3 Benchmarking and prison staffing |
60. The other key part of the Government's approach
to achieving efficiencies across the prison estate is the public
sector benchmarking programme (also known as the prison unit cost
programme). In this chapter we examine the reasoning behind this
approach, how it has been implemented, and the context in which
it is operating. In relation to the latter we consider in particular,
why there is currently a shortage of staff, and the impact this
has had on progress in applying designated benchmarks. The contracting
out of non-core public sector prison services is discussed in
The rationale for benchmarking
61. Explaining his decision to replace the planned
prison privatisation programme with public sector benchmarking
and contracting out of ancillary services in 2012, the Secretary
of State for Justice proposed that the public sector could duplicate
commercial models which have addressed the challenge of increased
cost pressures and demand for lower prices and delivered better
quality services with a lower cost base.
In this context, the Government's intention under the second element
of its cost reduction programme was to introduce in publicly-run
prisons more efficient ways of working, whilst maintaining safety,
decency, security and order. Phil Wheatley, an architect of this
approach when he was Director of NOMS, gave us this down to earth
description of benchmarking models of practice: "
were looking at the most efficient way of doing everything, observing
it somewhere, saying, "Hey, that works," and then telling
everybody else to do it that way."
62. Witnesses were generally supportive of the rationale
of benchmarking as a means of reducing expenditure on the operation
of the prison estate quickly.
Not surprisingly both the Prison Governors' Association and the
Prison Officers' Association welcomed the decision largely to
substitute public sector reform for the privatisation programme,
and our evidence suggests that they have worked closely with NOMS
to implement it.
While private sector providers continue to advocate competition
as a means of improving performance, G4S, Serco and Sodexo saw
value in benchmarking as a means of standardising more efficient
and effective regimes.
The Government has not excluded the possibility of further prison-by-prison
competition in the future.
The implementation of benchmarking
63. To apply the benchmarks NOMS has devised what
it describes as 'new ways of working', involving changes to both
the prison regime and staffing complements. Modifications include:
changes to the core day; maximising opportunities for prisoners
to be in purposeful activities, with staff following prisoners;
less time for structured association; and fewer layers of management.
A phased approach has been taken to implementation, with the adult
male estate being benchmarked first (from October 2013), followed
by the high security estate, women's estate and young offender
institutions (from March 2014). This approach was welcomed by
Mr Hardwick, but he emphasised the importance of learning lessons
from the implementation of the first phase to ensure that the
problems experienced do not reoccur, particularly as the prisons
benchmarked in the later phase contained more vulnerable and risky
64. Staffing represents the bulk of ongoing prison
costs. A key consequence
of benchmarking is that public sector prisons will be operating
with a smaller staff. NOMS estimated that the savings required
would be facilitated by around five per cent of prison service
staff taking voluntary redundancy in 2013/14.
Mr Wheatley highlighted the risks of benchmarking being too "gung-ho"
and ending up with staffing levels that are too tight.
We consider in the next section the extent to which difficulties
have arisen from some of those risks.
65. We agree
with most witnesses to our inquiry that the benchmarking of prisons
to develop more efficient regimes is in principle an effective
way of reducing expenditure more rapidly than would be possible
through prison-by-prison competition. We also support the phased
approach to the implementation of benchmarking which NOMS has
The impact of efficiency savings
The impact on prison performance
66. The intention of benchmarking is to streamline
what prisons do while maintaining, and where possible raising,
Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons uses a four part healthy prison
test to determine its assessment of the performance of individual
prisons. The outcome of these tests for the prisons inspected
in the last 10 years is set out in table 1 below. This illustrates
that outcomes for the period after the implementation of benchmarking
in October 2013 in local and category C prisons in the adult male
estate were considerably lower than the previous 12 months and
at any point in the last 10 years.
Table 1: Percentage of prisons and young offender
institutions assessed as 'good' or 'reasonably good' in full inspections
2005-06 to 2014-15
|Published reports (%)
||Inspected November 2013-Mar 2014 Published 2014-15
Source: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report
Note: Benchmarking was not applied in young offender
institutions until the second phase which commenced in March 2014.
The Ministry's own performance ratings of prisons,
which used to be published quarterly, are now annual and are not
yet available for much of the period in question. Nevertheless,
according to the most recent scores, the performance of almost
a quarter (23 per cent) of prisons was of concern, or of serious
concern in 2013-14.
This compared to 14 per cent and 2 per cent respectively in the
previous two years.
The views of Independent Monitoring Boards on the state of prisons
expressed in the annual reports which they are required to submit
to the Secretary of State have generally accorded with those of
HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
THE IMPACT ON SAFETY
67. The Ministry also publishes data on safety in
custody which includes indicators on the level of assaults, self-harm,
and self-inflicted deaths, for example. Table 2 shows that self-inflicted
deaths have been rising since 2011 (a 45% increase over the last
four years) and rose particularly sharply in the last two years
(38% between 2012 and 2014).
Table 2: Deaths in custody by apparent cause, January
2011 to September 2014
Sources: PPP62; PPP65 [Ministry of Justice]
Table 3 illustrates that both incidents of assaults
(by prisoners against other prisoners and staff) and incidents
of self-harm have risen by 7.1% and 9% respectively over the last
Table 3: Assault and Self-Harm Incidents, January
2011 to June 2014
Source: PPP62 [MoJ]; PPP65 [MoJ] * Data from 2014
relates only from the period January to September
68. The Government uses the term 'concerted indiscipline'
to describe incidents of prison disorder.
There has been recent speculation that conditions in prisons were
such that there had been, or was likely to be, a rise in such
July 2014 we were told there had been an increase in minor incidents
such as 'incidents at height' where prisoners "climb up on
to the netting in order to try to secure a transfer to a different
In a Written Answer of 9 December 2014, Mr Selous explained that
incidents vary widely in nature and duration; many are relatively
minor and of short duration and cause little disruption to the
Nevertheless, the table below illustrates that the number of incidents
has doubled since 2012, and the average number of incidents per
month has gone from 11 in the year before benchmarking and changes
to the IEP scheme were introduced to 16 in the year after.
There was a notable rise in incidents in the last three months
for which figures are available.
Table 4: Incidents of Concerted Indiscipline, January
2011 to September 2014
Source: PPP 62 [Ministry of Justice]
Only a very small number of incidents are serious
enough to require external support from specialist intervention
teams, such as Operation Tornado, and the number of such interventions
had not increased by the end of September 2014.
ACCESS TO PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITY
69. NOMS' intention was to preserve a focus on real
work and purposeful activity under its benchmarked regime.
Our evidence suggests that broadly speaking this has not been
achieved. The Chief Inspector of Prisons' assessment was that
access to purposeful activity had "plummeted".
Provision for purposeful activity was judged to be adequate in
only two-fifths of prisons inspected between November 2013 and
March 2014, the lowest level in the last nine years.
70. We heard two main explanations for the reduction
in access to education and training. First, there was a shortage
of officers to escort prisoners to learning activities as priority
was given to other tasks (such as escorting out of the prison
and incident response), and, secondly, there were too few education
and training places for the number of prisoners held.
In relation to the former, we heard examples from the Chairs of
the Independent Monitoring Boards of HMP Belmarsh and Wormwood
Scrubs of prisoners having to choose between having showers and
making phone calls or going to education.
Various HM Inspectorate of Prisons reports indicate that access
to libraries had also diminished due to staff shortages.
We also heard that a narrower range of learning provision had
been procured under the most recent Offender Learning and Skills
Service (OLASS) competition process, and there had been a lack
of capital investment in facilities for activities.
71. A4E, one of the contractors for the provision
of prison-based learning and skills, withdrew in August 2014 from
its contract for 12 London prisons allegedly because it was no
longer able to run the contract at a profit due to unspecified
had submitted written evidence to our inquiry prior to the announcement,
but it did not cover this matter. We heard that activity provision
had been adversely affected while an alternative provider was
found. Due to
the lack of availability of prison staff to escort prisoners to
classes, teaching staff from some members of the Association of
Collegeswhich represents and promotes the interest of colleges,
some of which are providers of offender learning and skills serviceshad
been given the responsibility of moving prisoners themselves.
SENTENCE PROGRESSION AND CASE MANAGEMENT
72. Rehabilitation programmes and effective offender
management processes have also suffered in other ways: prisoners
have been unable to access offending behaviour courses, or have
been moved because of population pressures to another prison without
having completed them, and, as we have noted, there is a high
volume of backlogs in risk assessments.
73. Nigel Newcomen, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman,
told us that his office had experienced between 2013 and 2014
a 35 per cent increase in complaints from prisoners, including
a 50 per cent increase in complaints about regimes.
He observed: "Where, for example, statutory entitlements
have been lostaccess to fresh air, the library, the statutory
gymas part of a poorly implemented benchmarking process,
clearly the real-life experience for prisoners on wings is suffering
quite considerably, and that is percolating through to my office
in terms of complaints."
Evidence from the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) and the Prisoners'
Advice Service reinforced that the nature of inquiries to their
services had changed. For calls to the PRT helpline, prisoners
wanting to transfer prisons remained the top concern in the 2013-14
period, as it had been in previous years. On the other hand, the
second most common subject of complaint was the new IEP scheme;
this had not previously been an issue.
Long standing issues of mental health and housing no longer featured
in the top five concerns, but the volume of complaints about changes
to the release on temporary licence scheme and conditions of post-release
licences had increased. We heard from several representatives
of Independent Monitoring Boards, including the President of the
National Council of Independent Monitoring Boards, who together
provided a picture of deteriorating standards in terms of staffing
levels, resulting in less prisoner to staff contact, less surveillance,
and less access to purposeful activity.
74. Anecdotal evidence from Deborah Russo of the
Prisoners' Advice Service (PAS) indicated that there had been
a notable increase in prisoner complaints regarding safety, and
increased requests for safety interventions. PAS also said prisoners
had difficulties in getting to healthcare appointments outside
the prison (as escorts are required) resulting in delayed treatment.
The Zahid Mubarek Trust, which scrutinises equalities-related
complaints in London prisons, and the Archbishops Council of the
Church of England said that access to chaplaincy services had
We discuss the complaints system more fully in Chapter Four.
75. All available
indicators, including those recorded by HM Inspectorate of Prisons
and NOMS itself, are pointing towards a rapid deterioration in
standards of safety and levels of performance over the last year
or so. Most concerning to us is that since 2012 there has been
a 38% rise in self-inflicted deaths, a 9% rise in self-harm, a
7% rise in assaults, and 100% rise in incidents of concerted indiscipline.
Complaints to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and other sources
have risen. There are fewer opportunities for rehabilitation,
including diminished access to education, training, libraries,
religious leaders, and offending behaviour courses.
Explanatory factors for the deterioration
76. A multitude of theories has been advanced about
what has contributed to the deteriorations in levels of safety
and purposeful activity, and rising numbers of complaints. In
his annual report for 2013-14, the Chief Inspector of Prisons
concluded that "it is impossible to avoid the conclusion
that the conjunction of resource, population and policy pressures,
particularly in the second half of 2013-14 and particularly in
adult male prisons, was a very significant factor."
In his evidence to us he clarified what he meant by policy pressures,
pointing to the recent changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges
and Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) schemes, as well as the
general "pace of change that is being applied to prison managers."
We discuss these two policies in detail in Chapter Four.
77. Many of our witnesses supported Mr Hardwick's
view that staffing levels and changes to the prison regime, including
the IEP scheme, were causative factors in the decline in safety,
although it was noted that reasons for each of the areas of decline
were likely to differ; for instance, those behind suicide were
different from those behind self-harm, and the factors behind
those were different from the concern about prison violence.
The Government attributed operational issues and subsequent adverse
outcomes to several other factors, including unexpected and extreme
population pressures, increases in the use of legal highs, and
a broader increase in suicide rates.
We consider here the extent to which the situation can be attributed
to prisons policies, or other factors beyond the Government's
CHANGES TO REGIMES
78. We received evidence of some modifications to
regimes that could contribute to a reduction in safety, however
unintentionally. Regime restrictions can affect levels of violence
in two ways: they can contribute to greater violence, but conversely
they can operate as a protective factor as prisoners are unable
to mix as frequently with others. Angela Levin of the Wormwood
Scrubs IMB believed that increases in suicide, a "huge increase"
in self-harm and a 50% increase in violence were due to the length
of time prisoners were spending in their cells and the lack of
capacity of staff to monitor them.
For example, at Wormwood Scrubs more prisoners were now sharing
cells, including three to a cell in some cases.
The British Psychological Society explained that reduced purposeful
activity and changes in regime have a potentially destabilising
effect for those with mental health issues, including propensity
79. Several of those giving evidence attributed increased
complaints and the changing nature of them to restrictions, changes
and alterations to regimes. The Prisoners' Advice Service had
received an increase in complaints from prisoners who feared for
In relation to the changes to IEP which mean people begin sentences
on a basic regime, Dr Edgar was concerned that the first period
of custody was a high-risk time for suicide and self-harm and
that this might make that period of adjustment more difficult
and put them at greater risk. 
This might be compounded by staffing changes which meant that
access to the telephone at night, for example, to call the Samaritans,
had been restricted.
Other policy changes had also caused concern, for example, safer
custody reports related to the management of prisoners at risk
of harm to themselves, to others and from others were now less
detailed and, according to Angela Levin, risked giving the wrong
impression of the severity of incidents.
80. Phil Wheatley emphasised the importance of continued
interaction between staff and prisoners and getting the balance
right in levels of staffing:
we need enough staff time to interact
with prisoners. It is not just time out of cell; you can give
prisoners a lot of time out of cell but not interact with them
very much, and they will behave like they would on a street corner,
if you don't watch it."
We heard that the time and opportunity that staff
and prisoners had to build these important relationships might
be jeopardised under new ways of working. The Prison Officers'
Association stated that day-to-day communication between prisoner
and officer was rapidly diminishing, with an inevitably detrimental
impact upon security and safety.
We consider the role of the modern-day prison officer further
in Chapter 4 of this Report.
81. Getting this balance right is important for preserving
dynamic security, an approach to prison safety based on the relationship
between staff and prisoners. In part, it means that everyone who
works in prison has a responsibility for security and control.
In practice however, 'dynamic security' means that staff should
mix with prisoners and talk and listen to them while remaining
alert to the atmosphere and potential for incidents. 'Static security'
includes measures where perimeter fences, bars, gates, and the
use of CCTV, for example, prevent or manage prisoner movement.
This could reduce the need for staff and prisoners to spend time
in close contact with each other. Examples of this include strengthening
security to prevent drugs being thrown over the fence, and the
use of body-worn cameras.
Both forms of security are necessary but when staffing levels
are reduced the balance between the two must be carefully managed.
82. We heard that under benchmarking prison officers
would no longer permanently be assigned to one wing. Instead,
they would become 'troubleshooters' and would go to wherever a
difficulty arose, which could be three different wings on one
day, for example.
Knowledge of prisoners on the wing is vital in maintaining safety
as officers can sense when a prisoner might be prone to violence
and can calm them down, or identify signs of self-harming.
Dr Kimmett Edgar, who has conducted research on violence
reduction in prison, pointed out that there was strength in numbers
in terms of maintaining safety:
Officers can prevent fights by intervening and
confronting the use of threats and verbal abuse-but to do this,
they need sufficient numbers. In particular, it takes guts to
confront someone who is aggressive; and if an officer is on her
own on a landing, (s)he will be far less confident about intervening.
83. Prison officers' knowledge of prisoners on their
wings was also important in dealing proportionately with matters
that might escalate. For example, the Zahid Mubarek Trust emphasised
that 'wing banter' might be mistaken for discriminatory behaviour
and lead to a disproportionate reaction.
STAFF LEVELS AND TURNOVER
84. Between 31 March 2010 and 30 June 2014 the number
of full-time equivalent staff in public sector prisons fell by
28 per cent, a reduction of 12,530 staff.
The prisoner to staff ratio has risen from 3.8 in September 2010
to 4.9 in September 2014.
Staff turnover in public sector prisons has doubled since 2010/11.
Table 5: National Offender Management Service total
workforce and leavers by financial year since 2009-10
|12 months ending||Number of Leavers (headcount)
|31 March 10||3,680
|31 March 11||3,470
|31 March 12||3,560
|31 March 13||3,760
|31 March 14||5,470
Source: National Offender Management Service workforce
Recent figures are more equivalent to turnover in
the private sector. For example, at Serco it is between 5 and
15 per cent on average. Some turnover was to be expected under
the benchmarking and estate rationalisation programme, under which
both re-deployment of staff, following prison closures, and redundancies
would be required. NOMs anticipated a 5 per cent reduction in
staff under benchmarking, for example, and put in place a voluntary
exit scheme to facilitate the necessary redundancies.
REASONS FOR STAFFING SHORTAGES
85. It is difficult to disentangle definitively the
causal factors for staffing shortages. Our witnesses have suggested
several to us, including: NOMS allowing too many staff, or too
many experienced staff, to leave through voluntary redundancy
arrangements; staff resigning; imposed freezes on recruitment,
orchestrated at a national rather than local level; and high sickness
rates. The Secretary
of State attributed staffing problems to an unanticipated rise
in the prison population and a more buoyant labour market in some
parts of the country. He saw these as routine difficulties associated
with the ebbs and flows of a large workforce.
86. The trend towards lower staffing levels is not
solely related to benchmarking. It is present in the youth and
adult estate, including in the private sector, and the decline
began in 2010.
Most recently patterns in the predominant reasons for staff leaving
the Prison Service have changed: in the year to September 2014,
of the 3,400 staff who left (representing 11% of staff), 24% resigned,
15% retired, and 17% took voluntary redundancy. In the previous
year these figures, relating to 5,300 departures, were 16%, 14%
and 50% respectively.
87. The fact that resignation features more highly
than redundancy in the last year supports other evidence which
indicates that some staff have left due to increased dissatisfaction
with the conditions in which they have been expected to work.
The pressure placed on those operational and management personnel
that have continued to work in prisons has had a considerable
impact on them.
As well as higher staff turnover, we received evidence of low
staff morale and higher sickness rates, partially explained by
Prior to the introduction of benchmarking public sector prisons
had already gone through reforms to implement more affordable
staffing structures, including new pay and conditions, under the
Fair and Sustainable Programme.
The Prison Reform Trust noted that this, followed by benchmarking
and changes to operational policies that would be challenging
to implement had "heaped pressure" on governors and
staff alike. Difficulties
in operating regimes have been particularly severe during the
They have also been exacerbated by the need to release staff for
detached duty which we consider in paragraphs109 to 111. The POA
representative at HMP Isis, which had particularly severe staff
shortages, described the poor working conditions he had experienced:
"Acts of violence, be it prisoner-on-prisoner or prisoner-on-staff,
have gone through the roof. The staff feel that they have little
support by the [Crown Prosecution Service], as crimes committed
against prisoners or other staff do not seem to lead anywhere.
It just seems that the whole system is in a bit of a mess. I have
been in the service eight years and this is by far the worst I
have experienced in that time."
88. Several witnesses paid tribute to those that
had kept regimes running to the extent that they had. Stephen
Over the last six months, as staffing has reduced
and regimes have had to be restricted in a number of prisons,
frequently it is prison governors at every level who are stepping
in to try to ensure that things happen with prison officers. It
would be easy to think that in that situation it is somehow the
prison's fault, but actually in those prisons governors, their
senior management teams and their staff are working extremely
long hours to keep going even restricted regimes, which often
are not good enough by most of the measures we use now... 
Steve Gillan of the Prison Officers' Association
similarly spoke of the "massive impact" the cost reduction
exercise had had on staff: "It is prison officers who are
picking up the pieces, under difficult circumstances."
89. The impact on staff has undoubtedly affected
retention levels. Research carried out by the University of Bedfordshire
for the Prison Officers' Association examining the pension age
of prison officers has found that they are at high risk of emotional
and physical stress and exhaustion: 60 per cent of staff sampled
were considering leaving the Prison Sector in the near future.
A significant proportion of staff are retired from the service
each year on medical grounds.
A larger scale survey of staff engagement conducted by NOMS, to
which 44 per cent of Prison Service staff responded, found that:
53 per cent of staff feel they have the effective tools to do
their job; 52 per cent feel that they work in a safe environment;
21 per cent feel that their pay adequately reflects the their
performance; only the same proportion feel the prison service
is well managed; and 42 per cent were positive about their workload.
90. Michael Spurr acknowledged that the pressured
conditions that prison staff were working under had contributed
to low morale:
The vast majority of staff responding are
Prison Service staff going through a major change programme with
the closure of 16 prisons, changing terms and conditions, effectively
freezing pay, even on top of the civil service pay freezes, for
the majority of prison officers and reducing numbers.
He welcomed the fact that the majority (70 per cent)
of staff had accepted new terms and conditions and that the trade
unions were supportive of their approach, and emphasised that
NOMS was working hard to engage staff through a difficult process.
For example, staff had access to a welfare service, available
24 hours a day.
91. Mr Spurr did not believe staffing problems could
have been foreseen:
while we had very good plans to be able
to deliver the savings we were hit by external events
increase in the prison population [in autumn 2013]. That
much more pressure than we had anticipated and
to have more staff than we had planned for. The difficulties in
recruiting those staff, particularly in the south-east, have created
significant pressure for us. I think that pressure was at its
height through the end of last year and into the summer of this
year, and it is beginning to recede as we are able to recruit
the staff that we need."
The increase in the prison population was in part
driven by an increase in people being sentenced for historic sexual
offences: the so-called "Savile effect", alongside an
increase in the remand population.
When we put to Mr Spurr the point that the population growth was
within projected assumptions, he explained that it had gone over
the level predicted, but in any case NOMS planned to accommodate
the central forecast.
92. NOMS workforce statistics do not appear to corroborate
the Government's assertion that staffing problems are confined
to the adult estate, and to the South East of England.
It is true that the degree of understaffing has varied by prison.
In June 2014 there were 32,550 prison staff in post across the
whole public sector estate.
At that time, 83 prisons had been benchmarked, and among them
there were 2,481 vacancies below the 'target staffing figure',
comprising 415 prison officers, 353 operational support staff,
and 1,723 instructors, administrative and support staff.
At this time only 7 of those 83 prisons were operating at their
full complement of staff; some prisons in the East of England
and Yorkshire and Humber were operating with over 70 too few staff.
On the other hand, 16 per cent of staff who left in the year to
September 2014 were from the high security and young people's
estates. While the more buoyant labour market in parts of the
country might have resulted in problems with recruitment, it does
not appear to have contributed disproportionately to retention:
staff in Greater London and the South East represent 15.7 per
cent of the workforce, which corresponds closely to the fact that
staff from these areas comprised 15.2 per cent of leavers.
It is also important to note that difficulties retaining staff
do not solely relate to the public sector. For example, the attrition
rate was higher than average at HMP Thameside (at between 10 and
20 per cent) due to the number of staff recruited when it opened
who subsequently decided prison work was not for them.
On the other hand, private sector prisons are able to develop
their own plans for recruitment and retention, including recruiting
93. Cuts to prison budgets have resulted in changes
to regimes which mean that prisoners are now routinely locked
up for longer. The Government has been successful in rapidly reducing
costs, but because staff are not at their full benchmarked complement
it is not possible to assess whether that cost reduction will
make regimes in public sector prisons more effective, or whether
safety levels can be restored to their previous level. Detrimental
impacts on prisoners and staff are unquantified but they are likely
to have financial consequences, and it is possible that the level
of cuts imposed might prove to be a false economy.
94. A quarter
of the staff who have left the Prison Service in the year to September
2014 resigned. NOMS ought to have foreseen that major reductions
in staffing, less favourable pay and conditions of employment,
and significant changes to prison regimes, would lead to a rise
in people opting to leave the Prison Service, regardless of the
buoyancy of the external labour market. This underlines the importance
of retention as well as recruitment. As NOMS is highly dependent
on its staff to run well-functioning prisons, and it is important
that the Service acts rapidly on the evidence of recent surveys
to ensure that staff feel valued and are given appropriate support
to work in circumstances which are challenging at the best of
times, but currently particularly pressured. Given the importance
of relationships between prisoners and prison staff we do not
believe that making further detrimental changes to terms and conditions
of staff is sustainable as a means of controlling costs if the
prison population continues to rise.
95. The Secretary of State told us that the number
of assaults in prison had fallen.
Whilst this may be true over the entire period of this Government,
NOMS' own figures indicate that there was an increase of 10 per
cent in assaults in the year to the end of June 2014, and a parallel
rise in the rate of assaults per 1,000 prisoners, indicating that
this is not accounted for by the rise in the prison population.
Serious assaults have increased by 32 per cent over the same period.
Mr Grayling did acknowledge to us that assaults on staff had risen,
reversing earlier reductions; he wished to see them being treated
more seriously by the Crown Prosecution Service.
96. At an evidence session on the work of the Secretary
of State in July 2014, Mr Grayling attributed the rise in self-inflicted
deaths in prisons to a "broader social challenge" of
rising suicide rates in society.
At a subsequent evidence session, he indicated that he had been
referring to suicide rates among the "community in the justice
system", and to young men in particular.
He reiterated that there was no clear pattern to explain the rise:
Sometimes it is the case that you get upward
ticks in the suicide rate for which there is no obvious explanation.
We have looked very hard to see whether there is a common factor
in the suicides we have seen in prisons. They have taken place
in prisons where there have been staff reductions. They have taken
place in prisons where there have been no staff reductions. They
have taken place in prisons where we have seen excellent inspection
reports. We have seen suicides in places where there have been
poor inspection reports. Parc, for example, in south Wales, which
is run by G4S and therefore has not been affected by the benchmarking
is regarded by the prison inspector as one of the
best prisons in the estate
It has had three suicides. Every
one of these is tragic; every one of these is to be regretted.
I am pleased that the number has settled back down again. I hope
upon hope that it continues to be so, and we will work very hard
to that effect.
97. The increased prevalence of so-called legal highs
(new psychoactive substances) was raised by several witnesses,
and they partially attributed to it the rise in levels of violence
in prisons. Mandatory
drug testing has shown illegal drug use in prisons has gone down
over the last 20 years, with the proportion of prisoners testing
positive falling from 24 per cent in 1996/97 to just over 7 per
cent in 2013/14. Seizures of substances such as Spice, however,
have risen from 133 in 2012 to 430 in 2014.
Early on in our inquiry we heard some speculation that the prevalence
of drug use might rise due to limitations on staff time to facilitate
testing and cell inspections as a result of benchmarking.
Dr Edgar also said: "If you appreciate that currently there
are more people dealing drugs on wings than there are prison officers,
you can understand that there is potential for wings to become
criminogenicto become areas in which crime flourishes."
After we concluded taking evidence in our inquiry the Government
announced a "crackdown" on legal highs in prison, including
extending powers to mandatory drug test for them.
The use of mandatory drug testing for those substances for which
testing is already permitted fell by 14 per cent between 2011/12
MEASURES TO DEAL WITH VIOLENCE AND
98. The Government stressed the fact that there is
a more challenging mix of prisoners than before as a key explanation
for operational problems and deteriorating outcomes.
Their line was supported by prison governors and directors.
Mr O'Connell acknowledged that the prison population changes,
with resulting challenges in violence management, had occurred
alongside staffing and population pressures.
Other witnesses felt that violence reduction measures had weakened.
Andrew Neilson said that Inspectorate reports were indicating
that good violence reduction strategies and procedures had ebbed
99. In June 2014 the Inspectorate itself published
a review of progress on the implementation of the recommendations
of the public inquiry undertaken after Zahid Mubarek, a 19 year
old of Pakistani descent, was tragically killed by his racist
cell mate in Feltham Young Offenders' Institution.
The Inspectorate reported that new systems and processes had been
put in place and that electronic case records had made sharing
and using information easier, but the implementation of recommendations
had been inconsistent. The reduction in homicides in prison since
2000 is viewed as coinciding with the introduction of cell-sharing
risk assessment, but in the last year there were four cases, the
highest number since 1998. The Inspectorate warned that there
was a danger that with the passage of time, the drive that led
to the introduction of risk assessments had weakened, and the
issues that the Zahid Mubarek inquiry highlighted have not been
given a high enough priority now that the Prison Service's resources
had been cut. For example, racist bullying on a significant scale
was still found in young offender institutions. Imtiaz Amin, the
uncle of Zahid Mubarek, who founded the Zahid Mubarek Trust which
examines equalities measures in prisons in London, told us that
dedicated staffing for equalities had reduced considerably.
These responsibilities had been subsumed into other roles, with
the potential for equalities not to be afforded sufficient priority.
Furthermore, safer custody staff reportedly have less time to
meet for mutual support and information sharing.
Approaches to efficiency in the private sector
100. There are 14 private prisons contractually managed
by one of three private companies: Sodexo Justice Services, Serco
and G4S Justice Services. It is important to note that private
sector providers have not been protected from cuts entirely; NOMS
has negotiated with them to revise contracts to reduce their costs,
including to reduce staffing levels, as well as to increase operational
Petherick of G4S saw this as a proper means of controlling expenditure
but valued the contractual method as a way of protecting prisoners
and contractors and their staff because of the certainty it provides
about what must be delivered and about the mechanisms for changing
As Mike Conway of Sodexo explained, when new providers begin to
run a new prison or take over an existing one, efficiencies are
built into the contract when it is agreed.
He also noted that it was difficult to compare the finances of
public and private sector prisons as their cost base was different,
in terms of overheads for example.
101. Some witnesses questioned whether public sector
prisons could reasonably make comparable savings to those achieved
in the private sector.
Our conversations during our visits and with private sector providers
suggested that, as we have already mentioned, technology, in particular
in-cell self-service kiosks, had been a contributory factor in
limiting the costs of running new establishments, enabling them
to be run with leaner staffing levels, for example.
In older establishments such as HMP Birmingham and HMP Northumberland,
which Serco and Sodexo have acquired from the public sector, these
providers have also invested in such technology.
Mike Conway of Sodexo questioned whether operating on slimmer
staffing levels would be feasible in the public sector without
reforms of this nature.
102. It is possible
that the Ministry might be taking the matter of the sudden rise
in self-inflicted deaths seriously internally, but downplaying
publicly its significance, and the potential role that changes
in prisons policy might be playing in it, is ill-advised as it
could be construed as complacency and a lack of urgency. The Ministry
told us they had looked hard for evidence of factors which could
be causing an increase in suicide rates, self-harm and levels
of assault in prisons. Worryingly, they had not managed to arrive
at any hypothesis as to why this has taken place. In our view
it is not possible to avoid the conclusion that the confluence
of estate modernisation and re-configuration, efficiency savings,
staffing shortages, and changes in operational policy, including
to the Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme, have made a significant
contribution to the deterioration in safety.
sector prisons have not been immune from the imposition of efficiency
savings but once their contracts have been agreed they are insulated
to some extent. They also benefit from their greater ability to
make capital investments in the hope of recouping the benefit
over the lifetime of the contract, while public sector processes
restrain such investment. We conclude that public sector prisons
need greater capacity to invest in cost-effective and operationally
beneficial improvements in the way that the private sector does.
NOMS' measures to manage and
resolve the situation
104. The Government has employed a series of interim
measures to enable prisons to be managed as safely as possible
in the short term, along with efforts better to manage the challenges
relating to changes in the prison population, and longer-term
measures to improve NOMS' resilience in future. Towards the end
of our inquiry the Government announced a package of measures
to seek better to control violence.
These were mainly designed to strengthen the criminal justice
response to prisoner violence, perhaps in an effort to deter such
behaviour. In particular, a joint protocol produced by the Prison
Service, Crown Prosecution Service and Association of Chief Police
Officers sets out a presumption in favour of prosecution when
there are serious assaults on prison staff, unless there is a
good reason why not. The Prison Service is also to make greater
use of body worn cameras, and the Ministry put forward legislation
in the Serious Crime Bill to ensure that prisoners who possess
knives and other offensive weapons in prison will face prosecution
under a new criminal offence punishable by up to four years in
ACTION TO RESOLVE STAFFING PROBLEMS
105. The Ministry has been seeking to address staffing
shortages in five main ways: the use of restricted regimes; the
use of overtime;
the deployment of detached duty staff to 25 prisons with the most
severe problems; the introduction of a special reserve force to
be deployed across the prison estate; and an accelerated recruitment
drive for 1,700 new prison officers by March 2015.
106. A substantial number of prisons have implemented
restrictions to their regimes as staffing levels had become too
low to run existing regimes safely. According to the Chief Inspector
of Prisons, on 10 November 2014, 22 prisons were operating restricted
Spurr explained why this might occur:
Governors may adjust/restrict regimes to ensure
safety, security and decency for prisoners and staff. This is
a process of identifying the reduced level of activity to ensure
a safe, decent and secure regime, whilst maintaining key servicessuch
as meals, time in the open air, time to make telephone calls,
visits, the dispensing of medication and access to healthcareand
some purposeful activity, which will vary according to the facilities
of the prison and the function of the prison.
107. Mr Hardwick concluded that such restrictions
were a sensible means of managing staffing problems and providing
certainty for prisoners of running consistent regimes.
108. Some restricted regimes have had to be imposed
for a considerable length of time. We heard that at HMP Isis,
for example, a restricted regime had been introduced on a temporary
basis in summer 2013 and remained in place 14 months later. In
addition to the enduring pressure on staff of having to deal with
a heavier workload, at times this had led to prisons having to
lockdown entirely due to severe staff shortages.
In HMP Wormwood Scrubs prisoners were spending longer in their
cells, sometimes up to 23 hours per day.
On the other hand, the IMB Chair at Belmarsh felt that the restricted
regime at that prison was working relatively well.
109. The cost of staffing the detached duty schemewhereby
operational staff are posted to establishments with the most severe
shortfalls in staffover the 13 months a national scheme
has been in operation is £63.5 million, amounting to £2,500
per officer per month, which has been absorbed into the Ministry's
However the Ministry has been unable to inform us of the full
cost implications of this scheme; staff presumably also receive
subsistence, travel and accommodation costs, overtime payments
and other financial inducements.
110. Drafting in staff on detached duty might resolve
the issue of absolute staffing numbers but there are limitations
to what they can do in practice. Mr Hardwick explained the challenges
encountered by the Inspectorate with such an approach: "[they]
obviously do not know the prison and the prisoners in the way
that the regular staff do. They can do the turnkey business, but
it is very difficult for them to do more than that."
Similarly, our evidence suggests that inexperienced staff have
been deployed to plug gaps. For example, in order to maximise
staff numbers when prisoners are unlocked, security staff have
been drafted on to wings. Angela Levin was concerned that these
staff had never done such work and had no idea how to deal with
the challenges prisoners might present.
She intimated their role was to "come and stand in to give
the impression that they have more staff than they in fact have".
It is difficult to determine the extent to which these issues
are related to immediate shortage or benchmarking, as some redeployment
of staff is part of more streamlined operating procedures. These
pressures do not appear to be abating as the number of detached
duty staff has not fallen.
Table 6 shows the average provision of staff on detached duty
has been at or above 230 per week since July 2014.
Table 6: Average weekly provision of staff on detached
duty to prisons in England & Wales-November 2013 to November
|Month||FTE Officers Provided
Source: PPP62 [Ministry of Justice]
111. In addition to the recruitment drive for operational
staff, NOMS is actively recruiting to fill vacancies in other
staffing groups, with priority being given to the recruitment
of Operational Support Grades and Instructional staff.
The costs of recruitment and initial training amounted to £9
million in the nine months to December 2014. NOMS was confident
that it was on track to tackle both current vacancies and anticipated
normal turnover over the coming months. Michael Spurr claimed
that recruitment levels, of over 1,000 new staff, were such that
the level of detached duty and impact of restricted regimes would
both be reduced after Christmas 2014.
The number of staff continued to fall up to December 2014.
It is not clear whether account has been taken of the need to
staff the new places that are coming on stream in spring 2015,
in particular the re-roled young offender establishments.
112. Some witnesses questioned whether staffing difficulties
would indeed be resolved by spring 2015 as the Government intends.
For example, the Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board at
HMP Isis shared with us a letter he had sent to the Minister in
which he explained that the staffing situation at that prison
was severe and deteriorating:
The prison, as of today, is 26 officers short
of the agreed 'benchmarking' complement of 112. In addition, there
are currently a further 27 officers unavailable due to factors
such as sickness, maternity leave, restricted duties, disciplinary
matters and temporary promotions
that is nearly half of the
required workforce not being available.
As we noted above, the recruitment of officers is
only part of the solution. While the Government's recruitment
drive is welcome, in the short term it will result in an influx
of inexperienced staff. It will take some time before prisons
are operating at their full benchmarked strength, while staff
are in the process of gaining the skills and knowledge required
to do their job effectively; new recruits undertake an eight week
course and complete an NVQ over their first year.
Responsiveness of NOMS to changing
113. Michael Spurr sought to assure us that with
a full staffing complement prisons could operate effectively under
it is important to say that we are implementing
systems that are working somewhere. We have taken the best systems
and said that we want them to work everywhere. That is one of
the things that gives me confidence. In prisons that have managed
to have the resources they need, we are getting good outcomes
and that is reflected in some positive inspection outcomes where
we have benchmarked and have the right staff in place.
Nick Hardwick's conversations with prison governors
suggested to him that they supported this view.
On the other hand, the pace and scale of change was seen as a
contributory factor in some of the difficulties experienced by
governors. Stephen O'Connell explained:
Whether benchmarking in itself is the right answer
or whether closing prisons and opening new ones is the right answer,
it is not so much the individual parts but the fact that it all
has to be done so quickly. As you know, when you push the pace
of change it creates risk. [
] Over time and at a slower
pace we would be able to manage that risk more effectively, but
obviously it would not save money as quickly.
114. The importance of monitoring carefully prison
performance was emphasised by Mr Wheatley: "It is not easy
to make a place improve, and when you have made it improve it
is very easy to let it slip. Once it has slipped, it is difficult
to get back again. Running prisons well is a very difficult thing.
It requires high quality governors and really good staff, who
NOMS is monitoring the impact of benchmarking through a monthly
assurance board, visits and routine performance data.
The management of prisons requires NOMS to keep their resources
under review, and to change them if necessary. Public prisons
can issue NOMS with notification that change to the benchmark
is necessary, in a similar way to which private sector providers
can alter their contracts. NOMS says that this enables them to
respond to changing operational demands, for example if the size
or the nature of the population at a prison were to alter.
115. Both public
and private sector prisons have been in a state of flux over the
last two years, for a host of reasons. These include the implementation
of new operational policies, staffing reductions, populations
changing and stabilising as prisons have opened, closed or re-roled,
transfers from the private sector to the public sector and vice
versa, and large-scale building projects on existing prison sites.
It would be surprising if there had not been some adverse impact
on performance. We believe that the key explanatory factor for
the obvious deterioration in standards over the last year is that
a significant number of prisons have been operating at staffing
levels below what is necessary to maintain reasonable, safe and
rehabilitative regimes. Having fewer prison officers can tip the
power balance, leading to less safety and more intimidation and
violence on wings. Interim measures such as restricted regimes
and the national detached duty scheme have been adopted as a necessary
means of minimising the risks of operating with insufficient staff,
but these measures themselves have an adverse impact on the ability
of the prison system to achieve rehabilitation and reduce reoffending.
116. The Government
has been reluctant to acknowledge the serious nature of the operational
and safety challenges facing prisons, and the role of its own
policy decisions in creating them. Some difficulties could arise
in any process of change, but it is clear to us that the Ministry
had not planned adequately for the risk of staffing shortages,
and failed to act sufficiently quickly to mitigate them. This
unsatisfactory outcome and sluggish response has risked jeopardising
the safety of prisoners and prison staff. We note that NOMS believes
that these problems will begin to recede, and that the situation
will have stabilised by April 2015, but we found convincing evidence
that more pressurised working conditions for staff are compounding
the staffing problem. Over the medium to long-term it is our view
that turnover is likely to remain at undesirably high levels if
some public sector prisons are operating with insufficient staff.
117. The Ministry
remains optimistic that the benchmarking policy will prove a safe
and effective means of reducing costs, but the current difficulties
in many prisons highlight the hazards of seeking to run an estate
operating at 98% capacity with staffing levels which afford too
little flexibility. We welcome a more robust response to assaults
on staff as a response to incidents of violence, but the real
answer lies in staffing levels and regimes which minimise such
violence. We recommend, especially in
the light of the Government's acceptance that there is now a more
challenging mix of prisoners, that staffing benchmarks should
be altered upwards to ensure prisons are able to have the capacity
to return to the levels of operational performance which prevailed
early in this Parliament. In its response to this report we also
request the Ministry of Justice to provide a full update on progress
which has been made in restoring staffing levels, and to set out
what other steps it is taking to address low staff morale and
improve the retention of staff, across the whole prison estate
and in areas of particular shortfalls.
118. The Ministry's inability to provide us with
fully worked out costings of its reforms is a recurring issue
for us. We request the Ministry to provide in its response to
this Report an analysis of the impact additional staffing and
recruitment costs will have on the Ministry's ability to meet
its spending targets for the 2014-15 financial year, along with
an assessment of whether the additional staff being recruited
will be sufficient also to staff the new prison places opening
in the spring.
127 Q 12, HC [Session 2012-13] 741-i.
Q 81 Back
Qq 81-82 [Mr Wheatley, Mr Lockyer]; PPP13 [Prison Officers Association]
Q 209 [Mr Bailey; Mr Buparai]; Q 210 [Mr Gillan]; PPP34 [Prison
Governors Alliance] Back
PPP15 [Serco]; PPP45 [G4S]; Q 335 [Mr Conway] Back
PPP33 [Ministry of Justice] Back
Q 117 Back
Q 6, Justice Committee, The work of the Secretary for State: one-off,
Session 2014-15, HC 312 Back
National Offender Management Service, Our new way of working Back
Qq 81-83 Back
PPP17 [British Psychological Society] Back
Ministry of Justice, Prison and probation trust performance statistics 2013 to 2014,
28 October 2014 Back
Ministry of Justice, Prisons and probation trust performance statistics 2012 to 2013,
31 October 2013; Ministry of Justice, Prisons and probation trust performance statistics
2011 to 2012, 28 November 2012. Back
HMP Woodhill Independent Monitoring Board, Annual Report 1 June
2013 to 31 May 2014, 20 November 2014; HMP Brixton Independent
Monitoring Board, Annual Report to the Secretary of State, 1 September
2013 to 31 August 2014; HMP and YOI Wormwood Scrubs Independent
Monitoring Board, Annual Report 1 June 2013 to 31 May 2014. See
also: PPP50, PPP51 [Dr Penzer]; PPP54 [Ms Homan]; PPP59 [Mr Thornhill];
PPP63 [Ms Boothman] Back
Calculated by comparing the first nine months of 2012 with the
same period in 2014. Back
An act of concerted indiscipline is an incident in which two or
more prisoners act together in defiance of a lawful instruction
or against the requirements of the regime of the establishment.
HL Deb, 8 Jan 2007, col WA36-37 Back
BBC Radio 4, Today, 14 June 2014, Mr Hardwick; Q 96 [Mr
Qq 16-18 Justice Committee, The Work of the Secretary of State,
Session 2014-15, HC 312 Back
HC Deb, 9 December 2014, col W Back
In 2012 there were 94 incidents of concerted indiscipline, in
2013 there were 147, and in the 9 months to September 2014 there
were 153, giving a projection of 191 for 2014. PPP62 [MoJ]; NOMS
was unable to provide data on the number of prisoners involved
in such incidents. Back
House of Commons Written Answers and Questions, Written Question
217216, Answered on 9 December 2014. Back
National Offender Management Service, Business Plan, Ministry
of Justice, London. Back
Q 120 [Mr Hardwick] Back
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2013-2014,
21 October 2014. Back
Q 5 [Ms Levin]; PPP12 [Prison Reform Trust]; PPP19 [Association
of Colleges]; PPP09 [Prisoner Learning Alliance]; PPP10 [Milton
Keynes College] Back
PPP54 [Independent Monitoring Board, HMP Belmarsh]; Q 1 Back
PPP60 [Howard League] Back
PPP53 [Prisoners' Learning Alliance and Prisoners Education Trust
supplementary]; PPP13 [Prison Officers' Association]; PPP18 [A4e]
The Guardian, A4e terminates prisoner prison education training contract,
13 August 2013; see also PPP10
[Milton Keynes College] Back
Q 190 Back
PPP19 [Association of Colleges] Back
Correspondence with Committee Secretariat. These figures related
to eligible cases for investigation at the end of the first quarter
(April-June) 2014, compared to the first quarter of the previous
year 2013-14. After he gave evidence he told us informally that
there had been a fall in the volume of complaints so for the first
three quarters of 2014-15, the increase amounted to 18% on the
same period in the previous year i.e. April to December 2013. Back
Q 118 Back
PPP 39 [Ministry of Justice] Back
Q 242 Back
Q 19 [Ms Russo] Back
PPP44 [Zahid Mubarek Trust]; PPP05 [Mission And Public Affairs
Council, Church Of England] Back
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2013-2014,
21 October 2014. Back
Q 131 Back
Q 101 [Mr Edgar]; Qq 207-208 [Mr Bailey; Mr Gillan]: Q 117 [Mr
O'Connell]; Q 129 [Mr Newcomen Back
Q 47 [Andrew Selous] HC[Session 2014-15]659; Q 57 [Michael Spurr]
HC[Session 2014-15]659; Conservative Home Article, Interview: Grayling - As Lord Chancellor,
21 January 2015. Back
Qq 1-2 Back
PPP53 [Prisoners Education Trust]; PPP54 [Ms Homan]; Managing the Prison Estate,
December 2013 Back
PPP17 [British Psychological Society] Back
Q 34 [Ms Russo] Back
Q 101 [Mr Edgar] Back
PPP03 [Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Crime, Community and Justice
Q 2 [Ms Levin] Back
Q 83 Back
PPP13 [Prison Officers' Association] Back
PPP45 [G4S]; Q 266 [Mr Petherick] Back
Q 30 [Ms Levin] Back
Q 33 [Ms Levin]; Q 34 [Ms Russo]; Q 331 [Ms Moseley OBE] Back
PPP40 [Prison Reform Trust supplementary evidence] Back
PPP44 [Zahid Mubarek Trust] Back
PPP40 [Prison Reform Trust supplementary evidence] Back
PPP62 [MoJ] Back
Q 83 [Mr Wheatley]; Q 117 [Mr Hardwick]; PPP12 [Prison Reform
Trust]; Q 241 [Ms Homan]; PPP17 [British Psychological Society];
Q 209 [Mr Bailey] Back
Q 15 HC 848; Q 5 HC 312 Back
Q 316; Q 325[Ms Gibbs] Back
National offender management workforce statistics, September 2014. Back
Qq 124-125 [Mr Hardwick]; Q 241 [Ms Homan]; Q 96 [Mr Neilson] Back
PPP19 [Association of Colleges]; Q 241 [Ms Homan]; Q 207; Q 124
[Nick Hardwick] Back
PPP33 [Ministry of Justice] Back
PPP12 [Prison Reform Trust] Back
PPP42 [National Offender Management Service]; Howard League, Prisons hit by staff shortages,
18 December 2014 Back
Q 207 Back
Q 119 Back
Q 208 Back
University of Bedfordshire, Independent survey of Prison Officers reveals staff totally demoralised,
19 November 2014. Back
See also National offender management workforce statistics, September
Q 19, Justice Committee, Annual report and accounts, one-off session,
28 October 2014, HC 658. Back
Ibid, Q 20 Back
Q 385 [Mr Spurr] Back
Q 19, 28 October 2014; 28 October HC 658, Q 3 Back
Q 42 HC848; Q 2 The Work of the Secretary of State, HC 312, 9
July 2014 Back
Q 326 [Ms Hinnigan]; PPP41 [National Offender Management Service] Back
In June 2014 there were 32,550 prison staff Back
PPP41 [National Offenders Management Service] Back
Ministry of Justice, National Offender Management Service workforce statistics,
September 2014, Back
Q 352 [Mr Thorburn] Back
Q 188 [Mr Biggin] Back
Q 8 HC 312, 9 July 2014 Back
National Offender Management Service, Safety in Custody, 30 October
2014. There were 15,441 assault incidents in the 12 months to
the end of June 2014, up from 14,045 incidents in the previous
12 months. The rate of assaults is 181 incidents per 1,000 prisoners,
up from 165 incidents in the 12 months to end of June 2013. There
were 1,817 incidents of serious assault in the 12 months to June
2014 from 1,377 in the same period last year. Back
Ibid. In October 2014, the Prison Officers' Association
successfully challenged in the High Court a decision made by the
Crown Prosecution Service to discontinue proceedings against a
prisoner who had assaulted a prison officer. See Press Notice,
POA succeed in legal challenge against prisoner, 27 October 2014.
In November 2014, the Government announced a change of policy,
set out later in this chapter. Back
Q 8, The Work of the Secretary of State, HC 312, 9 July 2014;
At that time data on suicides that would coincide with the rise
in suicide in prisons were not publicly available. The most recent
figures from the Office for National Statistics released in February 2014
, which related to 2012, indicated that the overall trend over
the last decade has been a decrease in the suicide rate for the
UK general population, with a small rise in the last 4 years up
to 2012. From 2011 to 2012 the suicide rate fell slightly from
11.8 incidents per 100,000 people aged 15 and over to 11.6 incidents.
On 19 February 2015 the Office for National Statistics published data for 2013
showing a 4% increase in suicides by people aged 15 and over compared
to the previous year. This equates to 11.9 incidents per 100,000
Q 41, HC 848 Back
Q 65 [Paula Harriott]; Q 132 [Stephen O'Connell]; Q 228
[Adellah]; Q 347 [Mike Conway];
Q 349 [Jerry Petherick] Back
The Guardian, Legal highs and prescription drugs face ban in English and Welsh prisons,,
26 January 2015 Back
Discussion on visits; Q 4 [Ms Levin] Back
Q 101 Back
Ministry of Justice, New crackdown on dangerous legal highs in prison,
25 January 2015 Back
HC Written questions and answers, WQ216064 Back
Examples of this included gang conflicts among young adult prisoners;
Q 2 HC 312, 9 July 2014; Qq 5, 42 HC 848 Back
Q 132 [Mr O'Connell]; Q173 [Mr Hawkings; Mr Cartwright; Mr Biggin] Back
Q 141 Back
Q 102 [Mr Neilson] Back
HM Inspector of Prisons, Thematic report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons: Report of a review of the implementation of the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry recommendations,
June 2014, p.6 Back
PPP44 [Zahid Mubarek Trust] Back
PPP47 [Prison Reform Trust supplementary evidence] Back
HC Deb, 2 Sep 2013, Col 206W;
Add: See, for example, changes
in certified normal accommodation between October 2013 and October
2014: Ministry of Justice Monthly Population Bulletin October 2014
London: Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Justice Monthly Population Bulletin October 2013
London: Ministry of Justice Back
Q 337 Back
Q 335 Back
Q 334 Back
PPP12 [Prison Reform Trust] Back
Qq 335; 342 [Mr Conway]; Q 341 [Mr Petherick] Back
Q 166 Back
Q 335 Back
Ministry of Justice press release, Crackdown on violence in prisons,
16 November 2014. Back
Prison Officers are able to work up to an additional 9 hours per
week under the Payment Plus scheme. Back
PPP41; PPP42 [National Offender Management Service] Back
Q 120 Back
PPP42 [National Offender Management Service] Back
Q 120. See also Qq 191-192 [Mr Hawkings] Back
Correspondence between Mr Pinchin and Mr Selous; Her Majesty's
Inspectorate of Prisons, Unannounced inspection, 2-13 July 2014 HMP Elmley,
12 November 2014 Back
Q 1; Q 5 Back
Q 166 Back
PPP41 [National Offenders Management Service]; PPP62 [Ministry
of Justice] Back
PPP62 [Ministry of Justice]. The Ministry said there are additional
costs (including travel, accommodation and subsistence costs)
but it was not possible to disaggregate these associated costs
of detached duty within the central financial records from other
expenses claimed by staff without incurring significant cost as
it would require the manual review and collation of data from
online expenses systems and travel providers. In relation to these
other costs, the House of Commons Library found that Circular 137, 1 December 2014
lists 14 establishments - Aylesbury, Brinsford, Bullingdon, Chelmsford,
Elmley, Feltham, Haverigg, Highdown, Hull, Isis, Nottingham, Swaleside,
Woodhill and Wormwood Scrubs - at which prison officers on compulsory
detached duty would receive a "special bonus payment"
for working on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. The
bonus was £110 for a main shift, £55 for an early shift,
£80 for a late shift and £165 for an A shift. The circular
comments that "These special bonus payments when added to
the Payment Plus rate of £17 per hour equate to approximately
£30 per hour based on a national benchmark weekend day.";
POA circular 139, 23 December 2014 - The attached letters from
Ian Mulholland indicate that prison officers who reach the 30
day limit for claiming overnight subsistence may nevertheless
continue to claim it, if they are part of the national detached
duty arrangement; POA Circular 4, 19 January 2015 mentions "targeted
use" of the special bonus scheme, which implies that the
scheme has been continued beyond the Christmas/New Year period.
Q 124 Back
Q 2 Back
PPP62 [Ministry of Justice] Back
PPP41. Operational support grades do a variety of duties, including
checking in visitors; supervising visitors; patrolling perimeter
and grounds; escorting contractors and vehicles; searching buildings
and searching prisoners' property. Instructional officers provide
prisoners with vocational training. Working for HMPS, www.gov.uk
downloaded 3 February 2015 Back
Q 382 Back
Ministry of Justice, National Offender Management Service workforce statistics: December 2014,
29 January 2015
Justice Committee, Older prisoners: follow-up, 29 October 2014,
Q 21 HC 659 Back
Q 117 Back
Q 117 Back
Q 82 Back
Q 382 [Mr Spurr] Back
PPP41 [National Offenders Management Service] Back