PPO COVID-19 update

Since July 2020, the PPO has carried out a gradual, safe return to the office and at present, all PPO staff are working in our offices for a minimum of one day a week. We are now able to start visiting prisons again to carry out our investigations. We are still conducting some interviews via video and telephone, but there is no substitute for the face to face contact we have with staff and people in prison, so it is great to be back in person.

We are still not able to return original documents to prisoners so complainants must send us photocopies. We have secured an agreement that HMPPS will cover the cost of photocopies and have made sure this message is conveyed clearly to complainants through our regular work with Prison Radio and Inside Time.

We are continuing to scan letters from those in prison so that we can handle their complaints when we are not working from the office. We have found this enables us to be more agile, sustainable and efficient. We continue to use Email a Prisoner to send some letters to those in prison where appropriate. As our staff are now back in the office for part of the week, we are also writing directly to prisoners too.

You may have read that we have launched a pilot to investigate all post-release deaths notified to us (except homicides) that occur within 14 days of release. This is a 12-month pilot and we will continue to monitor and evaluate progress throughout. Finally, we continue to publish our Fatal Incident reports on our website, once they have been shared with the family of the deceased and the coroner’s inquest has taken place. You can view the reports here.

We will keep you updated on the PPO’s working practices as we navigate our new ways of working. Follow our Twitter account to keep up to date with PPO news and read our news section for more information. You can also sign up to our mailing list here, so you don’t miss out on any PPO updates.