I am today announcing the government’s decision on pay rises for prison staff.
The Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) has made its recommendations for the 2020-21 pay award. The Government values the independent expertise and insight of the PSPRB and takes on board the valuable advice, principles outlined, and constructive challenge to the Government’s evidence outlined in the report.
Today I am announcing that we are accepting in full the recommendations made by the review body for implementation from April 2020. For clarity these are recommendations 1, 2 and 4 to 7.
This will deliver a pay rise of at least 2.5% for all prison staff – with cumulative awards of up to 7.5% for some staff when progression pay is taken into account. For a Band 3 prison officer on the modern terms and conditions the pay settlement is worth on average £1,086.
This is the third year in a row that we have put in place an award of at least 2% for our prison staff and delivers an above inflation increase. In addition to their pay, prison officers continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available. We are conscious that public sector pay awards must deliver value for money for the taxpayer. Government will continue to take this into account in agreeing public sector pay awards in future.
This award will support the recruitment and retention of prison officers and managers and recognises the essential contribution they make every day – which has only been highlighted by their professional and dedicated response to the unique challenges of delivering safe prisons during the pandemic.
In addition to its core recommendations to be implemented from April 2020, the PSPRB have also recommended a further overall increase of £3,000 for ‘Band 3’ prison officers on modernised terms and conditions from September 2020 (recommendation 3).
It is only right that such a substantial increase for our largest staffing group is considered more carefully over the coming months as we move towards the Spending Review; due to the exceptional costs associated with implementing this recommendation, the impact on the overall pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the pandemic. The Government will also need to consider the recommendation in the context of the pay rises being given to other hard-working public servants.
Furthermore, we wish to open discussions with recognised trade unions on the implications of this recommendation and how any such uplift in pay might be best implemented in an affordable and mutually beneficial manner alongside workforce reforms that deliver the best value for money for tax payers.
The government will therefore announce its response to this recommendation later in the year.
The report has been laid before Parliament today, 21 July, and a copy is attached. I am grateful to the Chair and members of the Review Body for their report.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords