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The POA podcast

The POA podcast

By POA Podcast
The podcast of the Prison Officers' Association UK
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Working with and for members with disabilities
The POA is working hard to be as inclusive as possible. Part of this is to work for and with members with disabilities. In this episode deputy General Secretary Joe Simpson and NEC  members Jackie Marshall and Geoff Willetts discuss what we mean by disability, and how the union campaigns and negotiates for more awareness of, and fair treatment for, members with disabilities. More information at
July 01, 2022
POA conference in review and why you should march on 18 June
POA General Secretary Steve Gillan and National Chairman Mark Fairhurst look back at the first in-person POA conference for three years, and preview the TUC's New Deal for Working People demonstration on 18 June - why it is important, how to take part and how you can get there. More details at and 
June 13, 2022
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - its impact on Prison Officers and the support available
This episode is about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – a fast increasing and worrying phenomenon amongst Prison Officers. The POA announced it had commissioned research work into this often overlooked and misunderstood condition and report author Joanna Binley joins us on the podcast to describe her findings. We then welcome Caroline Sheldon and Tracey Varela from the MoJ’s Employee Psychological Services to walk us through the employer’s response to the PTSD challenge. We also look at the HMPPS return-to-work policy and a valuable description of what support is available from the Employee Assistance Programme (tel: 0800 0198988) and others, and what members can expect once they pick up the phone or otherwise reach out. More information at .
June 01, 2022
POA - working for gender equality and better diversity and inclusivity
In this POA podcast episode, we look at the union’s work on gender equality with four of the union’s leading female activists – AGS Angela Montgomery, NEC members Jackie Marshall and Sarah Rigby, and Branch chair Kirsteen Brown. They discuss planned moves, false advertising over flexible working, the importance of boundaries at work, the menopause and returning to work after maternity leave. All this takes place under the umbrella of the union’s EDI policy- equality, diversity and Inclusivity. DGS Joe Simpson joins Angela to set out what EDI is, and why it is important. More information at .
May 08, 2022
Menopause matters
The menopause is becoming a major issue on the bargaining agenda for all unions, including the POA. In this toolkit podcast, Nikki Pound who leads on this for the Trades Union Congress explains why this is happening, and POA NEC member Jackie Marshall talks about the specific challenges for the union - and what is being done to address them. This toolkit podcast accompanies the feature article in the April 2022 edition of Gatelodge. Find out more at
April 29, 2022
Health and Safety and You
Health and Safety is the focus of this episode of the POA podcast. Deputy General Secretary Joe Simpson together with Assistant General Secretaries Mick Pimblett and Andy Baxter discuss the Health and Safety protocol with HMPPS that allows union members to respond to dangerous incidents without facing the possibility of being charged with inducing unlawful industrial action.  There is also an in-depth look at Risk Assessments,  the role of Union Safety Representatives and safety inspections, the importance of reporting “near  miss” events, and the vital role of Regime Management Plans. Visit for more info.
April 01, 2022
The POA's Political Fund
POA General Secretary Steve Gillan and Deputy General Secretary Joe Simpson discuss the POA political levy/fund, and the political campaign work that is done through the fund. More information at
March 11, 2022
Health, safety and maintaining resilience for Prison Officers
In this episode, Professor Gail Kinman talks us through her ground-breaking research into the true state of health and safety at work for Prison Officers. Her reports in 2014 and 2020 set out a stark picture of sub-standard arrangements. But exactly what needs to change? And what would we discover if Gail carried out a fresh survey today . You can read her reports in full here and here. Also, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist Jenny Mills on how we all can identify the signs of work-related stress, and practical ideas and tips on how we can maintain personal resilience. Visit more information on our work, and also how to join the union.
March 01, 2022
Govt White Paper "a missed opportunity" but high hopes for new "Safe Inside" Bill
In this episode, General Secretary Steve Gillan reports on why the Government’s recent White Paper on prisons strategy is a “missed opportunity.” Grahame Morris MP (Lab, Easington) tells us about his Prisons (Violence) Bill – aka the “Safe Inside” Bill – which has its Second Reading in Parliament on 25 February, and what all POA members can do to help it become law. (For more information on the White Paper, click here, and for the Safer Inside Bill, and how to lobby your MP, click here)
February 01, 2022
The Wandsworth Prison Museum - a tour of it's exhibits and stories with Stewart McLaughlin.
The Wandsworth Prison Museum is an Aladdin's Cave of documents, uniforms, displays, kit, memorabilia and artefacts - including the original lock and key to the jail.  Our expert guide is the museum's founder, curator and  long-standing POA member Stewart McLaughlin.  What becomes clear is that the histories of the prison and of the POA itself are closely inter-twined.  The past comes to life in this sparkling audio tour.
December 27, 2021
Feeling the benefit of POA membership
As a union of 30,000 members, the POA can use its purchasing power to get some really good deals for members, and to partner with people who really understand the work members do.  This month's POA podcast talks to some of these service providers to understand what they are offering and where they're coming from. Do listen in - you may be surprised on both points! We hear from Tax Refund, Serve and Protect Credit Union, the Firefighters' charity, and Switch Lifestyle.  More information at
December 01, 2021
Same But Different - POA across the UK's devolved administrations
The POA looks after its members whoever they work for and wherever they are located.  This episode looks at the experiences of union members working across the UK's devolved administrations - Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.  With contributions from Liz Saville-Roberts MP (PC, Dwyfor Meirionnydd), Scottish Justice Minister Keith Brown MSP (SNP, Clackmannanshire and Dunblane), POA officers Phil Fairlie (AGS Scotland), June Robinson (NI Area Secretary), Ivor Dunne (NI Regional Chair) and NEC members Sarah Rigby and Terry McCarthy
November 01, 2021
Finlay Spratt looks back on 30 years of POA service
In this episode former Northern Ireland Regional Chairman and Honorary Life Member Finlay Spratt looks back at his 30 years as a POA representative, together with area secretary June Robinson. Both have been awarded the MBE for their work which includes establishing the Northern Ireland Prison Service Trust in the years following the Good Friday Agreement. 
October 01, 2021
Looking after members working in privatised prisons
Privatisation in the UK's criminal justice system arrived in the 1990s (The Wold becoming the first privately run prison in 1992), and there are currently 14 establishments and some other services run by companies like Sodexo, Serco, G4S and Mitie.  In this episode, POA Assistant General Secretaries Andy Baxter, Angela Montgomery and Mick Pimblett discuss how the union organises in the privatised parts of the system, and the importance and unique value of POA membership for those groups of staff.  Since recording, negotiations have concluded with  Mitie, and union members have agreed a 2.2% pay increase.  You can find out more at 
September 01, 2021
Pension campaigns made clear
In the latest POA podcast, we get to grips with the various pensions issues that the union is campaigning on -  the Alpha scheme, the new 2022 scheme,  the McCloud ruling on discrimination, and Payment Plus are all capable of being complex and confusing.  The General Secretary and senior officers are joined by pensions specialist lawyer Ivan Walker to demystify the situation, and give a clear update on the campaigns to resolve the issues associated with each part of the pension puzzle.  This episode is brought to you in association with Serve and Protect Credit Union
August 01, 2021
68 is too late!
68 is too late is the POA campaign to lower the age - currently set at 68 - at which prison officers can draw their pension.  Members of the National Executive Council (NEC) explain how this problem developed,  why the campaign is so important for both union members and the prisoners in their care, and what POA reps and members can do to make the campaign a success. More information on the campaign is at
July 08, 2021
POA social media upgrade trailer
Why is the POA upgrading its social media output? What are the union's hopes for the short videos and podcasts that have already started to appear? In this 12 minute trailer,  the POA's senior officials and the people making the videos and podcasts talk about why this move isn't just a  good thing to do, it's a necessary step in keeping the union strong and improving communications with members.  Visit for more.
June 30, 2021