Unions press Minister to extend Government Life Assurance Scheme for Probation staff and investigate impact of Covid19 on Black/BAME staff

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Unions press Minister to extend Government Life Assurance Scheme for Probation staff and investigate impact of Covid19 on Black/BAME staff

Napo, UNISON and GMB have written to the Justice Minister Lucy Frazer to request that the Government’s £60,000 life assurance payment to the families/dependents of deceased NHS/Social Care workers as a result of Coronavirus, be extended to cover Probation staff.

Official information supplied to the Unions indicates that so far, 5 probation staff have died (2 CRC staff, 1 NPS member of staff, 1 agency worker and 1 private contractor employee). In our letter to the Minister we have pointed out that from a total probation workforce of 18,000 this is a high ratio of deaths to total employee numbers and is a matter of considerable concern. Moreover, we have pointed out that Probation work is also unique in the combination of close face-to-face contact with service users and intense work undertaken in the residential settings of prison and approved premises, with a very high proportion of the workforce recognised as ‘front line.’

Napo and our sister unions are seeking to establish the number of Black/BAME staff as a proportion of those probation staff who have tragically died in service. We have been reassured that the absence of this data is now being rectified and once it is received the unions will be looking to work with HMPPS to urgently review what measures might be necessary to protect Black/BAME staff should the data indicate a disproportionate impact of Covid19 on the mortality of these workers.

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