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Prisons: Coronavirus

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 67703, tabled on 1 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a prison whistleblowing hotline to enable staff to confidentially report health and safety concerns (a) during and (b) after the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will introduce such a hotline.

Answered on

6 July 2020

Staff are aware that they can report H&S concerns to their line managers, or a H&S qualified practitioner present at each establishment. The Ministry of Justice has whistle blowing procedures in place for employees who wish to raise any concerns, including the endangering of an individual’s health and safety. The current H&S reporting system also provides a reliable local and national reporting and recording tool that allows staff to voice their concerns and for H&S teams to monitor and take action where necessary. We therefore do not have any current plans to initiate a specific whistleblowing hotline or campaign.

All staff receive a full H&S induction upon commencement of their roles, which includes an introduction and explanation of the reporting and investigation process and local or notifications and contingencies are published by Governors advising staff of risks and to implement controls as necessary.

HMPPS operates both national and local health and safety committees across probation and custody in line with the legal requirements for consultation on health and safety matters and maintains active engagement with health and safety representatives. Such committees are held at least quarterly and attendance by staff and union representatives is actively encouraged. This is in addition to an extensive range of informal consultation and liaison both nationally and locally.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.