PCS condemns timing of prisons staffing review

06 Nov 2019

A review by HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) will be looking at non-operational staffing levels within prisons, probation and youth custody.

The staffing review that the Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has initiated will start within the period of parliamentary purdah, the term used for the period between the time an election is announced and the date the election is held.  During a general election Ministers remain in office and in charge of their departments but it is customary for them to observe discretion in announcing initiatives that are new or of a long-term character during this period.

PCS has made it clear to HMPPS that once the general election has taken place, and a new Secretary of State for Justice has been appointed, we would then welcome any HMPPS review based on increasing staffing levels across prisons, probation and the youth service.

PCS believes that the service is in crisis due to inadequate resources, staffing levels and low morale. We want to see action taken to ensure that staff can provide an exemplary service and have a safe environment in which to work. We want workloads that are reasonable and a coherent pay and reward system that attracts and retains loyal and hard-working staff.

However, PCS is concerned that the review that HMPPS intends to carry out may be designed to implement further massive job cuts, rather than plan to increase staffing levels.  PCS is fundamentally opposed to any job cuts in HMPPS and we have asked HMPPS to clarify exactly what the review will be looking at and what its proposals are.

PCS and the other unions involved will be meeting with the employer next week and we hope that we will have a clearer idea of what the review will involve after that meeting.

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