jones into ‘EXTINGUISHER BOY’! His SO pips had changed from silver to red and he was wearing his ‘red’ Marks and Spencer underpants on the outside of his trousers. He then proceeded to bound down the wing, one arm stretched out in front like Superman and with a ﬁre extinguisher tucked under his other arm. Even the inmates parted like the Red Sea to let this new found Super Hero through. “Mark”, I called out. He replied: “No, I can’t stop! There’s a ﬁre, I am EXTINGUISHER BOY, super hero, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and I put out ﬁres”. “Okay,” I replied, “let me just tell you what it is and where it is!” As he came juddering to a halt I explained the details and that in reality all it needed was probably a cup full of water to ﬁnally put the now smouldering paper out. The sad end to this story is that our resident ﬁre Oﬃcer Mark King had already got to the scene and put the ﬁre out by the time our Super Hero had got there. Still thank goodness for Super Heroes, and now we have ‘Extinguisher Boy’ who is ready, willing and always able to save us all! Perhaps now I can get back to my Spiderman comic. Now to some recognition for our ﬁst class Principle Oﬃcers. Yes, I hear you cry it is time they got a mention. Where would we all be
without such quality leadership. Picture the scene; there is an incident on B Wing and the alarm has been duly raised. Staﬀ are responding from everywhere. Steve Scott is there as Oscar One, all available staﬀ have arrived on the scene. For once, considering all the staﬀ cuts and shortages I can admit there were too many staﬀ on the scene. “Okay folks,” says Steve “there are more than enough of you here now”. Then he says to Alan Constable “Okay Alan, you can go back to B Wing.” To which Alan (looking a bit befuddled) replies “No problem Steve, but is this not B Wing we are on?” Ahh, great to know we have such knowledge and experience and quality in charge. Nice one Steve. To all those away from work at the present here is thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery and return to work. Martin Cole Branch Chairman
Hello from Chelmsford, I feel that I must start these jottings with some sad news. We lost a good friend and colleague Bob Brant. Bob was the type of man who always had a smile on his face and always had time to talk. Bob didn’t treat you as a colleague he treated everyone as a friend. A gentleman. Heaven will be a safer place with Bob hands on hips moving the stragglers through the pearly gates. I would like to say well done and thank you to Governor Davis and everyone who helped make Bob’s last journey so organised, digniﬁed and uniﬁed. It was a testament to the man’s popularity to see how many people attended his funeral. See you later Bob.
We’ve also had a few retirements as well with Terry Coote leaving. Terry had a very dry sense of humour and could wind anyone up in ﬁve seconds ﬂat, it was amazing to watch. Terry is another one of the dinosaurs to leave. Good luck Terry, we wish you well. Graham Cox has also left the job after many years service. Graham was just fun to work alongside and he could also resort to a bit of skulduggery to have a laugh, it used to be fun coming to work knowing that you could crack a smile. Goodbye also to Glen ‘onedog’ Dumelow who has moved to pastures new. We have also said farewell to Uncle Bill. Bill Redick stood on the centre the day he left and said only two words. Thank you. Well I think it’s us who should thank you Bill. I know the establishment won’t run the same without your air of authority, calm and patience. Someone will have to go a long way before they ﬁll your shoes, good luck and keep in touch. No doubt I’ve missed someone who’s left or is leaving so I would just like to say to one and all good luck in your new ventures, smile, be happy and live life to the full. Do what you can today not tomorrow or the next day because you never know what lies ahead. Anyway our maternity ward i.e. the gate is looking more like Mother Care each day. Good luck ladies and well done and congratulations to Mark and Clair on the birth of a baby boy. I would also like to take this opportunity to say welcome to all the new members of staﬀ who have joined, and can we have a few of you stay past your probation please? I won’t go on moaning and groaning about things as usual. I don’t think it right or ﬁtting, I know it will be a while until this comes to print and I would like people to read this and remember our friends and colleagues who can’t be with us either through transfers retirement or bereavement. Mickey B
October 2008 31 7/10/08 16:00:35
CENTRAL THE MOUNT
Hello from HMP The Mount. It has been a busy couple of months with the standard core day being implemented and with no problems to date. We are continuing with our management to pressure the local CPS to prosecute all prisoners who assault prison oﬃcers and staﬀ. I have just been informed that the two prisoners who assaulted Kev Gwthner last year will be going to court, at long last, hoping justice will prevail. The assault on Richard Alexander was dropped due to out of time constraints (in real terms the local police messed up). Raf Ali was recently assaulted and we are hoping that this case will be pursued in the criminal courts. Phil Taylor who used to be a Senior Oﬃcer here four years ago but was dismissed by the then Governor, took his appeal against dismissal to the Employment Tribunal (ET) at Watford and won his case on all ﬁve points. He has asked to be reinstated but HMPS are refusing. This means another visit to the ET at Watford. The local branch stood by Phil but when Phil asked Lees Lloyd Whitley (LLW) for legal assistance he was refused, not being a man to take a challenge lying down Phil and his good lady Jane used their house insurance to fund legal assistance. We as a branch will continue to monitor the outcome and oﬀer any assistance we can to Phil and Jane. This is not the ﬁrst time that a member of this branch has requested legal aid and been refused by LLW, four to date and all these cases have been won without LLW assistance. At Conference this branch put forward motion 172/08 regarding how legal aid is granted to members applying. The outcome was POA circular 64/2008. At the recent quarterly meeting Paul Stunt, who proposed the motion, stated he was not
32 October 2008 25-34 branch news.indd 32
satisﬁed with the outcome and wanted to meet with the local POA NEC rep to discuss this issue further. The branch agreed with Paul unanimously and he will be meeting Steve Baines within the next three weeks. We will keep you informed of the outcome. When I was a POA member I attended several branch meetings where 20 or 30 members were in attendance, but since becoming chairperson all three of my meetings have had higher that average attendances – 58, 62 and 70. Can someone please inform me why? It can’t be the accent because I only have a slight brogue, and I am not that good looking. Jim W on Narey Wing was recently spotted complaining about the prison issue computer mouse stating “These cheap mouse’s are cr*p they don’t work!” it was then pointed out to Jim that he was using his glasses case. I have recently been informed that this is in fact the second case of using of using glasses case for a computer mouse, the ﬁrst being Dave R. This shows you can take the staﬀ out of Pentonville but cannot take Pentonville out of the staﬀ. Lauren K, one of our colleagues, was recently stopped by Hertfordshire police for driving slowly around an industrial site in Stevenage late at night. When questioned she stated that she was looking for the new probation oﬃce. A second police oﬃcer arrived who recognised her and said “It’s Lauren Kane if I’m not mistaken.” Will Lauren confess all before we make any more assumptions? We can take it Lauren, we are all adults. The local hospital recently had a complaint about the standard of their beds, in particular the mattresses being too hard. When they contacted the prison to speak to the complainant they were surprised to be informed that that persons name was an oﬃcer, so we will say no more about this issue. We welcome back Rocky Skaggs and Rob Hackett from long term sick. I ask all members to keep in contact with all our colleagues oﬀ duty on sick, short and long term and also to keep in contact with
suspended members or those on detached duty. People tend to think being suspended or oﬀ duty sick is great being away from work, but being a person who has been in one of those situations I can tell you it can be a lonely time of your life and I only survived by having good friends and colleagues to keep me going. Recent moves include:• Simon Ballester to HMP Bedford • Steven Ryan, resigned • Paul Tucker, resigned • Carl Rowlands, resigned • Nathan Douglas, resigned • Sandra Eames, left the service • Dave James, left the service. The recent sports day was well attended by staﬀ of all grades, shapes and sizes and a good time was had by all. (I continue to avoid this annual event for reasons I will not go into.) The netball team got as far as the semi-ﬁnals and the rugby team came runners up in the shield, well done to everyone. Sharon Pearce has been promoted to Governor F and will shortly be leaving the prison to take up post at Latchmere House, good luck to you Sharon. I have just been reliably informed that Andy B and Gareth L have won the local spooning contest, you kept that title quiet boys, I wonder why? Roy Unwin is about to commence his four month PEI course. Good luck Roy, but a piece of advice before you go, stop posing almost naked with Richard D, it gives some people the wrong impression about your preferences. Baz C was recently called upon to show two colleagues from HMP Holloway around the prison. Out came the hair gel, the aftershave and the best pressed uniform ever, all was going well until Baz was informed that they were both male oﬃcers. Amazingly Baz was too busy to conduct the tour personally, I wonder why? Kev Gwthner and Amanda Alexander got married in August, congratulations to the happy couple. We continue to have a problem with the livestock at The Mount, the ducks keep multiplying every
other week and the rats are having a fag around the back of the residential units and then diving into the burrows in the grounds. It’s just like old days with all the DUCKING and DIVING going on in the grounds. The staﬀ have found out a way of keeping some of the local management away from the residential units, that’s by befriending a friendly rat to scare oﬀ certain governors during rounds, or just by mentioning them has the same eﬀect. Our dog section of Tom Sweetland and Keith Murphy have just won the Richard Tilt trophy for the best dog section having the best positive input into drug reduction in prison. Well done boys! Oh, and you handlers should have some of the thanks. Trevor Helyar is a new addition to the dog section and I know he will continue with the high standards of performance. Phil G who has recently moved to the OMU is quietly settling into his new job. He came to the OMU with a good reputation for being hard working but to date he has been quite quiet in his new role, in fact you could say he is a happy MEDIUM, in his present role (sorry folks a little in house joke). Working in The Mount is some days like working in the United Nations. To date we have staﬀ from Germany, the United States, Romania, South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Africa, Cyprus, and not forgetting the Scots and Welsh. The good news about this is how well everyone gets on and understands everyone, except Jim W in the OMU – he speaks far to quickly and is known to mumble his sentences. One of our committee members has been confussing staﬀ at the gate. As Anne Durrant was leaving the establishment Peter A was heard to shout “I’ve got it up for you.” Peter swears he meant a computer image but Anne states she has no idea what he is on about. Richard A is contemplating having a second honeymoon, six years into his marriage and bless him he wants to create the same
Gatelodge 7/10/08 16:03:30
atmosphere and ambiance he had in his bedroom on the marriage night, so he has invited his mum and sister again. Will somebody on Dixon Wing please help Ashley L, he is spending ages attempting to get a test call on the radio. He was becoming very agitated, demanding a reply, so staﬀ pointed out it helps if you turn the radio on ﬁrst Ash!! It has come to the author’s attention that staﬀ in the Psychology department may be smoking in their oﬃces, but when clariﬁcation was asked for he had misheard the statement, “I see a lot of Ash in the Psychology department these days” the meaning behind this statement was carefully explained to the author. Richard Dalton was recently invited to a get-together at the house of Sam F. He thought he would help Sam by redecorating her sofa with the contents of his stomach, Sam not to happy, Richard out of pocket, chocolates cost so much when you’re trying to say sorry. Congratulations to Gail Hammond who achieved a Diploma in Canine Studies getting a grade A. All entries in these jottings are the author’s opinion, whoever that is, and no oﬀence is meant in any shape or form, but the jottings will continue. Mad Dog
Paul Saunders Paul recently had a motorbike accident which resulted in him breaking a leg, we all wish you a speedy recovery Paul and hope to see you at work soon.
Gatelodge 25-34 branch news.indd 33
Nigel Hetherington’s farewells Following on from the August Gatelodge, a note about the two events that were held to mark the retirement of Nigel (Partner) Hetherington. Nigel had two farewell events, the Braza club in March and the oﬃcial one by the Governor. Both celebrations were very enjoyable, it was nice to talk over old times and remember events from the past. The only thing that marred the events was the total no show of the POA committee at either event, after almost 30 years in the Prison Service and a loyal member of the Union. Out of respect for Nigel we would have expected at least one of them to show up. It was a disgrace that should not be allowed to happen again, so committee members, do something about it.
True or False 1. You are not allowed to walk in the prison carrying a metal teaspoon. T/F. 2. You are not allowed to walk in the prison carrying a golf umbrella with a metal tip on the end. T/F
Key Free Post Congratulations must go out to PO Gerald Cleary for instigating Oscar 1 as a new Key Free Post. The routine is now talk to a friend at the gate, walk up to the Oscars office and after 15 minutes discover you failed to pick up your keys.
New Shift Patterns We now face another challenge within the system. As we all know, the new shift patterns are just not working, the prison is constantly under-manned. Not only are we getting ﬂack from prisoners because they don’t know what is happening half the time, but we are now being threatened by management with disciplinary procedures if we refuse an order to extend to cover the short falls we all predicted in the ﬁrst place. Ringing around the prison estate to ﬁnd out just how things are going at other prisons, I ﬁnd that
this is so at most establishments. Just when are those who brought in this system or allowed it to be brought in, going to admit they are wrong? 1. True. You are not allowed to bring a metal teaspoon into the prison incase it’s made into a weapon by inmates 2. False. You are allowed to bring in a golf umbrella with a large metal spike. Now which one would you rather be chased by? The Dinosaur
LONDON AND KENT BELMARSH Hello from Sunny Belmarsh, a very dark cloud has been lifted from us, plus a few more ﬂuﬀy dark clouds have blown away and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Governor. Fresh start, fresh ideas and a bit of fairness. Anyway, good luck to all those who have left for pastures new and welcome to all those who have joined. Belmarsh over the past couple of months has become a good, happier prison to work at with fair staﬃng levels and the attraction of two more prisons being built as I write, so staﬀ can have an option to change their place of work in the not too distant future. As most of the high security estate will know it took us two years of hard battles to re-proﬁle this prison and so with modernisation talk full steam ahead we can not wait to start again. I would also like to take this opportunity of thanking Steve Cox on a personal level after winning Oﬃcer Tony Verity his employment rights back at the CSAB, the dark cloud previously mentioned sacked him unfairly and justice has now been served, although we have more work for him in the future unfortunately. As a Committee and a Branch we have had good success this year at employment tribunal, staﬀ have challenged managers here who feel they have been bullied or discriminated against and taken their case forward to receive a fare settlement at ET, every case has applied for legal representation
by LLW and been refused as the cases don’t have more than a 50% chance of winning. Well, I have been party to three this year, all refused rep by LLW and all have won, please can someone talk to the alleged member of staﬀ at LLW that sends out the standard letter refusing our paying members representation and ask them to start reading them before slinging them out. We pay for their legal professionalism so start giving it to us or let’s change our ﬁrm. Good luck all Belmarsh POA
LONDON AND KENT COOKHAM WOOD Greetings from the land of small people and big attitudes! Well it has ﬁnally happened, the re-role is complete and we now are receiving oﬀenders, sorry, young people. A big hearty thanks to all those establishments who have sent us their ﬁnest….NOT!! (Still we’d do the same!) Lots of new staﬀ have arrived including the No 1 and lots have moved on, congratulations (wise move some would say.) Many illusions have been shattered and realities have been checked! Since opening we have had numerous cells, sorry, rooms decommissioned through temper tantrums (obviously too many E numbers in their sweets!). Alarm bells are plentiful and so is the use of force. We have also had one who very kindly put our contingency plans to the test by climbing onto the roof. Silly boy realised once he was up there that he was scared of heights!! To those of you who are on the ever increasing sick list may you return ﬁt and well and up for the challenge ahead. Hopefully this will be the ﬁrst of many jottings, if you have anything you wish to report, made up or not, please don’t hesitate to contact me. As a wise man once said, “never let the truth get in the way of a good story!” SOMK
October 2008 33 7/10/08 16:04:03
LONDON AND KENT WANDSWORTH
Greetings to all, The Committee, from being nearly full, has dropped back to the almost two permanent vacancies of the past few years. On a positive note though, the new members on the Committee are taking the ever increasing disciplinary work very well, understanding the process and putting the work in to get the best results. On wider matters, a form of central detailing is to be introduced, along with, hopefully, management of Payment Plus. I see the Workforce Reform work continuing and I don’t have as many reservations as I ﬁrst thought. There is much to look at but much of the work currently done by existing grades of Prison Oﬃcers will continue, with a new recruitment grade of Oﬃcer which will progress after gaining the relevant competencies. It won’t happen overnight but the grades that seem most under threat are managers. It has been raised by this Union over the years of the growth of Governor Grades, both operational and non operational, and their impact of the work of actually dealing with prisoners. I would still like to see a shorter working week and although there is a cost implication, it could be phased in gradually with the rest of the Workforce reform package; after all, the promised £50 million won’t be spent in a year? Locally, when the Workforce Reform team arrived, it was noticed there was an NEC Rep from The Prison Governor’s Association present. Historically, the POA/ PGA don’t usually sit around the same table as the PGA are not a Civil Service Union under the Whitley, they are only recognised by Prison Service Management.
34 October 2008 25-34 branch news.indd 34
As the presentation was about Oﬃcer Grades only, the PGA Rep presence was objected to by the Branch Chair and advice was sought from the NEC. The PGA rep was polite over the issue and withdrew. Medical ineﬃciency still looms over the membership, with two being lost recently. Appeals will be registered but I don’t read much to give any comfort to the way our members are being sacked on sick absence related issues. I do recommend to local branch oﬃcials to make use of the TUC Union Rep courses. They are a good way of meeting other reps on a regular basis and how to see diﬀerent ideas about resolving problems in the workplace. To those who are currently sick or suspended, our thoughts are with you.
• ARE YOU SUPPORTED IN THE WORKPLACE? • HAVE YOU GOT A PROFESSIONAL TRADES UNION IN YOUR CORNER?
IF YOU ARE A CUSTODY OFFICER WORKING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR THEN YOU MUST READ THIS!
Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary PS. Apologies to Barlinnie, about locking up the most prisoners, Pete Chapple NEC called to say that they are locking up over 1700!
Over 36,000 prison ofﬁcers, penal workers, correctional and secure psychiatric workers ARE MEMBERS OF THE POA. The Union has an ever growing membership within private prisons, secure units and escorting contracts. Our inﬂuence and expertise within penal affairs has been recognised since the Union formed in 1939. The POA is an Independent Trades Union afﬁliated to the Trades Union Congress. Legislation determines that a British worker can belong to the trades union of his or her choice.
MAKE YOUR CHOICE THE POA Join the professional trades union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers. For more information and membership application: Telephone the membership hotline: 0208 884 5687 between 09.00-16.45. Please quote: PSN1 Gatelodge 1/10/08 16:18:25
Sports scene To all supporters of the Mats Golf Charity I would like to pass on my thanks to all those people who turned up to take part in this years fund raising, including, as ever, Parc Prison staﬀ and my good friend Bob Howard from PSCF. Despite the reduced ﬁeld, we still managed to raise enough money to buy the specialised equipment needed to improve the mobility of a local child, and her parents have asked me to pass on their gratitude to a group of people that they are unlikely to meet, but who have impacted on their lives in a way that cannot be measured easily, so thank you all! I have been encouraged by the usual supporters to continue the fundraising, and I am keen to do so, but I need more teams willing to take part to keep the golf day viable. I know there are teams out there who have taken part in the past, and I would welcome seeing them again. I would especially welcome any new teams interested in taking part in what is an established fund raising day, every May, at a golf course in Wiltshire which is always enjoyed by the faithful. So please keep an eye out for another letter in the Gatelodge around December/January advertising next May’s event, I would love to hear from you. Best Wishes Alan Jones HM Prison Erlestoke
HAS THE OLYMPICS INSPIRED YOU? FANCY THE CHANCE OF A GOLD MEDAL? THE PRISON SERVICE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION AND VETERANS ARE LOOKING FOR PLAYERS TO GO TO THE WORLD POLICE AND FIRE SERVICE GAMES IN VANCOUVER JULY/AUGUST 2009 CONTACT NIGEL MASTERS 01205 769363 GRAHAM PINDER 0116 2284100 PAUL WRAY 01522 663231
GLASGOW TO BARCELONA CYCLE RIDE: COMMEMORATING THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR Dear Comrade, I have just returned from our cycling adventure to Barcelona and take the earliest opportunity to thank you and your comrades in Somerset for their enthusiastic support. To know that we have the support of our friends in the Labour and Trade Union Movement means so very much to us. As you are well aware The Clarion Movement was there at the very beginnings of organised Socialism in Britain, the aim of our founders was to combine the pleasures of cycling with the propaganda of Socialism. We belong on the streets helping our brothers and sisters to better themselves by rising with their class, the class whose labours produce all the wealth of our nation. We in National Clarion CC 1895 remain committed, like your Union, to the struggle for a fairer more just society. We have had an unbelievable adventure on our ride from Glasgow to Barcelona , our only sadness is that more were not able to accompany us to Spain where we received a welcome truly beyond belief. The friendship of the Spanish people was legendary amongst the volunteers of the International Brigade. It is so pleasing to be able to report that everywhere we went we were met with the same warmth, friendship and solidarity. The enthusiasm of the Spanish people for our historic venture was unbelievable; our ride received massive press, radio and national television coverage. In fairness I must mention that we also received good press coverage in Southampton and Portsmouth. Having only just returned to England I shall have to wait and see if the Glasgow, South Yorkshire, Leicester or Bristol press gave us some coverage, I hope so. For my comrades the only down side was probably having to listen to my anti-fascis t speeches over and over again: ‘ﬁght the fascists, ﬁght the government that accommodate them, ﬁght the police that protect them, they shall never pass’. It does wear a bit thin after a while but one can never aﬀord to be complace nt, fascism thrives when good people stand by and do nothing. When the governments of Britain and France turned their backs on the people of Spain, our members Ray Cox and Roy Watts, both active Trade Unionists, did what they knew in their hearts was right – they fought the fascist because they believed that all people should have the right to live peacefully in a free and democratic society. We really did have an awesome time in Spain, it was an adventure which exceeded our expectations in so many ways: from the piper sending us oﬀ on the banks of the Clyde; to the welcome and warmth of hospitality in the towns we passed through on our way to Portsmouth. Making new friends in the Gernika, Amurri and Logrono Cycling Clubs who joined us en-route; the moving ceremonies at numerous cemeterie s and memorials. Meeting Mayors and civic representatives in towns both large and small, their generosity was more than we ever deserved. Seeing tears in the eyes of old men when we planted the ﬂag of the Second Republic on the hillside overlooking their village to shouts of No Pasar. Each rider has returned home with their own treasured of memories. For Ruth, my young tandem partner and I, the most moving moment came on the ﬁnal day as we cycled down the hill into Barcelona for a splendid reception at the headquarters of the UGT. Seeing the Republican ﬂag ﬂying from our machine a group of municipal refuge collectors stood by the kerb side and gave us the clenched ﬁst salute of Socialism. It was a simple gesture of solidarity which meant more to us than they would ever know. It really brought a lump to our throats, these were the people whose fathers had elected the Socialist Government of the Second Republic that Ray Cox and Roy Watts were prepared to ﬁght and die for, and it made us so proud to be honouring their names in the very country where their bodies still lie. Please thank John and Carol and all the comrades in Somerset who contributed in giving us a most memorable night (I regret I am not able to contact each one personally as I do not have their names or addresses) their solidarity meant so very much to us. There is more information about our trip to be found on a ‘blog site’ www.1938 glasgow2barcelona2008.wordpress.com which may be of interest to your members. Yours fraternally Charles Jepson (Secretary ~ National Clarion CC 1895)
Gatelodge 35-36 sport scene.indd 35
October 2008 35 1/10/08 16:19:41
Sports scene SUCCESSFUL FIRST YEAR FOR VETS From its humble beginnings the National Prison Service Veteran Soccer Team has just completed a successful ﬁrst season in becoming established. With much appreciated ﬁnancial help from the PSSA they have completed four games; winning three and losing one. The aim at the beginning was to take a vets side to next years world games in Vancouver, and with this in mind a game was organised against the Welsh in Swansea in conditions more suited to mud wrestling!
The English ran out winners 4-0, Simon Lewis bagging a brace and one apiece for Dave Tammejoe and Val Warosz. The next game saw them take on Leicester Fire Service and another victory 63 after a sluggish start. A shot from 25 yards out from Paul Wray found the top corner and started a goal fest which saw the vets’ storm into a 5-0 half time lead, goals from manager Steve Hulme, Andy Machin, Nick Buﬀ and Chris Eva. The second half saw the vets make several substitutions and as
The National Prison Service Vets before facing Scotland
such lose their shape. The Fire Service pulled back three goals but another from Chris Eva ensured the vets ran out winners. This saw them head to Edinburgh to play their Scottish counterparts in which a close game saw them beaten for the ﬁrst time 3-2 thanks to some very dubious refereeing and goals coming from Steve Hulme and Simon Lewis. The ﬁnal game saw them take on Atherston vets winners of the Leicester league vets division. Again they were victorious winning 5-3 with Simon Lewis bagging himself a hat-trick and Paul Slolely marking his debut with two well taken goals. So far this season they have used 28 players but are still looking for anyone interested in getting involved, particularly going to Vancouver next August, to give them a strong squad for the world games. Interested parties can contact secretary Graham Pinder at Glen Parva, manager Steve Hulme at Featherstone, assistant manager Nick Buﬀ at Leicester, chairman Mick Bennett at Onley, or treasurer Paul Wray at Lincoln. There are several conﬁrmed ﬁxtures for next season including the navy in Portsmouth.
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��������� Gatelodge 3/10/08 10:31:53 7/10/08 16:05:10
Membership numbers in the Private Sector continue in a slow and steady upwards trend. More and more individuals in the industry realise that the Union to belong to is the POA. Where we have recognition we have negotiated pay rises which have proved acceptable to the membership of those recognised branches. We continue to drive up the working conditions for our members and will never give up the ﬁght to achieve POA recognition at every workplace where we have a majority of the workforce in membership, no matter how long it may take. This month, PETE CHAPPLE has been doing some research based on the Trades Union Certiﬁcation Oﬃcer’s website; it makes an interesting read. Best wishes. TOM ROBSON Chairman Private Sector Committe
Representation in the private sector value for money? Regular readers of Gatelodge may remember that a year ago I wrote saying that I often receive questions and comments from non-POA members such as, “Why should I join the POA?” particularly when working on recruitment projects within the Private Sector. Predominantly these questions come from PSU members who state that their subscriptions are cheaper. At the time of writing, last year the POA subscription was £13.60, which included an additional £1 levy for a year to provide additional funds for the POA to continue to ﬁght for full Trade Union Rights for our members, in both the public and private sectors. Unfortunately the PSU are not, to our knowledge, ﬁghting or even campaigning on this issue. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that private sector companies prefer to recognise them and not the POA. POA subscriptions have now returned to £12.60 as of June this year. We note though that PSU membership has now increased to £12 per month. Membership subscriptions for the POA do indeed remain 60 pence a month more than the PSU. The question I continue to believe you should be asking is, to use a management
Gatelodge 37 strictly private.indd 37
term, “Am I getting value for money?” Frequently in life we discover to our cost that cheaper is rarely better. Today the POA represents over 36,000 members throughout the UK, having seen an increase on its year-on-year membership, while the PSU saw a fall in its overall membership last year, according to their ‘stated’ membership ﬁgures contained within their annual return to the Certiﬁcation Oﬃce. As I did last year, I have had a look at the diﬀerent priorities that the POA and the PSU consider when deciding where to use members’ funds. In the year to December 2007 the POA spent £1,648,789 on the representation of members in employment related issues, which is an increase of 1.4% on the previous year. In contrast the PSU, over the same period, only spent £1,600 on the representation of their members on employment related issues, which represents a decrease of 87% according to their annual returns. A closer look at some of the other information contained in these documents also shows some interesting details, such as: the majority of the income from subscriptions paid in by PSU members continues to be paid out in administrative expenses and salary costs, £431,444, which represents an increase of £31,789 on the previous year. PSU received £441,662 total income from its members and the total expenditure was £451,049. It is easy to see where their priorities lie when considering where to spend members’ money. The maths I’ll leave up to you. £431,444 on administrative expenses and salary costs and only £1,600 on representation of members in employment related issues. You may remember last year I highlighted the total cost to the PSU of its General Secretary, which was just under £100,000, with a gross salary of £72,325 at the end of 2006. By the end of 2007 this had increased to £78,600, a pay increase of 8.7%. In a letter to PSU members in August this year, the PSU General Secretary appeared keen to point out that PSU oﬃcials work hard to deliver decent pay increases for their
members. A question I would have to ask is, “Did any other PSU member receive an 8.7% pay increase?” Do not forget, you do not have to take my word for the above details, they are all available for public scrutiny on the Certiﬁcation Oﬃcer’s website www.certoﬃce.org. But, if you were a PSU member, would you not be asking yourself the question, “Am I getting value for money from the PSU or should I look elsewhere to get the representation I need now or may need in the future?” Pete Chapple POA National Executive Oﬃcer Member of the Private Sector Committee
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITTEE Tom Robson 0113 242 8833 Duncan Keys 0113 242 8833 Steve Baines 0208 802 0255 Pete Chapple 0113 242 8833 Joe Simpson 0113 242 8833 John Speed 0131 443 8105 Phil Thomas 0131 443 8105 Steve Lewis 0113 242 8833
Chairman Secretary NEO NEO NEO SNC SNC Research Oﬃcer
October 2008 37 1/10/08 16:20:47
Obituaries ZOE WEST We would all like to send our sincere condolences to Trevor West and his family after the very sad and untimely death of Zoe, Trevor’s daughter, in a tragic car accident. Zoe had worked here as an Oﬃcer, coming to us from HMP Send then from us she moved to Haslar on promotion to Senior Oﬃcer. Zoe probably packed more into her to short 34 years than most who are more than twice that age. Rest in Peace Zoe, gone but you will never be forgotten. Winchester POA
RYAN KARL ACASTER 11th OCTOBER 1990-20th JULY 2008 In view of the many years Dean Acaster has served on the Union it was deemed appropriate for us to express our condolences to him and his family in this edition, following the tragic loss of his son Ryan who died at the tender age of seventeen. Many of the hundreds of mourners who attended Christ Church Charnock Richard on the 7th of August were visibly moved as the white horse-drawn carriage complete with white horses pulled up outside the church. As the procession entered the church to the song ‘Father and Son’ (by Ronan Keating) there were few dry eyes. During the service numerous tributes were paid and it was clear to everyone that Ryan was the type of lad any father would be proud of, from his love of horses to his love of motorbikes and the outdoors. You could see Ryan was extremely popular by the sheer number of friends that packed into church to pay their last respects. From speaking to Dean and Anita one of the things that have helped them through the last few weeks is the huge support they have received from everyone. It was good to see Garth supporting their Chairman in his darkest hour, along with former Governor Bob McColm and NEC Chairman Colin Moses, who took time out to attend. Branch Sectary Phil Tant has been the focal point for Garth and the Northwest’s grief, proving to those that hold the Union dear, it’s not just a Union but an extended family. Dean never forget, beside Anita and good buddy Mick Redfern there are a lot of other people at the end of the phone, please use them if you need them. Following the accident Dean described Ryan as ‘fun, loving and happy with the nickname Smiler’ It was ﬁtting that ‘Over the Rainbow’ by Eva Cassidy was played during the service and white doves released at the interment to celebrate the life of a young man who was taken before his time. Rest in peace Ryan. This has been written on behalf of Northwest POA branches who have donated a trophy for the annual Prison Service Rugby match between Lancashire and Yorkshire, which will be called ‘The Ryan Acaster Memorial Cup’.
38 October 2008 38-39 obituaries.indd 38
SENIOR OFFICER JAMES ( JIM) LEE 29th OCTOBER 1950 – 24th JUNE 2008 It is with total sadness that I have to announce the death of Jim Lee, a great friend and colleague to many at HMP PRESTON. Jim died suddenly while partaking in his great passion in life – ﬁshing for Carp. Ironically Jim had caught a 12lb carp only hours before his death. Jim had been in the service for 17 years, all time served at PRESTON. In that time he had attained a reputation as an unﬂappable gentleman with a huge work ethic of doing the job in the correct manner. He took total pride in going home at the end of the day knowing he had given 100%. He was a mentor for many new staﬀ , always willing to pass on his abundant knowledge and wisdom to others. He was a genuine human being with a true zest for life. Beyond reproach in all aspects of life and a true example to us all. Jim is survived by two serving sons Ben and Christian who will continue the legacy of their father, also a loving wife Sylvie, twin brother Raymond and sister Janet. The funeral service on July 4th was attended by hundreds of colleagues past and present. A true testament to the esteem this wonderful man was held in. PRESTON has buried one of its ﬁnest who will be very sadly missed. Bruce Wilson
Gatelodge 1/10/08 16:21:31
Obituaries OLLIE SPRANGER We were all devastated to hear of the death of retired Oﬃcer and latterly OSG Ollie Spranger. Our deepest condolences go to Ollie’s family. One more gone, but never forgotten. Winchester POA
PAUL ABROOK It is with regret that we have to inform you of the sad death of Oﬃcer Dog Handler Paul Abrook. Paul passed away at home during the evening of 27th August 2008. Paul was medically retired from the service in November last year subsequent to being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and dementia. Our thoughts are with his family during this sad time. POA Whitemoor
DAVE KELSEY (FORMERLY OVERTHROW) 5th JULY 1954 – 16th JULY 2008 It is with great sadness that I report the death of Dave Kelsey after falling to his death whilst walking in the Lake District. Dave was a highly regarded experienced oﬃcer, a staunchly loyal POA member who was always willing to help and support, never afraid to tell the truth, his droll humour and wit (often confused with grumpiness) will be sorely missed by all. He leaves behind the great loves of his life, Lindsay, and daughter Abigail, Rae-Anne, Lorraine and grand-children who will miss him most. Dave’s other great passion in life was walking the hills and valleys of this green and pleasant land which he did at every given opportunity. The shock at the loss of Dave in this tragic manner remains, but the sting is lessened in the knowledge that he was doing something he cared for. Here passes a gentleman. R Midgley Branch secretary Moorland
Gatelodge 38-39 obituaries.indd 39
ROBERT OSBOURNE BRANDT SENIOR OFFICER, HMP CHELMSFORD It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I report the death of one of the Prison Services best and most loved servants. Bob, as he was known to those of us privileged to have served with him, and Rob to his family and close friends, died after a short but bravely fought battle against cancer, early on the eighteenth of August 2008. What makes this sad occasion even more so, is that Bob was due to retire this October and had just returned from his honeymoon after marrying Kim, his partner for the last twelve years. It is beyond imagination the grief that Kim is suﬀ ering at this time. I am sure that all would join us at Chelmsford in oﬀ ering Kim and Bob’s family our heartfelt condolences and support. Bob himself was no stranger to grief and tragedy. His ﬁrst wife died from cancer leaving Bob to bring up two children. That he was able to do this in a most demanding Service at a time when work life balance and family friendly shift patterns were unheard of speaks volumes about him. Bob was born in Jamaica on the 4th of October 1953. He was but six weeks short of his ﬁfty ﬁfth birthday when he died. Bob joined the Prison Service some thirty four years ago at Feltham and moved to Highpoint a few years later. He came to us at Chelmsford a little over eight years ago as a Senior Oﬃcer. It became very clear that Chelmsford had gained an enormous presence with his arrival. He quickly established a reputation for being ﬁrm but very fair in his dealings with staﬀ and prisoners alike. He had a way with him that even the most diﬃcult customer would soon warm to. He was always helpful and gave of his time and himself without complaint and took a pride and a joy in helping those he perceived as needing help. Gary Newnes, our recently arrived Head of Residential knew Bob from childhood and says; “I took pride in knowing Bob for 25 years, since I was just 10 years old. I joined the Service at HMP Highpoint as an Admin Grade and Bob was very supportive and oﬀ ered encouragement. When I took the decision to become an oﬃcer, one of the ﬁrst people that I chose to speak to for clear and honest advice was Bob. This advice proved to be invaluable. Recently our careers crossed again at HMP Chelmsford and Bob’s support and encouragement was oﬀ ered once more. I will be forever in his debt personally and professionally. Bill Reddick, a Principal Oﬃcer retired since April and Bob’s closest working partner during the last few years adds: “Bob and I were both looking for the same things in life. We had both put the same amount of service in, some 30 years plus and our last few months together we had discussed on several occasions the need to ﬁnd a little job to keep us active and to fully enjoy our retirement. I was the lucky one and it was with great sadness that Bob never quite reached his goal. Bob and I worked very closely together whilst at Chelmsford. He supported me fully. He was, I suppose, my rock. He never asked for anything in return and possessed a compassionate nature that I certainly admired. He never looked down on anyone regardless of their rank or position and he always had time to listen to people, never criticising them and always able to advise them. Bob’s passing away was sudden and unexpected and he certainly didn’t deserve it. Life is so cruel sometimes and I know Bob would have said that every day should be lived to the full and not to put too much credence on what the future holds. Bob, we all admired you in our own way. You were a good friend, a good colleague and someone we could rely on and trust. I will miss you more than you could imagine, but I thank you for the memories. They will never go. You have left a part of you with everyone who came into contact with you and for that we can all be grateful. Sleep well mate and I am grateful, that for you at least, the pain is gone”. Bob died at home after being released from hospital on the Friday. Kim did not expect him to make it past the weekend. Bob was with his family where he wanted to be. A good, kind, loving man, ﬁrm but fair, sympathetic and compassionate, gentle in his demeanour but with strength of character his approach to others belied. His death is a sad loss to us all. If we all keep alive what was best about him in our memories, that inﬂuence will make us better people and his will be a just and lasting legacy. Tony Carter Branch Secretary
October 2008 39 1/10/08 16:21:42
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 www.lemac.co.uk Litigation partners Peter Watson William Macreath Anne Bennie Angela McCracken David McKie Alisdair Gillies
40 October 2008 40-41 north of the border.indd 40
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 1/10/08 16:22:44
North of the Border
Overcrowding in Scotland Colleagues, At the time of writing the prison population in Scotland stands at 8,100 and it is anticipated that it will continue to grow and, although overcrowding is nothing new in Scotland, it does appear that it is, on this occasion, getting out of control. Also don’t be fooled into thinking that when the new prison at Addiewell opens in December/January that the problem will go away, because the fact is Addiewell is already overcrowded before it’s opened. On Thursday 11th September I watched with interest our political leaders in Scotland debate the recommendations of the McLeish Commission. This was set up by the Scottish Justice Minister to carry out a review of sentencing in Scotland and it was chaired by the former Scottish Labour Leader and First Minister Henry McLeish. The commission heard evidence from all relevant parties involved in the Justice Sector, including the POA in Scotland, and it has produced a number of recommendations that may, eventually, help reduce the prison population. However, listening to the debate it was pretty obvious that all our political leaders wanted to do was to use the prison population as a political football, which is all well and good, but by doing so they are endangering the health, safety and welfare of every POA member in Scotland, which is not only unacceptable but criminal. I’m sure everyone would agree that overcrowded prisons are dangerous and everyone would be well used to the phrases such as ‘powder keg’ and ‘bursting at the seams’, because these situations are nothing new to our members. However, there must come a time when we say enough is enough and I suggest that that time has arrived. Every MSP should take note of the fact that they are responsible for the current state of the Scottish Prison Service. Yes, a lot of money has, and is continuing to be spent upgrading the estate, however this is only necessary because of the decades of under investment by various political parties, so excuse us for not being too grateful for their previous failures. Also throughout that period of investment the POA has worked in partnership with the SPS management at all levels to help deliver the savings demanded of us, along with all the other Public Sector organisations, by the politicians We also are very appreciative of the fact that the current SNP Government have honoured their pre-election promise to invest in a public sector prison service and that the two new prisons to be built at Bishopsbriggs and at Peterhead will be publicly run. Building new prisons and halls is all well and good, however, if the prison population continues to spiral even more out of control, then more must be invested in staﬃng and not just the bricks and mortar. If politicians want to cram our prisons with more and more prisoners then one of the obvious consequences will be that they will be run as warehouses, ‘open, feed, exercise, close’. However, if they want prisons to be providing a value for money service for the tax payer then there needs to be more investment in staﬃng. These are the decisions for them to make, they should be well advised to take note that we have a responsibility for our own Health and Safety, and we will not continue to carry on regardless. If they don’t sort the problem out then we will take it out of their hands. A message to all MSP’s ‘DON’T BURY YOUR HEADS IN THE SAND ON THIS ISSUE’. Obviously there is no quick ﬁx to this problem, referring back to the debate, all everyone wanted to do was outscore each other and there was not one mention of the impact that overcrowding was having on our members. SO NOW IS THE CHANCE FOR THEM TO TAKE NOTE. I suggest every POA member in Scotland contact their MSP and make them well aware of the strength of feeling within the organisation, and of the members, of the current overcrowding and that they need to sort it out or accept the consequences if its taken out of their hands, ignorance is not the answer and will not be accepted.
PHAB (Prison Health Advisory Board) Early in 2007 the then Health Minister Andy Kerr asked the Scottish Prison Service to determine whether or not the SPS Health Care could be delivered by the NHS. In April of 2007 the SPS brought together members from the NHS the Royal College of Nursing and the POA(S)), to look at the feasibility of the SPS Health Care being delivered by the NHS. There were meetings at various establishments where some of the NHS members had a look into what was being delivered to our prisoners. Both unions involved (The RCN and POA(S) raised many concerns in relation to continuity of service from that currently being delivered, with little assurance of what would be delivered by the NHS in the future. At one particular meeting in HMP/YOI Cornton Vale two representatives from the RCN south of the border were invited, Melanie Cullen and Ann Norman. Both were surprised to hear of the proposals, and thought that what was being delivered in our prisons was a very good service. The SPS Health Care had already gone through change in 1994/95. At this time Health Care was delivered by Nurse Oﬃcers. The staﬀ at this time had one of two choices; stay and be trained to RMN status or return to discipline oﬃcers. Many took the option to return to discipline, (I was one who did return) and there were those who stayed and were trained. Time moved on and the delivery of health care, did, in many staﬀ ’s opinion seriously improve. The delivery in today’s Health Care in the SPS is second to none. However, early this year the report was given to the Secretaries for Justice and Health within the Scottish Government. On the 1st of July this year the Scottish National Chairman along with Andy Hogg TUS Secretary, Kevin Bye RCN and I were invited to a meeting with the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. It was at this meeting he informed the Trade Unions that both the Health and Justice Departments had made the decision that work was to go ahead for the NHS to deliver health care to our prisoners. He said that prisoners’ health would be better delivered by the NHS. Both Trade Unions raised our concerns regarding continuity of service. We gave him an obvious example of what we working in prisons are more than aware of. When a prisoner comes into our care doing a short to medium sentence, he arrives in many cases under nourished, with many medical issues. Whilst in our care we tend to these needs, addictions, mental health or others. They are then discharged into our communities and unfortunately re-oﬀend. In what condition does this prisoner come back? Yes, you’re right, in a similar condition that we received him previously. What I am not saying is that our colleagues in the NHS are not doing a good job, THEY ARE. However, in a cash starved NHS where they have thousands to care for they are just another patient, among many. What I aim to say is that where we have responsibility to provide health care to societies most needy, it is better served through a dedicated professional team speciﬁc to its environment. To date there have been three meetings with the nursing staﬀ, these meetings have been, to say the least, very emotive, raising great concerns regarding why this is happening and what will happen to them. What we know to date is that it will be three years before legislation is passed in Government to enable the NHS to deliver heath care in our prisons. There will be TUPE issues, (Staﬀ Transfers in the Public Sector Statement of Practise). These will be addressed by the respective trade unions with legal representatives on all sides. There will be much more work to be done on this very sensitive issue, many questions and many at this time unable to be answered. In a time when we read about the NHS not having enough nurses, we then to ask the NHS to provide health care to our prisons. Is this asking too much for an already under funded NHS? I for one at this time do not think that this is a good idea. Mick Grattan
Gatelodge 40-41 north of the border.indd 41
October 2008 41 1/10/08 16:23:01
POA long service certiﬁcates awarded at Wandsworth A recent visit from the National Chairman, Colin Moses and General Secretary, Brian Caton, saw the award of POA Long Service certiﬁcates. Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary Among the recipients was Peter McParlin from the NEC and Wandsworth, Andrew Hanson and Graham Cowlard.
Investigations - Are they fair or necessary? A report by Colin Moses During my 22 years of service I witnessed any number of instances where the management of establishments were too quick to accuse or suspend staﬀ on nothing but the word of either another member of staﬀ, or in some cases where a prisoner had made a complaint against an oﬃcer, mostly due to that oﬃcer carrying out their lawful duty. I retired in 2002 at the age of 55 and was quite honestly glad to do so. In the latter stages of my service it became more noticeable that the practice of suspension without proper consideration of the facts, if any, and the lack of initial evidence to warrant suspension, was becoming ever more the norm for over zealous managers. On a personal level, no names, I was at an establishment in the rank of SO, an inmate accused me of verbal abuse and made a complaint. I was duly summoned before the hierarchy and it was explained that an informal ‘investigation’ under local working rules would be carried out. No problem, so I thought. Shortly afterwards I was issued with my DAPS, naturally I queried this action with the No.l. It turned out that the G5 had overstepped his brief, had no knowledge of local agreements and was out for my scalp. Unfortunately for him I had been branch committee for eight years elsewhere and was well aware of procedure. Ultimately I demanded, and obtained, a written apology and guarantee that no mention was made on my record. The G5 was made to apologise personally. Oh, and the accusation was proved unfounded. This, in my opinion, was due to a dearth of man-management skills, a dislike of the uniformed grade, a need to climb the ladder of promotion, targets (never reached), appeasement to the prisoner population, which amounts to cowardice and a lack of support for staﬀ. Rather than work with staﬀ, managers have an outlook that requires them to control, as opposed to sitting around a table and discussing issues. An oﬃcer placed on suspension before any informal investigation is carried out, which should be the ﬁrst action to determine whether there is a case to answer, is put under enormous strain. In a closed community such as a prison nothing is secret, the oﬃcer’s ability to function is compromised, and inmates will undoubtedly put their own interpretation on events. As pointed out in the excellent article by Colin Moses, morale will fall, putting a further impediment on an establishment to function normally. In one stroke the actions of management can have repercussions that can last indeﬁnitely, and certainly damage working relations between all parties. Unfortunately the cost is inconsequential to the Home Oﬃce; they would rather spend hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payer’s money on one case to prove a point, right or wrong with little, if any thought to the feelings or reputation of the oﬃcer or their family. The Department send staﬀ on a myriad of courses, all designed on how to deal with prisoners and situations; those in a position of management might beneﬁt from similar style courses. I would say to all staﬀ in every establishment, use your branch committee to the fullest extent, they and the Executive are there for YOU. It will be hard, especially if you know you have done nothing wrong. Don’t be concerned what the inmates think or believe, they are hardly the ones to moralise. If management cannot or will not support their staﬀ then they are the losers and not worthy of your respect. Most importantly your colleagues will stick by you and your family. Ted King Ex Elmley Retired
42 October 2008 42-46 postbag.indd 42
Wandsworth sex discrimination claim won at employment tribunal Two POA members took a complaint to an employment tribunal on the grounds that they had been discriminated against due to their absence from work on the grounds of pregnancy. Both Jane Gibbon and Abi Marsden had raised internal grievances after being left out of nearly all communication from the Prison Service during their maternity leave absence. Although an apology from HMPS was given, the tribunal pointed out that the claimants did not have to simply accept that as a remedy to their complaint. The tribunal ruled that discrimination had taken place and a compensation award was made. As part of their complaint, they had not received their payslips at the correct time and this was also given a compensation award. This action was taken with local committee support. Yours sincerely Stuart McLauglin Branch Secretary Wandsworth
Abi Marsden and Jane Gibbon outside the Employment Tribunal, Croydon.
Gatelodge 7/10/08 16:07:18
Postbag Workforce Modernisation Colleagues, Most of you will be aware that this is not the ﬁrst time that this subject has been at the forefront of our Union’s history. Back in 1987 it was under the guise of ‘A Fresh Start –Bulletin 8 Agreement’. Its aims were to replace existing management structures, systems and methods with working arrangements that: • Match more closely the work requirements of the establishment • Are responsive to changing pressures and demands • Enable managers to manage more eﬀectively • Promote the uniﬁcation of governor and prison oﬃcer grades and a sense of purpose, ownership and responsibility at all levels • Improve the eﬃciency, eﬀectiveness and economy with which the Prison Service discharges its public service • Provide the basis for the enhanced delivery of regimes • Bring increased job satisfaction to prison oﬃcers through a reduction in hours of attendance and a closer identiﬁcation and involvement with their work by increased continuity • Provide greater predictability of attendance • Provide clearer lines of operational accountability • Provide clear deﬁnitions of roles and responsibilities. It also set out to reward staﬀ for their eﬀorts through improving their pay and working conditions and in due course agreeing a single code of principles on working practises. Years later it can be argued that it failed miserably. Why? Well that too can be debated. Was it because over the years members of this Union have failed to meet their obligations, their commitments, carry out their duty? I would argue not – I would suggest that the reason it failed was that HM Government through our management realised from the start that Fresh Start didn’t address the needs of the service or the members of this Union and were scared to go back to the negotiating table for fear of being ridiculed over their ineptitude and lack of foresight. So 21 years later, due to insurmountable pressure and an outsider’s public recommendation, HM Government and therefore our management have no option but to address the problems they created way back in 1987. The question then arose – how to meet this objective? The Government’s and therefore our management’s answer – we will set up a team to look at all the areas concerned, but to try to hide our ineptitude we will give each area a new title and proclaim that the service has to be adapted to meet new demands that society has placed on it. That is then exactly what they did, coming up with the new buzz phrases; total reward project, job evaluation, establishment re-structuring,
employee relations, policies and procedures, leadership, learning and development, business change, organisational design and communications and stakeholder project. Now if you go back to Fresh Start and compare you will see it’s the same aims just diﬀerent names. Knowing these things it is then logical to ask where we go from here. In truth the only way to go is forward in a proactive manner, something that can be argued our Union has failed to do in any substantive way in the past. Our National Chairman quite rightly has asked for support for the NEC in the endeavours before them. This I believe they have at this time. However it should be remembered that the objectives set by the members of this Union to our NEC are far from easy, some I guarantee will probably be unattainable in the long run, however those on the NEC put themselves forward on a voluntary basis for the positions they have accepted and the subsequent trust that has been placed in them by the membership. If in the long run they are perceived to have failed, this I have no doubt will be remembered and the price paid a heavy one (probably through the ballot box). I have only four fears in relation to the whole debacle of workforce modernisation at this time: 1. That management meet their agenda at a cheap price in the way that they want without proper recompense to the members of this Union. 2. That the NEC don’t ensure that there are adequate safeguards in place to ensure that management can’t renege on any aspect of the package without having to pay some form of price for it. 3. That the NEC fails to ensure that the membership is fully aware of any price, in any aspect that they are expected to pay, for any package negotiated. 4. That the NEC come back blustering about how well they’ve done, knowing full well the package negotiated is far from perfect in the hope that promises from the management side to rectify areas of concern will be ironed out later and time will cool down any dissent from the rank and ﬁle members. God help the NEC, politicians or management if the members of this Union end up feeling ‘Spit Roasted’ at the end of all this, because the Devil won’t..... Gary Day HMP Moorland
Rise of the ‘Rossoneri’ On the 1st August 2008, HMP Latchmere House participated in the Ministry of Justice National 5 a-side football tournament at the CSSC Sports Ground in Chiswick, London. As one of only a few representatives from HM Prison Service, Latchmere House were pitted against a variety of 64 sides from across the Home Oﬃce estate. Despite early setbacks in the ‘group’ stages, Latchmere qualiﬁed for the next phase where they would compete against 32 teams in a knockout format. Resplendent in their now famous red and black (Rossoneri) stripes, they cruised through the early stages of this phase with little opposition. The semi ﬁnal however proved more of a struggle, but they came through 1-0 victors with a goal from Tony Osuji and a penalty save from ‘keeper Dave Coldrick. In the ﬁnal Latchmere dominated the opposition, running out 3-0 winners, the highlight being a hat-trick from Tony Osuji. At the ﬁnal whistle Latchmere House collected the Men’s Shield as champions elect, their route to the ﬁnal seeing them play 8 matches, scoring 20 goals and conceding only 6. This was a remarkable achievement by all concerned and we hope to defend our title as champions next year. The side were:- Eddie Quao, Leo Smith, Fin Kemp, Tony Osuji, Sanjeev Ballack-Singh, Sonny Sandhu and Dave Coldrick. D Coldrick SO HMP Latchmere House
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October 2008 43 1/10/08 16:24:03
Turkeys vote for Christmas!
We’ve just had a visit from the Workforce Modernisation team who have carried out a desktop exercise at Low Newton. Their techniques to say the least, have been something only someone from another planet could have thought of. It is clear that the WFM programme has already been organised and this is just an exercise to justify paying a fortune (which could have been our pay rise) to those who have no idea what the service is about. If the NEC are undertaking ‘purposeful’ negotiations as described in POA Circular 92/08, at the centre, then it appears to me that it is not being transferred to the establishments. First of all where has this 70/30 split between oﬀender oﬃcers who have ‘full contact with prisoners’ and operations oﬃcers who aren’t OSG’s but newly trained staﬀ come from? Obviously there is no nationally determined role description as it appears from here that as long as we could ﬁt in the 70/30 split everything is going to be okay. Managers (from senior oﬃcer upwards) were told to attend – no consultation – and although staﬀ here put forward very good cases, these were totally ignored and the WFM team just worked to their own agenda. Questions they did not want to answer were met with ‘that’s another part of this process – nothing to do with us’. The team may have lots of operational experience but they clearly do not understand the complexities of a female population where self-harm is a massive problem. The role model is one which is meant to ﬁt nationally – one which, in my opinion does not ﬁt here. Low Newton put a motion to conference to have nothing to do with this process, a motion which was lost and we accepted as this was democracy. This is privatisation by any other name. It is designed to destroy this Union by demoralising staﬀ of all ranks and driving down our terms and conditions to match those of the private sector. We were also informed that we will lose ten manager posts, that’s approximately 30% with no reduction in workload, some of which will be held by POA members. No discussion – that’s it. 30% of our posts will revert to this new title of operations oﬃcer and therefore current oﬃcers will lose their jobs and be replaced by a cheaper alternative. All through natural wastage! Many other establishments have been through or will very soon be going through this procedure. I suspect that many will have the same results. What galls me even more is the apparent lack of information coming out from Cronin House about what is happening. I don’t expect every detail, but branch oﬃcials need information to inform and also reassure the membership of this process. Knowledge is power and we must be in that position if we are to protect our livelihoods and our future. If we do not stand ﬁrm, then the prison service will cease to be a career, it will become a stop gap place of employment where people will stay only until a better position comes along. If this model is to be rolled out nationally, how can establishments in high cost areas such as London recruit suﬃcient staﬀ and more importantly retain them? What thought has been given to all grades of staﬀ in terms of our health and safety as well as those of the prisoners in our care? When the time comes to ballot, even though I get the impression this team do not want us to do it, then we must think very long and carefully, not just what’s right for us current oﬃcers but for the next generation. We must not make the same mistakes of 21 years ago when a certain document called Fresh Start came into being and ended up, not as a national agreement but one where whoever reads it comes up with their own version of it. Unless everything is right, then it will be a case of turkeys voting for Christmas!
Ever been a McKenzie friend outside work? Usually they arise as a Litigant in Person (LIP) where the person has no legal representation or cannot aﬀord any. I would advise that if you are asked then give it some thorough thought and lots of research. I have just been a McKenzie friend in a particularly complex and trying case ‘held in private’ that had eventually ended up in the County Court. It is not an easy thing to do, and in my case the Recorder, when asking questions of witnesses gave me some latitude. The Judge rejected a formal application to have ‘right of audience’ on the ﬁrst day (supported by both barristers), he then gave me informal ‘right’. I therefore ended up as an advocate (informally of course Your Honour). Mad eh? It scared me at ﬁrst but I got into it. However, in the fourth day of the ‘ﬁnding of fact’ hearing I only got about eight warnings from him for ‘straying out of bounds’. One of the barristers from London (Farouq Ahmed) was excellent and helped me on some points, but the other one tried to browbeat me at times, especially when I scored points oﬀ him in Court or kept putting late submissions into the Court. His instructing solicitor even said I couldn’t do it one morning, only to be told ‘Oh well it’s already ﬁled and done, let the Judge decide. Bye’. When you ﬁnd that the opposition has blatantly lied, not just in Court under oath, but directly to a Judge – I subsequently asked for, and was given, a right to challenge with documents to prove that he had done so. I believe that the previous three days of the opposition’s denial arguments were very tenuous in the believability stakes. The fact that I also notiﬁed the Judge with a written statement (on the third day) of witness intimidation by the other party also didn’t help him. He was subsequently threatened with imprisonment by another Judge in another court if there was a reoccurrence of his conduct. That I can report.
Mick Longstaﬀ Branch Chair HMP & YOI Low Newton
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Did we win? Well at the time of writing Judgement has just been given, 14 days after, and we scored 19 out of 21 allegations proved but due to the nature of the case, I am unable to divulge speciﬁcs. Perhaps Lees Lloyd Whitley may give Gatelodge readers some guidance on the role of a McKenzie friend in future issues, but I warn you that it can be exhausting and not all judges look kindly on them. I was lucky. If you ask why I did it then your question will go unanswered as it is between my client and myself. And to all those that speculated on what I was doing with my ‘client’, then both herself and I have been ‘playing you’. Our time was spent on this case and this case only. Some things in life are just too important, and you don’t have time on your hands to focus on fantasising about what others are doing, just the truth. By the way, my pseudonym comes from one of my ‘clients’ sons, so don’t bother speculating on that one either!! Name and Address supplied
Gatelodge 7/10/08 16:07:52
Did you serve at any time at the Maze Prison?
‘Odd one out’
Dear Colleagues, If you served at the Maze at any time either as a member of the Northern Ireland Prison Service or on detached duty from HM Prison Service England/Wales or HM Prison Service Scotland I would welcome your assistance with a project I am currently undertaking. A number of writers have published books and articles about the Maze Prison over the years but few, if any, would be readily recognisable by those who worked at the prison as portraying an accurate picture of life there as we knew it. The Maze played a signiﬁcant role in Northern Ireland throughout the ‘troubles’ and many believe that the contribution of prison staﬀ has never been fully acknowledged or understood. Equally, accurate accounts of some critical events have yet to be published. As the Maze passes into history we must ensure that these omissions are corrected and that an accurate history, spanning the entire period of its existence is properly chronicled. I have been invited to research and write a detailed history of the prison from when it ﬁrst opened as an internment centre until its ﬁnal closure. The narrative will be based on the oﬃcial record but I intend to present events from the viewpoint and perceptions of those directly involved. To enable me to capture a true and accurate account of events and the changing environment and culture of the prison throughout its history I need to hear of your experiences, however ﬂeeting, as you remember them. Many of you will remember me from my 15 years in the Northern Ireland Prison Service (much of it spent at the Maze). For the beneﬁt of those who were lucky enough not to serve with me, I retired in 2002 after almost 40 years in the Prison Service in England/ Wales and in Northern Ireland. I spent ten years as a prison oﬃcer and senior oﬃcer in England before coming to Northern Ireland as a junior governor grade in 1973. I spent three periods at the Maze between 1973 and 1987 in various roles (latterly as Deputy Governor). I also served as Principal of the NI Prison Service College, Governor of Armagh prison and Hydebank Wood YOC before returning to England to govern Dover YOI. I was the Area Manager of East Anglia before being promoted to Assistant Director and appointed Area Manager for the larger estate in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. I am the author of The Blantyre House Prison Aﬀair (Waterside Press – London 2007) and a published contributor to The British Journal on Leadership in the Public Sector. If you have recollections of the Maze I hope you are willing to contribute to this project either on or oﬀ the record. I am happy to discuss any concerns you might have before committing yourself. If you wish to talk to me or my researchers (both retired prison oﬃcers) or if you are willing to make any contribution to my research please e-mail me at email@example.com or call me on 07751 027991 with your contact details and we will get back to you. Senior oﬃcials of the Prison Oﬃcers Association in Northern are supporting this project. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
I read with interest the July/August edition of PSN, especially taking interest in our colleagues and fellow members of the POA who were honoured by their nomination for, ‘POOTY’. My interest was increased, (sadly), when I got to page 23 and scanned the picture of all the nominees –forget the little man with the beard stood in the middle at the front! There is a glaring and obvious similarity to all the candidates, except that is for one! Well done! Brenda Hinnell, HMP & YOI Lewes, you were the only one displaying the emblem of our Union on your uniform, (thank God you were there). Regards
Yours sincerely Tom Murtagh OBE
Warders complaint? I have recently been oﬀ sick with a heart condition called Atriol Fibrillation (AF) which results in a very fast heartbeat, my own being 180 BPM. In my case there was no disease of the heart, blockages etc and it was credited to ‘chaotic electrical activity’. The rate can be controlled by beta blocker drugs and a common intervention is a heart restart procedure to regulate the heart rate. The point of my letter is that prior to this I knew nothing about AF but like most things you become quickly educated by experience. I am now aware of eight Dartmoor staﬀ that have either had or have got AF. Considering the population of the staﬀ community here in relation to the area is there any other common denominator in this? Was it the tea served in our now defunct tea-boat or is there a possibility that AF could be construed as the warders complaint? It would be interesting to know if there are any other pockets of AF within the service which may point to wider issues and awareness. Mike Chamberlain Dartmoor
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Dave Whitaker Branch Chairman HMP Staﬀord
Visit to HMP Wandsworth by Siohain McDonagh MP My local MP, Siobhain McDonagh, made a second visit to the prison to hear issues from staﬀ , a number who live in her Mitcham and Morden constituency. By coincidence, she spoke to a less fortunate constituent who had written to her on an issue she was dealing with and he was quite delighted for the faceto-face meeting. We toured the prison, visiting residential areas and workshops. At the end of the visit she met with the Governor, Ian Mulholland. Siobhain has caused a bit of a stir recently, calling for a debate about the Labour leadership, which resulted in her being sacked from her Whip’s job. Probably not on Gordon Brown’s Christmas card list now, she didn’t nominate the Prime Minister for the labour leadership last year. Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary
Siobhain McDonagh MP with Wandsworth Branch Secretary Stewart McLaughlin
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Albert Einstein Now I am no Albert Einstein where ﬁgures are concerned but I have got common sense. Previously I have even struggled to collate the wing roll (especially when a cell that had been a single cell for years, suddenly had two people in it!) but at least I am fully aware of my limitations. A recent media headline states that there were 1,400 prison staﬀ under suspicion of wrong doing in 2006, 59 sacked and 6 charged with assisting an escape. This represented a decent percentage of the workforce that year and the service’s answer to this is to open a new corruption unit. You would expect with such numbers of staﬀ involved this would be an obvious major breach in security, that the service would review all its procedures and systems taking a ‘grass roots’ look at the problem – you would be wrong. What the service intends to do is drive through Work Force Modernisation which basically involves deskilling frontline workers jobs to create a prison service on the cheap. Common sense dictates that if you reduce training, wages and standards, then a whole new tier of staﬀ will be vulnerable to allegations of corruption. On the subject of ﬁgures The Home Oﬃce owes prison staﬀ £4million (the cost of staging our pay), but interestingly it can ﬁnd £29million on consultation fee’s and the plan to build a new detention centre in the heart of Oxfordshire and then decide not to build it! This was described as a ‘grotesque error in common sense.’ Obviously someone doesn’t know their limitations! Common sense has all but evaporated in this job, but it just might prevail in the end colleagues. A wind of change is sweeping through this country and the public are rebelling against so-called experts telling us how to run our lives and what we should be doing. These people may well be experts but a lot have no common sense. When someone commits a crime and gets caught they enter an agreement with society called justice, this stops mob rule. When that contract is broken and justice appears not to be done then society can rightly rebel. Prisons and the prison service have gone from being the forgotten public service to top of the political agenda. The mood of the general public regarding justice is one of growing anger. The public are fed up of reading stories of gratuitous violence resulting in the cold-blooded murder of too many of our children/loved ones. Will the Police now have farcical key performance indicators of murdered children/loved ones, like we have for deaths in custody? Surely everyone is a tragedy and not something to put a ﬁgure to? Politicians should never under estimate public anger. Educated people have deemed that rehabilitation, (which in reality includes the latest violent Play Station games to feed their addition to violence), not punishment is the answer to reduce crime and this has been their policy for a number of years. This policy has seen record crime ﬁgures – or statistics as they are now known – creating a spiralling unmanageable prison population and even a public campaign to ﬁx ‘broken Britain’. These (so called) educated people will tell you that the punishment aspect of prison is the loss of liberty but as many staﬀ at the ‘coal face’ will tell you, it’s a breeze for a lot of oﬀenders, possibly even viewed as a ‘ﬁnishing school for the unruly’. For rehabilitation to work the person concerned sincerely has to want to change, not pay lip-service to courses etc. A good test of their motivation would be for that person to serve a week extra on their sentence to pay towards the cost of the course – there would be plenty of spaces then!! Until we restore proper punishment, move away from spread sheets, critical analysis and statistics, restoring discipline to both the service and society, we will never manage the prison population or ﬁx broken Britain. Leave the number crunching to the likes of Einstein. Ian Prescott HMP Kennet
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MAGNUM BOOTS When purchasing Magnum Boots for work take your ID card to Milletts or Blacks and they will give you 10% oﬀ the price.
Thank You Many thanks from Bob Holden at HMP Staﬀord, to the drugs team for giving me Dot, now an ex-drugs dog, she as given me a new lease of life. And thanks go to all at Staﬀord for making the last ten years enjoyable and very diﬀerent in many ways, there are too many to name but they know who they are! In reaching the grand old age of 60 at the end of this year I go to pastures new with my new best pal Dot. Again many thanks and best wishes to you all. Cheers Big Bob Holden
Healthcare Ofﬁcers It is with interest that I read the Gatelodge sparse articles on ‘Healthcare Matters’. Tom Robson’s comments that the news is ‘never all good, never all bad’ does not, however, ﬁll me with conﬁdence. As a ‘dinosaur’, with 25 years service, 16 or more of those as a Healthcare Oﬃcer, I am shortly to be given a choice it would seem. 1) Landings 2) Work as a Discipline Oﬃcer under a nurse controlled HCC. I look at the green notices and still see that other prisons, mostly in the northern region are still actively recruiting HCOs and/or training them. Here in Winchester it seems that our area manager is not at all keen for us to survive. Surely, rather than watch over the demise of a good amount of happy staﬀ turning into dissatisﬁed ones, shouldn’t our NEC be ensuring that a national policy is in place for all healthcare in prisons, rather than keep underlining that ‘nurses should not undertake Prison Oﬃcer duties’? A bit late for that one I’m afraid! I have on several occasions attempted to contact the consultative committee, but it appears that they are never home. So I oﬀer you to give me a ring if you would chaps? Oh, and the guys in Bullingdon and perhaps the guys in......well just trawl the south west area prisons to ﬁnd the depth of feeling. As a footnote, do you guys remember the good old ‘scablifter’? You could have a good old laugh with him, but you knew they would be there for you when you needed a bit of medical advice or when the excrement hit the whirly thing....think on guys.... Chris Muzzall Healthcare oﬃcer HMP Winchester
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