To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 84991, on Prisons: Coronavirus, what responsibilities his Department holds on (a) the fair treatment of staff throughout the prison estate, (b) the public health effects of his Department's policies and (c) prison staff health and well-being with respect to the management of private prisons in England and Wales .
Public Sector Prisons’ Covid-19 HR processes and policies are driven by Civil Service HR guidance which is based on Government advice and Trade Union engagement. The Health and Safety function are a key partner in determining specific operational guidance and their expertise is the driver for HR decision making. It is accepted that Government guidance is based on the principles of effectiveness and fairness and that the existing support networks, focus groups and HR processes will steer any actions into an inclusive and supportive outcome.
As we have previously stated, all staffing matters, including the responsibility for ensuring the fair treatment of staff and their well-being, lie with contractors. There is no requirement in the contracts to agree such matters with the Ministry of Justice.
Private providers continue to play an important role in the prison estate, and I can assure you that performance of all providers is closely monitored. Further we will not hesitate to take action where standards fall short.