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Prisons: Staff

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 205276, tabled on 4 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, , what processes are in place to enable HMPPS Controllers to report concerns over staffing levels at their establishments.

Answered on

14 January 2019

The controller at each privately managed prison has regular review meetings with the contractor against a range of performance indicators that will reflect numbers of staff in post, recruitment, training, sickness, and attrition. Any concerns in relation to these performance indicators, including concerns about staffing levels to delivery an appropriate standard, are discussed at these meetings. Where action is needed, progress is monitored by the Controller and escalated within HMPPS where appropriate action can be taken in accordance with the contract. Controllers submit contractual performance information monthly on the contract that the provider operates. Controllers report to a Senior Contract Manager and are supported by Commercial Contract Managers.

As we have previously stated all staffing matters, including the responsibility for ensuring the availability of sufficiently trained and experienced staff to maintain safe and decent prisons, lies with Contractors. There is no requirement in the contracts to agree staffing levels with the Ministry of Justice and as a consequence the controller is not responsible for staffing levels in the contract that the provider operates.

Private providers continue to play an important role in the prison estate and I can assure you that performance of all providers is closely monitored and we will not hesitate to take action where standards fall short.