Fair & Sustainable














Circular 9: Fair & Sustainable Workplace Ballot


Following the promulgation of Branch Secretary Circular 1/2012 eligible branches in England and Wales have conducted workplace ballots.

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Please click here for a copy of the above from the Special Delegates & Information Conference of 9th January 2012










The NEC promulgated Branch Secretary Circular 43/2011 setting out the date for the Special Delegates Conference and timetable for the workplace ballot, which is reproduced below



At the special NEC meeting on 2nd November it was determined to convene an information/Special Delegates Conference to debate the final offer from NOMS in respect of the new working structures document following approval from Treasury. 

On 14th November 2011 at a specially convened NEC meeting, the Executive agreed to the venue and date for the Information/Special Delegates Conference and the timetable to conduct a workplace ballot.  The venue for the Information/Special Delegates Conference is the Marriott Hotel at Waltham Abbey

The full address for the hotel is as follows:

Waltham Abbey Marriott Hotel
Old Shire Lane
Waltham Abbey

Following the promulgation of POA Circulars 146, 151 and 155/2011, this date and venue fits in with the proposed time frame to ensure that affected members in England and Wales have been provided with all of the information and an opportunity to make an informed decision, whether to accept or reject the final document titled Fair and Sustainable through a workplace ballot.

At present the agenda for the Special Delegates Conference has not been finalised by the Executive and this will be promulgated in due course, by way of a POA circular.

The Order of Business has still to be finalised, but registration is expected to start from 09.00hrs and close at approximately 10.45hrs.  The information meeting will start at around 11.00am and the Special Delegates Conference concluding at approximately 16.00hrs. 

At present facility time has not yet been applied for but the Executive expect approval from NOMS and further information on this will be sent out in due course.

The timetable for the workplace ballot in respect of the offer is as follows:

Monday 16th January 2012
Commencement of ballot

Tuesday 24th January 2012 at 12noon
Ballot finishes

Tuesday 24th or Wednesday 25th January 2012
Local count

Wednesday 25th January 2012 by 12noon
Branches to fax or email returns to Cronin House for National Count and post hardcopy

Wednesday 25th January 2012 pm
National Count by Scrutineers and Tellers

Wednesday 25th January 2012 at 17.00hrs
Announcement of Result

The above timetable is in accordance with Rule 24.5 of the POA’s Rules and Constitution.

In order to comply with HMRC rules, delegates travelling to and from the venue on the day will only be eligible to claim over 5 hours subsistence as a breakfast roll, tea and coffee will be available on arrival.  Lunch will also be provided and both of these will be paid for centrally.

Due to the location, the Executive recognise that some branch officials may require overnight accommodation.  Applications should be made via the Finance Department if any delegates wish to apply for an overnight stay, they will be booked into the Marriott Hotel and the cost of the accommodation will be paid centrally. 

All accommodation requests must be forwarded to Angela Sinclair by email using the following email address - asone@poauk.org.uk with the following in the subject heading - SDC – ACCOMMODATION by 12noon Friday 16th December 2011. The Finance Officer will be responsible for the approval of all accommodation requests.  If approved, a room will be reserved at the Marriott Hotel in your name.   If you wish to share accommodation with your fellow delegate, please advise Angela.

Please find attached a claim form which should be completed and returned to the Finance Officer no later than Tuesday 20th December 2011; this will facilitate payment prior to Conference.  All late claims will be dealt with by means of a cheque on the day of the Conference.  Cash will not be paid out in respect of any claim.

May I take this opportunity to remind all delegates that they should seek to use the most cost effective form of transport.  For further information please visit the following web address for directions by road, train and tube:


Many thanks for your support and co-operation in dealing with this process.

The POA NEC produced a Gatelodge Extra in respect of Fair & Sustainable which was distributed to all affected branches in December.  This can also be accessed on the POA website under the Gatelodge section.  Contained within this document are some frequently asked questions and answers and the legal advice on changes to existing terms and conditions.

Please find below the Overview from the lead negotiators on Fair & Sustainable for your information.

Overview of Consultation/Negotiations

Steve Bostock    
National Vice Chairman

The fair and sustainable offer is the result of nearly five months negotiations.

The team and I were given a brief by the NEC to achieve the best we could, ready for the implementation of JES, without members suffering a detriment compulsory redundancies, and Pay Protection.

These goals were achieved along with many more which are set out in the fair and sustainable document and highlighted within Gatelodge Extra.   

One huge achievement is pay protection for existing staff, which includes, pay increments as appropriate, and pay awards recommended by the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB).

The protection of terms and conditions for existing staff is also an enormous achievement, coupled with the retention of Bulletin 8 and 42/97 OSG Agreement.

The return of a uniformed grade called Custodial Manager is significant; in essence we will say that the Principal Officer has returned under a new name and clearly re-opens the promotions prospects for Senior Officers.

I would like to thank the team for their hard work and determination on the project and the NEC for their guidance and support.

Mark Freeman        
Deputy General Secretary


The Team were guided by Conference Policies during their negotiations with NOMS and achieved better than expected results.

The no Compulsory Redundancies and Lifetime Pay Protection for current staff is a great achievement.

Further features include better pay for current Officer 2 on assimilation to the single Officer grade and some better overtime rates for OSG’s.

A massive bonus is the reintroduction of a uniformed grade between Supervisory Officer and Grade F Manager.  The blockage at this level will now be eased and promotions can now recommence.

All in all a vast improvement on the original starting point and one which the team are rightly proud of.

Duncan Keys
Assistant Secretary

The ability of the POA negotiating team in securing several key objectives for the membership during the “Fair and Sustainable” meetings has resulted in a way forward. This has the ability to maintain current terms and conditions for those grades represented by the POA, as well as providing a competitive edge in the fight to retain our prisons within the state sector.

Lifetime pay protection, increased promotion opportunities and no imposition of new terms and conditions on existing staff are massive achievements. However, time may prove that the ability to bid on a more level playing field for our prisons against the private sector competition was the single most important component of the negotiation.

Whoever is to blame for the parlous financial conditions that beset our country at present and whoever decides the policy, which will hopefully lead us all into a brighter future, the reality is that the POA and NOMS are facing very real challenges in maintaining the size of the public sector Prison Service. We are every bit as susceptible to the pressures which are currently bearing down on all areas of state employment.

The negotiations have produced a blueprint for us by which means we can meet the challenges of today and also the aspirations of tomorrow.

Tony Merricks       

This Fair and Sustainable Document is the culmination of five months intense negotiations between the Negotiation Team from the NEC and NOMS.  The first meeting failed to get off to a good start as both teams set out their position and both remained defiant.  However it is not how you start, it’s how you finish and we believe we have finished with a document that is not only massively different to its original but far more beneficial to our members.  We were tasked with two absolutes:

1.    No compulsory redundancies
2.    Life time pay protection

We achieved both and a great deal more through the months of negotiations.  I was proud not only to be a part of this team but also to have been able to achieve the mandates set by you and also a great deal more.

The Conference Agenda was promulgated under POA Circular 179/2011 which is reproduced for your information.



Further to Branch Secretary Circular 43/2011.

Please find enclosed Agenda regarding the above.

As well as the email forwarded today for information and action where appropriate, a hard copy will also be posted to establishments.

Thanking you in anticipation of your support and co-operation.


Motion 1
That Conference debate the final negotiated offer from NOMS entitled “Fair and Sustainable”.

Motion 2
That Conference support the decision of the NEC on the 2nd November 2011 to endorse the final negotiated document entitled “Fair and Sustainable”.


The National Chairman Peter McParlin chaired the Information Conference in the morning and Special Delegates Conference in the afternoon. Motion 1 was subject to a full debate and Motion 2 overwhelmingly supported by Conference.  During the morning session members of the Fair & Sustainable responded to questions posed by delegates with the National Chairman expressing his views on some issues.  The Information meeting was a lively affair and the full verbatim report will be reproduced and hopefully circulated to all affected members by Friday, 13th January 2012.  Members should also be aware that a number of significant questions and answers are available on the Prison Service intranet.  It is in members interest to understand the implications that the introduction of Fair & Sustainable and changes to practices within the Prison Service will bring to them. It was made clear that the final document is the cornerstone of change and the Executive will continue to press for improvements throughout the forthcoming weeks and months.

All delegates who attended the Conference received a copy of Branch Secretary Circular 1/2012 which contained the relevant information and ballot paper.  Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances some branches were unable to attend and this information has been sent to them.

You have an opportunity to vote in your workplace ballot and the National Executive Committee recommend that you vote YES to ensure that the new changes form part of a collective agreement and support this Union to manage continued change, which is being proposed by NOMS and the Government.

Marriott Hotel – Waltham Abbey