The Prison Service has made two key changes to staff structuring and pay as part of a number of initiatives designed to improve working practices, increase efficiency and cut spending. A change to officer roles will save £200,000 per year and reductions in the number of pay grades will deliver further savings over the long term.
The changes were made in response to the Comprehensive Spending Review and have achieved savings while retaining appropriate staffing levels.
Previously the prison employed 21 Operational Support Grade (OSG) staff. As these staff could not work with prisoners, the role was not as effective or efficient as it could be. A new post – Prison Officer (Operations) – was created to take over the responsibilities of the OSG, as well as additional duties of managing prisoner external escorts, prisoner visits and security patrols inside the accommodation areas during prisoner lock-up periods.
This new post allows more flexible and efficient use of staff and also removes some tasks from the existing Prison Officer (Residential) role. Fewer residential officers are thus required, leading to savings of £200,000 per year.
A change has also been made to the pay system which will deliver savings over the long term. The number of different pay grades has been reduced from 11 to 5, and the length of time officers take to reach the maximum pay grade has been reduced from 10 years to 4. The transition of staff to the new system is expected to be complete by 2015, with pay levels for all prison officers agreed until 2016.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian Le Marquand said “I want to congratulate the Prison Management on coming up with these ideas and thank the Staff Association and members for their cooperation in making these changes possible.”
The Prison Service Association was actively involved throughout these changes and staff were kept fully briefed on the proposals.
Category: Finance & Business