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Prison and Probation Service: Finance

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL7051, tabled on 20 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the budget allocated to the HM Prisons and Probation Service Payment Plus scheme has been spent so far in the current financial year.

Answered on

4 August 2020

Payment Plus is funded through Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service’s staff pay budget from savings arising from any staff vacancies, which are then re-invested by each prison to fund the Payment Plus (PP) needed to cover operational staff vacancies.

Prison governors have always had the authority to use PP to allow for additional staff time to cover vacancies. They are given an annual budget for staff costs based on agreed staffing levels and are expected to manage PP within this.

In the first quarter of this financial year, the total spend on PP was £20.4m, which includes additional overtime cover in response to the impact of COVID-19.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a high risk of increased staff absence and to mitigate this, staff were asked to volunteer for additional PP hours in advance of need. Since the start of the scheme in mid-March, to end June, about 60% of the total extra PP hours volunteers had committed to work were used and the remainder are being used as prisons move into recovery.