Question to the Ministry of Justice:
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to his oral Answer on 2 February 2021, Official Report, column 829, what effect his assessment of the times in which we live has had on the level of his support for the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.
The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000, ‘recommendation 3’. This represented a substantial increase for our largest staffing group and was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in the labour market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unpredictable changing state of the economy means that the assumptions made by the PSPRB upon which they based their recommendations have also changed. The decision to reject this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020. Prison officers did however benefit from awards of between 2.5% and 7.5% for the current financial year (2020/21). This delivered an above inflation increase and is the third year in a row that prison staff have benefitted from an award of at least 2%.
The estimated cost of recommendation 3 is £46.8m per year. This includes the cost required to apply the uplift to non-operational prison service colleagues paid within the same band. The total annual cost of recommendation 3 alone represents a higher cost than that of the entire proposals made by HMPPS for the 2020/21 pay round, so presented clear challenges to afforadbilty.
Affordability considerations took into account value for money for the taxpayer, as well as competing funding priorities, such as key investments in prison safety and security, leadership and professionalisation, and staff wellbeing which all impact significantly upon staff.
Prior to the decision to reject ‘recommendation 3’, the Ministry of Justice considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale of doing so. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. These issues are continually under review by the department, as fundamental issues in our policy. There are no plans to publish further analysis on recommendation 3.
We are currently finalising the evidence to the Prison Service Pay Review Body for the 2021/22 pay round, in line with the pay policy set out by the Chancellor in November last year. This will be published and submitted to the PSPRB in due course.
Pay Review Body
Eleventh Report on
Northern Ireland 2019
Found: Prison Service
Pay Review Body
Twelfth Report on
Northern Ireland 2020
Found: Fifty-Sixth reports from Session 2019-21 CP
Government responses to the Committee of Public
Found: reports from
Government responses to the
Found: disruptions to service delivery.
ction Plan Submitted
1. Oral Answers to Questions
02/02/2021 - Commons Chamber
1: But there are huge delays in the justice system. Her Majesty’s justice chief inspectors report 53,000 cases - Speech Link
2: investment is working and we are getting the justice system back on its feet following the very substantial - Speech Link
3: March, but Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said that 200 would be needed; what is preventing - Speech Link
2. Oral Answers to Questions
14/09/2021 - Commons Chamber
1: covid pandemic has had a significant impact on the justice system, but that is why the Government have: invested - Speech Link
2: grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for that answer. I congratulate Richard Oldfield on his report - Speech Link
3: What recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on delivery of the Government’s beating crime - Speech Link
4: What recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on delivery of the Government’s beating crime - Speech Link
3. Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill (Eighth sitting)
07/07/2020 - Public Bill Committees
1: July 2021’.”.This amendment would reinstate a statutory deadline for the independent review of the - Speech Link
4. Armed Forces Bill
23/06/2021 - Commons Chamber
1: convenient to discuss the following:Clauses 2 to 6 stand part.Amendment 7, in clause 7, page - Speech Link
2: >(e) in relation to accommodation provided to service people in Scotland, a requirement for that accommodation - Speech Link
5. Armed Forces Bill (Second sitting)
31/03/2021 - Public Bill Committees