I am today announcing the government’s decision on pay rises for prison staff.
The Prison Service Pay Review Body has made its recommendations for the 2019-20 pay award and we are accepting these recommendations in full.
Last year, the government announced the largest pay rise in nearly a decade for almost a million public sector workers. Today we are building on that with a pay award that is worth at least 2.2% for all prison staff and 3% for our Band 3 officers on the ‘Fair and Sustainable’ terms and conditions. This is the second year in a row we have put in place awards over 2% for our prison staff and this year’s settlement represents the highest consolidated increase for over 10 years.
In addition to the headline increases we will also implement the totality of the other Review Body recommendations. This represents a full package for staff that will support us to recruit and retain prison officers and managers, contributing to safer prisons and reduced reoffending. In addition to their pay, prison officers continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available.
For a Band 3 officer on the modern terms and conditions the pay settlement is worth on average £1,277.
Alongside this investment in pay, prison officers are being trained to be more effective and gain experience in critical areas. The key worker role within the new offender management in custody model is currently being rolled-out across prisons. This has been enabled by the investment in additional Band 3 officers, and supports officers at this grade to build more effective relationships with prisoners in order to improve safety and help reduce reoffending.
Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt falling as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low – we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our prisons.
We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.
It is also vital that our world class public services continue modernising to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.
The report has been laid before Parliament today 22 July 2019 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: