Following on from our representations this week HMPPS has taken pro-active steps on the issue of PPE for all workplaces that are client facing. This includes not only APs but also field offices, prisons, and anywhere else members are working. Previous guidance was mainly aimed at APs but this has now been updated. It is now being reviewed by Public Health England (PHE) to ensure it is in line with their best practice. Members should note that PPE is not to be used in place of measures such as social distancing but in busy workplaces which, due to their nature, have multiple locked doors and gates there are additional challenges not present in many workplaces that PPE might help with. We cannot say how quickly the guidance will be available as PHE have a huge task on their hands right now but we expect it early next week.
Working at home
Divisions are being asked to check on staff working at home to see if their capacity is limited in any way, for example those caring for someone else in the home might not be able to take on a full workload during this time and this needs to be factored in. This seems to be a genuine recognition that some working at home may not be able to take on 100% of the work they ordinarily do and we encourage members to be honest if asked by their manager about any limitations they face during such an extraordinary time.
We have, on behalf of members, sought clarification from employers about compensation for those incurring additional costs relating to working at home. We will share any information about this as soon as we have it.
Exceptional delivery plans (EDPs) should be in place for every area of work and these should follow the Exceptional Delivery Model (EDM) that has been issued. We have been made aware by members of a number of issues in implementing these, especially in prisons. Where local reps have tried to resolve the issues by reference to Divisional Directors but not made positive progress these issues can be escalated to senior HMPPS leaders. Following our representations about some issues in prisons all “Silver Commands” (usually Divisional Directors) must confirm compliance in the prisons in their divisions (or an action plan to comply) today. There will also be regular calls with the “Silver Commands” to monitor and review the compliance in other areas of work.
Katie Lomas, National Chair